Björn Robert Hamberger
Department of Plant Biology and Biotechnology/Section for Plant Biochemistry
1871 Frederiksberg C
The world’s best chemists are green: plants for the future
Plants produce a stunning array of specialised metabolites, of which terpenoids are the oldest and most diverse class. We are using next generation sequencing to crack the transcriptomes of plants accumulating diterpenoids (complex twenty-carbon backbone molecules) with pharmaceutical properties such as anti-cancer, anti-malaria and contraceptive activities.
Mining deep sequence inventories has accelerated our discovery of the target plant pathways and we are currently building the “terpenome toolbox” of functional parts, mostly diterpene synthases and cytochromes P450. These parts are used to engineer biotechnological hosts for the production of the complex target molecules.
Here, our activities are centred on the moss Physcomitrella patens, which is the only known plant not requiring diterpenoid phytohormones for growth and development. An engineered biochemical clean background, efficient genomic editing through homologous recombination, presence of all typical plant organelles in moss cells and the possibility of industrial scale growth in tanks driven only by CO2 and sunlight make this moss a most promising non-conventional production platform for high-value plant derived metabolites.
This project is undertaken in collaboration with Henrik Toft Simonsen and the following international collaborations: Prof. Jörg Bohlmann (University of British Columbia), Prof. Toshiyuki Ohnishi (Shizuoka University, Japan).
Home page and list of publications
Project home page Plant Pathway Discovery: Bioactive Diterpenoids