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The VvBAP1 gene is identified as a potential inhibitor of cell death in grape berries

Cao, Shifeng, Xiao, Zeyu, Jiranek, Vladimir, Tyerman, Stephen D.
Functional plant biology 2019 v.46 no.5 pp. 428-442
Arabidopsis, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Vitis vinifera, cell death, drought, electrolytes, flowering, fruiting, gene expression regulation, gene overexpression, genes, genetic markers, grapes, harvesting, hydrogen peroxide, leaves, phenotype, ripening, small fruits, tobacco, water stress, wine quality, yeasts
Cell death (CD) in Vitis vinifera L grape berries, exemplified in Shiraz, occurs late in ripening influencing yield, berry and wine quality. Here we isolated and functionally characterised a BON1-associated gene, VvBAP1 from Shiraz berries, encoding a small protein with a C2 domain. VvBAP1 transcript increased during fruit development from veraison to harvest, and was significantly inhibited by drought stress 92 days after flowering when CD normally begins. This was correlated with high CD in Shiraz berries. The agrobacterium-mediated transient expression of VvBAP1 in tobacco leaves led to a decrease in electrolyte leakage and downregulated a marker gene (Hsr203J) for cell death. Expressing VvBAP1 in yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) also alleviated cell death induced by hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Overexpression of VvBAP1 in Arabidopsis increased resistance to H2O2 and reduced CD due to higher expression of genes involved in anti-oxidative responses. Arabidopsis overexpressing VvBAP1 displayed higher tolerance to drought accompanied by upregulation of antioxidant-related gene expression. VvBAP1 complemented an Arabidopsis bap1 knockout by abolishing its CD phenotypes. These results indicate that VvBAP1 may play a role in alleviating CD in grape berries and its downregulation under drought stress may be responsible for the generally observed increase in CD within the berry.