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Aurones constitute one of the major classes of flavonoids, with a characteristic furanone structure that acts as the C-ring of flavonoids. Members of various enzyme families are involved in aurone biosynthesis in different higher plants, suggesting that during evolution plants acquired the ability to biosynthesize aurones independently and convergently. Bryophytes also produce aurones, but the biosynthetic pathways and enzymes involved have not been determined. The present study describes the identification and characterization of a polyphenol oxidase (PPO) that acts as an aureusidin synthase (MpAS1) in the model liverwort, Marchantia polymorpha. Crude enzyme assays using an M. polymorpha line overexpressing MpMYB14 with high accumulation of aureusidin showed that aureusidin was biosynthesized from naringenin chalcone and converted to riccionidin A. This activity was inhibited by N-phenylthiourea, an inhibitor specific to enzymes of the PPO family. Of the six PPOs highly induced in the line overexpressing MpMyb14, one, MpAS1, was found to biosynthesize aureusidin from naringenin chalcone when expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. MpAS1 also recognized eriodictyol chalcone, isoliquiritigenin and butein, showing the highest activity for eriodictyol chalcone. Members of the PPO family in M. polymorpha evolved independently from PPOs in higher plants, indicating that aureusidin synthases evolved in parallel in land plants. © The Author(s) 2023. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Japanese Society of Plant Physiologists. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:


Hiraku Furudate, Misaki Manabe, Haruka Oshikiri, Ayako Matsushita, Bunta Watanabe, Toshiyuki Waki, Toru Nakayama, Hiroyoshi Kubo, Kojiro Takanashi. A Polyphenol Oxidase Catalyzes Aurone Synthesis in Marchantia polymorpha. Plant & cell physiology. 2023 Jun 15;64(6):637-645

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PMID: 36947436

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