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Microbial natural product biosynthesis and discovery




Principal Investigator:Chen Yihua, Ph.D., Professor

Deputy-Director of State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources


Telephone/Fax:+86 (0) 10-64806121
Add.:Room A626, NO.1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China

Research Interests

Our research lies at the crossroad of genetics, biochemistry and natural products, with the emphasis of biosynthetic mechanisms of microbial natural product, metabolic pathway engineering and discovery of novel small molecules from actinomyces and human oral microbiome through genome mining.

(1) Biosynthetic studies on microbial natural products;
(2) Developing novel microbial natural products through synthetic biology research;
(3) Genome mining from rare bacteria and human oral micbiome to expand small molecule diversity and explore their function.


2001.09-2005.07: Ph. D. Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China.

1998.09-2001.06: Master Degree. Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.

1994.09-1998.06: Bachelor Degree. Nanjing Agricultural University, Nanjing, China.

Research experience 


Principle Investigator, Professor, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. 


Postdoc, research assistant, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Awards & Honors 

2015   National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) “Excellent Young Investigator”

Selected publications  

1.Hao TXie ZWang MLiu LZhang YWang WZhang ZZhao XLi PGuo ZGao SLou CZhang GMerritt JHorsman GPChen Y*. An anaerobic bacterium host system for heterologous expression of natural product biosyntheticgene clusters. Nature Communications 2019, 10(1):3665. 

2.Wei Tang, Zhengyan Guo, Zhenju Cao, Min Wang, Pengwei Li, Xiangxi Meng, Xuejin Zhao, Zhoujie Xie,Wenzhao Wang, Aihua Zhou, Chunbo Lou, and Yihua Chen*. D-Sedoheptulose-7-phosphate is a common precursor for the heptoses of septacidin and hygromycin B. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018, 115(11):2818-2823.

3.Zhengyan Guo, Pengwei Li, Guozhu Chen, Chao Li, Zhenju Cao, Yuwei Zhang, Jinwei Ren, Hua Xiang, Shuangjun Lin, Jianhua Ju, Yihua Chen*. Design and biosynthesis of dimeric alboflavusins with biaryl linkages via regiospecific C?C bond coupling. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 2018, 140(51):18009-18015.

4. Nanjaraj Urs AN, Hu Y, Li P, Yuchi Z, Chen Y*, Zhang Y*. Cloning and expression of a nonribosomal peptide synthetase to generate blue rose. ACS Synth Biol. 2018, 8(8):1698-1704. 

5. Xie Z, Zhang Z, Cao Z, Chen M, Li P, Liu W, Qin H, Zhao X, Tao Y, Chen Y*. An external substrate-free blue/white screening system in Escherichia coli. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2017, 101(9):3811-3820. 

6. Meng X, Wang W, Xie Z, Li P, Li Y, Guo Z, Lu Y, Yang J, Guan K, Lu Z, Tan H, Chen Y*. Neomycin biosynthesis is regulated positively by AfsA-g and NeoR in Streptomyces fradiae CGMCC 4.7387. Sci China Life Sci. 2017, 60(9):980-991. 

7. Li J, Wang M, Ding Y, Tang Y, Zhang Z, Chen Y*. Involvement of an octose ketoreductase and two acyltransferases in the biosynthesis of paulomycins. Sci Rep. 2016, 6:21180. 

8. Liu L, Hao T, Xie Z, Horsman GP, Chen Y*. Genome mining unveils widespread natural product biosynthetic capacity in human oral microbe Streptococcus mutans. Sci Rep. 2016, 6:37479. 

9. Tian J, Chen H, Guo Z, Liu N, Li J, Huang Y, Xiang W, Chen Y*. Discovery of pentangular polyphenols hexaricins A–C from marine Streptosporangium sp. CGMCC 4.7309 by genome mining. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2016, 100(9):4189-99. 

10. Guo Z, Li J, Qin H, Wang M, Lv X, Li X, Chen Y*. Biosynthesis of the carbamoylated D-gulosamine moiety of streptothricins: involvement of a guanidino-N-glycosyltransferase and an N-acetyl-D-gulosamine deacetylase. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2015, 54(17):5175-5178. 

11. Li P, Li J, Guo Z, Tang W, Han J, Meng X, Hao T, Zhu Y, Zhang L, Chen Y*. An efficient blue-white screening based gene inactivation system for Streptomyces. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2015, 99(4):1923-1933. 

12. Haiyan Chen, Ning Liu, Ying Huang, Yihua Chen*. Isolation of an anthrabenzoxocinone 1.264-C from Streptomyces sp. FXJ1.264 and absolute configuration determination of the anthrabenzoxocinones. Tetrahedron: Asymmetry 2014, 25:113-116.

13. Li J, Xie Z, Wang M, Ai G, Chen Y*. Identification and analysis of the paulomycin biosynthetic gene cluster and titer improvement of the paulomycins in Streptomyces paulus NRRL 8115. PLoS One 2015, 10(3):e0120542.

14. Li J, Guo Z, Huang W, Meng X, Ai G, Tang G, Chen Y*. Mining of a streptothricin gene cluster from Streptomyces sp. TP-A0356 genome via heterologous expression. Sci China Life Sci. 2013, 56(7):619-627.



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Institute Of Microbiology Chinese Academy of Sciences
NO.1 West Beichen Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100101, China Phone: 0086-10-64807462 Fax: 0086-10-64807468 Email: office@im.ac.cn