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Article|30 Aug 2022|OPEN
Differential hydroxylation efficiency of the two non-heme carotene hydroxylases: DcBCH1, rather than DcBCH2, plays a major role in carrot taproot
Tong Li1 ,† , Jie-Xia Liu1 ,† , Yuan-Jie Deng1 , Ao-Qi Duan1 , Hui Liu1 , Fei-Yun Zhuang2 and Ai-Sheng Xiong,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs Key Laboratory of Biology and Germplasm Enhancement of Horticultural Crops in East China, College of Horticulture, Nanjing Agricultural University, 1 Weigang, Nanjing, 210095, China
2Key Laboratory of Horticultural Crop Biology and Germplasm Innovation, Ministry of Agriculture; Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Beijing 100081, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 9,
Article number: uhac193 (2022)
Views: 93

Received: 23 May 2022
Accepted: 22 Aug 2022
Published online: 30 Aug 2022


Carotene hydroxylase plays an important role in catalyzing the hydroxylation of carotene to xanthopylls, including two types: non-heme carotene hydroxylase (BCH type) and heme-containing cytochrome P450 hydroxylase (P450 type). Two BCH-encoding genes were annotated in the carrot genome. However, the role of BCHs and whether there are functional interactions between the duplicated BCHs in carrot remains unclear. In this study, two BCH encoding genes, DcBCH1 and DcBCH2, were cloned from carrot. The relative expression level of DcBCH1 was much higher than that of DcBCH2 in carrot taproots with different carotene accumulation levels. Overexpression of DcBCH1 in ‘KRD’ (high carotene accumulated) carrot changed the taproot color from orange to yellow, accompanied by substantial reductions in α-carotene and β-carotene. There was no obvious change in taproot color between transgenic ‘KRD’ carrot overexpressing DcBCH2 and control carrot. Simultaneously, the content of α-carotene in the taproot of DcBCH2-overexpressing carrot decreased, but the content of β-carotene did not change significantly in comparison with control carrot. Using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to knock out DcBCH1 in ‘KRD’ carrot lightened the taproot color from orange to pink-orange; the content of α-carotene in the taproot increased slightly, while the β-carotene content was still significantly decreased, compared with control carrot. In DcBCH1-knockout carrot, the transcript level of DcBCH2 was significantly increased. These results indicated that in carrot taproot, DcBCH1 played the main function of BCH enzyme, which could hydroxylate α-carotene and β-carotene; DcBCH1 and DcBCH2 had functional redundancy, and these two DcBCHs could partially compensate for each other.