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The role of enoyl reductase genes in phloridzin biosynthesis in apple

Plant Physiology and Biochemistry
DOI: 10.1016/j.plaphy.2013.02.017
  • Enoyl-Acp Reductase
  • Malus × Domestica
  • Phloridzin
  • Rnai
  • Transient Assay
  • Biology


Abstract Phloridzin is the predominant polyphenol in apple (Malus × domestica Borkh.) where it accumulates to high concentrations in many tissues including the leaves, bark, roots and fruit. Despite its relative abundance in apple the biosynthesis of phloridzin and other related dihydrochalcones remains only partially understood. The key unidentified enzyme in phloridzin biosynthesis is a putative carbon double bond reductase which is thought to act on p-coumaroyl-CoA to produce the dihydro-p-coumaroyl-CoA precursor. A functional screen of six apple enoyl reductase-like (ENRL) genes was carried out using transient infiltration into tobacco and gene silencing by RNA interference (RNAi) in order to determine carbon double bond reductase activity and contribution to foliar phloridzin concentrations. The ENRL-3 gene caused a significant increase in phloridzin concentration when infiltrated into tobacco leaves whilst a second protein ENRL-5, with over 98% amino acid sequence similarity to ENRL-3, showed p-coumaroyl-CoA reductase activity in enzyme assays. Finally, an RNAi study showed that reducing the transcript levels of ENRL-3 in transgenic ‘Royal Gala’ led to a 66% decrease in the concentration of dihydrochalcones in the leaves in the one available silenced line. Overall these results suggest that ENRL-3, and its close homolog ENRL-5, may contribute to the biosynthesis of phloridzin in apple.

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