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Activated Expression of Master Regulator MYB31 and of Capsaicinoid Biosynthesis Genes Results in Capsaicinoid Biosynthesis and Accumulation in the Pericarp of the Extremely Pungent Capsicum chinense

By Binmei Sun, Juntao Wang, Wen Cai, Yuan Yuan, Shuangling Zhang, Jiali Song, Bihao Cao, Jianjun Lei, Changming Chen, Guoju Chen, Zhangsheng Zhu

Posted 05 Nov 2020
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.05.369454

Capsaicinoids confer pungency in Capsicum fruits, and the capsaicinoid content varies greatly among the five domesticated Capsicum species. Although it is generally recognized that capsaicinoid biosynthesis occurs exclusively in the placenta, few studies have focused on capsaicinoid biosynthesis gene (CBG) expression in the pericarp. Therefore, the transcriptional regulation mechanisms of capsaicinoid biosynthesis in the pericarp remain elusive. Here, the capsaicinoid contents of 32 accessions from five domesticated Capsicum species were analyzed. The results showed that the capsaicinoid contents of C. chinense accessions are significantly higher than those of the other four Capsicum species due to the increased accumulation of capsaicinoids, especially in the pericarp. Compared to that in accessions with low pericarp capsaicinoid content, the expression of the master regulator MYB31 is significantly upregulated in the pericarp in C. chinense accessions, which leads to high levels of CBG expression. Moreover, in fruits of the extremely pungent Trinidad Moruga Scorpion (C. chinense) and low-pungency 59 inbred line (C. annuum) at different developmental stages, the capsaicinoid accumulation patterns were consistent with the MYB31 and CBG expression levels in the pericarp. Taken together, our results provide novel insights into the molecular mechanism arising from the expression of a master regulator in the pericarp that results in exceedingly hot peppers. The genetic resources identified in this study could be used as genetic resources for the genetic improvement of pepper pungency. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.

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