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 (“sugar coated polymers”) 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 (MS/MS) 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 and during biofilm formation.
The molecular mechanisms that allow Bacillus cereus to form spores that adhere to diverse surfaces. We also study mechanism that allow mix-community of bacteria to live together in a biofilm.
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 undergraduate research opportunities, please contact Dr. Bar-Peled (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- 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
Ph.D , Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel 1993