New publication on wheat mannan

A collaborative study of mannan polysaccharide production in wheat (Triticum aestivum) is now published in the journal Plant Science. Wheat-like polymers that normally accumulate in the developing endosperm of the grain were produced in two heterologous hosts by the expression of a single enzyme, TaCSLA12. Additional mannan-related genes were identified in the wheat endosperm but were not essential for making the polysaccharides in yeast. Moreover, a wheat-like mannan production in a glucomannan-deficient Arabidopsis thaliana triple mutant (csla2 csla3 csla9) did not alter the plant morphology.

Congratulations to our colleagues at INRAE (Nantes, France; who led the study), the Joint BioEnergy Institute (Berkeley, California), Rothamsted Research (UK), and Heinrich Heine University (Düsseldorf, Germany; where our experimental work was conducted).


Fig. 2 from the study. Subcellular localization of enzymes that may be involved in mannan production. (Source:

Fig. 3 from the study. Quantification of beta-mannan production in yeast cells after plant enzyme expression. (Source:

Our first preprint: the importance of seed mucilage polymers

Discover our latest findings on the roles of different cell wall polymers in shaping the surface properties of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds and how structural changes modulate salt tolerance.

October 2020 – update

Review of orthogonal hosts to study cell wall synthesis

We published a review article in Plants (, part of a special issue on “Plant Cell Wall Biology”. In close collaboration with multiple colleagues from Düsseldorf, we assessed the suitability of more than ten orthogonal hosts for synthetic biology and to study plant cell wall biosynthesis.

In particular, we focused on the key advantages and limitations of several bacterial, fungal and animal systems for the heterologous expression of plant glycosyltransferases to reconstruct polymers. We also analyzed the glycosidic linkages of native polymers from promising orthogonal hosts and discuss how they might impact the heterologous production of various plant polysaccharides.

Synthetic biology strategy to study cell wall biosynthesis. Reproduced from Pauly et al., 2019


Pauly M, Gawenda NWagner C, Fischbach P, Ramírez V, Axmann IM, Voiniciuc C* (2019) The Suitability of Orthogonal Hosts to Study Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis. Plants 8516