Evolution of Plant Secondary Metabolites

Kliebenstein Lab

UC Davis Plant Sciences

Genetic Control of Seed Glucosinolate Production

We are identifying the genes required to control the production of seed/seedling glucosinolates to better understand what benefit are provided by seedling specific glucosinolates. Is this a defense mechanism against a seedling specific pest?

This is in collaboration with Dr. Georg Jander at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research in Ithaca, NY

Project Summary

· There are seed specific glucosinolates.

· Seed glucosinolates are the glucosinolates present in the seedling.

· We can use high-throughput metabolite profiling to identify and clone mutations.

· Glucosinolate structure controls its biological activity.

· We have a large collection of seed specific glucosinolate mutants to analyze.

Arabidopsis and most crucifers produce a diverse mixture of glucosinolates that is highly regulated. A major regulator is the tissue type being analyzed such that leaves will have a different mixture of glucosinolates than seeds. Seed glucosinolates are of particular interest because most of these glucosinolates are actual in the embryonic plant and are the first line of defense for a developing seedling. As such, seed/seedling specific glucosinolates may play a specialized defensive role.


To investigate this, we have to identify the genes controlling seed glucosinolate biosynthesis. Dr. Georg Jander identified a large collection of seed glucosinolate mutants using a high-throughput metabolite profiling platform. Most of these mutants are seed specific and only impact specific groups of seed glucosinolates (See above). We are using high-throughput metabolite profiling as well as microarray based genotyping to rapidly clone the underlying genetic loci.


These genes will then be biochemically analyzed for their function. One goal of this research is to identify genes that allow for seed-specific glucosinolate modulation.

Differential glucosinolate accumulation in wildtype and mutant seeds.

To contact us:

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

Text Box: Sample Publication
Kliebenstein, D.J. , D’Auria, J.C., Behere, A.S., Kim, J.H., Gunderson, K.L., Breen, J.N., Lee, G., Gershenzon, J., Last, R.L., Jander, G. (2007) “Characterization of seed-specific benzoyloxyglucosinolate mutations in Arabidopsis thaliana.” Plant Journal 51(6):1062-76. (Pubmed link).