Plant physiology and biochemistry : PPB

Brassinosteroids are involved in controlling sugar unloading in Vitis vinifera 'Cabernet Sauvignon' berries during véraison.

PMID 26113159


Sugar unloading in grape berries is a crucial step in the long-distance transport of carbohydrates from grapevine leaves to berries. Brassinosteroids (BRs) mediate many physiological processes in plants including carbohydrate metabolism. Here, 'Cabernet Sauvignon' (Vitis vinifera L.) grape berries cultivated in clay loam fields were treated with an exogenous BR (24-epibrassinolide; EBR), a BR synthesis inhibitor (brassinazole; Brz), Brz + EBR (sprayed with EBR 24 h after a Brz treatment), and deionized water (control) at the onset of véraison. The EBR treatment sharply increased the soluble sugars content in the berries, but decreased it in the skins. The EBR and Brz + EBR treatments significantly promoted the activities of both invertases (acidic and neutral) and sucrose synthase (sucrolytic) at various stages of ripening. The mRNA levels of genes encoding sucrose metabolic invertase (VvcwINV), and monosaccharide (VvHT3, 4, 5 and 6) and disaccharide (VvSUC12 and 27) transporters were increased by the EBR and/or Brz + EBR treatments. Generally, the effects of the Brz treatment on the measured targets contrasted with the effects of the EBR treatments. The EBR and Brz treatments inhibited the biosynthesis of the endogenous BRs 6-deoxocastastarone and castasterone. Both EBR and Brz + EBR treatments increased the brassinolide contents, down-regulated the expression of genes encoding BRs biosynthetic enzymes BRASSINOSTEROID-6-OXIDASE and DWARF1, (VvBR6OX1 and VvDWF1) and induced BR receptor gene BRASSINOSTEROID INSENSITIVE 1 (VvBRI1) expression in deseeded berries. Together, these results show that BRs are involved in controlling sugar unloading in grape berries during véraison.