Flavonoids play a key role in grapevine physiology and also contribute substantially to the quality of berries and wines. VvMYB5a and VvMYB5b are R2R3-MYB transcription factors previously proposed to control the spatiotemporal expression of flavonoid structural genes during berry development. We investigated the functions of these two proteins in detail by heterologous expression in a petunia an2 mutant, which has negligible anthocyanin levels in the petals because it lacks the MYB protein PhAN2. We also expressed VvMYBA1, the grapevine ortholog of petunia PhAN2, in the same genetic background. The anthocyanin profiles induced by expressing these transgenes in the petals revealed that VvMYBA1 is the functional ortholog of PhAN2 and that, unlike VvMYB5a, VvMYB5b can partially complement the an2 mutation. Transcriptomic analysis of petals by microarray hybridization and qPCR confirmed that VvMYB5b upregulates a subset of anthocyanin structural genes, whereas VvMYB5a has a more limited impact on the expression of genes related to anthocyanin biosynthesis. Furthermore, we identified additional specific and common targets of these two regulators, related to vacuolar acidification and membrane remodeling. Taken together, these data provide insight into the role of VvMYB5a and VvMYB5b in flavonoid biosynthesis and provide evidence for additional regulatory roles in distinct pathways
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