CCRC personnel


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
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center
The University of Georgia
315 Riverbend Rd.
Athens, Georgia 30602

Short Biography
Research Interests
keywords and Selected Recent Publications
All Publications

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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Keywords and Selected Recent Publications:

Keywords: Nucleotide sugar, polysaccharide biosynthesis, glycosyl transferase, Cryptococcus neoformans, capsular polysaccharides

Selected Publications:

Bar-Peled, M., E. Lewinsohn, R. Fluhr, and J. Gressel. 1991. UDP-rhamnose:flavanone-7-O-glucoside-2"- O-rhamnosyltransferase, purification and characterization of an enzyme catalyzing the production of bitter compounds in citrus. J. Biol. Chem. 266: 20953-20959.

Bar-Peled, M., R. Fluhr, and J. Gressel. 1993. Juvenile-specific localization and accumulation of a rhamnosylsferase and its bitter flavonoid in foliage, flowers, and young citrus fruits. Plant Physiol. 103: 1377-1384.

Bar-Peled, M., A.S. Conceicao, L. Frigerio, and N.V. Raikhel. 1995. Expression and regulation of aERD2, a gene encoding the KDEL receptor homolog in plants and other genes encoding proteins involved in ER-Golgi vesicular trafficking. Plant Cell 7: 667-676.

Bar-Peled, M., A.S. Conceicao, L. Frigerio, and N.V. Raikhel. 1995. Developmental and stress regulation of aERD2, gene in Arabidopsis plants. J. Cell Biochem. 19: 150.

Bar-Peled, M., D. Bassham, and N.V. Raikhel. 1996. Transport of proteins in eukaryotic cells: more questions ahead. Plant Mol. Biol. 32: 223-249.

Bar-Peled, M. and N.V. Raikhel. 1996. A method for isolation and purification of specific antibodies to a protein fused to the GST. Anal. Biochem. 241: 140-142.

Bar-Peled, M. and N.V. Raikhel. 1997. Characterization of AtSEC12 and AtSAR: proteins likely involved in ER and Golgi transport. Plant Physiol. 114: 315-324.

Bar-Peled, M., S. Ahmed, and N.V. Raikhel. 1997. Cloning and subcellular location of an Arabidopsis receptor-like protein that shares common features with protein sorting receptors of eukaryotic cells. Plant Physiol. 114: 325-336.

Bar-Peled, M. and N.V. Raikhel. 1997. An efficient method for cloning in-frame fusion protein genes. Anal. Biochem. 250: 262-264.

Bar-Peled, M., R.M. Perrin, A.E. DeRocher, W. Zeng, L. Norambuena, A. Orellana, N.V. Raikhel, and K. Keegstra. 1999. Xyloglucan fucosyltransferase, an enzyme involved in plant cell wall biosynthesis. Science 284: 1976-1979.

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

Bar-Peled, M., C.L. Griffith, and 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.

Harper, A. and 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.

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

Frydman, A., O. Weisshaus, M. Bar-Peled, D. Huhman, L.W. Sumner, F.R. Marin, E. Lewinsohn, R. Fluhr, J. Gressel, and 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.

Bar-Peled, M., C.L. Griffith, J.J. Ory, and 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.

Gu, X. and 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.

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

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

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.