Multi-dimensional leaf phenotypes reflect root system genotype in grafted grapevine over the growing season


Background Modern biological approaches generate volumes of multi-dimensional data, offering unprecedented opportunities to address biological questions previously beyond reach owing to small or subtle effects. A fundamental question in plant biology is the extent to which below-ground activity in the root system influences above-ground phenotypes expressed in the shoot system. Grafting, an ancient horticultural practice that fuses the root system of one individual (the rootstock) with the shoot system of a second, genetically distinct individual (the scion), is a powerful experimental system to understand below-ground effects on above-ground phenotypes. Previous studies on grafted grapevines have detected rootstock influence on scion phenotypes including physiology and berry chemistry. However, the extent of the rootstock's influence on leaves, the photosynthetic engines of the vine, and how those effects change over the course of a growing season, are still largely unknown. Results Here, we investigate associations between rootstock genotype and shoot system phenotypes using 5 multi-dimensional leaf phenotyping modalities measured in a common grafted scion: ionomics, metabolomics, transcriptomics, morphometrics, and physiology. Rootstock influence is ubiquitous but subtle across modalities, with the strongest signature of rootstock observed in the leaf ionome. Moreover, we find that the extent of rootstock influence on scion phenotypes and patterns of phenomic covariation are highly dynamic across the season. Conclusions These findings substantially expand previously identified patterns to demonstrate that rootstock influence on scion phenotypes is complex and dynamic and underscore that broad understanding necessitates volumes of multi-dimensional data previously unmet.



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