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Research Abstracts Online
January 2010 - March 2011

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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
College of Biological Sciences
Medical School
Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics

PI: Claudia Schmidt-Dannert

Biosynthesis of Terpenoids

Terpenoids represent the largest group of natural products. Many of these compounds have important biological activities. These researchers are specifically interested in the biosynthesis of sesquiterpenoids. The chemical scaffold of these compounds is formed by terpene cyclases that catalyze a series of complex cyclization and rearrangement reactions. The active site of these enzymes functions as chaperones that guide folding and cyclization of the substrate. The group used structural modeling to understand and manipulate substrate cyclization by terpene synthases. The goal was to engineer terpene synthase variants that synthesize specific terpene scaffolds that are of interest for the production of biologically active terpenoids in engineered microbial cells. In addition, they conducted genomic studies to identify novel genes involved in the biosynthesis of bioactive terpenoids.

Group Members

Fernando Lopez Gallego, Research Associate
Grayson Wawrzyn, Staff