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.