The Science of discovering Nature’s biosynthetic pathways: colchicine in the flame lily

Agenda: Share inventive, determined scientific experimentation

Whitehead Institute
July 2020 Monthly Roundup
wi.mit.edu
In the News: How the flame lily synthesizes a therapeutic natural product
Read a commentary in Nature by Institute Member Jing-Ke Weng on new research from Elizabeth Sattely’s lab at Stanford on how plants synthesize the medicinal compound colchicine and how this could help engineer organisms to produce colchicine more efficiently.

This flame lily is not a model plant like Arabidopsis thaliana or rice. Little is known about its genetic make-up, and no tools were available that would enable convenient genetic manipulations and analysis. Finding the gene set for colchicine biosynthesis in the total complement of G. superba genes was therefore like finding a needle in a haystack. This is a common problem for plant researchers

Nature Magazine July 22 2020
How the flame lily synthesizes a therapeutic natural product
Jing-Ke Weng
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01675-0
Figure 1 | Part of the biosynthetic pathway of colchicine. https://media.nature.com/lw800/magazine-assets/d41586-020-01675-0/d41586-020-01675-0_18192722.png
DOI: 10.1038/d41586-020-01675-0
The discovery of the biosynthetic pathway for colchicine, a medicine produced by plants, holds promise for the use of metabolic-engineering approaches in producing reliably high yields of this compound.

My Keywords:
colchicine
Biochemistry
Plant sciences
colchicine biosynthesis
flame lily Gloriosa superba
autumn crocuses Colchicum autumnale
specialized metabolic enzymes
1-phenethylisoquinoline
biosynthetic pathway
N-formyldemecolcine
plant biosynthesis
metabolically engineered organisms
arthritis
inflammatory diseases
microtubules
crop plant breeding
stereocentre
enantiomers
enantioselective synthesis
phenol-ring coupling
unprecedented molecular ring expansion reaction
tissue-specific transcriptomics data
metabolomics data
methyltransferases
cytochrome P450 enzymes
Nicotiana benthamiana
benth benthi
agro-infiltration
phenylalananine
tyrosine
activity-guided fractionation
transgenes

Nature Magazine Indexed Subjects:
Biochemistry https://www.nature.com/subjects/biochemistry
Plant sciences https://www.nature.com/subjects/plant-sciences

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