Jean T. Greenberg, PhD
Host-pathogen interactions in Arabidopsis and Tomato

Professor, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Committee on Genetics, Genomics & Systems Biology, Committee on Microbiology

B.A. Biochemistry, Barnard College, Columbia University, 1983
Ph.D. Biophysics, Harvard University, 1989


Research Summary

My broad interest is in how organisms adapt to a changing environment. My lab studies this in the context of pathogen-host interactions using the gram negative pathogen Pseudomonas syringae and its interaction with several plants: the non-crop models Arabidopsis thaliana and Nicotiana benthamiana, and the crop plants tomato and snap beans. In response to infection, plants mount a complex local defense response involving cell suicide, changes at the plasma membrane, the crosslinking of cell wall components, production of antimicrobials and defense gene activation. Some infections also induce a primed state that allows plants to respond faster when a second infection occurs (systemic acquired resistance, SAR). We study how plants regulate their responses to pathogens by (1) using plant mutants that express one or more aspects of the defense response in the absence of pathogens or are compromised for local defense activation or SAR, (2) discovering and tracking the production and movement of novel defense signals and pathogen-derived molecules, and (3) exploiting secreted virulence effector proteins from the pathogen to discover immune components and discern how they are modified. This involves combining genetic analysis with biochemistry and cell biology. On the pathogen side, we are also characterizing how P. syringae uses its type III secretion apparatus and secreted effectors to colonize the surfaces of a leaf, a unique niche. Finally, two newer projects focus on discerning how pathogen effectors post-translationally modify host immune complexes to suppress signaling and exploiting what we learn about P. syringae effectors to study orthologous effectors from human pathogens.

Selected Publications

Lee J., Teitzel, G.M., Munkvold, K., del Pozo, O., Martin, G.B., Michelmore, R.W., Greenberg J.T. Type III secretion and effectors shape the survival and growth pattern of Pseudomonas syringae on leaf surfaces. (2012) Plant Physiology 158(4):1803-1818. (PubMed)

Pattanayak, G.K., Venkataramani, S., Hörtensteiner, S., Kunz, L., Christ, B., Moulin, M., Smith, A. G., Okamoto, Y., Tamiaki, H., Sugishima, M., Greenberg, J.T. (2011) Accelerated cell death 2 suppresses mitochondrial oxidative bursts and modulates cell death in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 2012, 69(4) 589-600. (PubMed)

Jelenska, J, van Hal, JA, Greenberg, JT. (2010) Pseudomonas syringae hijacks plant stress machinery for virulence. Proc Natl Acad Sci. USA 107(29):13177-82. (PubMed)

Wroblewski T, Caldwell KS, Piskurewicz U, Cavanaugh KA, Xu H, Kozik A, Ochoa O, McHale LK, Lahre K, Jelenska J, Castillo JA, Blumenthal D, Vinatzer BA, Greenberg JT, Michelmore RW. (2009) Comparative large-scale analysis of interactions between several crop species and the effector repertoires from multiple pathovars of Pseudomonas and Ralstonia. Plant Physiol. 150:1733-49. (PubMed)

Jung, H.W., Tschaplinski, T.J., Wang, L., Glazebrook, J., Greenberg, J.T. (2009) Priming in systemic plant immunity. Science 234: 89-91. (PubMed)

Lu H., Salimian, S., Gamelin, E., Wang, G., Fedorowski, J., LaCourse, W., Greenberg, J. T. (2009) Genetic analysis of acd6-1 reveals complex defense networks and leads to identification of novel defense genes in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 58(3):401-12. (PubMed)

Jelenska, J., Yao, N., Vinatzer, B.A., Wright, C.M., Brodsky, J.L., Greenberg, J.T. (2007) A J-domain virulence effector of Pseudomonas syringae remodels host chloroplasts and suppresses defenses. Current Biology 17:499-508. (PubMed)

Vinatzer, B.A., Teitzel, G. M., Lee, M.-W., Jelenska, J., Hotton, S., Fairfax, K., Jenrette, J., Greenberg, J.T.(2006) The type III effector repertoire of Pseudomonas syringae pv. syringae B728a and its role in survival and disease on host and non-host plants. Mol. Micro. 62:26-44. (PubMed)

Liang, H., Yao, N., Song, J.T., Luo, S., Lu, H., Greenberg, J. T. (2003) Ceramides modulate programmed cell death in plants. Genes & Development, 17: 2636-2641. (PubMed)

Guttman, D. S., Vinatzer, B., Sarkar, S., Ranall, M., Kettler, G., Greenberg, J. T. (2002) A functional screen for the type III secretome of the plant pathogen Pseudomonas syringae. Science 295:1722-1726. (PubMed)


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