Pink-colored grape berry is the result of short insertion in intron of color regulatory gene

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e21308. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0021308. Epub 2011 Jun 17.


We report here that pink grape berries were obtained by a short insertion in the intron of the MybA1 gene, a gene that regulates grape berry color. Genetic variation was detected among the MybA1 genes from grapes cultivated worldwide. PCR analysis of the MybA1 gene demonstrated that the size of the MybA1 gene in the red allele differs among grapes. Oriental V. vinifera bearing pink berries has the longest MybA1 gene among grapes, whereas the shortest MybA1 gene was detected in occidental V. vinifera grapes. The nucleotide sequences of the MybA1 genes demonstrated that oriental V. vinifera has two additional gene fragments (44 bp and 111 bp) in the promoter region of the MybA1 gene in the red allele and another 33 bp fragment in the second intron of the MybA1 gene in the red allele. The short insertion in the intron decreased the transcription activity in the model system and retained MybA1 transcripts with unspliced intron in the total RNA. From the experiments using deletion mutants of the 33 bp short insertion, 16 bp of the 3' end in the insertion is a key structure for a defect in splicing of MybA1 transcripts. Thus, a weakly colored grape berry might be a result of the short insertion in the intron of a color regulatory gene. This is new evidence concerning the molecular mechanism of the fate of grape berry color. These findings are expected to contribute to the further understanding of the color variation in grape berries, which is correlated with the evolutional events occurring in the MybA1 gene of grapes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anthocyanins / metabolism
  • Fruit / genetics*
  • Fruit / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Genes, Plant / genetics*
  • Genomics
  • Introns / genetics*
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Pigmentation / genetics*
  • Plant Epidermis / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Vitis / genetics*
  • Vitis / metabolism


  • Anthocyanins
  • RNA, Messenger