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CRISPR/Cas9-mediated targeted mutation reveals a role for AN4 rather than DPL in regulating venation formation in the corolla tube of Petunia hybrida

  • Zhang, Bin1, 2
  • Xu, Xiaojing1
  • Huang, Renwei1, 3
  • Yang, Sha1
  • Li, Mingyang1
  • Guo, Yulong1
  • 1 Southwest University, Chongqing, 400716, China , Chongqing (China)
  • 2 Guizhou University, Guiyang, Guizhou, 550025, China , Guiyang (China)
  • 3 Chengdu Normal University, Chengdu, 611130, China , Chengdu (China)
Published Article
Horticulture Research
Nature Publishing Group UK
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2021
DOI: 10.1038/s41438-021-00555-6
Springer Nature


Venation is a common anthocyanin pattern displayed in flowers that confers important ornamental traits to plants. An anthocyanin-related R2R3-MYB transcription factor, DPL, has been proposed to regulate corolla tube venation in petunia plants. Here, however, we provide evidence redefining the role of DPL in petunia. A CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutation of DPL resulted in the absence of the vein-associated anthocyanin pattern above the abaxial surface of the flower bud, but not corolla tube venation, thus indicating that DPL did not regulate the formation of corolla tube venation. Alternately, quantitative real-time PCR analysis demonstrated that the spatiotemporal expression pattern of another R2R3-MYB gene, AN4, coincided with the formation of corolla tube venation in petunia. Furthermore, overexpression of AN4 promoted anthocyanin accumulation by increasing the expression of anthocyanin biosynthesis genes. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutation of AN4 led to an absence of corolla tube venation, suggesting that this gene in fact determines this key plant trait. Taken together, the results presented here redefine the prime regulator of corolla tube venation, paving the way for further studies on the molecular mechanisms underlying the various venation patterns in petunia.

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