Novel tools for the engineering of secondary metabolite pathways in plants

Research output: Contribution to conferenceConference articleScientific


We developed a novel technology platform that allows the high throughput selecting and testing of genes involved in the production of plant secondary metabolites. It can be applied (i) to enhance the production of marketed high-value pharmaceuticals in plant cell cultures (ii) to develop reliable and reproducible sources of plant-derived molecules with potential pharmaceutical value, and (iii) to increase the chemical diversity of plant based molecules through Combinatorial Biochemistry. We designed this novel approach using tobacco BY-2 cell culture as a model system, in which a cDNA-AFLP based transcript profiling technique is linked with targeted metabolite profiling of these cells to simultaneously identify genes involved in nicotine alkaloid metabolism on a genome-wide scale. A few examples will be given of how overexpressing some novel genes can be used either to tailor cell cultures to enhance the production of nicotine alkaloids or to direct biosynthetic pathways in related plant species. Furthermore, these novel genes may play an important role in secondary metabolism as master regulators in general. The great advantage of our technology is its universal application to any plant or cell culture of interest (e.g. rare medicinal plants) without pre-existing gene sequence databases.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2004
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventKazusa DNA Research Institute Workshop Tomato: A New Model Plant in the Genomics Era - Chiba, Japan
Duration: 22 Mar 200423 Mar 2004


WorkshopKazusa DNA Research Institute Workshop Tomato

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    Oksman-Caldentey, K-M., & Inze, D. (2004). Novel tools for the engineering of secondary metabolite pathways in plants. Paper presented at Kazusa DNA Research Institute Workshop Tomato, Chiba, Japan.