Jump to main content
Jump to site search
SCHEDULED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Maintenance work is planned for Monday 16 August 2021 from 07:00 to 23:59 (BST).

Website performance may be temporarily affected and you may not be able to access some PDFs or images. If this does happen, refreshing your web browser should resolve the issue. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.


Issue 12, 2021

Biosynthesis and synthetic biology of psychoactive natural products

Author affiliations

Abstract

Psychoactive natural products play an integral role in the modern world. The tremendous structural complexity displayed by such molecules confers diverse biological activities of significant medicinal value and sociocultural impact. Accordingly, in the last two centuries, immense effort has been devoted towards establishing how plants, animals, and fungi synthesize complex natural products from simple metabolic precursors. The recent explosion of genomics data and molecular biology tools has enabled the identification of genes encoding proteins that catalyze individual biosynthetic steps. Once fully elucidated, the “biosynthetic pathways” are often comparable to organic syntheses in elegance and yield. Additionally, the discovery of biosynthetic enzymes provides powerful catalysts which may be repurposed for synthetic biology applications, or implemented with chemoenzymatic synthetic approaches. In this review, we discuss the progress that has been made toward biosynthetic pathway elucidation amongst four classes of psychoactive natural products: hallucinogens, stimulants, cannabinoids, and opioids. Compounds of diverse biosynthetic origin – terpene, amino acid, polyketide – are identified, and notable mechanisms of key scaffold transforming steps are highlighted. We also provide a description of subsequent applications of the biosynthetic machinery, with an emphasis placed on the synthetic biology and metabolic engineering strategies enabling heterologous production.

Graphical abstract: Biosynthesis and synthetic biology of psychoactive natural products

Article information


Submitted
18 Jan 2021
First published
28 Apr 2021

Chem. Soc. Rev., 2021,50, 6950-7008
Article type
Review Article

Biosynthesis and synthetic biology of psychoactive natural products

C. S. Jamieson, J. Misa, Y. Tang and J. M. Billingsley, Chem. Soc. Rev., 2021, 50, 6950 DOI: 10.1039/D1CS00065A

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.


Social activity

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements