Center for Synthetic Biology bioergy

Copenhagen, Denmark

Center for Synthetic Biology bioergy

Copenhagen, Denmark
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Clausen M.,Copenhagen University | Clausen M.,Research Center for Plant Plasticity | Kannangara R.M.,Copenhagen University | Kannangara R.M.,Center for Synthetic Biology Bioergy | And 16 more authors.
Plant Journal | Year: 2015

The biosynthetic pathway for the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin in sorghum has previously been shown to involve the sequential production of (E)- and (Z)-p-hydroxyphenylacetaldoxime. In this study we used microsomes prepared from wild-type and mutant sorghum or transiently transformed Nicotiana benthamiana to demonstrate that CYP79A1 catalyzes conversion of tyrosine to (E)-p-hydroxyphenylacetaldoxime whereas CYP71E1 catalyzes conversion of (E)-p-hydroxyphenylacetaldoxime into the corresponding geometrical Z-isomer as required for its dehydration into a nitrile, the next intermediate in cyanogenic glucoside synthesis. Glucosinolate biosynthesis is also initiated by the action of a CYP79 family enzyme, but the next enzyme involved belongs to the CYP83 family. We demonstrate that CYP83B1 from Arabidopsis thaliana cannot convert the (E)-p-hydroxyphenylacetaldoxime to the (Z)-isomer, which blocks the route towards cyanogenic glucoside synthesis. Instead CYP83B1 catalyzes the conversion of the (E)-p-hydroxyphenylacetaldoxime into an S-alkyl-thiohydroximate with retention of the configuration of the E-oxime intermediate in the final glucosinolate core structure. Numerous microbial plant pathogens are able to detoxify Z-oximes but not E-oximes. The CYP79-derived E-oximes may play an important role in plant defense. Significance Statement Cyanogenic glucosides and glucosinolates serve multiple functions including plant defense. Here we elucidate the biochemical basis for bifurcation of their biosynthetic pathways and suggest that switching between these biosynthetic pathways gives flexibility against specific fungal and insect attackers. © 2015 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Gallage N.J.,Copenhagen University | Gallage N.J.,Research Center Plant Plasticity | Gallage N.J.,Center for Synthetic Biology Bioergy | Hansen E.H.,4 Evolva A S | And 18 more authors.
Nature Communications | Year: 2014

Vanillin is a popular and valuable flavour compound. It is the key constituent of the natural vanilla flavour obtained from cured vanilla pods. Here we show that a single hydratase/lyase type enzyme designated vanillin synthase (VpVAN) catalyses direct conversion of ferulic acid and its glucoside into vanillin and its glucoside, respectively. The enzyme shows high sequence similarity to cysteine proteinases and is specific to the substitution pattern at the aromatic ring and does not metabolize caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid as demonstrated by coupled transcription/translation assays. VpVAN localizes to the inner part of the vanilla pod and high transcript levels are found in single cells located a few cell layers from the inner epidermis. Transient expression of VpVAN in tobacco and stable expression in barley in combination with the action of endogenous alcohol dehydrogenases and UDP-glucosyltransferases result in vanillyl alcohol glucoside formation from endogenous ferulic acid. A gene encoding an enzyme showing 71% sequence identity to VpVAN was identified in another vanillin-producing plant species Glechoma hederacea and was also shown to be a vanillin synthase as demonstrated by transient expression in tobacco. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved.

Frisch T.,Copenhagen University | Frisch T.,Research Center for Plant Plasticity | Agerbirk N.,Copenhagen University | Davis S.,Wright State University | And 13 more authors.
Journal of Chemical Ecology | Year: 2014

Specialized metabolites in plants influence their interactions with other species, including herbivorous insects, which may adapt to tolerate defensive phytochemicals. The chemical arsenal of Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard, Brassicaceae) includes the glucosinolate sinigrin and alliarinoside, a hydroxynitrile glucoside with defensive properties to glucosinolate-adapted specialists. To further our understanding of the chemical ecology of A. petiolata, which is spreading invasively in North America, we investigated the metabolite profile and here report a novel natural product, petiolatamide, which is structurally related to sinigrin. In an extensive study of North American populations of A. petiolata, we demonstrate that genetic population differences as well as developmental regulation contribute to variation in the leaf content of petiolatamide, alliarinoside, sinigrin, and a related glycoside. We furthermore demonstrate widely different metabolic fates of these metabolites after ingestion in the glucosinolate-adapted herbivore Pieris rapae, ranging from simple passage over metabolic conversion to sequestration. The differences in metabolic fate were influenced by plant β-glucosidases, insect-mediated degradation, and the specificity of the larval gut transport system mediating sequestration. © 2014, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

Pateraki I.,Copenhagen University | Andersen-Ranberg J.,Copenhagen University | Andersen-Ranberg J.,Center for Synthetic Biology bioergy | Hamberger B.,Copenhagen University | And 8 more authors.
Plant Physiology | Year: 2014

Forskolin, a complex labdane diterpenoid found in the root of Coleus forskohlii (Lamiaceae), has received attention for its broad range of pharmacological activities, yet the biosynthesis has not been elucidated. We detected forskolin in the root cork of C. forskohlii in a specialized cell type containing characteristic structures with histochemical properties consistent with oil bodies. Organelle purification and chemical analysis confirmed the localization of forskolin and of its simplest diterpene precursor backbone, (13R) manoyl oxide, to the oil bodies. The labdane diterpene backbone is typically synthesized by two successive reactions catalyzed by two distinct classes of diterpene synthases. We have recently described the identification of a small gene family of diterpene synthase candidates (CfTPSs) in C. forskohlii. Here, we report the functional characterization of four CfTPSs using in vitro and in planta assays. CfTPS2, which synthesizes the intermediate copal-8-ol diphosphate, in combination with CfTPS3 resulted in the stereospecific formation of (13R) manoyl oxide, while the combination of CfTPS1 and CfTPS3 or CfTPS4 led to formation of miltiradiene, precursor of abietane diterpenoids in C. forskohlii. Expression profiling and phylogenetic analysis of the CfTPS family further support the functional diversification and distinct roles of the individual diterpene synthases and the involvement of CfTPS1 to CfTPS4 in specialized metabolism and of CfTPS14 and CfTPS15 in general metabolism. Our findings pave the way toward the discovery of the remaining components of the pathway to forskolin, likely localized in this specialized cell type, and support a role of oil bodies as storage organelles for lipophilic bioactive metabolites. © 2014 American Society of Plant Biologists. All rights reserved.

Mellor S.B.,Copenhagen University | Mellor S.B.,Center for Synthetic Biology Bioergy | Nielsen A.Z.,Copenhagen University | Nielsen A.Z.,Center for Synthetic Biology Bioergy | And 9 more authors.
ACS Chemical Biology | Year: 2016

Cytochrome P450s (P450s) are key enzymes in the synthesis of bioactive natural products in plants. Efforts to harness these enzymes for in vitro and whole-cell production of natural products have been hampered by difficulties in expressing them heterologously in their active form, and their requirement for NADPH as a source of reducing power. We recently demonstrated targeting and insertion of plant P450s into the photosynthetic membrane and photosynthesis-driven, NADPH-independent P450 catalytic activity mediated by the electron carrier protein ferredoxin. Here, we report the fusion of ferredoxin with P450 CYP79A1 from the model plant Sorghum bicolor, which catalyzes the initial step in the pathway leading to biosynthesis of the cyanogenic glucoside dhurrin. Fusion with ferredoxin allows CYP79A1 to obtain electrons for catalysis by interacting directly with photosystem I. Furthermore, electrons captured by the fused ferredoxin moiety are directed more effectively toward P450 catalytic activity, making the fusion better able to compete with endogenous electron sinks coupled to metabolic pathways. The P450-ferredoxin fusion enzyme obtains reducing power solely from its fused ferredoxin and outperforms unfused CYP79A1 in vivo. This demonstrates greatly enhanced electron transfer from photosystem I to CYP79A1 as a consequence of the fusion. The fusion strategy reported here therefore forms the basis for enhanced partitioning of photosynthetic reducing power toward P450-dependent biosynthesis of important natural products. © 2016 American Chemical Society.

Pateraki I.,Copenhagen University | Pateraki I.,Center for Synthetic Biology bioergy | Heskes A.M.,Copenhagen University | Heskes A.M.,Center for Synthetic Biology bioergy | And 2 more authors.
Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology | Year: 2015

Plants have evolved the capacity to produce a striking array of specialised metabolites. Terpenoids are the oldest and most diverse class of such compounds and have attracted interest for industrial and pharmaceutical applications. The development of biotechnological alternatives for their production is the focus of intense research. Photosynthetic systems provide new strategies for autotrophic metabolic engineering. Focusing on cytochromes P450, involved in the functionalisation of the core terpene molecules, this review highlights the latest approaches in this field and looks towards recent discoveries that have the potential to shape the future of terpenoid bioengineering. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.

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