Mary Snow Lecture: Harnessing plant metabolic diversity for food and health applications
Plants produce a wealth of natural products. The vast majority of the natural product diversity encoded by plant genomes remains as yet untapped. The explosion in plant genome sequence data, coupled with affordable DNA synthesis and new DNA assembly technologies, now offer unprecedented opportunities to harness the full breadth of plant natural product diversity and generate novel molecules in foreign hosts using synthetic biology approaches. The recent discovery that genes for the synthesis of different kinds of natural products are organised in biosynthetic gene clusters in plant genomes opens up opportunities for mining for new pathways and chemistries. This advance, in combination with powerful new transient plant expression technology, is enabling the development of rational strategies to produce known and new-to-nature chemicals tailored for food, health and industrial applications. This presentation will focus on our work on developing a translational synthetic biology pipeline for rapid preparative access to plant natural products and novel analogs using synthetic biology approaches, focusing in particular on the elucidation of the pathway for saponin vaccine adjuvants from the Chilean soapbark tree. Our results enable for the first time the production of soapbark vaccine adjuvants in a heterologous expression system and open the way for new routes to access and engineer natural and new-to-nature immunostimulants.
Date: 30 May 2024, 13:00 (Thursday, 6th week, Trinity 2024)
Venue: Biology South Parks Road, South Parks Road OX1 3RB
Venue Details: Large Lecture Theatre
Speaker: Professor Anne Osbourn (John Innes Centre, Norwich)
Organising department: Department of Biology
Organiser contact email address:
Booking required?: Not required
Audience: Members of the University only
Editor: Debra Ashby