Structural and functional divergence of the Mpc1 genes in wheat and barley

Ksenia V. Strygina, Elena K. Khlestkina

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9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The members of the Triticeae tribe are characterised by the presence of orthologous and homoeologous gene copies regulating flavonoid biosynthesis. Among transcription factors constituting a regulatory MBW complex, the greatest contribution to the regulation of flavonoid biosynthetic pathway is invested by R2R3-Myb-type TFs. Differently expressed R2R3-Myb copies activate the synthesis of various classes of flavonoid compounds in different plant tissues. The aim of this research was the identification, comparison and analysis of full-length sequences of the duplicated R2R3-Myb Mpc1 (Myb protein c1) gene copies in barley and wheat genomes. Results: The Mpc1 genes were identified in homoeologous group 4 and 7 chromosomes: a total of 3 copies in barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) and 8 copies in bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) genomes. All Mpc1 genes have a similar two-exon structure, and almost all of them are transcriptionally active. The calculation of the divergence time revealed that first duplication between 4 and 7 chromosomes of the common ancestor of the Triticeae tribe occurred about 35-46 million years ago (MYA); the last duplication arised about 16-19 MYA before the divergence Triticum and Hordeum genera The connection between gene expression and the appearance of anthocyanin pigmentation was found for three genes from homoeologous group 4 chromosomes: TaMpc1-A2 (5AL) in wheat coleoptile, HvMpc1-H2 (4HL) in barley lemma and aleurone layer, and HvMpc1-H3 (4HL) in barley aleurone layer. TaMpc1-D4 (4DL) from the wheat genome showed a strong level of expression regardless of the colour of coleoptile or pericarp. It is assumed, that this gene regulates the biosynthesis of uncoloured flavonoids in analysed tissues. Conclusions: The regulatory R2R3-Myb genes involved in anthocyanin synthesis were identified and characterised in Triticeae tribe species. Genes designated HvMpc1-H2 and HvMpc1-H3 appeared to be the main factors underlying intraspecific variation of H. vulgare by lemma and aleurone colour. TaMpc1-A2 is the co-regulator of the Mpc1-1 genes in bread wheat genome controlling anthocyanin synthesis in coleoptile.

Original languageEnglish
Article number45
Pages (from-to)45
Number of pages11
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Issue numberSuppl 1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • Anthocyanin biosynthesis
  • Flavonoid pigments
  • Gene duplication
  • Gene evolution
  • Hordeum
  • Myb
  • Near-isogenic lines
  • Transcription factor
  • Triticum

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