Anthocyanic vacuolar inclusions (AVIs) are intra-vacuolar structures capable of concentrating anthocyanins and are present in over 50 of the highest anthocyanin-accumulating plant species. Presence of AVIs alters pigment intensity, total anthocyanin levels, pigment hue and causes bathochromic shifts in a spatio-temporal manner within various flowers, vegetables and fruits. A year-long study on Vitis vinifera cell suspension cultures found a strong correlation between AVI prevalence and anthocyanin content, but not the number of pigmented cells, growth rate or stilbene content. Furthermore, enhancement of the prevalence of AVIs and anthocyanins was achieved by treatment of V. vinifera cell suspension cultures with sucrose, jasmonic acid and white light. A unique autofluorescence of anthocyanins was used to demonstrate microscopically that AVIs proceed from the cytosol across the tonoplast and were able to coalesce intravacuolarly, with fewer, larger AVIs predominating as cells mature. Purification and characterisation of these bodies were performed, showing that they were dense, highly organic structures, with a lipid component indicative of membrane-encasement. These purified AVIs were also shown to comprise long-chain tannins and possessed an increased affinity for binding acylated anthocyanins, though no unique protein component was detected.
- Suspension culture
- Vacuolar inclusions