Biosynthesis of the antimalarial artemisinin, synthetic studies towards the total synthesis of isotopically-labelled suspected biosynthetic intermediates
Dr Brown, Geoffrey Duncan (Principal investigator)
Mr Hui (Co-Investigator)
Other Funding Scheme
Artemisinin is the most promising new anti-malarial drug to be discovered in the past two decades. It is a natural product currently obtained from the Chinese plant Artemisinin annua; its chemical synthesis is complex and not economically viable. Previous work has suggested a plausible biosynthetic route to artemisinin. The current project aims to synthesize the putatative intermediates on this pathway incorporating stable isotope labels at designated positions. Once synthesized these labelled intermediates will be fed to the plants and NMR analysis used to establish direct incorporation into artemisinin, thereby defining the biosynthetic route to artemisinin. This information will then prove invaluable to those involved in improving the efficiency of artemisinin production from field grown plants.