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1.  Molecular Characteristics and Biochemical Functions of VpPR10s from Vitis pseudoreticulata Associated with Biotic and Abiotic Stresses 
Grapes are one of the world’s oldest and most important fruit crops. They are of high economic value in many countries, but the susceptibility of the dominant winegrape species Vitis vinifera to fungal disease is a significant problem. The Chinese wild grape species are a rich source of disease-resistance genes and these can be used to discover how disease resistance in V. vinifera grapevines might be enhanced. Pathogenesis-related (PR) 10 proteins are involved in the disease-response. Here, we use the genomic DNA of the Chinese wild species Vitis pseudoreticulata accession “Baihe-35-1” as the template to design specific primers based on VvPR10s sequences. We used overlap extension PCR to obtain the sequences: VpPR10.4, VpPR10.6, VpPR10.7 and VpPR10.9. The coding sequences of the VpPR10s were then cloned into the pGEX-4T-1 vector. The purified proteins VpPR10.4, VpPR10.6, VpPR10.7 and VpPR10.9 were used to analyse nuclease activity. Meanwhile, functional analysis of VpPR10s under different biotic and abiotic stresses was carried out to further clarify the disease-resistance mechanisms of the Chinese wild grapevine VpPR10 genes. The analysis of protein structure indicates that VpPR10.4 and VpPR10.7 had the P-loop domain and the Bet v 1 motif, which are a consistent feature of plant PR10. However, there was no P-loop domain or Bet v 1 motif in VpPR10.9 and we could not find the Bet v 1 motif in VpPR10.6. The results of the nuclease activity assay and of the functional analyses of VpPR10s under different biotic and abiotic stresses also confirm that VpPR10.4 and VpPR10.7 proteins have marked RNase, DNase, anti-fungal activities and respond to abiotic stresses. The VpPR10.6 and VpPR10.9 proteins do not have these activities and functions.
PMCID: PMC4227267  PMID: 25340981
Vitis pseudoreticulata; pathogenesis-related protein 10; nuclease activity; anti-fungal activity; abiotic stresses
2.  Transcriptome sequencing and metabolite analysis reveals the role of delphinidin metabolism in flower colour in grape hyacinth 
Journal of Experimental Botany  2014;65(12):3157-3164.
Through a combination of metabolite analysis with transcriptome sequencing, a new hypothesis was proposed to explain the lack of colour phenotype of the white variant of the blue grape hyacinth.
Grape hyacinth (Muscari) is an important ornamental bulbous plant with an extraordinary blue colour. Muscari armeniacum, whose flowers can be naturally white, provides an opportunity to unravel the complex metabolic networks underlying certain biochemical traits, especially colour. A blue flower cDNA library of M. armeniacum and a white flower library of M. armeniacum f. album were used for transcriptome sequencing. A total of 89 926 uni-transcripts were isolated, 143 of which could be identified as putative homologues of colour-related genes in other species. Based on a comprehensive analysis relating colour compounds to gene expression profiles, the mechanism of colour biosynthesis was studied in M. armeniacum. Furthermore, a new hypothesis explaining the lack of colour phenotype of the grape hyacinth flower is proposed. Alteration of the substrate competition between flavonol synthase (FLS) and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase (DFR) may lead to elimination of blue pigmentation while the multishunt from the limited flux in the cyanidin (Cy) synthesis pathway seems to be the most likely reason for the colour change in the white flowers of M. armeniacum. Moreover, mass sequence data obtained by the deep sequencing of M. armeniacum and its white variant provided a platform for future function and molecular biological research on M. armeniacum.
PMCID: PMC4071837  PMID: 24790110
Colour pigmentation; cyanidin; delphinidin; flower development; Muscari armeniacum; transcriptome analysis.
3.  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
4.  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

Results 1-4 (4)