Specialized metabolites

Specialized metabolites

Coordination: Grégory Mouille / Adnane Boualem

18 teams + 2 scientific platforms

Plants produce an amazing diversity of specialized metabolites (MetSpe) playing key physiological and ecological functions, hence ensuring their survival in fluctuating environments. Some of these MetSpe act as poisonous or repellent molecules to combat plant pests, diseases or competitors. Others can attract beneficial organisms. Many MetSpe are also essential components of the human and animal diets. The SPS “Specialized Metabolites” flagship project aims to better characterize above and belowground MetSpe to breed for crops with an enhanced capacity to combat pests and diseases, attract beneficial organisms and cope with changing environment. The more systematic use of natural MetSpe in plant protection will lead to improved agricultural practices, with lower footprint on the environment, safer conditions for the producers and healthier products for the consumers, hence a more sustainable agriculture.

During the 2019-2023 period, members of this project have addressed several research questions: (i) the identification of MetSpe that confer superior resistance against bioagressors and allelopathic characteristics against weeds; (ii) the identification of the molecular mechanisms controlling MetSpe production through the isolation of genes that control MetSpe biosynthesis and development of MetSpe-producing tissues and organs; and (iii) the engineering of plant lines with improved MetSpe-based defenses.

Moreover, researchers from this consortium are increasingly involved in student training in the field of specialized metabolites in Master 1 and Master 2 (national and international) and in international Summer Schools (minimum once a year the last four years).

The SPS “Specialized Metabolites” flagship project is divided in five sub-projects covering most if not all fields/teams of SPS interested in this topic.

SPS has largely contributed to build an interdisciplinary program of the Université Paris-Saclay, called Metabiodivex. G. Mouille, one of the coordinators of the SPS “Specialized Metabolites” flagship project, is one of the three Metabiodivex coordinators and several SPS teams are involved in this initiative. The Metabiodivex consortium is dedicated to the study of the specialized metabolism of living beings, covering, connecting and combining varied scientific disciplines (in particular biology, chemistry and pharmacy). Unique in Europe, Metabiodivex supports multidisciplinary research projects promoting the discovery of new specialized metabolites, the study of their structural and functional properties, their production and valorization.

Modification date: 28 November 2023 | Publication date: 24 September 2023 | By: MJS