News Release

Unlocking the grape's secret: how wounding boosts anthocyanin defenses

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Nanjing Agricultural University The Academy of Science

The impacts of exogenous MeJA treatment on grape anthocyanin synthesis.


The impacts of exogenous MeJA treatment on grape anthocyanin synthesis. ab Phenotypes (a) and total anthocyanin content (b) of ‘Red Globe’ grape fruits treated with 100 μM MeJA for 7 days. Control, grape fruits without MeJA treatment. Scale bar, 1 cm. cd Phenotypes (c) and total anthocyanin content (d) of ‘Gamay’ grape calli cultured on a B5 media containing 100 μM MeJA. Control, grape calli without MeJA treatment. Scale bar, 1 cm. e Expressions of JA synthesis genes in VvWRKY5-OE grape calli. Data are means ± SDs of three separate experiments. Statistical significance at P < 0.01 (**) was detected using Tukey’s test.

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Credit: Horticulture Research

A recent study sheds light on the biochemical response of grapevines to wounding stress. It reveals that the transcription factor VvWRKY5 is a key regulator that enhances anthocyanin production, which serves as a protective mechanism for the plant. This discovery provides insights into the genetic control of the plant's defense system and could lead to the development of more resilient and nutritious crops.

Anthocyanins are vital for plant defense, coloration, and attracting pollinators. They play a significant role in protecting plants from environmental stresses such as temperature fluctuations, drought, and pathogen attacks. Despite their importance, the molecular mechanisms underlying stress-induced anthocyanin production remain unclear. Based on these challenges, there is a pressing need to conduct in-depth research on the factors that enhance anthocyanin biosynthesis, particularly under stress conditions, to improve crop quality and resilience.

A study conducted by researchers from the College of Horticulture at Shenyang Agricultural University and the National & Local Joint Engineering Research Center of Northern Horticultural Facilities Design and Application Technology in China, published (DOI: 10.1093/hr/uhae083) on March 25, 2024, in Horticulture Research, reveals the molecular mechanisms of wounding-induced anthocyanin accumulation in grapes. The research focuses on the transcription factor VvWRKY5 and its interaction with VvMYBA1 and jasmonic acid (JA)biosynthesis.

The study identified VvWRKY5 as a crucial regulator in the enhancement of anthocyanin production in grapes under wounding stress. Upon wounding, the expression of VvWRKY5 significantly increased, leading to higher anthocyanin levels around the wound sites. VvWRKY5 interacts with VvMYBA1, a well-known regulator of anthocyanin biosynthesis, enhancing VvMYBA1’s ability to activate target genes involved in this pathway. Additionally, VvWRKY5 promotes the biosynthesis of JA, a phytohormone that further stimulates anthocyanin accumulation. The combined action of VvWRKY5 and VvMYBA1 amplifies the grape’s response to wounding, resulting in robust anthocyanin production. These findings demonstrate the dual role of VvWRKY5 in both direct gene regulation and hormone-mediated pathways, providing a comprehensive understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind stress-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis in grapes.

Dr. Yinshan Guo, a corresponding author of the study, states, "Our findings shed light on the intricate regulatory mechanisms of anthocyanin biosynthesis in response to wounding stress. Understanding these processes opens up new avenues for enhancing the stress resilience and quality of grape crops through targeted genetic and agronomic interventions."

The insights gained from this study can be applied to improve grape cultivation practices, enhancing the quality and stress resistance of grape varieties. By leveraging the regulatory roles of VvWRKY5 and VvMYBA1, breeders and farmers can develop strategies to boost anthocyanin content, leading to better fruit coloration and increased market value. Additionally, this research provides a foundation for exploring similar mechanisms in other crops, potentially benefiting a wide range of horticultural practices.





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Funding information

The work was funded by the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-29-yc-6), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31972368), the Major Agricultural Science Projects of Liaoning Province (2023JH1/10200004), and the Science and Technology Program of Shenyang (23-410-2-03).

About Horticulture Research

Horticulture Research is an open access journal of Nanjing Agricultural University and ranked number one in the Horticulture category of the Journal Citation Reports ™ from Clarivate, 2022. The journal is committed to publishing original research articles, reviews, perspectives, comments, correspondence articles and letters to the editor related to all major horticultural plants and disciplines, including biotechnology, breeding, cellular and molecular biology, evolution, genetics, inter-species interactions, physiology, and the origination and domestication of crops.

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