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1.  Haplotype diversity of VvTFL1A gene and association with cluster traits in grapevine (V. vinifera) 
BMC Plant Biology  2014;14:209.
Background
Interaction between TERMINAL FLOWER 1 (TFL1) and LEAFY (LFY) seem to determine the inflorescence architecture in Arabidopsis. In a parallel way, overexpression of VvTFL1A, a grapevine TFL1 homolog, causes delayed flowering and production of a ramose cluster in the reiterated reproductive meristem (RRM) somatic variant of cultivar Carignan. To analyze the possible contribution of this gene to cluster phenotypic variation in a diversity panel of cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L. subsp. vinifera) its nucleotide diversity was characterized and association analyses among detected sequence polymorphisms and phenology and cluster traits was carried out.
Results
A total of 3.6 kb of the VvTFL1A gene, including its promoter, was sequenced in a core collection of 140 individuals designed to maximize phenotypic variation at agronomical relevant traits. Nucleotide variation for VvTFL1A within this collection was higher in the promoter and intron sequences than in the exon regions; where few polymorphisms were located in agreement with a high conservation of coding sequence. Characterization of the VvTFL1A haplotype network identified three major haplogroups, consistent with the geographic origins and the use of the cultivars that could correspond to three major ancestral alleles or evolutionary branches, based on the existence of mutations in linkage disequilibrium. Genetic association studies with cluster traits revealed the presence of major INDEL polymorphisms, explaining 16%, 13% and 25% of flowering time, cluster width and berry weight, respectively, and also structuring the three haplogroups.
Conclusions
At least three major VvTFL1A haplogroups are present in cultivated grapevines, which are defined by the presence of three main polymorphism LD blocks and associated to characteristic phenotypic values for flowering time, cluster width and berry size. Phenotypic differences between haplogroups are consistent with differences observed between Eastern and Western grapevine cultivars and could result from the use of different genetic pools in the domestication process as well as different selection pressures on the development of table and wine cultivars, respectively. Altogether, these results are coherent with previous classifications of grapevine phenotypic diversity mainly based on cluster and berry morphotypes as well as with recent results on the structure of genetic diversity in cultivated grapevine.
doi:10.1186/s12870-014-0209-3
PMCID: PMC4243098  PMID: 25091083
Plant reproductive development; Inflorescence structure; Flowering time; Berry size; Grape domestication; Grapevine
2.  Genetic structure in cultivated grapevines is linked to geography and human selection 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:25.
Background
Grapevine (Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera) is one of the most important and ancient horticultural plants in the world. Domesticated about 8–10,000 years ago in the Eurasian region, grapevine evolved from its wild relative (V. vinifera subsp. sylvestris) into very diverse and heterozygous cultivated forms. In this work we study grapevine genetic structure in a large sample of cultivated varieties, to interpret the wide diversity at morphological and molecular levels and link it to cultivars utilization, putative geographic origin and historical events.
Results
We analyzed the genetic structure of cultivated grapevine using a dataset of 2,096 multi-locus genotypes defined by 20 microsatellite markers. We used the Bayesian approach implemented in the STRUCTURE program and a hierarchical clustering procedure based on Ward’s method to assign individuals to sub-groups. The analysis revealed three main genetic groups defined by human use and geographic origin: a) wine cultivars from western regions, b) wine cultivars from the Balkans and East Europe, and c) a group mainly composed of table grape cultivars from Eastern Mediterranean, Caucasus, Middle and Far East countries. A second structure level revealed two additional groups, a geographic group from the Iberian Peninsula and Maghreb, and a group comprising table grapes of recent origins from Italy and Central Europe. A large number of admixed genotypes were also identified. Structure clusters regrouped together a large proportion of family-related genotypes. In addition, Ward’s method revealed a third level of structure, corresponding either to limited geographic areas, to particular grape use or to family groups created through artificial selection and breeding.
Conclusions
This study provides evidence that the cultivated compartment of Vitis vinifera L. is genetically structured. Genetic relatedness of cultivars has been shaped mostly by human uses, in combination with a geographical effect. The finding of a large portion of admixed genotypes may be the trace of both large human-mediated exchanges between grape-growing regions throughout history and recent breeding.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-25
PMCID: PMC3598926  PMID: 23394135
3.  Dissecting genetic architecture of grape proanthocyanidin composition through quantitative trait locus mapping 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:30.
Background
Proanthocyanidins (PAs), or condensed tannins, are flavonoid polymers, widespread throughout the plant kingdom, which provide protection against herbivores while conferring organoleptic and nutritive values to plant-derived foods, such as wine. However, the genetic basis of qualitative and quantitative PA composition variation is still poorly understood. To elucidate the genetic architecture of the complex grape PA composition, we first carried out quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis on a 191-individual pseudo-F1 progeny. Three categories of PA variables were assessed: total content, percentages of constitutive subunits and composite ratio variables. For nine functional candidate genes, among which eight co-located with QTLs, we performed association analyses using a diversity panel of 141 grapevine cultivars in order to identify causal SNPs.
Results
Multiple QTL analysis revealed a total of 103 and 43 QTLs, respectively for seed and skin PA variables. Loci were mainly of additive effect while some loci were primarily of dominant effect. Results also showed a large involvement of pairwise epistatic interactions in shaping PA composition. QTLs for PA variables in skin and seeds differed in number, position, involvement of epistatic interaction and allelic effect, thus revealing different genetic determinisms for grape PA composition in seeds and skin. Association results were consistent with QTL analyses in most cases: four out of nine tested candidate genes (VvLAR1, VvMYBPA2, VvCHI1, VvMYBPA1) showed at least one significant association with PA variables, especially VvLAR1 revealed as of great interest for further functional investigation. Some SNP-phenotype associations were observed only in the diversity panel.
Conclusions
This study presents the first QTL analysis on grape berry PA composition with a comparison between skin and seeds, together with an association study. Our results suggest a complex genetic control for PA traits and different genetic architectures for grape PA composition between berry skin and seeds. This work also uncovers novel genomic regions for further investigation in order to increase our knowledge of the genetic basis of PA composition.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-12-30
PMCID: PMC3312867  PMID: 22369244
4.  Molecular, genetic and transcriptional evidence for a role of VvAGL11 in stenospermocarpic seedlessness in grapevine 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:57.
Background
Stenospermocarpy is a mechanism through which certain genotypes of Vitis vinifera L. such as Sultanina produce berries with seeds reduced in size. Stenospermocarpy has not yet been characterized at the molecular level.
Results
Genetic and physical maps were integrated with the public genomic sequence of Vitis vinifera L. to improve QTL analysis for seedlessness and berry size in experimental progeny derived from a cross of two seedless genotypes. Major QTLs co-positioning for both traits on chromosome 18 defined a 92-kb confidence interval. Functional information from model species including Vitis suggested that VvAGL11, included in this confidence interval, might be the main positional candidate gene responsible for seed and berry development.
Characterization of VvAGL11 at the sequence level in the experimental progeny identified several SNPs and INDELs in both regulatory and coding regions. In association analyses performed over three seasons, these SNPs and INDELs explained up to 78% and 44% of the phenotypic variation in seed and berry weight, respectively. Moreover, genetic experiments indicated that the regulatory region has a larger effect on the phenotype than the coding region. Transcriptional analysis lent additional support to the putative role of VvAGL11's regulatory region, as its expression is abolished in seedless genotypes at key stages of seed development. These results transform VvAGL11 into a functional candidate gene for further analyses based on genetic transformation.
For breeding purposes, intragenic markers were tested individually for marker assisted selection, and the best markers were those closest to the transcription start site.
Conclusion
We propose that VvAGL11 is the major functional candidate gene for seedlessness, and we provide experimental evidence suggesting that the seedless phenotype might be caused by variations in its promoter region. Current knowledge of the function of its orthologous genes, its expression profile in Vitis varieties and the strong association between its sequence variation and the degree of seedlessness together indicate that the D-lineage MADS-box gene VvAGL11 corresponds to the Seed Development Inhibitor locus described earlier as a major locus for seedlessness. These results provide new hypotheses for further investigations of the molecular mechanisms involved in seed and berry development.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-11-57
PMCID: PMC3076230  PMID: 21447172
5.  A candidate gene association study on muscat flavor in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:241.
Background
The sweet, floral flavor typical of Muscat varieties (Muscats), due to high levels of monoterpenoids (geraniol, linalool and nerol), is highly distinct and has been greatly appreciated both in table grapes and in wine since ancient times. Muscat flavor determination in grape (Vitis vinifera L.) has up to now been studied by evaluating monoterpenoid levels through QTL analysis. These studies have revealed co-localization of 1-deoxy-D-xylulose 5-phosphate synthase (VvDXS) with the major QTL positioned on chromosome 5.
Results
We resequenced VvDXS in an ad hoc association population of 148 grape varieties, which included muscat-flavored, aromatic and neutral accessions as well as muscat-like aromatic mutants and non-aromatic offsprings of Muscats. Gene nucleotide diversity and intragenic linkage disequilibrium (LD) were evaluated. Structured association analysis revealed three SNPs in moderate LD to be significantly associated with muscat-flavored varieties. We identified a putative causal SNP responsible for a predicted non-neutral substitution and we discuss its possible implications for flavor metabolism. Network analysis revealed a major star-shaped cluster of reconstructed haplotypes unique to muscat-flavored varieties. Moreover, muscat-like aromatic mutants displayed unique non-synonymous mutations near the mutated site of Muscat genotypes.
Conclusions
This study is a crucial step forward in understanding the genetic regulation of muscat flavor in grapevine and it also sheds light on the domestication history of Muscats. VvDXS appears to be a possible human-selected locus in grapevine domestication and post-domestication. The putative causal SNP identified in Muscat varieties as well as the unique mutations identifying the muscat-like aromatic mutants under study may be immediately applied in marker-assisted breeding programs aimed at enhancing fragrance and aroma complexity respectively in table grape and wine cultivars.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-10-241
PMCID: PMC3095323  PMID: 21062440
6.  Construction of nested genetic core collections to optimize the exploitation of natural diversity in Vitis vinifera L. subsp. sativa 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:31.
Background
The first high quality draft of the grape genome sequence has just been published. This is a critical step in accessing all the genes of this species and increases the chances of exploiting the natural genetic diversity through association genetics. However, our basic knowledge of the extent of allelic variation within the species is still not sufficient. Towards this goal, we constructed nested genetic core collections (G-cores) to capture the simple sequence repeat (SSR) diversity of the grape cultivated compartment (Vitis vinifera L. subsp. sativa) from the world's largest germplasm collection (Domaine de Vassal, INRA Hérault, France), containing 2262 unique genotypes.
Results
Sub-samples of 12, 24, 48 and 92 varieties of V. vinifera L. were selected based on their genotypes for 20 SSR markers using the M-strategy. They represent respectively 58%, 73%, 83% and 100% of total SSR diversity. The capture of allelic diversity was analyzed by sequencing three genes scattered throughout the genome on 233 individuals: 41 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were identified using the G-92 core (one SNP for every 49 nucleotides) while only 25 were observed using a larger sample of 141 individuals selected on the basis of 50 morphological traits, thus demonstrating the reliability of the approach.
Conclusion
The G-12 and G-24 core-collections displayed respectively 78% and 88% of the SNPs respectively, and are therefore of great interest for SNP discovery studies. Furthermore, the nested genetic core collections satisfactorily reflected the geographic and the genetic diversity of grape, which are also of great interest for the study of gene evolution in this species.
doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-31
PMCID: PMC2375891  PMID: 18384667

Results 1-6 (6)