Berry ripening: key genes identified

Foto-4_portaleA group of researchers from the Laboratory of Agricultural Genetics at the University of Verona directed by Mario Pezzotti alongside with the team of CNR coordinated by Paola Paci has identified some key genes in the ripening process of the berry of the vine. This research, published in the scientific journal The Plant Cell, will allow developing diagnostic tools able to improve the quality of grapes and wine. Starting from the analysis of the expression profile of the approximately 30,000 genes present in the genome of the vine plant, in various states of its development, the scientists found that a small group of genes, about 100, is directly involved in the regulation of the ripening of the organs of vine, and in particular of its fruit. This means that very few proteins, with regulatory function on the expression of other genes, are necessary for the progression of the maturation of the grape berry. This study also showed that, during the transition between the immature and mature fruit, many genes are switched off, that is to say they are not expressed any longer, and the proteins encoded by them are no longer produced. On the other hand, the 100 genes identified are highly expressed during the transition towards ripening and their role has proved to be central for stopping the genes expressed in the immature stage. Among the identified genes, some have a central role in the regulation of metabolic processes. As a matter of fact, their role is central for both development and final characteristics of the grape berry. Among these, we remind the production of phenolic compounds, essential for the determination of such final characteristics of quality of the fruit as colour and structure of the resulting wine.

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