Black rice (Oryza sativa
L.) is considered to be a healthy food due to its high content of anthocyanins in the pericarp. The synthetic pathway of anthocyanins in black rice grains has been identified, however, the proteomic profile of leaves during grain development is still unclear. Here, isobaric Tags Relative and Absolute Quantification (iTRAQ) MS/MS was carried out to identify statistically significant changes of leaf proteome in the black rice during grain development. Throughout three sequential developmental stages, a total of 3562 proteins were detected and 24 functional proteins were differentially expressed 3–10 days after flowering (DAF). The detected proteins are known to be involved in various biological processes and most of these proteins were related to gene expression regulatory (33.3%), signal transduction (16.7%) and developmental regulation and hormone-like proteins (12.5%). The coordinated changes were consistent with changes in regulatory proteins playing a leading role in leaves during black rice grain development. This indicated that signal transduction between leaves and grains may have an important role in anthocyanin biosynthesis and accumulation during grain development of black rice. In addition, four identified up-regulated proteins associated with starch metabolism suggested that the remobilization of nutrients for starch synthesis plays a potential role in anthocyanin biosynthesis of grain. The mRNA transcription for eight selected proteins was validated with quantitative real-time PCR. Our results explored the proteomics of the coordination between leaf and grain in anthocyanins biosynthesis of grain, which might be regulated by signal transduction and sugar metabolism in black rice leaf.
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