Eyal Blum

Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel

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Publications (6)62.03 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The role glucosinolates play in defending plants against phloem feeders such as aphids and whiteflies is currently not clear as these herbivores may avoid bringing glucosinolates from the phloem sap into contact with myrosinase enzymes. Here, we investigated the effects of high levels of aliphatic and indolic glucosinolates on life history traits and detoxification gene expression in two sibling species, B and Q, of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci. High levels of aliphatic glucosinolates decreased the average oviposition rate of both species and reduced the survival and developmental rate of Q nymphs. High levels of indolic glucosinolates decreased the oviposition rate and survival of nymphal stages of the B species and the developmental rate of both species. Molecular analyses revealed two major asymmetries between the B and Q species. First, specific GST genes (BtGST1 and BtGST2) were significantly induced during exposure to indolic glucosinolates only in Q. This may reflect the genes putative involvement in indolic glucosinolates detoxification and explain the species' good performance on plants accumulating indolic glucosinolates. Second, the constitutive expression of eight of the 10 detoxification genes analysed was higher in the Q species than in the B species. Interestingly, four of these genes were induced in B in response to high levels of glucosinolates. It seems, therefore, that the B and Q species differ in their 'optimal defence strategy'. B utilizes inducible defences that are profitable if the probability of experiencing the stress is small and its severity is low, while Q invests significant resources in being always 'ready' for a challenge.
    Molecular Ecology 07/2012; 21(18):4533-46. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05713.x · 5.84 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, transcriptomics and metabolomics data were integrated in order to examine the regulation of glucosinolate (GS) biosynthesis in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana) and its interface with pathways of primary metabolism. Our genetic material for analyses were transgenic plants overexpressing members of two clades of genes (ALTERED TRYPTOPHAN REGULATION1 [ATR1]-like and MYB28-like) that regulate the aliphatic and indole GS biosynthetic pathways (AGs and IGs, respectively). We show that activity of these regulators is not restricted to the metabolic space surrounding GS biosynthesis but is tightly linked to more distal metabolic networks of primary metabolism. This suggests that with similarity to the regulators we have investigated here, other factors controlling pathways of secondary metabolism might also control core pathways of central metabolism. The relatively broad view of transcripts and metabolites altered in transgenic plants overexpressing the different factors underlined novel links of GS metabolism to additional metabolic pathways, including those of jasmonic acid, folate, benzoic acid, and various phenylpropanoids. It also revealed transcriptional and metabolic hubs in the "distal" network of metabolic pathways supplying precursors to GS biosynthesis and that overexpression of the ATR1-like clade genes has a much broader effect on the metabolism of indolic compounds than described previously. While the reciprocal, negative cross talk between the methionine and tryptophan pathways that generate GSs in Arabidopsis has been suggested previously, we now show that it is not restricted to AGs and IGs but includes additional metabolites, such as the phytoalexin camalexin. Combining the profiling data of transgenic lines with gene expression correlation analysis allowed us to propose a model of how the balance in the metabolic network is maintained by the GS biosynthesis regulators. It appears that ATR1/MYB34 is an important mediator between the gene activities of the two clades. While it is very similar to the ATR1-like clade members in terms of downstream gene targets, its expression is highly correlated with that of the MYB28-like clade members. Finally, we used the unique transgenic plants obtained here to show that AGs are likely more potent deterrents of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci compared with IGs. The influence on insect behavior raises an important question for future investigation of the functional aspect of our initial finding, which pointed to enriched expression of the MYB28-like clade genes in the abaxial domain of the Arabidopsis leaf.
    Plant physiology 11/2008; 148(4):2021-49. DOI:10.1104/pp.108.124784 · 7.39 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Leaf development has been monitored chiefly by following anatomical markers. Analysis of transcriptome dynamics during leaf maturation revealed multiple expression patterns that rise or fall with age or that display age-specific peaks. These were used to formulate a digital differentiation index (DDI) based on a set of selected markers with informative expression during leaf ontogeny. The leaf-based DDI reliably predicted the developmental state of leaf samples from diverse sources and was independent of mitotic cell division transcripts or propensity of specific cell types. When calibrated by informative root markers, the same algorithm accurately diagnosed dissected root samples. We used the DDI to characterize plants with reduced activities of multiple CINCINNATA (CIN)-TCP (TEOSINTE BRANCHED1, CYCLOIDEA, PCF) growth regulators. These plants had giant curled leaves made up of small cells with abnormal shape, low DDI scores, and low expression of mitosis markers, depicting the primary role of CIN-TCPs as promoters of differentiation. Delayed activity of several CIN-TCPs resulted in abnormally large but flat leaves with regular cells. The application of DDI has therefore portrayed the CIN-TCPs as heterochronic regulators that permit the development of a flexible and robust leaf form through an ordered and protracted maturation schedule.
    The Plant Cell 10/2008; 20(9):2293-306. DOI:10.1105/tpc.107.057521 · 9.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Plant leaves show pronounced plasticity of size and form. In the classical, partially dominant mutation Lanceolate (La), the large compound leaves of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) are converted into small simple ones. We show that LA encodes a transcription factor from the TCP family containing an miR319-binding site. Five independent La isolates are gain-of-function alleles that result from point mutations within the miR319-binding site and confer partial resistance of the La transcripts to microRNA (miRNA)-directed inhibition. The reduced sensitivity to miRNA regulation leads to elevated LA expression in very young La leaf primordia and to precocious differentiation of leaf margins. In contrast, downregulation of several LA-like genes using ectopic expression of miR319 resulted in larger leaflets and continuous growth of leaf margins. Our results imply that regulation of LA by miR319 defines a flexible window of morphogenetic competence along the developing leaf margin that is required for leaf elaboration.
    Nature Genetics 07/2007; 39(6):787-91. DOI:10.1038/ng2036 · 29.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies demonstrated that pattern formation in plants involves regulation of transcription factor families by microRNAs (miRNAs). To explore the potency, autonomy, target range, and functional conservation of miRNA genes, a systematic comparison between plants ectopically expressing pre-miRNAs and plants with corresponding multiple mutant combinations of target genes was performed. We show that regulated expression of several Arabidopsis thaliana pre-miRNA genes induced a range of phenotypic alterations, the most extreme ones being a phenocopy of combined loss of their predicted target genes. This result indicates quantitative regulation by miRNA as a potential source for diversity in developmental outcomes. Remarkably, custom-made, synthetic miRNAs vectored by endogenous pre-miRNA backbones also produced phenocopies of multiple mutant combinations of genes that are not naturally regulated by miRNA. Arabidopsis-based endogenous and synthetic pre-miRNAs were also processed effectively in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) and tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum). Synthetic miR-ARF targeting Auxin Response Factors 2, 3, and 4 induced dramatic transformations of abaxial tissues into adaxial ones in all three species, which could not cross graft joints. Likewise, organ-specific expression of miR165b that coregulates the PHABULOSA-like adaxial identity genes induced localized abaxial transformations. Thus, miRNAs provide a flexible, quantitative, and autonomous platform that can be employed for regulated expression of multiple related genes in diverse species.
    The Plant Cell 06/2006; 18(5):1134-51. DOI:10.1105/tpc.105.040725 · 9.58 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In this study, transcriptomics and metabolomics data were integrated in order to examine the regulation of glucosinolate (GS) biosynthesis in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsisthaliana) and its interface with pathways of primary metabolism. Our genetic material for analyses were transgenic plants overexpressing members of two clades of genes (ALTERED TRYPTOPHAN REGULATION1 (ATR1)-like and MYB28-like) that regulate the aliphatic and indole GS biosynthetic pathways (AGs and IGs, respectively). We show that activity of these regulators is not restricted to the metabolic space surrounding GS biosynthesis but is tightly linked to more distal metabolic networks of primary metabolism. This suggests that with similarity to the regulators we have investigated here, other factors controlling pathways of secondary metabolism might also control core pathways of central metabolism. The relatively broad view of transcripts and metabolites altered in transgenic plants overexpressing the different factors underlined novel links of GS metabolism to additional metabolic pathways, including those of jasmonic acid, folate, benzoic acid, and various phenylpropanoids. It also revealed transcriptional and metabolic hubs in the ''distal'' network of metabolic pathways supplying precursors to GS biosynthesis and that overexpression of theATR1-like clade genes has a much broader effect on the metabolism of indolic compounds than described previously. While the reciprocal, negative cross talk between the methionine and tryptophan pathways that generate GSs in Arabidopsis has been suggested previously, we now show that it is not restricted to AGs and IGs but includes additional metabolites, such as the phytoalexin camalexin. Combining the profiling data of transgenic lines with gene expression correlation analysis allowed us to propose a model of how the balance in the metabolic network is maintained by the GS biosynthesis regulators. It appears that ATR1/MYB34 is an important mediator between the gene activities of the two clades. While it is very similar to the ATR1-like clade members in terms of downstream gene targets, its expression is highly correlated with that of the MYB28-like clade members. Finally, we used the unique transgenic plants obtained here to show that AGs are likely more potent deterrents of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci compared with IGs. The influence on insect behavior raises an important question for future investigation of the functional aspect of our initial finding, which pointed to enriched expression of the MYB28-like clade genes in the abaxial domain of the Arabidopsis leaf.

Publication Stats

611 Citations
62.03 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006–2012
    • Weizmann Institute of Science
      • Department of Plant Sciences
      Israel
  • 2007
    • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      • Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture
      Jerusalem, Jerusalem District, Israel