Evolution of Plant Secondary Metabolites

Kliebenstein Lab

UC Davis Plant Sciences

Network based analysis of Natural Variation of

Botrytis cinerea - Arabidopsis thaliana Interactions.

We are studying the genomic variation present in a plant/pathogen interaction using both variation in the plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and the pathogen, Botrytis cinerea. The goal is to identify resistance and/or virulence networks  that are present in the entire species to better breed for plant resistance to this costly pathogen. This also allows us to investigate how a host and pathogens genomes and networks can impact each others evolution.


Project Summary

· Arabidopsis thaliana accessions have differential Botrytis resistance.

· Botrytis cinerea genotypes have differential virulence on Arabidopsis.

· There is an interaction such that both the Arabidopsis and Botrytis genotypes control the interaction.

· This interaction is controlled by the production of plant secondary metabolites that inhibit Botrytis growth.

· There are additional mechanisms identified by Arabidopsis natural variation that have not been found via induced mutant analysis.

Botrytis cinerea is a necrotrophic pathogen on a diverse array of plants including a number of agriculturally important species. This ability to infect divers hosts means that Botrytis must be able to resist a large array of plant defenses. Thus, it is feasible that different Botrytis may specialize on certain plant species or on specific genotypes within a species. The difference between these two possibilities has significant ramifications for the potential to breed for resistance against all “Botrytis” within a plant.


We are investigating at what level Botrytis specializes by collecting a diverse array of Botrytis genotypes and testing them on a broad collection of Arabidopsis thaliana genotypes. By conducting this factorial analysis, we can test how effective specific plant defenses are against Botrytis as a species. This analysis is showing that most plant defenses are only functional against a subset of pathogen genotypes.


We are currently funded to conduct whole genome sequencing of this pathogen and then attempt to do genome wide association mapping in both host and pathogen.  This will use metabolomics and RNA-seq analysis to develop network based genome wide association approaches to test for network co-evolution rather than individual genes.

An Arabidopsis RIL population  infected with Botrytis cinerea.

To contact us:

Phone: 530-754-7775
Fax: 530-752-9569

Text Box: Sample Publication
Rowe, H.C. Walley, J.W., Corwin, J.A., Chan, E.K.F., Corwin, J.A., Dehesh, K. and Kliebenstein, D.J. (2010) “Deficiencies in jasmonate-mediated plant defense reveal quantitative genetic variation in Botrytis cinerea pathogenesis” PLoS Pathogens 6(4):e1000861.

Rowe, H.C. and Kliebenstein, D.J. (2010) “All mold is not alike: the importance of intraspecific diversity in necrotrophic plant pathogens” PLoS Pathogens 6(3):e1000759.