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1.  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
2.  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
3.  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
4.  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
5.  Grapevine MLO candidates required for powdery mildew pathogenicity? 
Plant Signaling & Behavior  2009;4(6):522-523.
MLOs belong to the largest family of seven-transmembrane (7TM) domain proteins found in plants. The Arabidopsis and rice genomes contain 15 and 12 MLO family members, respectively. Although the biological function of most MLO family members remains elusive, a select group of MLO proteins have been demonstrated to negatively regulate defence responses to the obligate biotrophic pathogen, powdery mildew, thereby acting as “susceptibility” genes. Recently we identified a family of 17 putative VvMLO genes in the genome of the cultivated winegrape species, Vitis vinifera. Expression analysis indicated that the VvMLO family members respond differently to biotic and abiotic stimuli. Infection of V. vinifera by grape powdery mildew (Erysiphe necator) specifically upregulates four VvMLO genes that are orthologous to the Arabidopsis and tomato MLOs previously demonstrated to be required for powdery mildew susceptibility. We postulate that one or more of these E. necator responsive VvMLOs may have a role in the powdery mildew susceptibility of grapevine.
PMCID: PMC2688300  PMID: 19816131
MLO; powdery mildew; resistance; susceptibility; grapevine
6.  Genetic Structure and Aggressiveness of Erysiphe necator Populations during Grapevine Powdery Mildew Epidemics ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2008;74(20):6327-6332.
Isolates of the causal ascomycete of grapevine powdery mildew, Erysiphe necator, correspond to two genetically differentiated groups (A and B) that coexist on the same host. This coexistence was analyzed by investigating temporal changes in the genetic and phenotypic structures of E. necator populations during three epidemics. Group A was present only at the start of the growing season, whereas group B was present throughout all three epidemics. Group A was less aggressive in terms of germination and infection efficiency but was more aggressive than group B in terms of the latency period, lesion diameter, and spore production. Our results are consistent with a temporal differentiation of niches, preventing recombination, and suggest an association between the disease level and the frequencies of genetic groups.
PMCID: PMC2570294  PMID: 18723657
7.  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
8.  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
9.  Identification of the dehydrin gene family from grapevine species and analysis of their responsiveness to various forms of abiotic and biotic stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:140.
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
10.  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
11.  Genetic Similarity of Flag Shoot and Ascospore Subpopulations of Erysiphe necator in Italy†  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2005;71(12):7788-7791.
The overwintering mode of the grape powdery mildew fungus, Erysiphe necator (syn. Uncinula necator), as mycelium in dormant buds (resulting in symptoms known as flag shoots) or as ascospores in cleistothecia, affects the temporal dynamics of epidemics early in the growing season. We tested whether distinct genetic groups (I and III) identified previously in E. necator correlate to overwintering modes in two vineyards in Tuscany, Italy, to determine whether diagnostic genetic markers could be used to predict overwintering. Samples from one vineyard were collected from flag shoots; the other vineyard, 60 km away, had no flag shoots, and mildew colonies were assumed to be derived from ascospores. Genetic markers putatively diagnostic for groups I and III showed that both types were common in the flag shoot subpopulation. Both genetic types were found in the ascospore population, although group III was dominant. We did not find strong genetic differentiation between the two subpopulations based on inter-simple sequence repeat markers. Although there was significant (P < 0.001) genetic differentiation between these subpopulations in 1997 and when 1997 and 1998 subpopulations were pooled (θ = 0.214 and 0.150, respectively), no differentiation was evident between vineyards in 1998 (θ = 0.138, P = 0.872). Moreover, we did not observe distinct lineages corresponding to overwintering modes, as observed in previous studies. We could not determine if differentiation resulted from biological differences or restricted gene flow between the two vineyards. Our samples were taken from both subpopulations early in the epidemic, while previous studies confounded overwintering mode and sampling time. These results do not support a strong correlation between overwintering and genetic groups, highlighting the need to base population biology studies on sound biological and epidemiological knowledge.
PMCID: PMC1317322  PMID: 16332752
12.  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
13.  VitisNet: “Omics” Integration through Grapevine Molecular Networks 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(12):e8365.
Genomic data release for the grapevine has increased exponentially in the last five years. The Vitis vinifera genome has been sequenced and Vitis EST, transcriptomic, proteomic, and metabolomic tools and data sets continue to be developed. The next critical challenge is to provide biological meaning to this tremendous amount of data by annotating genes and integrating them within their biological context. We have developed and validated a system of Grapevine Molecular Networks (VitisNet).
Methodology/Principal Findings
The sequences from the Vitis vinifera (cv. Pinot Noir PN40024) genome sequencing project and ESTs from the Vitis genus have been paired and the 39,424 resulting unique sequences have been manually annotated. Among these, 13,145 genes have been assigned to 219 networks. The pathway sets include 88 “Metabolic”, 15 “Genetic Information Processing”, 12 “Environmental Information Processing”, 3 “Cellular Processes”, 21 “Transport”, and 80 “Transcription Factors”. The quantitative data is loaded onto molecular networks, allowing the simultaneous visualization of changes in the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome for a given experiment.
VitisNet uses manually annotated networks in SBML or XML format, enabling the integration of large datasets, streamlining biological functional processing, and improving the understanding of dynamic processes in systems biology experiments. VitisNet is grounded in the Vitis vinifera genome (currently at 8x coverage) and can be readily updated with subsequent updates of the genome or biochemical discoveries. The molecular network files can be dynamically searched by pathway name or individual genes, proteins, or metabolites through the MetNet Pathway database and web-portal at All VitisNet files including the manual annotation of the grape genome encompassing pathway names, individual genes, their genome identifier, and chromosome location can be accessed and downloaded from the VitisNet tab at
PMCID: PMC2791446  PMID: 20027228
14.  Identification of Genes Directly Involved in Shell Formation and Their Functions in Pearl Oyster, Pinctada fucata 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(7):e21860.
Mollusk shell formation is a fascinating aspect of biomineralization research. Shell matrix proteins play crucial roles in the control of calcium carbonate crystallization during shell formation in the pearl oyster, Pinctada fucata. Characterization of biomineralization-related genes during larval development could enhance our understanding of shell formation. Genes involved in shell biomineralization were isolated by constructing three suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) libraries that represented genes expressed at key points during larval shell formation. A total of 2,923 ESTs from these libraries were sequenced and gave 990 unigenes. Unigenes coding for secreted proteins and proteins with tandem-arranged repeat units were screened in the three SSH libraries. A set of sequences coding for genes involved in shell formation was obtained. RT-PCR and in situ hybridization assays were carried out on five genes to investigate their spatial expression in several tissues, especially the mantle tissue. They all showed a different expression pattern from known biomineralization-related genes. Inhibition of the five genes by RNA interference resulted in different defects of the nacreous layer, indicating that they all were involved in aragonite crystallization. Intriguingly, one gene (UD_Cluster94.seq.Singlet1) was restricted to the ‘aragonitic line’. The current data has yielded for the first time, to our knowledge, a suite of biomineralization-related genes active during the developmental stages of P.fucata, five of which were responsible for nacreous layer formation. This provides a useful starting point for isolating new genes involved in shell formation. The effects of genes on the formation of the ‘aragonitic line’, and other areas of the nacreous layer, suggests a different control mechanism for aragonite crystallization initiation from that of mature aragonite growth.
PMCID: PMC3128620  PMID: 21747964
15.  Recent amplification and impact of MITEs on the genome of grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are a particular type of defective class II transposons present in genomes as highly homogeneous populations of small elements. Their high copy number and close association to genes make their potential impact on gene evolution particularly relevant. Here, we present a detailed analysis of the MITE families directly related to grapevine “cut-and-paste” transposons. Our results show that grapevine MITEs have transduplicated and amplified genomic sequences, including gene sequences and fragments of other mobile elements. Our results also show that although some of the MITE families were already present in the ancestor of the European and American Vitis wild species, they have been amplified and have been actively transposing accompanying grapevine domestication and breeding. We show that MITEs are abundant in grapevine and some of them are frequently inserted within the untranslated regions of grapevine genes. MITE insertions are highly polymorphic among grapevine cultivars, which frequently generate transcript variability. The data presented here show that MITEs have greatly contributed to the grapevine genetic diversity which has been used for grapevine domestication and breeding.
PMCID: PMC2817404  PMID: 20333179
Vitis; transposon; MITE
16.  A mutation in the 14 alpha-demethylase gene of Uncinula necator that correlates with resistance to a sterol biosynthesis inhibitor. 
We investigated the molecular basis of resistance of the obligate biotrophic grape powdery mildew fungus Uncinula necator to sterol demethylation-inhibiting fungicides (DMIs). The sensitivity of 91 single-spore field isolates of U. necator to triadimenol was assessed by using a leaf disc assay. Resistance factors (RF) ranged from 1.8 to 26.0. The gene encoding the target of DMIs (eburicol 14 alpha-demethylase) from five sensitive and seven resistant isolates was cloned and sequenced. A single mutation, leading to the substitution of a phenylalanine residue for a tyrosine residue at position 136, was found in all isolates exhibiting an RF higher than 5. No mutation was found in sensitive or weakly resistant (RF, < 5) isolates. An allele-specific PCR assay was developed to detect the mutation. Among the 91 isolates tested, only isolates with RF higher than 5 carried the mutation. Three of the 19 resistant isolates and all sensitive and weakly resistant isolates did not possess the mutation. The mutation at codon 136 is thus clearly associated with high levels of resistance to triadimenol.
PMCID: PMC168594  PMID: 9251183
17.  Genome Wide Transcriptional Profile Analysis of Vitis amurensis and Vitis vinifera in Response to Cold Stress 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58740.
Grape is one of the most important fruit crops worldwide. The suitable geographical locations and productivity of grapes are largely limited by temperature. Vitis amurensis is a wild grapevine species with remarkable cold-tolerance, exceeding that of Vitis vinifera, the dominant cultivated species of grapevine. However, the molecular mechanisms that contribute to the enhanced freezing tolerance of V. amurensis remain unknown. Here we used deep sequencing data from restriction endonuclease-generated cDNA fragments to evaluate the whole genome wide modification of transcriptome of V. amurensis under cold treatment. Vitis vinifera cv. Muscat of Hamburg was used as control to help investigate the distinctive features of V. amruensis in responding to cold stress. Approximately 9 million tags were sequenced from non-cold treatment (NCT) and cold treatment (CT) cDNA libraries in each species of grapevine sampled from shoot apices. Alignment of tags into V. vinifera cv. Pinot noir (PN40024) annotated genome identified over 15,000 transcripts in each library in V. amruensis and more than 16,000 in Muscat of Hamburg. Comparative analysis between NCT and CT libraries indicate that V. amurensis has fewer differential expressed genes (DEGs, 1314 transcripts) than Muscat of Hamburg (2307 transcripts) when exposed to cold stress. Common DEGs (408 transcripts) suggest that some genes provide fundamental roles during cold stress in grapes. The most robust DEGs (more than 20-fold change) also demonstrated significant differences between two kinds of grapevine, indicating that cold stress may trigger species specific pathways in V. amurensis. Functional categories of DEGs indicated that the proportion of up-regulated transcripts related to metabolism, transport, signal transduction and transcription were more abundant in V. amurensis. Several highly expressed transcripts that were found uniquely accumulated in V. amurensis are discussed in detail. This subset of unique candidate transcripts may contribute to the excellent cold-hardiness of V. amurensis.
PMCID: PMC3596283  PMID: 23516547
18.  Comparative analysis of expressed sequence tags (ESTs) between drought-tolerant and -susceptible genotypes of chickpea under terminal drought stress 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:70.
Chickpea (Cicer arietinum L.) is an important grain-legume crop that is mainly grown in rainfed areas, where terminal drought is a major constraint to its productivity. We generated expressed sequence tags (ESTs) by suppression subtraction hybridization (SSH) to identify differentially expressed genes in drought-tolerant and -susceptible genotypes in chickpea.
EST libraries were generated by SSH from root and shoot tissues of IC4958 (drought tolerant) and ICC 1882 (drought resistant) exposed to terminal drought conditions by the dry down method. SSH libraries were also constructed by using 2 sets of bulks prepared from the RNA of root tissues from selected recombinant inbred lines (RILs) (10 each) for the extreme high and low root biomass phenotype. A total of 3062 unigenes (638 contigs and 2424 singletons), 51.4% of which were novel in chickpea, were derived by cluster assembly and sequence alignment of 5949 ESTs. Only 2185 (71%) unigenes showed significant BLASTX similarity (<1E-06) in the NCBI non-redundant (nr) database. Gene ontology functional classification terms (BLASTX results and GO term), were retrieved for 2006 (92.0%) sequences, and 656 sequences were further annotated with 812 Enzyme Commission (EC) codes and were mapped to 108 different KEGG pathways. In addition, expression status of 830 unigenes in response to terminal drought stress was evaluated using macro-array (dot blots). The expression of few selected genes was validated by northern blotting and quantitative real-time PCR assay.
Our study compares not only genes that are up- and down-regulated in a drought-tolerant genotype under terminal drought stress and a drought susceptible genotype but also between the bulks of the selected RILs exhibiting extreme phenotypes. More than 50% of the genes identified have been shown to be associated with drought stress in chickpea for the first time. This study not only serves as resource for marker discovery, but can provide a better insight into the selection of candidate genes (both up- and downregulated) associated with drought tolerance. These results can be used to identify suitable targets for manipulating the drought-tolerance trait in chickpea.
PMCID: PMC3110109  PMID: 21513527
19.  Identification of stress-responsive genes in Ammopiptanthus mongolicus using ESTs generated from cold- and drought-stressed seedlings 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:88.
Ammopiptanthus mongolicus is the only evergreen broadleaf shrub in the northwest desert of China, which can survive long-term aridity and extremely cold environments. In order to understand the genetic mechanisms underlying stress tolerance and adaptation to unfavorable environments of woody plants, an EST approach was used to investigate expression patterns of A. mongolicus in response to abiotic stresses.
ESTs were generated from a cDNA library constructed from A. mongolicus seedlings subjected to cold and drought stresses. Analysis of 5,637 cDNA sequences led to the identification of 5,282 ESTs and 1,594 unigenes, which were denoted as the AmCDUnigene set. Of these, 70% of unigenes were annotated and classified into 12 functional categories according to Gene Ontology, and 30% of unigenes encoded unknown function proteins, suggesting some of them were novel or A. mongolicus specific genes. Using comparative analysis with the reported genes from other plants, 528 (33%) unigenes were identified as stress-responsive genes. The functional classification of the 528 genes showed that a majority of them are associated with scavenging reactive oxygen species, stress response, cellular transport, signal transduction and transcription. To further identify candidate abiotic stress-tolerance genes, the 528 stress-responsive genes were compared with reported abiotic stress genes in the Comparative Stress Genes Catalog of GCP. This comparative analysis identified 120 abiotic stress-responsive genes, and their expression in A. mongolicus seedlings under cold or drought stress were characterized by qRT-PCR. Significantly, 82 genes responded to cold and/or drought stress. These cold- and/or drought-inducible genes confirmed that the ROS network, signal transduction and osmolyte accumulation undergo transcriptional reorganization when exposed to cold or drought stress treatments. Additionally, among the 1,594 unigenes sequences, 155 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) were identified.
This study represents a comprehensive analysis of cold and/or drought stress-responsive transcriptiome of A. mongolicus. The newly characterized genes and gene-derived markers from the AmCDUnigene set are valuable resources for a better understanding of the mechanisms that govern stress tolerance in A. mongolicus and other related species. Certain up-regulated genes characterizing these processes are potential targets for breeding for cold and/or drought tolerance of woody plants.
PMCID: PMC3679971  PMID: 23734749
Ammopiptanthus mongolicus; Cold tolerance; Differential expression; Drought tolerance; Expressed sequence tags; Stress-responsive genes
20.  Gene Expression Profiling in the Thiamethoxam Resistant and Susceptible B-biotype Sweetpotato Whitefly, Bemisia tabaci  
Thiamethoxam has been used as a major insecticide to control the B-biotype sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Due to its excessive use, a high level of resistance to thiamethoxam has developed worldwide over the past several years. To better understand the molecular mechanisms underlying this resistance in B. tabaci, gene profiles between the thiamethoxam-resistant and thiamethoxam-susceptible strains were investigated using the suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) library approach. A total of 72 and 52 upand down-regulated genes were obtained from the forward and reverse SSH libraries, respectively. These expressed sequence tags (ESTs) belong to several functional categories based on their gene ontology annotation. Some categories such as cell communication, response to abiotic stimulus, lipid particle, and nuclear envelope were identified only in the forward library of thiamethoxam-resistant strains. In contrast, categories such as behavior, cell proliferation, nutrient reservoir activity, sequence-specific DNA binding transcription factor activity, and signal transducer activity were identified solely in the reverse library.
To study the validity of the SSH method, 16 differentially expressed genes from both forward and reverse SSH libraries were selected randomly for further analyses using quantitative realtime PCR (qRT-PCR). The qRT-PCR results were fairly consistent with the SSH results; however, only 50% of the genes showed significantly different expression profiles between the thiamethoxam-resistant and thiamethoxam-susceptible whiteflies. Among these genes, a putative NAD-dependent methanol dehydrogenase was substantially over-expressed in the thiamethoxamresistant adults compared to their susceptible counterparts. The distributed profiles show that it was highly expressed during the egg stage, and was most abundant in the abdomen of adult females.
PMCID: PMC3476951  PMID: 22957505
insecticide resistance; quantitative real-time PCR; NAD-dependent methanol dehydrogenase; sap-sucking insect; suppression subtractive hybridization
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.  Expressed sequence tags from organ-specific cDNA libraries of tea (Camellia sinensis) and polymorphisms and transferability of EST-SSRs across Camellia species 
Breeding Science  2012;62(2):186-195.
Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world and the tea plant, Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze, is an important crop in many countries. To increase the amount of genomic information available for C. sinensis, we constructed seven cDNA libraries from various organs and used these to generate expressed sequence tags (ESTs). A total of 17,458 ESTs were generated and assembled into 5,262 unigenes. About 50% of the unigenes were assigned annotations by Gene Ontology. Some were homologous to genes involved in important biological processes, such as nitrogen assimilation, aluminum response, and biosynthesis of caffeine and catechins. Digital northern analysis showed that 67 unigenes were expressed differentially among the seven organs. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) motif searches among the unigenes identified 1,835 unigenes (34.9%) harboring SSR motifs of more than six repeat units. A subset of 100 EST-SSR primer sets was tested for amplification and polymorphism in 16 tea accessions. Seventy-one primer sets successfully amplified EST-SSRs and 70 EST-SSR loci were polymorphic. Furthermore, these 70 EST-SSR markers were transferable to 14 other Camellia species. The ESTs and EST-SSR markers will enhance the study of important traits and the molecular genetics of tea plants and other Camellia species.
PMCID: PMC3405963  PMID: 23136530
Camellia sinensis; tea plants; expressed sequence tags; EST-SSR
23.  Molecular and phenotypic characterisation of novel Phaeoacremonium species isolated from esca diseased grapevines 
Petri disease and esca are very destructive grapevine decline diseases that occur in most countries where grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is cultivated. Phaeoacremonium species are among the principal hyphomycetes associated with symptoms of the two diseases, producing a range of enzymes and phytotoxic metabolites. The present study compared the phylogeny of a global collection of 118 Phaeoacremonium isolates from grapevines, in order to gain a better understanding of their involvement in Petri disease and esca. Phylogenetic analyses of combined DNA sequence datasets of actin and β-tubulin genes revealed the presence of 13 species of Phaeoacremonium isolated from esca diseased grapevines. Phaeoacremonium aleophilum was the most frequently isolated species with an incidence up to 80 % of all isolates investigated. Species previously described mainly as human pathogenic species, namely Pm. alvesii, Pm. griseorubrum and Pm. rubrigenum are newly reported on grapevine from Turkey, Italy and Croatia, respectively. Phaeoacremonium viticola and Pm. scotyli represent new records for Italy, as well as Pm. mortoniae for Hungary and Croatia. In addition, four new species of Phaeoacremonium, namely Pm. croatiense, Pm. hungaricum, Pm. sicilianum and Pm. tuscanum are newly described from grapevine based on morphology, cultural characteristics, as well as molecular phylogeny.
PMCID: PMC2846134  PMID: 20396582
actin; β-tubulin; esca; morphology; Phaeoacremonium; phylogeny
24.  Grapevine cell early activation of specific responses to DIMEB, a resveratrol elicitor 
BMC Genomics  2009;10:363.
In response to pathogen attack, grapevine synthesizes phytoalexins belonging to the family of stilbenes. Grapevine cell cultures represent a good model system for studying the basic mechanisms of plant response to biotic and abiotic elicitors. Among these, modified β-cyclodextrins seem to act as true elicitors inducing strong production of the stilbene resveratrol.
The transcriptome changes of Vitis riparia × Vitis berlandieri grapevine cells in response to the modified β-cyclodextrin, DIMEB, were analyzed 2 and 6 h after treatment using a suppression subtractive hybridization experiment and a microarray analysis respectively. At both time points, we identified a specific set of induced genes belonging to the general phenylpropanoid metabolism, including stilbenes and hydroxycinnamates, and to defence proteins such as PR proteins and chitinases. At 6 h we also observed a down-regulation of the genes involved in cell division and cell-wall loosening.
We report the first large-scale study of the molecular effects of DIMEB, a resveratrol inducer, on grapevine cell cultures. This molecule seems to mimic a defence elicitor which enhances the physical barriers of the cell, stops cell division and induces phytoalexin synthesis.
PMCID: PMC2743712  PMID: 19660119
25.  ESTs Analysis Reveals Putative Genes Involved in Symbiotic Seed Germination in Dendrobium officinale 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e72705.
Dendrobiumofficinale (Orchidaceae) is one of the world’s most endangered plants with great medicinal value. In nature, D. officinale seeds must establish symbiotic relationships with fungi to germinate. However, the molecular events involved in the interaction between fungus and plant during this process are poorly understood. To isolate the genes involved in symbiotic germination, a suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) cDNA library of symbiotically germinated D. officinale seeds was constructed. From this library, 1437 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) were clustered to 1074 Unigenes (including 902 singletons and 172 contigs), which were searched against the NCBI non-redundant (NR) protein database (E-value cutoff, e-5). Based on sequence similarity with known proteins, 579 differentially expressed genes in D. officinale were identified and classified into different functional categories by Gene Ontology (GO), Clusters of orthologous Groups of proteins (COGs) and Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways. The expression levels of 15 selected genes emblematic of symbiotic germination were confirmed via real-time quantitative PCR. These genes were classified into various categories, including defense and stress response, metabolism, transcriptional regulation, transport process and signal transduction pathways. All transcripts were upregulated in the symbiotically germinated seeds (SGS). The functions of these genes in symbiotic germination were predicted. Furthermore, two fungus-induced calcium-dependent protein kinases (CDPKs), which were upregulated 6.76- and 26.69-fold in SGS compared with un-germinated seeds (UGS), were cloned from D. officinale and characterized for the first time. This study provides the first global overview of genes putatively involved in D. officinale symbiotic seed germination and provides a foundation for further functional research regarding symbiotic relationships in orchids.
PMCID: PMC3742586  PMID: 23967335

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