People

Jean Greenberg, PhD

Research

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 leaf infections induce a primed state that allows plants to respond faster when a second infection occurs on distal leaves (systemic acquired resistance, SAR). Interactions of roots with beneficial microbes also induces a primed state in the aerial part of the plant (and induced systemic resistance, ISR). Although SAR and ISR were considered different immune programs, we have found that some of the same are proteins required for both systemic programs. These proteins are involved in mobilizing small molecule signals. The lab investigates plant defense and pathogen virulence mechanisms.



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 (including mosaic plants in which only some cells/tissues express specific defense components) with biochemistry and cell biology. We are very interested in how the defense response is coordinated and towards this end, we are investigating the sites of action at the tissue and subcellular levels of key SAR/ISR proteins. On the pathogen side, we are also characterizing how P. syringae uses its type III secretion apparatus and secreted effectors to modulate immunity and colonize plant tissue, including the surfaces of a leaf, a unique niche. We are using proteomic approaches to discern how pathogen effectors post-translationally modify both other pathogen effectors and host immune complexes to suppress signaling. We are interested in exploiting what we learn about P. syringae effectors to study orthologous effectors from diverse pathogens of both plants and animals.



Our lab welcomes participants from all over the world and at many levels of education (highschool, college, predoctoral, postdoctoral and teachers).



Professional Activities and Service

I am a Senior Editor of The Plant Cell, a Reviewing Editor of eLIFE and Secretary to the Board of Directors of the International Society of Plant-Microbe Interactions.



I am a member of the American Society of Plant Biology and the Society for Experimental Biology. I participated in developing and writing a recently published white paper concerning the promotion of plant heath: "Foundational and translational research opportunities to improve plant health."



I am a strong advocate for diversity in science and serve on the University of Chicago Division of Biology's Diversity Committee and on the steering committee of the Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Department's National Science Foundation-sponsored Research Education for Undergraduates program.

Massachussetts General Hospital
Boston, MA
postdoc training - Plant Biology
1994

Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
PhD - Biophysics
1989

Barnard College, Columbia University
New York City
BA - Biochemistry
1983

Underground Azelaic Acid-Conferred Resistance to Pseudomonas syringae in Arabidopsis.
Cecchini NM, Roychoudhry S, Speed DJ, Steffes K, Tambe A, Zodrow K, Konstantinoff K, Jung HW, Engle NL, Tschaplinski TJ, Greenberg JT. Underground Azelaic Acid-Conferred Resistance to Pseudomonas syringae in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2019 01; 32(1):86-94.
PMID: 30156481

PROHIBITIN3 Forms Complexes with ISOCHORISMATE SYNTHASE1 to Regulate Stress-Induced Salicylic Acid Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis.
Seguel A, Jelenska J, Herrera-Vásquez A, Marr SK, Joyce MB, Gagesch KR, Shakoor N, Jiang SC, Fonseca A, Wildermuth MC, Greenberg JT, Holuigue L. PROHIBITIN3 Forms Complexes with ISOCHORISMATE SYNTHASE1 to Regulate Stress-Induced Salicylic Acid Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 2018 03; 176(3):2515-2531.
PMID: 29438088

Simple strategies to enhance discovery of acetylation post-translational modifications by quadrupole-orbitrap LC-MS/MS.
Manning AJ, Lee J, Wolfgeher DJ, Kron SJ, Greenberg JT. Simple strategies to enhance discovery of acetylation post-translational modifications by quadrupole-orbitrap LC-MS/MS. Biochim Biophys Acta Proteins Proteom. 2018 Feb; 1866(2):224-229.
PMID: 29050961

Foundational and Translational Research Opportunities to Improve Plant Health.
Michelmore R, Coaker G, Bart R, Beattie G, Bent A, Bruce T, Cameron D, Dangl J, Dinesh-Kumar S, Edwards R, Eves-van den Akker S, Gassmann W, Greenberg JT, Hanley-Bowdoin L, Harrison RJ, Harvey J, He P, Huffaker A, Hulbert S, Innes R, Jones JDG, Kaloshian I, Kamoun S, Katagiri F, Leach J, Ma W, McDowell J, Medford J, Meyers B, Nelson R, Oliver R, Qi Y, Saunders D, Shaw M, Smart C, Subudhi P, Torrance L, Tyler B, Valent B, Walsh J. Foundational and Translational Research Opportunities to Improve Plant Health. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2017 07; 30(7):515-516.
PMID: 28398839

A Suite of Receptor-Like Kinases and a Putative Mechano-Sensitive Channel Are Involved in Autoimmunity and Plasma Membrane-Based Defenses in Arabidopsis.
Zhang Z, Tateda C, Jiang SC, Shrestha J, Jelenska J, Speed DJ, Greenberg JT. A Suite of Receptor-Like Kinases and a Putative Mechano-Sensitive Channel Are Involved in Autoimmunity and Plasma Membrane-Based Defenses in Arabidopsis. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2017 02; 30(2):150-160.
PMID: 28051349

Flagellin peptide flg22 gains access to long-distance trafficking in Arabidopsis via its receptor, FLS2.
Jelenska J, Davern SM, Standaert RF, Mirzadeh S, Greenberg JT. Flagellin peptide flg22 gains access to long-distance trafficking in Arabidopsis via its receptor, FLS2. J Exp Bot. 2017 03 01; 68(7):1769-1783.
PMID: 28521013

Carbon Nanofiber Arrays: A Novel Tool for Microdelivery of Biomolecules to Plants.
Davern SM, McKnight TE, Standaert RF, Morrell-Falvey JL, Shpak ED, Kalluri UC, Jelenska J, Greenberg JT, Mirzadeh S. Carbon Nanofiber Arrays: A Novel Tool for Microdelivery of Biomolecules to Plants. PLoS One. 2016; 11(4):e0153621.
PMID: 27119338

Editorial: Salicylic Acid Signaling Networks.
Lu H, Greenberg JT, Holuigue L. Editorial: Salicylic Acid Signaling Networks. Front Plant Sci. 2016; 7:238.
PMID: 26941775

Acetylation of an NB-LRR Plant Immune-Effector Complex Suppresses Immunity.
Lee J, Manning AJ, Wolfgeher D, Jelenska J, Cavanaugh KA, Xu H, Fernandez SM, Michelmore RW, Kron SJ, Greenberg JT. Acetylation of an NB-LRR Plant Immune-Effector Complex Suppresses Immunity. Cell Rep. 2015 Nov 24; 13(8):1670-82.
PMID: 26586425

Linking pattern recognition and salicylic acid responses in Arabidopsis through ACCELERATED CELL DEATH6 and receptors.
Tateda C, Zhang Z, Greenberg JT. Linking pattern recognition and salicylic acid responses in Arabidopsis through ACCELERATED CELL DEATH6 and receptors. Plant Signal Behav. 2015; 10(10):e1010912.
PMID: 26442718

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Faculty Research Fellow
American Cancer Society
1996 - 1999

Biomedical Scholar
Pew Foundation
1996 - 2001

Postdoctoral Fellowship
National Science Foundation
1989 - 1992

Magna Cum Laude
Barnard College, Columbia University
1983