Natural Product Biosynthesis Unit

Shunji Takahashi
Unit Leader
Shunji Takahashi

Microorganism such as actinomycetes and filamentous fungi is a rich repository of valuable secondary metabolite. The understanding of biosynthetic mechanism is important to utilize microbial metabolites efficiently. Therefore we elucidate a key reaction of biosynthetic pathway by genetic and biochemical methods. We diversify microbial metabolites by modifying gene cluster and pathway engineering. In addition to the utilization of transcriptional regulators, we develop novel methods of activating biosynthetic gene cluster by small molecules, and create natural products. We construct microbial biosynthetic platform and efficiently produce valuable natural products using genetic resources from nature.


  • Elucidation of biosynthetic mechanism of microbial secondary metabolite
  • Production of natural products by gene activation
  • Construction of biosynthetic platform and creation of valuable compounds


A new sesquiterpene biosynthesis gene
Shinohara Y, Takahashi S, Osada H, Koyama Y.: Identification of a novel sesquiterpene biosynthetic machinery involved in astellolide biosynthesis.
Sci Rep, 6: 32865 (2016) PMID: 27628599 [ doi: 10.1038/srep32865 ]
New enzyme gene required for the formation of specific configurations of microbial secondary metabolites
Kato N, Nogawa T, Hirota H, Jang JH, Takahashi S, Ahn JS, Osada H.: A new enzyme involved in the control of the stereochemistry in the decalin formation during equisetin biosynthesis.
Biochem Biophys Res Commun, 460(2): 210-215 (2015) PMID: 25770422 [ doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2015.03.011 ]

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