What is the purpose of the WallBioNet web site? What does it contain?

Our goal in creating this web site is to provide a centralized resource that provides useful and relevant information to researchers studying various aspects of plant cell wall biosynthesis. We hope to provide unique information and/or unique combinations of information as well as providing links to ther relevant web sites. We eventually plan to provide information in several categories that are listed below. Implementation of all categories cannot be accomplished immediately, so the list below is in approximate priority that will translate into approximate sequence of information tables being created. The rate of completion of the tables will be dependent upon community support in providing information to the web site curators. Finally, the list and the content of each category will change in response to user needs.

1. A directory of network members including their research interests and contact information. This component of the web site will be important in allowing members of the WallBioNet to communicate with each other.

2. Information about genes and cDNA clones encoding putative wall biosynthetic proteins. The explosion of DNA sequence data has produced a wealth of information regarding genes that may be involved in wall biosynthesis and assembly. Some existing web sites already contain useful summaries of gene information and we will link to these sites. Among the categories of genes that will be covered are those encoding: glycan synthases, glycosyltransferases, sugar nucleotide biosynthetic enzymes, sugar nucleotide transporters, and wall-localized enzymes involved in polysaccharide rearrangements. Suggestions for other categories of genes that should be covered are welcome.

3. Information about mutants with defects in wall components and knockout lines containing disruptions of cell wall biosynthetic genes. Genetics and reverse genetics have already made significant impacts on our understanding of wall biosynthesis and assembly. The impact of these approaches will increase in the future. We propose to create a directory of biosynthetic mutants that lead to defects in wall components. Where possible, this will be connected to specific literature citations and to information on where seeds for the mutants can be obtained. We will encourage network members to include unpublished information about mutants that they are willing to make available even before publication. The same strategy will be used for listing knockout mutants created by screening for disruptions in genes known to be or suspected of being involved in wall biosynthesis and assembly.

4. Information about antibodies to wall components and to proteins involved in wall biosynthesis. We plan to examine the literature and poll network members to locate antibodies that are useful in studying wall biosynthesis. These include antibodies directed against epitopes on cell wall polysaccharides as well as antibodies directed against proteins involved in wall biosynthesis and assembly. We plan to create a list of available antibodies, along with contact information on where the antibodies can be obtained. In some cases, it may be desirable to arrange for commercial firms to produce and distribute selected antibodies.

5. Information about sugar nucleotide donors and their availability. Current models for the nucleotide-sugar biosynthetic pathways will be presented with information on availability of each sugar nucleotide. For donor substrates that are not commercially available, efforts will be made to provide them via the substrate coordinator.

6. Information about oligo/polysaccharides acceptors and their availability. Information on oligosaccharide and polysaccharide acceptors for glycosyltransferases will be listed along with relevant literature citations. Selected acceptors will be made available to WallBioNet participants on a limited basis via the substrate coordinator.

7. Techniques and resources available for product analysis. In dealing with enzymes that synthesize complex carbohydrates, one important aspect of enzyme assays is evaluating the structure of the product that is formed following incorporation of label from radiolabeled substrates. Several members of the network have extensive experience in such techniques. Lists of techniques and resources that can be used by network members with less experience will be provided, including the CCRC which provides analytical services (for a fee).

8. Expression data regarding wall biosynthetic genes. We plan to create summaries of EST expression profiles and of publicly available microarray data and post it on the web site. We will not be a repository for primary data, but will encourage network members to make available their plans for microarray experiments examining expression of wall biosynthetic genes and, when feasible, to provide links to data from past microarray experiments. In this way, we hope to foster collaborations that will prevent overlap and competition.

9. Information about the structure of cell wall components, especially polysaccharides and glycoproteins. A long-range goal will be to make wall glycoprotein and polysaccharide structure easily available through the WallBioNet web site. This will be done in part by listing references that describe wall primary structure and by linking to web sites that give wall structure.

10. A listing of relevant literature citations. We expect that the categories listed above will include references to the relevant literature. In addition, each network member could annotate their description of research interests in the directory with a selection of relevant publications. We expect to collect all of these literature citations into an annotated bibliography that will be a useful starting point for literature searches on any topic relevant to cell wall biosynthesis.