Roy J. Carver Department of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology > Olga Zabotina

Olga Zabotina

Associate Professor
Plant Cell Wall Structure
Polysaccharide Biosynthesis, Modification and Degradation
Bioactive Carbohydrates

3212 Molecular Biology Building
Dept. of Biochemistry, Biophysics & Molecular Biology
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011
Phone: (515) 294-6125

M.S., Chemistry, Kazan State University, Russia, 1982
Ph.D., Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, Institute of Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 1987



Research Interests

Cell wall is unique plant extracellular compartment which is involved in multiple cellular functions. In plants, cell walls control growth and morphogenesis, determine cell-to-cell interactions and resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. In human life, cell walls are valuable raw material for various industrial applications: wood, paper, fuel, textile, construction material, food and feed production, nutritional supplements and pharmacological agents. All these make cell wall components highly important as the source of our needs. Polysaccharides (pectin, hemicelluloses and cellulose) are the major structural components of cell walls. Therefore, knowledge about synthesis, metabolism and degradation of structural polysaccharides is a fundamental problem in improving of plant development and resistance to the environment and biomass production and its quality for industrial use.

My lab currently pursuing three major research projects in the area of carbohydrate biochemistry and molecular biology: 1) study of hemicellulose (xylan and xyloglucan) biosynthesis, 2) extraction and purification of bioactive oligosaccharides liberated during polysaccharide metabolism and their functional characterization, 3) plant modification directed toward improvements of biomass for cellulosic ethanol production.

These projects involve multiple problems and strategies: 1) analytical analysis of carbohydrate structures, 2) reverse and forward genetic strategies in identification of enzymes involved in polysaccharide biosynthesis, 3) biochemical characterization of enzymatic activities, 4) functional characterization of bioactive oligosaccharides using proteomic, genetic and biochemical approaches, 5) genetic modification of the plants using the genes involved in biosynthesis or biodegradation of cell wall polysaccharides.


Selected Publications

1: Wang T, Salazar A, Zabotina OA, Hong M. Structure and dynamics of Brachypodium
primary cell wall polysaccharides from two-dimensional (13)C solid-state nuclear
magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Biochemistry. 2014 May 6;53(17):2840-54. doi:
10.1021/bi500231b. Epub 2014 Apr 22. PubMed PMID: 24720372.

2: Pogorelko G, Lionetti V, Bellincampi D, Zabotina O. Cell wall integrity:
targeted post-synthetic modifications to reveal its role in plant growth and
defense against pathogens. Plant Signal Behav. 2013 Sep;8(9). pii: e25435. doi:
10.4161/psb.25435. Epub 2013 Jun 20. Review. PubMed PMID: 23857352; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC4002593.

3: Pogorelko G, Lionetti V, Fursova O, Sundaram RM, Qi M, Whitham SA, Bogdanove
AJ, Bellincampi D, Zabotina OA. Arabidopsis and Brachypodium distachyon
transgenic plants expressing Aspergillus nidulans acetylesterases have decreased
degree of polysaccharide acetylation and increased resistance to pathogens. Plant
Physiol. 2013 May;162(1):9-23. doi: 10.1104/pp.113.214460. Epub 2013 Mar 5.
PubMed PMID: 23463782; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3641233.

4: Wang T, Zabotina O, Hong M. Pectin-cellulose interactions in the Arabidopsis
primary cell wall from two-dimensional magic-angle-spinning solid-state nuclear
magnetic resonance. Biochemistry. 2012 Dec 11;51(49):9846-56. doi:
10.1021/bi3015532. Epub 2012 Nov 29. PubMed PMID: 23167456.

5: Dick-Perez M, Wang T, Salazar A, Zabotina OA, Hong M. Multidimensional
solid-state NMR studies of the structure and dynamics of pectic polysaccharides
in uniformly 13C-labeled Arabidopsis primary cell walls. Magn Reson Chem. 2012
Aug;50(8):539-50. doi: 10.1002/mrc.3836. Epub 2012 Jul 8. PubMed PMID: 22777793.

6: Zabotina OA. Xyloglucan and its biosynthesis. Front Plant Sci. 2012 Jun
25;3:134. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2012.00134. eCollection 2012. PubMed PMID: 22737157;
PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3382260.

7: Zabotina OA, Avci U, Cavalier D, Pattathil S, Chou YH, Eberhard S, Danhof L,
Keegstra K, Hahn MG. Mutations in multiple XXT genes of Arabidopsis reveal the
complexity of xyloglucan biosynthesis. Plant Physiol. 2012 Aug;159(4):1367-84.
doi: 10.1104/pp.112.198119. Epub 2012 Jun 13. PubMed PMID: 22696020; PubMed
Central PMCID: PMC3425184.

8: Chou YH, Pogorelko G, Zabotina OA. Xyloglucan xylosyltransferases XXT1, XXT2,
and XXT5 and the glucan synthase CSLC4 form Golgi-localized multiprotein
complexes. Plant Physiol. 2012 Aug;159(4):1355-66. doi: 10.1104/pp.112.199356.
Epub 2012 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 22665445; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3425183.

9: Fursova O, Pogorelko G, Zabotina OA. An efficient method for transient gene
expression in monocots applied to modify the Brachypodium distachyon cell wall.
Ann Bot. 2012 Jul;110(1):47-56. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcs103. Epub 2012 May 14. PubMed
PMID: 22589326; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3380599.

10: Brenner EA, Salazar AM, Zabotina OA, Lübberstedt T. Characterization of
European forage maize lines for stover composition and associations with
polymorphisms within O-methyltransferase genes. Plant Sci. 2012
Apr;185-186:281-7. doi: 10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.11.016. Epub 2011 Dec 6. PubMed
PMID: 22325891.

11: Pogorelko G, Fursova O, Lin M, Pyle E, Jass J, Zabotina OA. Post-synthetic
modification of plant cell walls by expression of microbial hydrolases in the
apoplast. Plant Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;77(4-5):433-45. doi:
10.1007/s11103-011-9822-9. Epub 2011 Sep 11. PubMed PMID: 21910026.

12: Dick-Pérez M, Zhang Y, Hayes J, Salazar A, Zabotina OA, Hong M. Structure and
interactions of plant cell-wall polysaccharides by two- and three-dimensional
magic-angle-spinning solid-state NMR. Biochemistry. 2011 Feb 15;50(6):989-1000.
doi: 10.1021/bi101795q. Epub 2011 Jan 20. PubMed PMID: 21204530.

13: Pandey AK, Yang C, Zhang C, Graham MA, Horstman HD, Lee Y, Zabotina OA, Hill
JH, Pedley KF, Whitham SA. Functional analysis of the Asian soybean rust
resistance pathway mediated by Rpp2. Mol Plant Microbe Interact. 2011
Feb;24(2):194-206. doi: 10.1094/MPMI-08-10-0187. PubMed PMID: 20977308.

14: Zabotina O, Malm E, Drakakaki G, Bulone V, Raikhel N. Identification and
preliminary characterization of a new chemical affecting glucosyltransferase
activities involved in plant cell wall biosynthesis. Mol Plant. 2008
Nov;1(6):977-89. doi: 10.1093/mp/ssn055. Epub 2008 Oct 14. PubMed PMID: 19825597.

15: Zabotin AI, Barisheva TS, Trofimova OI, Toroschina TE, Larskaya IA, Zabotina
OA. Oligosaccharin and ABA synergistically affect the acquisition of freezing
tolerance in winter wheat. Plant Physiol Biochem. 2009 Sep;47(9):854-8. doi:
10.1016/j.plaphy.2009.04.004. Epub 2009 May 6. PubMed PMID: 19467881.

16: Zabotina OA, van de Ven WT, Freshour G, Drakakaki G, Cavalier D, Mouille G,
Hahn MG, Keegstra K, Raikhel NV. Arabidopsis XXT5 gene encodes a putative
alpha-1,6-xylosyltransferase that is involved in xyloglucan biosynthesis. Plant
J. 2008 Oct;56(1):101-15. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-313X.2008.03580.x. Epub 2008 Jun
28. Erratum in: Plant J. 2009 Jan;57(2):386. PubMed PMID: 18557833.

17: Cavalier DM, Lerouxel O, Neumetzler L, Yamauchi K, Reinecke A, Freshour G,
Zabotina OA, Hahn MG, Burgert I, Pauly M, Raikhel NV, Keegstra K. Disrupting two
Arabidopsis thaliana xylosyltransferase genes results in plants deficient in
xyloglucan, a major primary cell wall component. Plant Cell. 2008
Jun;20(6):1519-37. doi: 10.1105/tpc.108.059873. Epub 2008 Jun 10. PubMed PMID:
18544630; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2483363.

18: Drakakaki G, Zabotina O, Delgado I, Robert S, Keegstra K, Raikhel N.
Arabidopsis reversibly glycosylated polypeptides 1 and 2 are essential for pollen
development. Plant Physiol. 2006 Dec;142(4):1480-92. Epub 2006 Oct 27. PubMed
PMID: 17071651; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1676068.

19: Spadoni S, Zabotina O, Di Matteo A, Mikkelsen JD, Cervone F, De Lorenzo G,
Mattei B, Bellincampi D. Polygalacturonase-inhibiting protein interacts with
pectin through a binding site formed by four clustered residues of arginine and
lysine. Plant Physiol. 2006 Jun;141(2):557-64. Epub 2006 Apr 28. PubMed PMID:
16648220; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC1475430.

20: Capodicasa C, Vairo D, Zabotina O, McCartney L, Caprari C, Mattei B,
Manfredini C, Aracri B, Benen J, Knox JP, De Lorenzo G, Cervone F. Targeted
modification of homogalacturonan by transgenic expression of a fungal
polygalacturonase alters plant growth. Plant Physiol. 2004 Jul;135(3):1294-304.
Epub 2004 Jul 9. PubMed PMID: 15247378; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC519048.