Genetic variations of acidity in grape berries are controlled by the interplay between organic acids and potassium

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Key message

In a grapevine segregating population, genomic regions governing berry pH were identified, paving the way for breeding new grapevine varieties best adapted to a warming climate.


As a consequence of global warming, grapevine berry acidity is expected to dramatically decrease. Adapting grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) varieties to the climatic conditions of the future requires a better understanding of the genetic architecture of acidity-related traits. For this purpose, we studied during five growing seasons 120 individuals from a grapevine biparental cross. Each offspring was genotyped by simple sequence repeats markers and by hybridization on a 20-K Grapevine Illumina® SNP chip. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for pH colocalized with QTLs for the ratio between potassium and tartaric acid concentrations, on chromosomes 10, 11 and 13. Strong QTLs for malic acid concentration or for the malic acid-to-tartaric acid ratio, on chromosomes 6 and 8, were not associated with variations of pH but can be useful for controlling pH stability under high temperatures. Our study highlights the interdependency between acidity parameters and consequently the constraints and degrees of freedom for designing grapevine genotypes better adapted to the expected warmer climatic conditions. In particular, it is possible to create grapevine genotypes with a high berry acidity as the result of both high tartaric acid concentrations and low K+ accumulation capacities.

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This part of work was supported by CEA-IG/CNG, by performing the DNA QC in its DNA and Cell Bank service and by providing access to INRA-EPGV group for their Illumina Genotyping Platform. Thanks, respectively, to Anne Boland and Marie-Thérèse Bihoreau and their staff. This work was partially financed by FranceAgrimer.

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ED supervised the study, analyzed the results and wrote the manuscript. VD set up and followed the experiments in the vineyard. GB performed the genotyping with SSR markers. NJ performed the biochemical analyses. CR provided the scripts and the data for the annotations of the candidate genes. AC performed the genotyping work on Illumina Infinium GrapeReSeq Beadchip. AB produced the GrapeReSeq Beadchip data including the manual refine of clustering. MCLP managed the genotyping project on Illumina Infinium GrapeReSeq Beadchip. IG provided access to her laboratory for K+ analyses and helped in writing the manuscript. DM supervised the program and helped in manuscript writing.

Correspondence to Éric Duchêne.

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Duchêne, É., Dumas, V., Butterlin, G. et al. Genetic variations of acidity in grape berries are controlled by the interplay between organic acids and potassium. Theor Appl Genet (2020) doi:10.1007/s00122-019-03524-9

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