Transcriptional regulation of flavonol biosynthesis in plants

Hortic Res. 2024 Feb 15;11(4):uhae043. doi: 10.1093/hr/uhae043. eCollection 2024 Apr.


Flavonols are a class of flavonoids that play a crucial role in regulating plant growth and promoting stress resistance. They are also important dietary components in horticultural crops due to their benefits for human health. In past decades, research on the transcriptional regulation of flavonol biosynthesis in plants has increased rapidly. This review summarizes recent progress in flavonol-specific transcriptional regulation in plants, encompassing characterization of different categories of transcription factors (TFs) and microRNAs as well as elucidation of different transcriptional mechanisms, including direct and cascade transcriptional regulation. Direct transcriptional regulation involves TFs, such as MYB, AP2/ERF, and WRKY, which can directly target the key flavonol synthase gene or other early genes in flavonoid biosynthesis. In addition, different regulation modules in cascade transcriptional regulation involve microRNAs targeting TFs, regulation between activators, interaction between activators and repressors, and degradation of activators or repressors induced by UV-B light or plant hormones. Such sophisticated regulation of the flavonol biosynthetic pathway in response to UV-B radiation or hormones may allow plants to fine-tune flavonol homeostasis, thereby balancing plant growth and stress responses in a timely manner. Based on orchestrated regulation, molecular design strategies will be applied to breed horticultural crops with excellent health-promoting effects and high resistance.

Publication types

  • Review