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1.  New stable QTLs for berry weight do not colocalize with QTLs for seed traits in cultivated grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:217.
In grapevine, as in other fruit crops, fruit size and seed content are key components of yield and quality; however, very few Quantitative Trait Loci (QTLs) for berry weight and seed content (number, weight, and dry matter percentage) have been discovered so far. To identify new stable QTLs for marker-assisted selection and candidate gene identification, we performed simultaneous QTL detection in four mapping populations (seeded or seedless) with various genetic backgrounds.
For berry weight, we identified five new QTLs, on linkage groups (LGs) 1, 8, 11, 17 and 18, in addition to the known major QTL on LG 18. The QTL with the largest effect explained up to 31% of total variance and was found in two genetically distant populations on LG 17, where it colocalized with a published putative domestication locus. For seed traits, besides the major QTLs on LG 18 previously reported, we found four new QTLs explaining up to 51% of total variance, on LGs 4, 5, 12 and 14. The previously published QTL for seed number on LG 2 was found related in fact to sex. We found colocalizations between seed and berry weight QTLs only for the major QTL on LG 18 in a seedless background, and on LGs 1 and 13 in a seeded background. Candidate genes belonging to the cell number regulator CNR or cytochrome P450 families were found under the berry weight QTLs on LGs 1, 8, and 17. The involvement of these gene families in fruit weight was first described in tomato using a QTL-cloning approach. Several other interesting candidate genes related to cell wall modifications, water import, auxin and ethylene signalling, transcription control, or organ identity were also found under berry weight QTLs.
We discovered a total of nine new QTLs for berry weight or seed traits in grapevine, thereby increasing more than twofold the number of reliable QTLs for these traits available for marker assisted selection or candidate gene studies. The lack of colocalization between berry and seed QTLs suggests that these traits may be partly dissociated.
PMCID: PMC3878267  PMID: 24350702
Berry weight; Candidate gene; Grapevine; Quantitative trait locus; QTL; Seed number; Seed weight; Vitis vinifera
2.  Genetic structure in cultivated grapevines is linked to geography and human selection 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:25.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3598926  PMID: 23394135
3.  Dissecting genetic architecture of grape proanthocyanidin composition through quantitative trait locus mapping 
BMC Plant Biology  2012;12:30.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3312867  PMID: 22369244
4.  Genetic mechanisms underlying the methylation level of anthocyanins in grape (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:179.
Plant color variation is due not only to the global pigment concentration but also to the proportion of different types of pigment. Variation in the color spectrum may arise from secondary modifications, such as hydroxylation and methylation, affecting the chromatic properties of pigments. In grapes (Vitis vinifera L.), the level of methylation modifies the stability and reactivity of anthocyanin, which directly influence the color of the berry. Anthocyanin methylation, as a complex trait, is controlled by multiple molecular factors likely to involve multiple regulatory steps.
In a Syrah × Grenache progeny, two QTLs were detected for variation in level of anthocyanin methylation. The first one, explaining up to 27% of variance, colocalized with a cluster of Myb-type transcription factor genes. The second one, explaining up to 20% of variance, colocalized with a cluster of O-methyltransferase coding genes (AOMT). In a collection of 32 unrelated cultivars, MybA and AOMT expression profiles correlated with the level of methylated anthocyanin. In addition, the newly characterized AOMT2 gene presented two SNPs associated with methylation level. These mutations, probably leading to a structural change of the AOMT2 protein significantly affected the enzyme specific catalytic efficiency for the 3'-O-methylation of delphinidin 3-glucoside.
We demonstrated that variation in methylated anthocyanin accumulation is susceptible to involve both transcriptional regulation and structural variation. We report here the identification of novel AOMT variants likely to cause methylated anthocyanin variation. The integration of QTL mapping and molecular approaches enabled a better understanding of how variation in gene expression and catalytic efficiency of the resulting enzyme may influence the grape anthocyanin profile.
PMCID: PMC3264682  PMID: 22171701
5.  Patterns of sequence polymorphism in the fleshless berry locus in cultivated and wild Vitis vinifera accessions 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:284.
Unlike in tomato, little is known about the genetic and molecular control of fleshy fruit development of perennial fruit trees like grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). Here we present the study of the sequence polymorphism in a 1 Mb grapevine genome region at the top of chromosome 18 carrying the fleshless berry mutation (flb) in order, first to identify SNP markers closely linked to the gene and second to search for possible signatures of domestication.
In total, 62 regions (17 SSR, 3 SNP, 1 CAPS and 41 re-sequenced gene fragments) were scanned for polymorphism along a 3.4 Mb interval (85,127-3,506,060 bp) at the top of the chromosome 18, in both V. vinifera cv. Chardonnay and a genotype carrying the flb mutation, V. vinifera cv. Ugni Blanc mutant. A nearly complete homozygosity in Ugni Blanc (wild and mutant forms) and an expected high level of heterozygosity in Chardonnay were revealed. Experiments using qPCR and BAC FISH confirmed the observed homozygosity. Under the assumption that flb could be one of the genes involved into the domestication syndrome of grapevine, we sequenced 69 gene fragments, spread over the flb region, representing 48,874 bp in a highly diverse set of cultivated and wild V. vinifera genotypes, to identify possible signatures of domestication in the cultivated V. vinifera compartment. We identified eight gene fragments presenting a significant deviation from neutrality of the Tajima's D parameter in the cultivated pool. One of these also showed higher nucleotide diversity in the wild compartments than in the cultivated compartments. In addition, SNPs significantly associated to berry weight variation were identified in the flb region.
We observed the occurrence of a large homozygous region in a non-repetitive region of the grapevine otherwise highly-heterozygous genome and propose a hypothesis for its formation. We demonstrated the feasibility to apply BAC FISH on the very small grapevine chromosomes and provided a specific probe for the identification of chromosome 18 on a cytogenetic map. We evidenced genes showing putative signatures of selection and SNPs significantly associated with berry weight variation in the flb region. In addition, we provided to the community 554 SNPs at the top of chromosome 18 for the development of a genotyping chip for future fine mapping of the flb gene in a F2 population when available.
PMCID: PMC3022909  PMID: 21176183
6.  A candidate gene association study on muscat flavor in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:241.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3095323  PMID: 21062440
7.  A SNP transferability survey within the genus Vitis 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:128.
Efforts to sequence the genomes of different organisms continue to increase. The DNA sequence is usually decoded for one individual and its application is for the whole species. The recent sequencing of the highly heterozygous Vitis vinifera L. cultivar Pinot Noir (clone ENTAV 115) genome gave rise to several thousand polymorphisms and offers a good model to study the transferability of its degree of polymorphism to other individuals of the same species and within the genus.
This study was performed by genotyping 137 SNPs through the SNPlex™ Genotyping System (Applied Biosystems Inc.) and by comparing the SNPlex sequencing results across 35 (of the 137) regions from 69 grape accessions. A heterozygous state transferability of 31.5% across the unrelated cultivars of V. vinifera, of 18.8% across the wild forms of V. vinifera, of 2.3% among non-vinifera Vitis species, and of 0% with Muscadinia rotundifolia was found. In addition, mean allele frequencies were used to evaluate SNP informativeness and develop useful subsets of markers.
Using SNPlex application and corroboration from the sequencing analysis, the informativeness of SNP markers from the heterozygous grape cultivar Pinot Noir was validated in V. vinifera (including cultivars and wild forms), but had a limited application for non-vinifera Vitis species where a resequencing strategy may be preferred, knowing that homology at priming sites is sufficient. This work will allow future applications such as mapping and diversity studies, accession identification and genomic-research assisted breeding within V. vinifera.
PMCID: PMC2631481  PMID: 19087337
8.  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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC2375891  PMID: 18384667

Results 1-8 (8)