Dr. Jürgen Ehlting

Dr. Jürgen Ehlting
Associate Professor
Office: CUN 159
Area of expertise

Biomedical Research and Genomics | Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology | Forest Biology

Areas of research focus

  • Plant secondary metabolism
  • Functional genomics
  • Enzymology
  • Molecular evolution

Plants synthesize thousands of secondary metabolites that protect plants against pests, pathogens and other stresses, such as UV radiation. Humans have used these bioactive natural products for millennia, for example as medicines. Some natural products are also crucial during plant development: lignin, for example, defines wood properties and allowed land plants to grow upright, essential for the evolution of all vascular plants.

Research in the Ehlting lab aims to understand how and why plants make secondary metabolites, how the immense chemical diversity of secondary metabolites evolved, and how we can use these bioactive compounds, e.g as nutraceuticals or novel medicinal drugs.

To address these questions, we use genomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics to identify candidate genes and compounds. We then test their biochemical and physiological functions and bioactivities experimentally using biochemical and reverse genetic approaches.

The Ehlting Lab

  • BIOL361: Molecular Genetics and Genomics
  • BIOL326: Development and Genetics of Model Plants
  • BIOL490A: Directed Study in Botany
  • BIOL499: Honours thesis
  • FORB671: Bioinformatics Workshop

Carrington Y, Guo J, Fillo, A, Kwon J, Tran, L, Ehlting J (2018) Evolution of a secondary metabolic pathway from primary metabolism: Shikimate and quinate biosynthesis in plants. Plant J., 95:823-833.

Renault H, Alber A, Horst NA, Basilio Lopes A, Fich EA, Kriegshauser L, Wiedemann G,2 Ullmann P,1 Herrgott L, Erhardt M, Pineau E, Ehlting J, Schmitt M, Rose JKC, Reski R, Werck-Reichhart D. (2017) A phenol-enriched cuticle is ancestral to lignin evolution in land plants. Nat. Comm., 8:14713.

Little SA, Boyes IG, Donaleshen K, von Aderkas P, Ehlting, J (2016) A transcriptomic resource for Douglas-fir seed development and analysis of transcription during late megagametophyte development. Plant Reprod., 29:273-286 .

Paulson AR, Le CH, Dickson JC, Ehlting J, von Aderkas P, Perlman SJ (2016) Transcriptome analysis provides insight into venom evolution in a seed-parasitic wasp, Megastigmus spermotrophus. Insect Mol. Biol. 25:604-616.

Porth I, Klápště J, McKown AD, La Mantia J, Guy RD, Ingvarsson PK, Hamelin R, Mansfield SD, Ehlting J, Douglas CJ, El-Kassaby YA (2015) Evolutionary Quantitative Genomics of Populus trichocarpa. PLoS One, 10:e0142864.

Appel HM, Fescemeyer H, Ehlting J, Weston D, Rehrig E, Joshi T, Xu D, Bohlmann J, Schultz J (2014) Transcriptional responses of Arabidopsis thaliana to chewing and sucking insect herbivores. Front. Plant Sci., 5: 565

Blée E, Boachon B, Burcklen M, Le Guédard M, Hanano A, Heintz D, Ehlting J, Herrfurth C, Feussner I, Bessoule JJ (2014) The reductase activity of Arabidopsis caleosin RD20 mediates GA-dependent flowering time, abscisic acid sensitivity and tolerance to oxidative stress. Plant Physiol., 166: 109-124

Guo J, Carrington Y, Alber A, Ehlting J (2014) Molecular Characterization of Quinate and Shikimate Metabolism in Populus trichocarpa. J. Biol. Chem., 289: 23846-23858

McKown AD, Klápště J, Guy RD, Geraldes A, Porth I, Hannemann J, Friedmann M, Muchero W, Tuskan GA, Ehlting J, Cronk QC, El-Kassaby YA, Mansfield SD, Douglas CJ. (2014) Genome-wide association implicates numerous genes underlying ecological trait variation in natural populations of Populus trichocarpa. New Phytol., 203: 535-553

von Wittgenstein NJB, Le CH, Hawkins BJ, Ehlting J (2014) Evolutionary classification of ammonium, nitrate, and peptide transporters in land plants. BMC Evol. Biol., 14: 11