Three common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) seedcoat color (or glossiness) genotypes, differing from each other by a single substitution at a seedcoat locus, were analyzed for presence and concentration of three anthocyanins: delphinidin 3-O-glucoside, petunidin 3-O-glucoside, and malvidin 3-O-glucoside. The three anthocyanins were present in Florida common bean breeding line 5-593 (P C J G B V Asp), matte black (P C J G B V asp), and dark brown violet (P C J G b V Asp), but the amounts varied greatly depending on the genotype. Dark brown violet had 19% of the total anthocyanin content when compared to 5-593, whereas matte black had amounts intermediate between the two other genotypes. The B gene acts to regulate the production of precursors of anthocyanins in the seedcoat color pathway above the level of dihydrokaempferol formation, perhaps at the chalcone synthase or chalcone isomerase steps in the biosynthetic pathway. We hypothesize that B regulates simultaneously the flavonoid (color) and isoflavonoid (resistance) pathways. The I gene for resistance to bean common mosaic virus (BCMV) is known to be linked closely to B. It is therefore hypothesized that the I gene function may be to respond to BCMV infection by dramatically increasing (over a low constituitive level) production in the 5-dehydroxy isoflavonoid pathway, which leads to synthesis of the major phytoalexin, phaseollin, for resistance to BCMV. Alternatively, the B and I genes may be allelic. The Asp gene affects seedcoat glossiness by means of a structural change to the seedcoat. We demonstrate that Asp in the recessive condition (asp/asp) changes the size and shape of the palisade cells of the seedcoat epidermis, making them significantly smaller than either 5-593 or dark brown violet. Asp, therefore, limits the amounts of anthocyanins in the seedcoat by reducing the size of palisade cells.
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