J Integr Plant Biol. ›› 2014, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (9): 902-915.DOI: 10.1111/jipb.12229

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The P450-type carotene hydroxylase PuCHY1 from Porphyra suggests the evolution of carotenoid metabolism in red algae

Li-En Yang1†, Xing-Qi Huang1†, Yu Hang1, Yin-Yin Deng2, Qin-Qin Lu3 and Shan Lu1*   

  1. 1State Key Laboratory of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Life Sciences, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China
    2Department of Biology and Food Engineering, Changshu Institute of Technology, Changshu, China
    3Institute of Fisheries of Jiangsu Province, Nantong, China
  • Received:2014-05-04 Accepted:2014-06-16 Published:2014-09-01
  • About author:These authors contributed equally to this work.
    *Correspondence: E-mail: shanlu@nju.edu.cn


Carotene hydroxylases catalyze the hydroxylation of α- and β-carotene hydrocarbons into xanthophylls. In red algae, β-carotene is a ubiquitously distributed carotenoid, and hydroxylated carotenoids such as zeaxanthin and lutein are also found. However, no enzyme with carotene hydroxylase activity had been previously identified in red algae. Here, we report the isolation of a gene encoding a cytochrome P450-type carotene hydroxylase (PuCHY1) from Porphyra umbilicalis, a red alga with an ancient origin. Sequence comparisons found PuCHY1 belongs to the CYP97B subfamily, which has members from different photosynthetic organisms ranging from red algae to land plants. Functional complementation in Escherichia coli suggested that PuCHY1 catalyzed the conversion from β-carotene to zeaxanthin. When we overexpressed PuCHY1 in the Arabidopsis thaliana chy2 mutant, pigment analysis showed a significant accumulation of hydroxylated carotenoids, including neoxanthin, violaxanthin, and lutein in the leaves of transgenic plants. These results confirmed a β-hydroxylation activity of PuCHY1, and also suggested a possible ϵ-hydroxylation function. The pigment profile and gene expression analyses of the algal thallus under high-light stress suggested that P. umbilicalis is unlikely to operate a partial xanthophyll cycle for photoprotection.


Yang LE, Huang XQ, Hang Y, Deng YY, Lu QQ, Lu S (2014) The P450‐type carotene hydroxylase PuCHY1 from Porphyra suggested the evolution of carotenoid metabolism in red algae. J Integr Plant Biol 56: 902–915. doi: 10.1111/jipb.12229

Key words: Bangiales, carotene hydroxylase, carotenoid metabolism, CYP97B, cytochrome P450, Porphyra umbilicalis, red algae

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