Yan73, a teinturier
(dyer) grape variety in China, is one of the few Vitis vinifera
cultivars with red-coloured berry flesh. To examine the tissue-specific expression of genes associated with berry colour in Yan73, we analysed the differential accumulation of anthocyanins in the skin and flesh tissues of two red-skinned grape varieties with either red (Yan73) or white flesh (Muscat Hamburg) based on HPLC-MS analysis, as well as the differential expression of 18 anthocyanin biosynthesis genes in both varieties by quantitative RT-PCR. The results revealed that the transcripts of GST, OMT, AM3, CHS3, UFGT, MYBA1, F3′5′H, F3H1 and LDOX were barely detectable in the white flesh of Muscat Hamburg. In particular, GST, OMT, AM3, CHS3 and F3H1 showed approximately 50-fold downregulation in the white flesh of Muscat Hamburg compared to the red flesh of Yan73. A correlation analysis between the accumulation of different types of anthocyanins and gene expression indicated that the cumulative expression of GST, F3′5′H, LDOX and MYBA1 was more closely associated with the acylated anthocyanins and the 3′5′-OH anthocyanins, while OMT and AM3 were more closely associated with the total anthocyanins and methoxylated anthocyanins. Therefore, the transcripts of OMT, AM3, GST, F3′5′H, LDOX and MYBA1 explained most of the variation in the amount and composition of anthocyanins in skin and flesh of Yan73. The data suggest that the specific localization of anthocyanins in the flesh tissue of Yan73 is most likely due to the tissue-specific expression of OMT, AM3, GST, F3′5′H, LDOX and MYBA1 in the flesh.
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