, Volume 248, Issue 5, pp 1201–1211 | Cite as

Grapevine leafroll disease alters leaf physiology but has little effect on plant cold hardiness

  • Matthew M. Halldorson
  • Markus KellerEmail author
Original Article


Main conclusion

Foliar sugar accumulation in grapevines with leafroll disease was correlated with lower photosynthesis, likely due to feedback inhibition. However, cold acclimation of dormant tissues remained unaffected by the virus status.

Grapevine leafroll-associated viruses (GLRaV) contribute to losses in fruit yield and quality worldwide. Visually, leafroll disease symptoms appear similar to those associated with an imbalance in source/sink relations and a concomitant feedback inhibition of photosynthesis, which is often caused by an impasse in sugar translocation. In order to test this potential relationship and related physiological responses, leaf water status, gas exchange, non-structural carbohydrates, and dormant tissue cold hardiness were examined over 2 years in healthy and GLRaV-3-infected, field-grown Merlot grapevines. Diurnal and seasonal changes in leaf water status and gas exchange were dominated by variations in water availability, temperature, and leaf age, while GLRaV-3 infection contributed less to the overall variation. By contrast, foliar carbohydrates increased markedly in infected plants, with starch accumulating early in the growing season, followed by soluble sugar accumulation, leaf reddening, and declining gas exchange. Photosynthesis correlated negatively with leaf sugar content. However, dormant-season cold hardiness of buds and cane vascular tissues was similar in healthy and infected vines. These findings support the idea that visible symptoms of grapevine leafroll disease are a consequence of carbohydrate accumulation which, in turn, may lead to feedback inhibition of photosynthesis. In addition, this study provided evidence that GLRaV-3 infection is unlikely to alter the susceptibility to moderate water deficit and winter damage in mature Merlot grapevines.


Cold hardiness Grapevine leafroll-associated virus Leaf water potential Photosynthesis Non-structural carbohydrates Stomatal conductance Vitis vinifera 



Grapevine leafroll disease


Grapevine leafroll-associated virus


Stomatal conductance


Root-to-stem hydraulic conductance


Temperature causing 10% phloem or xylem injury


Lethal temperature for 50% of dormant buds


Non-structural carbohydrates


Leaf net photosynthetic rate


Predawn leaf water potential


Midday stem water potential



We thank an anonymous grower and Naidu Rayapati for access to their vineyard trial, Peter Cousins for sharing his unpublished leaf disk assay, and Lynn Mills for technical assistance. This work was partly funded by the American Vineyard Foundation and Washington State University’s Department of Horticulture and Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

Supplementary material

425_2018_2967_MOESM1_ESM.docx (204 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 204 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Horticulture, Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension CenterWashington State UniversityProsserUSA
  2. 2.Ste. Michelle Wine EstatesProsserUSA

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