UPSC SeminarAlain Goossens
VIB-UGent Center for Plant Systems Biology, Gent, Belgium
Title: A story on bHLH transcription factors in the regulation of plant terpene pathways
Host: Catherine Bellini
More information about Alain Goossens research: https://www.psb.ugent.be/specialized-metabolism
Abstract for the talk:
Across the plant kingdom, hormones such as the jasmonates steer the delicate balance between growth and the activation of defense programs, including the production of bioactive specialized metabolites. Plant cells are capable of producing an overwhelming variety of such specialized metabolites, both in terms of complexity and quantity. These molecules allow plants to cope with various types of stresses and often also have biological activities of high interest to human. Yet, this impressive metabolic machinery is still limitedly exploited, mainly because of the limited molecular insight into plant (specialized) metabolism. All of this is particularly applicable to the important class of plant terpenes as well. By using cutting-edge functional genomics tools in combination with reverse genetics screenings, we try to unravel the molecular mechanisms driving plant natural product biosynthesis in crop, medicinal and model plants, with a particular focus on terpenes.
Transcription factors of diverse families play essential roles in the signaling cascades triggered by the perception of jasmonates. Likewise, jasmonate-modulated transcription factors may act alone or in a combinatorial fashion with others, allowing interplay with other development or defense related processes. The transcription factors of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) family play an essential and often conserved role in jasmonate signaling in the plant kingdom in general, and leading to the onset of terpene biosynthesis in particular. I will discuss on the identity, role and mode of action of bHLH factors in the conserved jasmonate-mediated elicitation of terpene metabolism of a number of model, medicinal and crop species, including Arabidopsis thaliana, Medicago truncatula and Catharanthus roseus.