The diverse colours of mature pepper (Capsicum spp.) fruit result from the accumulation of different carotenoids. The carotenoid biosynthetic pathway has been well elucidated in Solanaceous plants, and analysis of candidate genes involved in this process has revealed variations in carotenoid biosynthetic genes in Capsicum spp. However, the allelic variations revealed by previous studies could not fully explain the variation in fruit colour in Capsicum spp. due to technical difficulties in detecting allelic variation in multiple candidate genes in numerous samples. In this study, we uncovered allelic variations in six carotenoid biosynthetic genes, including phytoene synthase (PSY1, PSY2), lycopene ß-cyclase, ß-carotene hydroxylase, zeaxanthin epoxidase and capsanthin-capsorubin synthase (CCS) genes, in 94 pepper accessions by single-molecule real-time (SMRT) sequencing. To investigate the relationship between allelic variations in the candidate genes and differences in fruit colour, we performed ultra-performance liquid chromatography analysis using 43 accessions representing each allelic variation. Different combinations of dysfunctional mutations in PSY1 and CCS could explain variation in the compositions and levels of carotenoids in the accessions examined in this study. Our results demonstrate that SMRT sequencing technology can be used to rapidly identify allelic variation in target genes in various germplasms. The newly identified allelic variants will be useful for pepper breeding and for further analysis of carotenoid biosynthesis pathways. © 2018 The Authors. Plant Biotechnology Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and The Association of Applied Biologists and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Journal: Plant biotechnology journal