Biosynthesis of anthocyanins from phenylalanine in purple corn (WP5421)

Zea mays

The pathway describes how anthocyanins are synthesized from the amino acid phenylalanine through a series of enzymatic steps involving phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), chalcone synthase (CHS), and flavonoid-3-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT). These enzymes convert phenylalanine into various intermediates, ultimately leading to the formation of anthocyanins, which are then stored in cell vacuoles.


Mshintani and Egon Willighagen


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Zea mays



Pathway Ontology

classic metabolic pathway


Label Type Compact URI Comment
PHENYLALANINE Metabolite chebi:17295
Cinnamic acid Metabolite chebi:27386
4-Coumaroyl-CoA Metabolite chebi:15499
Malonyl-CoA Metabolite chebi:15531
Naringin chalcone Metabolite chebi:80492
Naringin Metabolite chebi:28819
Dihydrokaempferol Metabolite chebi:15401
Dihydroquercetin Metabolite chebi:38747
Leucoanthocyanidin Metabolite chebi:60835
Anthocyanidins Metabolite chebi:38695
Anthocyanins Metabolite chebi:38697
Phenylalanine ammonia-lyase GeneProduct uniprot:Q8VXG7
Cinnamate 4-Hydroxylase GeneProduct uniprot:P92994
Chalcone Synthase GeneProduct uniprot:A0A1D6QKV2
4-Coumarate:Coenzyme A Ligase GeneProduct uniprot:B4FQP4
Chalcone Isomerase GeneProduct uniprot:Q08704
Flavanone 3-Hydroxylase GeneProduct uniprot:Q7Y1X4
Flavonoid 3'-Hydroxylase GeneProduct uniprot:Q7XJ45
Anthocyanidin Synthase GeneProduct uniprot:P41213
Flavonoid-3-O-Glucosyltransferase GeneProduct uniprot:Q9LVW3


  1. Anthocyanins in metabolites of purple corn. Cai T, Ge-Zhang S, Song M. Front Plant Sci. 2023 Apr 6;14:1154535. PubMed Europe PMC Scholia