How plants make oxindole drugs

Lead Research Organisation: University of East Anglia
Department Name: Graduate Office

Abstract

Plants produce complex molecules called natural products. These biologically active molecules have important agricultural and pharmaceutical applications: for example, many natural products are used as antibiotics or anticancer agents. The overall goal of our group is to understand how plants make these molecules. Reconstitution of natural product pathways in appropriate host organisms, a "synthetic biology" approach, can allow rapid elucidation of these metabolic pathways and provide access to these compounds. This process of identifying these enzymes has been challenging for plant natural product pathways, but our group has been successful in using transcriptomic approaches to rapidly identify new plant biosynthetic enzymes.
In this project the student will identify candidate biosynthetic genes for a group of natural products called alkaloids in several species of medicinal plants. The student will use available transcriptomic data to perform these searches. The student will then perform a variety of biochemical experiments, such as expressing these genes in the model plant Nicotiana benthamiana to determine the function of these enzymes. Later in the project, the student will perform more in-depth biochemical analysis to better understand how these enzymes work.

Publications

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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
BB/M011216/1 01/10/2015 30/09/2023
2060654 Studentship BB/M011216/1 01/10/2018 05/05/2019 Dagny Grzech