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Jonathan Griffiths

Jonathan Griffiths

session, year:
2013 2nd

Former fellow

Receiving laboratory:
UMR IJPB Institut Jean Pierre Bourgin, Versailles

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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 7 years. During my Ph.D., I examined the genetic interaction between two genes that have a similar phenotypic defect in cell wall assembly, and demonstrated that they act through independent pathways. 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 was my major research focus while funded by the AgreenSkills fellowship in the lab of Helen North at INRA IPJB Versailles. I continued my work on two pathways involved in cellulose biosynthesis in Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage. I am currently a research scientist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Vineland, ON, Canada. I am studying plant viruses to understand disease and to develop plants resistant to virus infection.

Selected publications

Griffiths JS, North HM. 2017. Sticking to cellulose: exploiting Arabidopsis seed coat mucilage to understand cellulose biosynthesis and cell wall polysaccharide interactions. New Phytologist, 214, 959-966.

Griffiths JS, Crepeau M-J, Ralet M-J, Seifert GJ, & HM North. 2016. Dissecting seed mucilage adherence mediated by FEI2 and SOS5. Front. Plant Sci., 7,1073. Doi: 10.3389/fpls.2016.01073.

Griffiths JS, Sola K, Kushwaha R, Lam P, Tateno M, Young R, Voiniciuc C, Dean G, Mansfield SD, DeBolt S, & GW Haughn. 2015. Unidirectional movement of cellulose synthase complexes in Arabidopsis seed coat epidermal cells deposit cellulose involved in mucilage adherence and ray formation. Plant Physiol., 168, 502-520.

Griffiths JS, Tsai AY, Xue H, Voiniciuc C, Sola K, Seifert GJ, Mansfield SD, & GW Haughn. 2014. SALT-OVERLY SENSITIVE5 Mediates Arabidopsis Seed Coat Mucilage Adherence and Organization through Pectins. Plant Physiol., 165, 991-1004.

Voiniciuc C, Dean G, Griffiths JS, Kirchsteiger K, Hwang YT, Gillet A, Dow G, Western TL, Estelle M, & GW 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.

Awards & patents

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.



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