Characterisation of plant signaling proteins for genetic improvement of grapevine tolerance to salinity and drought and enhanced resistance to fungal disease
Burger, J T
University of Stellenbosch. Department of Genetics
Soil salinity affects vineyard performance by interfering with adequate functioning of roots. Irrigation and use of soil fertilizers are the major factors contributing to soil salinity. Furthermore, bore water widely used in irrigation of vineyards contains salts and these accumulate on soil upon evaporation of the water. Salt toxicity to vineyards affects yield and fruit quality. However, irrigation is necessary because of the high frequency of drought or low rainfall in grapevine growing regions of South Africa. Salinity and water deficits act cumulatively to negatively affect grapevine yield and the quality of grapes. Furthermore, one of the major causes of grapevine yield losses is due to diseases. Fungal pathogens are amongst the main contributors to diseases in this case. We expect AtGC1 and AtPNP-A to play a role in salinity and drought tolerance and mediate disease resistance responses via cGMP signalling. We aim to use the knowledge gained from the characterization of AtGC1 and AtPNP-A in Arabidopsis thaliana and their homologues in Vitis vinifera towards developing an approach to genetic improvement of grapevine for enhanced tolerance to salinity, drought and fungal diseases.