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Plant Cell Walls
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Signal Transduction in Plants

Debra Mohnen
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Biosynthesis and biological functions of pectin

Telephone: 706-542-4458
Fax: 706-542-4412

Short Biography
Research Interests
Lab-personal web site


Short Biography:
Dr. Mohnen received her B.A. (magna cum laude) in biology in 1979 from Lawrence University (Wisconsin), and her M.S. in botany in 1981 and Ph.D. in plant biology in 1985 from the University of Illinois. Her Ph.D. research was conducted at the Friedrich Mischer Institute in Basel, Switzerland. She held postdoctoral research associate positions at the USDA's Richard Russell Research Center, and at the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center (CCRC) in Athens, GA and won an NIH National Research Service Award for her postdoctoral research during 1987-89 at the CCRC. She was appointed to the CCRC faculty in September 1990 where she is presently Professor in the Department of Biochemisty and Molecular Biology and also adjunct faculty member in the Department of Plant Biology and member of the Plant Center at UGA. She served from 1994-97 on the Committee on the Status of Women in Plant Physiology of the American Society of Plant Physiologists, as invited faculty sponsor for the UGA Association for Women in Science (AWIS) from 2005-2007 and as past member-at-large in the Cellulose and Renewable Materials Division of the American Chemical Society. As Co-PI on the NSF-funded “Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis Research Network” Dr. Mohnen established the originally NSF-funded service “CarboSource Services”, that provides rare substrates for plant wall polysaccharide synthesis to the research community. Her research centers on the biosynthesis, function and structure of plant cell wall polysaccharides. Her emphasis is on the biosynthesis of pectin, pectin function in plants and human health, and on the improvement of plant cell wall structure so as to improve the efficiency of conversion of plant wall biomass to biofuels. Dr. Mohnen was awarded the 2008 Bruce Stone Award by the Plant Polysaccharide Workshop for contributions and promising research in the area of Pectin Biosynthesis. She is Chair of the 2009 Plant Cell Walls Gordon Research Conference. Dr. Mohnen is Activity Lead in Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis Research in the DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center (BESC). Her research is supported by funding from the USDA, NSF and DOE.

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Research Interests:
Reseach Interest

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Publications: Author's Last Name: Mohnen

Journal Articles
Book Chapters are listed at the bottom of this page.

A.K. Biswal, Z. Hao, S. Pattathil, X. Yang, K. Winkeler, C. Collins, S.S. Mohanty, E.A. Richardson, I. Gelineo-Albersheim, K. Hunt, D. Ryno, R.W. Sykes, G.B. Turner, A. Ziebell, E. Gjersing, W. Lukowitz, M.F. Davis, S.R. Decker, M.G. Hahn, D. Mohnen. 2015. Downregulation of GAUT12 in Populus deltoides by RNA silencing results in reduced recalcitrance, increased growth and reduced xylan and pectin in a woody biofuel feedstock. Biotechnology for Biofuels 8: 41-.

AK Biswal, Z Hao, S Pattathil, X Yang, K Winkeler, C Collins, SS Mohanty, EA Richardson, I Gelineo-Albersheim, K Hunt, D Ryno, RW Sykes, GB Turner, A Ziebell, E Gjersing, W Lukowitz, MF Davis, SR Decker, MG Hahn, D Mohnen. 2015. Down-regulation of GAUT12 in Populus deltoids by RNA silencing results in reduced recalcitrance and increased growth in a woody biofuel feedstock. Biotecnol. Biofuels 8: 41-. PMID:25802552

Z. Hao, U. Avci, L. Tan, X. Zhu, J. Glushka, S. Pattathil, S. Eberhard, T Sholes, GE Rothstein, W Lukowitz, R. Orlando, MG Hahn, D. Mohnen. 2014. Loss of Arabidopsis GAUT12/IRX8 causes anther indehiscence and leads to reduced G lignin associated with altered matrix polysaccharide deposition. Frontiers in Plant Science 5: 357-.

Z Hao, D Mohnen. 2014. A review of xylan and lignin biosynthesis: Foundation for studying Arabidopsis irregular xylem mutants with pleioropic phenotypes. Crit Rev Biochem Mol Biol 49(3): 212-241. PMID:24564339

D Chung, S Pattathil, AK Biswal, MG Hahn, D Mohnen, J Westpheling. 2014. Deletion of a gene cluster encoding pectin degrading enzymes in Caldicellulosiruptor bescii revelas an important role for pectin in a plant biomass recalcitrance. Biotechnol. Biofuels 7(1): 147-. PMID:25324897

L. Tan, S. Eberhard, S. Pattathil, C. Warder, J. Glushka, C. Yuan, Z. Hao, X. Zhu, U. Avci, J.S. Miller, D. Baldwin, C. Pham, R. Orlando, A. Darvill, M.G. Hahn, M. Kieliszewski, D. Mohnen. 2013. An Arabidopsis cell wall proteoglycan consists of pectin and arabinoxylan covalently linked to an arabinogalactan protein. DOI 10.1105/tpc.112.107334. Plant Cell 25(1): 270-287.

M.A. Atmodjo, Z. Hao, D. Mohnen. 2013. Evolving views of pectin biosynthesis. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 64: 747-779. PMID:23451775

I. Kataeva, M. Forston, S.-J. Yang, S. Pattathil, A.K. Biswal, F.L. Poole II, T.P. Thomas, P. Azadi, V. Olman, D.L. Lewis, C. Doeppke, T. Tschaplinsky, M. Davis, D. Mohnen, Y. Xu, A. Ragauskas, R.M. Kelly, M.G. Hahn, M.W.W. Adams. 2013. Extremely thermophilic bacteria exploit high temperature to deconstruct untreated plant biomass. Energy Environ. Sci. 6: 2186-2195.

Y. Kong, G.K. Zhou, A.A. Abdeen, J. Schafhauser, B. Richardson, M.A. Atmodjo, J. Jung, L. Wicker, D. Mohnen, T.L. western, M.G. Hahn. 2013. GALACTURONOSYLTRANSFERASE-LIKE5 is involved in the production of Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage. 2013 163(3): 1203-1217. PMID:24092888

L Tan, S Eberhard, S Pattathil, C Warder, J Glushka, C Yuan, Z Hao, X Zhu, U Avci, JS Miller, D Baldwin, C Pham, R Orlando, A Darvill, MG Hahn, M Kielszewski, D Mohnen. 2013. An Arabidopsis cell wall proteoglycan consists of pectin and arabinoxylan covalently linked to an arbinogalactan protein. Plant Cell 25(1): 270-287. PMID:23371948

Z Hao, D Mohnen. 2013. Xylan and lignin biosynthesis: insights from Arabidopsis irregular xylem mutants. Critical reviews in Biochemistry and Molecular Biolo (submitted): -.

D. Mohnen, M. Tierney. 2011. Plants get Hyp to O-glycosylation. (Invited perspective). Science 332: 1393-1394. PMID:21680834

M.A. Atmodjo, Y. Sakuragi, X. Zhu, J.A. Burrell, S.S. Mohanty, J.A. Atwood III, R. Orlando, H.V. Scheller, D. Mohnen. 2011. GAUT1:GAUT7 are the core of a plant cell wall pectin biosynthetic homogalacturonan:galacturonosyltransferase complex. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108: 20225-20230. PMID:22135470

Y. Yin, H. Chen, M.G. Hahn, D. Mohnen, Y. Xu. 2010. Evolution and function of the plant cell wall synthesis-related glycosyltransferase family 8. Plant Physiol. 153: 1729-1746. PMID:20522722

K.H. Caffall, S. Pattathil, S.E. Phillips, M.G. Hahn, D. Mohnen. 2009. Arabidopsis thaliana T-DNA mutants implicate GAUT genes in the biosynthesis of pectin and xylan in cell walls and seed testa. Molecular Plant 2: 1000-1014. PMID:19825675

K.H. Caffall, D. Mohnen. 2009. The structure, function, and biosynthesis of plant cell wall pectic polysaccharides. Carbohydr. Res. 344: 1879-1900. PMID:19616198

D. Mohnen. 2008. Pectin structure and synthesis. Curr. Opin. Plant Biology 11: 266-277. PMID:18486536

S. Persson, K.H. Caffall, G. Freshour, M.T. Hilley, S. Bauer, P. Poindexter, M.G. Hahn, D. Mohnen, C. Somerville. 2007. The Arabidopsis irregular xylem8 mutant is deficient in glucuronoxylan and homogalacturonan, which are essential for secondary cell wall integrity. Plant Cell 19: 237-255. PMID:17237350

C.L. Jackson, T.M. Dreaden, L.K. Theobld, N.M. Tran, T.L. Beal, M. Eid, M.Y. Gao, R.B. Shirely, M.T. Stoffel, M.V. Kumar, D. Mohnen. 2007. Pectin induces apoptosis in human prostate cancer cells: correlation of apoptotic function with pectin structure. Glycobiology 17: 805-819. PMID:17513886

J.D. Sterling, M.A. Atmodjo, S.E. Inwood, V.S.K. Kolli, H.F. Quigley, M.G. Hahn, D. Mohnen. 2006. Functional identification of an Arabidopsis pectin biosynthetic homogalacturonan galacturonosyltransferase. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 103: 5236-5241. PMID:16540543

J. Sterling, J.A. Lemons, I.F. Forkner, D. Mohnen. 2005. Development of a filter assay for measuring homogalacturonan:a-(1,4)-galacturonosyltransferase activity. Anal. Biochem. 343: 231-236. PMID:16005842

F. Guillaumie, J.D. Sterling, K.J. Jensen, O.R.T. Thomas, D. Mohnen. 2003. Solid-supported enzymatic synthesis of pectic oligogalacturonides and their analysis by MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry. Carbohydr. Res. 338: 1951-1960. PMID:14499571

B.L. Ridley, M.A. O'Neill, D. Mohnen. 2001. Pectins: structure, biosynthesis, and oligogalacturonide-related signaling. Phytochemistry 57: 929-967. PMID:11423142

J. Sterling, H.F. Quigley, A. Orellana, D. Mohnen. 2001. The catalytic site of the pectin biosynthetic enzyme α-1,4-galacturonosyltransferase (GalAT) is located in the lumen of the Golgi. Plant Physiol. 127: 360-371. PMID:11553763

H.V. Scheller, R.L. Doong, B.L. Ridley, D. Mohnen. 1999. Pectin biosynthesis: a solubilized a1,4-galacturonosyltransferase from tobacco catalyzes the transfer of galacturonic acid from UDP-galacturonic acid onto the non-reducing end of homogalacturonan. Planta 207: 512-517.

G. DeWitt, J. Richards, D. Mohnen, A.M. Jones. 1999. Comparative compositional analysis of walls with two different morphologies: Archetypical versus transfer cell-like. Protoplasma 209: 238-245.

F. Goubet, D. Mohnen. 1999. Solubilization and characterization of homogalacturonan-methyltransferase from tobacco cell suspensions. Plant Physiol. 121: 281-290. PMID:10482684

F. Goubet, D. Mohnen. 1999. Subcellular localization and topology of homogalacturonan methyltransferase in suspension-cultured Nicotiana tabacum cells. Planta 209: 112-117. PMID:10467037

A. Orellana, D. Mohnen. 1999. Enzymatic synthesis and purification of [3H]uridine diphosphate galacturonic acid and [3H]uridine diphosphate glucuronic acid for use in studying Golgi-localized transporters. Anal. Biochem. 272: 224-231. PMID:10415092

R.L. Doong, D. Mohnen. 1998. Solubilization and characterization of a galacturonosyl-transferase that synthesizes the pectic polysaccharide homogalacturonan. Plant J. 13: 363-374.

F. Goubet, L.N. Council, D. Mohnen. 1998. Identification and partial characterization of the pectin methyltransferase "homogalacturonan-methyltransferase" from membranes of tobacco cell suspensions. Plant Physiol. 116: 337-347.

M.D. Spiro, B.L. Ridley, S. Eberhard, K.A. Kates, Y. Mathieu, M.A. O'Neill, D. Mohnen, J. Guern, A. Darvill, P. Albersheim. 1998. Biological activity in tobacco tissue cultures of reducing end-derivatized oligogalacturonides. Plant Physiol. 116: 1289-1298. PMID:9536045

B.L. Ridley, M.D. Spiro, J. Glushka, P. Albersheim, A. Darvill, D. Mohnen. 1997. A method for biotin labeling of biologically active oligogalacturonides using a chemically stable hydrazide linkage. Anal. Biochem. 249: 10-19. PMID:9193702

R.L. Doong, K. Liljebjelke, G. Fralish, A. Kumar, D. Mohnen. 1995. Cell free synthesis of pectin: identification and partial characterization of polygalacturonate 4-α-galacturonosyltransferase and its products from membrane extracts of tobacco cell suspension cultures. Plant Physiol. 109: 141-152. PMID:12228586

K. Liljebjelke, R. Adolphson, K. Baker, R.L. Doong, D. Mohnen. 1995. Enzymatic synthesis and purification of uridine diphosphate [14C]galacturonic acid: a substrate for pectin biosynthesis. Anal. Biochem. 225: 296-304. PMID:7762795

D. Mohnen, M.G. Hahn. 1993. Cell wall carbohydrates as signals in plants. Sem. Cell Biol. 4: 93-102.

P. Albersheim, C. Augur, J.-J. Cheong, S. Eberhard, M.G. Hahn, V. Marfa, D. Mohnen, M.A. O'Neill, M.D. Spiro, W.S. York, A. Darvill. 1992. Oligosaccharins -- oligosaccharide regulatory molecules. Accts. Chem. Res. 25: 77-83.

A. Darvill, C. Augur, C. Bergmann, R.W. Carlson, J.-J. Cheong, S. Eberhard, M.G. Hahn, V.-M. Lo, V. Marfa, B. Meyer, D. Mohnen, M.A. O'Neill, M.D. Spiro, H. van Halbeek, W.S. York, P. Albersheim. 1992. Oligosaccharins - oligosaccharides that regulate growth, development and defense reponses in plants. Glycobiology 2: 181-198.

V. Marfa, D.J. Gollin, S. Eberhard, D. Mohnen, A. Darvill, P. Albersheim. 1991. Oligogalacturonides are able to induce flowers to form on tobacco explants. Plant J. 1: 217-225.

D. Mohnen, S. Eberhard, V. Marfa, N. Doubrava, P. Toubart, D. Gollin, T. Gruber, W. Nuri, P. Albersheim, A. Darvill. 1990. Control of root, vegetative shoot, and flower organogenesis in tobacco thin-cell-layer morphogenesis. Development 108: 191-201.

S. Eberhard, N. Doubrava, V. , D. Mohnen, A. Southwick, A. Darvill, P. Albersheim. 1989. Pectic cell wall fragments regulate tobacco thin-cell-layer explant morphogenesis. Plant Cell 1: 747-755.

S. Hideaki, D. Mohnen, F. Meins. 1987. Regulation of a plant pathogenesis-related enzyme: inhibition of chitinase and chitinase mRNA accumulation in cultured tobacco tissues by auxin and cytokinin. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 84: 89-93.

D. Mohnen, H. Shinshi, G. Felix, F. Meins. 1985. Hormonal regulation of b-1,3-glucanase messenger RNA levels in cultured tobacco tissues. EMBO J. 4: 1631-1635.

Book Chapters

D Mohnen, MA Atmodjo. 2014. Plant cell wall: structure and biosynthesis. In: Glycobiology: The discovery of glycan function and its fundamental application, The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection . Henry Steward Talks Ltd, London.

Y. Yin, D. Mohnen, I. Gelineo-Albersheim, Y. Xu, M.G. Hahn. 2011. Glycosyltransferases of the GT8 Family. In: Plant Polysaccharides, Annual Plant Reviews (P.Ulvskov, ed.), Vol.41:167-205. Blackwell Publications, Chichester, UK.

D. Mohnen, M. Bar-Peled, C.R. Somerville. 2008. Biosynthesis of plant cell walls. In: Biomass Recalcitrance (M. Himmel, ed.). Chapter 5, pp. 94-187. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford.

M.E. Etzler, D. Mohnen. 2007. Green Plants. In: Essentials of Glycobiology, Chapter 22, 2nd edition (A. Varki, R. Cummings, J. Esko, H. Freeze, P. Stanley, C. Bertozzi, G. Hart, and M. Etzler, eds.) . Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.

D. Mohnen. 2002. Biosynthesis of pectins. In: Pectins: Structure, Function and Manipulation (G.B. Seymour, J.P. Knox eds.), pp. 52-98. Blackwell Publishing.

D. Mohnen. 1999. Biosynthesis of pectins and galactomannans. In: Comprehensive Natural Products Chemistry- Carbohydrates and Their Derivatives Including Tannins, Cellulose, and Related Lignins, Vol. 3 (B.M. Pinto, ed; Sir D.H.R. Barton, O. Meth-Cohn, series editors) . Oxford: Elsevier.

D. Mohnen, R.L. Doong, K. Liljebjelke, G. Fralish, J. Chan. 1996. Cell free synthesis of the pectic polysaccharide homogalacturonan. In: Pectins and Pectinases: Proceedings of an International Symposium, Wageningen, The Netherlands, December 3-7, 1995 (J. Visser, and A.G.J. Voragen, eds.), pp. 109-126. Elsevier Science, Amsterdam.

D. Mohnen. 1994. Novel experimental systems for determining cellular competence and determination. In: Biology of Adventitious Root Formation (T.D. Davis and B.E. Haissig, eds.), Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Adventitious Root Formation., pp. 87-98. Plenum Publishing.

C.L. Bassett, T.A. Gruber, E. Rigsby, D. Mohnen. 1990. Isolation of genes expressed during evocation in shoot tips of morning glory seedlings. In: British Society for Plant Growth Regulation, Monograph 20-1990, Mechanisms of Plant Perceptions Response to Environmental Stimulus, pp. 27-42.

A.G. Darvill, P. Albersheim, P. Bucheli, S. Doares, N. Doubrava, S. Eberhard, D.J. Gollin, M.G. Hahn, V. Marfa-Riera, W.S. York, D. Mohnen. 1989. Oligosaccharins - plant regulatory molecules. In: Molecular Signals in Microbe-Plant Symbiotic and Pathogenic Systems, NATO/ASI Series, Vol. H36 (B.J.J. Lugtenberg, ed.), pp. 41-48. Spring-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg.

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