The role of auxin during early berry development in grapevine as revealed by transcript profiling from pollination to fruit set

Hortic Res. 2021 Jun 14;8(1):140. doi: 10.1038/s41438-021-00568-1.


Auxin is a key phytohormone that modulates fruit formation in many fleshy fruits through the regulation of cell division and expansion. Auxin content rapidly increases after pollination and the manipulation in its levels may lead to the parthenocarpic development. ln Vitis vinifera L., little is known about the early fruit development that encompasses from pollination to fruit set. Pollination/fertilization events trigger fruit formation, and auxin treatment mimics their effect in grape berry set. However, the role of auxin in this process at the molecular level is not well understood. To elucidate the participation of auxin in grapevine fruit formation, morphological, reproductive, and molecular events from anthesis to fruit set were described in sequential days after pollination. Exploratory RNA-seq analysis at four time points from anthesis to fruit set revealed that the highest percentage of genes induced/repressed within the hormone-related gene category were auxin-related genes. Transcript profiling showed significant transcript variations in auxin signaling and homeostasis-related genes during the early fruit development. Indole acetic acid and several auxin metabolites were present during this period. Finally, application of an inhibitor of auxin action reduced cell number and the mesocarp diameter, similarly to unpollinated berries, further confirming the key role of auxin during early berry development. This work sheds light into the molecular features of the initial fruit development and highlights the auxin participation during this stage in grapevine.