Jia GuoFollow

Date of Completion

Spring 5-1-2016

Thesis Advisor(s)

Yaowu Yuan

Honors Major

Biological Sciences


Biodiversity | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Plants | Plant Sciences


Flavonoids are involved in a variety of biological roles ranging from pathogen protection, pigment intensity, antioxidant effects, and even prevention from cancer or cardiovascular diseases. Because of the diverse and beneficial functions that flavonoids have, the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway has been well studied. Recently, a gene called the Enhancer of Flavonoid Production (EFP) was discovered when mutations in this gene caused the Japanese morning glory flowers to exhibit a pale-colored phenotype. Although EFP is known to increase flavonoid production, the direct mechanism to how EFP enhances enzymes in the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway has yet to be discovered. It has been found that the EFP gene encodes for a chalcone isomerase (CHI) related protein. Chalcone isomerase is the enzyme involved in the second committed step of the flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. The enzyme preceding chalcone isomerase is known as chalcone synthase (CHS) which functions to produce chalcones, an aromatic ketone that is a precursor to flavonoids. Because EFP encodes for a CHI related gene, EFP is likely to enhance enzymes involved in the earlier steps of the pathway such as CHI and CHS. To observe if an interaction exists between EFP and CHI or CHS, plasmids were constructed for each gene. The plasmid for EFP was then agroinfiltrated into Mimulus lewisii LF10 mutants that had a mutation in the EFP gene to potentially rescue the wild type phenotype. If flavonoid production can be regulated by EFP, then this could lead to many future possibilities, especially involving health and medical benefits.