Expression, subcellular localization, and cis-regulatory structure of duplicated phytoene synthase genes in melon (Cucumis melo L.)

Xiaoqiong Qin, Ardian Coku, Kentaro Inoue, Li Tian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Carotenoids perform many critical functions in plants, animals, and humans. It is therefore important to understand carotenoid biosynthesis and its regulation in plants. Phytoene synthase (PSY) catalyzes the first committed and rate-limiting step in carotenoid biosynthesis. While PSY is present as a single copy gene in Arabidopsis, duplicated PSY genes have been identified in many economically important monocot and dicot crops. CmPSY1 was previously identified from melon (Cucumis melo L.), but was not functionally characterized. We isolated a second PSY gene, CmPSY2, from melon in this work. CmPSY2 possesses a unique intron/exon structure that has not been observed in other plant PSYs. Both CmPSY1 and CmPSY2 are functional in vitro, but exhibit distinct expression patterns in different melon tissues and during fruit development, suggesting differential regulation of the duplicated melon PSY genes. In vitro chloroplast import assays verified the plastidic localization of CmPSY1 and CmPSY2 despite the lack of an obvious plastid target peptide in CmPSY2. Promoter motif analysis of the duplicated melon and tomato PSY genes and the Arabidopsis PSY revealed distinctive cis-regulatory structures of melon PSYs and identified gibberellin-responsive motifs in all PSYs except for SlPSY1, which has not been reported previously. Overall, these data provide new insights into the evolutionary history of plant PSY genes and the regulation of PSY expression by developmental and environmental signals that may involve different regulatory networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-748
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • Carotenoid
  • Gene duplication
  • Gene regulation
  • Melon
  • Phytoene synthase
  • Plastid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Genetics


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