Nicolás Manosalva

PhD student

Enhancing the translation of functional traits in plants using an integrative network-based approach (BOF project)


  1. Gryffroy, L., Ceulemans, E., Manosalva Pérez, N., Venegas Molina, J. J., Jaramillo, A., Rodrigues, S. D., … Goossens, A. (2023). Rhizogenic agrobacterium protein RolB interacts with the TOPLESS repressor proteins to reprogram plant immunity and development. PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 120(3).
    Rhizogenic Agrobacterium strains comprise biotrophic pathogens that cause hairy root disease (HRD) on hydroponically grown Solanaceae and Cucurbitaceae crops, besides being widely explored agents for the creation of hairy root cultures for the sustainable production of plant-specialized metabolites. Hairy root formation is mediated through the expression of genes encoded on the T-DNA of the root-inducing (Ri) plasmid, of which several, including root oncogenic locus B (rolB), play a major role in hairy root development. Despite decades of research, the exact molecular function of the proteins encoded by the rol genes remains enigmatic. Here, by means of TurboID-mediated proximity labeling in tomato (Solanum lycopersicum) hairy roots, we identified the repressor proteins TOPLESS (TPL) and Novel Interactor of JAZ (NINJA) as direct interactors of RolB. Although these interactions allow RolB to act as a transcriptional repressor, our data hint at another in planta function of the RolB oncoprotein. Hence, by a series of plant bioassays, transcriptomic and DNA-binding site enrichment analyses, we conclude that RolB can mitigate the TPL functioning so that it leads to a specific and partial reprogramming of phytohormone signaling, immunity, growth, and developmental processes. Our data support a model in which RolB manipulates host transcription, at least in part, through interaction with TPL, to facilitate hairy root development. Thereby, we provide important mechanistic insights into this renowned oncoprotein in HRD.
  2. Castro-Mondragon, J. A., Riudavets-Puig, R., Rauluseviciute, I., Berhanu Lemma, R., Turchi, L., Blanc-Mathieu, R., … Mathelier, A. (2022). JASPAR 2022 : the 9th release of the open-access database of transcription factor binding profiles. NUCLEIC ACIDS RESEARCH, 50(D1), D165–D173.
    JASPAR ( is an open-access database containing manually curated, non-redundant transcription factor (TF) binding profiles for TFs across six taxonomic groups. In this 9th release, we expanded the CORE collection with 341 new profiles (148 for plants, 101 for vertebrates, 85 for urochordates, and 7 for insects), which corresponds to a 19% expansion over the previous release. We added 298 new profiles to the Unvalidated collection when no orthogonal evidence was found in the literature. All the profiles were clustered to provide familial binding profiles for each taxonomic group. Moreover, we revised the structural classification of DNA binding domains to consider plant-specific TFs. This release introduces word clouds to represent the scientific knowledge associated with each TF. We updated the genome tracks of TFBSs predicted with JASPAR profiles in eight organisms; the human and mouse TFBS predictions can be visualized as native tracks in the UCSC Genome Browser. Finally, we provide a new tool to perform JASPAR TFBS enrichment analysis in user-provided genomic regions. All the data is accessible through the JASPAR website, its associated RESTful API, the R/Bioconductor data package, and a new Python package, pyJASPAR, that facilitates serverless access to the data.
  3. Ferrari, C., Manosalva Pérez, N., & Vandepoele, K. (2022). MINI-EX : integrative inference of single-cell gene regulatory networks in plants. MOLECULAR PLANT, 15(11), 1807–1824.
    Multicellular organisms, such as plants, are characterized by highly specialized and tightly regulated cell populations, establishing specific morphological structures and executing distinct functions. Gene regulatory networks (GRNs) describe condition-specific interactions of transcription factors (TFs) regulating the expression of target genes, underpinning these specific functions. As efficient and validated methods to identify cell-type-specific GRNs from single-cell data in plants are lacking, limiting our understanding of the organization of specific cell types in both model species and crops, we developed MINI-EX (Motif-Informed Network Inference based on single-cell EXpression data), an integrative approach to infer cell-type-specific networks in plants. MINI-EX uses single-cell transcriptomic data to define expression-based networks and integrates TF motif information to filter the inferred regulons, resulting in networks with increased accuracy. Next, regulons are assigned to different cell types, leveraging cell-specific expression, and candidate regulators are prioritized using network centrality measures, functional annotations, and expression specificity. This embedded prioritization strategy offers a unique and efficient means to unravel signaling cascades in specific cell types controlling a biological process of interest. We demonstrate the stability of MINI-EX toward input data sets with low number of cells and its robustness toward missing data, and show that it infers state-of-the-art networks with a better performance compared with other related single-cell network tools. MINI-EX successfully identifies key regulators controlling root development in Arabidopsis and rice, leaf development in Arabidopsis, and ear development in maize, enhancing our understanding of cell-type-specific regulation and unraveling the roles of different regulators controlling the development of specific cell types in plants.
  4. Ding, P., Sakai, T., Shrestha, R. K., Manosalva Pérez, N., Guo, W., Ngou, B. P. M., … Jones, J. D. G. (2021). Chromatin accessibility landscapes activated by cell-surface and intracellular immune receptors. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BOTANY, 72(22), 7927–7941.
    Activation of cell-surface and intracellular receptor-mediated immunity results in rapid transcriptional reprogramming that underpins disease resistance. However, the mechanisms by which co-activation of both immune systems lead to transcriptional changes are not clear. Here, we combine RNA-seq and ATAC-seq to define changes in gene expression and chromatin accessibility. Activation of cell-surface or intracellular receptor-mediated immunity, or both, increases chromatin accessibility at induced defence genes. Analysis of ATAC-seq and RNA-seq data combined with publicly available information on transcription factor DNA-binding motifs enabled comparison of individual gene regulatory networks activated by cell-surface or intracellular receptor-mediated immunity, or by both. These results and analyses reveal overlapping and conserved transcriptional regulatory mechanisms between the two immune systems.