Recent Posts

Natural Herbicide: Cyanobacterial antimetabolite inhibits the growth of prototrophic organisms (Nature Comms)

The shikimate pathway synthesizes aromatic amino acids in microorganisms and plants, and its absence in animals makes the shikimate pathway a common target for the development of herbicides. Brilisauer et al. 2019 isolated a novel compound from the cyanobacterium Synechococcus elongatus—7-deoxy-sedoheptulose…

Review: Computational approaches to design and test plant synthetic metabolic pathways (Plant Physiol)

As photosynthetic organisms, plants are desirable and potentially cost-effective chassis for the production of novel compounds, but they are also inherently metabolically complex. Synthetic metabolic pathways can also improve upon nature by making plants more metabolically efficient. Küken and Nikoloski…

Genome-scale fluxome of Synechococcus elongatus UTEX 2973 using transient 13C-labeling data (Plant Physiol)

Synechococcus elongates UTEX 2973 (also known as Synechococcus 2973) has the fastest doubling time of known cyanobacteria, completely replicating itself in just over two hours. This fast growth rate makes it an interesting platform for industrial applications. Hendry et al set out to understand what…

The Terpene Synthases of Red Algae Have a Bacterial Origin

The red algae (Rhodophyta), encompassing over 8,000 species, are the richest source of marine secondary metabolites. Among red algae, many genera produce terpenes, which constitute the largest class of secondary metabolites. Despite the rich diversity of terpenes in red algae, little is known about how…

Opinion: Capsaicinoids: Pungency beyond Capsicum (Trends Plant Sci)

You probably saw this article being discussed in your favorite news channel (in the UK, coverage spanned from the Daily Mail to the Guardian). In an Opinion article, Naves et al. discuss the genetics, biochemistry, ecology and health-benefits of capsaicinoids (the “heat” in chili pepper), and consider…

Interplay of auxin and MEcPP regulates adaptive growth (Nature Comms)

MEcPP, methylerythritol cyclophosphate, is an essential bifunctional plastidial metabolite that serves as a precursor of isoprenoids and is produced by the plastidial methylerythritol phosphate (MEP) pathway. Jiang et al. demonstrated that MEcPP controls adaptive growth by regulating auxin responses…

New imaging technique developed for the quantitative visualization of sucrose in plants

(Translated from the original) Regina Devrient Press and Public Relations Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research   Sucrose is the primary transport form of sugar in plants. It therefore plays an essential role as an energy source, but also as a signal generator under…

Colour bio-factories: Towards scale-up production of anthocyanins in plant cell cultures (Metabolic Engineering)

Anthocyanins are common plant pigments that provide dietary benefits, leading to an increase in their use as food coloring agents. However, purifying anthocyanins from current plant sources (such as waste grape skins, red cabbage, and berries) is expensive and creates a variable product. Modifying biosynthetic…

From Golden Rice to aSTARice: Bioengineering astaxanthin biosynthesis in rice endosperm (Molecular Plant)

Zu et al., have successfully harnessed the power of synthetic biology to increase the nutritional content of rice by overexpressing only four synthetic genes in rice endosperm. Here, the authors have created a colorful gradient of carotenoid-enriched rice by expressing two, three, and then four genes…