Dr Henry Temple

Plant Cell Walls represent the most abundant renewable source on the planet, despite this great abundance and importance only small fractions of this biomass are used by humans. Although there is an on-going interest in uses of cell walls polysaccharides, we are just starting to understand their biosynthesis in plant cells. Synthesis of polysaccharides occurs mainly through the activity of Glycosyltransferases (GTs) enzymes which transfer an activated sugar in the form of a nucleotide-sugar onto a specific growing polysaccharide acceptor.

I have great interest in the different processes that govern cell wall biosynthesis. In my Master’s and PhD thesis I worked in characterisation of Golgi localised nucleotide sugar transporters (NSTs) responsible for the incorporation of substrates used by GTs enzymes. Now I’m working in Professor Dupree’s laboratory as a Post Doctoral Research Associate on a very exciting project, where our goal is to manipulate polysaccharides synthesis by developing genetic tools expressing different GT activities (and other required activities) under tissue specific promoters and evaluate whether it’s possible to engineer polysaccharides synthesis, proportions/structures and assess what are the consequences of these changes in the extracellular matrix.