Summer Research Internship
Project 30:Metabolic regulation and engineering of medicinal plants
Release time:2017-10-12 Read the number:4660

Contact Information

Prof.  Kexuan Tang

Email: /


Asso. Prof. Qifang Pan


Project Description and Objectives

China has a great availability of medicinal plants. Our project mainly focuses on metabolic regulation and the engineering of medicinal plants, such as Artemisia annua and Catharanthus roseus. Among them A. annua has obtained great attention due to the antimalarial agents: artemisin and its derivatives. Malaria is one of the most serious health problems in human history and was responsible for more than 600,000 deaths last year. Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are recommended by WHO as the best choice for acute malaria as it has saved millions of lives in Africa. The Chinese pharmacologist Youyou Tu received the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for her contribution to the artemisinin isolation. Moreover, artemisinin and its derivatives have been found to have antiviral, anticancer, and antischistosomal activities, which makes artemisinin a promising natural multifunctional product. Plants of A. annua are the main commercial source of artemisinin. Unfortunately, the supply is restricted by the low amounts of artemisinin at a range of 0.1%-1 % dry leaf weight of A. annua, which results in a high cost of this effective product that most of the malarial victims in Africa cannot afford.

In order to improve the artemisinin content in A. annua by reducing its production cost, our project focuses on metabolic engineering of A. annua plants using three main strategies: overexpressing artemisinin biosynthetic pathway key enzyme genes in A. annua, blocking artemisinin biosynthesis competitive pathway key enzyme genes and transcriptional regulation of artemisinin biosynthesis.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Basic knowledge of molecular biology.

  • Preferred: Experience in plant biotechnology.


Main Tasks

Obtain an artemisinin-high-producing transgenic A. annua plant by metabolic engineering strategies.

Finish a research report.

Give one presentation (experiment design, progress and results).





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