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Bob Goldberg
Phone: (310) 825-9093
Fax: 310-825-8201
Office: 4121 Terasaki Life Sciences Research Building
Lab: 4128 Terasaki Life Sciences Research Building

Research Interests

During the next 50 years, we need to produce more food than in the entire history of humankind on a decreasing amount of land for crop production. A major challenge for the 21st century is to increase the yields of major crop plants, such as soybean, using state-of-the-art genetic technologies. One way to accomplish this task is to use genomics to understand all of the genes required to ?make a seed? in order to engineer plants for yield traits such as more seeds, bigger seeds, and seeds with improved nutritional composition. Increasing seed yield should contribute significantly to enhancing our food supply, because over half of the major crops used for human consumption are seed crops. My laboratory has been investigating gene activity during seed development in order to identify the genes and gene regulatory networks required to program seed development. We have been using laser microdissection (LCM) and GeneChip microarray experiments to profile the mRNAs present in every soybean and Arabidopsis seed compartment (e.g., embryo, endosperm, seed coat), region (embryo proper, suspensor), and tissue (e.g., inner integument, endothelium, seed coat epidermis) throughout seed development. For example, what are the genes that are active in different embryonic regions shortly after fertilization (i.e., embryo proper, suspensor)? The genomes of both Arabidopsis and soybean have been sequenced and techniques to dissect gene function in both plants are well established. The focus of our experiments is to identify transcription factor genes that program differentiation events during seed formation. We are complementing our experiments by using high throughput sequencing, RNAi knock-down, promoter dissection, and bioinformatic experiments in order to determine how genes active in different seed parts are organized into regulatory networks that program seed development. The long-term goal of research being carried out in my laboratory is to understand ?how to make a seed? in order to use this information for the improvement of crop plants.

Selected Publications

Belmonte, M. F., Kirkbride, R. C., Stone, S., Pelletier, J. M., Bui, A. Q., Yeung, E. C., Hashimoto, M, Fei, J., Harada, C. M., Munoz, M. D., Le, B. H., Drews, G. N., Brady, S. M., Goldberg, R. B., and Harada, J .J., "Comprehensive developmental profiles of gene activity in regions and subregions of the Arabidopsis seed", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA 110 (5): 434-444 (2013).

Le, B.H., Cheng, C., Bui, A.Q., Wagmaister, J., Henry, K.F., Pelletier, J., Kwong, L., Belmonte, M., Kirkbride, R., Horvath, S., Drews, G.N., Fisher, R.L., Okamuro, J.K., Harada, J.J., and Goldberg, R.B., "Global analysis of gene activity during Arabidopsis seed development and identification of seed-specific transcription factors", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 170: 8063-8070 (2010). [link]

Ohto, M., Floyd, S.K., Fischer, R.L., Goldberg, R.B. and Harada, J.J., "Effects of APETALA2 on embryo, endosperm and seed coat development determine seed size in Arabidopsis", Sex Plant Reprod 22: 277-289 (2009).

Kawashima, T. and Goldberg, R.B., "The suspensor: not just suspending the embryo", Trends In Plant Science 15 (1): 23-30 (2009). [link]

Kawashima, T., Wang, X., Henry, K.F., Bi, Y., Weterings, K., Goldberg, R.B., "Identification of cis-regulatory sequences that activate transcription in the suspensor of plant embryos", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106 (9): 3627-3632 (2009). [link]

Goldberg, R.B., "The Plant Cell: 20 Years Young", The Plant Cell 21: 3-12 (2009). [link]

Stone S.L., Braybrook S.A., Paula S.L., Kwong L.W., Meuser J., Pelletier J., Hsieh T.F., Fischer R.L., Goldberg R.B., Harada J.J., "Arabidopsis LEAFY COTYLEDON2 induces maturation traits and auxin activity: Implications for somatic embryogenesis", Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105: 3151-3156 (2008). [link]

Le, B.H., Wagmaister, J.A., Kawashma, T., Bui, A.Q., Harada, J.J., and Goldberg, R.B., "Using Genomics to Study Legume Seed Development", Plant Physiology 144: 562-574 (2007). [link]

Xiao, W., Custard, K.D., Brown, R.C., Lemmon, B.E., Harada,J.J., Goldberg, R.B., and Fischer, R.L., "DNA Methylation is crtical for Arabidopsis embryogenesis and seed viability", Plant Cell (2006).

Braybrook., S. A., Stone, S. L., Park, S., Bui, A. Q., Le, B.L., Fischer, R.L., Goldberg, R.B., and Harada, J.J., "Genes directly regulated by LEAFY COTYLEDON2 provide insight into the control of embryo maturation and somatic embryogenesis", Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 3468-3473 (2006).

Xiao, W., Brown, R.C., Lemmon, B.E., Harada, J.J., Goldberg, R.B., and Fischer, R.L., "Regulation of Seed Size by Hypomethylation of Maternal and Paternal Genomes", Plant Physiology 142: 1160-1168 (2006).

Gehring,M.; Huh,J.H., Hisieh, T-F, Penterman,J., Choi, Y., Harada,J.J., Goldberg, R.B., and Fisher, R.L., "DEMETER DNA glycolosylase establishes MEDEA polycomb self-imprinting by allele-specific demethylation", Cell 124: 495-506 (2006).

Hamilton,R., Flavell,R.B., and Goldberg,R.B., "Plant Biotechnology: Advances in Energy, and Health", EJOURNALUSA. Economic Perspectives 10: 17-20 (2005). [link]

Yamagishi,K. Nagata,N., Yee,K.M., Braybrooks,S.A., Pelletier,J., Fujioka,S., Yoshida,S., Fischer,R.L., Goldberg, R.B., and Harada,J.J., "TANMEI/EMB2757 encodes a WD repeat protein required for embryo and vegetative development in Arabidopsis", Plant Physiology 139: 163-173 (2005).

Sanders, P.M., Bui, A.Q., Le, B.H., and Goldberg, R.B., "Differentiation and degeneration of cells that play a major role in tobacco anther dehiscence", Sex. Plant. Reprod 17: 219-241 (2005).