The B gene of pea encodes a defective flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase, and confers pink flower color

Plant Physiol. 2012 Jun;159(2):759-68. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.197517. Epub 2012 Apr 6.


The inheritance of flower color in pea (Pisum sativum) has been studied for more than a century, but many of the genes corresponding to these classical loci remain unidentified. Anthocyanins are the main flower pigments in pea. These are generated via the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway, which has been studied in detail and is well conserved among higher plants. A previous proposal that the Clariroseus (B) gene of pea controls hydroxylation at the 5' position of the B ring of flavonoid precursors of the anthocyanins suggested to us that the gene encoding flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H), the enzyme that hydroxylates the 5' position of the B ring, was a good candidate for B. In order to test this hypothesis, we examined mutants generated by fast neutron bombardment. We found allelic pink-flowered b mutant lines that carried a variety of lesions in an F3'5'H gene, including complete gene deletions. The b mutants lacked glycosylated delphinidin and petunidin, the major pigments present in the progenitor purple-flowered wild-type pea. These results, combined with the finding that the F3'5'H gene cosegregates with b in a genetic mapping population, strongly support our hypothesis that the B gene of pea corresponds to a F3'5'H gene. The molecular characterization of genes involved in pigmentation in pea provides valuable anchor markers for comparative legume genomics and will help to identify differences in anthocyanin biosynthesis that lead to variation in pigmentation among legume species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Anthocyanins / genetics
  • Anthocyanins / metabolism
  • Color
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / metabolism*
  • DNA, Plant / genetics
  • DNA, Plant / metabolism
  • Flowers / enzymology
  • Flowers / genetics
  • Flowers / physiology*
  • Gene Deletion
  • Genes, Plant
  • Hydroxylation
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peas / enzymology
  • Peas / genetics*
  • Peas / physiology
  • Phenotype
  • Phylogeny
  • Pigmentation*
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism*


  • Anthocyanins
  • DNA, Plant
  • Plant Proteins
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase
  • delphinidin
  • petunidin

Associated data

  • GENBANK/GU596478
  • GENBANK/GU596479