Speaker: Prof. Liang Zhao-Xun

Time: 4:30-5:30 PM, 15 Sept. , 2023

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library

Enzyme discovery from cryptic biosynthetic pathways

Topic: Enzyme discovery from cryptic biosynthetic pathways

Speaker: Prof. Liang Zhao-Xun

Time: 4:30-5:30 PM, 15 Sept. , 2023

Venue: Room 111, Lynn Library


Microorganisms rely on scaffold-forming and tailoring enzymes from biosynthetic pathways to construct secondary metabolites of remarkable structural complexity. The existence of a surprisingly large number of pathways encoded by cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs), combined with the underappreciated functional diversity of the biosynthetic enzymes, provides abundant opportunities for the discovery of enzymes with novel functions. In this talk, I will introduce briefly our recent endeavors aimed at decoding cryptic polyketide and non-ribosomal peptide pathways, leading to the discovery of unusual enzymes and intriguing enzymatic transformations. These findings yield insights into natural product biosynthesis and unveil enzymes with promising biocatalytic applications. I will also highlight the complexities and challenges involved in harnessing the full potential of cryptic biosynthetic pathways. By addressing these challenges, we hope to pave the way for more efficient and effective exploration of these pathways, opening up a captivating avenue for enzyme discovery.


Zhao-Xun Liang obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in organic chemistry from Lanzhou University in China. He did his Ph.D. studies in Chemistry at Northwestern University, where he conducted research under the guidance of Brian Hoffman. He was a postdoctoral fellow with Judith Klinman at the University of California, Berkeley before joining the School of Biological Sciences of Nanyang Technological University (NTU) of Singapore as an assistant professor. He is currently a professor at NTU working in the fields of enzyme discovery and synthetic microbiology.    

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