Transactivation of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes following transfer of B regulatory genes into maize tissues

Stephen A. Goff, Theodore M. Klein, Bradley A. Roth, Michael E. Fromm, Karen C. Cone, J. Pablo Radicella, Vicki L. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


The C1, B and R genes regulating the maize anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway encode tissue-specific regulatory proteins with similarities to transcriptional activators. The Cl and R regulatory genes are usually responsible for pigmentation of seed tissues, and the B-Peru allele of B, but not the B-I allele, can substitute for R function in the seed. In this study, members of the B family of regulatory genes were delivered to intact maize tissues by high velocity microprojectiles. In colorless r aleurones or embryos, the introduction of the B-Peru genomic clone or the expressed cDNAs of B-Peru or B-I resulted in anthocyanin-producing cells. Luciferase produced from the Bronzel anthocyanin structural gene promoter was induced 100-fold when co-introduced with the expressed B-Peru or B-I cDNAs. This quantitative transactivation assay demonstrates that the proteins encoded by these two B alleles are equally able to transactivate the Bronzel promoter. Analogous results were obtained using embryogenic callus cells.These observations suggest that one major contribution towards tissue-specific anthocyanin synthesis controlled by the various alleles of the B and R genes is the differential expression of functionally similar proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2517-2522
Number of pages6
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Anthocyanin biosynthesis
  • Microprojectile bombardment
  • Regulatory genes
  • Transactivation
  • Transcription factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


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