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Michael Held

Michael Held, portrait
Associate Professor & On-Campus Graduate Recruitment Chair
Biochemistry Research Facility Room 118, 350 W. State St., Athens Campus

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Post-doctoral Michigan State University

Post-doctoral Purdue University

Ph.D. Ohio University

B.S. Ohio University


  • Plant cell wall biochemistry - Plant cell wall biosynthesis
  • Trafficking of plant cell wall polymers
  • Plant cell walls as sources of lignocellulosic bioenergy feedstocks

Plant cell walls are composed of polymeric networks of cellulose, crosslinking glycans, matrix polysaccharides, structural glycoproteins, and crosslinking phenolic compounds. With few exceptions, cell wall components are synthesized in the plant Golgi apparatus and targeted to the cell wall via the secretory pathway. Understanding the mechanisms that govern both the biosynthesis and the trafficking of these polymers are the principle research areas of interest in my lab. Plant cell wall biosynthesis is a highly coordinated process at the level of gene expression. Using an approach called virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) in barley and wheat, we are investigated the transcriptional and post-transcriptional responses to silencing various components of cell wall biosynthetic machinery. The consequences that silencing these genes have on cell wall biosynthesis are also being examined. Plant cell wall biosynthesis also is coordinated at the protein catalytic level. Evidence indicates that many cell wall biosynthetic enzymes participate as part of multi-subunit complexes. Using various cell biological and proteomic techniques, we are studying the nature of these enzyme complexes in order to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms of biosynthesis as well as trafficking.

Selected Publications

Dasmeet Kaur, MA Held, Mountain Smith, Allan M Showalter (2021). Functional characterization of hydroxyproline-galactosyltransferases for Arabidopsis arabinogalactan-proteins synthesis. BMC Plant Biol. 21(1): 1-24.

Oyeyemi Ajayi, MA Held, Allan M Showalter (2021c) Glucuronidation of Type II Arabinogalactan Polysaccharides Function in Sexual Reproduction of Arabidopsis. Plant Journal 109(1): 164-181.

Kai-Yuan Chiu, Qi Wang, Harsha P. Gunawardena, MA Held, Ahmed Faik, and Hao Chen (2021) Desalting paper spay mass spectrometry (DPS-MS) for rapid detection of glycans and glycoconjugates. Inter. J. Mass Spec. 469: 116688.

Yadi Zhou, Abhijit Sukul, John W. Mishler-Elmore, Ahmed Faik, and MA Held (2021) PlantNexus: A Gene Co-expression Network Database and Visualization Tool for Barley and Sorghum. BioRXiv pre-print. (BIORXIV/2021/441196; submitted 4/23/21).

Oyeyemi Ajayi, MA Held, Allan M Showalter (2021b) Three β-Glucuronosyltransferase Genes Involved in Arabinogalactan Biosynthesis Function in Arabidopsis Growth and Development. Plants 10(6): 1172.

Oyeyemi Ajayi, MA Held, Allan M Showalter (2021a) Two β-Glucuronosyltransferases Involved in the Biosynthesis of Type II Arabinogalactans Function in Mucilage Polysaccharide Matrix Organization in Arabidopsis thaliana. BMC Plant Biol 21(1): 1-19.

John W. Mishler-Elmore, Yadi Zhou, Abhijit Sukul, Mercedes Oblak, Li Tan and Ahmed Faik, MA Held (2021). Extensins: Self-assembly, crosslinking, and the role of peroxidases. Frontiers in Plant Sci. 12: 872.

Yuan Zhang, MA Held, Allan M Showalter (2021) CRISPR-Cas9 multiplex gene editing of the hydroxyproline-O-galactosyltransferase gene family alters arabinogalactan-protein glycosylation and function in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biol 21(1): 1-16.

Daniel B. Nething, Abhijit Sukul, John W. Mishler-Elmore, and MA Held (2021) Post-transcriptional regulation of cellulose synthase genes by small RNAs derived from cellulose synthase antisense transcripts. Plant Direct 5(9): e347.

Qi Wang, Matrika Bhattarai, Pengyi Zhao, Tariq Alnsour, MA Held, Ahmed Faik, and Hao Chen (2020) Fast and Sensitive Detection of Oligosaccharides Using Desalting Paper Spray Mass Spectrometry (DPS-MS) J. Am. Soc. Mass Spectrom. Sept 10.

Daniel B. Nething, John W. Mishler-Elmore, and MA Held (2020) Post-transcriptional regulation of cellulose synthase genes by small RNAs derived from CESA antisense transcripts. BioRXiv pre-print.

Alex Jones, Yadi Zhou, MA Held, and Sarah Davis (2020) Tissue Composition of Agave americana L. Yields Greater Carbohydrates From Enzymatic Hydrolysis Than Advanced Bioenergy Crops. Frontiers in Plant Sci 11: 654.

Yuan Zhang, MA Held, and Allan M Showalter (2020) Elucidating the roles of three beta-glucuronosyltransferases (GLCATs) acting on arabinogalactan-proteins using a CRISPR-Cas9 multiplexing approach in Arabidopsis. BMC Plant Biol 20: 1-20.

Lamport, D. T., Tan, L., Held, MA, and Kieliszewski, M. J. (2020). Phyllotaxis turns over a new leaf—A new hypothesis. International journal of molecular sciences, 21(3): 1145.

Nepu Saha, Kyle McGaughy, MA Held, M. Toufiq Reza (2020) Hydrothermal degradation of β-estradiol and oxytetracycline at selective reaction severities. SN Applied Sciences 2 (9): 1-9.

Ahmed Faik and MA Held (2019) Plant cell wall biochemical omics: the high-throughput biochemistry for polysaccharide biosynthesis. Plant Science 286, 49-56.

Lamport, D.T.; Tan, L.; Held, M.; Kieliszewski, M.J. The Role of the Primary Cell Wall in Plant Morphogenesis. (2018) Intl. J. Mol Sci. 19(9), 2674.

Lamport DT, Tan L, Held MA, & Kieliszewski MJ. (2018). Pollen tube growth and guidance: Occam's razor sharpened on a molecular arabinogalactan glycoprotein Rosetta Stone. New Phytologist, 217(2), 491-500.

Nathan T. Reem, Gennady Pogorelko, Vincenzo Lionetti, Lauran Chambers, MA Held, Daniela Bellincampi, Olga A. Zabotina (2016) Reduction of Polysaccharide Feruloylation Compromises Cell Wall Integrity Leading to Higher Plant Susceptibility to Necrotrophic Fungal Pathogens. Front Plant Sci 7, 630.

Nan Jiang, Richard Wiemels, Aaron Soya, Rebekah Whitley, Said Bahi, MA Held and Ahmed Faik (2016) Composition, assembly, and trafficking of a wheat xylan synthase complex (XSC). Plant Physiol pp-01777.

Yi Cai, Pengyuan Liu, MA Held, Howard D. Dewald and Hao Chen (2016) Coupling Electrochemistry with Probe Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry. ChemPhysChem (manuscript accepted).

Yuning Chen, Wen Dong, Li Tan, MA Held, and Marcia J. Kieliszewski (2015) Arabinosylation Plays a Crucial Role in Extensin Crosslinking in vitro. Biochem Insights 8(S2), 1-13.

Sang-Jin Kim, Starla Zemelis, Suania Withers, MA Held, Curtis Wilkerson, and Federica Brandizzi (2015) CGR2 and CGR3 have critical overlapping roles in pectin methylesterification and plant growth in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant J 82(2), 208-220.

Yuning Chen, Dening Ye, MA Held, Maura Cannon, Tui Ray, Prasenjit Saha, Alexandra N. Frye, Andrew Mort, Marcia Kieliszewski (2015) Identification of the Abundant HRGPs in the Walls of Wild Type Arabidopsis and the Walls of EXT3 Mutant Lines. Plants 4(1), 85-111. doi:10.3390/plants4010085

Wen Dong, Marcia Kieliszewski, and MA Held (2015) Identification of the pI4.6 extensin peroxidase from Lycopersicon esculentum. Phytochemistry 112, 151-9. doi:10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.09.015

MA Held, Nan Jiang, Debarati Basu, Ahmed Faik and Allan Showalter (2014) “Plant cell wall polysaccharides: structure and biosynthesis.” In: Polysaccharides: Bioactivity and Biotechnology eds. Jean-Michel Merillon and Kishan G Ramawat, Springer Verlag, Germany. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-03751-6_73-1

Bryan W. Penning, Robert W. Sykes, Nicholas C. Babcock, Christopher K. Dugard, MA Held, John F. Klimek, Jacob Shreve, Matthew Fowler, Angela Ziebell, Mark Davis, Stephen R. Decker, Geoffrey B. Turner, Nathan S. Mosier, Nathan M. Springer, Jyothi Thimmapuram, Clifford F. Weil, Maureen C. McCann, Nicholas C. Carpita (2014) Genetic determinants for enzymatic digestion of lignocellulosic biomass are independent of those for lignin abundance in a maize recombinant inbred population. Plant Physiol 165(4), 1475-1487.

Ahmed Faik, Nan Jiang, and MA Held (2014) “Xylan biosynthesis in plants, simply complex.” In: Carpita, NC, Buckeridge MS, and McCann MC (eds) Plants and Bioenergy, Springer, New York, pp.153-181.

Tingyue Gu, MA Held, Ahmed Faik (2013) Supercritical CO2 and Ionic Liquids for the Pretreatment of Lignocellulosic Biomass in Bioethanol Production. Environ Technol 34, 1735-49.

Debarati Basu, Yan Liang, Xiao Liu, Klaus Himmeldirk, Ahmed Faik, Marcia Kieliszewski, MA Held, and Allan M. Showalter (2013) Functional Identification of a Hydroxyproline-O- Galactosyltransferase Specific for Arabinogalactan-Protein Biosynthesis in Arabidopsis. J Biol Chem 288, 10132-43.

Federica Brandizzi and MA Held (2012) “This study demonstrates that members of the GT61 glycosyltransferase family in both wheat and rice are able to catalyze the addition of arabinofuranosyl units onto a xylan backbone.” Evaluation of: [Anders N et al. Glycosyl transferases in family 61 mediate arabinofuranosyl transfer onto xylan in grasses. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jan 17; 109(3):989-93; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1115858109]. Faculty of 1000 Cell Biology, Mar 13, 2012.

MA Held, Evan Be, Starla Zemelis, Saunia Withers, Curtis Wilkerson, and Federica Brandizzi (2011) CGR3: A Golgi-localized protein influencing homogalacturonan methylesterification. Mol Plant 4, 832-44.

Renata Conger, Yani Chen, Silvia Fornaciari, Carmen Faso, MA Held, Luciana Renna and Federica Brandizzi (2011) Evidence for the involvement of the Arabidopsis Sec24A, a component of the COPII coat, in pollen germination. J Exp Bot 62, 4017-26.

Erin Slabaugh, MA Held, and Federica Brandizzi (2011) Control of root hair development in Arabidopsis thaliana by an endoplasmic reticulum-anchored member of the R2R3-MYB transcription factor. Plant J. 67, 395-405 (COVER ARTICLE)

Miaoying Tian, Joe Win, Elizabeth Savory, MA Held, Federica Brandizzi, Sophien Kamoun, and Brad Day (2011) 454 genome sequencing of Pseudoperonospora cubensis reveals effector proteins with a putative QXLR translocation motif. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 24, 543-53.

Lucia Marti, Giovanni Stefano, Kentaro Tamura, Chris Hawes, Luciana Renna, MA Held and Federica Brandizzi (2010) A novel missense mutation in the vacuolar protein GOLD36 causes organizational defects in the ER and aberrant protein trafficking in the plant secretory pathway. Plant J 63, 901.

Carmen Faso, Yani Chen, Kentaro Tamura, MA Held, Starla Zemelis, RamuSubramanian Saravanan, Eric Hummel, Leslie Kung, Elizabeth Miller, Chris Hawes and Federica Brandizzi (2009) A missense mutation in the Arabidopsis COPII coat protein Sec24A induces the formation of clusters of the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi apparatus. Plant Cell 21, 3655.

MA Held, Bryan Penning, Amanda S. Brandt, Sarah A. Kessans, Weidong Yong, Steven R. Scofield and Nicholas C. Carpita. (2008) Small-interfering RNAs from natural antisense transcripts derived from a cellulose synthase gene modulate cell wall biosynthesis in barley. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA 105, 20534.

MA Held, Aurelia Boulaflous, and Federica Brandizzi. (2008) Advances in Fluorescent Protein-Based Imaging for the Analysis of Plant Endomembranes. Plant Physiol 147, 1469-1481.

Sally L. Hanton, Laurent Chatre, Loren Matheson, Marika Rossi, MA Held, and Federica Brandizzi. (2008) Plant SAR1 Isoforms with near-identical protein sequences exhibit different localisations and effects on secretion. Plant Mol Bio 67, 283-294.

Athikkattuvalasu S. Karthikeyan, Deepa K. Varadarajan, Ajay Jain, MA Held, Nicholas C. Carpita and Kashchandra G. Raghothama. (2007) Phosphate starvation response and sugar signaling in Arabidopsis. Planta 225, 907-918.

Ben Wegenhart, Li Tan, MA Held, Marcia Kieliszewski, and Liwei Chen. (2006) Aggregate structure of hydroxyproline-rich glycoprotein (HRGP) and HRGP assisted dispersion of carbon nanotubes. Nanoscale Res Lett. 1, 154-159.

MA Held, Li Tan, Abdolreza Kamyab, Michael Hare, Elena Shpak, and Marcia J. Kieliszewski. (2004) Di-isodityrosine Is the Intermolecular Cross-link of Isodityrosine-rich Extensin Analogs Cross-linked in Vitro. J Biol Chem 279, 55474-55482.