Anthocyanins and tannins are two of the most abundant flavonoids found in grapevine, and their synthesis is derived from the phenylpropanoid pathway. As described for model species such as Arabidopsis thaliana, maize and petunia, the end-point branches of this pathway are tightly regulated by the combinatorial interaction of three families of regulatory factors; MYB, bHLH (also known as MYC) and WDR proteins. Among these, only MYB genes have been previously identified in grapes. Here, we report the isolation of the first members from the WDR and bHLH families found in Vitis vinifera, named WDR1, WDR2 and MYCA1. WDR1 contributed positively to the accumulation of anthocyanins when it was overexpressed in A. thaliana, although it was not possible to determine the function of WDR2 by ectopic expression. The sub-cellular localizations of WDR1 and MYCA1 were observed by means of GFP-fusion proteins, indicating both cytoplasm and nuclear localization, in contrast to the localization of a MYB factor exclusively in the nucleus. The expression patterns of these genes were quantified in coloured reproductive organs throughout development, and correlated with anthocyanin accumulation and the expression profiles of the flavonoid-related MYBA1-2, UFGT, and ANR genes. In vitro grapevine plantlets grown under high salt concentrations showed a cultivar-dependent response for anthocyanin accumulation, which correlated with the expression of MYBA1-2, MYCA1 and WDR1 genes. These results suggest that MYCA1 may regulate ANR and UFGT and that this last control is easier to distinguish whenever MYBA genes are absent or in low abundance. Future studies should address the specific interactions of these proteins and their quantitative contribution to flavonoid synthesis in grape berries.
Plant Molecular Biology – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 29, 2010
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