Glycans densely cover the surface of all life forms. Polysaccharide-rich cell walls enable plants to thrive in a remarkable range of environments and are the most abundance source of renewable materials on Earth. Although they are essential for the health and energy needs of our civilization, carbohydrate polymers remain challenging to make and modify compared to other classes of molecules such as proteins. To uncover the genetic blueprints for plant glycans, Dr. Cătălin Voiniciuc and the Designer Glycans team apply innovative synthetic biology tools in several model systems.
New microtubule-associated protein for cellulose biosynthesis (Article#25 & 1000 citations milestone)
In collaboration with Katharina Bürstenbinder’s team at IPB Halle, we used reverse genetics to characterize IQ67 DOMAIN 9 (IQD9) and KINESIN LIGHT CHAIN-RELATED 1 (KLCR1) as two microtubule (MT) associated proteins that guide cellulose…
Student and Postdoctoral Positions to Join the Designer Glycans Lab in Florida
Although carbohydrate polymers are essential for our health, energy and materials needs, the metabolic pathways related to these complex molecules have been challenging to study in plants (Voiniciuc, 2022; https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.18091).…
SynBio talks at the Plant Biology 2022 Worldwide Summit | July 9-13, 2022
The first concurrent session of ASPB Plant Biology 2022 meeting on “Living Factories for Plant-Based Products” will be chaired by Catalin Voiniciuc and feature a diverse panel of speakers, contributing…
Live on bioRxiv: how IQD, KLCR and TRM proteins guide cellulose distribution via microtubules
In our new pre-print, we explore two outstanding questions that have been challenging to address in plant cells: What proteins control the microtubule cytoskeleton and how do they function together…
The mission of the Designer Glycans group is to gain fundamental knowledge into plant glycan function, synthesis, and modification. Mechanistic insights in these areas, coupled with advances in synthetic biology, will enable the assembly of sugar units into tailor-made polysaccharides with desirable agricultural or industrial properties.
The Designer Glycans lab uses several approaches (natural variation, reverse genetics and synthetic biology) to discover enzymes and chemical mediators that establish and modulate cellulose-hemicellulose networks in plants. We primarily focus on heteromannan, an ancient class of hemicellulose that is found throughout the plant kingdom. Polymers built of β-1,4-linked mannose units are particularly abundant in algae, legumes, and conifers. From ice cream to cosmetics, many products contain legume-extracted galactomannans as stabilizers.