Ethylene is important during the berry development and in the last stages of rachis development or rachis senescence. Since grapes develop in a cluster that comprises both the fruit berry and the nonfruit rachis, we measured the release of ethylene from both tissues. Detached berries from Vitis vinifera ‘Ruby Seedless’ and ‘Thompson Seedless’ showed that ethylene release peaks at the beginning of berry development and at veraison. Ethylene production in the rachis was higher than that in the berry and had an obvious peak before harvest in ‘Thompson Seedless’. In both cultivars, ethephon treatment induced ethylene production in the rachis but not in the berry. Expression of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylate (ACC) synthase (ACS) and ACC oxidase (ACO) genes showed diverse temporal and spatial patterns in ‘Thompson Seedless’ and ‘Ruby Seedless’. For most gene family members, the low ACS expression levels were observed in berry and rachis. Expression levels of most of the ACS and ACO genes did not correlate with ethylene released in the same organ. The transcriptional level of VvACS1 did correlate with ethylene evolution in rachis of ‘Thompson Seedless’ during berry development and storage, which suggested that VvACS1 may have important roles in rachis senescence. In berries of ‘Thompson Seedless’ and ‘Ruby Seedless’, the transcriptional levels of VvACO1, VvACS2, and VvACS6 coincided with ethylene production, indicating possible roles in berry development. Expression of VvACS2–VvACO9 and VvACO1–VvACO3 was not consistent with ethylene production during storage or in response to ethephon treatment, which suggests that the expression of ACS and ACO was affected by other stress factors after harvest.
We thank Anita K. Snyder for critical reading of the manuscript. The work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (31201605) and Major Science and Technology Project in Henan Province (151100110900).
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