Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

iTRAQ-based protein profiling provides insights into the central metabolism changes driving grape berry development and ripening

María José Martínez-Esteso1*, María Teresa Vilella-Antón1, María Ángeles Pedreño2, María Luz Valero3 and Roque Bru-Martínez1*

Author Affiliations

1 Grupo de Proteómica y Genómica Funcional de Plantas, Dept. Agroquímica y Bioquímica, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Alicante, Apartado 99, E-03080 Alicante, Spain

2 Grupo de Peroxidasas Vegetales, Department Fisiología Vegetal, Facultad de Biología, Universidad de Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, E-30100 Murcia, Spain

3 Laboratorio de Proteómica, Centro de Investigación Príncipe Felipe, Av. Autopista del Saler, 16, 46012 Valencia, Spain

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Plant Biology 2013, 13:167  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-13-167

Published: 24 October 2013



Grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) is an economically important fruit crop. Quality-determining grape components such as sugars, acids, flavors, anthocyanins, tannins, etc., accumulate in the different grape berry development stages. Thus, correlating the proteomic profiles with the biochemical and physiological changes occurring in grape is of paramount importance to advance in our understanding of berry development and ripening processes.


We report the developmental analysis of Vitis vinifera cv. Muscat Hamburg berries at the protein level from fruit set to full ripening. An iTRAQ-based bottom-up proteomic approach followed by tandem mass spectrometry led to the identification and quantitation of 411 and 630 proteins in the green and ripening phases, respectively. Two key points in development relating to changes in protein level were detected: end of the first growth period (7 mm-to-15 mm) and onset of ripening (15 mm-to-V100, V100-to-110). A functional analysis was performed using the Blast2GO software based on the enrichment of GO terms during berry growth.


The study of the proteome contributes to decipher the biological processes and metabolic pathways involved in the development and quality traits of fruit and its derived products. These findings lie mainly in metabolism and storage of sugars and malate, energy-related pathways such as respiration, photosynthesis and fermentation, and the synthesis of polyphenolics as major secondary metabolites in grape berry. In addition, some key steps in carbohydrate and malate metabolism have been identified in this study, i.e., PFP-PFK or SuSy-INV switches among others, which may influence the final sugar and acid balance in ripe fruit. In conclusion, some proteins not reported to date have been detected to be deregulated in specific tissues and developmental stages, leading to formulate new hypotheses on the metabolic processes underlying grape berry development. These results open up new lines to decipher the processes controlling grape berry development and ripening.

Development; Grape berry; iTRAQ; Mesocarp; Proteomics; Quantitative; Vitis vinifera; Functional annotation