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, Identification and Characterization of Glycosyltransferases Involved in the Synthesis of the Side Chains of the Cell  Wall Pectic Polysaccharide Rhamnogalacturonan-II
  • U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation, Rhamno-glycoprotein in Botrytis cinerea:  Biosynthesis and Role in Plant Interactions
  • U.S. Department of Energy, BioEnergy Science Center (BESC) II, Biosynthesis of plant cell walls
Of Note: 
  • Faculty participant, DOE-funded BioEnergy Science Center
  • NSF Panel member
  • USDA Panel member
Recent Publications: 
  • Li P, Li Z, Beck WD, Callahan PM, Terry AV Jr, Bar-Peled M, Bartlett MG. 2015 Bio-generation of stable isotope-labeled internal standards for absolute and relative quantitation of phase II drug metabolites in plasma samples using LC-MS/MS. Anal Bioanal Chem. 2015 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 25804729.
  • Li, Z., S. Hwang, J. Ericson, K. Bowler, and M. Bar-Peled.  2015.  Pen and Pal are nucleotide-sugar-dehydratases that convert UDP-GlcNAc to UDP-6-deoxy-D-GlcNAc-5,6-ene and then to UDP-4-keto-6-deoxy-L-AltNAc for CMP-pseudaminic acid synthesis in Bacillus thuringiensis.  J. Biol. Chem. 290: 691-704.
  • Hwang, S., Z. Li, Y. Bar-Peled, A. Aronov, J. Ericson, and M. Bar-Peled.  2014.  The biosynthesis of UDP-D-FucNAc-4N-(2)-oxoglutarate (UDP-Yelosamine) in Bacillus cereus ATCC 14579: Pat and Pyl, an aminotransferase and an ATP-dependent Grasp protein that ligates 2-oxoglutarate to UDP-4-amino-sugars.  J. Biol. Chem. 289: 35620-35632.
  • 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.  Frontiers Plant Sci. 3: 92.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.  J. Bacteriol. 157: 260-269.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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.