Joseph Jez, Ph.D.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program
Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology Program

  • 314-935-3376

  • 314-935-4085

  • CB 1137

  • 507 Monsanto Laboratory



  • biochemistry, enzymology, plant biology, protein engineering, protein structure, structural biology

  • Exploring regulatory networks in metabolism - structural biology and biochemistry of plants and microbes

Research Abstract:

Plants are amazing chemists capable of generating an array of small molecules with different biological effects. Our research seeks to broadly understand how environmental changes re-model biochemical pathways in plants at the molecular, cellular, and organism levels with the aim of engineering these systems to address agricultural and environmental problems. Current work in the lab employs a combination of x-ray crystallography, enzymology, molecular biology, proteomics, and plant biology to address the following questions: What are the biochemical networks involved in responding to specific environmental stresses and how are they organized? How do different biochemical mechanisms regulate these pathways? What are the connective systems that allow for integration and cross-talk between metabolic pathways in plants? Can we re-engineer plant pathways and the links between different control systems to improve plant performance under environmental stresses?

Selected Publications:

Schenck CA*, Holland CK*, Schneider MR, Men Y, Lee SG, Jez JM, Maeda HA (2017) Molecular basis of the evolution of alternative tyrosine biosynthesis pathways in plants. Nature Chem Biol 13, 1029-35

Cascella B, Lee SG, Singh S, Jez JM, Mirica LM (2017) The small molecule JIB-04 disrupts O2 binding in the Fe-dependent histone demethylase KDM4a/JMJD2A. Chem Commun 53, 2174-7

Westfall CS*, Sherp AM*, Zubieta C, Alvarez S, Schraft E, Marcellin R, Ramirez L, Jez JM (2016) Arabidopsis thaliana GH3.5 acyl acid amido synthetase mediates metabolic crosstalk in auxin and salicylic acid homeostasis. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 113: 13917-22.

Jez JM (2016) Lost in translation: the truth behind university-industry collaborations. Scientific American online (

Jez JM, Lee SG, Sherp AM (2016) The next green movement: plant biology for the environment and sustainability. Science 353: 1241-4.

Cahoon RE, Lutke WK, Cameron JC, Chen S, Lee SG, Rivard RS, Rea PA, Jez JM (2015) Adaptive engineering of phytochelatin-based heavy metal tolerance. J Biol Chem 290: 17321-30.

Meesters C, Monig T, Oeljeklaus J, Krahn D, Westfall CS, Hause B, Jez JM, Kaiser M, Kombrink E (2014) A selective inhibitor of jasmonate signaling identified via high-throughput chemical screening targets the adenylate-forming enzyme JAR1 in Arabidopsis thaliana. Nature Chem Biol 10: 830-6.

Lee SG, Krishnan HB, Jez JM (2014) Structural basis for regulation of rhizobial nodulation and symbiosis gene expression by the regulatory protein NolR. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111: 6509-14.

Korasick DA, Westfall CS, Lee SG, Nanao M, Dumas R, Hagen G, Guilfoyle TJ, Jez JM, Strader LC (2014) Molecular basis for auxin response factor protein interaction and the control of auxin response repression. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111: 5427-32.

Westfall CS, Zubieta C, Herrmann J, Kapp U, Nanao MH, Jez JM (2012) Structural basis for prereceptor modulation of plant hormones by GH3 family proteins. Science 336: 1708-11.

Last Updated: 8/21/2017 8:55:10 AM

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