Major orchestration of shikimate, early phenylpropanoid and stilbenoid pathways by Subgroup 2 R2R3-MYBs in grapevine


The stilbenoid pathway is responsible for the production of resveratrol and its derivatives in grapevine. A few transcription factors (TFs) have been previously identified as regulators of this pathway but the extent of this control is yet to be fully understood. Here we demonstrate how DNA affinity purification sequencing (DAP-Seq) allows for genome-wide TF binding site interrogation in a non-model species. We obtained 5,190 and 4,443 binding events assigned to 4,041 and 3,626 genes for MYB14 and MYB15, respectively (around 40% of peaks being located within -10kb of transcription start sites). DAP-Seq of MYB14 and MYB15 was combined with aggregate gene centred co-expression networks built from more than 1,400 transcriptomic datasets from leaves, fruits and flowers to narrow down bound genes to a set of high confidence targets. The analysis of MYB14, MYB15 and MYB13, a third uncharacterised member of Subgroup 2 (S2), showed that in addition to the few previously known stilbene synthase (STS ) targets, these three regulators bind to 30 out of 47 STS family genes. Moreover all three MYBs bind to several PAL, C4H and 4CL genes, in addition to shikimate pathway genes, the WRKY03 stilbenoid co-regulator and novel resveratrol-modifying gene candidates amongst which ROMT2 -3 were validated enzymatically. A high proportion of DAP-Seq bound genes was induced in the activated transcriptomes of transient MYB15 -overexpressing stilbenoid-producing grapevine leaves, validating our methodological approach for identifying gene regulatory networks of specialised metabolism. Overall, MYB genes from Subgroup 2 appear to play a key role in binding and directly regulating several primary and secondary metabolic steps leading to an increased flux towards stilbenoid production.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.