Research Faculty #32

General Information

Academic History

Canadian Research Chair in Plants Natural Products Chemistry

Full Professor (Departments of Botany and Chemistry)

Ph.D. Botany (1993) Univ. of Kaiserslautern (Germany); 
Postdoctoral Fellow (1994-96) Washington State Univ.; 
Research Associate (1996-2002) Univ. of Wuerzburg (Germany). 

Dr. habil. (2000) University of Wuerzburg (Germany).

Contact Information

Office Phone
Office Location
Room 2229, Biological Sciences Building
Lab Phone
Lab Location
Room 2224, Biological Sciences Building

Research Information

Research Abstract

Plant biochemistry, physiology and chemical ecology; molecular biology and enzymology of wax metabolism; chemical composition, physiological function and ecological roles of plant surface lipids.

Research Interests

The plant surface – a vast stage for interactions…

  • How do plants create flexible, long-lasting, water-proof skins that grow with their organs?
  • How do plants seal their vast surface against adverse climatic conditions?
  • How do insects assess host suitability when they first land on a plant?
  • How can plants select for partner insects while excluding their unwanted competitors?
  • How do carnivorous pitcher plants catch their prey?

These are the biological questions that motivate the research in my lab. In order to answer them, we employ molecular genetic, microscopic and eco-physiological (as well as biochemical) techniques to study plant surfaces. Depending on the individual research question, we use Arabidopsis thaliana and an array of other plant species as models for our studies.

In particular, we investigate cuticular waxes, which coat most above-ground plant organs. We explore both the biological functions of these waxes and the molecular biology underlying their formation. We investigate wax functions such as their central physiological role to seal the plant tissue against water loss and their ecological function as a first line of defence against herbivores. On the other end of the spectrum of our biological interests, we investigate the molecular machinery – the genes and enzymes – plants employ to generate their wax coatings.

Team Members

Jedrzej Gozdzik (Grad Student, Chemistry)
Yang Liu (Grad Student, Botany)
Alberto Ruiz Orduna (Grad Student, Chemistry)
Yulin Sun (Grad Student, Botany)
Daisy Zhang (Grad Student, Botany)
Dr. Li Sun (Visiting Professor)
Tristan Jeffery (Undergrad Student, Biology)

Selected Publications

Sun, T.; Busta, L.; Ding, P., Jetter, R.; Zhang, Y. (2017) Arabidopsis transcription factors TGA1 and TGA4 regulate salicylic acid and pipecolic acid biosynthesis by modulating the expression of SARD1 and CBP60g. New Phytologist, in press.

Hegebarth, D.; Jetter, R. (2017) Cuticular waxes of Arabidopsis thaliana shoots: cell-type-specific composition and biosynthesis. PLANTS doi:10.3390/plants6030027.

Guo, Y.; Jetter, R. (2017) Comparative analyses of cuticular waxes on various organs of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.). J. Agricultural and Food Chemistry 65, 3926-3933.

Hegebarth, D.; Buschhaus, C.; Joubes, J.; Thoraval, D.; Bird, D.; Jetter, R. (2017) Arabidopsis ketoacyl-CoA synthase 16 forms C36/C38 acyl precursors for leaf trichome and pavement surface wax. Plant Cell and Environment 40, 1761-1776.

Jung, S.J.; Kim, Y.C.; Um, Y.; Jin, M.L.; Jetter, R.; Kim, O.T. (2017) Fusion of ginseng farnesyl diphosphate synthase and the Centella asiatica squalene synthase involved in triterpenoid biosynthesis. Current Science 113, 785-790.

Busta, L.; Jetter, R. (2017) Structure and biosynthesis of branched wax compounds on wild type and wax biosynthesis mutants of Arabidopsis thalianaPlant Cell Physiology 58, 1059-1074.

Guo, Y.; Busta, L.; Jetter, R. (2017) Cuticular wax coverage and composition differ among organs of Taraxacum officinalePlant Physiology and Biochemistry 115, 372-379.

Busta, L.; Hegebarth, D.; Kroc, E.; Jetter, R. (2017) Changes in cuticular wax coverage and composition on developing Arabidopsis leaves are influenced by wax biosynthesis gene expression levels and trichome density. Planta 245: 297-311.

Racovita, R.C.; Jetter, R. (2016) Identification of in-chain-functionalized compounds and methyl-branched alkanes in cuticular waxes of Triticum aestivum cv. Bethlehem. PLoS One, 11(11): e0165827.

Racovita, R.C.; Jetter, R. (2016) Identification of Polyketides in the Cuticular Waxes of Triticum aestivum cv. Bethlehem. Lipids 51:1407–1420.

Ding, P.; Rekhter, D.; Ding, Y.; Feussner, K.; Busta, L.; Haroth, S.; Xu, s.; Li, X.; Jetter, R.; Feussner, I.; Zhang, Y. (2016) Systemic Acquired Resistance Deficient 4 encodes a key enzymefor pipecolic acid biosynthesis. Plant Cell 28: 2603-2615.

Hegebarth, D.; Buschhaus, C.; Wu, M.; Bird, D.; Jetter, R. (2016) The composition of surface wax on trichomes of Arabidopsis thaliana differs from wax on other epidermal cells. The Plant Journal 88, 762-774.

Wigzell, J.M.; Racovita, R.C.; Stentiford, B.G.; Wilson, M.; Harris, M.T.; Fletcher, I.W.; Mosquin, D.P.K.; Justice, D.; Beaumont, S.K.; Jetter, R.; Badyal, J.P.S. (2016) Smart water channelling through dual wettability by leaves of the bamboo Phyllostachys aureaColloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects 506. 344-355.

Racovita, R.; Jetter, R. (2016) Composition of the epicuticular waxes coating the adaxial side of Phyllostachys aurea leaves: Identification of very-long-chain primary amides. Phytochemistry 130, 252-261.

Sorigué, D.; Légeret, B.; Cuiné, S.; Morales, P.; Mirabella, B.; Guédeney, G.; Li-Beisson, Y.; Jetter, R.; Peltier, G.; Beisson, F. (2016) Microalgae synthesize hydrocarbons from long-chain fatty acids via a light-dependent pathway. Plant Physiology 171, 2393-2405.

Hen-Avivi, S.; Savin, O.; Racovita, R.C.; Lee, W.-S.; Adamski, N.; Malitsky, S.; Almekias-Siegl, E.; Levy, M.; Vautrin, S.; Bergès, H.; Friedlander, G.; Kartvelishvily, E.; Ben-Zvi, G.; Alkan, N.; Uauy, C.; Kanyuka, K.; Jetter, R.; Distelfeld, A.; Aharoni, A. (2016) A metabolic gene cluster in the wheat w1 and the barley cer-cqu loci determines β-diketone biosynthesis and glaucousness. Plant Cell 28, 1440-1460.

Busta, L.; Budke, J.M.; Jetter, R. (2016) The moss Funaria hygrometrica has cuticular wax similar to vascular plants, with distinct composition on leafy gametophyte, calyptra, and sporophyte capsule surfaces. Annals of Botany 118, 511-522.

Racovita, R.C.; Hen-Avivi, S.; Fernandez-Moreno, J.-P.; Granell, A.; Aharoni, A.; Jetter, R. (2016) Composition of cuticular waxes coating flag leaf blades and peduncles of Triticum aestivum cv. Bethlehem. Phytochemistry 130, 182-192.

Wang, M.; Wang, Y.; Li, T.; Wu, H.; Xu, J.; Hegebarth, D.; Jetter, R.; Wang, Z. (2016) Three wheat fatty acyl-coenzyme A reductases, TaFAR2, TaFAR3 and TaFAR4, are involved in the biosynthesis of primary alcohols. Scientific Reports 6, 25008.

Fernandez-Moreno, J.-P.; Malitsky, S.; Lashbrooke, J.; Biswal, A.K.; Racovita, R.C.; Mellerowicz, E.J.; Jetter, R.; Orzaez, D.; Aharoni, A.; Granell, A. (2016) An efficient method for medium-throughput screening of cuticular wax composition in different crop species. Metabolomics 12, 73.

Jetter, R.; Riederer, M. (2016) Localization of the transpiration barrier in the epi- and intracuticular waxes of eight plant species: water transport resistances are associated with fatty acyl rather than alicyclic components. Plant Physiology 170, 921-934.

Busta, L.; Budke, J.M.; Jetter, R. (2016) Identification of β-hydroxy fatty acid esters and primary, secondary-alkanediol esters in cuticular waxes of the moss Funaria hygrometrica. Phytochemistry, 121, 38-49.

Wang, Y.; Wang, M.; Sun, Y.; Hegebarth, D.; Li, T.; Jetter, R.; Wang, Z. (2015) Molecular characterization of TaFAR1 involved in primary alcohol biosynthesis of cuticular wax in hexaploid wheat. Plant Cell Physiology 56, 1944-1961.

Buschhaus, C.; Hager, D.; Jetter, R. (2015) Wax layers on Cosmos bipinnatus petals contribute unequally to total petal water resistance. Plant Physiology 167, 80-88.

Racovita, R.C.; Peng, C.; Awakawa, T.; Abe, I.; Jetter, R. (2015) Very-long-chain 3-hydroxy fatty acids, 3-hydroxy fatty acid methyl esters and 2-alkanols from cuticular waxes of Aloe arborescens leaves. Phytochemistry 113, 183-194.

Jin, M.L.; Lee, D.Y.; Um, Y.; Lee, J.H.; Park, C.G.; Jetter, R.; Kim, O.T (2015) Isolation and characterization of an oxidosqualene cyclase gene encoding a β-amyrin synthase involved in Polygala tenuifolia Willd. saponin biosynthesis. Plant Cell Rep. 33, 511-519.

Johnson, E.E.; Jetter, R., Wasteneys, G. (2014) Rapid induction of the triterpenoid pathway in Arabidopsis thaliana mesophyll protoplasts. Biotechnol. Lett. 36, 855-858.

Buschhaus, C.; Peng, C.; Jetter, R. (2013) Very-long-chain 1,2- and 1,3-bifunctional compounds from the cuticular wax on Cosmos bipinnatus petals. Phytochemistry 91, 249-256.

Buschhaus, C.; Jetter, R. (2012) Composition and physiological function of the wax layers coating Arabidopsis leaves: the triterpenoid β-amyrin negatively affects the intracuticular  ranspiration barrier. Plant Physiology 160, 1120-1129.

Bernard, A.; Domergue, F.; Pascal, S.; Jetter, R. ; Renne, C. ; Faure, J.-D.; Haslam, R.P. ; Napier, J.A. ; Lessire, R. ; Joubès, J. (2012) Heterologous reconstitution of plant alkane biosynthesis in yeast demonstrates that Arabidopsis CER1 and CER3 are core components of a multiprotein VLC-alkane synthesis complex. Plant Cell 24, 3106-3118.

Ehret, D.L.; Frey, B.; Helmer, T.; Aharoni, A.; Wang, Z.; Jetter, R. (2012) Fruit cuticular and agronomic characteristics resulting from the lecer6 mutation in tomato. Journal of Horticultural Science and Biotechnology 87, 619-625.

Yeats, T.H.; Buda, G.J.; Wang, Z.; Chehanovsky, N.; Moyle, L.C.; Jetter, R.; Schaffer, A.A.; Rose, J.K.C. (2012) The fruit cuticles of wild tomato species exhibit architectural and chemical diversity, providing a new model for studying the evolution of cuticle function. The Plant Journal 69, 655-666.

Bessire, M.; Borel, S.; Fabre, G.; Carraça, L.; Efremova, N.; Yephremov, A.; Cao, Y.; Jetter, R.; Jacquat, A.-C.; Métraux, J.-P.; Nawrath, C. (2011) A member of the PDR family of ABC transporters is required for the formation of a functional cuticle in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 23, 1958-1970.

Buschhaus, C.; Jetter, R. (2011) Composition differences between epicuticular and intracuticular wax substructures: How do plants seal their epidermal surfaces? Journal of Experimental Botany 62, 841-853.

Wang, Z.; Guhling, O.; Yao, R.; Li, F.; Yeats, T.H. Rose, J.K.C.; Jetter, R. (2011) Two oxidosqualene cyclases responsible for biosynthesis of tomato fruit cuticular triterpenoids. Plant Physiology 155, 540-552.

Jetter, R; Sodhi, R. (2011) Chemical composition and microstructure of waxy plant surfaces: triterpenoids and fatty acid derivatives on leaves of Kalanchoe daigremontianaSurface and Interface Analysis 43, 326-330.

Wang, Z.; Yeats, T.; Han, H.; Jetter, R. (2010) Cloning and characterization of oxidosqualene cyclases from Kalanchoe daigremontiana: enzymes catalyzing up to ten rearrangement steps yielding friedelin and other triterpenoids. Journal of Biological Chemistry 285, 29703-29712.

Adato, A.; Mandel, T.; Mintz-Oron, S.; Venger, I.; Levy, D.; Yativ, M.; Dominguez, E.; Wang, Z.; DeVos, R.C.H.; Jetter, R.; Schreiber, L.; Heredia, A.; Rogachev, I.; Aharoni, A. (2009) Fruit-surface flavonoid accumulation in tomato is controlled by aSlMYB12-regulated transcriptional network. PLoS Genetics 5, 12.

van Maarseveen, C.; Jetter, R. (2009) Composition of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers on Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Hamet et Perr. de la Bathie)leaves. Phytochemistry 70, 899-906.

Wen, M.; Jetter, R. (2009) Composition of secondary alcohols, ketones, alkanediols and ketols in Arabidopsis thalianacuticular waxes. Journal of Experimental Botany 60, 1811-1821.

Agrawal, A.A.; Sparks, J.; Jetter, R.; Salminen, J.-P.; Goldstein, J.B.; Freitag, A.E.; Fishbein, M. (2009) Phylogenetic ecology of leaf surface traits in the milkweeds (Asclepias spp.): chemistry, ecophysiology, and insect behavior. The New Phytologist183, 848-867.

deBono, A.; Yeats, T.; Rose, J.K.C.; Bird, D.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L.; Samuels, A.L. (2009) LTPG is a glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchored lipid transfer protein required for export of lipids to the plant surface. Plant Cell 21, 1230-1238.

van Maarseveen, C.; Han, H.; Jetter, R. (2009) Development of the cuticular wax during growth of Kalanchoe daigremontiana (Hamet et Perr. de la Bathie)leaves. Plant Cell and Environment 32, 73–81.

Li, F.; Wu, X.; Lam, P.; Bird, D.; Zheng, H; Samuels, L.; Jetter, R.; Kunst L. (2008) Identification of the wax ester synthase/acyl-CoA:diacylglycerol acyltransferase WSD1 required for stem wax ester biosynthesis in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiology 148: 97-107.

Mintz-Oron, S.; Mandel, T.; Rogachev, I.; Feldberg, L.; Lotan, O.; Yativ, M.; Wang, Z.; Jetter,R.; Venger, I.; Adato, A.; Aharoni, A. (2008) Gene expression and metabolite analysis in tomato fruit surface tissues. Plant Physiology 147, 823-851.

Jetter, R.; Kunst, L. (2008) Plant surface lipid biosynthetic pathways and their utility for metabolic engineering of waxes and hydrocarbon biofuels. The Plant Journal 54, 670-683.

Samuels, L.; Kunst, L.; Jetter, R. (2008) Sealing plant surfaces: cuticular wax formation by epidermal cells. Annual Review of Plant Biology 59, 683-707.

Ji, X.; Jetter, R. (2008) Localization of very long chain alkylresorcinols in the cuticular wax of rye (Secale cereale L.) leaves.Phytochemistry 69, 1197-1207.

Yu, M.M.; Konorov, S.O.; Schulze, H.G.; Blades, M.W.; Turner, R.F.B.; Jetter, R. (2008) In situ analysis by microspectroscopy reveals triterpenoid compositional patterns within leaf cuticles of Prunus laurocerasus. Planta 227, 823–834.

Greer, S.; Wen, M.; Bird, D; Wu, X.; Samuels, L.; Kunst, L.; Jetter, R. (2007) The cytochrome P450 CYP96A15 is the mid-chain alkane hydroxylase responsible for formation of secondary alcohols and ketones in stem cuticular wax of Arabidopsis thalianaPlant Physiology 155, 653-667.

Buschhaus, C.; Herz, H.; Jetter, R. (2007) Chemical composition of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers on adaxial sides of Rosa canina Lleaves. Annals of Botany 100, 1557-1564.

Hovav, R.; Chehanovsky, N.; Moy, M.; Jetter, R.; Schaffer, A. (2007) Map-based cloning of a gene (Cwp1), silenced duringSolanum evolution, which causes cuticle microfissuring and dehydration when expressed in tomato fruit. The Plant Journal 52, 627-639.

Buschhaus, C.; Herz, H.; Jetter, R. (2007) Chemical composition of the epicuticular and intracuticular wax layers on the adaxial side of Ligustrum vulgare leaves. The New Phytologist 176, 311-316.

Wen, M.; Jetter, R. (2007) Novel very-long-chain hydroxyaldehydes from the cuticular wax of Taxus baccata needles.Phytochemistry 68, 2563-2569.

Bird, D.; Beisson, F.; Brigham, A.; Shin, J.; Greer, S.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L.; Wu, X.; Yephremov, A.; Samuels, L. (2007) Characterization of Arabidopsis WBC11/ABCG11, an ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter that is required for cuticular lipid secretion. The Plant Journal 52, 485-498.

Yu, M.M.L.; Schulze, G.; Jetter, R.; Blades, M.L.; Turner, R.F.B. (2007) Raman microspectroscopic studies of triterpenoids found in plant cuticles. Applied Spectroscopy 61, 32-37.

Riedel, M.; Eichner, A.; Meimberg, H.; Jetter, R. (2007) Chemical composition of epicuticular wax crystals on the slippery zone in pitchers of five Nepenthes species and hybrids. Planta 225, 1517-1534.

Lai, C.; Kunst, L.; Jetter, R. (2007) Composition of alkyl esters in the cuticular wax on inflorescence stems of Arabidopsis thaliana cer mutants. The Plant Journal 50, 189-196.

Rowland, O.; Zheng, H.; Hepworth, S.R.; Lam, P.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L. (2006) CER4 encodes an alcohol-forming fatty acyl-CoA reductase involved in cuticular wax production in ArabidopsisPlant Physiology 142, 866-877.

Wen, M.; Au, J.; Gniwotta, F.; Jetter, R. (2006) Novel very-long-chain secondary alcohols and alkanediols in cuticular waxes ofPisum sativum leaves. Phytochemistry 67, 2494-2502.

Wen, M.; Buschhaus, C.; Jetter, R. (2006) Nanotubules on plant surfaces: Formation and chemical composition of epicuticular wax crystals on needles of Taxus baccata L. Phytochemistry 67, 1808-1817.

Guhling, O.; Hobl, B.; Yeats, T.; Jetter, R. (2006) Cloning and characterization of a lupeol synthase involved in the synthesis of epicuticular wax crystals on stem and hypocotyl surfaces of Ricinus communisArchives of Biochemistry and Biophysics 448, 60-72.

Suh, M.C.; Samuels, A.L.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L.; Pollard, M.; Ohlrogge, J.; Beisson, F. (2005) Cuticular lipid composition, surface structure, and gene expression in Arabidopsis stem epidermis. Plant Physiology 139, 1649-1665.

Guhling, O.; Kinzler, C.; Dreyer, M.; Bringmann, G.; Jetter, R. (2005) Surface composition of myrmecophilic plants: cuticular wax and glandular trichomes on leaves of Macaranga tanarius (Euphorbiaceae). Journal of Chemical Ecology 31, 2325-2343.

Gniwotta, F.; Vogg, G.; Gartmann, V.; Carver, T.L.W.; Riederer, M.; Jetter, R. (2005) What do microbes encounter at the plant surface? Chemical composition of Pisum sativum leaf cuticular waxes. Plant Physiology 139, 519-530.

Samuels, L.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L. (2005) First steps in understanding the export of lipids to the plant cuticle. Plant Biosystems139, 65-68.

Pighin, J.A.; Zheng, H.; Balakshin, L.J.; Goodman, I.P.; Western, T.L.; Jetter, R.; Kunst, L.; Samuels, A.L. (2004) Plant cuticular lipid export requires an ABC transporter. Science 306, 702-704.

Aharoni, A.; Dixit, S.; Jetter, R.; Thoenes, E.; Van Arkel, G.; Pereira, A. (2004) The SHINE clade of AP2 domain transcription factors activate wax biosynthesis, alter cuticle properties and confer drought tolerance when overexpressed in Arabidopsis.Plant Cell 16, 2463–2480.

Vogg, G.; Fischer, S.; Leide, J.; Emmanuel, E.; Jetter, R.; Levy, A.A.; Riederer, M. (2004) Tomato fruit cuticular waxes and their effects on transpiration barrier properties: functional characterisation of a mutant deficient in a very-long-chain fatty acid b-ketoacyl-CoA synthase. Journal of Experimental Botany 55, 1401-1410.

Riedel, M.; Eichner, A.; Jetter, R. (2003) Slippery surfaces of carnivorous plants: composition of epicuticular wax crystals inNepenthes alata Blanco pitchers. Planta 218, 87-97.

Vermeer, C.P.; Nastold, P.; Jetter, R. (2003) Homologous very-long-chain 1,3-alkanediols and 3-hydroxyaldehydes in leaf cuticular waxes of Ricinus communis L. Phytochemistry 62, 433-438.