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Expression of grapevine AINTEGUMENTA-like genes is associated with variation in ovary and berry size

Chialva, Constanza, Eichler, Estefanía, Grissi, Cecilia, Muñoz, Claudio, Gomez-Talquenca, Sebastian, Martínez-Zapater, José M., Lijavetzky, Diego
Plant molecular biology 2016 v.91 no.1-2 pp. 67-80
Arabidopsis, Vitis, cell proliferation, confidence interval, developmental stages, flowering, flowers, gene expression, genes, linkage groups, meristems, organogenesis, plant ovary, quantitative trait loci, small fruits, table wines, vegetable crops, wine cultivars
Fruit size is a highly important trait for most fruit and vegetable crops. This trait has been a main selection target and could be involved in divergent selection processes leading to the differentiation between modern table and wine cultivars. Even though its determination is highly influenced by cultural practices, several regions within the grapevine genome have been identified affecting berry size, either directly or indirectly through their effect on seed content. Using grapevine seeded cultivars, we have analyzed the relationship between ovary cell number and the final size of ovaries and berry fruits. We also performed the characterization of the grapevine AINTEGUMENTA-LIKE family, since it is well reported in Arabidopsis that AINTEGUMENTA (ANT) regulates cell proliferation and organ growth in flower organ primordia by maintaining the meristematic competence of cells during organogenesis. Here we show that orthologous grapevine gene expression associate with flower developmental stages suggesting a similar biological role for this gene family in this species. Moreover, we detected a correlation between those organs size and the level of expression of VviANT1 the grapevine homolog of AtANT. This grapevine gene also co-localizes in linkage group 18 with the confidence interval of a previously detected QTL for berry size. Thus our results suggest the involvement of ANT in the regulation of berry size in grapevine.