Differential behavior within a grapevine cluster: Decreased ethylene-related gene expression dependent on Auxin transport is correlated with low abscission of first developed berries

Nathalie Kühn, Carlos Abello, Francisca Godoy, Serge Delrot, Patricio Arce-Johnson

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13 Scopus citations

Abstract

In grapevine, fruit abscission is known to occur within the first two to three weeks after flowering, but the reason why some berries in a cluster persist and others abscise is not yet understood. Ethylene sensitivity modulates abscission in several fruit species, based on a mechanism where continuous polar auxin transport across the pedicel results in a decrease in ethylene perception, which prevents abscission. In grapevine, flowering takes about four to seven days in a single cluster, thus while some flowers are developing into berries, others are just starting to open. So, in this work it was assessed whether uneven flowering accounted for differences in berry abscission dependent on polar auxin transport and ethylene-related gene expression. For this, flowers that opened in a cluster were tagged daily, which allowed to separately analyze berries, regarding their ability to persist. It was found that berries derived from flowers that opened the day that flowering started - named as "first berries" - had lower abscission rate than berries derived from flowers that opened during the following days - named as "late berries". Use of radiolabeled auxin showed that "first berries" had higher polar auxin transport, correlated with lower ethylene content and lower ethylene-related transcript abundance than "late berries". When "first berries" were treated with a polar auxin transport inhibitor they showed higher ethylene-related transcript abundance and were more prone to abscise than control berries. This study provides new insights on fruit abscission control. Our results indicate that polar auxin transport sustains the ability of "first berries" to persist in the cluster during grapevine abscission and also suggest that this could be associated with changes in ethylene-related gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere111258
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume9
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 3 Nov 2014
Externally publishedYes

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