EA2106 BBV, Biomolecules and Plant Biotechnology

For more 25 years, EA2106 Biomolecules and Plant Biotechnology (BBV) research programs aimed at understanding plant specialized metabolisms at physiological, biochemical, molecular and cellular biology levels, with a particular focus on the metabolism of Monoterpenoid Indole Alkaloid (MIA) in the Madagascar periwinkle and related plants. The Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) remains the main commercial source for the anticancer vincristine, vinblastine and several hemi-synthetic alkaloid pharmaceuticals. Despite numerous years spent on the study of this metabolism, the MIA biosynthetic pathway is still not entirely known as well as the modalities of its in planta regulation.  A large area of our research thus concern the study of isoprenoid biosynthesis with a focus on the terpenoid precursors of MIA and the global architecture of alkaloid metabolism in periwinkle including identification of critical enzymatic steps, organization at cellular and tissue levels of the metabolic pathway and its regulation.

In parallel of these fundamental approaches,  we have been developping for several years plant cell systems to produce specialized metabolites of interest. Most of these projects are in collaboration with industrial partners.  In addition, we have open our interest on specific yeast systems which offers also a larger panel of biotechnological applications. In particular, our attention have been focused on Candida species that have been, for some of them, described with a biotechnological potential. To this end, a large part of our activity consisted in development of molecular tools to permit the genetic manipulation of these yeast species for further biotechnological applications.

Our investigation topics have been enlarged to explore the physiological roles in planta of specialized metabolites in order to have a better understanding of their regulation. To this end we developed models of plant–pathogens interaction that led us to explore 1) the involvement of methyl jasmonate and cytokinin signaling and 2) the specific phenylpropanoid metabolism involved in plant defence mechanisms. These approaches are also favored because genomic data are now available and because some of these specialized metabolites could be isolated, purified and used for human health as pharmaceutical, cosmetic, insecticide or fungicide compounds or food complement.
Thus research areas of our team are divided in 6 domains which are enriched by our involvement in botanical expertise.

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