Prof. Perl-Treves Rafael

Associate Professor
Prof. Rafael Perl-Treves




1982, BSc, with honors, Faculty of Agriculture, Field Crop Department, Hebrew University, Rehovot, Israel


1985, MSc, Plant Genetics Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel


1990, PhD, Plant Genetics Department, Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel


1990-1992, Postdoctoral research, Cornell University, Ithaca NY, USA




2007-present, Associate Professor

Plant Molecular Genetics and Development

The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University,

Ramat-Gan, Israel


1999-2007, Senior Lecturer

Plant Molecular Genetics and Development

The Mina & Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University,

Ramat-Gan, Israel


2002, Sabbatical Fellow

Plant/pathogen interaction

Plant Industry Division, CSIRO, Wembley (Perth) West Australia


1993-1999, Lecturer

Plant Molecular Genetics and Development

Faculty of Life Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel



Public Scientific Activities


2005-2009, Treasurer of the Israeli Society of Plant Sciences


2008, Scientific Board of the Cucurbitaceae 2008 International Conference

Avignon, France


2006-2007, Head of the Israeli Society of Plant Sciences


2005-2007, Evaluation Committee for Field and Garden Crops, BARD


2001-2005, Evaluation and Steering Committee for Agriculture according to Halachic Law, Chief Scientist’s Office of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture


1999-2000, Scientific Board organizing the Cucurbitaceae 2000 International Conference, Ma’ale Ha’Hamisha, March 2000


1994-1996, Evaluation Committee for Field and Garden Crops, BARD and Chief Scientist's Office of the Israeli Ministry of Agriculture



Past and Present Members of our Group (*=presently in the lab)


*Dr. Irina Kovalski, New immigrant Scientist and lab assistant, 1993-present;

Thesis/Project: Development and mapping of RAPD markers in melons


Dr. Leah Silberstein, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1993-2002

Thesis/Project: Development and mapping of RFLP markers in melons


Dr. Huang Ruguo, Postdoctoral Fellow - part time, 1995

Thesis/Project: RAPD and RFLP genotyping of pathogenic fungi and melon varieties


Dr. Xiang Yu, Postdoctoral Fellow, 1995

Thesis/Project: Cloning of sex related genes in cucumber


Dr. Naama Kessler, Laboratory assistant part-time, 1998-1999

Thesis/Project: Cloning characterization of male specific cDNAs in cucumber


Anat Kahana, Ph.D., 1998 (joint supervision with Prof. Y. Cohen)

Thesis: Molecular characterization of sex expression in cucumber


Naomi Rosenmann, M.Sc., 1996

Thesis: Isolation and characterization of homeotic genes in cucumber


Asya Stepansky,  M.Sc., 1998

Thesis: Molecular and phenotypic variation in the melon germplasm


Yariv Brotman, M.Sc., 2000

Thesis: Cloning and linkage analysis of resistance-gene homologues from melon


Anat Goldberg, M.Sc., 2002

Thesis: Genes expressed in buds of C. sativus


Talia Saraf-Levy, Ph.D., 2003

Thesis: Role of ethylene perception in cucumber sex expression


Anat Goldberg, M.Sc., 2002

Thesis: Genes expressed in buds of C. sativus


Dr. An Lizheé, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2000

Project: Genetic transformation of C. sativus


Salih Kafkas, Ph.D. student at Chukrova University, Turkey. Joint supervision with Prof. Selim Cetiner, performed a two-year project at Bar-Ilan University, 1998 – 2000

Project: Wild Pistacia species from Turkey: sex expression, genetic diversity and evaluation as rootstock for P. vera


Dr. Premanand Rajagopalan, Postdoctoral Fellow, 2001-2003

Project: Genetic transformation of Cucumis sativus


Yariv Brotman, Ph.D., 2004

Thesis: Mapping of resistance-genes from melon


Mor Grinberg, M.Sc., 2003

(Joint supervision Dr. Victoria Sorozker and Dr. Eric Palewski, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Interaction between cucumber and the broad mite


Michal Segal, M.Sc., 2003

Thesis: Pto kinase homologs in melon


Isaac Goldenberg, M.Sc., 2004

Thesis: Mapping resistance genes in melon


Ran Herman, Ph.D., 2008

Thesis: Inheritance & mapping of Fusarium race 1,2 resistance in melon


Zvi Zvirin, M.Sc., 2006

Thesis: Mapping Fusarium resistance in melon


Anat Hendelman, M.Sc., 2006

Thesis: Expression of microRNA in developing cucumber flowers


Avital Baniel, M.Sc., 2007

Thesis: Control of fruit set in Cucumis


Valentina Davidovich, M.Sc. student, 2010

Thesis: Engineered hormonal changes in cucumber


Ohad Yogev, M.Sc., 2009

Thesis: Melon root transformation 


Mor Grinberg, Ph.D., 2009

(Joint supervision Dr. Victoria Sorocker, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Interaction between cucumber and the broad mite


Isaac Goldenberg, Ph.D., 2009

(Joint supervision Dr. Nurit Katzir, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Positional cloning of resistance genes in melon


Avida Shoham, M.Sc. student, 2010

(Joint supervision Dr. Ron Cohen, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Partial resistance of melons to Fusarium oxysporum


*Toiba Safronova, M.Sc. student, 2008-

(Joint supervision Dr. Victoria Sorocker, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Interaction between tomato, the broad mite and whiteflies


*Dikla Elul, M.Sc. student, 2009-

(Joint supervision Dr. Victoria Sorocker, A.R.O.)

Thesis: Interaction between tomato, the broad mite and whiteflies


Rina Zagouri, M.Sc. student, 2010

Thesis: Cloning of the sex determining gene androecious in cucumber


Michael Normantovich, M.Sc. student, 2010

Thesis: Composite melon plants expressing Fusarium resistance


Golan Miller, M.Sc. student, 2011

Thesis: Control of fruit set in Cucumis


Yulia Goltsev, M.Sc. student, 2011

Thesis: Hormonal control of fruit set in Cucumis


*Anastacia Stovbun, M.Sc student, 2013

Project: Positional cloning of resistance genes in melon


Arie Amitzur , M.Sc student, 2012

Thesis: Mapping of the parthenocarpy trait in cucumber


 *Michael Normantovich, Ph.D. student, 2010-

Thesis: Fusarium and PRSV resistance genes in melon  


*Golan Miller, Ph.D. student, 2012 -

Thesis: Fusarium-melon interaction


*Yulia Goltsev, Ph.D. student, 2012 -

Thesis: Hormonal control of fruit set in Cucumis


*Arie Amitzur , Ph.D. student, 2013 -

Thesis: Potyvirus resistance genes in melon



In addition, I have provided academic supervision to graduate students who performed their research at the Agricultural Research Organization:


Esther Aftergoot, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Ilan Paran), 1997-1999

Hila Spanov, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Yedidya Gafni), 2001-2003

Natalia Gerchikov, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Idit Ginzburg), 2002-2005

Tal Twito, Ph.D. (A.R.O. and Hebrew University, co-supervisors Dr. Uri Lavi and Prof. Yossef Hillel), 2002-2009

Noga Yaakov, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Yedidya Gafni), 2003-2006

Dvora Schwarzberg, Ph.D. (co-supervisor Dr. David Granot), 2004-2008

Sarit Faraj-Barhom, Ph.D. (co-supervisor Dr. Amnon Lers), 2004-2009

Efrat Saar-Glick, Ph.D. (co-supervisor Dr. Yedidya Gafni), 2004-2009

Pinhas Kritz, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Idit Ginzburg), 2005-2007

Yelena Ivanov, Ph.D. (co-supervisor Dr. David Kenigsbuch), 2006-

Shahar Oheli, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Oz Barazani), 2008-2010

Anat Krepkanovich, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Yuval Cohen), 2009-2010

Nir Hanin, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Oz Barazani), 2013

Amalia Aboudi, Ph.D. (co-supervisor Dr. Yedidya Gafni), 2009-

Amir Dekel, M.Sc. (co-supervisor Dr. Victoria Sorocker), 2011-


 More Pictures of Rafi: 1234


• Our Group Photos: 




• Our Group Cartoons:




 A few Family Pictures:

Ithaca 1992Yair's Bar-Mizva 2001Alps 2003Tamar's Bat-Mizva 2004

Perth 2003abcdef , Cairns 2003Perl's 50th anniversary 2006ab

Beijing 2006abBadaling 2006Yunnan 2006abcd

Negev Desert  2007abCroatia 2008Metz 2008Jordan Valley 2008

Paris 2008Noam 2008David 2007abYair 2008

David 2009,Torino2012abcdRoma 2012Nova Scotia 2010abcde

Hanukka 2012Succot 2012Lazarus Wedding 2012abc,  

Tamar enrolls 2012ab, Japan 2012abcdef,ghij

Noam Bar Mizva abcd 





1. Perl-Treves, R. and Galun, E. (1985) The Cucumis plastome: physical map, intrageneric variation and phylogenetic relationship. Theor. Appl. Genet. 71: 417-429.


2. Perl-Treves, R., Zamir, D., Navot, N. and Galun, E. (1985) Phylogeny of Cucumis based on isozyme variability and its comparison with plastome phylogeny. Theor. Appl. Genet. 71: 430-436.


3. Perl-Treves, R., Nacmias, B., Aviv, D., Zeelon, E.P. and Galun, E. (1988) Isolation of two cDNA clones from tomato containing two different superoxide dismutase sequences. Plant Mol. Biol. 11: 609--623.


4. Perl-Treves, R., Abu-Abied, M., Magal, N., Galun, E. and Zamir, D. (1990) Genetic mapping of tomato cDNA clones encoding the chloroplastic and cytosolicisozymes of superoxide dismutase. Biochem. Genet. 28: 543-552.


5. Perl-Treves, R. and Galun, E. (1991) The tomato Cu, Zn superoxide dismutase genes are developmentally regulated and respond to light and stress. Plant Mol. Biol.17: 745-760.


6. Perl, A., Perl-Treves, R., Galili, S., Aviv, D., Shalgi, E., Malkin, S. and Galun, E. (1992) Enhanced oxidative-stress defense in transgenic potato expressing tomato Cu, Zn superoxide dismutases. Theor. Appl. Genet. 85: 568-576.


7. Perl-Treves, R., Howlett, B. and Nasrallah, M.E. (1993) Self-incompatibility related glycoproteins of Brassica are produced and secreted by transgenic tobacco cell cultures. Plant Science 92: 99-110.


8. Abadi, R., Perl-Treves, R. and Levy, Y. (1996) Molecular variability among Exserohilum turcicum isolates using RAPD (Random Amplified Polymorphic DNA). Can. J. Plant Pathol. 18: 29-34.


9. Huang R., Galperin M., Levy Y., Perl-Treves R. (1997) Genetic variation of Fusarium moniliforme detected by random amplified polymorphic DNA markers. PlantPathol. 46: 871-881.


10. Mizrahi L., Achituv Y., Katcoff D. and Perl-Treves R. (1998) Phylogenetic position of Ibla (Cirripedia; Thoracica) based on 18S r DNA sequence analysis. J. Crustacean Biol. 18: 363-368.


11. Perl-Treves R., Kahana A., Rosenmann N., Yu X., Silberstein L. (1998) Expression of multiple Agamous-like genes in male and female flowers of cucumber (Cucumissativus L.). Plant Cell Physiol. 39: 701-710.


12. Perl-Treves R., Kahana A., Korach T., Kessler N. (1998) Cloning of three cDNAs encoding 1-aminocycloproane-1-carboxylate oxidases from cucumber floral buds (accession Nos. AF033581, AF033582 and AF033583) (PGR98-037). Plant Physiol. 116: 1192.


13. Silberstein L., Kovalski I., Huang R., Anagnostou K., Kyle M.M. and Perl-Treves R. (1999) Molecular variation in Cucumis melo as revealed by RFLP and RAPD markers. Scientia Horticulturae 79: 101-111.


14. Stepansky A., Kovalski I., Schaffer A.A., Perl-Treves R. (1999) Variation in sugar levels and invertase activity in mature fruit representing a broad spectrum ofCucumis melo genotypes. Genet. Resources Crop Evol. 46: 53-62.


15. Stepansky A, Kovalski I, Perl-Treves R. (1999) Intraspecific classification of Cucumis melo based on morphological and molecular evaluation. Plant Systematics and Evolution 217: 313-333.


16. Kahana A., Silberstein L., Kessler N., Goldstein R.S., Perl-Treves R. (1999) Expression of cucumber ACC oxidases differs among sex genotypes and sex phases. Plant Mol. Biol. 41: 517-528.


17. Perl-Treves R., Mizrahi L, Katcoff D.J. and Achituv Y. (2000) Elucidation of the phylogenetic relationship of three cirripeds, Verruca, Paralepas and Dendrogaster(Cirripedia; Thoracica) based on 18S r DNA sequence. J. Crustacean Biol. 20: 385-392.


18. Mokadi, O., Mizrahi L., Perl-Treves R. and Achituv Y. (2000) The different morphs of Chtamalus anisopoma - a phenotypic response? Direct molecular evidence. J. Exp. Marine Biol. Ecol. 243: 295-304.


19. Anagnostou K., Kyle M. and Perl-Treves R. (2000) Inheritance and linkage analysis of resistance to zucchini yellow mosaic virus, watermelon mosaic virus, papayaringspot virus and powdery mildew in melon. Euphytica 116: 265-270.


20. Kafkas S., Perl-Treves R. and Kaska N. (2000) Unusual Pistacia atlantica trees in the Yunt Mountains of the Manisa Province of Turkey. Isr. J. Plant Sci. 48: 277-280.


21. Klingler J., Kovalski I., Silberstein L., Thompson G.A. and Perl-Treves R. (2001) Mapping of cotton-melon aphid resistance in melon. J. Am. Soc. Hortic. Sci. 126: 56-63.


22. Kafkas S and Perl-Treves R. (2001) Morphological and molecular phylogeny of Pistacia species in Turkey. Theor. Appl. Genet. 102: 908-915.


23. Kafkas S., Cetiner MS and Perl-Treves R. (2001) Development of sex-associated RAPD markers in wild Pistacia species. J. Hortic Sci. Technol. 76: 242-246.


24. Kafkas S. and Perl-Treves R. (2002) Inter-specific relationships in the genus Pistacia L. (Anacardiaceae) based on RAPD fingerprints. HortScience 37: 168-171.


25. Kafkas S, Kafkas E and Perl-Treves R. (2002) Morphological diversity and a germplasm survey of wild Pistacia species in Turkey. Genet. Resources Crop Evol. 49: 261-270.


26. Brotman Y, Silberstein L, Kovalski I, Perin C, Dogimont C, Pitrat M, Klingler J, Thompson G and Perl-Treves R. (2002) Resistance gene homologues in melon and their linkage to genetic loci conferring disease and pest resistance. Theor. Appl. Genet. 104: 1055-1065.


27. Karaco S., Achituv Y., Perl-Treves R. and Katcoff D. (2002) Asterina burtoni (Asteroidea; Echinodermata) in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea: does asexual reproduction ability enhance colonization? Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 234: 139-145.


28. Burger Y, Katzir N, Tzuri G, Portnoy V, Saar U, Shriber S, Perl-Treves R, Cohen R (2003) Variation in the response of melon genotypes to Fusarium oxysporum f. sp.melonis race 1 determined by inoculation tests and molecular markers. Plant Pathology 52: 204-211


29. Silberstein L, Kovalski I, Brotman Y, Perin C, Dogimont C, Pitrat M, Klingler J, Thompson G, Portnoy V, Katzir N, Perl-Treves R. Linkage map of Cucumis meloincluding horticultural traits sequence-characterized genes. Genome, 46: 761-773.


30. Perl-Treves R, Foley RC, Wenqiong C and Singh KB (2004) Early induction of the Arabidopsis GSTF8 promoter by specific strains of the necrotrophic fungal pathogen, Rhizoctonia solani. Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions 17: 70-80.


31. Tertivanidis K, Goudoula C, Vasilikiotis C, Hassiotou E, Perl-Treves R, Tsaftaris A (2004) Superoxide dismutase transgenes in sugarbeets confer resistance to oxidative agents and the fungus C-beticola. Transgenic Research 13: 225-233.


32. Rajagopalan P, Perl-Treves R (2005) Improved protocol for Cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) transformation by modified explant dissection and selection. HortScience40: 431-435.


33. Brotman Y, Kovalski I, Dogimont C, Pitrat C, Portnoy V, Katzir N and Perl-Treves R (2005) Molecular markers linked to papaya ring spot virus resistance andFusarium race-2 resistance in melon. Theor. Appl. Genet. 110: 337-345.


34. Grinberg M, Perl-Treves R, Palevsky E, Shomer I, Soroker V. (2005) Interaction between cucumber plants and the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus: from damage to defense gene expression. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 115: 135-144.


35. Vengadesan G, Prem Anand R, Selvaraj N, Perl-Treves R, Ganapathi A. Transfer and expression of NptII and bar genes in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 41: 17-21.


36. Albert VA, Soltis DE, Carlson JE, Farmerie WG, Wall PK, Ilut DC, Solow TM, Mueller LA, Landherr LL, Hu Y, Buzgo M, Kim S, Yoo M-J, Frohlich MW, Perl-Treves R, Schlarbaum SE, Bliss BJ, Zhang X, Tanksley S, Oppenheimer DG, Soltis PS, Ma H, dePamphilis CW, Leebens-Mack JH. Floral gene resources from basal angiosperms for comparative genomics research. BMC Plant Biology, 5:5.


37. Çürük S, Çetiner S, Elman C, Xia X, Wang Y, Yeheskel A, Silberstein L, Perl-Treves R, Watad AA, Gaba V. (2005) Transformation of recalcitrant melon (Cucumis melo L.) cultivars is facilitated by wounding with carborundum. Engineering in Life Sciences, 5: 169-177.


38. Foley RC, Sappl PG, Perl-Treves R, Millar HA and Singh KB (2006) Desensitization of gstf8 induction by a prior chemical treatment is long lasting and operates in a tissue-dependent manner. Plant Physiology 142: 245-253.


39. Twito T, Weigend S, Blum S, Granevitze Z, Feldman MW, Perl-Treves R, Lavi U, Hillel J. (2007) Biodiversity of 20 chicken breeds assessed by SNPs located in gene regions. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 117: 319–326.


40. Herman R and Perl-Treves R. (2007) Characterization and inheritance of a new source of resistance to Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. melonis race 1.2 in Cucumis melo.Plant Disease 91: 1180-1186.


41. Gerchikov N, Keren-Keiserman A, Perl-Treves R, Ginzberg I. (2008) Wounding of melon fruits as a model system to study rind netting. Scientia Horticulturae 117: 115-122.


42. Farage-Barhom S, Burd S, Sonego L, Perl-Treves R, Lers A. (2008) Expression analysis of the BFN1 nuclease gene promoter during senescence, abscission, and programmed cell death-related processes. Journal of Experimental Botany 59: 3247-3258.


43. Alagarmalai J, Grinberg M, Perl-Treves R, Soroker V (2009) Host selection by herbivorous mite Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae). J. Insect Behaviour22:375–387.


44. Boualem A, Troadec C, Kovalski I, Sari MA, Perl-Treves R and Bendahmane A (2009) A conserved Ethylene Biosynthesis Enzyme Leads to Andromonoecy in twoCucumis species. PLoS One 4: e6144.


45. Chatzidimitriadou K, Nianiou-Obeidat I, Madesis P, Perl-Treves R, Tsaftaris A (2009) Expression of SOD transgene in pepper confer stress tolerance and improve shoot regeneration. Electronic Journal of Biotechnology 12: 10.


46. Zvirin Z, Herman R, Brotman Y, Denisov Y, Belausov E, Freeman S and Perl-Treves R (2010) Differential colonization and defense responses of resistant and susceptible melon lines infected by Fusarium oxysporum race 1.2. Plant Pathology 59, 576–585.


47. Twito T, Madeleine D, Perl-Treves R, Hillel J, Lavi U (2011) Comparative genome analysis with the human genome reveals chicken genes associated with fatness and body weight. Animal Genetics 42: 642-649


48. Brotman Y, Normantovich M, Goldenberg Z, Zvirin Z, Kovalski I, Stovbun N, Donniger T, Bolger AM, Troadec C, Bendahmane A, Cohen R, Katzir N, Pitrat M,Dogimont C, Perl-Treves R (2013) Dual resistance of melon to Fusarium oxysporum races 0 and 2 and to Papaya ring-spot virus is controlled by a pair of head-to-head oriented NB-LRR genes of unusual architecture. Molecular Plant 6: 235-238 Supplemental data


Books Invited Reviews and Book Chapters


1. Leshem YY, Kuiper PJC, Erdei L, Lurie S and Perl-Treves R. (1998) Do Selye’s mammalian “GAS” concept (General Adaptation Syndrome) and “Co-stress” response exist in plants? In: Stress of Life: from Molecules to Man. Editor: P. Csermely. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, vol. 851, pp. 199-208.


2. Perl-Treves R (1999) Male to female conversion along the cucumber shoot: approaches to study sex genes and floral development in Cucumis sativus. In: Sex Determination in Plants. Editor: C.C. Ainsworth. BIOS Scientific Publisher, Oxford, pp. 189-216.


3. Perl-Treves R (1999) Floral development and sex expression in Cucumis sativus, the cucumber: genetic and molecular approaches. Flowering Newsletter 28: 39-48.


4. Perl-Treves R. and Perl A. (2002) Oxidative stress: an introduction. In: Oxidative Stress in Plants. Van Montagu M., Inze D., Taylor and Francis Books Ltd, London andNew York.


5. Perl-Treves R and Rajagopalan P (2006) Close, yet separate: patterns of male and female floral development in monoecious species. In: Flowering and its Manipulation. Editor: C.C. Ainsworth. Blackwell, Oxford, pp. 117-146.


6. Oumouloud A, El-Otmani M, González Torres R, Garcés Claver A, Perl-Treves R, Álvarez JM (2013) Breeding melon for resistance to Fusarium wilt: Recent developments. Euphytica, in press


Selected Chapters in Proceedings Books


1. Rajagopalan P, Saraf-Levy T, Lizhe A and Perl-Treves, R (2004) Over-expression of an ethylene receptor increases femaleness in transgenic cucumbers. Proceedings of the VIIIth EUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Olomouc, Czech Republic, 12-17 July 2004, 525-531.


2. Brotman Y, Kovalski I, Dogimont C, Pitrat M, Katzir N and Perl-Treves R (2004) Molecular mapping of the melon Fom-1/Prv locus. Proceedings of the VIIIthEUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Olomouc, Czech Republic, 12-17 July 2004, pp. 485-489.


3. Grinberg G, Soroker V, Palevsky E, Shomer I and Perl-Treves R (2004) Response of cucumber to the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus. Proceedings of the VIIIthEUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Olomouc, Czech Republic, 12-17 July 2004, 319-324.


4. Herman R, Zvirin Z, Kovalski I, Freeman S, Denisov Y, Zuri G, Katzir N, Perl-Treves R (2008) characterization of Fusarium race 1.2 resistance in melon and mapping of a major QTL for this trait near a fruit netting locus. Proceedings of the IXth EUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Avignon, France, 21-24 May 2008, 149-156.


5. Baniel A, Saraf-Levy T, Perl-Treves R. (2008) How Does the First Fruit Inhibit Younger Fruit Set In Cucurbits? Proceedings of the IXth EUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Avignon, France, 21-24 May 2008, 597-601.


6. Valentina Davidovich V, Leibman D, Gal-On A, Perl-Treves R (2008) Affecting cucurbit hormonal status by the ZYMV transient expression vector. Proceedings of theIXth EUCARPIA Meeting on Cucurbit Genetics and Breeding, Avignon, France, 21-24 May 2008, 587-591.


7. Fraenkel R , I. Kovalski I, C. Troadec C, Bendahmane A, Perl-Treves R (2012) A TILLING population for cucumber forward and reverse genetics. In: Proceedings of the X Eucarpia Meeting on the Cucurbitaceae, Antalia, October15-18 2012, pp, 598-603.


8. Miller G, Goltsev Y, Dalia Wolf D, Baniel A, Saraf-Levy T, Kovalski I, Perl-Treves R (2012) Developmental changes in inhibited, senescent and fruit-setting ovaries of cucumber. In: Proceedings of the X Eucarpia Meeting on the Cucurbitaceae, Antalia, October15-18 2012, pp, 591-596.


9. Normantovich M, Yogev O, Taylor CG, Perl-Treves R (2012) Study of the Fom-2 resistance gene using composite melon plants. In: Proceedings of the X Eucarpia Meeting on the Cucurbitaceae, Antalia, October15-18 2012, pp, 240-246. 







Overview of Research Projects

Our laboratory carries out molecular genetic research, mostly in plants of the Cucurbitaceae family. We have analyzed the melon and cucumber genomes using mapping approaches, and investigated the interaction of these plants with pathogens and insects. We also studied sex differentiation and fruit set in cucumbers at the molecular level. Our projects ask genetic and developmental-genetic questions on plant reproduction, and on disease resistance genes, and yield biotechnological assets in the form of diagnostic DNA markers to assist breeding, and cloned genes of biotechnological interest.


Genetic mapping and genome analysis in Cucumis

Broad scale analysis of eukaryotic genomes is one of the challenges of modern biology, starting from the construction of detailed genetic maps, and culminating in reverse-genetic approaches to isolate and study the function of economically important genes. Our lab contributed to the development and use of such discipline for crops of the cucurbit family, namely Cucumis sativus (cucumber) and Cucumis melo (melon). We have become recognized among the few laboratories that developed markers and performed genome analysis in Cucumis crops, and we collaborate with other groups and breeders, in Israel and elsewhere.


Genetic diversity studies

Seed collections of wild and primitive varieties of a given crop species represent a valuable resource for the future, requiring adequate protection and characterization. We have addressed the structure and distribution of genetic variation in the melon germplasm, that harbors impressive variation in fruit size, shape, color and taste, as well as aroma and ripening physiology. We used DNA fingerprinting to quantify such variation, related it to morphological and agronomic traits, and portrayed melon taxonomy at the infra-specific level with such tools (refs. 13, 14, 15). Variation in plant and fruit morphology and in DNA profiles were analyzed in a set of 60 melon varieties from all over the world (Fig. 1). We described and analyzed the variation in fruit sugars and in acid invertase, an enzyme that is developmentally modulated to determine sucrose levels (ref. 14; Fig. 2), and showed that potentially useful genetic variation in all three sugars is found in "exotic" botanical variants of melon that are currently under-utilized in breeding. These studies continued earlier studies with Prof. Galun on inter-specific classification of the Genus Cucumis (refs. 1, 2). A pre-breeding project that attempts to utilize variation in shape, size and taste of melons for generating novel fruit types is running in our lab. For more information on the Melon Gallery Project (Fig. 3) please contact us. 


Another project relates to the watermelon, Citrullus lanatus: using a small grant from the Israeli Gene Bank, we collected wild accessions of Citrullus in Israel, in order to characterize them in terms of genetic diversity and potential use for breeding (Fig. 4).  In addition, in the framework of a collaboration via Dr. Salih Kafkas of Chukrova University in Turkey, we applied molecular markers to characterize wild Pistacia species, that serve as rootstock for high value pistachio cultivars (refs. 20, 22-25).


Genetic mapping in melon

A melon genetic map was generated based on the F2 generation of the cross P.I. 414723 x cultivar TopMark (Fig. 5; ref. 19, 29). We also prepared a Recombinant Inbred Lines (RIL) collection from the same cross. The map included ~180 loci obtained by different techniques. Several markers anchored our linkage groups to those of more saturated reference maps.


A great achievement of plant molecular biology involves cloning of disease resistance genes, responsible for pathogen recognition and signaling. We cloned and characterized resistance gene homologs (RGH) in melon. Together with the group of Drs. Pitrat and Dogimont at INRA and Prof. Gary Thompson in Little Rock we tested linkage between our clones and several disease and pest-resistance loci. These included Vat (aphid resistance), two Fusarium resistance loci, Fom-1 and Fom-2, and resistance to papaya ringspot virus (refs. 21, 26, 28, 33). Such markers are used as diagnostic tools to breed for insect and disease resistance (Fig. 6Fig. 7).  We focused on the Fom-1 /Prv locus and on the Zym loci (resistance to the zucchini yellow mosaic virus) and generated high resolution maps of these loci (ref. 33). Linked markers were used as starting points for a chromosome walk that culminated in cloning of the resistance genes (Fig. 7B; ref. 48); this was done in collaboration with Drs. Pitrat, Dogimont and Bendahmane at INRA and Dr. Katzir at A.R.O.


Quantitative resistance to Fusarium oxysporum race 1.2 in melon

Race 1.2 of melon Fusarium is controlled by multiple genes and is more difficult to manipulate in breeding. We have characterized a breeding line, BIZ (property of Zeraim Gedera Ltd.) that harbors strong and reliable resistance towards Israeli strains of race 1.2. We showed that two main recessive genes confer full resistance (Ref. 40) and began mapping them using QTL analysis.  We have used a GFP strain of the fungus to visualize the colonization of melon seedlings in vivo (Fig. 8), and observed quicker and higher expression of defense genes in the resistant seedlings, compared to susceptible ones (Ref. 44).


More plant-pathogen and plant-pest interactions

Arabidopsis-rhizoctonia interaction: During a Sabatical at CSIRO, Perth, West Australia (2002), I collaborated with Prof. Karam Singh and Dr. Rhonda Foley on interactions between Arabidopsis and the fungus Rhizoctonia, using the luciferase reporter system. We made real-time observations of the physical contact between the fungus and the living plant, which responds to the challenge by emitting bioluminescence (Fig. 9; ref. 30, 38).


Plant response to broad mites: This project addresses plant-herbivore interactions, in collaboration with A.R.O. entomologists Dr. Victoria Sorocker. We studied the interaction of cucurbit crops with a serious pest, the broad mite. We described its damage at the microscopical level (Fig. 10), and documented the plant responses, including induction of defense genes (ref. 34). We used tomato mutants defective in defense signaling to demonstrate the importance of a defense hormone, jasmonic acid, in defense against broad mites. We have shown for the first time the broad mites are able to choose a favorable host and set up elegant bioassays to monitor the mite-plant interaction on detached leaves (Ref. 43). Presently, the three-party interaction between tomato, broad mite and the whitefly that serves as a vector in mite dispersal (Fig. 11), is being investigated in collaboration with Prof. L. Walling from Riverside, California.


Molecular studies on sex expression in cucumber

This project focuses on flower differentiation in plants that have a specific mechanism to separate their male and female organs. We have utilized two interesting features of cucumbers to approach such a complex developmental process. One is the availability of well characterized genotypes with striking differences in sex expression (Fig. 12). The second involves the possibility to physiologically induce dramatic sex changes by gibberellin and ethylene application (ref. B2, B3, B5). Using two contrasting genotypes, male and female cDNA libraries were prepared from very young floral buds, where "developmental decisions" are probably being made (ref. 36).


Cucumber genes that govern floral architecture and determine sex-hormone synthesis and perception

A family of three cDNAs that are homologous to the transcription factor AGAMOUS (that controls pistil and stamen formation in flowers) has been cloned and characterized (ref. 11). They probably are part of the flower's differentiation program after its fate has been determined by more "upstream" genes. A family of three ACC oxidase cDNAs, encoding the final step of ethylene synthesis, has been cloned (ref. 16). The role of ethylene in cucumber sex-modification is well established, and we studied the expression of these genes in relation to sex patterns of different cucumber genotypes. Distinct patterns of ACC oxidase transcripts in floral organs suggested localized, stage-specific roles for ethylene in floral organ differentiation (Fig. 12). In addition, we have cloned ethylene receptor-homologues from cucumber and analyzed their expression. In collaboration with other researchers in Israel (Dr. Zelcer, A.R.O.) and India (Dr. Ganapathy, Dr. Rajagopalan, Tiruchirappalli), we set-up cucumber transformation in our lab (Fig. 13; refs. 32, 35). A construct for over-expression of ERS, an ethylene receptor gene, was indeed shown to enhance femaleness of transgenic cucumbers, establishing the importance of ethylene sensitivity for sex expression (Fig. 14; ref. B5).


We were also involved in map-based cloning of the cucumber sex determining genes. We prepared several genetic populations, each segregating for a different sex determining locus. In collaboration with INRA researcher Dr. Bendahmane, the Monoecious gene has been cloned using this approach. It was shown to encode an ACC synthase isoform that is expressed in the carpels of pistillate flowers, and inhibits the developing stamen (ref. 44). Together with theFemale gene cloned years ago by other groups, this finding greatly advanced our view on sex determination mechanism in cucumber. As a tool for functional characterization of cloned genes, we have prepared and tested a TILLING population for cucumber (Proceedings ref. 7; Fig. 15).


Control of cucumber fruit set

In the past two years we have begun to investigate the control of fruit set at the whole-plant level. Following fertilization, what factors determine whether an ovary will set fruit, or remain inhibited and senesce? Preliminary data relating to the "First-Fruit Inhibition phenomenon, being developmentally distinct from "regular senescence" has been obtained (Proceedings ref. 5, 8).




2 hrs lecture, 1st year, 1st semester.


Provides an introduction to biological principles and concepts such as membranes, biological macromolecules, prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, multicellularity, genetic information,. An overview of bacteria, viruses, fungi and protists; a taxonomic survey of the plant kingdom from lower to higher plants. Major plant processes: photosynthesis, nitrogen assimilation, plant-water relationships, phloem transport, response to environmental stimuli.



Course No. 80-225 PLANT PHYSIOLOGY

Lecture: 3 hours a week, 2nd year, 2nd semester (jointly with Dr. Orit Shaul).


The course covers major topics in Plant Biochemistry and Physiology. The scientific approaches and techniques that served to make the main discoveries in the field are emphasized. Relevance of physiological processes to Agriculture and Environmental Protection is discussed, and examples of Molecular studies based on Plant Physiology are given.

Contents: Introduction: The Plant Kingdom, vegetal "principles of life", challenges of botanical research. Photosynthesis: thermodynamic and photochemical principles, light and dark reactions, chloroplast structure, photorespiration, adaptation to environmental changes, sucrose and starch synthesis. Plant-water relations: water potential and its components, water and mineral conduction in the soil-plant-atmosphere continuum, the photosynthesis-transpiration dilemma, stomatal action, response to drought stress. Transport of assimilates in the phloem. Nitrogen metabolism in plants. Introduction to growth and differentiation. Plant hormones: structure, assays, responses, mode of action. Photomorphogenesis: phytochrome and other photoreceptors, photoperiodic induction of flowering.




2 hrs lecture + 2 hrs practice, 3rd year, 2nd semester


Key-aspects of Plant Genetics are addressed, starting from the classical genetic level, required to understand the foundation of the more modern approaches, through somatic cell genetics and cytogenetics, down to molecular studies of the Plant Genome and Genetic Engineering.

Contents: Introduction to the plant genome: nuclear genome size and composition, genomics approaches. The chromosomes: ploidy systems in plants, cytogenetic achievements in plant research and breeding. The chloroplast and the mitochondrial genomes in plants. Genome mapping and use of molecular markers in plant breeding. Map-based cloning. Plant tissue culture and its applications: protoplast and cell cultures, embryogenesis and organogenesis, haploid cultures, in vitro selection. Somatic cell fusions. Genetic engineering of plants: transformation methods. Overexpression and repression of plant genes; marker genes and reporter genes; examples of transgenic plants with agricultural potential.

Practice involves reading and analysis of relevant scientific literature, genomics database mining and computing a genetic map, and visits to a plant tissue culture company and a seed company that applies molecular methods in breeding.





The course consist of 1-hour seminars, a series of presentations and discussions delivered by students on a current research topic in Plant Biology.



2 hrs lecture, jointly with Dr. Hinanit Koltai and Dr. Vered Irihimovitch, ARO


 The course discusses major themes in plant development, related to leaf, root, flower and fruit induction and organogenesis. Hormonal signals and molecular mechanisms that orchestrate plant development are emphasized. Students are requested to present mini-seminars related to key research articles, as a basis for in depth discussion of modern methodologies and model plants employed in the field.