Guest Group

Dr. Yariv Brotmann
Project Leader
Phone:+49 331 567-8228

Ben-Gurion University of Negev

Department Willmitzer (Guest Group)

Genetics of Metabolic Traits

Research in the group of Dr. Yariv Brotman focuses on the use of quantitative genetic approaches for the identification of genes that are involved in plant metabolism, and on further functional characterization of those genes by application of different molecular biology techniques and transgenic plant approaches. Special focus is given to genes that are taking part in lipid metabolism.
<strong>Overview of the <em>Arabidopsis</em> genetic map resulted from the GWAS</strong>. Circles refer to co-localization of GWA mapping hits on chromosomes with &ndash;log<sub>10 </sub>(<em>P</em>-value) of SNP-lipid associations which were significant with FDR &le; 0.05. Dotted lines indicate genomic positions with association signals of multiple lipids. Candidate genes, harbor within the loci, with known relationships to lipid metabolism or that show sequences homology to lipid metabolism genes are indicated. Zoom Image
Overview of the Arabidopsis genetic map resulted from the GWAS. Circles refer to co-localization of GWA mapping hits on chromosomes with –log10 (P-value) of SNP-lipid associations which were significant with FDR ≤ 0.05. Dotted lines indicate genomic positions with association signals of multiple lipids. Candidate genes, harbor within the loci, with known relationships to lipid metabolism or that show sequences homology to lipid metabolism genes are indicated. [less]

To identify the genetic loci that control the biosynthesis of metabolites and lipids, we are utilizing the growing body of genetic and genomic resources available for plants. By the use of mass spectrometry based metabolomic profiling we identify metabolomic qualitative trait loci (mQTL). For this purpose we are conducting - using the natural variation that exists in a given plant species - genome-wide association studies (GWAS) on three plants species: the model plant Arabidopsis and two agriculturally important crop species, maize and rice. The outcome of the GWAS are dense high resolution genetic maps of mQTL. An advantage of the genetic mapping approach is that it is an unbiased approach that allows the simultaneous identification of hundreds of genomic loci that control metabolites and lipid biosynthesis in plants. We are also using the metabolites identified in the different accessions in order to further correlate the metabolomics space with a set of important agronomical traits such as biomass.

Other research areas of the group include:

  1. Molecular and functional characterization of candidate genes, identified in the mQTL screening, using different molecular biology techniques, transgenic plant approaches and mass-spectrometry-based metabolomic approaches.
  2. Studying transcriptional regulation in Arabidopsis by five MYB transcription factors (TF) controlling different aspects of biosynthetic processes of plant lipids and secondary metabolites.
  3. Elucidating the interaction of plants with pathogens using a combination of metabolomic and transcriptomic approaches, which allows the systemic analysis of the plant response toward pathogens.
  4. Research on the interactions of plants with the beneficial microorganism Trichoderma, with specific focus on the mechanism of root colonization and the endophyte-induced resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
<p>In recent years, complete genome sequences for <em>Arabidopsis thaliana</em>, maize and rice have been completed and high-density single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNP) molecular markers have become available for a large number of accessions (natural variation) of these plants. These allow the conducting of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for the identification of the genetic regulation of different phenotypic traits.</p>

Quantitative Genetics

In recent years, complete genome sequences for Arabidopsis thaliana, maize and rice have been completed and high-density single-nucleotide-polymorphism (SNP) molecular markers have become available for a large number of accessions (natural variation) of these plants. These allow the conducting of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for the identification of the genetic regulation of different phenotypic traits.

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Functional characterization of MYB transcription factors in Arabidopsis

In plants, MYB transcription factors (TF) play a key role in different aspects of plant development, secondary metabolism, hormone signal transduction, disease resistance and abiotic stress tolerance [more]

Plant pathogen interaction

The utilization of the variation that exists between accessions of a given plant species in response to pathogen challenge, variation that evolved by natural selection, is an emerging topic in the research field of plant-pathogen interactions. 

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Plant-Trichoderma interaction

The genus Trichoderma comprises a large number of rhizocompetent filamentous fungal strains found in a large variety of ecosystems. Some rhizosphere-competent strains of Trichoderma can colonize entire root surfaces with morphological features reminiscent of those seen during mycoparasitism and can be defined as opportunistic plant symbionts.

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