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Project parts of the contributing partners

St. John's wort flowers with dark glands (Foto: P. Rizzo, IPK)
St. John's wort flowers with dark glands (Foto: P. Rizzo, IPK)

Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research, IPK in Gatersleben

At the IPK Hypericum perforatum-lines with different genetic background are cultivated and genetically characterized. The work of the apomixis research group will mainly focus on genome and transcriptome analysis of flowers. Recently, a „glandless placental tissue” (GPT) phenotype was described. Genetic subtraction between glanded and glandless placental tissues will be performed using RNAseq in order to identify genes (or genetic networks) putatively involved in hypericin biosynthesis and dark gland organogenesis. By maximizing the available background genetic diversity going into the comparative analysis, statistical analyses can be used to identify common factors within glanded versus glandless tissues.

Department Cell and Metabolic Biology, IPB

Aim of the work of the department Cell and Metabolic Biology is to isolate intact glandular cavities from leaves, and to sequence the RNA for generating a de novo transcriptome. The search for candidate genes, which encode for enzymes that play a role in the biosynthetic pathways of hyperforin and hypericin, is done by differential expression analysis compared to glandless tissue. The focus is on putative prenyltransferases and polyketide-synthases, because they are known to play the central role in these biosynthetic pathways.

Technical University Braunschweig

The Beerhouse group is a leading partner in biosynthesis investigations of prominent Hypericum constituents. Recently, a hyperforin derivative with a methylated nucleus, named hyperpolyphyllirin, has been isolated by the Wessjohann group from H. polyphyllum. So far, no polyketide synthase forming this type of skeleton has been detected. Biosynthetic studies will therefore start with this altered scaffold and later involve transcriptome mining and functional transcript analysis.

1H-NMR spectra of Hypericum samples
1H-NMR spectra of Hypericum samples

Department of Bioorganic Chemistry, IPB

Within the department of Bioorganic Chemistry metabolite profiles of defined extracts from different Hypericum lines are recorded by analytical methods like mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. After the identification of potential bioactive metabolites by correlation analysis our group focuses on the characterization, isolation and structure elucidation of relevant metabolites from Hypericum extracts, as well as on the further development of our activity-correlation-analysis tools (reverse metabolomics) with the Neumann group (IPB).

University of Oslo

The research of the Pahnke Lab focuses on basic molecular mechanisms and new treatment options for neurodegenerative diseases with special emphasis on Alzheimer’s disease. During the recent years, we were able to uncover the importance of ABCC1 transporter proteins for the clearance of toxic peptides from the brain. The effect of St. John’s wort extracts will be now evaluated in different assays.

Bioinformatics: IPB and University of Halle

All data obtained during this project are collected in the research group Mass Spectrometry and Bioinformatics  for analysis by bioinformatics and biostatistics methods to detect correlations between chemical constituents and their biological activity. The relation between metabolites and genes will also be in the focus. The group is supported by Prof. Posch, head of the department Bioinformatics and Pattern Recognition at University of Halle-Wittenberg. Subsequently, the detected metabolites are going to be characterized regarding their function and participation in metabolic pathways.

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This page was last modified on 06.04.2016.

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