PhD ceremony: Ms. A.R. Rydén, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen
Thesis: Identification, characterisation and expression of early biosynthetic genes from Artemisia annua for the heterologous biosynthesis of dihydroartemisinic acid as a first step towards artemisinin production
Promotor(s): prof. O. Kayser, prof. W.J. Quax
Faculty: Mathematics and Natural Sciences
In her doctoral thesis Anna-Margareta Rydén describes the identification of the genes in Artemisia annua that are involved in the biosynthesis of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin, as well as the possibility of using these genes in the heterologous host S. cerevisiae.
A. annua, an annual herb, is a plant that is spread around the world in tempered and tropical areas. The plant produces artemisinin, which is anti-malarial drug that efficiently kills the malaria parasite without side effects for the patient. Normally, the levels of artemisinin found in the plant are low with a dry weight of between 0.2 and 0.8 %. An alternative way to deal with the shortage of artemisinin is to use microorganisms for production of the drug. The microorganism is then a so called heterologous expression system or heterologous host. This is only possible if we know which genes are involved in the biosynthesis of artemisinin in A. annua, where after we transfer these into a safe microorganism such as the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (S. cerevisiae). With this construction, Rydén could in principle produce the drug in a stable manner, controlled and economically in greater amounts.
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