Areas of Interest
Non-ribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) pathways exist in many bacteria and fungi, where enzyme complexes produce secondary metabolites of great structural diversity. Many NRPS products are antibiotics, anticancer agents and immunosuppressants, with great pharmaceutical potential. Studies of related enzymes and pathways can provide useful information on their biosynthesis. Recently we have identified the NRPS biosynthetic pathway for malbrancheamide in Malbranchea aurantiaca RRC 1813, utilizing L-tryptophan and L-proline to produce natural compounds bearing bicyclo[2.2.2]diazaotane group. The gene cluster expresses seven proteins, which include several enzymes of great interest, intramolecular Diels-Alderase for example. Identification, biochemical and structural characterization of these enzymes, will help to elucidate possible reaction mechanisms, as well as guiding protein engineering and chemoenzymatic synthesis of related compounds.
Mentor: Dr. Janet Smith
Honors & Awards
2014 The Anthony and Lillian Lu Award