Impact of heat stress, water stress, and their combined effects on the metabolism and transcriptome of grape berries. Academic Article uri icon


  • Recurring heat and drought episodes present challenges to the sustainability of grape production worldwide. We investigated the impacts of heat and drought stress on transcriptomic and metabolic responses of berries from two wine grape varieties. Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling grapevines were subjected to one of four treatments during early fruit ripening: (1) drought stress only, (2) heat stress only, (3) simultaneous drought and heat stress, (4) no drought or heat stress (control). Berry metabolites, especially organic acids, were analyzed, and time-course transcriptome analysis was performed on samples before, during, and after the stress episode. Both alone and in conjunction with water stress, heat stress had a much more significant impact on berry organic acid content, pH, and titratable acidity than water stress. This observation contrasts with previous reports for leaves, which responded more strongly to water stress, indicating that grape berries display a distinct, organ-specific response to environmental stresses. Consistent with the metabolic changes, the global transcriptomic analysis revealed that heat stress had a more significant impact on gene expression in grape berries than water stress in both varieties. The differentially expressed genes were those associated with the tricarboxylic acid cycle and glyoxylate cycle, mitochondrial electron transport and alternative respiration, glycolysis and gluconeogenesis, carbohydrate allocation, ascorbate metabolism, and abiotic stress signaling pathways. Knowledge regarding how environmental stresses, alone and in combination, impact the berry metabolism of different grape varieties will form the basis for developing recommendations for climate change mitigation strategies and genetic improvement.

published proceedings

  • Sci Rep

altmetric score

  • 2.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Hewitt, S., Hernndez-Montes, E., Dhingra, A., & Keller, M.

citation count

  • 8

complete list of authors

  • Hewitt, Seanna||Hern├índez-Montes, Esther||Dhingra, Amit||Keller, Markus

publication date

  • June 2023