Journal of experimental botany

Genetic diversity of stilbene metabolism in Vitis sylvestris.

PMID 25873669


Stilbenes, as important secondary metabolites of grapevine, represent central phytoalexins and therefore constitute an important element of basal immunity. In this study, potential genetic variation in Vitis vinifera ssp. sylvestris, the ancestor of cultivated grapevine, was sought with respect to their output of stilbenes and potential use for resistance breeding. Considerable variation in stilbene inducibility was identified in V. vinifera ssp. sylvestris. Genotypic differences in abundance and profiles of stilbenes that are induced in response to a UV-C pulse are shown. Two clusters of stilbene 'chemovars' emerged: one cluster showed quick and strong accumulation of stilbenes, almost exclusively in the form of non-glycosylated resveratrol and viniferin, while the second cluster accumulated fewer stilbenes and relatively high proportions of piceatannol and the glycosylated piceid. For all 86 genotypes, a time dependence of the stilbene pattern was observed: piceid, resveratrol, and piceatannol accumulated earlier, whereas the viniferins were found later. It was further observed that the genotypic differences in stilbene accumulation were preceded by differential accumulation of the transcripts for chalcone synthase (CHS) and stilbene-related genes: phenylalanine ammonium lyase (PAL), stilbene synthase (StSy), and resveratrol synthase (RS). A screen of the population with respect to susceptibility to downy mildew of grapevine (Plasmopara viticola) revealed considerable variability. The subpopulation of genotypes with high stilbene inducibility was significantly less susceptible as compared with low-stilbene genotypes, and for representative genotypes it could be shown that the inducibility of stilbene synthase by UV correlated with the inducibility by the pathogen.