Berry skin colour is a crucial determinant of red/black grape berry quality. We investigated the effects of combination treatments with amino acids and a low concentration of ABA on anthocyanin accumulation in grapes. Among the amino acids tested, isoleucine and phenylalanine resulted in high anthocyanin contents in grape cell cultures. The combination treatments with isoleucine or phenylalanine, and a low concentration of ABA enhanced anthocyanin accumulation in grape cells and detached grape berries. The combination treatment with isoleucine, but not with phenylalanine, and ABA upregulated MybA1 expression. Field-grown grapevines received combination treatments with isoleucine or phenylalanine, and ABA in two growing seasons. In the 2015 growing season, the combination treatments with isoleucine or phenylalanine, and a low concentration of ABA accelerated anthocyanin accumulation in grape berry skins of field-grown grapevines on days 10 and 31 post treatment. The effects on anthocyanin accumulation became negligible at harvest. The effect of the combination treatment with phenylalanine and a low concentration of ABA on anthocyanin accumulation was masked in the 2017 growing season due to the unexpected stimulation of anthocyanin accumulation by the low concentration of ABA, although the combination treatment accelerated anthocyanin accumulation on days 3 and 10 post treatment. Taken together, the results suggested that exogenous isoleucine and phenylalanine interacted with ABA-mediated anthocyanin accumulation in grape berry skins of field-grown grapevines when the activity of ABA used to treat the grapevines was inadequate.
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