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The flavour of grape colour: anthocyanin content tunes aroma precursor composition by altering the berry microenvironment

  • Rodríguez-Lorenzo, Maite
  • Mauri, Nuria
  • Royo, Carolina
  • Diretto, Gianfranco
  • Demurtas, Olivia
  • Hilbert‐masson, Ghislaine
  • Renaud, Christel
  • Tobar, Vanessa
  • Huete, Joaquín
  • Delrot, Serge
  • Granell, Antonio
  • Carbonell-Bejerano, Pablo
Publication Date
Sep 20, 2023
DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erad223
OAI: oai:HAL:hal-04212233v1
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Anthocyaninless (white) instead of black/red (coloured) fruits develop in grapevine cultivars without functional VviMYBA1 and VviMYBA2 genes, and this conditions the colour of wines that can be produced. To evaluate whether this genetic variation has additional consequences on fruit ripening and composition, we performed comparisons of microenvironment, transcriptomics, and metabolomics of developing grapes between near-isogenic white- and black-berried somatic variants of Garnacha and Tempranillo cultivars. Berry temperature was as much as 3.5 ºC lower in white- compared to black-berried Tempranillo. An RNA-seq study combined with targeted and untargeted metabolomics revealed that ripening fruits of white-berried variants were characterized by the up-regulation of photosynthesis-related and other light-responsive genes and by their higher accumulation of specific terpene aroma precursors, fatty acid-derived aldehyde volatiles, and phenylpropanoid precursor amino acids. MYBA1-MYBA2 function proved essential for flavonol trihydroxylation in black-berried somatic variants, which were also characterized by enhanced expression of pathogen defence genes in the berry skin and increased accumulation of C6-derived alcohol and ester volatiles and γ-aminobutyric acid. Collectively, our results indicate that anthocyanin depletion has side-effects on grape composition by altering the internal microenvironment of the berry and the partitioning of the phenylpropanoid pathway. Our findings show how fruit colour can condition other fruit features, such as flavour potential and stress homeostasis.

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