Adaptation of heterologous cytochrome P450s to plant expression and membrane environment for improvement of biocatalytic function

A new DFG-funded project (SH 1721/1-1) has started in 2023 in the Plant Biotechnology and Metabolic Engineering group headed by Prof. Dr. Warzecha. Dr. Iurii Sheludko is the principal investigator of the project.


Classic industrial chemical processes often use hazardous substances, are energy-consuming, depend on unrecoverable materials and generate toxic waste products. In contrast, enzymes catalyze the synthesis of molecules with extraordinary selectivity and under mild reaction conditions. In this context, the growing demand for inexpensive and sustainable production of small molecules with valuable activities can be realized via the junction of heterologous enzymes and substrates in biological synthetic systems.

Plants provide a multifunctional toolbox for the heterologous expression of native membrane-bound cytochrome P450 monooxygenases (CYPs), possessing several advantages over microbial cell factories. The aim of the project is the optimization of the conditions for heterologous expression of eukaryotic CYPs and their adaptation to efficient functioning in different plant membrane surroundings for the development of a platform for scaled oxidative biotransformations of valuable prodrug molecules of synthetic and natural origin.

Development of the plant-based platform for enzymatic synthesis of chemicals, which are used daily by millions of people worldwide, brings overall economic, social and environmental benefits. The new approach can substitute the traditionally used chemical techniques in compliance with the principles of Green Chemistry and integrate economics with environmental and social aspects.

Postdoc researcher Dr. Iurii (Yuriy) Sheludko, the principal investigator of the project, carried out research on the CYPs expression in plant systems funded by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (HERMES, 2015 – 2018) in TU Darmstadt and continues investigations in this area. The results are presented in the recent publications.

Yuriy V Sheludko