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1.  VpRFP1, a novel C4C4-type RING finger protein gene from Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata, functions as a transcriptional activator in defence response of grapevine 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2011;62(15):5671-5682.
RING finger proteins comprise a large family and play important roles in regulation of growth and development, hormone signalling, and responses to biotic and abiotic stresses in plants. In this study, the identification and functional characterization of a C4C4-type RING finger protein gene from the Chinese wild grapevine Vitis pseudoreticulata (designated VpRFP1) are reported. VpRFP1 was initially identified as an expressed sequence tag (EST) from a cDNA library constructed from leaves of V. pseudoreticulata inoculated with the grapevine powdery mildew Uncinula necator. Sequence analysis of the deduced VpRFP1 protein based on the full-length cDNA revealed an N-terminal nuclear localization signal (NLS) and a C-terminal C4C4-type RING finger motif with the consensus sequence Cys-X2-Cys-X13-Cys-X1-Cys-X4-Cys-X2-Cys-X10-Cys-X2-Cys. Upon inoculation with U. necator, expression of VpRFP1 was rapidly induced to higher levels in mildew-resistant V. pseudoreticulata plants. In contrast, expression of VpRFP1 was down-regulated in mildew-susceptible V. vinifera plants. Western blotting using an antibody raised against VpRFP1 showed that VpRFP1 was also induced to higher levels in V. pseudoreticulata plants at 12–48 hours post-inoculation (hpi). However, there was only slight increase in VpRFP in V. vinifera plants in the same time frame, even though a more significant increase was observed at 96–144 hpi in these plants. Results from transactivation assays in yeast showed that the RING finger motif of VpRFP1 exhibited some activity of transcriptional activation; however, no activity was seen with the full-length VpRFP1. Overexpression of VpRFP1 in Arabidopsis plants was found to enhance resistance to Arabidopsis powdery mildew Golovinomyces cichoracearum, which seemed to be correlated with increased transcript levels of AtPR1 and AtPR2 in the pathogen-infected tissues. In addition, the Arabidopsis transgenic lines showed enhanced resistance to a virulent bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato DC3000. Taken together, the results suggested that VpRFP1 may be a transcriptional activator of defence-related genes in grapevines.
PMCID: PMC3223060  PMID: 21862480
C4C4-type RING finger; Chinese wild Vitis pseudoreticulata; disease resistance; powdery mildew; VpRFP1
2.  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.
PMCID: PMC3881572  PMID: 24415838
Vitis pseudoreticulata; Retinoblastoma-related gene; Powdery mildew; Expression analysis
3.  Identification of mildew resistance in wild and cultivated Central Asian grape germplasm 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:149.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3851849  PMID: 24093598
Powdery mildew resistance; Vitis vinifera subsp. sativa; Vitis vinifera subsp. sylvestris; Gene flow
4.  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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3460772  PMID: 22882870
Grapevine; Dehydrin; Stress-induced expression; Powdery mildew; Promoter
5.  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.
PMCID: PMC2852663  PMID: 20190040
Eutypa dieback; Eutypa lata; grapevine; microarrays; transcriptome; Vitis vinifera
6.  Adaptive genomic structural variation in the grape powdery mildew pathogen, Erysiphe necator 
BMC Genomics  2014;15(1):1081.
Powdery mildew, caused by the obligate biotrophic fungus Erysiphe necator, is an economically important disease of grapevines worldwide. Large quantities of fungicides are used for its control, accelerating the incidence of fungicide-resistance. Copy number variations (CNVs) are unbalanced changes in the structure of the genome that have been associated with complex traits. In addition to providing the first description of the large and highly repetitive genome of E. necator, this study describes the impact of genomic structural variation on fungicide resistance in Erysiphe necator.
A shotgun approach was applied to sequence and assemble the genome of five E. necator isolates, and RNA-seq and comparative genomics were used to predict and annotate protein-coding genes. Our results show that the E. necator genome is exceptionally large and repetitive and suggest that transposable elements are responsible for genome expansion. Frequent structural variations were found between isolates and included copy number variation in EnCYP51, the target of the commonly used sterol demethylase inhibitor (DMI) fungicides. A panel of 89 additional E. necator isolates collected from diverse vineyard sites was screened for copy number variation in the EnCYP51 gene and for presence/absence of a point mutation (Y136F) known to result in higher fungicide tolerance. We show that an increase in EnCYP51 copy number is significantly more likely to be detected in isolates collected from fungicide-treated vineyards. Increased EnCYP51 copy numbers were detected with the Y136F allele, suggesting that an increase in copy number becomes advantageous only after the fungicide-tolerant allele is acquired. We also show that EnCYP51 copy number influences expression in a gene-dose dependent manner and correlates with fungal growth in the presence of a DMI fungicide.
Taken together our results show that CNV can be adaptive in the development of resistance to fungicides by providing increasing quantitative protection in a gene-dosage dependent manner. The results of this work not only demonstrate the effectiveness of using genomics to dissect complex traits in organisms with very limited molecular information, but also may have broader implications for understanding genomic dynamics in response to strong selective pressure in other pathogens with similar genome architectures.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-1081) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4298948  PMID: 25487071
Fungal genomics; Copy number variation; Genetic adaptation; Fungicide resistance; Cytochrome p450; CYP51
7.  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
8.  The powdery mildew resistance gene REN1 co-segregates with an NBS-LRR gene cluster in two Central Asian grapevines 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:89.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2814809  PMID: 20042081
9.  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.
PMCID: PMC3997386  PMID: 24759805
10.  Phylogeography and population structure of the grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, from diverse Vitis species 
The grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator, was introduced into Europe more than 160 years ago and is now distributed everywhere that grapes are grown. To understand the invasion history of this pathogen we investigated the evolutionary relationships between introduced populations of Europe, Australia and the western United States (US) and populations in the eastern US, where E. necator is thought to be native. Additionally, we tested the hypothesis that populations of E. necator in the eastern US are structured based on geography and Vitis host species.
We sequenced three nuclear gene regions covering 1803 nucleotides from 146 isolates of E. necator collected from the eastern US, Europe, Australia, and the western US. Phylogeographic analyses show that the two genetic groups in Europe represent two separate introductions and that the genetic groups may be derived from eastern US ancestors. Populations from the western US and Europe share haplotypes, suggesting that the western US population was introduced from Europe. Populations in Australia are derived from European populations. Haplotype richness and nucleotide diversity were significantly greater in the eastern US populations than in the introduced populations. Populations within the eastern US are geographically differentiated; however, no structure was detected with respect to host habitat (i.e., wild or cultivated). Populations from muscadine grapes, V. rotundifolia, are genetically distinct from populations from other Vitis host species, yet no differentiation was detected among populations from other Vitis species.
Multilocus sequencing analysis of the grape powdery mildew fungus is consistent with the hypothesis that populations in Europe, Australia and the western US are derived from two separate introductions and their ancestors were likely from native populations in the eastern US. The invasion history of E. necator follows a pattern consistent with plant-mediated dispersal, however, more exhaustive sampling is required to make more precise conclusions as to origin. E. necator shows no genetic structure across Vitis host species, except with respect to V. rotundifolia.
PMCID: PMC2941690  PMID: 20809968
11.  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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3170253  PMID: 21838877
12.  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.
PMCID: PMC4227267  PMID: 25340981
Vitis pseudoreticulata; pathogenesis-related protein 10; nuclease activity; anti-fungal activity; abiotic stresses
13.  Using a limited mapping strategy to identify major QTLs for resistance to grapevine powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) and their use in marker-assisted breeding 
A limited genetic mapping strategy based on simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker data was used with five grape populations segregating for powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) resistance in an effort to develop genetic markers from multiple sources and enable the pyramiding of resistance loci. Three populations derived their resistance from Muscadinia rotundifolia ‘Magnolia’. The first population (06708) had 97 progeny and was screened with 137 SSR markers from seven chromosomes (4, 7, 9, 12, 13, 15, and 18) that have been reported to be associated with powdery or downy mildew resistance. A genetic map was constructed using the pseudo-testcross strategy and QTL analysis was carried out. Only markers from chromosome 13 and 18 were mapped in the second (04327) and third (06712) populations, which had 47 and 80 progeny, respectively. Significant QTLs for powdery mildew resistance with overlapping genomic regions were identified for different tissue types (leaf, stem, rachis, and berry) on chromosome 18, which distinguishes the resistance in ‘Magnolia’ from that present in other accessions of M. rotundifolia and controlled by the Run1 gene on chromosome 12. The ‘Magnolia’ resistance locus was termed as Run2.1. Powdery mildew resistance was also mapped in a fourth population (08391), which had 255 progeny and resistance from M. rotundifolia ‘Trayshed’. A locus accounting for 50% of the phenotypic variation mapped to chromosome 18 and was named Run2.2. This locus overlapped the region found in the ‘Magnolia’-based populations, but the allele sizes of the flanking markers were different. ‘Trayshed’ and ‘Magnolia’ shared at least one allele for 68% of the tested markers, but alleles of the other 32% of the markers were not shared indicating that the two M. rotundifolia selections were very different. The last population, 08306 with 42 progeny, derived its resistance from a selection Vitis romanetii C166-043. Genetic mapping discovered a major powdery mildew resistance locus termed Ren4 on chromosome 18, which explained 70% of the phenotypic variation in the same region of chromosome 18 found in the two M. rotundifolia resistant accessions. The mapping results indicate that powdery mildew resistance genes from different backgrounds reside on chromosome 18, and that genetic markers can be used as a powerful tool to pyramid these loci and other powdery mildew resistance loci into a single line.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00122-010-1511-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3056998  PMID: 21188350
14.  Reference Gene Validation for Quantitative RT-PCR during Biotic and Abiotic Stresses in Vitis vinifera 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e111399.
Grapevine is one of the most cultivated fruit crop worldwide with Vitis vinifera being the species with the highest economical importance. Being highly susceptible to fungal pathogens and increasingly affected by environmental factors, it has become an important agricultural research area, where gene expression analysis plays a fundamental role. Quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) is currently amongst the most powerful techniques to perform gene expression studies. Nevertheless, accurate gene expression quantification strongly relies on appropriate reference gene selection for sample normalization. Concerning V. vinifera, limited information still exists as for which genes are the most suitable to be used as reference under particular experimental conditions. In this work, seven candidate genes were investigated for their stability in grapevine samples referring to four distinct stresses (Erysiphe necator, wounding and UV-C irradiation in leaves and Phaeomoniella chlamydospora colonization in wood). The expression stability was evaluated using geNorm, NormFinder and BestKeeper. In all cases, full agreement was not observed for the three methods. To provide comprehensive rankings integrating the three different programs, for each treatment, a consensus ranking was created using a non-weighted unsupervised rank aggregation method. According to the last, the three most suitable reference genes to be used in grapevine leaves, regardless of the stress, are UBC, VAG and PEP. For the P. chlamydospora treatment, EF1, CYP and UBC were the best scoring genes. Acquaintance of the most suitable reference genes to be used in grapevine samples can contribute for accurate gene expression quantification in forthcoming studies.
PMCID: PMC4207820  PMID: 25340748
15.  cDNA-AFLP analysis of plant and pathogen genes expressed in grapevine infected with Plasmopara viticola 
BMC Genomics  2008;9:142.
The oomycete Plasmopara viticola (Berk. and Curt.) Berl. and de Toni causes downy mildew in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). This pathogen is strictly biotrophic, thus completely dependent on living host cells for its survival. The molecular basis of compatibility and disease development in this system is poorly understood. We have carried out a large-scale cDNA-AFLP analysis to identify grapevine and P. viticola genes associated with the infection process.
We carried out cDNA-AFLP analysis on artificially infected leaves of the susceptible cultivar Riesling at the oil spot stage, on water-treated leaves and on a sample of pure sporangia as controls. Selective amplifications with 128 primer combinations allowed the visualization of about 7000 transcript-derived fragments (TDFs) in infected leaves, 1196 of which (17%) were differentially expressed. We sequenced 984 fragments, 804 of which were identified as grapevine transcripts after homology searching, while 96 were homologous to sequences in Phytophthora spp. databases and were attributed to P. viticola. There were 82 orphan TDFs. Many grapevine genes spanning almost all functional categories were downregulated during infection, especially genes involved in photosynthesis. Grapevine genes homologous to known resistance genes also tended to be repressed, as were several resistance gene analogs and carbonic anhydrase (recently implicated in pathogen resistance). In contrast, genes encoding cytoskeletal components, enzymes of the phenylpropanoid and beta-oxidation pathways, and pathogenesis related proteins were primarily upregulated during infection. The majority of P. viticola transcripts expressed in planta showed homology to genes of unknown function or to genomic Phytophthora sequences, but genes related to metabolism, energy production, transport and signal transduction were also identified.
This study provides the first global catalogue of grapevine and P. viticola genes expressed during infection, together with their functional annotations. This will help to elucidate the molecular basis of the infection process and identify genes and chemicals that could help to inhibit the pathogen.
PMCID: PMC2292706  PMID: 18366764
16.  Identification of microRNAs from Amur grape (vitis amurensis Rupr.) by deep sequencing and analysis of microRNA variations with bioinformatics 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:122.
MicroRNA (miRNA) is a class of functional non-coding small RNA with 19-25 nucleotides in length while Amur grape (Vitis amurensis Rupr.) is an important wild fruit crop with the strongest cold resistance among the Vitis species, is used as an excellent breeding parent for grapevine, and has elicited growing interest in wine production. To date, there is a relatively large number of grapevine miRNAs (vv-miRNAs) from cultivated grapevine varieties such as Vitis vinifera L. and hybrids of V. vinifera and V. labrusca, but there is no report on miRNAs from Vitis amurensis Rupr, a wild grapevine species.
A small RNA library from Amur grape was constructed and Solexa technology used to perform deep sequencing of the library followed by subsequent bioinformatics analysis to identify new miRNAs. In total, 126 conserved miRNAs belonging to 27 miRNA families were identified, and 34 known but non-conserved miRNAs were also found. Significantly, 72 new potential Amur grape-specific miRNAs were discovered. The sequences of these new potential va-miRNAs were further validated through miR-RACE, and accumulation of 18 new va-miRNAs in seven tissues of grapevines confirmed by real time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR) analysis. The expression levels of va-miRNAs in flowers and berries were found to be basically consistent in identity to those from deep sequenced sRNAs libraries of combined corresponding tissues. We also describe the conservation and variation of va-miRNAs using miR-SNPs and miR-LDs during plant evolution based on comparison of orthologous sequences, and further reveal that the number and sites of miR-SNP in diverse miRNA families exhibit distinct divergence. Finally, 346 target genes for the new miRNAs were predicted and they include a number of Amur grape stress tolerance genes and many genes regulating anthocyanin synthesis and sugar metabolism.
Deep sequencing of short RNAs from Amur grape flowers and berries identified 72 new potential miRNAs and 34 known but non-conserved miRNAs, indicating that specific miRNAs exist in Amur grape. These results show that a number of regulatory miRNAs exist in Amur grape and play an important role in Amur grape growth, development, and response to abiotic or biotic stress.
PMCID: PMC3353164  PMID: 22455456
Amur grape; microRNA; Sequences evolution; Solexa sequencing; miR-RACE; qRT-PCR
17.  Genomic Organization, Phylogenetic Comparison and Differential Expression of the SBP-Box Family Genes in Grape 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e59358.
The SBP-box gene family is specific to plants and encodes a class of zinc finger-containing transcription factors with a broad range of functions. Although SBP-box genes have been identified in numerous plants including green algae, moss, silver birch, snapdragon, Arabidopsis, rice and maize, there is little information concerning SBP-box genes, or the corresponding miR156/157, function in grapevine.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Eighteen SBP-box gene family members were identified in Vitis vinifera, twelve of which bore sequences that were complementary to miRNA156/157. Phylogenetic reconstruction demonstrated that plant SBP-domain proteins could be classified into seven subgroups, with the V. vinifera SBP-domain proteins being more closely related to SBP-domain proteins from dicotyledonous angiosperms than those from monocotyledonous angiosperms. In addition, synteny analysis between grape and Arabidopsis demonstrated that homologs of several grape SBP genes were found in corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis. Expression analysis of the grape SBP-box genes in various organs and at different stages of fruit development in V. quinquangularis ‘Shang-24’ revealed distinct spatiotemporal patterns. While the majority of the grape SBP-box genes lacking a miR156/157 target site were expressed ubiquitously and constitutively, most genes bearing a miR156/157 target site exhibited distinct expression patterns, possibly due to the inhibitory role of the microRNA. Furthermore, microarray data mining and quantitative real-time RT-PCR analysis identified several grape SBP-box genes that are potentially involved in the defense against biotic and abiotic stresses.
The results presented here provide a further understanding of SBP-box gene function in plants, and yields additional insights into the mechanism of stress management in grape, which may have important implications for the future success of this crop.
PMCID: PMC3601960  PMID: 23527172
18.  Spliceosomal intron size expansion in domesticated grapevine (Vitis vinifera) 
BMC Research Notes  2011;4:52.
Spliceosomal introns are important components of eukaryotic genes as their structure, sizes and contents reflect the architecture of gene and genomes. Intron size, determined by both neutral evolution, repetitive elements activities and potential functional constraints, varies significantly in eukaryotes, suggesting unique dynamics and evolution in different lineages of eukaryotic organisms. However, the evolution of intron size, is rarely studied. To investigate intron size dynamics in flowering plants, in particular domesticated grapevines, a survey of intron size and content in wine grape (Vitis vinifera Pinot Noir) genes was conducted by assembling and mapping the transcriptome of V. vinifera genes from ESTs to characterize and analyze spliceosomal introns.
Uncommonly large size of spliceosomal intron was observed in V. vinifera genome, otherwise inconsistent with overall genome size dynamics when comparing Arabidopsis, Populus and Vitis. In domesticated grapevine, intron size is generally not related to gene function. The composition of enlarged introns in grapevines indicated extensive transposable element (TE) activity within intronic regions. TEs comprise about 80% of the expanded intron space and in particular, recent LTR retrotransposon insertions are enriched in these intronic regions, suggesting an intron size expansion in the lineage leading to domesticated grapevine, instead of size contractions in Arabidopsis and Populus. Comparative analysis of selected intronic regions in V. vinifera cultivars and wild grapevine species revealed that accelerated TE activity was associated with grapevine domestication, and in some cases with the development of specific cultivars.
In this study, we showed intron size expansion driven by TE activities in domesticated grapevines, likely a result of long-term vegetative propagation and intensive human care, which simultaneously promote TE proliferation and repress TE removal mechanisms such as recombination. The intron size expansion observed in domesticated grapevines provided an example of rapid plant genome evolution in response to artificial selection and propagation, and may shed light on the important genomic changes during domestication. In addition, the transcriptome approach used to gather intron size data significantly improved annotations of the V. vinifera genome.
PMCID: PMC3058033  PMID: 21385391
19.  A comprehensive survey of the grapevine VQ gene family and its transcriptional correlation with WRKY proteins 
WRKY proteins are a class of transcription factors (TFs) involved in the regulation of various physiological processes, including the plant response to biotic and abiotic stresses. Recent studies in Arabidopsis have revealed that some WRKY TFs interact with a class of proteins designed as VQ proteins because of their typical conserved motif (FxxxVQxLTG). So far, no information is available about the genomic organization and the function of VQ motif-containing protein in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L). In the current study, we analyzed the 12X V1 prediction of the nearly homozygous PN40024 genotype identifying up to 18 predicted VQ genes (VvVQ). VvVQs phylogenetic and bioinformatic analyses indicated that the intron-exon structures and motif distribution are highly divergent between different members of the grapevine VQ family. Moreover, the analysis of the V. vinifera cv. Corvina expression atlas revealed a tissue- and stage-specific expression of several members of the family which also showed a significant correlation with WRKY TFs. Grapevine VQ genes also exhibited altered expression in response to drought, powdery mildew infection, salicylic acid (SA) and ethylene (ETH) treatments. The present study represents the first characterization of VQ genes in a grapevine genotype and it is a pivotal foundation for further studies aimed at functionally characterizing this mostly unknown grapevine multigenic family.
PMCID: PMC4464145  PMID: 26124765
grapevine; VQ gene family; gene expression; drought treatment; biotic stress; WRKY protein; co-expression network
20.  Evolution and expression analysis of the grape (Vitis vinifera L.) WRKY gene family 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(6):1513-1528.
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.
PMCID: PMC3967086  PMID: 24510937
Evolution; expression profile analysis; grape (Vitis vinifera L.); phylogenetic analysis; synteny analysis; WRKY genes.
21.  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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2831845  PMID: 20167053
22.  Genome-wide transcriptional analysis of grapevine berry ripening reveals a set of genes similarly modulated during three seasons and the occurrence of an oxidative burst at vèraison 
BMC Genomics  2007;8:428.
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.
PMCID: PMC2228314  PMID: 18034875
23.  Local and systemic mycorrhiza-induced protection against the ectoparasitic nematode Xiphinema index involves priming of defence gene responses in grapevine 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2012;63(10):3657-3672.
The ectoparasitic dagger nematode (Xiphinema index), vector of Grapevine fanleaf virus (GFLV), provokes gall formation and can cause severe damage to the root system of grapevines. Mycorrhiza formation by Glomus (syn. Rhizophagus) intraradices BEG141 reduced both gall formation on roots of the grapevine rootstock SO4 (Vitis berlandieri×V. riparia) and nematode number in the surrounding soil. Suppressive effects increased with time and were greater when the nematode was post-inoculated rather than co-inoculated with the arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungus. Using a split-root system, decreased X. index development was shown in mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal parts of mycorrhizal root systems, indicating that both local and systemic induced bioprotection mechanisms were active against the ectoparasitic nematode. Expression analyses of ESTs (expressed sequence tags) generated in an SSH (subtractive suppressive hybridization) library, representing plant genes up-regulated during mycorrhiza-induced control of X. index, and of described grapevine defence genes showed activation of chitinase 1b, pathogenesis-related 10, glutathione S-transferase, stilbene synthase 1, 5-enolpyruvyl shikimate-3-phosphate synthase, and a heat shock proein 70-interacting protein in association with the observed local and/or systemic induced bioprotection against the nematode. Overall, the data suggest priming of grapevine defence responses by the AM fungus and transmission of a plant-mediated signal to non-mycorrhizal tissues. Grapevine gene responses during AM-induced local and systemic bioprotection against X. index point to biological processes that are related either to direct effects on the nematode or to protection against nematode-imposed stress to maintain root tissue integrity.
PMCID: PMC3388824  PMID: 22407649
Arbuscular mycorrhiza; bioprotection; defence gene expression; grapevine; split-root system; Xiphinema index
24.  Genome-wide Identification and Expression Analysis of the CDPK Gene Family in Grape, Vitis spp 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:164.
Calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs) play vital roles in plant growth and development, biotic and abiotic stress responses, and hormone signaling. Little is known about the CDPK gene family in grapevine.
In this study, we performed a genome-wide analysis of the 12X grape genome (Vitis vinifera) and identified nineteen CDPK genes. Comparison of the structures of grape CDPK genes allowed us to examine their functional conservation and differentiation. Segmentally duplicated grape CDPK genes showed high structural conservation and contributed to gene family expansion. Additional comparisons between grape and Arabidopsis thaliana demonstrated that several grape CDPK genes occured in the corresponding syntenic blocks of Arabidopsis, suggesting that these genes arose before the divergence of grapevine and Arabidopsis. Phylogenetic analysis divided the grape CDPK genes into four groups. Furthermore, we examined the expression of the corresponding nineteen homologous CDPK genes in the Chinese wild grape (Vitis pseudoreticulata) under various conditions, including biotic stress, abiotic stress, and hormone treatments. The expression profiles derived from reverse transcription and quantitative PCR suggested that a large number of VpCDPKs responded to various stimuli on the transcriptional level, indicating their versatile roles in the responses to biotic and abiotic stresses. Moreover, we examined the subcellular localization of VpCDPKs by transiently expressing six VpCDPK-GFP fusion proteins in Arabidopsis mesophyll protoplasts; this revealed high variability consistent with potential functional differences.
Taken as a whole, our data provide significant insights into the evolution and function of grape CDPKs and a framework for future investigation of grape CDPK genes.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-015-0552-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4485369  PMID: 26122404
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) (Vitis pseudoreticulata); CDPK; Synteny analysis; Phylogenetic tree; Subcellular localization; expression profiles
25.  Downy mildew resistance induced by Trichoderma harzianum T39 in susceptible grapevines partially mimics transcriptional changes of resistant genotypes 
BMC Genomics  2012;13:660.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3551682  PMID: 23173562
Induced resistance; Next generation sequencing; RNA-Seq; Transcriptomics; Gene expression; Vitis vinifera; Plant-pathogen interactions

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