Yves Verhertbruggen

Yves Verhertbruggen

AgreenSkills session, year: 2nd session, 2013

Receiving laboratory: Biopolymers Interactions Assemblies Unit, Nantes, France

Country of origin : Belgium




Mobility project

The biochemical and physiological function of mannan and CELLULOSE SYNTHASE LIKE D2 protein in Triticum endosperm

As a valuable source of energy, plant cell walls are extensively used as raw material for food and more recently biofuel industries. Although the structure of cell wall polysaccharides is nowadays relatively well-documented, little is known about their biosynthesis. Recently, at INRA-Nantes, France, Suliman et al. (2013)[1] have isolated Golgi-enriched fractions from wheat endosperm and detected in these fractions the presence of 64 putative glycosyltransferases (GTs). The research proposed here aims to determine in wheat the function of one of these GTs that belongs to the Cellulose Synthase-Like D family. To date, the exact activity of the CSLD proteins remains unclear as, in Arabidopsis thaliana, divergent studies have reported that the CSLD proteins act in the (1→4)-β-D-glucan[2] and the mannan (Verhertbruggen et al. (2011))[3] synthesis. In wheat endosperm, the host group has detected the presence of a single CSLD protein, CSLD2. In addition to gaining knowledge on wheat cell wall biosynthesis, defining the role of CSLD2 in wheat endosperm might clarify the activity present in the CSLD family. Collaborators from Rothamsted Research have produced RNA interference (RNAi) transformants in wheat, targeting CSLD2. The candidate, Yves Verhertbruggen, will carry out the characterization of cell wall polysaccharides in wild type and in CSLD2 RNAi wheat grains using advanced techniques developed at INRA Nantes such as enzymatic fingerprinting, FT-IR microspectroscopy, MALDI-MS imagery and immunocytochemistry. This project will indicate which polymer(s) is or are affected by silencing the CSLD2 gene and will give information on the physiological function of CSLD2. Based on the results obtained from the characterization of the RNAi transformant, biochemical assays using tobacco cells and Pichia pastoris both expressing the wheat CSLD2 will be performed to test the possible glycosyltransferase activity of CSLD2. Moreover, during this work, a particular attention will be brought to the physico-chemical properties of mannan, the potential product resulting from the CSLD2 activity and whose structure still needs to be determined.


[1] Suliman, M., Chateigner-Boutin, A.L., Francin-Allami, M., Partier, A., Bouchet, B., Salse, J., Pont, C., Marion, J., Rogniaux, H., Tessier, D., Guillon, F., Larré, C. (2013) Identification of glycosyltransferases involved in cell wall synthesis of wheat endosperm. Journal of Proteomics 78,  508-521.

[2] Park, S., Szumlanski, A.L., Gu, F., Guo, F., Nielsen, E. (2011) A role for CSLD3 during cell wall synthesis in apical plasma membranes of tip-growing root hair cells. Nature Cell Biology 13,  973-980.

[3] Verhertbruggen, Y., Yin, L., Oikawa, A., Manisseri, C., Knierim, B., Prak, L., Jensen, J.K., Knox, J.P., Auer, M., Willats, W.G.T., Scheller, H.V. (2011) The cooperative activities of CSLD2, CSLD3, and CSLD5 are required for normal arabidopsis development. Molecular Plant 4,  1024-1037.

Biography & research interests

I have been working on plant cell walls since 2004 and have a strong expertise in plant glycobiology, biochemistry, microscopy and imaging techniques.

2005 – 2009: PhD in biological sciences, University of Leeds, UK.

2009 – 2013: Post-doctoral researcher at the Joint BioEnergy Institute, a U.S. governmental laboratory dedicated to research on biofuel production.

2014 – 2018: Post-doctoral Marie Curie fellow (COFUND AgreenSkills and Individual Fellowship) at INRA Nantes, France.

About my research: see selected publications or see http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yves_Verhertbruggen).

Selected publications


  1. Verhertbruggen Y, Walker JL, Bouchet B, Guillon F, Scheller HV (2017) A comparative study of methods of embedding and sectioning for plant cell wall immunomicroscopy. Frontiers in Plant Science 8, 1505
  1. Buffetto F, Cornuault V, Rydahl MG, Ropartz D, Alvarado C, Echasserieau V, Le Gall S, Bouchet B, Tranquet O, Verhertbruggen Y, Willats WGT, Knox JP, Ralet M-C, Guillon F (2015) The deconstruction of pectic rhamnogalacturonan I unmasks the occurrence of a novel arabinogalactan oligosaccharide epitope. Plant Cell and Physiology 56, 2181-2196
  1. Verhertbruggen Y, Marcus SE, Chen J, Knox JP (2013) Cell wall pectic arabinans influence the mechanical properties of Arabidopsis thaliana inflorescence stems and their response to mechanical stress. Plant Cell and Physiology 54, 1278-1288
  1. Verhertbruggen Y*, Yin L*, Oikawa A, Manisseri C, Knierim B, Prak L, Jensen JK, Knox JP, Auer M, Willats WGT, Scheller HV (2011) The cooperative activities of CSLD2, CSLD3, and CSLD5 are required for normal arabidopsis development. Molecular Plant 4, 1024-1037
  2. * these authors contributed equally to the work
  1. Verhertbruggen Y, Marcus SE, Haeger A, Ordaz-Ortiz JJ, Knox JP (2009) An extended set of monoclonal antibodies to pectic homogalacturonan. Carbohydrate Research 344, 1858-1862
Awards & patents


1. Marie Curie Fellowship WALLNET RTN FP6

2. Marie Curie Fellowship AgreenSkills COFUND FP7

3. Marie Curie Individual Fellowship H2020


2012 Director’s Award for Exceptional Scientific Achievement (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA, USA)

Image cover of plant journals and book (i.e.:Plant Cell and Physiology (Vol. 54, issue 8, Aug. 2013); Analytical Chemistry (Vol. 82, number 22, Nov. 2010); Proteomic Applications in Biology, Heazlewood JL and Petzold CL (eds.) Intech 2012; …)



Website(s): http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Yves_Verhertbruggen | http://scholar.google.be/citations?user=bMEFQLoAAAAJ&hl=en | http://www.angers-nantes.inra.fr/en