Infrastructure

Center for Plant Phenomics

High throughput monitoring, measuring, and analyzing plant phenotype

(a) A high-throughput system for morphological and physiological analyses with multiple optical parameters to allow measuring of growth rate, leaf temperature (IR camera), water content (NIR camera) and photosynthetic efficiency (Fluorescence imaging).
Technology expert: Dr. Guilia Meshulam, (Physics): (e-mail: guilia@post.tau.ac.il).
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(b) Root response to environmental changes will be followed by a root tracking and monitoring system currently being developed. The data from these phenotypic investigations will assist in linking gene function to phenotype and will also assist in establishing, for tomato, better breeding programs.
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(c) To augment phenotypic analysis at the sub-cellular level, a confocal microscope (Zeiss LSM 780 with two-photon microscopy) allows both high resolution and real-time analysis.
Manager and tutor of confocal microscopy: Dr. Daria Bloch, (Life Sciences): (e-mail: blochdar@post.tau.ac.il).

Center for Functional Phenotyping of Whole-Plant Responses to Environmental Changes

This new greenhouse is specially designed to allow researchers to screen hundreds of plants simultaneously under a variety of controlled treatment conditions (ex., different amounts of water, nutrients and chemicals), while continually measuring several physiological characteristics for each individual plant. The center provides researchers with a platform (Plantarry 3.0 system http://www.plant-ditech.com/ ) they can use to stimulate different treatment scenarios, for example, any level and duration of drought stress and/or salinity, different nutrient concentrations, bio-stimulants and more. The unique irrigation system controls each plant’s exposure to inputs and can be used to create a range of degrees of severity of stress conditions for different periods during the plant life cycle, from germination through flowering and fruit setting.
The system allows simultaneous soil–plant–atmosphere measurements of all of the plants in the array in an easy-to-use, non-destructive and non-invasive manner, allowing for the genuine comparison of different plants and treatments.
The system calculates the following physiological traits of the whole plant: daily biomass gain, daily water loss, water-use efficiency, transpiration rate, stomatal conductance, root water flux, relative water content and individual stress index (DRI).

Center for high resolution metabolite imaging and hormone profiling

Analytical platforms for metabolite imaging and hormone profiling are established. The Center will provide comprehensive analysis of plant hormones and their conjugates by a UPLC-MS/MS, which supports the simultaneous quantification of multiple hormones belonging to various classes in relatively small samples. The system will be capable of profiling auxins, cytokinines, ABA, GA, jasmonates, as well as salicylates and related metabolites. For Metabolite imaging, an analytical system that combines Matrix Assisted Laser Desorption Ionization with high-resolution mass spectrometry will be set-up and applied in the course of the project. The main application of the system will be in desorbing small molecules from surfaces (down to 60 µm resolution) of specimens that can be in any form or shape (e.g. leaf, petal, stem, root etc.), their ionization and propelling towards the mass spectrometer that will detect and identify them with high mass accuracy. Thus, this technology allows the spatial mapping of small molecules in a given surface allowing to obtain a 3-D image through varying the desorption energy. Various classes of metabolites, for example glucosinolates, glycoalkaloids, phenolics and cuticular waxes could be examined using this technology.

Center for analysis of plant stress proteins

A state-of-the-art AKTA Avant 25 preparative liquid chromatography system will be established for isolation of macromolecules. It offers fast, high-quality protein separations. In addition, for a large number of samples from plants under stress, a high sensitivity and broad dynamic range Typhoon FLA 9500 system will be established for measuring low and high abundant proteins in one scan, which makes it highly suited for 2-D DIGE applications, enabling the user to detect and accurately quantify subtle changes in protein expression. A Synergy H4 Hybrid Multi-Mode Microplate Reader provides sensitive monitoring of enzyme kinetics, and metabolite content. The Time-Resolved Fluorescence (TRF) as well as TR-FRET mode will be added for studying protein-protein interactions.

Center for network analysis and modeling

Computational analyses will incorporate the different kinds of omics data collected by the experimental I-CORE labs into transcriptome, epigenome, metabolome and proteome interaction networks, to project their effects on the pertaining cellular networks and study and predict their functional effects.