Identification of loci associated with specialised metabolites in Vitis vinifera
Secondary (or specialised) metabolites such as terpenes and phenolic compounds are produced by plants for various roles which include defence against pathogens and herbivores, protection against abiotic stress, and plant signalling. Additionally, these metabolites influence grapevine quality traits such as colour, aroma, taste, and nutritional value. However, the biosynthesis of these metabolites is often complex and controlled by multiple genes which in grapevine are predominantly uncharacterised. This study therefore aimed to identify novel loci associated with grapevine volatile organic and phenolic compounds. Chemical analysis of these compound classes was performed via GC-MS and UPLC analysis in a grapevine mapping population, and the quantified metabolites used for quantitative trait loci (QTL) analysis. Several significant QTLs associated with terpenes and phenolic compounds were identified, and the underlying genomic regions were investigated. For phenolic compounds, a novel locus associated with caftaric acid biosynthesis was identified, and a hydroxycinnamoyltransferase (VvHCT) was investigated as a candidate gene. Several terpene synthases (VvTPSs) co-localised with QTLs associated with monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. Notably, loci on chromosomes 12 and 13 were shown to be associated with geraniol and cyclic monoterpene accumulation, respectively. The locus on chromosome 12 was shown to contain a geraniol synthase gene (VvGer), while the locus on chromosome 13 contained an a-terpineol synthase gene (VvTer). Further molecular and genomic investigation of VvGer and VvTer found that these genes appear in tandemly duplicated clusters, with high levels of hemizygosity which was further supported by genomic data from recently published diploid grapevine genomes. Interestingly, copy number analysis demonstrated that VvTer gene copy number correlated with both VvTerexpression and the accumulation of cyclic monoterpenes, highlighting the impact of VvTPS gene duplication and copy number variation on terpene accumulation in grapevine.
Issue: ICGWS 2023
1South African Grape and Wine Research Institute, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2 Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.