Decoding the chemical language of plants
Seminar by Dr. Tomas Pluskal
Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry
Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague, Czech Republic
Biochemistry of Plant Specialized Metabolites
When: May 18, 2023, 10:30-11:30
Although plants are an incredibly rich source of pharmaceutically relevant specialized metabolites, biosynthetic pathway elucidation in plants has proven challenging. Unlike bacteria and many fungal species that contain biosynthetic operons, the genes of plant biosynthetic pathways typically scatter randomly across their genomes, making pathway discovery via genome mining nearly impossible. My lab is developing generalized workflows for connecting biosynthetic gene sequences (RNAseq data) to their downstream metabolites (LC-MS data). For this, I will discuss a “top-down” approach based on correlating expression levels of enzymes with metabolite abundance across a large plant family, and a “bottom-up” approach based on predicting the substrate specificity and catalytic function of individual biosynthetic enzymes directly from their sequences using self-supervised deep learning.