Department of Biological Sciences

meshackMeshack Afitlhile, Professor

Lipidomics, Gene Regulation, and Oxidative Stress

Contact Information:

Office: Waggoner Hall 311


Tel: (309) 298-2534


University of Massachusetts, Amherst (2001-2003), Postdoctoral Scholar 

University of Kentucky (2001), Ph.D.

Rhodes University, South Africa, B.Sc (Honors) and M.Sc (1990-1993)

Courses Taught:

Cellular and Molecular Biology, Biol 330

Plant Physiology/Biochemistry, Bot 430G

Biological Concepts, Biol 100

Research Interests:

My laboratory is interested in oxidative stress-induced global lipid profiles, which is referred to as lipidomics. A major focus of my research is on glycerolipids, and these studies include gene expression and measuring the level of specific proteins. As a model system, we use T-DNA insertion mutants of Arabidopsis to evaluate the role of specific chloroplast receptors in the import of cytoplasm-synthesized enzymes, mainly fatty acid desaturases. We employ conditions that promote de novo lipid synthesis, which allow us to evaluate the role of specific TOC receptors in the import of lipid-related enzymes. For data acquisition, we employ RT-PCR, qPCR, immunoblots, ESI-MS/MS, and LC-MS.


Afitlhile Meshack,  Worthington Rebecca, Baldric Jeashelle (2021). The toc132toc120 heterozygote mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana accumulates decreased levels of chloroplasts lipids. Phytochemistry 184: 112652

  Afitlhile Meshack,  Worthington Rebecca, Heda Ghanshyam, Brown Logan (2021). The TOC159 null mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana is impaired in the accumulation of plastid lipids and phosphatidylcholine. Plant Physiol Biochem 159: 148-159

  Afitlhile Meshack,  Worthington Rebecca, Banigan Emily, Jirik Jessica, Hildebrand David (2021). Ozone-induced lipid changes in the wildtype and toc132toc120 heterozygote mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Physiol Biochem 158: 13-20

  Afitlhile Meshack,  Duffield-Duncan Kayla, Fry Morgan, Workman Samantha, Hum-Musser Sue, Hildebrand David (2015). The toc132toc120 heterozygote mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana accumulates reduced levels of hexadecatrienoic acid. Plant Physiol Biochem 96: 426-435

  Afitlhile Meshack,  Fry Morgan, Workman Samantha (2015). The TOC159 mutant of Arabidopsis thaliana accumulates altered levels of saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Plant Physiol Biochem 87: 61-72

  Afitlhile Meshack,  Workman Samantha, Duffield Kayla, Sprout Danielle, Berhow Mark (2013). A mutant of the Arabidopsis thaliana TOC159 gene accumulates reduced levels of linolenic acid and monogalactosyldiacylglycerol. Plant Physiol Biochem 73: 344-350 (2013)    

Afitlhile Meshack,  Fukushige Hirotada, Nishimura Mikio and Hildebrand David (2005). A defect in glyoxysomal fatty acid b –oxidation reduces jasmonic acid accumulation in Arabidopsis. Plant Physiol Biochem 43(6): 603-609

Afitlhile Meshack, Hirotada Fukushige, and David Hildebrand. 2005. Allene oxide synthase and hydroperoxide lyase product accumulation in Artemisia species. Plant Science 169(1):139-146

Smith MD, Rounds CM, Wang F, Chen K, Afitlhile M, Schnell DJ (2005). atToc159 is a selective transit peptide receptor for the import of nucleus-encoded chloroplasts proteins. J Cell Biology 165 (3): 323-334

Afitlhile M,  Fukushige H, Hildebrand DF (2004). Labeling of major plant lipids and jasmonic acid using [1-14C] lauric acid. Phytochemistry 65 (19): 2679-2684

 Wang Cunxi, Zien Christopher, Afitlhile Meshack, Welti Ruth, Hildebrand David and Wang Xuemin (2000). Involvement of Phospholipase D in wound-induced accumulation of jasmonic acid in Arabidopsis. Plant Cell 12: 2237-2246 (2000)