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1.  Expansion and subfunctionalisation of flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylases in the grapevine lineage 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:562.
Background
Flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylases (F3'5'Hs) and flavonoid 3'-hydroxylases (F3'Hs) competitively control the synthesis of delphinidin and cyanidin, the precursors of blue and red anthocyanins. In most plants, F3'5'H genes are present in low-copy number, but in grapevine they are highly redundant.
Results
The first increase in F3'5'H copy number occurred in the progenitor of the eudicot clade at the time of the γ triplication. Further proliferation of F3'5'Hs has occurred in one of the paleologous loci after the separation of Vitaceae from other eurosids, giving rise to 15 paralogues within 650 kb. Twelve reside in 9 tandem blocks of ~35-55 kb that share 91-99% identity. The second paleologous F3'5'H has been maintained as an orphan gene in grapevines, and lacks orthologues in other plants. Duplicate F3'5'Hs have spatially and temporally partitioned expression profiles in grapevine. The orphan F3'5'H copy is highly expressed in vegetative organs. More recent duplicate F3'5'Hs are predominately expressed in berry skins. They differ only slightly in the coding region, but are distinguished in the structure of the promoter. Differences in cis-regulatory sequences of promoter regions are paralleled by temporal specialisation of gene transcription during fruit ripening. Variation in anthocyanin profiles consistently reflects changes in the F3'5'H mRNA pool across different cultivars. More F3'5'H copies are expressed at high levels in grapevine varieties with 93-94% of 3'5'-OH anthocyanins. In grapevines depleted in 3'5'-OH anthocyanins (15-45%), fewer F3'5'H copies are transcribed, and at lower levels. Conversely, only two copies of the gene encoding the competing F3'H enzyme are present in the grape genome; one copy is expressed in both vegetative and reproductive organs at comparable levels among cultivars, while the other is transcriptionally silent.
Conclusions
These results suggest that expansion and subfunctionalisation of F3'5'Hs have increased the complexity and diversification of the fruit colour phenotype among red grape varieties.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-11-562
PMCID: PMC3091711  PMID: 20939908
2.  Breakdown of resistance to grapevine downy mildew upon limited deployment of a resistant variety 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:147.
Background
Natural disease resistance is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way of controlling plant disease. Breeding programmes need to make sure that the resistance deployed is effective and durable. Grapevine downy mildew, caused by the Oomycete Plasmopara viticola, affects viticulture and it is controlled with pesticides. Downy mildew resistant grapevine varieties are a promising strategy to control the disease, but their use is currently restricted to very limited acreages. The arising of resistance-breaking isolates under such restricted deployment of resistant varieties would provide valuable information to design breeding strategies for the deployment of resistance genes over large acreages whilst reducing the risks of the resistance being defeated. The observation of heavy downy mildew symptoms on a plant of the resistant variety Bianca, whose resistance is conferred by a major gene, provided us with a putative example of emergence of a resistance-breaking isolate in the interaction between grapevine and P. viticola.
Results
In this paper we describe the emergence of a P. viticola isolate (isolate SL) that specifically overcomes Rpv3, the major resistance gene carried by Bianca at chromosome 18. We show that isolate SL has the same behaviour as two P. viticola isolates avirulent on Bianca (isolates SC and SU) when inoculated on susceptible plants or on resistant plants carrying resistances derived from other sources, suggesting there is no fitness cost associated to the virulence. Molecular analysis shows that all three isolates are genetically closely related.
Conclusions
Our results are the first description of a resistance-breaking isolate in the grapevine/P. viticola interaction, and show that, despite the reduced genetic variability of P. viticola in Europe compared to its basin of origin and the restricted use of natural resistance in European viticulture, resistance-breaking isolates overcoming monogenic resistances may arise even in cases where deployment of the resistant varieties is limited to small acreages. Our findings represent a warning call for the use of resistant varieties and an incentive to design breeding programmes aiming to optimize durability of the resistances.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-147
PMCID: PMC3095292  PMID: 20633270
3.  A set of microsatellite markers with long core repeat optimized for grape (Vitis spp.) genotyping 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:127.
Background
Individual fingerprinting based on molecular markers has become a popular tool for studies of population genetics and analysis of genetic diversity in germplasm collections, including the solution of synonymy/homonymy and analysis of paternity and kinship.
Genetic profiling of individuals is nowadays based on SSR (Simple Sequence Repeat) markers, which have a number of positive features that make them superior to any other molecular marker developed so far. In humans, SSRs with core repeats three to five nucleotides long are preferred because neighbour alleles are more easily separated and distinguished from each other; while in plants, SSRs with shorter repeats, namely two-nucleotides long, are still in use although they suffer lower separation of neighbour alleles and uncomfortable stuttering.
Results
New microsatellite markers, containing tri-, tetra-, and penta-nucleotide repeats, were selected from a total of 26,962 perfect microsatellites in the genome sequence of nearly homozogous grapevine PN40024, assembled from reads covering 8.4 X genome equivalents.
Long nucleotide repeats were selected for fingerprinting, as previously done in many species including humans. The new grape SSR markers were tested for their reproducibility and information content in a panel of 48 grape cultivars. Allelic segregation was tested in progenies derived from two controlled crosses.
Conclusion
A list of 38 markers with excellent quality of peaks, high power of discrimination, and uniform genome distribution (1–3 markers/chromosome), is proposed for grape genotyping. The reasons for exclusion are given for those that were discarded. The construction of marker-specific allelic ladders is also described, and their use is recommended to harmonise allelic calls and make the data obtained with different equipment and by different laboratories fully comparable.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-127
PMCID: PMC2625351  PMID: 19087321
4.  Transcriptional control of anthocyanin biosynthetic genes in extreme phenotypes for berry pigmentation of naturally occurring grapevines 
BMC Plant Biology  2007;7:46.
Background
Fruit coloration of red-skinned grapevines is mainly due to anthocyanin pigments. We analysed a panel of nine cultivars that included extreme phenotypes for berry colour, ranging from green (absence of anthocyanins) to red, purple, violet and blue. Expression of six genes of the anthocyanin pathway coding for flavanone-hydroxylase (F3H), flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase (F3'H), flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase (F3'5'H), UDP-glucose:flavonoid-3-O-glucosyltransferase (UFGT), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), O-methyltransferase (OMT) and four transcription factors (MybA, MybB, MybC, MybD) was analysed by quantitative RT-PCR at four developmental stages from before the onset of ripening until full maturity and compared to anthocyanin metabolites.
Results
Total anthocyanin content at full maturity correlated well with the cumulative expression of F3H, UFGT and GST throughout ripening. Transcripts of the last two genes were absent in the green-skinned cultivar 'Sauvignonasse', also known as 'Tocai friulano', and were at least 10-fold less abundant in pale red cultivars, such as 'Pinot gris' and 'Gewürztraminer', compared to fully coloured cultivars. Predominance of tri-hydroxylated anthocyanins (delphinidin, petunidin and malvidin) in cultivars bearing dark berries with violet and blue hue was associated with higher ratios of F3'5'H/F3'H transcription, compared to red-skinned cultivars. Higher levels of OMT transcripts were observed in berries of cultivars that accumulated methoxylated forms of anthocyanins more abundantly than non-methoxylated forms.
Conclusion
Colour variation of the grape berry conforms to a peculiar pattern of genotype-specific expression of the whole set of anthocyanin genes in a direct transcript-metabolite-phenotype relationship. Cumulative mRNA levels of the structural genes and their relative abundance throughout ripening explained per se the final phenotype for anthocyanin content, anthocyanin composition, colour intensity and colour hue of grapes at berry maturity.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-7-46
PMCID: PMC2147006  PMID: 17760970
5.  Colour variation in red grapevines (Vitis vinifera L.): genomic organisation, expression of flavonoid 3'-hydroxylase, flavonoid 3',5'-hydroxylase genes and related metabolite profiling of red cyanidin-/blue delphinidin-based anthocyanins in berry skin 
BMC Genomics  2006;7:12.
Background
Structural genes of the phenyl-propanoid pathway which encode flavonoid 3'- and 3',5'-hydroxylases (F3'H and F3'5'H) have long been invoked to explain the biosynthesis of cyanidin- and delphinidin-based anthocyanin pigments in the so-called red cultivars of grapevine. The relative proportion of the two types of anthocyanins is largely under genetic control and determines the colour variation among red/purple/blue berry grape varieties and their corresponding wines.
Results
Gene fragments of VvF3'H and VvF3'5'H, that were isolated from Vitis vinifera 'Cabernet Sauvignon' using degenerate primers designed on plant homologous genes, translated into 313 and 239 amino acid protein fragments, respectively, with up to 76% and 82% identity to plant CYP75 cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. Putative function was assigned on the basis of sequence homology, expression profiling and its correlation with metabolite accumulation at ten different ripening stages. At the onset of colour transition, transcriptional induction of VvF3'H and VvF3'5'H was temporally coordinated with the beginning of anthocyanin biosynthesis, the expression being 2-fold and 50-fold higher, respectively, in red berries versus green berries. The peak of VvF3'5'H expression was observed two weeks later concomitantly with the increase of the ratio of delphinidin-/cyanidin-derivatives. The analysis of structural genomics revealed that two copies of VvF3'H are physically linked on linkage group no. 17 and several copies of VvF3'5'H are tightly clustered and embedded into a segmental duplication on linkage group no. 6, unveiling a high complexity when compared to other plant flavonoid hydroxylase genes known so far, mostly in ornamentals.
Conclusion
We have shown that genes encoding flavonoid 3'- and 3',5'-hydroxylases are expressed in any tissues of the grape plant that accumulate flavonoids and, particularly, in skin of ripening red berries that synthesise mostly anthocyanins. The correlation between transcript profiles and the kinetics of accumulation of red/cyanidin- and blue/delphinidin-based anthocyanins indicated that VvF3'H and VvF3'5'H expression is consistent with the chromatic evolution of ripening bunches. Local physical maps constructed around the VvF3'H and VvF3'5'H loci should help facilitate the identification of the regulatory elements of each isoform and the future manipulation of grapevine and wine colour through agronomical, environmental and biotechnological tools.
doi:10.1186/1471-2164-7-12
PMCID: PMC1403756  PMID: 16433923
6.  Historical Introgression of the Downy Mildew Resistance Gene Rpv12 from the Asian Species Vitis amurensis into Grapevine Varieties 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(4):e61228.
The Amur grape (Vitis amurensis Rupr.) thrives naturally in cool climates of Northeast Asia. Resistance against the introduced pathogen Plasmopara viticola is common among wild ecotypes that were propagated from Manchuria into Chinese vineyards or collected by Soviet botanists in Siberia, and used for the introgression of resistance into wine grapes (Vitis vinifera L.). A QTL analysis revealed a dominant gene Rpv12 that explained 79% of the phenotypic variance for downy mildew resistance and was inherited independently of other resistance genes. A Mendelian component of resistance–a hypersensitive response in leaves challenged with P. viticola–was mapped in an interval of 0.2 cM containing an array of coiled-coil NB-LRR genes on chromosome 14. We sequenced 10-kb genic regions in the Rpv12+ haplotype and identified polymorphisms in 12 varieties of V. vinifera using next-generation sequencing. The combination of two SNPs in single-copy genes flanking the NB-LRR cluster distinguished the resistant haplotype from all others found in 200 accessions of V. vinifera, V. amurensis, and V. amurensis x V. vinifera crosses. The Rpv12+ haplotype is shared by 15 varieties, the most ancestral of which are the century-old ‘Zarja severa’ and ‘Michurinets’. Before this knowledge, the chromosome segment around Rpv12+ became introgressed, shortened, and pyramided with another downy mildew resistance gene from North American grapevines (Rpv3) only by phenotypic selection. Rpv12+ has an additive effect with Rpv3+ to protect vines against natural infections, and confers foliar resistance to strains that are virulent on Rpv3+ plants.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0061228
PMCID: PMC3625174  PMID: 23593440
7.  The powdery mildew resistance gene REN1 co-segregates with an NBS-LRR gene cluster in two Central Asian grapevines 
BMC Genetics  2009;10:89.
Background
Grape powdery mildew is caused by the North American native pathogen Erysiphe necator. Eurasian Vitis vinifera varieties were all believed to be susceptible. REN1 is the first resistance gene naturally found in cultivated plants of Vitis vinifera.
Results
REN1 is present in 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara', two grapevines documented in Central Asia since the 1920's. These cultivars have a second-degree relationship (half sibs, grandparent-grandchild, or avuncular), and share by descent the chromosome on which the resistance allele REN1 is located. The REN1 interval was restricted to 1.4 cM using 38 SSR markers distributed across the locus and the segregation of the resistance phenotype in two progenies of collectively 461 offspring, derived from either resistant parent. The boundary markers delimit a 1.4-Mbp sequence in the PN40024 reference genome, which contains 27 genes with known functions, 2 full-length coiled-coil NBS-LRR genes, and 9 NBS-LRR pseudogenes. In the REN1 locus of PN40024, NBS genes have proliferated through a mixture of segmental duplications, tandem gene duplications, and intragenic recombination between paralogues, indicating that the REN1 locus has been inherently prone to producing genetic variation. Three SSR markers co-segregate with REN1, the outer ones confining the 908-kb array of NBS-LRR genes. Kinship and clustering analyses based on genetic distances with susceptible cultivars representative of Central Asian Vitis vinifera indicated that 'Kishmish vatkana' and 'Dzhandzhal kara' fit well into local germplasm. 'Kishmish vatkana' also has a parent-offspring relationship with the seedless table grape 'Sultanina'. In addition, the distant genetic relatedness to rootstocks, some of which are derived from North American species resistant to powdery mildew and have been used worldwide to guard against phylloxera since the late 1800's, argues against REN1 being infused into Vitis vinifera from a recent interspecific hybridisation.
Conclusion
The REN1 gene resides in an NBS-LRR gene cluster tightly delimited by two flanking SSR markers, which can assist in the selection of this DNA block in breeding between Vitis vinifera cultivars. The REN1 locus has multiple layers of structural complexity compared with its two closely related paralogous NBS clusters, which are located some 5 Mbp upstream and 4 Mbp downstream of the REN1 interval on the same chromosome.
doi:10.1186/1471-2156-10-89
PMCID: PMC2814809  PMID: 20042081
8.  A physical map of the heterozygous grapevine 'Cabernet Sauvignon' allows mapping candidate genes for disease resistance 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:66.
Background
Whole-genome physical maps facilitate genome sequencing, sequence assembly, mapping of candidate genes, and the design of targeted genetic markers. An automated protocol was used to construct a Vitis vinifera 'Cabernet Sauvignon' physical map. The quality of the result was addressed with regard to the effect of high heterozygosity on the accuracy of contig assembly. Its usefulness for the genome-wide mapping of genes for disease resistance, which is an important trait for grapevine, was then assessed.
Results
The physical map included 29,727 BAC clones assembled into 1,770 contigs, spanning 715,684 kbp, and corresponding to 1.5-fold the genome size. Map inflation was due to high heterozygosity, which caused either the separation of allelic BACs in two different contigs, or local mis-assembly in contigs containing BACs from the two haplotypes. Genetic markers anchored 395 contigs or 255,476 kbp to chromosomes. The fully automated assembly and anchorage procedures were validated by BAC-by-BAC blast of the end sequences against the grape genome sequence, unveiling 7.3% of chimerical contigs. The distribution across the physical map of candidate genes for non-host and host resistance, and for defence signalling pathways was then studied. NBS-LRR and RLK genes for host resistance were found in 424 contigs, 133 of them (32%) were assigned to chromosomes, on which they are mostly organised in clusters. Non-host and defence signalling genes were found in 99 contigs dispersed without a discernable pattern across the genome.
Conclusion
Despite some limitations that interfere with the correct assembly of heterozygous clones into contigs, the 'Cabernet Sauvignon' physical map is a useful and reliable intermediary step between a genetic map and the genome sequence. This tool was successfully exploited for a quick mapping of complex families of genes, and it strengthened previous clues of co-localisation of major NBS-LRR clusters and disease resistance loci in grapevine.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-66
PMCID: PMC2442077  PMID: 18554400

Results 1-8 (8)