Integrative analysis of transcriptome and target metabolites uncovering flavonoid biosynthesis regulation of changing petal colors in Nymphaea ‘Feitian 2’

作  者:Zhou X, Wang XH, Wei HH, Zhang HJ, Wu Q*, Wang LS*
刊物名称:BMC Plant Biology
卷:24  期:1  页码:370



Nymphaea (waterlily) is known for its rich colors and role as an important aquatic ornamental plant globally. Nymphaea atrans and some hybrids, including N. ‘Feitian 2,’ are more appealing due to the gradual color change of their petals at different flower developmental stages. The petals of N. ‘Feitian 2’ gradually change color from light blue-purple to deep rose-red throughout flowering. The mechanism of the phenomenon remains unclear.


In this work, flavonoids in the petals of N. ‘Feitian 2’ at six flowering stages were examined to identify the influence of flavonoid components on flower color changes. Additionally, six cDNA libraries of N. ‘Feitian 2’ over two blooming stages were developed, and the transcriptome was sequenced to identify the molecular mechanism governing petal color changes. As a result, 18 flavonoid metabolites were identified, including five anthocyanins and 13 flavonols. Anthocyanin accumulation during flower development is the primary driver of petal color change. A total of 12 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway were uncovered, and these DEGs were significantly positively correlated with anthocyanin accumulation. Six structural genes were ultimately focused on, as their expression levels varied significantly across different flowering stages. Moreover, 104 differentially expressed transcription factors (TFs) were uncovered, and three MYBs associated with flavonoid biosynthesis were screened. The RT-qPCR results were generally aligned with high-throughput sequencing results.


This research offers a foundation to clarify the mechanisms underlying changes in the petal color of waterlilies.