Protein that controls strawberry's red color identified

A research group from the University of Córdoba characterizes a new transcription factor that regulates, during strawberry ripening, the production of anthocyanins responsible for giving it the red color.

Strawberries are a fruit that stands out for their color, aroma, flavor, and texture. These aspects, known as organoleptic properties, which determine their quality and the preference of those who are going to consume them and of the insects in charge of dispersing the seeds and favoring the subsequent growth of future plants, occur in the strawberry ripening process. The research group of the University of Córdoba Biotechnology and plant pharmacognosy, under the direction of Juan Muñoz Blanco, has been studying the genetic regulation of strawberry ripening for several years, has taken a further step in the knowledge of this crucial process by identifying a new protein that is involved in the control of the production of the red color of strawberries. It is a protein known as a transcription factor (FaMYB123).

According to the study, which is part of the doctoral thesis of the UCO-trained researcher Félix J. Martínez-Rivas and which has been published in  The Plant Journal, this transcription factor is fundamentally responsible for the production of anthocyanins, which are the pigments that, in the case of strawberries, give their characteristic red color. To verify this, they created a transgenic strawberry plant in which they repressed the expression of the FaMYB123 transcription factor, and what they saw is that the amount of anthocyanins was more repressed in these transgenic plants than in normal fruits. That is, without the described transcription factor, the strawberry does not produce all of its red color.


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