, Volume 236, Issue 4, pp 1067-1080
Date: 09 May 2012

Flavonoid biosynthesis-related genes in grape skin are differentially regulated by temperature and light conditions

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Abstract

Temperature and light are important environmental factors that affect flavonoid biosynthesis in grape berry skin. However, the interrelationships between temperature and light effects on flavonoid biosynthesis have not been fully elucidated at the molecular level. Here, we investigated the effects of temperature and light conditions on the biosynthesis of flavonoids (anthocyanins and flavonols) and the expression levels of related genes in an in vitro environmental experiment using detached grape berries. Sufficient anthocyanin accumulation in the grape skin was observed under a low temperature (15 °C) plus light treatment, whereas high temperature (35 °C) or dark treatment severely suppressed anthocyanin accumulation. This indicates that the accumulation of anthocyanins is dependent on both low temperature and light. qRT-PCR analysis showed that the responses of three MYB-related genes (VlMYBA1-3, VlMYBA1-2, and VlMYBA2) to temperature and light differed greatly even though the products of all three genes had the ability to regulate anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway genes. Furthermore, the expression levels of other MYB-related genes and many flavonoid biosynthesis pathway genes were regulated independently by temperature and light. We also found that temperature and light conditions affected the anthocyanin composition in the skin through the regulation of flavonoid biosynthesis pathway genes. Our results suggest that low temperature and light have a synergistic effect on the expression of genes in the flavonoid biosynthesis pathway. These findings provide new information about the relationships between environmental factors and flavonoid accumulation in grape berry skin.