Catalytic Landscapes of Isopreniod Metabolism

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office

Abstract

Plants produce a rich vocabulary of chemicals to communicate, thrive and survive in various ecologies - the language of specialized (secondary) metabolism. This language changes over evolutionary time-scales by mutation and recombination - steps in sequence that alter the catalytic properties of encoded enzymes. This sequence-chemical relationship defines a ‘catalytic landscape’ that encodes the chemical diversity of secondary metabolism in the natural world.

Our group is interested in quantifying the catalytic landscape underlying secondary metabolism to examine the emergence of chemical diversity as plants adapt to varying ecological niches. We approach this at the level of protein structure and function using experimental techniques of protein engineering, enzymology, bio-analytical chemistry, structural biology, and mathematical modeling. We extend our reach through strategic collaborations to interrogate the implications of metabolic changes on relevant biological systems; considering the importance of plant secondary metabolites in mediating host-microbe interactions, we are actively exploring the impact of phytochemicals on human microbial communities and plant-pathogen interactions.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Our group has developed experimental techniques to study the evolution of enzymes - the protein machinery of plants that make medicines. We have applied these techniques to discover how enzymes work throughout 'breeding' experiments resulting in new enzymes that make anticancer drugs.
Exploitation Route other scientists may use our new techniques and fundamental knowledge to learn more about enzymes generally with the application to make new medicines or industrial products.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Our findings have resulted in new enzymes that are currently being evaluated for industrial scale production of fine chemicals and pharmaceutical compounds.
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Societal,Economic

 
Title Comparative analysis and validation of the malachite green assay for the high throughput biochemical characterization of terpene synthases 
Description this assay provides a colorimetric method for measuring enzyme kinetics of terpene syntheses - industrially important class of plant biosynthetic enzymes 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2014 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact this method enabled the high throughput kinetic analysis of enzyme libraries resulting in a significant research publication 
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215016114000089
 
Title structure-based combinatorial protein engineering 
Description method for the automated creation of gene libraries for protein engineering applications. 
Type Of Material Technology assay or reagent 
Year Produced 2012 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact this methodology was central to our group's recent scientific advances 
URL http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123942906000021
 
Description Friends of JIC Speed Dating 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an open day or visit at my research institution
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact It is aimed mainly at people who have not been to a Friends event before and don't know much about JIC or for existing Friends to bring a new Friend along. The evening starts with a general introduction to JIC, followed by JIC staff talking to a small group (no more than 10-12 people) for about 15 minutes on what they do and answering questions, the staff member then moves on to the next table. After 3 rounds we break for a rest and something to eat and then do three more rounds followed by cake, coffee/tea.

The idea is that by the end of the evening each group will have heard something from a Project Leader, post-doc or strategic research scientist or RA, student and staff from Support Departments giving them a flavour of how a place like JIC works and how science works, with information about some of the science projects. It is a very informal evening and no formal presentation aids are permitted! But please bring as many photos, plants, plates, gels, bugs or anything else to help illustrate your work that you can comfortably move around and between rooms!

For example, where relevant you might begin with a brief background to yourself and how you came to be at JIC, funding, what you've been doing since you got here and what your plans for the future are. Staff from support departments can talk about the scale of the site, the day to day problems you face and major issues you have to deal with and how many people you support etc. However, the idea is that the Friends really take over and ask questions of you rather than you simply deliver a talk to them.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2013
 
Description GRC Plant Volatiles conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this was an international conference on plant natural products (volatiles). my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
URL https://www.grc.org/programs.aspx?id=15108
 
Description Invited lecture, 19th Evolutionary Biology Meeting, Marseilles, France 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact international meeting on evolution. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://aeeb.fr/?page_id=337
 
Description Invited lecture, Academia Sinica, Institute of Biological Chemistry, Taipei, Taiwan 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact his was an international conference on our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis and the mechanism of action of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited lecture, Agbiome, Durham, NC, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture provided the opportunity to share our group's recent discoveries in biocatalysis and bioactivity of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.agbiome.com
 
Description Invited lecture, Amyris, Emeryville, CA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture lecture provided the opportunity to present research to a biotech company that produces plant high value chemicals. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2006
URL https://amyris.com
 
Description Invited lecture, Joint Bioenergy Institute, Emeryville, CA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture provided the opportunity to share our groups recent discoveries in biocatalysts and bioactivity. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.jbei.org
 
Description Invited lecture, Manus Biosynthesis. Boston, MA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture provided the opportunity to share our group's recent discoveries in biocatalysts with industrial leaders in this field. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited lecture, Metabolon, Durham, NC, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture provided the opportunity to share our group's recent discoveries in biocatalysis and bioactivity of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.metabolon.com
 
Description Invited lecture, Syngenta, Surrey Research Park. Guildford, Surrey, UK 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture provided the opportunity to share our group's recent discoveries in the biosynthesis of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Invited lecture, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this was an international conference on our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis and the mechanism of action of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited lecture, University of California, Davis, Department of Chemistry. Davis, CA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact his was an international conference on our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited lecture, University of California, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA, USA 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this was an international conference on our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis and the mechanism of action of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
 
Description Invited lecture, University of Cologne, Institute of Botany, Cologne, Germany 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this invited lecture was an opportunity to present our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis and the mechanism of action of plant antimicrobial compounds. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
 
Description Invited lecture, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology. Hanoi, Vietnam 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact I delivered a workshop to students and faculty on the use of structural biology for engineering enzyme function. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2012
 
Description Invited lecture, XV Brazillian Congress of Plant Physiology, Foz do Iguacu, Brazil 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact international conference on plant physiology. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL http://www.sbfv.org.br/xvcbfv/home.php
 
Description Selected presentation, Banff Conference on Plant Metabolism. Banff, Canada 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact this was an international conference on our group's discoveries in terpene biosynthesis. my presentation stimulated much discussion and led to new collaborative opportunities.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014