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Natalia Dudareva


  • Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry

Horticulture and Landscape Architecture 

  • Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry

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Area of Expertise:  Plant biochemistry and molecular biology

Plants have exploited the language of small chemicals for interacting with their environment more extensively than any other types of living organisms. An amazing diversity of volatile molecules released by plants from all tissues play essential roles in their growth, development, reproduction, defense, and communication, and influence atmospheric chemistry and climate. They are also used by humans as flavors, fragrances, biofuels, insecticides and pharmaceuticals. Thus, understanding the plant chemical language is crucial for a wide range of biological, agricultural, and industrial applications.

Research in the Dudareva laboratory focuses on understanding of biochemical and molecular mechanisms controlling the formation of primary and secondary (phenylpropanoid and terpenoid) metabolites in plants using the power of genetic and biochemical approaches combined with metabolic flux analysis and modeling. Our interdisciplinary program addresses fundamental questions including:

  • Elucidating the molecular architecture and dynamics of phenylalanine biosynthesis in plants.
  • Deciphering the complex terpenoid metabolic network and its regulation.
  • Discovering the biochemical pathways leading to benzoic acid formation.
  • Identification of biomolecular processes involved in release of plant volatiles into the atmosphere.
  • Deciphering molecular mechanisms involved in plant-plant and inter-organ communication.

Selected Publications

Boachon, B., Lynch, J. H., Ray, S., Yuan, J., Caldo, K., Junker, R. R., . . . Doudareva, N. (2019). Natural fumigation as a mechanism for volatile transport between flower organs. Nature Chemical Biology, (15), 583-588.

Qian, Y., Lynch, J. H., Guo, L., Rhodes, D., Morgan, J. A., & Doudareva, N. (2019). Completion of the cytosolic post-chorismate phenylalanine biosynthetic pathway in plants. Nature Communications, 10, 15.

Yahyaa, M., Berim, A., Nawade, B., Ibdah, M., Doudareva, N., & Ibdah, M. (2019). Biosynthesis of methyleugenol and methylisoeugenol in Daucus carota leaves: Characterization of eugenol/isoeugenol synthase and O-Methyltransferase. Phytochemistry, 159, 179-189.

Adebesin, F., Widhalm, J. R., Lynch, J. H., McCoy, R., & Doudareva, N. (2018). A peroxisomal thioesterase plays auxiliary roles in plant β-oxidative benzoic acid metabolism. Plant Journal, (93), 905-916. doi:10.1111/tpj.13818

Guo, L., Wang, P., Jaini, R., Doudareva, N., Chapple, C., & Morgan, J. A. (2018). Dynamic modeling of subcellular phenylpropanoid metabolism in Arabidopsis lignifying cells. Metabolic engineering, 49, 36-46.

Lynch, J. H., Orlova, I., Zhao, C., Guo, L., Jaini, R., Maeda, H., . . . Doudareva, N. (2017). Multifaceted plant responses to circumvent Phe hyperaccumulation by downregulation of flux through the shikimate pathway and by vacuolar Phe sequestration. The Plant Journal, 92, 939-950.

Adebesin, F., Widhalm, J. R., Boachon, B., Lefèvre, F., Pierman, B., Lynch, J. H., . . . Doudareva, N. (2017). Emission of volatile organic compounds from petunia flowers is facilitated by an ABC transporter. (cover article) Science, 356(6345), 1386-1388. doi:10.1126/science.aan0826

Zhou, F., Wang, C., Gutensohn, M., Jiang, L., Zhang, P., Doudareva, N., & Lu, S. (2017). A novel recruiting protein of geranylgeranyl diphosphate synthase controls metabolic flux towards chlorophyll biosynthesis in rice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (114), 6866-6871.

Widhalm, J. R., Gutensohn, M., Yoo, H., Adebesin, F., Qian, Y., Guo, L., . . . Doudareva, N. (2015). Identification of a plastidial phenylalanine exporter that influences flux distribution through the phenylalanine biosynthetic network. Nature Communications, 6(8142). doi:10.1039/ncomms9142

Tissier, A., Morgan, J. A., & Doudareva, N. (2017). Plant volatiles: Going ‘in’but not ‘out’of trichome cavities. Trends in Plant Science, 22, 930-938.

Awards & Honors

(2018) Herbert Newby McCoy Award. Purdue University.

(2016) Alexander von Humboldt Research Award. Germany.

(2016) Medal for XV Chailakhyan Lecture 2016. Institute of Plant Physiology, Russian Academy of Sciences.

Department of Biochemistry, 175 South University Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2063 USA, (765) 494-1600

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