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Elizabeth Weretilnyk
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LSB 536
(905) 525-9140 ext. 24573

We study an extremophyte, Eutrema salsugineum, a plant closely related to Arabidopsis thaliana but one far more tolerant of extremes in temperature, water deficits, soil salinity, and nutrient deficiencies. We use comparative genomics, physiology, and biochemical approaches to identify traits that allow E. salsugineum to thrive under extreme environmental conditions. Our approach involves comparing plants collected in the challenging field conditions of its native habitat in the Yukon, Canada, with plants subjected to controlled stress treatments in growth cabinets. Identifying stress tolerance traits will enable us to improve our crop species and help us stabilize yields that are already adversely impacted by climate change.

Bioinformatics & Functional Genomics; Microbiology & Plant Biology

  • 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).
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McMaster University - Faculty of Science | Biology