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Ahmed Faik

Dr. Ahmed Faik, portrait
Associate Professor
Porter 512

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Ph.D., University Joseph Fourier, Grenoble, France, 1993


  • Plant Biochemistry
  • Functional Genomics

The Faik Lab

One of the most important differences between plant and animal cells is that plant cells have an extracellular structure called the cell wall that surrounds the protoplast. For plants, cell wall controls growth, morphogenesis, and interactions with the environment. For humans, cell wall polysaccharides and proteoglycans are important raw materials in the wood, paper, textile, fuel, and food industries. Thus, a good understanding of the biosynthesis of these macromolecules is a crucial step to improve plant development and production as a sustained source for our needs. My laboratory aims to investigate two aspects of cell wall biology using Arabidopsis and wheat as models, and using a multi-disciplinary approach that includes genomic, biochemical, and proteomic strategies.

One of the central issues in plant biology is how plant cell wall polysaccharides and proteoglycans are synthesized, transported, and then integrated into the cell wall. Less than 10 percent of the enzymes involved in these processes are identified. Therefore, our goal is to identify the genes involved and dissect their regulation at the molecular level.

The other area of research focuses on elucidating the importance of the cross talk between the cell wall and the plasma membrane. This interaction can be crucial regulatory events for important physiological processes. Fasciclin-like arabinogalactan-proteins (FLA-like AGPs) are thought to be involved in such interaction. Using bioinformatics approach, we identified and cloned several FLA-like AGP candidates in wheat and rice genomes and functional analysis is under way.

Faculty Research Focus Area: Plant Cell Wall Biotechnology

Current and Recent Research Projects

  • Functional genomics of glycosyltransferases and synthases involved in polysaccharides biosynthesis in Arabidopsis and wheat.
  • Functional analysis of fasciclin-like AGPs in wheat.
  • Role of the walls in abiotic stress (temperature, salt,...).


  • PBIO 114 (Foundations of Plant Biology)
  • PBIO 210 (Plant Physiology)
  • PBIO 424/524 (Advanced Plant Physiology)
  • PBIO 431/531 (Cell Biology)
  • MCB 730 (Bioinformatics)
  • PBIO 301/501 (LabCaMPP)

Departmental Service

  • Analytical Lab, faculty mentor
  • Evaluation Committee
  • MCB Graduate Committee Representative
  • Safety Committee (Chair)
  • Student Advisory Committee (Chair)
  • Curriculum committee
  • Awards Ceremony Committee
  • Library Liaison

Selected References

Y. Liang, S. Pattathil, D. Basu, W-L Xu, A. Venetos, S.L. Martin, A. Faik, M.G. Hahn, A.M. Showalter (2013) Biochemical and physiological characterization of fut4 and fut6 mutants defective in arabinogalactan-protein fucosylation in Arabidopsis. J. Exp. Bot. (in press)

A. Faik, Nan Jiang, Michael Held (2013) Xylan biosynthesis in plants, simply complex. In: Carpita NC, Buckeridge MS, McCann MC (Eds) Plants and Bioenergy. Springer, New York (in press)

A. Faik (2013) “Plant Cell Wall Structure-Pretreatment” the Critical Relationship in Biomass Conversion to Fermentable Sugars. Chapter 1 In: Green Biomass Pretreatment for Biofuels Production. Tingyue Gu (Ed.), Springer Berlin-New York, pp 1-30. (DOI:10.1007/978-94-007-6052-3) (ISBN 978-94-007-6051-6)

D. Basu, Y. Liang, X. Liu, K. Himmeldirk, A. Faik, M. Kieliszewski, M. Held, A.M. Showalter (2013) Functional Identification of a Hydroxyproline-O-galactosyltransferase Specific for Arabinogalactan Protein Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. J. Biol. Chem. 288: 10132-10143

T. Gu, M.A. Held, A. Faik (2013) Supercritical CO2 and Ionic Liquids for the Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass in Bioethanol Production. Environmental Technology (DOI:10.1080/09593330.2013.809777)

A Faik (2012) Assessment of Proteomics Strategies for Plant Cell Wall Glycosyltransferases in Wheat, a Non-Model Species: Glucurono(Arabino)Xylan as a Case Study. Ch 7 In: Proteomic Applications in Biology, J.L. Heazlewood and C.J. Petzold, (Subject editors): Tsz-Kwong Man, Ricardo J. Flores (Eds.) pp143-166 (ISBN: 978-953-307-613-3), InTech.

N. Narayanaswamy, A. Faik, D.J. Goetz and T. Gu (2011) Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Pretreatment of Corn Stover and Switchgrass for Lignocellulosic Ethanol Production. Bioresource Technology, 102: 6995-7000

A. Faik (2010) Xylan biosynthesis: News from the grass. Plant Physiol, 153: 396-402 (Invited review)

W. Zeng, N. Jiang, R. Nadella, T.L. Killen, V. Nadella and A. Faik (2010) A glucurono-(arabino)xylan synthase complex from wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) contains members of the GT43, 47, and 75 and functions cooperatively. Plant Physiol, 154: 78-97

Y. Wu, M. Williams, S. Bernard, A. Driouich, A.M. Showalter and A. Faik (2010) Functional identification of two nonredundant Arabidopsis α(1,2)fucosyltransferases specific to arabinogalactan-proteins. J Biol Chem, 285: 13638-13645

Y. Liang, A. Faik, M.J. Kieliszewski, L. Tan, W. Xu and A.M. Showalter (2010) Identification and characterization of hydroxyproline β-galactosyltransferase activities involved in arabinogalactan-protein (AGP) biosynthesis in tobacco and Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol, 154: 632-642

W. Zeng, M. Chatterjee and A. Faik (2008) UDP-xylose Stimulated Glucuronyltransferase Activity in Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) Microsomal Membranes: Characterization and Role in Glucurono-(arabino)Xylan Biosynthesis. Plant Physiol, 147: 78-91

M. Shipp, R. Nadella, H. Gao, V. Farkas, H. Sigrist and A. Faik (2008) Glyco-array technology for efficient monitoring of plant cell wall glycosyltransferase activities. Glycoconj J 25: 49-58

A. Faik, J. Abouzouhair and F. Sarhan (2006) Putative Fasciclin-like Arabinogalactan Proteins (FLA) in Wheat (Triticum aestivum) and Rice (Oryza sativa): Identification and Bioinformatic Analyses. Mol Gen Gen, 276: 478-494

J. Egelund, B.L. Peterson, M.S. Motawia, I. Damager, A. Faik, C.E. Olsen, T. Ishii, H. Clausen, P. Ulvskov and N. Geshi (2006) Biosynthesis of Pectic Rhamnogalacturonan II: Molecular Cloning and Characterization of Golgi-Localized alpha(1, 3) Xylosyltransferases Encoded by RGXT1 and RGXT2 Genes of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell 18: 2593-2607

A. Faik, NJ. Price, NV. Raikhel and K. Keegstra (2002) An Arabidopsis gene encoding an alpha-xylosyltransferase involved in xyloglucan biosynthesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99: 7797-7802

R. Sarria, TA. Wagner, M. O’Neill, A. Faik, C. Wilkerson, K. Keegstra and NV. Raikhel (2001) Characterization of a family of Arabidopsis genes related to xyloglucan fucosyltransferase. Plant Physiol, 127: 1595-1606

A. Faik, M. Bar-Peled, AE. DeRocher, W. Zeng, RM. Perrin, C. Wilkerson, NV. Raikhel and K. Keegstra (2000) Biochemical Characterization and Molecular Cloning of an alpha(1,2)Fucosyltransferase that Catalyzes the last Step of Cell Wall Xyloglucan Biosynthesis in Pea. J Biol Chem, 275: 15082-15089

A. Faik, D. Desveaux and G. Maclachlan (2000) Sugar-nucleotide-binding and autoglycosylating polypeptide(s) from nasturtium: Biochemical capacities and potential functions. Biochem J, 347: 857-864

A-M. Labour, A. Faik, P. Mandaron and D. Falconet (1999) RGD-dependent growth of Maize and immunodetection of an integrin-like protein. FEBS Lett, 442: 123-128

D. Desveaux, A. Faik and G. Maclachlan (1998) Fucosyltransferase and the biosynthesis of storage and structural xyloglucan in developing nasturtium fruits. Plant Physiol, 118: 884-895

A Faik, D. Desveaux and G. Maclachlan (1998) Enzymic activities responsible for xyloglucan depolymerization by extracts of developing tomato fruit. Phytochem, 49: 365-376

A. Faik, A-M. Labour, D. Gulino, P. Mandaron and D. Falconet (1998) A plant surface protein sharing structural properties with animal integrins. Eur. J. Biochem, 253: 552-559

A. Faik, C. Chileshe, J. Sterling and G. Maclachlan (1997) Xyloglucan galactosyl and fucosyltransferase activities from pea epicotyl microsomes. Plant Physiol, 114: 245-254

A. Faik, G. Chambat and J-P. Joseleau (1995) Changes in wall-bound polysaccharidase activities during the cell cycle of Rubus fructicosus suspension culture. Int. J. Biol. Macromol. 17: 381-385


National Science Foundation (NSF)
Ohio Plant Biotechnology Consortium (OPBC)
Ohio University