Background: Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is an economically important crop with a wide geographical distribution, reflecting its ability to grow successfully in a range of climates. However, many vineyards are located in regions with seasonal drought, and these are often predicted to be global climate change hotspots. Climate change affects the entire physiology of grapevine, with strong effects on yield, wine quality and typicity, making it difficult to produce berries of optimal enological quality and consistent stability over the forthcoming decades. Results: Here we investigated the reactions of two grapevine cultivars to water stress, the isohydric variety Montepulciano and the anisohydric variety Sangiovese, by examining physiological and molecular perturbations in the leaf and berry. A multidisciplinary approach was used to characterize the distinct stomatal behavior of the two cultivars and its impact on leaf and berry gene expression. Positive associations were found among the photosynthetic, physiological and transcriptional modifications, and candidate genes encoding master regulators of the water stress response were identified using an integrated approach based on the analysis of topological co-expression network properties. In particular, the genome-wide transcriptional study indicated that the isohydric behavior relies upon the following responses: i) faster transcriptome response after stress imposition; ii) faster abscisic acid-related gene modulation; iii) more rapid expression of heat shock protein (HSP) genes and iv) reversion of gene-expression profile at rewatering. Conversely, that reactive oxygen species (ROS)-scavenging enzymes, molecular chaperones and abiotic stress-related genes were induced earlier and more strongly in the anisohydric cultivar. Conclusions: Overall, the present work found original evidence of a molecular basis for the proposed classification between isohydric and anisohydric grapevine genotypes.
- Water stress
- stomatal behavior