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1.  Construction of a synthetic infectious cDNA clone of Grapevine Algerian latent virus (GALV-Nf) and its biological activity in Nicotiana benthamiana and grapevine plants 
Virology Journal  2014;11:186.
Grapevine Algerian latent virus (GALV) is a tombusvirus first isolated in 1989 from an Algerian grapevine (Vitis spp.) plant and more recently from water samples and commercial nipplefruit and statice plants. No further reports of natural GALV infections in grapevine have been published in the last two decades, and artificial inoculations of grapevine plants have not been reported. We developed and tested a synthetic GALV construct for the inoculation of Nicotiana benthamiana plants and different grapevine genotypes to investigate the ability of this virus to infect and spread systemically in different hosts.
We carried out a phylogenetic analysis of all known GALV sequences and an epidemiological survey of grapevine samples to detect the virus. A GALV-Nf clone under the control of the T7 promoter was chemically synthesized based on the full-length sequence of the nipplefruit isolate GALV-Nf, the only available sequence at the time the project was conceived, and the infectious transcripts were tested in N. benthamiana plants. A GALV-Nf-based binary vector was then developed for the agroinoculation of N. benthamiana and grapevine plants. Infections were confirmed by serological and molecular analysis and the resulting ultrastructural changes were investigated in both species.
Sequence analysis showed that the GALV coat protein is highly conserved among diverse isolates. The first epidemiological survey of cDNAs collected from 152 grapevine plants with virus-like symptoms did not reveal the presence of GALV in any of the samples. The agroinoculation of N. benthamiana and grapevine plants with the GALV-Nf binary vector promoted efficient infections, as revealed by serological and molecular analysis. The GALV-Nf infection of grapevine plants was characterized in more detail by inoculating different cultivars, revealing distinct patterns of symptom development. Ultrastructural changes induced by GALV-Nf in N. benthamiana were similar to those induced by tombusviruses in other hosts, but the cytopathological alterations in grapevine plants were less severe.
This is the first report describing the development of a synthetic GALV-Nf cDNA clone, its artificial transmission to grapevine plants and the resulting symptoms and cytopathological alterations.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-186) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4289286  PMID: 25367743
Plant viruses; Synthetic biology; Grapevine; GALV; Cytopathology
2.  Genome-wide identification and analysis of mitogen activated protein kinase kinase kinase gene family in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:219.
Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinases (MAPKKKs; MAP3Ks) are important components of MAPK cascades, which are highly conserved signal transduction pathways in animals, yeast and plants, play important roles in plant growth and development. MAPKKKs have been investigated on their evolution and expression patterns in limited plants including Arabidopsis, rice and maize.
In this study, we performed a genome-wide survey and identified 45 MAPKKK genes in the grapevine genome. Chromosome location, phylogeny, gene structure and conserved protein motifs of MAPKKK family in grapevine have been analyzed to support the prediction of these genes. In the phylogenetic analysis, MAPKKK genes of grapevine have been classified into three subgroups as described for Arabidopsis, named MEKK, ZIK and RAF, also confirmed in grapevine by the analysis of conserved motifs and exon-intron organizations. By analyzing expression profiles of MAPKKK genes in grapevine microarray databases, we highlighted the modulation of different MAPKKKs in different organs and distinct developmental stages. Furthermore, we experimentally investigated the expression profiles of 45 grape MAPKKK genes in response to biotic (powdery mildew) and abiotic stress (drought), as well as to hormone (salicylic acid, ethylene) and hydrogen peroxide treatments, and identified several candidate MAPKKK genes that might play an important role in biotic and abiotic responses in grapevine, for further functional characterization.
This is the first comprehensive experimental survey of the grapevine MAPKKK gene family, which provides insights into their potential roles in regulating responses to biotic and abiotic stresses, and the evolutionary expansion of MAPKKKs is associated with the diverse requirement in transducing external and internal signals into intracellular actions in MAPK cascade in grapevine.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0219-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4243721  PMID: 25158790
Grapevine; Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK); Gene family; Phylogenetic analysis; Expression analysis; Stresses
3.  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

Results 1-3 (3)