Water and salinity stress in grapevines: early and late changes in transcript and metabolite profiles

Funct Integr Genomics. 2007 Apr;7(2):111-34. doi: 10.1007/s10142-006-0039-y. Epub 2006 Nov 29.


Grapes are grown in semiarid environments, where drought and salinity are common problems. Microarray transcript profiling, quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, and metabolite profiling were used to define genes and metabolic pathways in Vitis vinifera cv. Cabernet Sauvignon with shared and divergent responses to a gradually applied and long-term (16 days) water-deficit stress and equivalent salinity stress. In this first-of-a-kind study, distinct differences between water deficit and salinity were revealed. Water deficit caused more rapid and greater inhibition of shoot growth than did salinity at equivalent stem water potentials. One of the earliest responses to water deficit was an increase in the transcript abundance of RuBisCo activase (day 4), but this increase occurred much later in salt-stressed plants (day 12). As water deficit progressed, a greater number of affected transcripts were involved in metabolism, transport, and the biogenesis of cellular components than did salinity. Salinity affected a higher percentage of transcripts involved in transcription, protein synthesis, and protein fate than did water deficit. Metabolite profiling revealed that there were higher concentrations of glucose, malate, and proline in water-deficit-treated plants as compared to salinized plants. The metabolite differences were linked to differences in transcript abundance of many genes involved in energy metabolism and nitrogen assimilation, particularly photosynthesis, gluconeogenesis, and photorespiration. Water-deficit-treated plants appear to have a higher demand than salinized plants to adjust osmotically, detoxify free radicals (reactive oxygen species), and cope with photoinhibition.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Dehydration / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Osmotic Pressure
  • RNA, Plant / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vitis / metabolism*


  • RNA, Plant