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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Research Project #441480

Research Project: The Extraordinary Connections Between the Catabolism of Flavonols and Benzoate Metabolism

Location: Chemistry Research

Project Number: 6036-11210-002-004-N
Project Type: Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jan 1, 2022
End Date: Dec 31, 2024

Our recent collaborative research has brought to light that the peroxidation of flavonols generates a variety of benzoates, and that plants – and likely some bacteria- have captured this chemistry to create metabolic nodes towards the biosynthesis of vital aromatic precursors. Converging evidence from comparative genomics, gene network modeling and biochemical genetics indicates that peroxidases, glycosyltransferases and previously uncharacterized soluble metabolite carriers are central to these processes. Our proposed research aims to identify and characterize these enzymes and carriers and determine how plants use the steps they perform to control the production of certain metabolites. This research will pioneer synthetic biology strategies to manipulate biosynthetic fluxes and pools of aromatic metabolites.

The cooperator will use comparative genomics and metabolic reconstruction to identify candidate genes in multiple species potentially involved in the processes of interest. The cooperator will isolate genetic tools in Arabidopsis and tomato, while ARS isolates similar tools in maize. The cooperator will perform in vitro enzyme and binding assays on select enzymes. ARS will conduct GC-MS and LC-MS of analytes extracted from the genetic tools and used in heavy isotope labeling studies to examine pathways.