Vojislava Grbic, PhD
Arabidopsis Developmental Genetics/ Genomics of plant-pest interaction/ Biotechnology
Genomics of plant-pest interaction
In order to develop alternative pest control strategies for sustainable agriculture, it is important to understand the interaction between plants and their herbivores. We are using Arabidopsis thaliana, tomato and grapevine as plant models, and the newly established chelicerate model Tetranychus urticae (spider mite) to uncover genomic responses of both organisms during plant-herbivore interaction. This work is part of an international collaborative initiative (GAP-M, Genomics in Agricultural Pest Management) that is funded by Genome Canada and Ontario Genomics Institute, and by Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.
Arabidopsis developmental genetics
The aim of my research is to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern diversity of plant shoot forms. We are using the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana for which excellent molecular-genetic resources are available and thousands of wild inbred strains have been collected, including some (e.g. Sy-0) with altered shoot morphology. We initially identified changes in the expression of flowering time genes FLC, FRI and HUA2, as required for the establishment of the Sy-0 phenotype and the lab is now focused on understanding the functions of the HUA2 gene, a putative pre-mRNA processing factor. We are also analyzing natural genetic variations in the floral regulator MAF2 that is a member of the tandemly duplicated cluster of MADS-box containing transcription factors in Arabidopsis thaliana.
The overall goal is to exploit fundamental knowledge to develop novel tools for sustainable agriculture and development of novel materials. To date, two applications are under development:
a) RNAi-based pest control for the spider mite
b) spider mite silk as natural bio nanomaterial
Degrees and Institutions
- PhD (Genetics), University of Wisconsin
- MSc (Plant Genetics), University of Novi Sad
- BS (Plant Breeding), University of Novi Sad
- Biology 3593B – Genetic Engineering
- Biology 4950G – Seminar in Genetics
Selected publications in the last 5 years
- Bensoussan N, Santamaria ME, Zhurov V, Diaz I, Grbić M and Grbić V (2016) Plant-Herbivore Interaction: Dissection of the Cellular Pattern of Tetranychus urticae Feeding on the Host Plant. Front. Plant Sci. 7:1105.
- Sahni S, Prasad1 BD, Liu Q , Grbic V, Sharpe A, Singh SP, Krishna P (2016) Overexpression of the brassinosteroid biosynthetic gene DWF4 in Brassica napus simultaneously increases seed yield and stress tolerance. Scientific Reports 21; 6:28298.
- Díaz-Riquelme J, Zhurov V, Rioja C, Pérez-Moreno I, Torres-Pérez R, Grimplet J, Carbonell-Bejerano P, Bajda S, Van Leeuwen T, Martínez-Zapater JM, Grbic M, Grbic V. (2016) Comparative genome-wide transcriptome analysis of Vitis vinifera responses to adapted and non-adapted strains of two-spotted spider mite, Tetranyhus urticae. BMC Genomics 22;17(1):74.
- Wybouw N, Zhurov V, Martel C, Bruinsma KA, Hendrickx F, Grbić V, Van Leeuwen T. (2015) Adaptation of a polyphagous herbivore to a novel host plant extensively shapes the transcriptome of herbivore and host. Mol. Ecol. 24(18):4647-63.
- Martel C, Zhurov V, Navarro M, Martinez M, Cazaux M, Auger P, Migeon A, Santamaria ME, Wybouw N, Diaz I, Van Leeuwen T, Navajas M, Grbic M, Grbic V (2015) Tomato whole genome transcriptional response to Tetranychus urticae identifies divergence of spider mite-induced responses between tomato and Arabidopsis, Mol. Plant Microbe Interact. 28:343-61.
- Jali SS, Rosloski SM, Janakirama P, Steffen JG, Zhurov V, Berleth T, Clark RM, Grbic V. (2014) A plant-specific HUA2-LIKE (HULK) gene family in Arabidopsis thaliana is essential for development. Plant J. 80:242-54.
- Cazaux M, Navarro M, Bruinsma KA, Zhurov V, Negrave T, Van Leeuwen T, Grbic V, Grbic M. (2014) Application of two-spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae for plant-pest interaction studies. J. Vis. Exp. 4:89.
- Zhurov V, Navarro M, Bruinsma KA, Arbona V, Santamaria ME, Cazaux M, Wybouw N, Osborne EJ, Ens C, Rioja C, Vermeirssen V, Rubio-Somoza I, Krishna P, Diaz I, Schmid M, Gómez-Cadenas A, Van de Peer Y, Grbic M, Clark RM, Van Leeuwen T, Grbic V. (2014) Reciprocal responses in the interaction between Arabidopsis and the cell-content-feeding chelicerate herbivore spider mite. Plant Physiol. 164(1):384-99.
- Hudson SD, Zhurov V, Grbic V, Grbic M and Hutter JL. (2013) Measurement of the Elastic Modulus of Spider Mite Silk Fibers Using Atomic Force Microscopy. J. Appl. Phys. 113: 154307.
- Grbić M, Van Leeuwen T, Clark RM, Rombauts S, Rouzé P, Grbić V, and 49 more. (2011) The genome of Tetranychus urticae reveals herbivorous pest adaptations. Nature 479:487-492.