Friday, September 15, 2017 at 11:15am
Simon (Shaoqun) Zhou
Graduate Student Exit Seminar
Plant Biology, Cornell University
Abstract: Natural variation in plant resistance against biotic stresses could be explained by diversity in plant specialized metabolism caused by polymorphism in metabolic and regulatory genes. In two maize (Zea mays) inbred lines with contrasting resistance level against a fungal pathogen, Fusarium graminearum, we found extensive difference in their constitutive and fungus-induced metabolic profiles. This natural variation allows us to perform metabolite quantitative trait loci (mQTL) mapping both at single metabolite and metabolome scale. To pinpoint the causative gene(s) underlying these mQTL loci, we performed comparative and correlative analysis based on transcriptomic and metabolomic data obtained from the same mapping population. In result, we identified a putative vesicular transport protein and an ethylene receptor that could influence the constitutive abundance different Fusarium-resistance-related metabolites. These findings underline the critical effects of cellular compartmentalization and physiological regulation on specialized metabolism in planta. Building on these results, we are extending the same integrated approach to a much more diverse maize genome-wide association study (GWAS) panel, with the goal of achieving system-level understanding of maize specialized metabolism and its influence on maize biotic interactions.