Rice University
BioSciences at Rice

Janet Braam

Wiess Professor of BioSciences

Plants are unable to escape from harsh environments and perhaps as a consequence have evolved the ability to undergo adaptive changes in physiology and development. The mechanisms by which plants sense environmental stresses, transduce signals into cells and Braam Research regulate cellular and organismal alterations are largely unknown. We have taken a molecular approach to investigating these aspects of plant biology. The TCH genes of Arabidopsis are rapidly and strongly upregulated in expression in response to various environmental stimuli, including the seemingly innocuous stimulus of touch. These genes are powerful molecular tools for investigating how plants perceive environmental conditions and how they mount responses. We are investigating the cellular and genetic elements that control TCH expression and the biochemical and physiological functions of the TCH products. The TCH genes encode calmodulin, calmodulin-related proteins and a xyloglucan endotransglucosylase/hydrolase (XTH) predicted to act in modifying the plant cell wall. Current data support a hypothesis that the TCH proteins collaborate in the fundamental process of plant cell expansion.

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Braam, Janet; Chehab, E Wassim; Thigmomorphogenesis.  Current Biology, 27 2017: R863-R864

Koo, Yeonjong; Lukianova-Hleb, Ekaterina Y; Pan, Joann; Thompson, Sean M; Lapotko, Dmitri O; Braam, Janet; In planta response of Arabidopsis to photothermal impact mediated by gold nanoparticles.  Small, 12 2016: 623-630

Liu, John D, Goodspeed, Danielle, Sheng, Zhengji, Li, Baohua, Yang, Yiran, Daniel J, Kliebenstein and Janet Braam "Keeping the rhythm: light/dark cycles during postharvest storage preserve the tissue integrity and nutritional content of leafy plants." BMC Plant Biology 15: 92.  (2015)

Zhu, Xiao Fang, Wan, JX, Sun, Y, Shi, YZ, Braam, J, Li, GX, Zheng, SJ. XTH17 interacts with XTH31 to confer XET action and affect aluminum sensitivity in Arabidopsis, Plant Physiology, 165: 1566-1574 (2014).

Koo Y, Wang J, Zhang Q, Zhu H, Chehab EW, Colvin VL, Alvarez PJ, and Braam J.  Fluorescence Reports Intact Quantum Dot Uptake into Roots and Translocation to Leaves of Arabidopsis thaliana and Subsequent Ingestion by Insect Herbivores. Environ Sci Technol. 49:626-32 (2015)

Lukianova-Hleb, EY, Campbell, KM, Constantinou, PE, Braam, J, Olson, JS, Ware, RE, Sullivan, DJ, Lapotko, DO. Hemozoin-generated vapor nanobubbles for transdermal reagent- and needle-free detection of malaria. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111:900-905 (2014).

Wang J, Yang Y, Zhu H, Braam J, Schnoor JL, and Alvarez PJ. Uptake, translocation, and transformation of quantum dots with cationic versus anionic coatings by Populus deltoides × nigra cuttings. Environ Sci Technol. 48:6754-6762 (2014)

Zhu XF, Wan JX, Sun Y, Shi YZ, Braam J, Li GX, and Zheng SJ. Xyloglucan Endotransglucosylase-Hydrolase17 interacts with xyloglucan endotransglucosylase-hydrolase31 to confer xyloglucan endotransglucosylase action and affect aluminum sensitivity in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol 165:1566-1574. (2014)

Kim, S, Schlicke, H, Van Ree, K, Karvonen, K, Subramaniam, A, Richter, A, Grimm, B, and Braam, J. Arabidopsis chlorophyll biosynthesis: an essential balance between the methylerythritol phosphate and tetrapyrrole pathways. Plant Cell, 25:4984-4993 (2013).

Goodspeed, D, Chehab, EW, Covington, M, Braam, J. Circadian control of jasmonates and salicylates: the clock role in plant defense. Plant Signaling and Behavior 8: e23123 (2013).

Zhu, XF, Lei, GJ, Yan, JY, Wang, ZW, Shi, YZ, Braam, J, Li, GX, Zheng, SJ. Coordination between apoplastic and symplastic detoxification confers plant Al resistance, Plant Physiology, 162: 1947-1955. (2013).

Zhao, Y, Liu, W, Xu, Y-P, Cao, J-Y, Braam, J, Cai, X-Z. Genome-wide identification and functional analyses of calmodulin genes in Solanaceous species, BMC Plant Biology, doi: 10.1186/1471-2229-13-70 (2013).

Wang, J, Koo, Y, Alexander, A, Yang, Y, Westerhof, S, Zhang, Q, Schnoor, JL, Colvin, VL, Braam, J, Alvarez, PJJ.  Phyto-stimulation of poplars and Arabidopsis exposed to silver nanoparticles and Ag+ at sub-lethal concentrations, Environmental Science and Technology, 47: 5442-5449 (2013).

Goodspeed, D, Liu, JD, Chehab, EW, Sheng, Z, Francisco, M, Kliebenstein, DJ, Braam, J. Post harvest circadian entrainment enhances crop pest resistance and phytochemical cycling, Current Biology, 23: 1235-1241 (2013).

Chehab, EW, Yao, C, Henderson, Z, Kim, S, and Braam, J.  Arabidopsis touch-induced morphogenesis is jasmonate mediated and protects against pests, Current Biology 22: 701-706 (2012).

Tsai, Y.-C., Koo, Y., Delk, N.A., Gehl, B., and Braam, J. Calmodulin-related CML24 interacts ATG4b and affects autophagy regulation in Arabidopsis, Plant Journal, 73: 325-335 (2012).

Goodspeed, D, Chehab, EW, Min-Venditti, A, Braam, J* and Covington, MC. Arabidopsis synchronizes jasmonate-dependent defense with insect circadian behavior. (*corresponding author) Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109: 4674-4677 (2012).

Chehab, EW and Braam, J. Jasmonates in plant defense responses, Invited book chapter, Signaling and Communication in Plants, edited by František Baluška and Jorge Vivanco, Spring Press, pp. 67-88 (2012).

Zhu, XF, Shi, YZ, Lei, GJ, Fry, SC, Zhang, BC, Zhou, YH, Braam, J, Jiang, T, Pan, YJ, Yang, JL, Wu, P, Zheng, SJ. XTH31 controls Al sensitivity by modulating the XET action of an XEH-active enzyme, cell wall xyloglucan content and Al binding capacity in Arabidopsis, Plant Cell 24: 4731-4747 (2012).

Van Ree, K., Gehl, B., Chehab, E.W., Tsai, Y.-C., and Braam, J. Arabidopsis nitric oxide accumulation is independent of NOA1 in the presence of sucrose.  Plant Journal, 68 2011: 225-233

Wang, Y., Wang, B., Chehab, E.W., Gilroy, S., Braam, J. CML24 is involved in root mechanoresponses and cortical microtubule orientation in Arabidopsis.  J Plant Growth Regulation, 30 2011: 467-479

Chehab, E.W., Kim, S., Savchenko, T., Kliebenstein, D., Dehesh, K., and Braam, J. Intronic T-DNA insertion renders Arabidopsis opr3 a conditional JA-producing mutant.  Plant Physiol., 156 2011: 770-778

Chehab, E.W., Wang, Y., Braam, J. Mechanical force responses in plant cells and plants.  Mechanical Integration in Plant Cells and Plants, Signaling and Communication in Plants 2011: 173-194

Lee, C. W., Mahendra, S., Zodrow, K., Li, D., Tsai, Y.-C., Braam, J., Alvarez, P.J.J. Developmental phytotoxicity of metal oxide nanoparticles to Arabidopsis thaliana.  Environ. Toxicol. Chem., 29 2010: 669-675

Ji J. and Braam J. Restriction Site Extension PCR: A Novel Method for High-Throughput Characterization of Tagged DNA Fragments and Genome Walking.  PLoS One, 5 2010: e10577

Chehab, E.W., Eich, E., and Braam, J. Thigmomorphogenesis: A complex plant response to mechano-stimulation.  J Exp Bot, 60 2009: 43-56

Ma, W, Smigel, A., Tsai, Y.-C., Braam, J., and Berkowitz, G.A. Innate immunity signaling: cytosolic Ca2+ elevation is linked to downstream nitric oxide generation through the action of calmodulin or a calmodulin-like protein.  Plant Physiol., 148 2008: 818-828

Tsai, Y.-C., Delk, N.A., Chowdhury, N.I., and Braam, J. Arabidopsis potential calcium sensors regulate nitric oxide levels and the transition to flowering.  Plant Signaling & Behavior, 2 2007: 446-454

Becnel, J., Natarajan, M., Kipp, A., and Braam, J. Developmental expression patterns of Arabidopsis XTH genes reported by transgenes and genevestigator.  Plant Molecular Biology, 61 2006: 451-467

McCormack, E., Velasquez, L., Delk, N., and Braam, J. Touch-responsive behaviors and gene expression in plants.  Communication in Plants: Neuronal Aspects of Plant Life 2006: 249-261

Delk, N., Johnson, K.A., Chowdhury, N.I., and Braam, J. CML24, regulated in expression by diverse stimuli, encodes a potential Ca2+ sensor that functions in responses to ABA, day length and ion stress.  Plant Physiol., 139 2005: 240-253

Lee, D., Polisensky, D.H., and Braam, J. Genome-wide identification of touch and darkness-regulated Arabidopsis genes: A Focus on calmodulin-like and XTH genes.  New Phytologist, 165 2005: 429-444

McCormack, E., Tsai,Y.-C., and Braam, J. Handling calcium signaling: Arabidopsis CaMs and CMLs.  Trends Plant Sci., 10 2005: 383-389

Braam, J. Tansley review. In touch: Plant responses to mechanical stimuli.  New Phytologist, 165 2005: 373-389

McCormack, E., and Braam, J. Calmodulins and Related Potential Calcium Sensors of Arabidopsis.  New Phytologist, 159 2003: 585-598

Rose, J.K.C., Braam, J., Fry, S.C., and Nishitani, K. The XTH Family of Enzymes Involved in Xyloglucan Endotransglucosylation and Endohydrolasis: Current Prospectives and a New Unifying Nomenclature.  Plant & Cell Physiol., 43 2002: 1421-1435

Iliev, E., Xu, W., Polisensky, D.H., Oh, M.-O., Torisky, R.S., Clouse, S.D., and Braam, J. Transcriptional and Post-transcriptional Regulation of Arabidopsis TCH4 Expression by Diverse Stimuli: Roles of cis Regions and Brassinosteroids.  Plant Physiol., 130 2002: 770-783

Steele, N.M., Sulova, Z., Campbell, P., Braam, J., Farkas, V., and Fry, S.C. Ten Isoenzymes of Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylase from Plant Cell Walls Select and Cleave the Donor Substrate Stochastically.  Biochem. J., 355 2001: 671-679

Braam, J. The Arabidopsis TCH Genes: Regulated in Expression by Mechanotransduction?.  Plant Tolerance to Abiotic Stresses in Agriculture: Role of Genetic Engineering. NATO Advance Research Workshop Proceedings 2000: pp. 29-37

Campbell, P., and Braam, J. In vitro Activities of Four Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylases from Arabidopsis.  Plant J., 18 1999: 371-382

Campbell, P., and Braam, J. Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylases: Diversity of Genes, Enzymes and Potential Wall-modifying Functions.  Trends in Plant Sci., 4 1999: 361-366

Johnson, K.A., Sistrunk, M.L., Polisensky, D.H., and Braam, J. Arabidopsis thaliana Responses to Mechanical Stimuli Do not Require ETR1 or EIN2.  Plant Physiol., 116 1998: 643-649

Campbell, P., and Braam, J. Co- and Post-translational Modifications Are Critical for TCH4 XET Activity.  Plant J., 15 1998: 553-561

Antosiewicz, D.M., Purugganan, M.M., Polisensky, D.H., and Braam, J. Cellular localization of Arabidopsis Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylase-related Proteins During Development and After Wind Stimulation.  Plant Physiol., 115 1997: 1319-1328

Khan, A.R., Johnson, K.A., Braam, J., and James, M.N.G. Comparative Modeling of the Three-dimensional Structure of the Calmodulin-related TCH2 Protein from Arabidopsis.  Proteins: Structure, Function and Genetics, 27 1997: 144-153

Braam, J., Sistrunk, M.L., Polisensky, D.H., Xu, W., Purugganan, M.M., Antosiewicz, D.M., Campbell, P., and Johnson, K.A. Plant Responses to Environmental Stress: Regulation and Function of the Arabidopsis TCH Genes.  Planta, 203 1997: S35-S41

Purugganan, M.M., Braam, J., and Fry, S.C. The Arabidopsis TCH4 Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylase: Substrate Specificity, pH Optimum, and Cold Tolerance.  Plant Physiol., 115 1997: 181-190

Polisensky, D.H., and Braam, J. Cold Shock Regulation of Arabidopsis TCH Gene Expression and the Effects of Modulating Intracellular Calcium Levels.  Plant Physiol., 111 1996: 1271-1279

Xu, W., Campbell, P., Vargheese, A., and Braam, J. The Arabidopsis XET-related Gene Family: Hormonal and Environmental Regulation of Expression.  Plant Journal, 9 1996: 879-889

Xu, W., Purugganan, M.M., Polisensky, D.H., Antosiewicz, D.M., Fry, S.C., and Braam, J. Arabidopsis TCH4, Regulated by Hormones and the Environment, Encodes a Xyloglucan Endotransglycosylase.  Plant Cell, 7 1995: 1555-1567

Antosiewicz, D.M., Polisensky, D.H., and Braam, J. Cellular Localization of the Ca2+ Binding TCH3 Protein of Arabidopsis.  Plant Journal, 8 1995: 623-636

Sistrunk, L.M., Antosiewicz, D.M., Purugganan, M.M., and Braam, J. Arabidopsis TCH3 Encodes a Novel Ca2+-Binding Protein and Shows Environmentally Induced and Tissue-Specific Regulation.  Plant Cell, 6 1994: 1553-1565

Braam, J Developmental and molecular responses to touch in plants..  Society for Developmental Biology Symposia 1993: 185-198

Braam, J. Regulated expression of the calmodulin-related TCH genes in cultured Arabidopsis cells: induction by calcium and heat shock.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 89 1992: 3213-3216

Braam, J. Regulation of expression of calmodulin and calmodulin-related genes by environmental stimuli in plants.  Cell Calcium, 13 1992: 457-463

Braam, J. Touch-induced regulation of expression of the calmodulin-related TCH genes and thigmomorphogenesis in Arabidopsis.  Plant Growth Substances 1992: 82-95

Braam, J., and Davis, R.W. Rain-, Wind- and Touch-Induced Expression of Calmodulin-related Genes in Arabidopsis.  Cell, 60 1990: 357-364

Braam, J., Davis, R.W. The mechanosensory pathway in Arabidopsis: Touch-induced regulation of expression of calmodulin and calmodulin-related genes and alterations of development.  Current Topics in Plant Biochemistry and Physiology, 9 1990: 85-100

Braam lab

  • B.S., Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, Zoology (1980)
  • Ph.D., Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences, Sloan-Kettering Division, Molecular Biology and Virology (1985)
  • Environmental and Energy Systems Institute
  • Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering
Research Areas
  • Abiotic stress responses; the circadian clock; plant defense; autophagy regulation; fungal perception; genetic control of seed development; nanoparticle-plant interactions
Professional Experience
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Rutgers University
  • Postdoctoral Fellow
    Stanford University
  • Assistant Professor
    Rice University
  • Associate Professor
    Rice University
  • Professor
    Rice University
  • Chair
    Rice University
Contact Information
Email: braam@rice.edu
Phone: 713-348-4277
Office: George R. Brown Hall, W100C