Affiliation: Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA.
Arabidopsis thaliana is the first model plant, the genome of which has been sequenced. In general, intensive studies on this model plant over the past nearly 30 years have led to many new revolutionary understandings in every single aspect of plant biology. Here, we review the current understanding of anthocyanin biosynthesis in this model plant. Although the investigation of anthocyanin structures in this model plant was not performed until 2002, numerous studies over the past three decades have been conducted to understand the biosynthesis of anthocyanins. To date, it appears that all pathway genes of anthocyanins have been molecularly, genetically and biochemically characterized in this plant. These fundamental accomplishments have made Arabidopsis an ideal model to understand the regulatory mechanisms of anthocyanin pathway. Several studies have revealed that the biosynthesis of anthocyanins is controlled by WD40-bHLH-MYB (WBM) transcription factor complexes under lighting conditions. However, how different regulatory complexes coordinately and specifically regulate the pathway genes of anthocyanins remains unclear. In this review, we discuss current progresses and findings including structural diversity, regulatory properties and metabolic engineering of anthocyanins in Arabidopsis thaliana.