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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Analysis of the grape MYB R2R3 subfamily reveals expanded wine quality-related clades and conserved gene structure organization across Vitis and Arabidopsis genomes

José Tomás Matus1, Felipe Aquea2 and Patricio Arce-Johnson2*

Author Affiliations

1 Departamento de Fruticultura y Enología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Av. Vicuña Mackenna 4560, Santiago, Chile

2 Departamento de Genética Molecular y Microbiología, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Alameda 340, PO Box 114-D, Santiago, Chile

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BMC Plant Biology 2008, 8:83  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-8-83

Published: 22 July 2008

Abstract

Background

The MYB superfamily constitutes the most abundant group of transcription factors described in plants. Members control processes such as epidermal cell differentiation, stomatal aperture, flavonoid synthesis, cold and drought tolerance and pathogen resistance. No genome-wide characterization of this family has been conducted in a woody species such as grapevine. In addition, previous analysis of the recently released grape genome sequence suggested expansion events of several gene families involved in wine quality.

Results

We describe and classify 108 members of the grape R2R3 MYB gene subfamily in terms of their genomic gene structures and similarity to their putative Arabidopsis thaliana orthologues. Seven gene models were derived and analyzed in terms of gene expression and their DNA binding domain structures. Despite low overall sequence homology in the C-terminus of all proteins, even in those with similar functions across Arabidopsis and Vitis, highly conserved motif sequences and exon lengths were found. The grape epidermal cell fate clade is expanded when compared with the Arabidopsis and rice MYB subfamilies. Two anthocyanin MYBA related clusters were identified in chromosomes 2 and 14, one of which includes the previously described grape colour locus. Tannin related loci were also detected with eight candidate homologues in chromosomes 4, 9 and 11.

Conclusion

This genome wide transcription factor analysis in Vitis suggests that clade-specific grape R2R3 MYB genes are expanded while other MYB genes could be well conserved compared to Arabidopsis. MYB gene abundance, homology and orientation within particular loci also suggests that expanded MYB clades conferring quality attributes of grapes and wines, such as colour and astringency, could possess redundant, overlapping and cooperative functions.