Ectopic expression of VlmybA1 in grapevine activates a narrow set of genes involved in anthocyanin synthesis and transport

Maria-Cruz Cutanda-Perez, Agnès Ageorges, Camila Gomez, Sandrine Vialet, Nancy Terrier, Charles Romieu, Laurent Torregrosa
Plant Molecular Biology 2009, 69 (6): 633-48
The colour of the red wine is essentially due to the release of anthocyanins from the red skin of grape berries during the process of wine making. Anthocyanins are synthesized during ripening of the berries under the control of VvMYBA1 transcription factor that controls the expression of UFGT. In order to identify the whole set of downstream regulated genes, we targeted constitutive ectopic expression of VlmybA1-2 into grapevine hairy roots and plants. The ectopic expression of VlmybA1-2 triggered de novo production and storage of anthocyanins in all transgenic vegetative organs, leading to a very intense red coloration, and did not interfere with proanthocyanidin (PA) biosynthesis. The ectopic red pigmentation was due to the accumulation of anthocyanins in vacuoles and anthocyanin vacuolar inclusion (AVIs) in all organs but only in specific tissues. A transcriptomic analysis using a 14 K oligoarray revealed that the ectopic expression of VlmybA1-2 activated only few genes, most of which are involved in both PA and anthocyanin biosynthesis, while the expression of BAN and LAR (two specific genes of the PA biosynthesis pathway) was unaffected. Among these, 4 genes emerged given the amplitude of their up-regulation, quantitatively similar to VlmybA1-2 itself. In addition to the previously described UFGT, this set comprised an isogen of GST, an O-methyltransferase, both of which are supposed to play a role in the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway, as well as a candidate gene putatively involved in the vacuolar anthocyanin transport in grapevine (anthoMATE). Together, these results suggest that MybA1 activates the last steps of anthocyanin synthesis and transport through the regulation of a narrow, specific spectrum of genes regulated as a cluster.

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