Professor Jimmy Botella
Professor Jimmy Botella
Professor of Plant Biotechnology
BSc Quantum Chemistry (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain), 
PhD Biochemistry (Universidad de Málaga, Spain) 

John Hines Building (62) Room 428, St Lucia Campus
P: +61 7 3365 1128 
F: +61 7 3365 1699 
E: j.botella@uq.edu.au
W: www.pgel.com.au 

Expertise Topics

Professor Botella’s research has two major foci: signal transduction and plant biotechnology. Signal transduction research includes the study and characterization of Heterotrimeric G proteins in plants. This family of proteins is vital and extensively studied in animal systems but their role in pant systems is still largely unknown. His research has strongly contributed to the current body of knowledge available in plants with critical contributions such as the discovery and characterisation of the first plant gamma subunits and the establishment of these subunits as the critical elements conferring function specificity in plants to all G proteins. Professor Botella’s team has established the important role that these proteins play in defense against pathogens. New recently published data has now revealed that G proteins are important yield enhancing factors in crops such as rice.
 
Biotechnology research at the Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory (PGEL) focuses in tropical and subtropical crops. These crops have attracted little attention in terms of biotechnology but are essential sources of energy for a large part of the world’s population, especially in Asia and the Indian subcontinent. The PGEL has developed a number of platform technologies that can be applied to multiple crops in order to confer resistance to pathogens, modify plant architecture and control flowering time. Technologies developed at the PGEL have been successful in producing plants resistant to important pathogens such as Fusarium.

Current Research Projects

  • Plant heterotrimeric G proteins: New roles in defence, stomatal control and ABA perception.
  • Use of host-derived RNA interference technology to control plant pathogens (especially pathogenic fungi and nematodes).
  • Control of Fusarium wilt disease.
  • Genetic yield improvement of grain crops.
  • Biotechnological control of Rhizoctonia solani. The causal agent of rice ‘sheath blight’ and tomato ‘root and crown rot’.
  • Plant heterotrimeric G proteins as integral components of the plant innate immune response.

Selected Publications

  • Jiang K, Frick-Cheng A, Trusov Y, Delgado-Cerezo M, Rosenthal DM, Lorek J, Panstruga R, Booker FL, Botella JR, Molina A et al. (2012) Dissecting Arabidopsis G beta Signal Transduction on the Protein Surface. Plant Physiology, 159, 975-983.
  • Chakravorty, D., Trusov, Y. and Botella, J.R. (2012) Site-directed mutagenesis of the Arabidopsis heterotrimeric G protein β subunit suggests divergent mechanisms of effector activation between plant and animal G proteins. Planta, 235, 615-627.
  • Thung L, Trusov Y, Chakravorty D and Botella JR (2012) Gγ1 + Gγ2 + Gγ3 = Gβ: The search for heterotrimeric G-protein γ subunits in Arabidopsis is over. Journal of Plant Physiology 169:542-545.
  • Chakravorty D, Trusov Y and Botella JR (2012) Site-directed mutagenesis of the Arabidopsis heterotrimeric G protein β subunit suggests divergent mechanisms of effector activation between plant and animal G proteins. Planta 235:615-627.
  • McCallum EJ, Cunningham JP, Lucker J, Zalucki MP, De Voss JJ and Botella JR (2011) Increased plant volatile production affects oviposition, but not larval development, in the moth Helicoverpa armigera. Journal of Experimental Biology 214: 3672-3677
  • Botella, J.R. (2012) Can  heterotrimeric G-proteins help to feed the world? Trends in Plant Science, in press.
Please see Extended list of publications

Biography

Professor Jimmy Botella is Professor of Plant Biotechnology at The University of Queensland (UQ). He obtained a degree in Quantum Chemistry from the University of Madrid (Spain) and a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Malaga (Spain).
 
He joined UQ in 1995, founding the Plant Genetic Engineering Laboratory (PGEL) specialising in the fields of tropical and subtropical agricultural biotechnology for 18 years. Professor Botella has 11 international patents in the field of Plant Biotechnology and is a founding member of two biotechnology companies.