This paper aims at analysing the synthesis of flavonoids, their import and export in plant cell compartments, as well as their involvement in the response to stress, with particular reference to grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). A multidrug and toxic compound extrusion (MATE) as well as ABC transporters have been demonstrated in the tonoplast of grape berry, where they perform a flavonoid transport. The involvement of a glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene has also been inferred. Recently, a putative flavonoid carrier, similar to mammalian bilitranslocase (BTL), has been identified in both grape berry skin and pulp. In skin the pattern of BTL expression increases from véraison to harvest, while in the pulp its expression reaches the maximum at the early ripening stage. Moreover, the presence of BTL in vascular bundles suggests its participation in long distance transport of flavonoids. In addition, the presence of a vesicular trafficking in plants responsible for flavonoid transport is discussed. Finally, the involvement of flavonoids in the response to stress is described.
flavonoid transport; bilitranslocase; ABC transporters; secondary metabolites; biotic and abiotic stress
This work describes a proteomics profiling method, optimized and applied to berry cell suspensions to evaluate organ-specific cultures as a platform to study grape berry ripening. Variations in berry ripening within a cluster(s) on a vine and in a vineyard are a major impediment towards complete understanding of the functional processes that control ripening, specifically when a characterized and homogenous sample is required. Berry cell suspensions could overcome some of these problems, but their suitability as a model system for berry development and ripening needs to be established first.
In this study we report on the proteomic evaluation of the cytosolic proteins obtained from synchronized cell suspension cultures that were established from callus lines originating from green, véraison and ripe Vitis vinifera berry explants. The proteins were separated using liquid phase IEF in a Microrotofor cell and SDS PAGE. This method proved superior to gel-based 2DE. Principal component analysis confirmed that biological and technical repeats grouped tightly and importantly, showed that the proteomes of berry cultures originating from the different growth/ripening stages were distinct. A total of twenty six common bands were selected after band matching between different growth stages and twenty two of these bands were positively identified. Thirty two % of the identified proteins are currently annotated as hypothetical. The differential expression profile of the identified proteins, when compared with published literature on grape berry ripening, suggested common trends in terms of relative abundance in the different developmental stages between real berries and cell suspensions.
The advantages of having suspension cultures that accurately mimic specific developmental stages are profound and could significantly contribute to the study of the intricate regulatory and signaling networks responsible for berry development and ripening.
Grapevine (Vitis species) is among the most important fruit crops in terms of cultivated area and economic impact. Despite this relevance, little is known about the transcriptional changes and the regulatory circuits underlying the biochemical and physical changes occurring during berry development.
Fruit ripening in the non-climacteric crop species Vitis vinifera L. has been investigated at the transcriptional level by the use of the Affymetrix Vitis GeneChip® which contains approximately 14,500 unigenes. Gene expression data obtained from berries sampled before and after véraison in three growing years, were analyzed to identify genes specifically involved in fruit ripening and to investigate seasonal influences on the process. From these analyses a core set of 1477 genes was found which was similarly modulated in all seasons. We were able to separate ripening specific isoforms within gene families and to identify ripening related genes which appeared strongly regulated also by the seasonal weather conditions. Transcripts annotation by Gene Ontology vocabulary revealed five overrepresented functional categories of which cell wall organization and biogenesis, carbohydrate and secondary metabolisms and stress response were specifically induced during the ripening phase, while photosynthesis was strongly repressed. About 19% of the core gene set was characterized by genes involved in regulatory processes, such as transcription factors and transcripts related to hormonal metabolism and signal transduction. Auxin, ethylene and light emerged as the main stimuli influencing berry development. In addition, an oxidative burst, previously not detected in grapevine, characterized by rapid accumulation of H2O2 starting from véraison and by the modulation of many ROS scavenging enzymes, was observed.
The time-course gene expression analysis of grapevine berry development has identified the occurrence of two well distinct phases along the process. The pre-véraison phase represents a reprogramming stage of the cellular metabolism, characterized by the expression of numerous genes involved in hormonal signalling and transcriptional regulation. The post-véraison phase is characterized by the onset of a ripening-specialized metabolism responsible for the phenotypic traits of the ripe berry. Between the two phases, at véraison, an oxidative burst and the concurrent modulation of the anti-oxidative enzymatic network was observed. The large number of regulatory genes we have identified represents a powerful new resource for dissecting the mechanisms of fruit ripening control in non-climacteric plants.
Grapes (Vitis vinifera L.) are economically the most important fruit crop worldwide. However, the complexity of molecular and biochemical events that lead to the onset of ripening of nonclimacteric fruits is not fully understood which is further complicated in grapes due to seasonal and cultivar specific variation. The Portuguese wine variety Trincadeira gives rise to high quality wines but presents extremely irregular berry ripening among seasons probably due to high susceptibility to abiotic and biotic stresses.
Ripening of Trincadeira grapes was studied taking into account the transcriptional and metabolic profilings complemented with biochemical data. The mRNA expression profiles of four time points spanning developmental stages from pea size green berries, through véraison and mature berries (EL 32, EL 34, EL 35 and EL 36) and in two seasons (2007 and 2008) were compared using the Affymetrix GrapeGen® genome array containing 23096 probesets corresponding to 18726 unique sequences. Over 50% of these probesets were significantly differentially expressed (1.5 fold) between at least two developmental stages. A common set of modulated transcripts corresponding to 5877 unigenes indicates the activation of common pathways between years despite the irregular development of Trincadeira grapes. These unigenes were assigned to the functional categories of "metabolism", "development", "cellular process", "diverse/miscellanenous functions", "regulation overview", "response to stimulus, stress", "signaling", "transport overview", "xenoprotein, transposable element" and "unknown". Quantitative RT-PCR validated microarrays results being carried out for eight selected genes and five developmental stages (EL 32, EL 34, EL 35, EL 36 and EL 38). Metabolic profiling using 1H NMR spectroscopy associated to two-dimensional techniques showed the importance of metabolites related to oxidative stress response, amino acid and sugar metabolism as well as secondary metabolism. These results were integrated with transcriptional profiling obtained using genome array to provide new information regarding the network of events leading to grape ripening.
Altogether the data obtained provides the most extensive survey obtained so far for gene expression and metabolites accumulated during grape ripening. Moreover, it highlighted information obtained in a poorly known variety exhibiting particular characteristics that may be cultivar specific or dependent upon climatic conditions. Several genes were identified that had not been previously reported in the context of grape ripening namely genes involved in carbohydrate and amino acid metabolisms as well as in growth regulators; metabolism, epigenetic factors and signaling pathways. Some of these genes were annotated as receptors, transcription factors, and kinases and constitute good candidates for functional analysis in order to establish a model for ripening control of a non-climacteric fruit.
A homologue of the mammalian bilirubin transporter bilitranslocase (BTL) (TCDB 2.A.65.1.1), able to perform an apparent secondary active transport of flavonoids, has previously been found in carnation petals and red grape berries. In the present work, a BTL homologue was also shown in white berries from Vitis vinifera L. cv. Tocai/Friulano, using anti-sequence antibodies specific for rat liver BTL. This transporter, similarly to what found in red grape, was localized in the first layers of the epidermal tissue and in the vascular bundle cells of the mesocarp. In addition, a strong immunochemical reaction was detected in the placental tissue and particularly in peripheral integuments of the seed. The protein was expressed during the last maturation stages in both skin and pulp tissues and exhibited an apparent molecular mass of c. 31 kDa. Furthermore, the transport activity of such a carrier, measured as bromosulphophthalein (BSP) uptake, was detected in berry pulp microsomes, where it was inhibited by specific anti-BTL antibodies. The BTL homologue activity exhibited higher values, for both Km and Vmax, than those found in the red cultivar. Moreover, two non-pigmented flavonoids, such as quercetin (a flavonol) and eriodictyol (a flavanone), inhibited the uptake of BSP in an uncompetitive manner. Such results strengthen the hypothesis that this BTL homologue acts as a carrier involved also in the membrane transport of colourless flavonoids and demonstrate the presence of such a carrier in different organs and tissues.
Bilitranslocase; flavonoid transport; immunohistochemistry; seed; Vitis vinifera L.; white berry cultivar
The selective removal of grapevine leaves around berry clusters can improve the quality of ripening fruits by influencing parameters such as the berry sugar and anthocyanin content at harvest. The outcome depends strongly on the timing of defoliation, which influences the source–sink balance and the modified microclimate surrounding the berries. We removed the basal leaves from Vitis vinifera L. cv Sangiovese shoots at the pre-bloom and veraison stages, and investigated responses such as shoot growth, fruit morphology and composition compared to untreated controls. Moreover, we performed a genome-wide expression analysis to explore the impact of these defoliation treatments on berry transcriptome.
We found that pre-bloom defoliation improved berry quality traits such as sugar and anthocyanin content, whereas defoliation at veraison had a detrimental effect, e.g. less anthocyanin and higher incidence of sunburn damage. Genome-wide expression analysis during berry ripening revealed that defoliation at either stage resulted in major transcriptome reprogramming, which slightly delayed the onset of ripening. However, a closer investigation of individual gene expression profiles identified genes that were specifically modulated by defoliation at each stage, reflecting the uncoupling of metabolic processes such as flavonoid biosynthesis, cell wall and stress metabolism, from the general ripening program.
The specific transcriptional modifications we observed following defoliation at different time points allow the identification of the developmental or metabolic processes affected in berries thus deepening the knowledge of the mechanisms by which these agronomical practices impact the final berry ripening traits.
Vitis vinifera; Defoliation; Berry ripening; Transcriptome; Flavonoid; Source-sink balance
Nine Gretchen Hagen (GH3) genes were identified in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) and six of these were predicted on the basis of protein sequence similarity to act as indole-3-acetic acid (IAA)-amido synthetases. The activity of these enzymes is thought to be important in controlling free IAA levels and one auxin-inducible grapevine GH3 protein, GH3-1, has previously been implicated in the berry ripening process. Ex planta assays showed that the expression of only one other GH3 gene, GH3-2, increased following the treatment of grape berries with auxinic compounds. One of these was the naturally occurring IAA and the other two were synthetic, α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA) and benzothiazole-2-oxyacetic acid (BTOA). The determination of steady-state kinetic parameters for the recombinant GH3-1 and GH3-2 proteins revealed that both enzymes efficiently conjugated aspartic acid (Asp) to IAA and less well to NAA, while BTOA was a poor substrate. GH3-2 gene expression was induced by IAA treatment of pre-ripening berries with an associated increase in levels of IAA-Asp and a decrease in free IAA levels. This indicates that GH3-2 responded to excess auxin to maintain low levels of free IAA. Grape berry ripening was not affected by IAA application prior to veraison (ripening onset) but was considerably delayed by NAA and even more so by BTOA. The differential effects of the three auxinic compounds on berry ripening can therefore be explained by the induction and acyl substrate specificity of GH3-2. These results further indicate an important role for GH3 proteins in controlling auxin-related plant developmental processes.
Auxin; GH3 proteins; ripening; Vitis vinifera
Berries of grape (Vitis vinifera) contain three major tissue types (skin, pulp and seed) all of which contribute to the aroma, color, and flavor characters of wine. The pericarp, which is composed of the exocarp (skin) and mesocarp (pulp), not only functions to protect and feed the developing seed, but also to assist in the dispersal of the mature seed by avian and mammalian vectors. The skin provides volatile and nonvolatile aroma and color compounds, the pulp contributes organic acids and sugars, and the seeds provide condensed tannins, all of which are important to the formation of organoleptic characteristics of wine. In order to understand the transcriptional network responsible for controlling tissue-specific mRNA expression patterns, mRNA expression profiling was conducted on each tissue of mature berries of V. vinifera Cabernet Sauvignon using the Affymetrix GeneChip® Vitis oligonucleotide microarray ver. 1.0. In order to monitor the influence of water-deficit stress on tissue-specific expression patterns, mRNA expression profiles were also compared from mature berries harvested from vines subjected to well-watered or water-deficit conditions.
Overall, berry tissues were found to express approximately 76% of genes represented on the Vitis microarray. Approximately 60% of these genes exhibited significant differential expression in one or more of the three major tissue types with more than 28% of genes showing pronounced (2-fold or greater) differences in mRNA expression. The largest difference in tissue-specific expression was observed between the seed and pulp/skin. Exocarp tissue, which is involved in pathogen defense and pigment production, showed higher mRNA abundance relative to other berry tissues for genes involved with flavonoid biosynthesis, pathogen resistance, and cell wall modification. Mesocarp tissue, which is considered a nutritive tissue, exhibited a higher mRNA abundance of genes involved in cell wall function and transport processes. Seeds, which supply essential resources for embryo development, showed higher mRNA abundance of genes encoding phenylpropanoid biosynthetic enzymes, seed storage proteins, and late embryogenesis abundant proteins. Water-deficit stress affected the mRNA abundance of 13% of the genes with differential expression patterns occurring mainly in the pulp and skin. In pulp and seed tissues transcript abundance in most functional categories declined in water-deficit stressed vines relative to well-watered vines with transcripts for storage proteins and novel (no-hit) functional assignments being over represented. In the skin of berries from water-deficit stressed vines, however, transcripts from several functional categories including general phenypropanoid and ethylene metabolism, pathogenesis-related responses, energy, and interaction with the environment were significantly over-represented.
These results revealed novel insights into the tissue-specific expression mRNA expression patterns of an extensive repertoire of genes expressed in berry tissues. This work also establishes an extensive catalogue of gene expression patterns for future investigations aimed at the dissection of the transcriptional regulatory hierarchies that govern tissue-specific expression patterns associated with tissue differentiation within berries. These results also confirmed that water-deficit stress has a profound effect on mRNA expression patterns particularly associated with the biosynthesis of aroma and color metabolites within skin and pulp tissues that ultimately impact wine quality.
Grape ripening represents the third phase of the double sigmoidal curve of berry development and is characterized by deep changes in the organoleptic characteristics. In this process, the skin plays a central role in the synthesis of many compounds of interest (e.g. anthocyanins and aroma volatiles) and represents a fundamental protective barrier against damage by physical injuries and pathogen attacks. In order to improve the knowledge on the role of this tissue during ripening, changes in the protein expression in the skin of the red cultivar Barbera at five different stages from véraison to full maturation were studied by performing a comparative 2-DE analysis.
The proteomic analysis revealed that 80 spots were differentially expressed throughout berry ripening. Applying a two-way hierarchical clustering analysis to these variations, a clear difference between the first two samplings (up to 14 days after véraison) and the following three (from 28 to 49 days after véraison) emerged, thus suggesting that the most relevant changes in protein expression occurred in the first weeks of ripening. By means of LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis, 69 proteins were characterized. Many of these variations were related to proteins involved in responses to stress (38%), glycolysis and gluconeogenesis (13%), C-compounds and carbohydrate metabolism (13%) and amino acid metabolism (10%).
These results give new insights to the skin proteome evolution during ripening, thus underlining some interesting traits of this tissue. In this view, we observed the ripening-related induction of many enzymes involved in primary metabolism, including those of the last five steps of the glycolytic pathway, which had been described as down-regulated in previous studies performed on whole fruit. Moreover, these data emphasize the relevance of this tissue as a physical barrier exerting an important part in berry protection. In fact, the level of many proteins involved in (a)biotic stress responses remarkably changed through the five stages taken into consideration, thus suggesting that their expression may be developmentally regulated.
The control of ripening of the non-climacteric grapevine fruit is still a matter of debate, but several lines of evidence point to an important role for the hormone abscisic acid (ABA). The effects of ABA treatments on Cabernet Sauvignon berries before and at véraison were studied using a 2-DE proteomic approach. Proteins from whole deseeded berries (before véraison) and berry flesh and skin (at véraison) treated with 0.76 mM ABA and collected 24 h after treatment were separated and analysed. A total of 60 protein spots showed significant variations between treated and control berries, and 40 proteins, mainly related to general metabolism and cell defence, were identified by LC MS/MS. Our results show that ABA acts mainly through the regulation of mostly the same proteins which are involved in the ripening process, and that several of these changes share common elements with the ABA-induced responses in vegetative tissues.
2D electrophoresis; abscisic acid; grape berry; proteomics; ripening; Vitis vinifera
Terpenoids are among the most important constituents of grape flavour and wine bouquet, and serve as useful metabolite markers in viticulture and enology. Based on the initial 8-fold sequencing of a nearly homozygous Pinot noir inbred line, 89 putative terpenoid synthase genes (VvTPS) were predicted by in silico analysis of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera) genome assembly . The finding of this very large VvTPS family, combined with the importance of terpenoid metabolism for the organoleptic properties of grapevine berries and finished wines, prompted a detailed examination of this gene family at the genomic level as well as an investigation into VvTPS biochemical functions.
We present findings from the analysis of the up-dated 12-fold sequencing and assembly of the grapevine genome that place the number of predicted VvTPS genes at 69 putatively functional VvTPS, 20 partial VvTPS, and 63 VvTPS probable pseudogenes. Gene discovery and annotation included information about gene architecture and chromosomal location. A dense cluster of 45 VvTPS is localized on chromosome 18. Extensive FLcDNA cloning, gene synthesis, and protein expression enabled functional characterization of 39 VvTPS; this is the largest number of functionally characterized TPS for any species reported to date. Of these enzymes, 23 have unique functions and/or phylogenetic locations within the plant TPS gene family. Phylogenetic analyses of the TPS gene family showed that while most VvTPS form species-specific gene clusters, there are several examples of gene orthology with TPS of other plant species, representing perhaps more ancient VvTPS, which have maintained functions independent of speciation.
The highly expanded VvTPS gene family underpins the prominence of terpenoid metabolism in grapevine. We provide a detailed experimental functional annotation of 39 members of this important gene family in grapevine and comprehensive information about gene structure and phylogeny for the entire currently known VvTPS gene family.
Latest research shows that small antimicrobial peptides play a role in the innate defense system of plants. These peptides typically contribute to preformed defense by developing protective barriers around germinating seeds or between different tissue layers within plant organs. The encoding genes could also be upregulated by abiotic and biotic stimuli during active defense processes. The peptides display a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activities. Their potent anti-pathogenic characteristics have ensured that they are promising targets in the medical and agricultural biotechnology sectors.
A berry specific cDNA sequence designated Vv-AMP1, Vitis vinifera antimicrobial peptide 1, was isolated from Vitis vinifera. Vv-AMP1 encodes for a 77 amino acid peptide that shows sequence homology to the family of plant defensins. Vv-AMP1 is expressed in a tissue specific, developmentally regulated manner, being only expressed in berry tissue at the onset of berry ripening and onwards. Treatment of leaf and berry tissue with biotic or abiotic factors did not lead to increased expression of Vv-AMP1 under the conditions tested. The predicted signal peptide of Vv-AMP1, fused to the green fluorescent protein (GFP), showed that the signal peptide allowed accumulation of its product in the apoplast. Vv-AMP1 peptide, produced in Escherichia coli, had a molecular mass of 5.495 kDa as determined by mass spectrometry. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 was extremely heat-stable and showed strong antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of plant pathogenic fungi, with very high levels of activity against the wilting disease causing pathogens Fusarium oxysporum and Verticillium dahliae. The Vv-AMP1 peptide did not induce morphological changes on the treated fungal hyphae, but instead strongly inhibited hyphal elongation. A propidium iodide uptake assay suggested that the inhibitory activity of Vv-AMP1 might be associated with altering the membrane permeability of the fungal membranes.
A berry specific cDNA clone, Vv-AMP1, was isolated and characterized and shown to encode a plant defensin. Recombinant Vv-AMP1 displayed non-morphogenic antifungal activity against a broad spectrum of fungi, probably altering the membrane permeability of the fungal pathogens. The expression of this peptide is highly regulated in Vitis vinifera, hinting at an important defense role during berry-ripening.
The AP2/ERF protein family contains transcription factors that play a crucial role in plant growth and development and in response to biotic and abiotic stress conditions in plants. Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is the only woody crop whose genome has been fully sequenced. So far, no detailed expression profile of AP2/ERF-like genes is available for grapevine.
An exhaustive search for AP2/ERF genes was carried out on the Vitis vinifera genome and their expression profile was analyzed by Real-Time quantitative PCR (qRT-PCR) in different vegetative and reproductive tissues and under two different ripening stages.
One hundred and forty nine sequences, containing at least one ERF domain, were identified. Specific clusters within the AP2 and ERF families showed conserved expression patterns reminiscent of other species and grapevine specific trends related to berry ripening. Moreover, putative targets of group IX ERFs were identified by co-expression and protein similarity comparisons.
The grapevine genome contains an amount of AP2/ERF genes comparable to that of other dicot species analyzed so far. We observed an increase in the size of specific groups within the ERF family, probably due to recent duplication events. Expression analyses in different aerial tissues display common features previously described in other plant systems and introduce possible new roles for members of some ERF groups during fruit ripening. The presented analysis of AP2/ERF genes in grapevine provides the bases for studying the molecular regulation of berry development and the ripening process.
Phenotypic plasticity refers to the range of phenotypes a single genotype can express as a function of its environment. These phenotypic variations are attributable to the effect of the environment on the expression and function of genes influencing plastic traits. We investigated phenotypic plasticity in grapevine by comparing the berry transcriptome in a single clone of the vegetatively-propagated common grapevine species Vitis vinifera cultivar Corvina through 3 consecutive growth years cultivated in 11 different vineyards in the Verona area of Italy.
Most of the berry transcriptome clustered by year of growth rather than common environmental conditions or viticulture practices, and transcripts related to secondary metabolism showed high sensitivity towards different climates, as confirmed also by metabolomic data obtained from the same samples. When analyzed in 11 vineyards during 1 growth year, the environmentally-sensitive berry transcriptome comprised 5% of protein-coding genes and 18% of the transcripts modulated during berry development. Plastic genes were particularly enriched in ontology categories such as transcription factors, translation, transport, and secondary metabolism. Specific plastic transcripts were associated with groups of vineyards sharing common viticulture practices or environmental conditions, and plastic transcriptome reprogramming was more intense in the year characterized by extreme weather conditions. We also identified a set of genes that lacked plasticity, showing either constitutive expression or similar modulation in all berries.
Our data reveal candidate genes potentially responsible for the phenotypic plasticity of grapevine and provide the first step towards the characterization of grapevine transcriptome plasticity under different agricultural systems.
Phenotypic plasticity; Transcriptome; Grapevine
The improvement of the agricultural and wine-making qualities of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is hampered by adherence to traditional varieties, the recalcitrance of this plant to genetic modifications, and public resistance to genetically modified organism (GMO) technologies. To address these challenges, we developed an RNA virus-based vector for the introduction of desired traits into grapevine without heritable modifications to the genome. This vector expresses recombinant proteins in the phloem tissue that is involved in sugar transport throughout the plant, from leaves to roots to berries. Furthermore, the vector provides a powerful RNA interference (RNAi) capability of regulating the expression of endogenous genes via virus-induced gene-silencing (VIGS) technology. Additional advantages of this vector include superb genetic capacity and stability, as well as the swiftness of technology implementation. The most significant applications of the viral vector include functional genomics of the grapevine and disease control via RNAi-enabled vaccination against pathogens or invertebrate pests.
The development of fleshy fruits involves complex physiological and biochemical changes. After fertilization, fruit growth usually begins with cell division, continues with both cell division and expansion, allowing fruit set to occur, and ends with cell expansion only. In spite of the economical importance of grapevine, the molecular mechanisms controlling berry growth are not fully understood. The present work identified and characterized Vitis vinifera cell elongation bHLH protein (VvCEB1), a basic helix–loop–helix (bHLH) transcription factor controlling cell expansion in grape. VvCEB1 was expressed specifically in berry-expanding tissues with a maximum around veraison. The study of VvCEB1 promoter activity in tomato confirmed its specific fruit expression during the expansion phase. Overexpression of VvCEB1 in grape embryos showed that this protein stimulates cell expansion and affects the expression of genes involved in cell expansion, including genes of auxin metabolism and signalling. Taken together, these data show that VvCEB1 is a fruit-specific bHLH transcription factor involved in grape berry development.
auxin; bHLH; cell expansion; fruit; grape; transcription factor.
Vitis vinifera berry development is characterised by an initial phase where the fruit is small, hard and acidic, followed by a lag phase known as veraison. In the final phase, berries become larger, softer and sweeter and accumulate an array of organoleptic compounds. Since the physiological and biochemical makeup of grape berries at harvest has a profound impact on the characteristics of wine, there is great interest in characterising the molecular and biophysical changes that occur from flowering through veraison and ripening, including the coordination and temporal regulation of metabolic gene pathways. Advances in deep-sequencing technologies, combined with the availability of increasingly accurate V. vinifera genomic and transcriptomic data, have enabled us to carry out RNA-transcript expression analysis on a global scale at key points during berry development.
A total of 162 million 100-base pair reads were generated from pooled Vitis vinifera (cv. Shiraz) berries sampled at 3-weeks post-anthesis, 10- and 11-weeks post-anthesis (corresponding to early and late veraison) and at 17-weeks post-anthesis (harvest). Mapping reads from each developmental stage (36-45 million) onto the NCBI RefSeq transcriptome of 23,720 V. vinifera mRNAs revealed that at least 75% of these transcripts were detected in each sample. RNA-Seq analysis uncovered 4,185 transcripts that were significantly upregulated at a single developmental stage, including 161 transcription factors. Clustering transcripts according to distinct patterns of transcription revealed coordination in metabolic pathways such as organic acid, stilbene and terpenoid metabolism. From the phenylpropanoid/stilbene biosynthetic pathway at least 46 transcripts were upregulated in ripe berries when compared to veraison and immature berries, and 12 terpene synthases were predominantly detected only in a single sample. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to validate the expression pattern of 12 differentially expressed genes from primary and secondary metabolic pathways.
In this study we report the global transcriptional profile of Shiraz grapes at key stages of development. We have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of gene families contributing to commercially important berry characteristics and present examples of co-regulation and differential gene expression. The data reported here will provide an invaluable resource for the on-going molecular investigation of wine grapes.
Grapevine; Illumina; Shiraz; RNA-seq; Transcriptome
The complex and dynamic changes during grape berry development have been studied in Vitis vinifera, but little is known about these processes in other Vitis species. The grape variety 'Norton', with a major portion of its genome derived from Vitis aestivalis, maintains high levels of malic acid and phenolic acids in the ripening berries in comparison with V. vinifera varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon. Furthermore, Norton berries develop a remarkably high level of resistance to most fungal pathogens while Cabernet Sauvignon berries remain susceptible to those pathogens. The distinct characteristics of Norton and Cabernet Sauvignon merit a comprehensive analysis of transcriptional regulation and metabolite pathways.
A microarray study was conducted on transcriptome changes of Norton berry skin during the period of 37 to 127 days after bloom, which represents berry developmental phases from herbaceous growth to full ripeness. Samples of six berry developmental stages were collected. Analysis of the microarray data revealed that a total of 3,352 probe sets exhibited significant differences at transcript levels, with two-fold changes between at least two developmental stages. Expression profiles of defense-related genes showed a dynamic modulation of nucleotide-binding site-leucine-rich repeat (NBS-LRR) resistance genes and pathogenesis-related (PR) genes during berry development. Transcript levels of PR-1 in Norton berry skin clearly increased during the ripening phase. As in other grapevines, genes of the phenylpropanoid pathway were up-regulated in Norton as the berry developed. The most noticeable was the steady increase of transcript levels of stilbene synthase genes. Transcriptional patterns of six MYB transcription factors and eleven structural genes of the flavonoid pathway and profiles of anthocyanins and proanthocyanidins (PAs) during berry skin development were analyzed comparatively in Norton and Cabernet Sauvignon. Transcriptional patterns of MYB5A and MYB5B were similar during berry development between the two varieties, but those of MYBPA1 and MYBPA2 were strikingly different, demonstrating that the general flavonoid pathways are regulated under different MYB factors. The data showed that there were higher transcript levels of the genes encoding flavonoid-3'-O-hydroxylase (F3'H), flavonoid-3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H), leucoanthocyanidin dioxygenase (LDOX), UDP-glucose:flavonoid 3'-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT), anthocyanidin reductase (ANR), leucoanthocyanidin reductase (LAR) 1 and LAR2 in berry skin of Norton than in those of Cabernet Sauvignon. It was also found that the total amount of anthocyanins was markedly higher in Norton than in Cabernet Sauvignon berry skin at harvest, and five anthocyanin derivatives and three PA compounds exhibited distinctive accumulation patterns in Norton berry skin.
This study provides an overview of the transcriptome changes and the flavonoid profiles in the berry skin of Norton, an important North American wine grape, during berry development. The steady increase of transcripts of PR-1 and stilbene synthase genes likely contributes to the developmentally regulated resistance during ripening of Norton berries. More studies are required to address the precise role of each stilbene synthase gene in berry development and disease resistance. Transcriptional regulation of MYBA1, MYBA2, MYB5A and MYBPA1 as well as expression levels of their putative targets F3'H, F3'5'H, LDOX, UFGT, ANR, LAR1, and LAR2 are highly correlated with the characteristic anthocyanin and PA profiles in Norton berry skin. These results reveal a unique pattern of the regulation of transcription and biosynthesis pathways underlying the viticultural and enological characteristics of Norton grape, and yield new insights into the understanding of the flavonoid pathway in non-vinifera grape varieties.
The composition of grapevine berry at harvest is a major determinant of wine quality. Optimal oenological maturity of berries is characterized by a high sugar/acidity ratio, high anthocyanin content in the skin, and low astringency. However, harvest time is still mostly determined empirically, based on crude biochemical composition and berry tasting. In this context, it is interesting to identify genes that are expressed/repressed specifically at the late stages of ripening and which may be used as indicators of maturity.
Whole bunches and berries sorted by density were collected in vineyard on Chardonnay (white cultivar) grapevines for two consecutive years at three stages of ripening (7-days before harvest (TH-7), harvest (TH), and 10-days after harvest (TH+10)). Microvinification and sensory analysis indicate that the quality of the wines made from the whole bunches collected at TH-7, TH and TH+10 differed, TH providing the highest quality wines.
In parallel, gene expression was studied with Qiagen/Operon microarrays using two types of samples, i.e. whole bunches and berries sorted by density. Only 12 genes were consistently up- or down-regulated in whole bunches and density sorted berries for the two years studied in Chardonnay. 52 genes were differentially expressed between the TH-7 and TH samples. In order to determine whether these genes followed a similar pattern of expression during the late stages of berry ripening in a red cultivar, nine genes were selected for RT-PCR analysis with Cabernet Sauvignon grown under two different temperature regimes affecting the precocity of ripening. The expression profiles and their relationship to ripening were confirmed in Cabernet Sauvignon for seven genes, encoding a carotenoid cleavage dioxygenase, a galactinol synthase, a late embryogenesis abundant protein, a dirigent-like protein, a histidine kinase receptor, a valencene synthase and a putative S-adenosyl-L-methionine:salicylic acid carboxyl methyltransferase.
This set of up- and down-regulated genes characterize the late stages of berry ripening in the two cultivars studied, and are indirectly linked to wine quality. They might be used directly or indirectly to design immunological, biochemical or molecular tools aimed at the determination of optimal ripening in these cultivars.
Grape berry development is a dynamic process that involves a complex series of molecular genetic and biochemical changes divided into three major phases. During initial berry growth (Phase I), berry size increases along a sigmoidal growth curve due to cell division and subsequent cell expansion, and organic acids (mainly malate and tartrate), tannins, and hydroxycinnamates accumulate to peak levels. The second major phase (Phase II) is defined as a lag phase in which cell expansion ceases and sugars begin to accumulate. Véraison (the onset of ripening) marks the beginning of the third major phase (Phase III) in which berries undergo a second period of sigmoidal growth due to additional mesocarp cell expansion, accumulation of anthocyanin pigments for berry color, accumulation of volatile compounds for aroma, softening, peak accumulation of sugars (mainly glucose and fructose), and a decline in organic acid accumulation. In order to understand the transcriptional network responsible for controlling berry development, mRNA expression profiling was conducted on berries of V. vinifera Cabernet Sauvignon using the Affymetrix GeneChip® Vitis oligonucleotide microarray ver. 1.0 spanning seven stages of berry development from small pea size berries (E-L stages 31 to 33 as defined by the modified E-L system), through véraison (E-L stages 34 and 35), to mature berries (E-L stages 36 and 38). Selected metabolites were profiled in parallel with mRNA expression profiling to understand the effect of transcriptional regulatory processes on specific metabolite production that ultimately influence the organoleptic properties of wine.
Over the course of berry development whole fruit tissues were found to express an average of 74.5% of probes represented on the Vitis microarray, which has 14,470 Unigenes. Approximately 60% of the expressed transcripts were differentially expressed between at least two out of the seven stages of berry development (28% of transcripts, 4,151 Unigenes, had pronounced (≥2 fold) differences in mRNA expression) illustrating the dynamic nature of the developmental process. The subset of 4,151 Unigenes was split into twenty well-correlated expression profiles. Expression profile patterns included those with declining or increasing mRNA expression over the course of berry development as well as transient peak or trough patterns across various developmental stages as defined by the modified E-L system. These detailed surveys revealed the expression patterns for genes that play key functional roles in phytohormone biosynthesis and response, calcium sequestration, transport and signaling, cell wall metabolism mediating expansion, ripening, and softening, flavonoid metabolism and transport, organic and amino acid metabolism, hexose sugar and triose phosphate metabolism and transport, starch metabolism, photosynthesis, circadian cycles and pathogen resistance. In particular, mRNA expression patterns of transcription factors, abscisic acid (ABA) biosynthesis, and calcium signaling genes identified candidate factors likely to participate in the progression of key developmental events such as véraison and potential candidate genes associated with such processes as auxin partitioning within berry cells, aroma compound production, and pathway regulation and sequestration of flavonoid compounds. Finally, analysis of sugar metabolism gene expression patterns indicated the existence of an alternative pathway for glucose and triose phosphate production that is invoked from véraison to mature berries.
These results reveal the first high-resolution picture of the transcriptome dynamics that occur during seven stages of grape berry development. This work also establishes an extensive catalog of gene expression patterns for future investigations aimed at the dissection of the transcriptional regulatory hierarchies that govern berry development in a widely grown cultivar of wine grape. More importantly, this analysis identified a set of previously unknown genes potentially involved in critical steps associated with fruit development that can now be subjected to functional testing.
Cluster thinning is an agronomic practice in which a proportion of berry clusters are removed from the vine to increase the source/sink ratio and improve the quality of the remaining berries. Until now no transcriptomic data have been reported describing the mechanisms that underlie the agronomic and biochemical effects of thinning.
We profiled the transcriptome of Vitis vinifera cv. Sangiovese berries before and after thinning at veraison using a genome-wide microarray representing all grapevine genes listed in the latest V1 gene prediction. Thinning increased the source/sink ratio from 0.6 to 1.2 m2 leaf area per kg of berries and boosted the sugar and anthocyanin content at harvest. Extensive transcriptome remodeling was observed in thinned vines 2 weeks after thinning and at ripening. This included the enhanced modulation of genes that are normally regulated during berry development and the induction of a large set of genes that are not usually expressed.
Cluster thinning has a profound effect on several important cellular processes and metabolic pathways including carbohydrate metabolism and the synthesis and transport of secondary products. The integrated agronomic, biochemical and transcriptomic data revealed that the positive impact of cluster thinning on final berry composition reflects a much more complex outcome than simply enhancing the normal ripening process.
Most of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) cultivars grown today are those selected centuries ago, even though grapevine is one of the most important fruit crops in the world. Grapevine has therefore not benefited from the advances in modern plant breeding nor more recently from those in molecular genetics and genomics: genes controlling important agronomic traits are practically unknown. A physical map is essential to positionally clone such genes and instrumental in a genome sequencing project.
We report on the first whole genome physical map of grapevine built using high information content fingerprinting of 49,104 BAC clones from the cultivar Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir, as most grape varieties, is highly heterozygous at the sequence level. This resulted in the two allelic haplotypes sometimes assembling into separate contigs that had to be accommodated in the map framework or in local expansions of contig maps. We performed computer simulations to assess the effects of increasing levels of sequence heterozygosity on BAC fingerprint assembly and showed that the experimental assembly results are in full agreement with the theoretical expectations, given the heterozygosity levels reported for grape. The map is anchored to a dense linkage map consisting of 994 markers. 436 contigs are anchored to the genetic map, covering 342 of the 475 Mb that make up the grape haploid genome.
We have developed a resource that makes it possible to access the grapevine genome, opening the way to a new era both in grape genetics and breeding and in wine making. The effects of heterozygosity on the assembly have been analyzed and characterized by using several complementary approaches which could be easily transferred to the study of other genomes which present the same features.
Zinc (Zn) deficiency is one of the most widespread mineral nutritional problems that affect normal development in plants. Because Zn cannot passively diffuse across cell membranes, it must be transported into intracellular compartments for all biological processes where Zn is required. Several members of the Zinc-regulated transporters, Iron-regulated transporter-like Protein (ZIP) gene family have been characterized in plants, and have shown to be involved in metal uptake and transport. This study describes the first putative Zn transporter in grapevine. Unravelling its function may explain an important symptom of Zn deficiency in grapevines, which is the production of clusters with fewer and usually smaller berries than normal.
We identified and characterized a putative Zn transporter from berries of Vitis vinifera L., named VvZIP3. Compared to other members of the ZIP family identified in the Vitis vinifera L. genome, VvZIP3 is mainly expressed in reproductive tissue - specifically in developing flowers - which correlates with the high Zn accumulation in these organs. Contrary to this, the low expression of VvZIP3 in parthenocarpic berries shows a relationship with the lower Zn accumulation in this tissue than in normal seeded berries where its expression is induced by Zn. The predicted protein sequence indicates strong similarity with several members of the ZIP family from Arabidopsis thaliana and other species. Moreover, VvZIP3 complemented the growth defect of a yeast Zn-uptake mutant, ZHY3, and is localized in the plasma membrane of plant cells, suggesting that VvZIP3 has the function of a Zn uptake transporter.
Our results suggest that VvZIP3 encodes a putative plasma membrane Zn transporter protein member of the ZIP gene family that might play a role in Zn uptake and distribution during the early reproductive development in Vitis vinifera L., indicating that the availability of this micronutrient may be relevant for reproductive development.
Resveratrol is a major phytoalexin produced by plants in response to various stresses and promotes disease resistance. The resistance of North American grapevine Vitis rupestris is correlated with a hypersensitive reaction (HR), while susceptible European Vitis vinifera cv. ‘Pinot Noir’ does not exhibit HR, but expresses basal defence. We have shown previously that in cell lines derived from the two Vitis species, the bacterial effector Harpin induced a rapid and sensitive accumulation of stilbene synthase (StSy) transcripts, followed by massive cell death in V. rupestris. In the present work, we analysed the function of the phytoalexin resveratrol, the product of StSy. We found that cv. ‘Pinot Noir’ accumulated low resveratrol and its glycoside trans-piceid, whereas V. rupestris produced massive trans-resveratrol and the toxic oxidative δ-viniferin, indicating that the preferred metabolitism of resveratrol plays role in Vitis resistance. Cellular responses to resveratrol included rapid alkalinisation, accumulation of pathogenesis-related protein 5 (PR5) transcripts, oxidative burst, actin bundling, and cell death. Microtubule disruption and induction of StSy were triggered by Harpin, but not by resveratrol. Whereas most responses proceeded with different amplitude for the two cell lines, the accumulation of resveratrol, and the competence for resveratrol-induced oxidative burst differed in quality. The data lead to a model, where resveratrol, in addition to its classical role as antimicrobial phytoalexin, represents an important regulator for initiation of HR-related cell death.
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is one of the oldest and most important perennial crops being considered as a fruit ligneous tree model system in which the water status appears crucial for high fruit and wine quality, controlling productivity and alcohol level. V. vinifera genome contains 28 genes coding for aquaporins, which acting in a concerted and regulated manner appear relevant for plant withstanding extremely unfavorable drought conditions essential for the quality of berries and wine. Several Vv aquaporins have been reported to be expressed in roots, shoots, berries and leaves with clear cultivar differences in their expression level, making their in vivo biochemical characterization a difficult task. In this work V. vinifera cv. Touriga nacional VvTnPIP1;1, VvTnPIP2;2 and VvTnTIP2;1 were expressed in yeast and water transport activity was characterized in intact cells of the transformants. The three aquaporins were localized in the yeast plasma membrane but only VvTnTIP2;1 expression enhanced the water permeability with a concomitant decrease of the activation energy of water transport. Acidification of yeast cytosol resulted in loss of VvTnTIP2;1 activity. Sequence analysis revealed the presence of a His131 residue, unusual in TIPs. By site directed mutagenesis, replacement of this residue by aspartic acid or alanine resulted in loss of pHin dependence while replacement by lysine resulted in total loss of activity. In addition to characterization of VvTn aquaporins, these results shed light on the gating of a specific tonoplast aquaporin by cytosolic pH.