Jonathan Griffiths

Jonathan Griffiths

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2013

Receiving laboratory: IJPB Institut Jean-Pierre BOURGIN Versailles-Grignon, France

Country of origin : Canada




Mobility project

Analysis of cellulose biosynthesis in Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage using natural variant mutants

Cellulosic cell walls are a defining feature of all plants. Cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature and is an economically important molecule involved in paper production, biofuels and in human health.

Despite its importance, the biosynthesis of cellulose is still poorly understood. Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage has recently been used as a powerful system to investigate cellulose biosynthesis. Seed mucilage is a unique cell wall composed primarily of pectins and cellulose that are deposited in a well-defined pattern. Mucilage represents an excellent system to study cell wall biosynthesis, assembly, and rheology. A number of natura variants have been identified in the North lab that have altered degrees of cellulose in mature mucilage, and therefore likely affect cellulosebiosynthesis either directly or indirectly. These variants represent an excellent resource to further explore the function of cellulose in the cell wall and how cellulose is synthesized. This project aims to identify the the genes mutated in a population of natural variants that have altered degrees of cellulose in mature mucilage, and therefore likely affect cellulose biosynthesis either directly or indirectly.

Cellulose, pectin, cell wall, mucilage, genetics, Arabidopsis thaliana, biosynthesis.

Biography & research interests

I am interested in the genetics of plant cell wall biosynthesis and assembly. Trained as a molecular geneticist, I have a B.Sc. degree from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada in Biology and Biotechnology, a M.Sc. degree from Western University in London, Canada in Plant Sciences, and a Ph.D. from UBC in Vancouver, Canada in Botany. I have been studying cell wall biosynthesis for the last 5 years. During my Ph.D., I examined the genetic interaction between two genes that have a similar phenotypic defect in cell wall assembly. I am also interested in cellulose biosynthesis and how the different macromolecules of the plant cell wall interact in muro. Cell wall biosynthesis and assembly will continue to be my major research focus while funded by the AgreenSkills fellowship in the lab of Helen North at INRA IPJB Versailles.

Selected publications

Griffiths, J.S., Sola, K., Kushwaha, R., Lam, P., Tateno, M., Young, R., Voiniciuc, C., Dean, G., Mansfield, S. D., DeBolt, S. & Haughn, G.W. (2015). Unidirectional movement of cellulose synthase complexes in Arabidopsis seed coat epidermal cells deposit cellulose involved in mucilage adherence and ray formation. Plant Physiol. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 25926481.

Griffiths, J S, Tsai, A Y-L, Xue, H, Voiniciuc, C, Sola, K, Seifert, G J, Mansfield, S D, and G.W. Haughn. (2014) SALT-OVERLY SENSITIVE5 Mediates Arabidopsis Seed Coat Mucilage Adherence and Organization through Pectins. Plant Physiol. In press.

Voiniciuc, C, Dean, G, Griffiths, J S, Kirchsteiger, K, Hwang, Y T, Gillet, A, Dow, G, Western, T L, Estelle, M, and G W Haughn. (2013) FLYING SAUCER 1 Is a Transmembrane RING E3 Ubiquitin Ligase That Controls the Degree of Pectin Methylesterification in Arabidopsis Seed Mucilage. Plant Cell. 25: 944-959.

Esfandiari, E, Jin, Z, Abdeen, A, Griffiths, J S, Western, T L, and G W Haughn. (2013) Identification and analysis of an outer-seed-coat specific promoter from Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Mol. Biol. 81: 93-104.

Mendu, V*, Griffiths, J S*, Persson, S, Stork, J, Downie, A B, Voiniciuc, C, Haughn, G W, and S DeBolt. (2011) Subfunctionalization of cellulose synthases in seed coat epidermal cells mediates secondary radial wall synthesis and mucilage attachment. Plant Physiol. 157:441-453.  *Co-first author.

Stork, J, Harris, D, Griffiths, J, Williams, B, Beisson, F, Li-Beisson, Y, Mendu, V, Haughn, G, and S Debolt. (2010) CELLULOSE SYNTHASE9 serves a non-redundant role in secondary cell wall synthesis in Arabidopsis epidermal testa cells. Plant Physiol. 153:580-589.

Babu, M, Griffiths, J S, Huang, T-S, and A Wang. (2008) Altered gene expression changes in Arabidopsis leaf tissues and protoplasts in response to Plum pox virus infection. BMC Genomics, 9:325.

Raghupathy, M B, Griffiths, J S, Stobbs, L W, Brandle, J E, Brown, D C W, and A Wang.  (2006) Transfection of Arabidopsis Protoplasts with a Plum Pox Virus (PPV) Infectious Clone for Studying Early Molecular Events Associated with PPV infection.  J Virol Methods 136: 147-153.

Awards & patents

2014                            2014 Pan-American Congress on Plants and BioEnergy Travel Grant.

2009 – 2012                Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Post Graduate Scholarship D, University of British Columbia.

2008 – 2012                UBC Four Year Fellowship.

2005 – 2007                Western Graduate Research Scholarship, University of Western Ontario.

2007                            Graduate student travel award, University of Western Ontario.

2005                            Research Affiliate Program Award, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.

2004             Dean’s Honor List, Carleton University.



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