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Article|05 Dec 2023|OPEN
Phosphate deficiency induced by infection promotes synthesis of anthracnose-resistant anthocyanin-3-O-galactoside phytoalexins in the Camellia sinensis plant 
Tongtong Li1 , Shenrong Wang2 , Dandan Shi2 , Wen Fang2 , Ting Jiang2 , Lixin Zhang3 , Yajun Liu2 , , Liping Gao2 , and Tao Xia,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization/Key Laboratory of Tea Biology and Tea Processing of Ministry of Agriculture/Anhui Provincial Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, West 130 Changjiang Road, Hefei 230036 Anhui, China
2School of Life Science, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, Anhui, China
3Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Integrated Pest Management on Crops, College of Plant Protection, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
*Corresponding author. E-mail:,,

Horticulture Research 11,
Article number: uhad222 (2024)
Views: 181

Received: 04 Sep 2023
Accepted: 24 Oct 2023
Published online: 05 Dec 2023


Tea (Camellia sinensis) is a well-known beverage crop rich in polyphenols with health benefits for humans. Understanding how tea polyphenols participate in plant resistance is beneficial to breeding resistant varieties and uncovering the resistance mechanisms. Here, we report that a Colletotrichum infection-induced ‘pink ring’ symptom appeared outside the lesion, which is highly likely to occur in resistant cultivars. By identifying morphological feature-specific metabolites in the pink ring and their association with disease resistance, and analysis of the association between metabolite and gene expression, the study revealed that the accumulation of anthocyanin-3-O-galactosides, red phytotoxin compounds resistant to anthracnose, plays a pivotal role in the hypersensitive response surrounding infection sites in tea plants. The results of genetic manipulation showed that the expression of CsF3HaCsANSaCsUGT78A15CsUGT75L43, and CsMYB113, which are involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, is positively correlated with anthracnose-resistance and the formation of the pink ring. Further phosphorus quantification and fertilization experiments confirmed that phosphate deficiency caused by anthracnose is involved in the occurrence of the pink ring. Genetic manipulation studies indicated that altering the expression levels of Pi transporter proteins (CsPHT2-1CsPHT4;4) and phosphate deprivation response transcription factors (CsWRKY75-1CsWRKY75-2CsMYB62-1) enhances resistance to anthracnose and the formation of the pink ring symptom in tea plants. This article provides the first evidence that anthocyanin-3-O-galactosides are the anthracnose-resistant phytoalexins among various polyphenols in tea plants, and this presents an approach for identifying resistance genes in tea plants, where genetic transformation is challenging.