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Transporting the colour of grapes

Researchers characterize anthocyanin transport into the vacuole

Oeiras, 14.08.2013

Red grapes owe their skin colour to anthocyanins. In fact, the accumulation of anthocyanins is one of the main events that characterize the onset of grape berry ripening. Anthocyanins accumulate in the vacuole, a membrane-bound organelle typical of plant cells, but how anthocyanins are transported there has long been a matter of debate. Some studies pointed to the involvement of ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins, a diverse and ubiquitous superfamily (mostly with unknown function) in plants, but the biochemical evidence was lacking. Researchers from Plant Molecular Ecophysiology, in collaboration with the University of Zurich and the INRA, characterized the involvement of an ABC-type protein in the transport of anthocyanins into the vacuoles in grape berries. The findings were published in The Plant Cell.

Grapevine (Vitis vinifera) is one of the most important fruit crops worldwide. Grape berries are used for wine production, consumed as fresh or dried fruit, serve for juice production, and, more recently, are sources of compounds for nutraceuticals and cosmetics. Because of the large number of flavonoids (a family of compounds including anthocyanins) accumulating in the various tissues, grapevine is a suitable plant model for studying flavonoids biosynthesis and transport. This study is also a starting point to investigating the role of ABC-type transporters in the vacuolar transport of other compounds.


Plant Cell (2013) 25(5):1840-54 | doi: 10.1105/tpc.112.102152

ABCC1, an ATP Binding Cassette Protein from Grape Berry, Transports Anthocyanidin 3-O-Glucosides

Francisco RM, Regalado A, Ageorges A, Burla BJ, Bassin B, Eisenach C, Zarrouk O, Vialet S, Marlin T, Chaves MM, Martinoia E, Nagy R.

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