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1.  Characterization and Expression Analysis of a Retinoblastoma-Related Gene from Chinese Wild Vitis pseudoreticulata 
Retinoblastoma-related (RBR) genes, a conserved gene family in higher eukaryotes, play important roles in cell differentiation, development, and mammalian cell death; however, little is known of their function in plants. In this study, a RBR gene was isolated from the Chinese wild grape, Vitis pseudoreticulata W. T. Wang clone “Baihe-35-1”, and designated as VpRBR. The cDNA sequence of VpRBR was 3,030 bp and contained an open reading frame of 3,024 bp. Conceptual translation of this gene indicated a composition of 1,007 amino acids with a predicted molecular mass of 117.3 kDa. The predicted protein showed a retinoblastoma-associated protein domain A from amino acid residues 416 to 579, and domain B from residues 726 to 855. The result of expression analysis indicated that VpRBR was expressed in tissues, leaves, stem, tendrils, flower, and grape skin at different expression levels. Further quantitative reverse transcription-PCR (qRT-PCR) data indicated that VpRBR levels were higher in Erysiphe necator-treated “Baihe-35-1” and “Baihe-13-1”, two resistant clones of Chinese wild V. pseudoreticulata, than in E. necator-treated “Hunan-1”, a susceptible clone of V. pseudoreticulata. Furthermore, the expression of VpRBR in response to salicylic acid (SA), methyl jasmonate (MeJA), and ethylene (Eth) in grape leaves was also investigated. Taken together, these data indicate that VpRBR may contribute to some aspect of powdery mildew resistance in grape.
doi:10.1007/s11105-011-0410-6
PMCID: PMC3881572  PMID: 24415838
Vitis pseudoreticulata; Retinoblastoma-related gene; Powdery mildew; Expression analysis
2.  Characterization of Erysiphe necator-Responsive Genes in Chinese Wild Vitis quinquangularis 
Powdery mildew (PM), caused by fungus Erysiphe necator, is one of the most devastating diseases of grapevine. To better understand grapevine-PM interaction and provide candidate resources for grapevine breeding, a suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library was constructed from E. necator-infected leaves of a resistant Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis clone “Shang-24”. A total of 492 high quality expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were obtained and assembled into 266 unigenes. Gene ontology (GO) analysis indicated that 188 unigenes could be assigned with at least one GO term in the biological process category, and 176 in the molecular function category. Sequence analysis showed that a large number of these genes were homologous to those involved in defense responses. Genes involved in metabolism, photosynthesis, transport and signal transduction were also enriched in the library. Expression analysis of 13 selected genes by qRT-PCR revealed that most were induced more quickly and intensely in the resistant material “Shang-24” than in the sensitive V. pseudoreticulata clone “Hunan-1” by E. necator infection. The ESTs reported here provide new clues to understand the disease-resistance mechanism in Chinese wild grapevine species and may enable us to investigate E. necator-responsive genes involved in PM resistance in grapevine germplasm.
doi:10.3390/ijms130911497
PMCID: PMC3472759  PMID: 23109867
Chinese wild Vitis quinquangularis; Erysiphe necator; SSH; EST; qRT-PCR
3.  Identification of mildew resistance in wild and cultivated Central Asian grape germplasm 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:149.
Background
Cultivated grapevines, Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa, evolved from their wild relative, V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris. They were domesticated in Central Asia in the absence of the powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, which is thought to have originated in North America. However, powdery mildew resistance has previously been discovered in two Central Asian cultivars and in Chinese Vitis species.
Results
A set of 380 unique genotypes were evaluated with data generated from 34 simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. The set included 306 V. vinifera cultivars, 40 accessions of V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, and 34 accessions of Vitis species from northern Pakistan, Afghanistan and China. Based on the presence of four SSR alleles previously identified as linked to the powdery mildew resistance locus, Ren1, 10 new mildew resistant genotypes were identified in the test set: eight were V. vinifera cultivars and two were V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris based on flower and seed morphology. Sequence comparison of a 620 bp region that includes the Ren1-linked allele (143 bp) of the co-segregating SSR marker SC8-0071-014, revealed that the ten newly identified genotypes have sequences that are essentially identical to the previously identified mildew resistant V. vinifera cultivars: ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’. Kinship analysis determined that three of the newly identified powdery mildew resistant accessions had a relationship with ‘Kishmish vatkana’ and ‘Karadzhandal’, and that six were not related to any other accession in this study set. Clustering procedures assigned accessions into three groups: 1) Chinese species; 2) a mixed group of cultivated and wild V. vinifera; and 3) table grape cultivars, including nine of the powdery mildew resistant accessions. Gene flow was detected among the groups.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence that powdery mildew resistance is present in V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris, the dioecious wild progenitor of the cultivated grape. Four first-degree parent progeny relationships were discovered among the hermaphroditic powdery mildew resistant cultivars, supporting the existence of intentional grape breeding efforts. Although several Chinese grape species are resistant to powdery mildew, no direct genetic link to the resistance found in V. vinifera could be established.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-149
PMCID: PMC3851849  PMID: 24093598
Powdery mildew resistance; Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa; Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris; Gene flow
4.  Downy mildew resistance induced by Trichoderma harzianum T39 in susceptible grapevines partially mimics transcriptional changes of resistant genotypes 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:660.
Background
Downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara viticola, is one of the most severe diseases of grapevine and is commonly controlled by fungicide treatments. The beneficial microorganism Trichoderma harzianum T39 (T39) can induce resistance to downy mildew, although the molecular events associated with this process have not yet been elucidated in grapevine. A next generation RNA sequencing (RNA-Seq) approach was used to study global transcriptional changes associated with resistance induced by T39 in Vitis vinifera Pinot Noir leaves. The long-term aim was to develop strategies to optimize the use of this agent for downy mildew control.
Results
More than 14.8 million paired-end reads were obtained for each biological replicate of T39-treated and control leaf samples collected before and 24 h after P. viticola inoculation. RNA-Seq analysis resulted in the identification of 7,024 differentially expressed genes, highlighting the complex transcriptional reprogramming of grapevine leaves during resistance induction and in response to pathogen inoculation. Our data show that T39 has a dual effect: it directly modulates genes related to the microbial recognition machinery, and it enhances the expression of defence-related processes after pathogen inoculation. Whereas several genes were commonly affected by P. viticola in control and T39-treated plants, opposing modulation of genes related to responses to stress and protein metabolism was found. T39-induced resistance partially inhibited some disease-related processes and specifically activated defence responses after P. viticola inoculation, causing a significant reduction of downy mildew symptoms.
Conclusions
The global transcriptional analysis revealed that defence processes known to be implicated in the reaction of resistant genotypes to downy mildew were partially activated by T39-induced resistance in susceptible grapevines. Genes identified in this work are an important source of markers for selecting novel resistance inducers and for the analysis of environmental conditions that might affect induced resistance mechanisms.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-13-660
PMCID: PMC3551682  PMID: 23173562
Induced resistance; Next generation sequencing; RNA-Seq; Transcriptomics; Gene expression; Vitis vinifera; Plant-pathogen interactions
5.  Grapevine MLO candidates required for powdery mildew pathogenicity? 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(6):522-523.
MLOs belong to the largest family of seven-transmembrane (7TM) domain proteins found in plants. The Arabidopsis and rice genomes contain 15 and 12 MLO family members, respectively. Although the biological function of most MLO family members remains elusive, a select group of MLO proteins have been demonstrated to negatively regulate defence responses to the obligate biotrophic pathogen, powdery mildew, thereby acting as “susceptibility” genes. Recently we identified a family of 17 putative VvMLO genes in the genome of the cultivated winegrape species, Vitis vinifera. Expression analysis indicated that the VvMLO family members respond differently to biotic and abiotic stimuli. Infection of V. vinifera by grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) specifically upregulates four VvMLO genes that are orthologous to the Arabidopsis and tomato MLOs previously demonstrated to be required for powdery mildew susceptibility. We postulate that one or more of these E. necator responsive VvMLOs may have a role in the powdery mildew susceptibility of grapevine.
PMCID: PMC2688300  PMID: 19816131
MLO; powdery mildew; resistance; susceptibility; grapevine
6.  Comprehensive Analysis of the Rice RING E3 Ligase Family Reveals Their Functional Diversity in Response to Abiotic stress 
A large number of really interesting new gene (RING) E3 ligases contribute to the post-translational modification of target proteins during plant responses to environmental stresses. However, the physical interactome of RING E3 ligases in rice remains largely unknown. Here, we evaluated the expression patterns of 47 Oryza sativa RING finger protein (OsRFP) genes in response to abiotic stresses via semi-quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in silico analysis. Subsequently, molecular dissection of nine OsRFPs was performed by the examination of their E3 ubiquitin ligase activity, subcellular localization, and physical interaction with target proteins. Most of the OsRFPs examined possessed E3 ligase activity and showed diverse subcellular localization. Yeast two-hybrid analysis was then employed to construct a physical interaction map of seven OsRFPs with their 120 interacting proteins. The results indicated that these OsRFPs required dynamic translocation and partitioning for their cellular activation. Heterogeneous overexpression of each of the OsRFP genes in Arabidopsis suggested that they have functionally diverse responses to abiotic stresses, which may have been acquired during evolution. This comprehensive study provides insights into the biological functions of OsRFPs, which may be useful in understanding how rice plants adapt to unfavourable environmental conditions.
doi:10.1093/dnares/dst011
PMCID: PMC3686435  PMID: 23571674
E3 ligase; environmental stress; functional diversity; interactome; RING finger protein
7.  A transcriptomic study of grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet-Sauvignon) interaction with the vascular ascomycete fungus Eutypa lata 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;61(6):1719-1737.
Eutypa dieback is a vascular disease that may severely affect vineyards throughout the world. In the present work, microarrays were made in order (i) to improve our knowledge of grapevine (Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet-Sauvignon) responses to Eutypa lata, the causal agent of Eutypa dieback; and (ii) to identify genes that may prevent symptom development. Qiagen/Operon grapevine microarrays comprising 14 500 probes were used to compare, under three experimental conditions (in vitro, in the greenhouse, and in the vineyard), foliar material of infected symptomatic plants (S+R+), infected asymptomatic plants (S–R+), and healthy plants (S–R–). These plants were characterized by symptom notation after natural (vineyard) or experimental (in vitro and greenhouse) infection, re-isolation of the fungus located in the lignified parts, and the formal identification of E. lata mycelium by PCR. Semi-quantitative real-time PCR experiments were run to confirm the expression of some genes of interest in response to E. lata. Their expression profiles were also studied in response to other grapevine pathogens (Erysiphe necator, Plasmopara viticola, and Botrytis cinerea). (i) Five functional categories of genes, that is those involved in metabolism, defence reactions, interaction with the environment, transport, and transcription, were up-regulated in S+R+ plants compared with S–R– plants. These genes, which cannot prevent infection and symptom development, are not specific since they were also up-regulated after infection by powdery mildew, downy mildew, and black rot. (ii) Most of the genes that may prevent symptom development are associated with the light phase of photosynthesis. This finding is discussed in the context of previous data on the mode of action of eutypin and the polypeptide fraction secreted by Eutypa.
doi:10.1093/jxb/erq040
PMCID: PMC2852663  PMID: 20190040
Eutypa dieback; Eutypa lata; grapevine; microarrays; transcriptome; Vitis vinifera
8.  A Pathogenesis Related Protein, VpPR-10.1, from Vitis pseudoreticulata: An Insight of Its Mode of Antifungal Activity 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(4):e95102.
Previously, VpPR-10.1 was isolated and characterized from a cDNA library of a fungus-resistant accession of Chinese wild grape (Vitis pseudoreticulata). We found that expression of VpPR-10.1 is affected by the fungal pathogen Erysiphe necator. To investigate the biochemical basis of the nuclease activity of VpPR-10.1 and its role in antifungal resistance, we generated recombinant VpPR-10.1 as well as site-directed mutations targeting three conserved amino acid residues among plant PR-10 s: Lys55, Glu149, and Tyr151. We showed that wild-type recombinant VpPR-10.1 exhibits both RNase and DNase activities. Mutant VpPR10.1-Y151H essentially retained all these activities. In contrast, VpPR10.1-K55N, where Lys55 in the P-loop region is mutated to Asn, and VpPR10.1-E149G, where Glu149 is mutated to Gly, lost their nuclease activity, indicating that both residues play a critical role in catalyzing RNA and DNA degradation. Furthermore, VpPR10.1 and VpPR10.1-Y151H inhibited the growth of the cultured fungal pathogen Alternaria alternate. Through transient expression in grapevine, we also demonstrated that VpPR10.1-K55N and VpPR10.1-E149G compromised resistance to E. necator. Finally, we further found that VpPR-10.1 can lead to programmed cell death and DNA degradation when incubated with tobacco BY-2 suspension cells. We show here that Lys55 and Glu149, but not Tyr151, are required for the RNase, DNase and antifungal activities of VpPR-10.1. The strong correlation between the level of VpPR-10.1 nuclease activity and its antifungal property indicates that the former is the biochemical basis for the latter. Taken together, our experiments revealed that VpPR-10.1 is critical in mediating fungal resistance in grape, potentially playing a dual role by degrading pathogen RNA and inducing programmed death of host cells.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095102
PMCID: PMC3997386  PMID: 24759805
9.  Identification of the dehydrin gene family from grapevine species and analysis of their responsiveness to various forms of abiotic and biotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:140.
Background
Dehydrins (DHNs) protect plant cells from desiccation damage during environmental stress, and also participate in host resistance to various pathogens. In this study, we aimed to identify and characterize the DHN gene families from Vitis vinifera and wild V. yeshanensis, which is tolerant to both drought and cold, and moderately resistant to powdery mildew.
Results
Four DHN genes were identified in both V. vinifera and V. yeshanensis, which shared a high sequence identity between the two species but little homology between the genes themselves. These genes were designated DHN1, DHN2, DHN3 and DHN4. All four of the DHN proteins were highly hydrophilic and were predicted to be intrinsically disordered, but they differed in their isoelectric points, kinase selectivities and number of functional motifs. Also, the expression profiles of each gene differed appreciably from one another. Grapevine DHN1 was not expressed in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions, but was induced by drought, cold, heat, embryogenesis, as well as the application of abscisic acid (ABA), salicylic acid (SA), and methyl jasmonate (MeJA). It was expressed earlier in V. yeshanensis under drought conditions than in V. vinifera, and also exhibited a second round of up-regulation in V. yeshanensis following inoculation with Erysiphe necator, which was not apparent in V. vinifera. Like DHN1, DHN2 was induced by cold, heat, embryogenesis and ABA; however, it exhibited no responsiveness to drought, E. necator infection, SA or MeJA, and was also expressed constitutively in vegetative tissues under normal growth conditions. Conversely, DHN3 was only expressed during seed development at extremely low levels, and DHN4 was expressed specifically during late embryogenesis. Neither DHN3 nor DHN4 exhibited responsiveness to any of the treatments carried out in this study. Interestingly, the presence of particular cis-elements within the promoter regions of each gene was positively correlated with their expression profiles.
Conclusions
The grapevine DHN family comprises four divergent members. While it is likely that their functions overlap to some extent, it seems that DHN1 provides the main stress-responsive function. In addition, our results suggest a close relationship between expression patterns, physicochemical properties, and cis-regulatory elements in the promoter regions of the DHN genes.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-140
PMCID: PMC3460772  PMID: 22882870
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
10.  Molecular Characteristics and Biochemical Functions of VpPR10s from Vitis pseudoreticulata Associated with Biotic and Abiotic Stresses 
Grapes are one of the world’s oldest and most important fruit crops. They are of high economic value in many countries, but the susceptibility of the dominant winegrape species Vitis vinifera to fungal disease is a significant problem. The Chinese wild grape species are a rich source of disease-resistance genes and these can be used to discover how disease resistance in V. vinifera grapevines might be enhanced. Pathogenesis-related (PR) 10 proteins are involved in the disease-response. Here, we use the genomic DNA of the Chinese wild species Vitis pseudoreticulata accession “Baihe-35-1” as the template to design specific primers based on VvPR10s sequences. We used overlap extension PCR to obtain the sequences: VpPR10.4, VpPR10.6, VpPR10.7 and VpPR10.9. The coding sequences of the VpPR10s were then cloned into the pGEX-4T-1 vector. The purified proteins VpPR10.4, VpPR10.6, VpPR10.7 and VpPR10.9 were used to analyse nuclease activity. Meanwhile, functional analysis of VpPR10s under different biotic and abiotic stresses was carried out to further clarify the disease-resistance mechanisms of the Chinese wild grapevine VpPR10 genes. The analysis of protein structure indicates that VpPR10.4 and VpPR10.7 had the P-loop domain and the Bet v 1 motif, which are a consistent feature of plant PR10. However, there was no P-loop domain or Bet v 1 motif in VpPR10.9 and we could not find the Bet v 1 motif in VpPR10.6. The results of the nuclease activity assay and of the functional analyses of VpPR10s under different biotic and abiotic stresses also confirm that VpPR10.4 and VpPR10.7 proteins have marked RNase, DNase, anti-fungal activities and respond to abiotic stresses. The VpPR10.6 and VpPR10.9 proteins do not have these activities and functions.
doi:10.3390/ijms151019162
PMCID: PMC4227267  PMID: 25340981
Vitis pseudoreticulata; pathogenesis-related protein 10; nuclease activity; anti-fungal activity; abiotic stresses
11.  The powdery mildew resistance gene REN1 co-segregates with an NBS-LRR gene cluster in two Central Asian grapevines 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:89.
Background
Grape powdery mildew is caused by the North American native pathogen Erysiphe necator. Eurasian Vitis vinifera varieties were all believed to be susceptible. REN1 is the first resistance gene naturally found in cultivated plants of Vitis vinifera.
Results
REN1 is present in 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara', two grapevines documented in Central Asia since the 1920's. These cultivars have a second-degree relationship (half sibs, grandparent-grandchild, or avuncular), and share by descent the chromosome on which the resistance allele REN1 is located. The REN1 interval was restricted to 1.4 cM using 38 SSR markers distributed across the locus and the segregation of the resistance phenotype in two progenies of collectively 461 offspring, derived from either resistant parent. The boundary markers delimit a 1.4-Mbp sequence in the PN40024 reference genome, which contains 27 genes with known functions, 2 full-length coiled-coil NBS-LRR genes, and 9 NBS-LRR pseudogenes. In the REN1 locus of PN40024, NBS genes have proliferated through a mixture of segmental duplications, tandem gene duplications, and intragenic recombination between paralogues, indicating that the REN1 locus has been inherently prone to producing genetic variation. Three SSR markers co-segregate with REN1, the outer ones confining the 908-kb array of NBS-LRR genes. Kinship and clustering analyses based on genetic distances with susceptible cultivars representative of Central Asian Vitis vinifera indicated that 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara' fit well into local germplasm. 'Kishmish vatkana' also has a parent-offspring relationship with the seedless table grape 'Sultanina'. In addition, the distant genetic relatedness to rootstocks, some of which are derived from North American species resistant to powdery mildew and have been used worldwide to guard against phylloxera since the late 1800's, argues against REN1 being infused into Vitis vinifera from a recent interspecific hybridisation.
Conclusion
The REN1 gene resides in an NBS-LRR gene cluster tightly delimited by two flanking SSR markers, which can assist in the selection of this DNA block in breeding between Vitis vinifera cultivars. The REN1 locus has multiple layers of structural complexity compared with its two closely related paralogous NBS clusters, which are located some 5 Mbp upstream and 4 Mbp downstream of the REN1 interval on the same chromosome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-10-89
PMCID: PMC2814809  PMID: 20042081
12.  Identification and utilization of a sow thistle powdery mildew as a poorly adapted pathogen to dissect post-invasion non-host resistance mechanisms in Arabidopsis 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2010;62(6):2117-2129.
To better dissect non-host resistance against haustorium-forming powdery mildew pathogens, a sow thistle powdery mildew isolate designated Golovinomyces cichoracearum UMSG1 that has largely overcome penetration resistance but is invariably stopped by post-invasion non-host resistance of Arabidopsis thaliana was identified. The post-invasion non-host resistance is mainly manifested as the formation of a callosic encasement of the haustorial complex (EHC) and hypersensitive response (HR), which appears to be controlled by both salicylic acid (SA)-dependent and SA-independent defence pathways, as supported by the susceptibility of the pad4/sid2 double mutant to the pathogen. While the broad-spectrum resistance protein RPW8.2 enhances post-penetration resistance against G. cichoracearum UCSC1, a well-adapted powdery mildew pathogen, RPW8.2, is dispensable for post-penetration resistance against G. cichoracearum UMSG1, and its specific targeting to the extrahaustorial membrane is physically blocked by the EHC, resulting in HR cell death. Taken together, the present work suggests an evolutionary scenario for the Arabidopsis–powdery mildew interaction: EHC formation is a conserved subcellular defence evolved in plants against haustorial invasion; well-adapted powdery mildew has evolved the ability to suppress EHC formation for parasitic growth and reproduction; RPW8.2 has evolved to enhance EHC formation, thereby conferring haustorium-targeted, broad-spectrum resistance at the post-invasion stage.
doi:10.1093/jxb/erq406
PMCID: PMC3060691  PMID: 21193574
Callose; encasement of haustorial complex; extrahaustorial membrane; haustorium; jasmonic acid; non-host resistance; post-invasion resistance; powdery mildew; RPW8; salicylic acid
13.  Characterization of Vitis vinifera NPR1 homologs involved in the regulation of Pathogenesis-Related gene expression 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:54.
Background
Grapevine protection against diseases needs alternative strategies to the use of phytochemicals, implying a thorough knowledge of innate defense mechanisms. However, signalling pathways and regulatory elements leading to induction of defense responses have yet to be characterized in this species. In order to study defense response signalling to pathogens in Vitis vinifera, we took advantage of its recently completed genome sequence to characterize two putative orthologs of NPR1, a key player in salicylic acid (SA)-mediated resistance to biotrophic pathogens in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Results
Two cDNAs named VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 were isolated from Vitis vinifera cv Chardonnay, encoding proteins showing 55% and 40% identity to Arabidopsis NPR1 respectively. Constitutive expression of VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 monitored in leaves of V. vinifera cv Chardonnay was found to be enhanced by treatment with benzothiadiazole, a SA analog. In contrast, VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 transcript levels were not affected during infection of resistant Vitis riparia or susceptible V. vinifera with Plasmopara viticola, the causal agent of downy mildew, suggesting regulation of VvNPR1 activity at the protein level. VvNPR1.1-GFP and VvNPR1.2-GFP fusion proteins were transiently expressed by agroinfiltration in Nicotiana benthamiana leaves, where they localized predominantly to the nucleus. In this system, VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 expression was sufficient to trigger the accumulation of acidic SA-dependent Pathogenesis-Related proteins PR1 and PR2, but not of basic chitinases (PR3) in the absence of pathogen infection. Interestingly, when VvNPR1.1 or AtNPR1 were transiently overexpressed in Vitis vinifera leaves, the induction of grapevine PR1 was significantly enhanced in response to P. viticola.
Conclusion
In conclusion, our data identified grapevine homologs of NPR1, and their functional analysis showed that VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 likely control the expression of SA-dependent defense genes. Overexpression of VvNPR1 has thus the potential to enhance grapevine defensive capabilities upon fungal infection. As a consequence, manipulating VvNPR1 and other signalling elements could open ways to strengthen disease resistance mechanisms in this crop species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-9-54
PMCID: PMC2686700  PMID: 19432948
14.  Proteomic analysis of grapevine resistance induced by Trichoderma harzianum T39 reveals specific defence pathways activated against downy mildew 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(17):6237-6251.
Downy mildew is caused by the oomycete Plasmopara viticola and is one of the most serious diseases of grapevine. The beneficial microorganism Trichoderma harzianum T39 (T39) has previously been shown to induce plant-mediated resistance and to reduce the severity of downy mildew in susceptible grapevines. In order to better understand the cellular processes associated with T39-induced resistance, the proteomic and histochemical changes activated by T39 in grapevine were investigated before and 1 day after P. viticola inoculation. A comprehensive proteomic analysis of T39-induced resistance in grapevine was performed using an eight-plex iTRAQ protocol, resulting in the identification and quantification of a total of 800 proteins. Most of the proteins directly affected by T39 were found to be involved in signal transduction, indicating activation of a complete microbial recognition machinery. Moreover, T39-induced resistance was associated with rapid accumulation of reactive oxygen species and callose at infection sites, as well as changes in abundance of proteins involved in response to stress and redox balance, indicating an active defence response to downy mildew. On the other hand, proteins affected by P. viticola in control plants mainly decreased in abundance, possibly reflecting the establishment of a compatible interaction. Finally, the high-throughput iTRAQ protocol allowed de novo peptide sequencing, which will be used to improve annotation of the Vitis vinifera cv. Pinot Noir proteome.
doi:10.1093/jxb/ers279
PMCID: PMC3481215  PMID: 23105132
biocontrol agent; induced resistance; Plasmopara viticola; quantitative proteomics; reactive oxygen species; tripartite interaction; Vitis vinifera
15.  General and species-specific transcriptional responses to downy mildew infection in a susceptible (Vitis vinifera) and a resistant (V. riparia) grapevine species 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:117.
Background
Downy mildew is a destructive grapevine disease caused by Plasmopara viticola (Berk. and Curt.) Berl. and de Toni, which can only be controlled by intensive fungicide treatments. Natural sources of resistance from wild grapevine (Vitis) species are used in conventional breeding approaches, but the signals and effectors involved in resistance in this important crop species are not well understood.
Results
Early transcriptional changes associated with P. viticola infection in susceptible V. vinifera and resistant V. riparia plants were analyzed using the Combimatrix microarray platform. Transcript levels were measured 12 and 24 h post-inoculation, reflecting the time points immediately preceding the onset of resistance in V. riparia, as determined by microscopic analysis. Our data indicate that resistance in V. riparia is induced after infection, and is not based on differences in basal gene expression between the two species. The strong and rapid transcriptional reprogramming involves the induction of pathogenesis-related proteins and enzymes required for the synthesis of phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, many of which are also induced, albeit to a lesser extent, in V. vinifera. More interestingly, resistance in V. riparia also involves the specific modulation of numerous transcripts encoding components of signal transduction cascades, hypersensitive reaction markers and genes involved in jasmonate biosynthesis. The limited transcriptional modulation in V. vinifera represents a weak attempted defense response rather than the activation of compatibility-specific pathways.
Conclusions
Several candidate resistance genes were identified that could be exploited in future biotechnological approaches to increase disease resistance in susceptible grapevine species. Measurements of jasmonic acid and methyl jasmonate in infected leaves suggest that this hormone may also be involved in V. riparia resistance to P. viticola.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-117
PMCID: PMC2831845  PMID: 20167053
16.  The autophagy gene, ATG18a, plays a negative role in powdery mildew resistance and mildew-induced cell death in Arabidopsis 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2011;6(9):1408-1410.
Autophagy is a conserved intracellular recycling system that traffics cellular organelles and cytosolic proteins within lysosomes for reuse or breakdown in eukaryotes. Increased evidence indicates that autophagy is involved in programmed cell death and disease resistance in plants. We recently showed that atg2, atg5, atg7 and atg10 displayed early senescence and cell death in later growth stage under nutrient-rich conditions in Arabidopsis thaliana. These mutants also exhibited powdery mildew resistance and mildew-induced cell death. Salicylic acid (SA) signaling is required for atg2-mediated powdery mildew resistance, however, inactivation of SA signaling is not sufficient to fully suppress powdery mildew-induced cell death in atg2 mutant.1 Here, we show that atg18a-2 is also resistant to the powdery mildew pathogen, Golovinomyces cichoracearum, and it shows mildew-induced cell death similar to the atg2 mutant. Taken together, our study reveals that autophagy plays important roles in suppression of cell death and defense response to the biotrophic pathogen, the powdery mildew fungus. Future work on autophagy in plants will shine light on how autophagy is involved in cell death and defense response in plants.
doi:10.4161/psb.6.9.16967
PMCID: PMC3258078  PMID: 21847024
autophagy; cell death; defense response; ATG2; ATG18a; powdery mildew
17.  Resistance to Plasmopara viticola in a grapevine segregating population is associated with stilbenoid accumulation and with specific host transcriptional responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:114.
Background
Downy mildew, caused by the oomycete Plasmopara viticola, is a serious disease in Vitis vinifera, the most commonly cultivated grapevine species. Several wild Vitis species have instead been found to be resistant to this pathogen and have been used as a source to introgress resistance into a V. vinifera background. Stilbenoids represent the major phytoalexins in grapevine, and their toxicity is closely related to the specific compound. The aim of this study was to assess the resistance response to P. viticola of the Merzling × Teroldego cross by profiling the stilbenoid content of the leaves of an entire population and the transcriptome of resistant and susceptible individuals following infection.
Results
A three-year analysis of the population's response to artificial inoculation showed that individuals were distributed in nine classes ranging from total resistance to total susceptibility. In addition, quantitative metabolite profiling of stilbenoids in the population, carried out using HPLC-DAD-MS, identified three distinct groups differing according to the concentrations present and the complexity of their profiles. The high producers were characterized by the presence of trans-resveratrol, trans-piceid, trans-pterostilbene and up to thirteen different viniferins, nine of them new in grapevine.
Accumulation of these compounds is consistent with a resistant phenotype and suggests that they may contribute to the resistance response.
A preliminary transcriptional study using cDNA-AFLP selected a set of genes modulated by the oomycete in a resistant genotype. The expression of this set of genes in resistant and susceptible genotypes of the progeny population was then assessed by comparative microarray analysis.
A group of 57 genes was found to be exclusively modulated in the resistant genotype suggesting that they are involved in the grapevine-P. viticola incompatible interaction. Functional annotation of these transcripts revealed that they belong to the categories defense response, photosynthesis, primary and secondary metabolism, signal transduction and transport.
Conclusions
This study reports the results of a combined metabolic and transcriptional profiling of a grapevine population segregating for resistance to P. viticola. Some resistant individuals were identified and further characterized at the molecular level. These results will be valuable to future grapevine breeding programs.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-114
PMCID: PMC3170253  PMID: 21838877
18.  The Sulfated Laminarin Triggers a Stress Transcriptome before Priming the SA- and ROS-Dependent Defenses during Grapevine's Induced Resistance against Plasmopara viticola 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e88145.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is susceptible to many pathogens which cause significant losses to viticulture worldwide. Chemical control is available, but agro-ecological concerns have raised interest in alternative methods, especially in triggering plant immunity by elicitor treatments. The β-glucan laminarin (Lam) and its sulfated derivative (PS3) have been previously demonstrated to induce resistance in grapevine against downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola). However, if Lam elicits classical grapevine defenses such as oxidative burst, pathogenesis-related (PR)-proteins and phytoalexin production, PS3 triggered grapevine resistance via a poorly understood priming phenomenon. The aim of this study was to identify the molecular mechanisms of the PS3-induced resistance. For this purpose we studied i) the signaling events and transcriptome reprogramming triggered by PS3 treatment on uninfected grapevine, ii) grapevine immune responses primed by PS3 during P. viticola infection. Our results showed that i) PS3 was unable to elicit reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, cytosolic Ca2+ concentration variations, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) activation but triggered a long lasting plasma membrane depolarization in grapevine cells, ii) PS3 and Lam shared a common stress-responsive transcriptome profile that partly overlapped the salicylate- (SA) and jasmonate-(JA)-dependent ones. After P. viticola inoculation, PS3 specifically primed the SA- and ROS-dependent defense pathways leading to grapevine induced resistance against this biotroph. Interestingly pharmacological approaches suggested that the plasma membrane depolarization and the downstream ROS production are key events of the PS3-induced resistance.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0088145
PMCID: PMC3916396  PMID: 24516597
19.  Reference Gene Selection and Validation for the Early Responses to Downy Mildew Infection in Susceptible and Resistant Vitis vinifera Cultivars 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e72998.
The pivotal role of cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) in many countries economy is compromised by its high susceptibility to Plasmopara viticola, the causal agent of downy mildew disease. Recent research has identified a set of genes related to resistance which may be used to track downy mildew infection. Quantification of the expression of these resistance genes requires normalizing qPCR data using reference genes with stable expression in the system studied. In this study, a set of eleven genes (VATP16, 60 S, UQCC, SMD3, EF1α, UBQ, SAND, GAPDH, ACT, PsaB, PTB2) was evaluated to identify reference genes during the first hours of interaction (6, 12, 18 and 24 hpi) between two V. vinifera genotypes and P. viticola. Two analyses were used for the selection of reference genes: direct comparison of susceptible, Trincadeira, and resistant, Regent, V. vinifera cultivars at 0 h, 6, 12, 18 and 24 hours post inoculation with P. viticola (genotype effect); and comparison of each genotype with mock inoculated samples during inoculation time-course (biotic stress effect). Three statistical methods were used, GeNorm, NormFinder, and BestKeeper, allowing to identify UBQ, EF1α and GAPDH as the most stable genes for the genotype effect. For the biotic stress effect, EF1α, SAND and SMD3 were the most constant for the susceptible cultivar Trincadeira and EF1α, GAPDH, UBQ for the resistant cultivar Regent. In addition, the expression of three defense-related transcripts, encoding for subtilisin-like protein, CYP and PR10, was analysed, for both datasets, during inoculation time-course. Taken together, our results provide guidelines for reference gene(s) selection towards a more accurate and widespread use of qPCR to study the first hours of interaction between different grapevine cultivars and P. viticola.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0072998
PMCID: PMC3762845  PMID: 24023800
20.  Loss of compatibility might explain resistance of the Arabidopsis thaliana accession Te-0 to Golovinomyces cichoracearum 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:143.
Background
The establishment of compatibility between plants and pathogens requires compliance with various conditions, such as recognition of the right host, suppression of defence mechanisms, and maintenance of an environment allowing pathogen reproduction. To date, most of the plant factors required to sustain compatibility remain unknown, with the few best characterized being those interfering with defence responses. A suitable system to study host compatibility factors is the interaction between Arabidopsis thaliana and the powdery mildew (PM) Golovinomyces cichoracearum. As an obligate biotrophic pathogen, this fungus must establish compatibility in order to perpetuate. In turn, A. thaliana displays natural variation for susceptibility to this invader, with some accessions showing full susceptibility (Col-0), and others monogenic dominant resistance (Kas-1). Interestingly, Te-0, among other accessions, displays recessive partial resistance to this PM.
Results
In this study, we characterized the interaction of G. cichoracearum with Te-0 plants to investigate the basis of this plant resistance. We found that Te-0´s incompatibility was not associated with hyper-activation of host inducible defences. Te-0 plants allowed germination of conidia and development of functional haustoria, but could not support the formation of mature conidiophores. Using a suppressive subtractive hybridization technique, we identified plant genes showing differential expression between resistant Te-0 and susceptible Col-0 plants at the fungal pre-conidiation stage.
Conclusions
Te-0 resistance is likely caused by loss of host compatibility and not by stimulation of inducible defences. Conidiophores formation is the main constraint for completion of fungal life cycle in Te-0 plants. The system here described allowed the identification of genes proposed as markers for susceptibility to this PM.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-143
PMCID: PMC3546952  PMID: 22883024
A. thaliana; G. cichoracearum; Compatibility factors; Powdery mildews; Conidiophore maturation; Loss of susceptibility; Haustorial staining; Haustorial imaging
21.  The RBCC Gene RFP2 (Leu5) Encodes a Novel Transmembrane E3 Ubiquitin Ligase Involved in ERAD 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2007;18(5):1670-1682.
RFP2, a gene frequently lost in various malignancies, encodes a protein with RING finger, B-box, and coiled-coil domains that belongs to the RBCC/TRIM family of proteins. Here we demonstrate that Rfp2 is an unstable protein with auto-polyubiquitination activity in vivo and in vitro, implying that Rfp2 acts as a RING E3 ubiquitin ligase. Consequently, Rfp2 ubiquitin ligase activity is dependent on an intact RING domain, as RING deficient mutants fail to drive polyubiquitination in vitro and are stabilized in vivo. Immunopurification and tandem mass spectrometry enabled the identification of several putative Rfp2 interacting proteins localized to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), including valosin-containing protein (VCP), a protein indispensable for ER-associated degradation (ERAD). Importantly, we also show that Rfp2 regulates the degradation of the known ER proteolytic substrate CD3-δ, but not the N-end rule substrate Ub-R-YFP (yellow fluorescent protein), establishing Rfp2 as a novel E3 ligase involved in ERAD. Finally, we show that Rfp2 contains a C-terminal transmembrane domain indispensable for its localization to the ER and that Rfp2 colocalizes with several ER-resident proteins as analyzed by high-resolution immunostaining. In summary, these data are all consistent with a function for Rfp2 as an ERAD E3 ubiquitin ligase.
doi:10.1091/mbc.E06-03-0248
PMCID: PMC1855009  PMID: 17314412
22.  Evolution and expression analysis of the grape (Vitis vinifera L.) WRKY gene family 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(6):1513-1528.
Summary
Fifty-nine VvWRKY genes were identified. Phylogenetic tree and synteny analysis revealed the specific evolutionary relationship of these genes. Meanwhile, differential expression patterns indicated their possible roles in specific tissues and under different stresses.
WRKY proteins comprise a large family of transcription factors that play important roles in plant defence regulatory networks, including responses to various biotic and abiotic stresses. To date, no large-scale study of WRKY genes has been undertaken in grape (Vitis vinifera L.). In this study, a total of 59 putative grape WRKY genes (VvWRKY) were identified and renamed on the basis of their respective chromosome distribution. A multiple sequence alignment analysis using all predicted grape WRKY genes coding sequences, together with those from Arabidopsis thaliana and tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), indicated that the 59 VvWRKY genes can be classified into three main groups (I–III). An evaluation of the duplication events suggested that several WRKY genes arose before the divergence of the grape and Arabidopsis lineages. Moreover, expression profiles derived from semiquantitative PCR and real-time quantitative PCR analyses showed distinct expression patterns in various tissues and in response to different treatments. Four VvWRKY genes showed a significantly higher expression in roots or leaves, 55 responded to varying degrees to at least one abiotic stress treatment, and the expression of 38 were altered following powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) infection. Most VvWRKY genes were downregulated in response to abscisic acid or salicylic acid treatments, while the expression of a subset was upregulated by methyl jasmonate or ethylene treatments.
doi:10.1093/jxb/eru007
PMCID: PMC3967086  PMID: 24510937
Evolution; expression profile analysis; grape (Vitis vinifera L.); phylogenetic analysis; synteny analysis; WRKY genes.
23.  Rapid quantification of plant-powdery mildew interactions by qPCR and conidiospore counts 
Plant Methods  2012;8:35.
Background
The powdery mildew disease represents a valuable patho-system to study the interaction between plant hosts and obligate biotrophic fungal pathogens. Numerous discoveries have been made on the basis of the quantitative evaluation of plant-powdery mildew interactions, especially in the context of hyper-susceptible and/or resistant plant mutants. However, the presently available methods to score the pathogenic success of powdery mildew fungi are laborious and thus not well suited for medium- to high-throughput analysis.
Results
Here we present two new protocols that allow the rapid quantitative assessment of powdery mildew disease development. One procedure depends on quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR)-based evaluation of fungal biomass, while the other relies on the quantification of fungal conidiospores. We validated both techniques using the powdery mildew pathogen Golovinomyces orontii on a set of hyper-susceptible and resistant Arabidopsis thaliana mutants and found that both cover a wide dynamic range of one to two (qPCR) and four to five (quantification of conidia) orders of magnitude, respectively. The two approaches yield reproducible results and are easy to perform without specialized equipment.
Conclusions
The qPCR and spore count assays rapidly and reproducibly quantify powdery mildew pathogenesis. Our methods are performed at later stages of infection and discern mutant phenotypes accurately. The assays therefore complement currently used procedures of powdery mildew quantification and can overcome some of their limitations. In addition, they can easily be adapted to other plant-powdery mildew patho-systems.
doi:10.1186/1746-4811-8-35
PMCID: PMC3522566  PMID: 22937820
Arabidopsis thaliana; Conidiospores; Golovinomyces orontii; Powdery mildew; Quantification; qPCR
24.  Phenotypic and histochemical traits of the interaction between Plasmopara viticola and resistant or susceptible grapevine varieties 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:124.
Background
Grapevine downy mildew, caused by Plasmopara viticola, is a very serious disease affecting mainly Vitis vinifera cultivated varieties around the world. Breeding for resistance through the crossing with less susceptible species is one of the possible means to reduce the disease incidence and the application of fungicides. The hybrid Bianca and some of its siblings are considered very promising but their resistance level can vary depending on the pathogen strain. Moreover, virulent strains characterized by high fitness can represent a potential threat to the hybrid cultivation.
Results
The host response and the pathogen virulence were quantitatively assessed by artificially inoculating cv Chardonnay, cv Bianca and their siblings with P. viticola isolates derived from single germinating oospores collected in various Italian viticultural areas. The host phenotypes were classified as susceptible, intermediate and resistant, according to the Area Under the Disease Progress Curve caused by the inoculated strain. Host responses in cv Bianca and its siblings significantly varied depending on the P. viticola isolates, which in turn differed in their virulence levels. The fitness of the most virulent strain did not significantly vary on the different hybrids including Bianca in comparison with the susceptible cv Chardonnay, suggesting that no costs are associated with virulence. Among the individual fitness components, only sporangia production was significantly reduced in cv Bianca and in some hybrids. Comparative histological analysis revealed differences between susceptible and resistant plants in the pathogen diffusion and cytology from 48 h after inoculation onwards. Defence mechanisms included callose depositions in the infected stomata, increase in peroxidase activity, synthesis of phenolic compounds and flavonoids and the necrosis of stomata and cells immediately surrounding the point of invasion and determined alterations in the size of the infected areas and in the number of sporangia differentiated.
Conclusions
Some hybrids were able to maintain an intermediate-resistant behaviour even when inoculated with the most virulent strain. Such hybrids should be considered for further field trials.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-124
PMCID: PMC3509031  PMID: 22852828
Disease resistance; Oomycetes; Pathogen fitness
25.  Ret finger protein inhibits muscle differentiation by modulating serum response factor and enhancer of polycomb1 
Cell Death and Differentiation  2011;19(1):121-131.
Skeletal myogenesis is precisely regulated by multiple transcription factors. Previously, we demonstrated that enhancer of polycomb 1 (Epc1) induces skeletal muscle differentiation by potentiating serum response factor (SRF)-dependent muscle gene activation. Here, we report that an interacting partner of Epc1, ret finger protein (RFP), blocks skeletal muscle differentiation. Our findings show that RFP was highly expressed in skeletal muscles and was downregulated during myoblast differentiation. Forced expression of RFP delayed myoblast differentiation, whereas knockdown enhanced it. Epc1-induced enhancements of SRF-dependent multinucleation, transactivation of the skeletal α-actin promoter, binding of SRF to the serum response element, and muscle-specific gene induction were blocked by RFP. RFP interfered with the physical interaction between Epc1 and SRF. Muscles from rfp knockout mice (Rfp−/−) mice were bigger than those from wild-type mice, and the expression of SRF-dependent muscle-specific genes was upregulated. Myotube formation and myoblast differentiation were enhanced in Rfp−/− mice. Taken together, our findings highlight RFP as a novel regulator of muscle differentiation that acts by modulating the expression of SRF-dependent skeletal muscle-specific genes.
doi:10.1038/cdd.2011.72
PMCID: PMC3252832  PMID: 21637294
ret finger protein; muscle differentiation; serum response factor; enhancer of polycomb1

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