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1.  Characterisation of the Vitis vinifera PR10 multigene family 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:184.
Genes belonging to the pathogenesis related 10 (PR10) group have been studied in several plant species, where they form multigene families. Until now, such an analysis has not been performed in Vitis vinifera, although three different PR10 genes were found to be expressed under pathogen attack or abiotic stress, and during somatic embryogenesis induction. We used the complete genome sequence for characterising the whole V. vinifera PR10 gene family. The expression of candidate genes was studied in various non-treated tissues and following somatic embryogenesis induction by the auxin 2,4-D.
In addition to the three V. vinifera PR10 genes already described, namely VvPR10.1, VvPR10.2 and VvPR10.3, fourteen different PR10 related sequences were identified. Showing high similarity, they form a single cluster on the chromosome 5 comprising three pseudogenes. The expression of nine different genes was detected in various tissues. Although differentially expressed in non-treated plant organs, several genes were up-regulated in tissues treated with 2,4-D, as expected for PR genes.
PR10 genes form a multigene family in V. vinifera, as found in birch, apple or peach. Seventeen closely related PR10 sequences are arranged in a tandem array on the chromosome 5, probably reflecting small-scale duplications during evolution. Various expression patterns were found for nine studied genes, highlighting functional diversification. A phylogenetic comparison of deduced proteins with PR10 proteins of other plants showed a characteristic low intraspecific variability. Particularly, a group of seven close tandem duplicates including VvPR10.1, VvPR10.2 and VvPR10.3 showed a very high similarity, suggesting concerted evolution or/and recent duplications.
PMCID: PMC3095314  PMID: 20727162
2.  Variation in DNA methylation patterns of grapevine somaclones (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:78.
In traditional vine areas, the production should present a typicity that partly depends on the grapevine variety. Therefore, vine improvement is considered difficult because of the limited choice in the natural variability of the cultivars within the limits of their characteristics. A possibility to circumvent this problem is the use of somatic variability. In vitro somatic embryogenesis and organogenesis can lead to genotypic and phenotypic variations, described as somaclonal variation, that could be useful for the selection of improved grapevine genotypes.
In order to study tissue culture-induced variation of grapevine, we have analysed 78 somaclones obtained from somatic embryos of two distinct cultivars using molecular marker techniques. SSRs were only useful to verify the conservation of the microsatellite genotype between the somaclones and the respective mother clones. AFLP polymorphism between mother clones and somaclones was 1.3–2.8 times higher to that found between clones. However, a majority of the somaclones (45/78) exhibited only few changes. Seven and five somaclones of 'Chardonnay 96' and 'Syrah 174', respectively, which covered at least all polymorphic loci found in AFLP analysis were used for MSAP study. All of the 120 polymorphic fragments were found only in the somaclones. The percentage of full methylation at CCGG recognition sites was slightly higher in somaclones due to more polymorphic bands generated after cleavage by EcoRI/HpaII. Different digestion patterns revealed different methylation status, especially different levels of de-methylation, that are the consequence of the in vitro culture.
MSAP highlights DNA methylation variation in somaclones compared to mother clones and, therefore, is a powerful tool for genotypic characterisation of somatic embryo-derived grapevines. The detection of the same polymorphic bands in numerous somaclones of different cultivars suggests the possibility of hot spots of DNA methylation variation. SSR profiles of the 'Chardonnay' and 'Syrah' somaclones were the same as of the respective mother clones. The somaclones exhibited a higher AFLP variation than clones obtained via traditional clonal selection in the field. Therefore, somatic embryogenesis through in vitro culture technique could be useful for the selection of improved cultivars with subtle changes but conserving their main characteristics.
PMCID: PMC2491626  PMID: 18627604

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