Recently, Prof. ZHOU Yongjin from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences was invited to deliver a commentary about current status and prospects of synthesizing natural and non-natural terpenoids by using synthetic biology and directed evolution.
This commentary first introduced and discussed the research article about non-natural terpenoids biosynthesis, which was published in the same issue by Prof. Sotirios C. Kampranis from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.
Then it pointed out that synthetic biology could not only improve the synthesis efficiency of natural terpenoids, it could also be used to expand the nature product portfolio by synthesizing non-natural compounds, which would provide more options for drug discovery and even high-quality biofuels.
Moreover, the commentary proposed a focus on future research directions, including obtaining more other terpenoids, further improving selectivity without sacrificing enzyme catalytic efficiency, and systematically constructing microbial cell factories for enhanced production.
Published in Nature Chem Biol., this commentary paper will draw attention from academia and industry to further explore the potential and challenges of synthetic biology. (Text by YANG Shan)
Synthesis of non-natural terpenoids (Image by ZHOU Yongjin)