Jennifer Normanly

Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts

J. Normanly Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Website

Ph.D.: California Institute of Technology
Postdoctoral Training: The Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research

High Throughput Metabolic Profiling

A central aspect to signal transduction is the regulation of the signaling molecule itself. Genetic approaches, in the form of simple visual screens for phenotypes that indicate aberrant signaling, have been very useful in a variety of systems to identify components of a signaling pathway. Complex, redundant pathways are less amenable to simple visual screens because defects in one pathway are often compensated for by another functional pathway.

My laboratory is developing high throughput metabolic profiling assays in order to screen for mutants in complex regulatory pathways. Our model system is the small flowering plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, and we are characterizing the regulation of the signaling molecule, auxin. Auxin is fundamentally important
in plant growth and development as a regulator of numerous biological processes. The primary plant auxin, indole-3-acetic acid (IAA) is tightly regulated through a complex network of redundant pathways, including biosynthesis, inactivation, transport and signal transduction. In piecing together these pathways, a variety of visual screens have identified candidate genes, but there are many more genes that have yet to be identified.

As part of a NSF-sponsored Plant Genome Initiative, our lab is part of a consortium working to identify mutants that are involved in all aspects of auxin biology. My laboratory is part of a team that is developing a sensitive screen for mutants with small changes in IAA levels. Using automated sample handling and mass spectral quantification we can identify mutants with defects in redundant pathways and that would not be detected in a simple visual screen. Sequence information is currently available for the entire Arabidopsis genome, so identifying the genes that correspond to these mutants will be straightforward. Transgenic technology is also simple in Arabidopsis, so any candidate genes can be re-introduced into Arabidopsis in a variety of formats (antisense, overexpression, inducible expression, tissue-specific expression) in order to test their function.

Representative publications:

Calio, J., Tam, Y.-Y., and J. Normanly, Auxin Biology and Biosynthesis in Integrative Plant Biochemistry as We Approach 2010. Recent Advances in Phytochemistry , vol. 40, J.T. Romeo and J. Noel (eds.), Elsevier Press, New York (2006, in press).

Ljung,K., Hull, A., Celenza, J., Yamada, M., Estelle, M., Normanly, J., and Sandberg, G. Sites and regulation of auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis roots. Plant Cell , 17:1090-1140 (2005).

Celenza, J.L., Quiel, J.A., Smolen, G.A., Merrikh, H., Silvestro, A., Normanly, J., and Bender J. The Arabidopsis ATR1 Myb transcription factor controls indolic glucosinolate homeostasis. Plant Physiology , 137:253-262 (2005)

Normanly, J, Sovin, JP, and Cohen, JD Auxin Metabolism in Plant Hormones: Biosynthesis, Signal Transduction, Action! 3rd edition. P.J. Davies, ed. Kluwer Academic Publishers: Dordrecht, The Netherlands. pp 36-62 (2004)

Zhao, Y., Hull, A. K., Gupta, N., Goss, K. A., Alonso, J., Ecker, J. R., Normanly, J., Chory, J., and Celenza, J. L. (2002) in press. Trp-dependent auxin biosynthesis in Arabidopsis: involvement of cytochrome P450s CYP79B2 and CYP79B3 Genes and Development

Tam, Y. Y., and Normanly, J. (2002). Overexpression of a bacterial indole-3-acetyl-L-aspartic acid hydrolase in Arabidopsis thaliana Physiologia Plantarum 115:513-522

Brown, D. E., Rashotte, A. M., Murphy, A. S., Taguel, B. W., Peer, W. A, Normanly, J., Taiz, L. and Muday, G. K. (2001). Flavonoids act as negative regulators of auxin transport in vivo in Arabidopsis thaliana Plant Physiology, 126 (2): 524-535.

E. Dolusic, M. Kowalczyk, V. Magnus, G. Sandberg, J. Normanly (2001). Biotinylated Indoles as Probes for Indole-Binding Proteins, Bioconjugate Chemistry 12:152-162.

Tam, Y. Y, Epstein, E. and Normanly, J. (2000) Characterization of auxin conjugates in Arabidopsis. Low steady-state levels of indole-3-acetyl-aspartate, indole-3-acetyl-glutamate, and indole-3-acetyl-glucose. Plant Physiology 123:589-595

Normanly, J. and Bartel, B. (1999) Redundancy as a way of life: IAA metabolism. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 2, 207-213.

Quirino, B., Normanly, J. and Amasino, R. M. (1999) Diverse range of gene activity during Arabidopsis thaliana leaf senescence includes pathogen-independent induction of defense-related genes. Plant Molecular Biology, in press.

Tam, Y. Y. and Normanly, J. (1998) Determination of indole-3-pyruvic acid levels in Arabidopsis thaliana by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Journal of Chromatography A 800, 101-108.

Normanly, J., Grisafi, P., Fink, G. R., and Bartel, B. (1997) Arabidopsis thaliana mutants resistant to the auxin effects of indole-3-acetonitrile are defective in the nitrilase encoded by the NIT1 gene. The Plant Cell 9, 1781-1790.

Normanly, J (1997) Auxin Metabolism. Physiologia Plantarum 100, 431-442.

Normanly, J., Slovin, J. P., and Cohen, J. D. (1995) Rethinking IAA metabolism. Plant Physiology 107, 323-329.

Normanly, J., Cohen, J.D., and Fink, G.R. (l993) Arabidopsis thaliana auxotrophs reveal a tryptophan-independent biosynthetic pathway for indole-3-acetic acid. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 90, 10355-10359.