Aaron Liepman

A photo of Aaron Liepman



401A Science Complex


[email protected]


  • BS, University of Michigan, 1996
  • MS, University of Michigan, 1999
  • Ph.D., University of Michigan (Mentor: Laura Olsen), 2002
  • Postdoctoral, Michigan State University (Mentor: Kenneth Keegstra), 2002–2006

Interests and Expertise

The Liepman lab aims to better understand two areas of plant biochemistry:

1) Plant cell walls - The walls surrounding plant cells are a complex matrix of polysaccharides, proteins, and often lignin. Cell walls define cell size and shape, provide protection against pathogens, and impart strength and flexibility to plants. Plant cell walls are also a source of renewable biomass useful for a multitude of applications. Research projects in the lab aim to identify and characterize enzymes involved in cell wall biosynthesis, and to understand the physiological functions of particular cell wall polysaccharides.

2) Photorespiration - Photorespiration is a metabolite salvage pathway that converts phosphoglycolate, a toxic byproduct of the oxygenase activity of rubisco, into phosphoglycerate. In collaboration with the Walker lab at Michigan State University, research projects in the lab aim to understand the temperature responses of photorespiratory enzymes, with the aim of improving metabolic models. We hope these models will eventually allow the engineering of plants with improved photorespiratory efficiency.


  • BIO 306W Cell and Molecular Biology and Genetics Laboratory
  • BIO 401 Honors Thesis
  • BIO 501 Proposal Development in Biology
  • BIO 445/545 Recombinant DNA Techniques


  • Recipient of the 2010 Ronald W. Collins Distinguished Faculty Award for Scholarly/Creative Activity

Publications and Presentations

  • Liepman AH, Vijayalakshmi J, Peisach D, Hulsebus B, Olsen LJ, Saper MA. 2019. Crystal structure of photorespiratory alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase 1 (AGT1) from Arabidopsis thaliana. Frontiers in Plant Science 10: 1229.
  • Liepman AH, Cavalier DM. 2012. The Cellulose Synthase-Like A and Cellulose Synthase-Like C families: recent advances and future perspectives. Frontiers in Plant Science 3: 109.
  • Gille S, Cheng K, Skinner ME, Liepman AH, Wilkerson CG, Pauly M. 2011. Deep sequencing of voodoo lily (Amorphophallus konjac): an approach to identify relevant genes involved in the synthesis of the hemicellulose glucomannan. Planta 234: 515–526.
  • Davis J, Brandizzi F, Liepman AH, Keegstra K. 2010. Arabidopsis mannan synthase CSLA9 and glucan synthase CSLC4 have opposite orientations in the Golgi membrane. Plant Journal 64: 1028–1037.
  • Liepman AH, Wightman R, Geshi N, Turner SR, Scheller HV. 2010. Arabidopsis - a powerful model system for plant cell wall research. Plant Journal 61: 1107–1121.
  • Goubet F, Barton CJ, Mortimer JC, Yu XL, Zhang ZN, Miles GP, Richens J, Liepman AH, Seffen K, Dupree P. 2009. Cell wall glucomannan in Arabidopsis is synthesized by CSLA glycosyltransferases, and influences the progression of embryogenesis. Plant Journal 60: 527–538.
  • Cocuron J-C, Lerouxel O, Drakakaki G, Alonso AP, Liepman AH, Keegstra K, Raikhel N, Wilkerson CG. 2007. A gene from the Cellulose Synthase-Like C family encodes a β-1,4-glucan synthase. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 104: 8550–8555.
  • Liepman AH, Nairn CJ, Willats WGT, Sorensen I, Roberts AW, Keegstra K. 2007. Functional genomic analysis supports conservation of function among Cellulose Synthase-Like A gene family members and suggests diverse roles of mannans in plants. Plant Physiology 143: 1881–1893.
  • Lerouxel O, Cavalier DM, Liepman AH, Keegstra K. 2006. Biosynthesis of plant cell walls - a complex process. Current Opinion in Plant Biology 9: 621–630.
  • Liepman AH, Wilkerson CG, Keegstra K. 2005. Expression of cellulose synthase-like (Csl) genes in insect cells reveals that CslA family members encode mannan synthases. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 102: 2221–2226.
  • Liepman AH, Olsen LJ. 2004. Genomic analysis of aminotransferases in Arabidopsis thaliana. Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 23: 73–89.
  • Liepman AH, Olsen LJ. 2003. Alanine aminotransferase homologs catalyze the glutamate:glyoxylate aminotransferase reaction in peroxisomes of Arabidopsis. Plant Physiology 131: 215–227.
  • Liepman AH, Olsen LJ. 2001. Peroxisomal alanine:glyoxylate aminotransferase 1 (AGT1) is a photorespiratory enzyme with multiple substrates in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Journal 25: 487–498.