Rihui Li, Qinyu Zeng, Xiangxiang Zhang, Jing Jing, Xiaoyu Ge, Lun Zhao, Bin Yi, Jinxing Tu, Tingdong Fu, Jing Wen, Jinxiong Shen
New Phytologist, First published:17 May 2023, https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.18970
Biosynthesis, stabilization, and storage of carotenoids are vital processes in plants that collectively contribute to the vibrant colors observed in flowers and fruits. Despite its importance, the carotenoid storage pathway remains poorly understood and lacks thorough characterization.
We identified two homologous genes, BjA02.PC1 and BjB04.PC2, belonging to the esterase/lipase/thioesterase (ELT) family of acyltransferases. We showed that BjPCs in association with fibrillin gene BjFBN1b control the stable storage of carotenoids in yellow flowers of Brassica juncea.
Through genetic, high-resolution mass spectrometry and transmission electron microscopy analyses, we demonstrated that both BjA02.PC1 and BjB04.PC2 can promote the accumulation of esterified xanthophylls, facilitating the formation of carotenoid-enriched plastoglobules (PGs) and ultimately producing yellow pigments in flowers. The elimination of BjPCs led to the redirection of metabolic flux from xanthophyll ester biosynthesis to lipid biosynthesis, resulting in white flowers forB. juncea. Moreover, we genetically verified the function of two fibrillin genes, BjA01.FBN1b and BjB05.FBN1b, in mediating PG formation and demonstrated that xanthophyll esters must be deposited in PGs for stable storage.
These findings identified a previously unknown carotenoid storage pathway that is regulated by BjPCs and BjFBN1b, while offering unique opportunities for improving the stability, deposition, and bioavailability of carotenoids.