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1.  Fruit cuticular waxes as a source of biologically active triterpenoids 
Phytochemistry Reviews  2012;11(2-3):263-284.
The health benefits associated with a diet rich in fruit and vegetables include reduction of the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer, that are becoming prevalent in the aging human population. Triterpenoids, polycyclic compounds derived from the linear hydrocarbon squalene, are widely distributed in edible and medicinal plants and are an integral part of the human diet. As an important group of phytochemicals that exert numerous biological effects and display various pharmacological activities, triterpenoids are being evaluated for use in new functional foods, drugs, cosmetics and healthcare products. Screening plant material in the search for triterpenoid-rich plant tissues has identified fruit peel and especially fruit cuticular waxes as promising and highly available sources. The chemical composition, abundance and biological activities of triterpenoids occurring in cuticular waxes of some economically important fruits, like apple, grape berry, olive, tomato and others, are described in this review. The need for environmentally valuable and potentially profitable technologies for the recovery, recycling and upgrading of residues from fruit processing is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3601259  PMID: 23519009
Cuticular waxes; Fruit peel; Health benefits; Triterpenoids
2.  Low level of polymorphism in two putative NPR1 homologs in the Vitaceae family 
Biology Direct  2010;5:9.
Grapevine is subjected to numerous pests and diseases resulting in the use of phytochemicals in large quantities. The will to decrease the use of phytochemicals leads to attempts to find alternative strategies, implying knowledge of defence mechanisms. Numerous studies have led to the identification of signalling pathways and regulatory elements involved in defence in various plant species. Nonexpressor of Pathogenesis Related 1 (NPR1) is an important regulatory component of systemic acquired resistance (SAR) in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Two putative homologs of NPR1 gene were found in the two sequenced grapevine genomes available in the Genoscope database for line 40024 and in the IASMA database for Pinot noir ENTAV 115. We named these two NPR1 genes of Vitis vinifera : VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2. A PCR-based strategy with primers designed on exons was used to successfully amplify NPR1 gene fragments from different Vitaceae accessions. Sequence analyses show that NPR1.1 and NPR1.2 are highly conserved among the different accessions not only V. vinifera cultivars but also other species. We report nucleotide polymorphisms in NPR1.1 and NPR1.2 from fifteen accessions belonging to the Vitaceae family. The ratio of nonsynonymous to synonymous nucleotide substitutions determines the evolutionary pressures acting on the Vitaceae NPR1 genes. These genes appear to be experiencing purifying selection. In some of the species we have analysed one of the two alleles of NPR1.1 contains a premature stop codon. The deduced amino acid sequences share structural features with known NPR1-like proteins: ankyrin repeats, BTB/POZ domains, nuclear localization signature and cysteines. Phylogenetic analyses of deduced amino acid sequences show that VvNPR1.1 belongs to a first group of NPR1 proteins known as positive regulators of SAR and VvNPR1.2 belongs to a second group of NPR1 proteins whose principal members are AtNPR3 and AtNPR4 defined as negative regulators of SAR.
Our study shows that NPR1.1 and NPR1.2 are highly conserved among different accessions in the Vitaceae family. VvNPR1.1 and VvNPR1.2 are phylogenetically closer to the group of positive or negative SAR regulators respectively.
This article was reviewed by Fyodor Kondrashov, Purificación López-García and George V. Shpakovski.
PMCID: PMC2832633  PMID: 20137081
3.  Retention of the virus-derived sequences in the nuclear genome of grapevine as a potential pathway to virus resistance 
Biology Direct  2009;4:21.
Previous studies have revealed a wide-spread occurence of the partial and complete genomes of the reverse-transcribing pararetroviruses in the nuclear genomes of herbaceous plants. Although the absence of the virus-encoded integrases attests to the random and incidental incorporation of the viral sequences, their presence could have functional implications for the virus-host interactions.
Analyses of two nuclear genomes of grapevine revealed multiple events of horizontal gene transfer from pararetroviruses. The ~200–800 bp inserts that corresponded to partial ORFs encoding reverse transcriptase apparently derived from unknown or extinct caulimoviruses and tungroviruses, were found in 11 grapevine chromosomes. In contrast to the previous reports, no reliable cases of the inserts derived from the positive-strand RNA viruses were found. Because grapevine is known to be infected by the diverse positive-strand RNA viruses, but not pararetroviruses, we hypothesize that pararetroviral inserts have conferred host resistance to these viruses. Furthermore, we propose that such resistance involves RNA interference-related mechanisms acting via small RNA-mediated methylation of pararetroviral DNAs and/or via degradation of the viral mRNAs.
The pararetroviral sequences in plant genomes may be maintained due to the benefits of virus resistance to this class of viruses conferred by their presence. Such resistance could be particularly significant for the woody plants that must withstand years- to centuries-long virus assault. Experimental research into the RNA interference pathways involving the integrated pararetroviral inserts is required to test this hypothesis.
This article was reviewed by Arcady R. Mushegian, I. King Jordan, and Eugene V. Koonin.
PMCID: PMC2714080  PMID: 19558678
4.  Genetic chimerism of Vitis vinifera cv. Chardonnay 96 is maintained through organogenesis but not somatic embryogenesis 
BMC Plant Biology  2005;5:20.
Grapevine can be a periclinal chimera plant which is composed at least of two distinct cell layers (L1, L2). When the cell layers of this plant are separated by passage through somatic embryogenesis, regenerated plants could show distinct DNA profiles and a novel phenotype which proved different from that of the parent plant.
Genetically Chardonnay clone 96 is a periclinal chimera plant in which is L1 and L2 cell layers are distinct. Plants obtained via organogenesis through meristematic bulks are shown to be composed of both cell layers. However, plants regenerated through somatic embryogenesis starting from anthers or nodal explants are composed only of L1 cells. These somaclones do not show phenotypic differences to the parental clone up to three years after regeneration. Interestingly, the only somaclone showing an atypical phenotype (asymmetric leave) shows a genotypic modification.
These results suggest that the phenotype of Chardonnay 96 does not result from an interaction between the two distinct cell layers L1 and L2. If phenotype conformity is further confirmed, somatic embryogenesis will result in true-to-type somaclones of Chardonnay 96 and would be well suitable for gene transfer.
PMCID: PMC1285365  PMID: 16194273
5.  Detection of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Nef and CD4 Physical Interaction in Living Human Cells by Using Bioluminescence Resonance Energy Transfer 
Journal of Virology  2005;79(13):8629-8636.
CD4 down-regulation by human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) Nef protein is a key function for virus virulence. This activity may be mediated by a direct Nef-CD4 interaction. We investigated the formation, in situ, of such a complex between proteins using bioluminescence resonance energy transfer technology and coimmunoprecipitations. Our data clearly demonstrate that Nef and CD4 interact in intact human cells. Moreover, our results clearly indicate that the dileucine motif of the CD4 cytoplasmic domain, critical for the Nef-induced CD4 down-regulation, is not implicated in the Nef/CD4 complex formation in the cellular context.
PMCID: PMC1143710  PMID: 15956605

Results 1-5 (5)