Natural Product Biosynthesis Research Unit

Main Research Fields :
Complex Systems
Related Research Fields :
Interdisciplinary Science & Engineering / Biological Sciences
Keywords :
Biosynthesis of natural product / Microorganism / Utilization of sleeping genes / Regulation of gene expression / Biosynthetic platform
Project :
Integrative Symbiological Solutions / Metabolic Genome Engineering

Exploring microbial gene resources and elucidating biosynthetic mechanisms to produce valuable compounds

Unit Leader

Shunji Takahashi D.Sci.

Shunji Takahashi

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D.Sci., Chiba University
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Tokyo
Research Associate, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Kentucky, USA
Postdoctoral Researcher, Antibiotics Laboratory, RIKEN
Senior Research Scientist, Antibiotics Laboratory, RIKEN
Team Head, Cheminformatics and Compound Creation Team
Unit Leader, Natural Product Biosynthesis Research Unit, RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science (-current)


RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science
Natural Product Biosynthesis Research Unit


2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198 Japan
#403 Chemical Biology Building

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Natural Product Biosynthesis Research Unit
Microorganisms such as actinomycetes and filamentous fungi are a rich repository of valuable secondary metabolites. The understanding of biosynthetic mechanisms is important to utilize microbial metabolites efficiently. For this reason we elucidate a key reactions of biosynthetic pathways by genetic and biochemical methods. We diversify microbial metabolites by modifying gene clusters and pathway engineering. In addition to utilizing transcriptional regulators, we develop novel methods to activate biosynthetic gene clusters by small molecules and create natural products. We are constructing microbial biosynthetic platforms and efficiently produce valuable natural products using genetic resources from nature.


  1. Elucidation of biosynthetic machinery of bioactive microbial metabolites by genetic, biochemical and structural analyses
  2. Evaluation of transcriptional regulators associated with secondary metabolite gene clusters
  3. Production of novel secondary metabolites from unknown gene clusters unveiled by genome sequence analysis
  4. Development of small molecules that enhance production of secondary metabolites
  5. Construction of biosynthetic platforms using microorganisms
From genetic resources to chemical resources
Identification of biosynthetic gene clusters of valuable microbial metabolites