Peace, a MYB-like transcription factor, regulates petal pigmentation in flowering peach Genpei bearing variegated and fully pigmented flowers

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Flowering peach Prunus persica cv. Genpei bears pink and variegated flowers on a single tree. The structural genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis were expressed strongly in pink petals but only very weakly or not at all in variegated petals. A cDNA clone encoding a MYB-like gene, isolated from pink petals was strongly expressed only in pink petals. Introduction of this gene, via biolistics gave magenta spots in the white areas of variegated petals, therefore this gene was named as Peace (peach anthocyanin colour enhancement). Differences in Peace expression determine the pattern of flower colouration in flowering peach. The R2R3 DNA-binding domain of Peace is similar to those of other plant MYBs regulating anthocyanin biosynthesis. Key amino acids for tertiary structure and the motif for interaction with bHLH proteins were conserved in Peace. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that Peace is closely related to AtMYB123 (TT2), which regulates proanthocyanidin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis, and to anthocyanin regulators in monocots rather than to regulators in dicots. This is the first report that a TT2-like R2R3 MYB has been shown to regulate anthocyanin biosynthesis.