Maor Bar-Peled
Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, Rm
Phone Number:  706-542-4496

Ph.D , Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel 1993

Research Projects: 

Our laboratory studies the biosynthesis of plant cell walls at the molecular, biochemical and cellular levels. During the past several years we have been working on a project related to biofuels that greatly impacts our nation's potential green energy source. In principle, the idea is to bio-convert biomass (e.g. sugars released from plant cell walls) into ethanol. The major hurdle the industry encounters is that the wall is recalcitrant and currently it is not cost effective for microbial enzymes to degrade the ‘wood’ (lingo-cellulose) into individual sugars that can be fermented to fuel.

One project involves the identification of genes involved in cell wall precursor synthesis and determines how mutations in these genes alter plants to be less recalcitrant to hydrolytic degradation. Other projects involve the development of different types of cell-based assays related to wall biosynthesis in plants and microbes.

For undergraduate research opportunities, please contact Dr. Bar-Peled (

Grant Support: 
  • U.S. Department of Energy. Biosynthesis of plant cell walls.10/01/07 – 09/30/12
  • National Science Foundation. Role of UDP-Rhamnose and UDP-Galacturonic Acid Biosynthetic Genes in Pectin Synthesis. 07/01/05 – 01/31/11.
  • Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. A Novel Lectin Controls Wound-Responses in Arabidopsis. 08/01/08 – 07/31/11.
Of Note: 
  • Faculty participant, DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center
  • NSF Panel member
  • USDA Panel member
Selected Publications: 
  • Hwang, S., Li. Z., A. Aronov and M. Bar-Peled Synthesis of UDP-2,4,6-deoxy-2- acetoamido-4-amino-galctose in Bacillus cereus 14579 2013-2014 Manuscript in preparation.
  • Li. Z., S. Hwang., J. Ericson, J., and M. Bar-Peled Bar-Peled. Metabolic pathways involved in formation of glycosylated flagella in Bacillus thuringiensis israelensis: Identification of unique dehydratazes, 4”-aminotransferase, 4”N-acetyltransferase , and hydrolase forming CMP-Pse. 2013-2014 Manuscript in preparation.
  • Martinez, V., N. Umejiego, R. Gober, and M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Analysis of secreted rhamnose-glycans in the pathogenic fungus, Cerato ulmin. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Roy, S., T. Ormes, S. Omar, K.L. Wright, X. Gu, L.S. Forsberg, R.W. Carlson, and M. Bar- Peled. 2012. Identification of two operons in Rhizobium leguminosarum 3841 encoding for genes involved in synthesis of xylose- and arabinose-containing glycans. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Cho, E., L.S. Forsberg and M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Biosynthesis of activated DHA. Mutation in DHA alters LPS structure in Sinorhizobium meliloti. Manuscript in preparation.
  • Bar-Peled, M., B. Urbanowicz, and M.A. O'Neill. 2012. The synthesis and origin of the pectic polysaccharide rhamnogalacturonan II – insights from nucleotide sugar formation and diversity. Front. Plant Sci. 3: 92. [PMID: 22639675]
  • Broach, B., X. Gu, and M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Biosynthesis of UDP-glucuronic acid and UDP galacturonic acid in Bacillus cereus subsp. cytotoxis NVH 31-98. FEBS J. 9: 100-112. [PMID: 22023070]
  • Nag, A., T.V. Karpinets, C.H. Chang, and M. Bar-Peled. 2012. Enhancing a pathway-genome database (PGDB) to capture subcellular localization of metabolites and enzymes: The nucleotide-sugar biosynthetic pathways of Populus trichocarpa. Database 2012: bas013. [PMID: 22465851]
  • Yang, T., Y. Bar-Peled, J.A. Smith, J. Glushka, and M. Bar-Peled. 2012. In-microbe formation of nucleotide sugars in engineered Escherichia coli. Anal. Biochem. 421: 691-698. [PMID: 22244806]
  • Martinez, V., M. Ingwers, J. Smith, J. Glushka, Y. Yang, and 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]
  • Yin, Y., J. Huang, X. Gu, M. Bar-Peled, and Y. Xu. 2011. Evolution of plant nucleotide-sugar interconversion enzymes. PLoS ONE 6(11): e27995. [PMID: 22125650]
  • Bar-Peled, M. and M.A. O'Neill. 2011. Plant nucleotide sugar formation, interconversion and salvage by sugar recycling. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 62: 127-155. [PMID: 21370975]
  • Gu, X., S.G. Lee, and M. Bar-Peled. 2011. Biosynthesis of UDP-xylose and UDP-arabinose in Sinorhizobium meliloti 1021: first characterization of a bacterial UDP-xylose synthase, and UDP-xylose 4-epimerase. Microbiology 157: 260-269. [PMID: 20847005]
  • Jiang, Y., T. McKinnon, J. Varatharajan, J. Glushka, J. Prestegard, A.T. Sornborger, H. Schuttler, and M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Time-resolved NMR: Extracting the topology of complex enzyme networks. Biophys. J. 99: 2318-2326. [PMID: 20923667]
  • Yang, T., M. Echols, A. Martin, and M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Identification and characterization of a strict and of a promiscuous N-acetylglucosamine-1-P uridylyltransferase in Arabidopsis. Biochem. J. 430: 275-284. [PMID: 20557289]
  • Gu, X., J. Glushka, S.G. Lee, and M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Biosynthesis of a new UDP-sugar, UDP-2-acetamido-2-deoxy-xylose, in the human pathogen Bacillus cereus subsp. cytotoxis NVH 391-98. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 24825-24833. [PMID: 20529859]
  • Yang, T. and 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]
  • Gu, X., J. Glushka, Y. Yin, Y. Xu, T. Denny, J. Smith, Y. Jiang, and M. Bar-Peled. 2010. Identification of UDP-4-keto-pentose/UDP-xylose synthase: a member of the 4,6-dehydratase and decarboxylase family in the devastating plant pathogenic bacterium Ralstonia solanacearum str. GMI1000. J. Biol. Chem. 285: 9030-9040. [PMID: 20118241]
  • Guyett, P., Glushka J., Gu X, and 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]
  • Yang, T., L. Bar-Peled, L. Gebhart, S.G. Lee, and 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]