Campus Units

Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Roy J. Carver Department of

Document Type


Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date


Journal or Book Title

New Phytologist




Lonicera japonica is a wide-spread member of the Caprifoliaceae (honeysuckle) family utilized in traditional medical practices. This twining vine honeysuckle is also a much-sought ornamental, in part due to its dynamic flower coloration, which changes from white to gold during development.

The molecular mechanism underlying dynamic flower coloration in L. japonica was elucidated by integrating whole genome sequencing, transcriptomic analysis, and biochemical assays.

Here, we report a chromosome-level genome assembly of L. japonica, comprising nine pseudochromosomes with a total size of 843.2 Mb. We also provide evidence for a whole genome duplication event in the lineage leading to L. japonica, which occurred after its divergence from Dipsacales and Asterales. Moreover, gene expression analysis not only revealed correlated expression of the relevant biosynthetic genes with carotenoid accumulation, but also suggested a role for carotenoid degradation in L. japonica’s dynamic flower coloration. The variation of flower color is consistent with not only the observed carotenoid accumulation pattern, but also with the release of volatile apocarotenoids that presumably serve as pollinator attractants.

Beyond novel insights into the evolution and dynamics of flower coloration, the high-quality L. japonica genome sequence also provides a foundation for molecular breeding to improve desired characteristics.


This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Pu, Xiangdong, Zhen Li, Ya Tian, Ranran Gao, Lijun Hao, Yating Hu, Chunnian He et al. "The honeysuckle genome provides insight into the molecular mechanism of carotenoid metabolism underlying dynamic flower coloration." New Phytologist (2020), which has been published in final form at DOI: 10.1111/nph.16552. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.

Copyright Owner

The Authors. New Phytologist, New Phytologist Trust



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Published Version