Study of the physiological and molecular bases underlying grapevine-virus-fungal pathogen interactions. The fungal diseases downy mildew (causal agent Plasmopara viticola) and powdery mildew (Erysiphe necatrix), and some viruses (GRSPaV, GVB and GFLV), very widespread in grapevine, are used as model systems in our studies. We are investigating the modifications induced by these pathogens in the eco-physiological traits, in the gene expression (transcriptomic analyses: RNA-seq and qRT-PCR), and in the small RNA pathways (miRNAs and vsiRNA) of infected grapevines. Particular attention is paid to the complex interactions between virus-plant and water stress.
Genetic characterization of the grapevine cultivar Nebbiolo through the genome sequencing of 3 Nebbiolo clones. These data are the starting point for in-depth studies on i) interactions between the grapevine genetic biodiversity and the environment (terroir) by transcriptomic (RNA-seq) and epigenomic (Bs-seq) approaches; ii) identification of clone-specific genetic markers (Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism, SNPs) to improve the traceability of the grapevine propagation material, and the clonal identification. Particular attention is paid to new SNPs belonging to coding sequences, therefore potentially representing functional markers associated to interesting genes.
Characterization of plastic effects of somatic embryogenesis in grapevine, a regeneration system known to exploit genotype-dependent reactions to growth conditions. In-depth molecular studies will allow to identify some markers, i.e. genes, transcripts, splicing variants and epigenetic modifications, responsible for different embryogenic aptitudes in different grapevine cultivars. Somatic embryogenesis is currently used in our lab for the elimination of virus and viroid infections, for genetic transformation and genome editing approaches.
Genetic transformation of grapevine and model plants (tobacco and Arabidopsis) for functional studies.
Detection of viruses and viroids by serological and molecular techniques.