What is WallBioNet?

The Plant Cell Wall Biosynthesis Research Network (WallBioNet) is a project supported by the research coordination network program of the US National Science Foundation. The long-term goal of WallBioNet is to encourage cooperation among researchers from diverse disciplines as they strive to identify wall biosynthetic genes, to understand how the multiple enzymes interact during cell wall biosynthesis, to understand how biosynthetic processes are regulated to achieve proper wall deposition, and to define the roles of the cell wall in plant growth, development and defense.

To achieve this overall goal of WallBioNet, five specific objectives are being pursued. They are:
(1) Create and maintain a web site to serve as an information center and a resource for researchers studying plant cell wall biosynthesis.
(2) Coordinate and partially support the acquisition of donor and acceptor substrates for plant cell wall biosynthetic enzymes.

(3) Develop a mechanism for the exchange of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers between laboratories that use different techniques to study plant cell wall biosynthesis.
(4) Organize and provide partial support for small workshop-symposia on wall biosynthesis research.
(5) Establish a group that will suggest nomenclature rules for the naming of authentic plant cell wall biosynthetic genes and mutants.

The WallBioNet web site will be coordinated and managed by Kenneth Keegstra at the MSU-DOE Plant Research Laboratory, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. Keegstra is the PI of the NSF grant that supports the WallBioNet.

The production and distribution of donor and acceptor substrates will be coordinated and managed by Debra Mohnen, from the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA. Mohnen is the Co-PI of the NSF grant.

Decisions regarding the operation of WallBioNet, including determining the content and format of the WallBioNet web site, the allocation of funds, nomination of a nomenclature committee, and organization of the WallBioNet workshop-symposia will be made by a Steering Committee whose members represent diverse areas of cell wall biosynthesis. In addition to Keegstra and Mohnen, Steering Committee members are:

Daniel Cosgrove, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA (reorganization of the wall matrix by expansins)
Deborah Delmer, University of California, Davis, CA (cellulose biosynthesis)
Chris Somerville, Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford, CA (genetic and genomic approaches)
Mary Tierney, University of Vermont, Burlington, VT (biosynthesis of wall structural proteins).