Metabolic networking in Brunfelsia calycina petals after flower opening

Ayelet Bar-Akiva, Rinat Ovadia, Ilana Rogachev, Carmiya Bar-Or, Einat Bar, Zohar Freiman, Ada Nissim-Levi, Natan Gollop, Efraim Lewinsohn, Asaph Aharoni, David Weiss, Hinanit Koltai, Michal Oren-Shamir*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Brunfelsia calycina flowers change colour from purple to white due to anthocyanin degradation, parallel to an increase in fragrance and petal size. Here it was tested whether the production of the fragrant benzenoids is dependent on induction of the shikimate pathway, or if they are formed from the anthocyanin degradation products. An extensive characterization of the events taking place in Brunfelsia flowers is presented. Anthocyanin characterization was performed using ultraperfomance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight-tandem mass specrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS). Volatiles emitted were identified by headspace solid phase microextraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS). Accumulated proteins were identified by 2D gel electrophoresis. Transcription profiles were characterized by cross-species hybridization of Brunfelsia cDNAs to potato cDNA microarrays. Identification of accumulated metabolites was performed by UPLC-QTOF-MS non-targeted metabolite analysis. The results include characterization of the nine main anthocyanins in Brunfelsia flowers. In addition, 146 up-regulated genes, 19 volatiles, seven proteins, and 17 metabolites that increased during anthocyanin degradation were identified. A multilevel analysis suggests induction of the shikimate pathway. This pathway is the most probable source of the phenolic acids, which in turn are precursors of both the benzenoid and lignin production pathways. The knowledge obtained is valuable for future studies on degradation of anthocyanins, formation of volatiles, and the network of secondary metabolism in Brunfelsia and related species.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1393-1403
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are grateful to Ilya Venger for his help with LC-MS data analysis and Chanita Zemah for help with lignin staining. AA is the incumbent of the Adolpho and Evelyn Blum Career Development Chair of Cancer Research. The work in the Aharoni laboratory was supported by Mrs Louise Gartner, Dallas, TX, USA and Mr and Mrs Mordechai Segal, Israel.


  • Anthocyanin
  • Benzenoid
  • Brunfelsia
  • Lignin
  • Secondary metabolism


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