Transcriptome analyses shed light on floral organ morphogenesis and bract color formation in Bougainvillea

Wenping Zhang, Qun Zhou, Jishan Lin, Xinyi Ma, Fei Dong, Hansong Yan, Weimin Zhong, Yijing Lu, Yuan Yao, Xueting Shen, Lixian Huang, Wanqi Zhang, Ray Ming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Bougainvillea is a popular ornamental plant with brilliant color and long flowering periods. It is widely distributed in the tropics and subtropics. The primary ornamental part of the plant is its colorful and unusual bracts, rich in the stable pigment betalain. The developmental mechanism of the bracts is not clear, and the pathway of betalain biosynthesis is well characterized in Bougainvillea. Results: At the whole-genome level, we found 23,469 protein-coding genes by assembling the RNA-Seq and Iso-Seq data of floral and leaf tissues. Genome evolution analysis revealed that Bougainvillea is related to spinach; the two diverged approximately 52.7 million years ago (MYA). Transcriptome analysis of floral organs revealed that flower development of Bougainvillea was regulated by the ABCE flower development genes; A-class, B-class, and E-class genes exhibited high expression levels in bracts. Eight key genes of the betalain biosynthetic pathway were identified by homologous alignment, all of which were upregulated concurrently with bract development and betalain accumulation during the bract initiation stage of development. We found 47 genes specifically expressed in stamens, including seven highly expressed genes belonging to the pentose and glucuronate interconversion pathways. BgSEP2b, BgSWEET11, and BgRD22 are hub genes and interacted with many transcription factors and genes in the carpel co-expression network. Conclusions: We assembled protein-coding genes of Bougainvilea, identified the floral development genes, and constructed the gene co-expression network of petal, stamens, and carpel. Our results provide fundamental information about the mechanism of flower development and pigment accumulation in Bougainvillea, and will facilitate breeding of cultivars with high ornamental value.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number97
JournalBMC Plant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Betalain
  • Co-expression
  • Floral organ identity genes
  • Gene annotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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