Exploring the coordination of indole glucosinolate metabolism and ER body formation in plant fitness.
Brassicaceae, a model family to which Arabidopsis, Cardamine, and Arabis species belong, has innovated its unique defense machinery. This includes a group of sulphur-containing secondary metabolites called glucosinolates that is specifically found in the order Brassicales. The ER body, an ER-derived organelle, is also a lineage-specific innovation, and is thought to be involved in plant defense system. Since ER bodies contain large amounts of glucosidases, a connection between ER bodies and glucosinolates has been proposed, although the experimental evidence is still missing.
My aim is to genetically and/or biochemically connect these co-occuring innovations in Brassicaceae, and explore the coordination in plant fitness. As ER bodies are highly abundant in roots, where indole glucosinolates are abundant, it is reasonable to hypothesize that ER bodies are required for interaction between soil-borne microbes to shape the root-associated microbial community, possibly in association with indole glucosinolates.
Keywords expertise: Endoplasmic reticulum, confocal microscopy, biochemistry, molecular genetics, plant microbe interactions, root microbial community profiling, secondary metabolites