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1.  A candidate gene based approach validates Md-PG1 as the main responsible for a QTL impacting fruit texture in apple (Malus x domestica Borkh) 
BMC Plant Biology  2013;13:37.
Apple is a widely cultivated fruit crop for its quality properties and extended storability. Among the several quality factors, texture is the most important and appreciated, and within the apple variety panorama the cortex texture shows a broad range of variability. Anatomically these variations depend on degradation events occurring in both fruit primary cell wall and middle lamella. This physiological process is regulated by an enzymatic network generally encoded by large gene families, among which polygalacturonase is devoted to the depolymerization of pectin. In apple, Md-PG1, a key gene belonging to the polygalacturonase gene family, was mapped on chromosome 10 and co-localized within the statistical interval of a major hot spot QTL associated to several fruit texture sub-phenotypes.
In this work, a QTL corresponding to the position of Md-PG1 was validated and new functional alleles associated to the fruit texture properties in 77 apple cultivars were discovered. 38 SNPs genotyped by gene full length resequencing and 2 SSR markers ad hoc targeted in the gene metacontig were employed. Out of this SNP set, eleven were used to define three significant haplotypes statistically associated to several texture components. The impact of Md-PG1 in the fruit cell wall disassembly was further confirmed by the cortex structure electron microscope scanning in two apple varieties characterized by opposite texture performance, such as ‘Golden Delicious’ and ‘Granny Smith’.
The results here presented step forward into the genetic dissection of fruit texture in apple. This new set of haplotypes, and microsatellite alleles, can represent a valuable toolbox for a more efficient parental selection as well as the identification of new apple accessions distinguished by superior fruit quality features.
PMCID: PMC3599472  PMID: 23496960
2.  Resistance to Plasmopara viticola in a grapevine segregating population is associated with stilbenoid accumulation and with specific host transcriptional responses 
BMC Plant Biology  2011;11:114.
Downy mildew, caused by the oomycete Plasmopara viticola, is a serious disease in Vitis vinifera, the most commonly cultivated grapevine species. Several wild Vitis species have instead been found to be resistant to this pathogen and have been used as a source to introgress resistance into a V. vinifera background. Stilbenoids represent the major phytoalexins in grapevine, and their toxicity is closely related to the specific compound. The aim of this study was to assess the resistance response to P. viticola of the Merzling × Teroldego cross by profiling the stilbenoid content of the leaves of an entire population and the transcriptome of resistant and susceptible individuals following infection.
A three-year analysis of the population's response to artificial inoculation showed that individuals were distributed in nine classes ranging from total resistance to total susceptibility. In addition, quantitative metabolite profiling of stilbenoids in the population, carried out using HPLC-DAD-MS, identified three distinct groups differing according to the concentrations present and the complexity of their profiles. The high producers were characterized by the presence of trans-resveratrol, trans-piceid, trans-pterostilbene and up to thirteen different viniferins, nine of them new in grapevine.
Accumulation of these compounds is consistent with a resistant phenotype and suggests that they may contribute to the resistance response.
A preliminary transcriptional study using cDNA-AFLP selected a set of genes modulated by the oomycete in a resistant genotype. The expression of this set of genes in resistant and susceptible genotypes of the progeny population was then assessed by comparative microarray analysis.
A group of 57 genes was found to be exclusively modulated in the resistant genotype suggesting that they are involved in the grapevine-P. viticola incompatible interaction. Functional annotation of these transcripts revealed that they belong to the categories defense response, photosynthesis, primary and secondary metabolism, signal transduction and transport.
This study reports the results of a combined metabolic and transcriptional profiling of a grapevine population segregating for resistance to P. viticola. Some resistant individuals were identified and further characterized at the molecular level. These results will be valuable to future grapevine breeding programs.
PMCID: PMC3170253  PMID: 21838877
3.  Dominance induction of fruitlet shedding in Malus × domestica (L. Borkh): molecular changes associated with polar auxin transport 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:139.
Apple fruitlet abscission is induced by dominance, a process in which hormones such as auxin, cytokinins and strigolactone play a pivotal role. The response to these hormones is controlled by transcription regulators such as Aux/IAA and ARR, whereas auxin transport is controlled by influx and efflux carriers.
Seven partial clones encoding auxin efflux carriers (MdPIN1_A, MdPIN1_B, MdPIN10_A, MdPIN10_B, MdPIN4, MdPIN7_A and MdPIN7_B), three encoding auxin influx carriers (MdLAX1, MdLAX2 and MdLAX3) and three encoding type A ARR cytokinin response regulators (MdARR3, MdARR4 and MdARR6) were isolated by the use of degenerate primers. The organization of the PIN multigene family in apple is closer to Medicago truncatula than to Arabidopsis thaliana. The genes are differentially expressed in diverse plant organs and at different developmental stages. MdPIN1 and MdPIN7 are largely more expressed than MdPIN10 and MdPIN4. During abscission, the transcription of these genes increased in the cortex whereas in the seed a sharp fall was observed. The expression of these genes was found to be at least partially controlled by ethylene and auxin.
The ethylene burst preceding abscission of fruitlets may be responsible for the decrease in transcript level of MDPIN1, MDARR5 and MDIAA3 in seed. This situation modulates the status of the fruitlet and its fate by hampering the PAT from the seeds down through the abscission zone (AZ) and this brings about the shedding of the fruitlet.
PMCID: PMC2809502  PMID: 19941659
4.  Ontology-oriented retrieval of putative microRNAs in Vitis vinifera via GrapeMiRNA: a web database of de novo predicted grape microRNAs 
BMC Plant Biology  2009;9:82.
Two complete genome sequences are available for Vitis vinifera Pinot noir. Based on the sequence and gene predictions produced by the IASMA, we performed an in silico detection of putative microRNA genes and of their targets, and collected the most reliable microRNA predictions in a web database. The application is available at .
The program FindMiRNA was used to detect putative microRNA genes in the grape genome. A very high number of predictions was retrieved, calling for validation. Nine parameters were calculated and, based on the grape microRNAs dataset available at miRBase, thresholds were defined and applied to FindMiRNA predictions having targets in gene exons. In the resulting subset, predictions were ranked according to precursor positions and sequence similarity, and to target identity. To further validate FindMiRNA predictions, comparisons to the Arabidopsis genome, to the grape Genoscope genome, and to the grape EST collection were performed. Results were stored in a MySQL database and a web interface was prepared to query the database and retrieve predictions of interest.
The GrapeMiRNA database encompasses 5,778 microRNA predictions spanning the whole grape genome. Predictions are integrated with information that can be of use in selection procedures. Tools added in the web interface also allow to inspect predictions according to gene ontology classes and metabolic pathways of targets. The GrapeMiRNA database can be of help in selecting candidate microRNA genes to be validated.
PMCID: PMC2717091  PMID: 19563653
5.  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
6.  SNP high-throughput screening in grapevine using the SNPlex™ genotyping system 
BMC Plant Biology  2008;8:12.
Until recently, only a small number of low- and mid-throughput methods have been used for single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) discovery and genotyping in grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.). However, following completion of the sequence of the highly heterozygous genome of Pinot Noir, it has been possible to identify millions of electronic SNPs (eSNPs) thus providing a valuable source for high-throughput genotyping methods.
Herein we report the first application of the SNPlex™ genotyping system in grapevine aiming at the anchoring of an eukaryotic genome. This approach combines robust SNP detection with automated assay readout and data analysis. 813 candidate eSNPs were developed from non-repetitive contigs of the assembled genome of Pinot Noir and tested in 90 progeny of Syrah × Pinot Noir cross. 563 new SNP-based markers were obtained and mapped. The efficiency rate of 69% was enhanced to 80% when multiple displacement amplification (MDA) methods were used for preparation of genomic DNA for the SNPlex assay.
Unlike other SNP genotyping methods used to investigate thousands of SNPs in a few genotypes, or a few SNPs in around a thousand genotypes, the SNPlex genotyping system represents a good compromise to investigate several hundred SNPs in a hundred or more samples simultaneously. Therefore, the use of the SNPlex assay, coupled with whole genome amplification (WGA), is a good solution for future applications in well-equipped laboratories.
PMCID: PMC2268689  PMID: 18226250

Results 1-6 (6)