Solute accumulation differs in the vacuoles and apoplast of ripening grape berries

Planta. 2014 Mar;239(3):633-42. doi: 10.1007/s00425-013-2004-z. Epub 2013 Dec 6.


Phloem unloading is thought to switch from a symplastic route to an apoplastic route at the beginning of ripening in grape berries and some other fleshy fruits. However, it is unclear whether different solutes accumulate in both the mesocarp vacuoles and the apoplast. We modified a method developed for tomato fruit to extract apoplastic sap from grape berries and measured the changes in apoplastic and vacuolar pH, soluble sugars, organic acids, and potassium in ripening berries of Vitis vinifera 'Merlot' and V. labruscana 'Concord'. Solute accumulation varied by genotype, compartment, and chemical species. The apoplast pH was substantially higher than the vacuolar pH, especially in Merlot (approximately two units). However, the vacuole-apoplast proton gradient declined during ripening and in Merlot, but not in Concord, collapsed entirely at maturity. Hexoses accumulated in both the vacuoles and apoplast but at different rates. Organic acids, especially malate, declined much more in the vacuoles than in the apoplast. Potassium accumulated in the vacuoles and apoplast of Merlot. In Concord, by contrast, potassium increased in the vacuoles but decreased in the apoplast. These results suggest that solutes in the fruit apoplast are tightly regulated and under developmental control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fruit / growth & development
  • Fruit / metabolism*
  • Vacuoles / metabolism*
  • Vitis / genetics
  • Vitis / growth & development
  • Vitis / metabolism*