Prof. Aviah Zilberstein

ביולוגיה מול.ואקול.צמחים אמריטוס
Prof. Aviah Zilberstein
Phone: 03-6407410
Fax: 03-6406859
Office: Britannia-Porter, 630


1979 Ph.D - Plant molecular biology Tel Aviv University.

1980-1983 Postdoc Fellow Yeast and bacterial molecular genetics, The Weizmann Inst. of Science.

1985 to 1994 (summers) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne Visiting Scientist

1991 (summer) University of Chicago, Chicago Visiting Scientist

1999 (sabbatical) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne Visiting Scientist

2001-2002 (summers) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne Visiting Scientist

2002 (summer) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne Visiting Scientist

2005 (sabbatical) Max-Planck Institute, Cologne Visiting Scientist



Academic & Professional Experience:
1974-1979       Tel-Aviv University, Dept. of Botany - Assistant

1980-1983       The Weizmann Inst., Biochemistry Dept. - Postdoc

1984-1987       Tel-Aviv University, Dept. of Botany - Lecturer

1988-1997       Tel-Aviv University, Dept. of Botany - Senior Lecturer

1998-2010       Tel-Aviv University, Dept. of Pl. Sciences - Associate Professor

2011- to date  Tel-Aviv University, Dept. of Mol. Biol. and Ecology of Plants - Professor


Research Interests

Plant biotechnology and molecular genetics, environmental stresses.  Specific topics include:

  • Signal transduction pathways induced by different stresses in plants
  • Generating plants with improved tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses.
  • Transcription factors mediating amino acid biosynthesis.
  • Correlations between proline cycle, proline-rich-proteins and stress.
  • The Bt delta endotoxin Cry1C in insect resistant plants and its interaction with specific membrane lipid rafts and receptors.     
  • Desert plants as renewable energy resources.

Recent Publications

M. Flaishman, Z. Eyal, A. Zilberstein, C. Voisard and D. Haas (1996) Suppression of Septoria tritici blotch and leaf rust of wheat by recombinant cyanide producing strains of Pseudomonas putida BK8661. Mol. Plant-Microbe Interact. 9: 642-645.


M. Keller, B. Sneh, N. Strizhov, E. Prudovsky, A. Regev, C. Koncz, J. Schell and A. Zilberstein (1996) Digestion of delta-endotoxin by midgut proteases may explain reduced sensitivity of advanced instar larvae of Spodoptera littoralis to CryIC. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 26: 365-373.


T. Halperin, S. Shuster, S. Pnini-Cohen, A. Zilberstein and Z. Eyal (1996) The suppression of pycnidial production on wheat seedlings following sequential inoculations by isolates of Septoria tritici. Phytopathology 86: 728-732.


A. Regev, M. Keller, N. Strizhov, B. Sneh, E. Prudovsky, I. Chet, E. Ginzberg, Zs. Koncz-Kalman, C. Koncz, J. Schell, and A. Zilberstein (1996) Synergistic larvicidal activity of delta-endotoxin and bacterial endochitinase against Spodoptera littoralis larvae. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 62: 3581-3586.


N. Strizhov, M. Keller, Z. Koncz-Kalman, A. Regev, B. Sneh, J. Schell, C. Koncz and A. Zilberstein (1996) Mapping of the entomocidal fragment of Spodoptera-specific Bacillus thuringiensis toxin CryIC. Mol. Gen. Genet. 253: 11-19.


N. Strizhov, M. Keller, J. Mathur, Z. Koncz-Kalman, D. Bosch, E. Prudovsky, J. Schell, B. Sneh, C. Koncz and A. Zilberstein (1996) A synthetic cryIC gene encoding a Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxin, confers Spodoptera resistance in alfalfa and tobacco. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 93: 15012-15017.


N. Strizhov, E. Abraham, L. Okresz, S. Blickling, A. Zilberstein, J. Schell, C. Koncz and L. Szabados (1997) Differential expression of two P5CS genes controlling proline accumulation during salt-stress is regulated by ABA1, ABI1, and AXR2 in Arabidopsis. Plant J. 12: 557-569.


S. Pnini-Cohen, S. Ezrati, A. Zilberstein, S. Schuster and Z. Eyal (1997) The suppression of pycnidial production on wheat seedlings following inoculation with mixtures of Septoria tritici isolates. Proc. of The Mediterranean Phytopathological Union, pp. 597-601.


H. Eilenberg, U. Hanania and A. Zilberstein (1998) Characterization of rbcS genes in the fern Pteris vittata and their regulation by red and blue light. Planta 206: 204-214.


I. Ginzberg, H. Stein, Y. Kapulnik, L. Szabados, N. Strizhov, J. Schell, C. Koncz and A. Zilberstein (1998) Characterization of two different cDNAs of delta1-pyrroline-5- carboxylate synthase in alfalfa and their rapid increase in transcription as a response to salt-stress. Plant Mol. Biol. 38: 755-764.


S. Pnini-Cohen, A. Zilberstein, S. Schuster, A. Sharon and Z. Eyal (2000) Elucidation of Septoria tritici x wheat interactions using GUS expressing isolates. Phytopathology 90: 297-304.


J. Gressel and A. Zilberstein (2003) Let them eat (GM) straw. Trends in Biotech. 21: 525-530.


E. Zuther, S. Huang, J. Jelenska, H. Eilenberg, A.M. Arnold, X. Su, A. Sirikhachornkit, J. Podkowinski, A. Zilberstein, R. Haselkorn and P. Gornicki (2004) Complex nested promoters control tissue-specific expression of acethyl-CoA carboxylase genes in wheat. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101: 1403-1408.


D. Avisar, M. Keller, E. Gazit, E. Prudovsky, B. Sneh, and A. Zilberstein (2004) The role of Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1C and Cry1E separate structural domains in the interaction with Spodoptera littoralis gut epithelial cells. J. Biol. Chem. 279: 15779-15786.


D. Avisar, M. Segal, B. Sneh and A. Zilberstein (2005) Cell cycle dependent resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1C toxin in Sf9 cells . J. Cell Science 118: 3163-71.


G. Miller, H. Stein, A. Honing, Y. Kapulnik and A. Zilberstein (2005) Responsive modes of Medicago sativa proline dehydrogenase genes during salt stress and recovery dictate free proline accumulation. Planta 222: 70-79.


H. Eilenberg, S. Pnini-Cohen, S. Schuster, A. Movtchan, H. Shoshan and A.Zilberstein (2006) Isolation and characterization of chitinases from pitchers of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana. J. Exp. Bot. 57: 2775-2784.


H. Eilenberg and A. Zilberstein (2008) Carnivorous Pitcher Plants Towards Understanding the Molecular Basis of Prey Digestion. In: Floriculture, Ornamental and Plant Biotechnology: Advances and Topical Issues. Teixeira da Silva JA (Ed) Global Science Books, London, UK.


D. Avisar,  H. Eilenberg, M. Keller, N. Reznik, M. Segal, B. Sneh, A. Zilberstein (2009) The Bacillus thuringiensis delta-endotoxin Cry1C as a potential bioinsecticide in         plants. Plant Sci. 176: 315- 324.


G. Miller, A. Honig, H. Stein, N. Suzuki, R. Mittler, A. Zilberstein. (2009) Unraveling delta1-pyrroline-5-carboxylate-proline cycle in plants by uncoupled expression of proline oxidation enzymes. J. Biol. Chem. 284: 26482-92.


V. Dermatsev, C. Weingarten-Baror, N. Resnick, V. Gadkar, S. Wininger, I. Kolotilin, E. Mayzlish-Gati, A. Zilberstein, H. Koltai, Y. Kapulnik. (2010)  Microarray analysis     and functional tests suggest the involvement of expansins in the early stages of symbiosis of the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus intraradices on tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).Mol Plant Pathol. 11: 121-35.


H. Eilenberg, S. Pnini-Cohen, Y. Rahamim, E. Sionov, E. Segal, S. Carmeli, A. Zilberstein. (2010) Induced production of antifungal naphthoquinones in the pitchers of the carnivorous plant Nepenthes khasiana. J. Exp. Bot. 61: 911-922.      


S. Ufaz, V. Shukla, Y. Soloveichik, Y. Golan, F. Breuer, Zs. Koncz, G. Galili C. Koncz, A. Zilberstein .(2011)Transcriptional control of aspartate kinase expression during darkness and  sugar depletion in Arabidopsis: of bZIP transcription factors. Planta 233: 1025-1040.    


H.  Stein, A. Honig, G. Miller, O. Erster, H. Eilenberg, L. N. Csonka, L. Szabados, C. Koncz, A. Zilberstein . (2011) Elevation of free proline and proline-rich protein levels by simultaneous manipulations of proline biosynthesis and degradation in plants. Plant Science 181: 140-150.


 L. Szabados, H. Kovacs, A. Zilberstein, A. Bouchereau.(2011) Plants in extreme environments: Importance of protective compounds in stress tolerance. Advances in Botanical Research 57: 105-150.

A. Eshel, I. Oren, C. Alekparov, T. Eilam, A. Zilberstein. Biomass production by desert halophytes:   alleviating the   pressure on the scarce resources of arable soil and fresh water. Eurp J Plant Science and  Biochem  5(2): 48-53.


C. Servet, L. Richard, T. Ghelis, A. Zilberstein, A. Savouré . (2012) Proline dehydrogenase:  a key enzyme in controlling cellular homeostasis. Front Biosci. 17: 607- 620.  


A.F. Tiburcio, B. Wollenweber, A. Zilberstein, C. Koncz. (2012)  Abiotic stress tolerance.  Plant Sci. 182: 1-2.       


Y. Brotman, U. Landau, S. Pnini, J. Lisec, S. Balazadeh, B. Mueller-Roeber, A.  Zilberstein, L. Willmitzer, I. Chet, A.Viterbo. (2012) The LysM Receptor-Like Kinase LysM RLK1 is required to activate defense and abiotic-stress responses induced by   overexpression of fungal chitinases in Arabidopsis plants. Mol. Plant  doi: 10.1093 (in press).




N. Strizhov, J. Schell, A. Zilberstein, M. Keller, B. Sneh and C. Koncz. (2000). Synthetic Bacillus thuringiensis Cry1C gene encoding insect toxin. USA Patent No.3
6043415, March 28, 2000. (Ramot of Tel Aviv University, Israel and Max-Planck Institute, Koln, Germany).


H. Stein, A. Zilberstein, G. Miller and Y. Kapulnik (2000). Plants tolerant of environmental stress conditions. PCT-USA09/490,454, 2000. (Ramot of Tel Aviv University, Israel).


A. Zilberstein, H. Eilenberg, S. Schuster (2001) Chitinases derived from carnivorous plants. PCT-USA 60/261834 (Ramot of Tel Aviv University, Israel).


H. Stein, A. Zilberstein, G. Miller (2003) Method of identifying organisms having a mutated signal transduction pathway. PCT-USA 60/437,985 (Ramot of Tel Aviv University, Israel).


Tel Aviv University, P.O. Box 39040, Tel Aviv 6997801, Israel
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