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Tenure-Track Faculty
Maor Bar-Peled
Professor of Plant Biology and Adjunct Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Cell surface glycan synthesis in host-pathogen interactions and cell-cell communications.

Modifying plant cell wall biosynthetic pathways to enable cost-effective production of biofuels from plant biomass.

Telephone: 706-542-4496
Fax: 706-542-4412

Short Biography
Research Interests

Short Biography:
Dr. Bar-Peled received his B.S. in 1985 and his M.S. in 1988 from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He completed his Ph.D. studies in 1993 in the Department of Plant Genetics, Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. In 1992, Dr. Bar-Peled was a recipient of the Science Prize given by the Feinberg Graduate School of the Weizmann Institute of Science and, in 1993, he received an Israeli Ministry of Education Award. Prior to coming to the University of Georgia, Dr. Bar-Peled spent five years in the Department of Energy Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, as a postdoctoral fellow. Dr. Bar-Peled was also a visiting scientist in the Department of Molecular Biology at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.Full publications: 32

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Research Interests:
Research in Dr. Bar-Peled’s group aims to understand, at the molecular level, the roles of complex glycans in living organisms. We are interested in the roles of cell surface glycans in cell-cell recognition, pathogenicity, and communication between micro-organisms and their plant or animal hosts. In addition, we are investigating how the cellular processes involved in the synthesis, regulation and assembly of plant cell walls can be modified to enable new cost-effective technologies for producing biofuels from plant biomass. Our research uses biochemical, molecular and cellular and bioinformatics techniques together with plant and microbial mutants and state of the art mass spectrometry and NMR spectroscopy.

Current research programs in the Bar-Peled lab are:

The role of cell surface glycans during the life-cycle of Rhizobium. We study the molecular events that trigger this free-living soil bacterium to alter its cell surface glycan and glycolipid composition in response to changes in its environmental.

The molecular mechanisms that allow Bacillus cereus to form spores that adhere to diverse surfaces. This common soil bacterium is a difficult to control food poisoning agent.

The relationship between cell surface glycan synthesis and the interactions between fungi and their plant and animal hosts. We study how fungi adhere to and penetrate host cells and how this is related to diseases caused by fungi.

The genes and enzymes involved in the synthesis of plant cell wall glycans. We study how glycan synthesis is regulated and how these glycans are formed in the Golgi and then transported to plasma membrane where they are assembled into a functional wall. Understanding such processes at a molecular level will enable the development of bioenergy crops that can be cost-effectively converted to liquid fuels.

For Additional Research Interests click on this link

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Publications: Author's Last Name: Bar-Peled

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

J.D. Willis, J.A. Smith, M. Mazarei, J.Y. Zhang, G.B. Turner, S.R. Decker, R.W. Sykes, C.R. Poovaiah, H.L. Baxter, D.G.J. Mann, M.F. Davis, M.K. Udvardi, M.J. Pena, J. Backe, M. Bar-Peled, C.N. Stewart Jr.. 2016. Downregulation of a UDP-arabinomutase gene in Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) results in incrased cell wall lignin while reducing arabinose-glycans. Frontiers Plant Sci. 7: 1-18. PMID:27833622

V. Martinez, M. Ingwers, K.J. Smith, J. Glushka, T. Yang, M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Biosynthesis of UDP-4-keto-6-deoxyglucose and UDP-rhamnose in the pathogenic fungi Magnaporthe grisea and Botryotinia fuckeliana. J. Biol. Chem. 287: 879-892. PMID:22102281

B. Broach, X.-X. Gu, M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Biosynthesis of UDP-glucuronic acid and UDP-galacturonic acid in Bacillus cereus subsp. cytotoxis NVH 391-98. FEBS J 279: 100-112. PMID:22023070

T. Yang, Y. Bar-Peled, J.A. Smith, J. Glushka, M. Bar-Peled. 2012. In-microbe formation of nucleotide sugars in engineered E. coli. Anal Biochem 421: 691-698. PMID:22244806

A. Nag, T. Karpinets, C.H. Chang, M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Enhancing a Pathway-Genome Database (PGDB) to Capture Subcellular Localization: The Nucleogide-sugar Biosynthetic Pathways of Populus trichocarpa . J. Biol. Databases Curation bas013. Print 2012: -. PMID:22465851

M. Bar-Peled, B.R. Urbanowica, M. ONeill. 2012. The synthesis and origin of the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan ll - insights from nucleotide sugar formation and diversity. Front Plant Science 3: 92-. PMID:22639675

X.-X. Gu, L.G. Lee, M. Bar-Peled. 2011. Biosynthesis of UDP-xylose and UDP-arabinose in Sinorhizobium meliloti1021: first characterization of a bacterial UDP-xylose synthase and UDP-xylose-4-epimerase. Microbiology 157: 260-269. PMID:20847005

M. Bar-Peled, M.A. ONeill. 2011. Plant nucleotide sugar formation, interconversion and salvage by sugar recycling.. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 62: 127-155. PMID:21370975

Y. Yin, J. Huang, X. Gu, M. Bar-Peled, Y. Xu. 2011. Evolution of plant nucleotide-sugar interconversion enzymes. PLoS One 6: e27995-. PMID:22125650

X.-X. Gu, J. Glushka, Y. Yin, Y. Xu, T. Denny, J.A. Smith, Y. Jiang, M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Identification of a bifunctional UDP-4-keto-pentose/UDP-xylose synthase in the plant pathogenic bacterium, Ralstonia solanacearium str. GMI1000: a distinct member of the 4,6-dehydratase and decarboxylase family. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 9030-9040. PMID:20118241

T. Yang, M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Identification of a novel UDP-sugar pyrophosphorylase with a broad substrate specificity in Trypanosoma cruzi. Biochem. J. 429: 533-543. PMID:20482518

X. Gu, J. Glushka, S.G. Lee, M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Biosynthesis of a new UDP-sugar, UDP-2-acetamido-2deoxyxylose, in the human pathogen Bacillus cereus subspecies cytotoxi NVH 391-98. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 24825-24833. PMID:20529859

T. Yang, M. Echols, A. Martin, M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Identification and characterization of a strict and a promiscuous N-acetylglucosamine-1-P uridylyltransferase in Arabidopsis. Biochem. J. 430: 275-284. PMID:20557289

Y. Jiang, T. McKinnon, J. Varatharajan, J. Glushka, J.H. Prestegard, A.T. Somborger, H.B. Schuttler , M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Time-resolved NMR: extracting the topology of complex enzyme networks. Biophs. J. 99: 2318-2326. PMID:20923667

T. Yang, L. Bar-Peled, L. Gebhart, S.G. Lee, M. Bar-Peled. 2009. Identification of galacturonic acid-1-phosphate kinase, a new member of the GHMP kinase superfamily in plants and comparison with galactose-1-phosphate kinase. J. Biol. Chem. 284: 21526-21535. PMID:19509290

P. Guyett, J. Glushka, X.-X. Gu, M. Bar-Peled. 2009. Real-time NMR monitoring of intermediates and labile products of the bifunctional enzyme UDP-apiose/UDP-xylose synthase. Carbohydr. Res. 344: 1072-1078. PMID:19375693

X. Gu, C.J. Wages, K.E. Davis, P.J. /guyett, M. Bar-Peled. 2009. Enzymatic characterization and comparison of various poaceae UDP-GlcA-4-epimerase isoforms. Eur. J. Biochem. 146: 527-534. PMID:19564155

X. Gu, C.J. Wages, K.E. Davis, P.J. /guyett, M. Bar-Peled. 2009. Enzymatic characterization and comparison of various poaceae UDP-GlcA-4-epimerase isoforms. Eur. J. Biochem. 146: 527-534. PMID:19564155

S. Pattathil, A. Harper, M. Bar-Peled. 2005. Biosynthesis of UDP-xylose: Characterization of a membrane bound UXS2. Planta 221: 538-548. PMID:15655675

A. Frydman, O. Weisshaus, D.V. Huhman, L.W. Sumner, M. Bar-Peled, E. Lewinsohn, R. Fuhr, J. Gressel, Y. Eyal. 2005. Metabolic engineering of plant cells for biotransformation of hesperedin into neohesperidin, a subtrate for productions of the low-calorie sweetener and flavor enhancer NHDC. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53: 9708-9712. PMID:16332119

G. Watt, C. Leoff, A.D. Harper, M. Bar-Peled. 2004. A bifunctional 3,5-epimerase/4-keto reductase for nucleotide-diphospho-rhamnose synthesis in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol. 134: 1337-1346. PMID:15030319

A. Frydman, O. Weisshaus, M. Bar-Peled, D. Huhman, L.W. Sumner, F.R. Marin, E. Lewinsohn, R. Fluhr, J. Gressel, Y. Eyal. 2004. Citrus fruit bitter flavors: isolation and functional characterization of the gene Cm1,2RhaT encoding a 1,2 rhamnosyltransferase, a key enzyme in the biosynthesis of the bitter flavonoids of citrus. Plant J. 40: 88-100. PMID:15361143

M. Bar-Peled, C.L. Griffith, J.J. Ory, T.L. Doering. 2004. Biosynthesis of UDP-GlcA, a key metabolite for capsular polysaccharide synthesis in the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans. Biochem. J. 381: 131-136. PMID:15030319

X.-X. Gu, M. Bar-Peled. 2004. The biosynthesis of UDP-galacturonic acid in plants. Functional cloning and characterization of Arabidopsis UDP-D-glucuronic acid 4-epimerase. Plant Physiol. 136: 4256-4264. PMID:15563616

A. Harper, M. Bar-Peled. 2002. Biosynthesis of UDP-xylose: Cloning and characterization of a novel Arabidopsis gene family, UXS, encoding soluble and putative membrane-bound UDP-GlcA decarboxylase isoforms. Plant Physiol. 130: 2188-2198. PMID:12481102

M. Bar-Peled, C.L. Griffith, T.L. Doering. 2001. Functional cloning and characterization of a UDP-glucuronic acid decarboxylase: the pathogenic fungus Cryptococcus neoformans elucidates UDP-xylose synthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 98: 12003-12008. PMID:11593010

A. Faik, M. Bar-Peled, A.E. DeRocher, W. Zeng, R.M. Perrin, C. Wilkerson, N.V. Raikhel, K. Keegstra. 2000. Biochemical characterization and molecular cloning of an alpha-1,2-furcosyltransferase that catalyzes the last step of cell wall xyloglucan biosynthesis in pea. J. Biol. Chem. 275: 15082-15089. PMID:10747946

Book Chapters

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.

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