Leaf removal is a grapevine canopy management technique widely used to modify the source–sink balance and/or microclimate around berry clusters to optimize fruit composition. In general, the removal of basal leaves before flowering reduces fruit set, hence achieving looser clusters, and improves grape composition since yield is generally curtailed more than proportionally to leaf area itself. Albeit responses to this practice seem quite consistent, overall vine performance is affected by genotype, environmental conditions, and severity of treatment. The physiological responses of grape varieties to defoliation practices have been widely investigated, and just recently a whole genome transcriptomic approach was exploited showing an extensive transcriptome rearrangement in berries defoliated before flowering. Nevertheless, the extent to which these transcriptomic reactions could be manifested by different genotypes and growing environments is entirely unexplored. To highlight general responses to defoliation vs. different locations, we analyzed the transcriptome of cv. Sangiovese berries sampled at four development stages from pre-flowering defoliated vines in two different geographical areas of Italy. We obtained and validated five markers of the early defoliation treatment in Sangiovese, an ATP-binding cassette transporter, an auxin response factor, a cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase, a flavonoid 3-O-glucosyltransferase and an indole-3-acetate beta-glucosyltransferase. Candidate molecular markers were also obtained in another three grapevine genotypes (Nero d’Avola, Ortrugo, and Ciliegiolo), subjected to the same level of selective pre-flowering defoliation (PFD) over two consecutive years in their different areas of cultivation. The flavonol synthase was identified as a marker in the pre-veraison phase, the jasmonate methyltransferase during the transition phase and the abscisic acid receptor PYL4 in the ripening phase. The characterization of transcriptome changes in Sangiovese berry after PFD highlights, on one hand, the stronger effect of environment than treatment on the whole berry transcriptome rearrangement during development and, on the other, expands existing knowledge of the main molecular and biochemical modifications occurring in defoliated vines. Moreover, the identification of candidate genes associated with PFD in different genotypes and environments provides new insights into the applicability and repeatability of this crop practice, as well as its possible agricultural and qualitative outcomes across genetic and environmental variability.
Transcriptional responses to pre-flowering leaf defoliation in grapevine berry from different growing sites, years, and genotypes / Zenoni, Sara; Dal Santo, Silvia; Tornielli, Giovanni B.; D’Incà, Erica; Filippetti, Ilaria; Pastore, Chiara; Allegro, Gianluca; Silvestroni, Oriana; Lanari, Vania; Pisciotta, Antonino; Di Lorenzo, Rosario; Palliotti, Alberto; Tombesi, Sergio; Gatti and Stefano Poni, Matteo. - In: FRONTIERS IN PLANT SCIENCE. - ISSN 1664-462X. - ELETTRONICO. - 8:630(2017), pp. 1-21. [10.3389/fpls.2017.00630]