Elizabeth A. Weretilnyk, Ph.D.

Telephone: (905) 525-9140

Office: LSB-536 Ext 24573

Lab: LSB-521Ext 27995

Email: weretil@mcmaster.ca

Interests & Activities

Biochemical and molecular genetic analysis of plant metabolic adaptations towards environmental stress.

Publications
  • Velasco, V.M.E., J. Mansbridge, S. Bremner, K. Carruthers, P.S. Summers, W.W.L. Sung, M.J. Champigny and E.A. Weretilnyk. (2016) Acclimation of the crucifer Eutrema salsugineum to phosphate limitation is associated with constitutively high expression of phosphate starvation genes. Plant, Cell and Environment 34:1818-1834.
  • Yeo, M.T.S., P. Carella, J. Fletcher, M.J. Champigny, E.A. Weretilnyk and R.K. Cameron. (2015) Development of a Pseudomonas syringae–Eutrema salsugineum pathosystem to investigate disease resistance in a stress tolerant extremophile model plant. Plant Pathology. 64:297-306.
  • MacLeod, M.J.R., J. Dedrick, C. Ashton, W.W.L. Sung, M.J. Champigny and E.A. Weretilnyk (2015) Exposure of two Eutrema salsugineum (Thellungiella salsuginea) accessions to water deficits reveals different coping strategies in response to drought. Physiologia Plantarum, 155:267-280.
  • Carviel JL, Wilson DC, Isaacs M, Carella P, Catana V, Golding B, Weretilnyk EA, Cameron RK. (2014) Investigation in intercellular salicylic acid accumulation during compatible and incompatible Arabidopsis-Pseudomonas syringae interactions using a fast neutron-generated mutant allele of EDS5 identified by genetic mapping and whole genome sequencing. PLoS One. 9:388608.
  • Champigny MJ, Sung WW, Catana V, Salwan R, Summers PS, Dudley SA, Provart NJ, Cameron RK, Golding GB, Weretilnyk EA. (2013) RNA-Seq effectively monitors gene expression in Eutrema salsugineum plants growing in an extreme natural habitat and in controlled growth cabinet conditions. BMC Genomics 14:578.
  • Guevara, D.R., Champigny, M.J., Tattersall, A., Dedrick, J., Wong, C.E., Li, Y., Labbe, A., Ping, C.L., Wang, Y., Nuin, P., Golding, G.B., McCarry, B.E., Summers, P.S., Moffatt, B.A. and Weretilnyk, E.A. (2012) Transcriptomic and metabolomics analysis of Yukon Thellungiella plants grown in cabinets and their natural habitate show phenotypic plasticity. BMC Plant Biol. 12: 175.
  • BeGora, M.D., Macleod, M.J., McCarry, B.E., Summers, P.S. and Weretilnyk, E.A. (2010) Identification of phosphomethylethanolamine N-Methyltransferase from Arabidopsis and its role in choline and phospholipid metabolism. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 29147-55.
  • Kant, S., Bi, Y.M., Weretilnyk, E., Barak, S. and Rothstein, S.J. (2008) The Arabidopsis halophytic relative Thullungiella halophile tolerates nitrogen-limiting conditions by maintaining growth, nitrogen uptake and assimilation. Plant Physiol. 147: 1168-80.
  • Griffith, M., Timonin, M., Wong, A.C., Gray, G.R., Akhter, S.R., Saldanha, M., Rogers, M.A., Weretilnyk, E.A. and Moffatt, B. (2007) Thellungiella: an Arabidopsis-related model plant adapted to cold temperatures. Plant Cell Environ. 30:529-38.
  • Wong, C.E., Li, Y., Labbe, A., Guevara, D., Nuin, P., Whitty, B., Diaz, C., Golding, G.B., Gray, G.R., Weretilnyk, E.A., Griffith, M. and Moffatt, B.A. (2006) Transcriptional profiling implicates novel interactions between abiotic stress and hormonal responses in Thellungiella, a close relative of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 140: 1437-50.
  • Wong, C.E., Li, Y., Whitty, B.R., Diaz-Camino, C., Akhter, S.R., Brandle, J.E., Golding, G.B., Weretilnyk, E.A., Moffatt, B.A. and Griffith, M. (2005) Expressed sequence tags from the Yukon ecotype of Thellungiella reveal that gene expression in response to cold, drought and salinity shows little overlap. Plant Mol Biol. 58: 561-74.
  • Moffatt, B.A., Stevens, Y.Y., Allen, M.S., Snider, J.D., Pereira, L.A., Todorova, M.I., Summers, P.S., Weretilnyk, E.A., Martin-McCaffrey, L. and Wagner, C. (2002) Adenosine kinase deficiency is associated with developmental abnormalities and reduced transmethylation. Plant Physiol. 128: 812-21.
  • Kermanshai, R., McCarry, B.E., Rosenfeld, J., Summers, P.S., Weretilnyk, E.A. and Sorger, G.J. (2001) Benzyl isothiocyanate is the chief or sole anthelmintic in papaya seed extracts. Phytochemistry. 57: 427-35.
  • Weretilnyk, E.A., K.J. Alexander, M. Drebenstedt, J.D. Snider, P.S. Summers and B.A. Moffatt (2001). Maintaining methylation activities during salt stress. The involvement of adenosine kinase. Plant Physiol. 125: 856-865.
  • Nuccio, M.L., M.J. Ziemak, S.A. Henry, E.A. Weretilnyk and A.D. Hanson (2000). cDNA cloning of phosphoethanolamine N-methyltransferase from spinach by complementation in Schizosaccharomyces pombe and characterization of the recombinant enzyme. J. Biol Chem. 2000: 14095-14101.
  • Bray, E., J. Bailey-Serres and E. Weretilnyk (2000). Responses to abiotic stresses. Chapter 22. In: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology of Plants, B.B. Buchanan, W. Gruissem and R.L. Jones, ed. Amer. Soc. Plant Physiol, Rockville, MD.
  • Weretilnyk, E.A., D.D. Smith, G.A. Wilch and P.S. Summers. Enzymes of choline synthesis in spinach. Response of phospho-base N-methyltransferases activities to light and salinity. Plant Physiol. 109: 1085-1091 (1995).
  • Summer, P.S. and E.A. Weretilnyk. Choline synthesis in spinach in relation to salt stress. Plant Physiol. 103: 1269-1276 (1993).
  • Weretilnyk, E.A. and P.S. Summers. Betaine and choline metabolism in higher plants. In B.K. Singh, H.E. Flores, J.C. Shannon (eds) Biosynthesis and Molecular Regulation of Amino Acids in Plants, American Society of Plant Physiologist, Rockville, MD, pp. 89-97 (1992).
Research

Biochemical and molecular genetic analysis of plant metabolic adaptations towards environmental stress.

Plants undergo many physiological, developmental and metabolic changes upon exposure to adverse environmental conditions. We are using biochemical, molecular biological and genomic approaches to identify and study those metabolic changes which enable a plant to tolerate conditions of environmental stress, particularly osmotic stress.

One strategy adopted by bacteria, algae and plants growing in drought or saline conditions involves the synthesis and accumulation of osmotically active compatible organic solutes. These solutes help establish the driving force for water uptake by organisms growing under water-limiting conditions. While many “osmolytes” have been identified in higher plants, the means by which plants synthesize, accumulate, and compartmentalize these metabolites is not well understood. My research involves the use of biochemical and molecular genetic techniques in order to identify and then characterize the pathways by which drought and salt tolerant plants synthesize compatible solutes. Biochemical studies of the enzymes involved in solute accumulation and molecular genetic analysis of the factors that regulate the expression of the genes encoding these enzymes may provide some insight into how plants first perceive and then respond to changes in their environment.