Title page for ETD etd-07302008-150312

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Cortes Bermudez, Diego Fernando
Author's Email Address dfcortes@vt.edu
URN etd-07302008-150312
Title Functional genomics through metabolite profiling and gene expression analysis in Arabidopsis thaliana
Degree PhD
Department Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational biology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Shulaev, Vladimir Committee Chair
Dickerman, Allan W. Committee Member
Laubenbacher, Reinhard C. Committee Member
Mendes, Pedro J. P. Committee Member
Winkel, Brenda S. J. Committee Member
  • Genomics
  • SABATH Methyltransferases
  • Plant Signaling Molecules
  • Metabolomics
  • Transcriptomics
Date of Defense 2008-07-25
Availability unrestricted
In the post-genomic era, one of the most important goals for the community of plant biologists is to take full advantage of the knowledge generated by the Arabidopsis thaliana genome project, and to employ state-of-the-art functional genomics techniques to assign function to each gene. This will be achieved through a complete understanding of what all cellular components do, and how they interact with one another to produce a phenotype.

Among the proteins encoded by the Arabidopsis genome are 24 related carboxyl methyltransferases that belong to the SABATH family. Several of the SABATH methyltransferases convert plant hormones, like jasmonic acid, indole-3-acetic acid, salicylic acid, gibberellins, and other plant constituents into methyl esters, thereby regulating the biological activity of these molecules and, consequently, myriad important physiological processes.

Our research aims to decipher the function of proteins belonging to the SABATH family by applying a combination of genomics tools, including genome-wide expression analysis and gas-chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry-based metabolite profiling. Our results, combined with available biochemical information, provide a better understanding of the physiological role of SABATH methyltransferases, further insights into secondary plant metabolism and deeper knowledge of the consequences of modulating the expression of SABATH methyltransferases, both at the genome-wide expression and metabolite levels.

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