Stilbenes are considered the most important phytoalexin group in grapevine (Vitis vinifera) and they are known to contribute to the protection against various pathogens. The main stilbenes in grapevine are resveratrol and its derivatives and, among these, pterostilbene has recently attracted much attention due both to its antifungal and pharmacological properties. Indeed, pterostilbene is 5 to 10 times more fungitoxic than resveratrol in vitro and recent studies have shown that pterostilbene exhibits anticancer, hypolipidemic, and antidiabetic properties. A candidate gene approach was used to identify a grapevine resveratrol O-methyltransferase (ROMT) cDNA and the activity of the corresponding protein was characterized after expression in Escherichia coli. Transient coexpression of ROMT and grapevine stilbene synthase in tobacco (Nicotiana benthamiana) using the agroinfiltration technique resulted in the accumulation of pterostilbene in tobacco tissues. Taken together, these results showed that ROMT was able to catalyze the biosynthesis of pterostilbene from resveratrol both in vitro and in planta. ROMT gene expression in grapevine leaves was induced by different stresses, including downy mildew (Plasmopara viticola) infection, ultraviolet light, and AlCl(3) treatment.
Schmidlin L, Poutaraud A, Claudel P, Mestre P, Prado E, Santos-Rosa M, Wiedemann-Merdinoglu S, Karst F, Merdinoglu D, Hugueney P. A stress-inducible resveratrol O-methyltransferase involved in the biosynthesis of pterostilbene in grapevine. Plant Physiol. 2008 November Laboratoire de Génétique et d'Amélioration de la Vigne, UMR1131, INRA, Université Louis Pasteur Strasbourg, F-68021 Colmar, France.