Mutations in the genes encoding for either the biosynthetic or transcriptional regulation of the anthocyanin pathway have been linked to color phenotypes. Generally, this is a loss of function resulting in a reduction or a change in the distribution of anthocyanin. Here, we describe a rearrangement in the upstream regulatory region of the gene encoding an apple (Malus x domestica) anthocyanin-regulating transcription factor, MYB10. We show that this modification is responsible for increasing the level of anthocyanin throughout the plant to produce a striking phenotype that includes red foliage and red fruit flesh. This rearrangement is a series of multiple repeats, forming a minisatellite-like structure that comprises five direct tandem repeats of a 23-bp sequence. This MYB10 rearrangement is present in all the red foliage apple varieties and species tested but in none of the white fleshed varieties. Transient assays demonstrated that the 23-bp sequence motif is a target of the MYB10 protein itself, and the number of repeat units correlates with an increase in transactivation by MYB10 protein. We show that the repeat motif is capable of binding MYB10 protein in electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Taken together, these results indicate that an allelic rearrangement in the promoter of MYB10 has generated an autoregulatory locus, and this autoregulation is sufficient to account for the increase in MYB10 transcript levels and subsequent ectopic accumulation of anthocyanins throughout the plant
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