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
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
Figure 1 | Part of the biosynthetic pathway of colchicine.
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:
Plant sciences
colchicine biosynthesis
flame lily Gloriosa superba
autumn crocuses Colchicum autumnale
specialized metabolic enzymes
biosynthetic pathway
plant biosynthesis
metabolically engineered organisms
inflammatory diseases
crop plant breeding
enantioselective synthesis
phenol-ring coupling
unprecedented molecular ring expansion reaction
tissue-specific transcriptomics data
metabolomics data
cytochrome P450 enzymes
Nicotiana benthamiana
benth benthi
activity-guided fractionation

Nature Magazine Indexed Subjects:
Plant sciences

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *