Centers & Labs

RIKEN Center for Sustainable Resource Science

Natural Product Biosynthesis Research Unit

Unit Leader: Shunji Takahashi (D.Sci.)
Shunji  Takahashi(D.Sci.)

Microorganism such as actinomycetes and filamentous fungi is a rich repository of valuable secondary metabolite. The understanding of biosynthetic mechanism is important to utilize microbial metabolites efficiently. Therefore we elucidate a key reaction of biosynthetic pathway by genetic and biochemical methods. We diversify microbial metabolites by modifying gene cluster and pathway engineering. In addition to the utilization of transcriptional regulators, we develop novel methods of activating biosynthetic gene cluster by small molecules, and create natural products. We construct microbial biosynthetic platform and efficiently produce valuable natural products using genetic resources from nature.

Main Research Field

Complex systems

Related Research Fields

Interdisciplinary science and engineering / Biological Sciences


  • Biosynthesis of natural product
  • Microorganism
  • Utilization of sleeping genes
  • Regulation of gene expression
  • Biosynthetic platform

Selected Publications

  1. Amagai K., Ikeda H., Hashimoto J., Kozone I., Izumikawa M., Kudo F., Eguchi T., Nakamura T., Osada H., Takahashi S., and Kazuo Shin-ya K.:
    "Identification of gene cluster for telomestatin biosynthesis and efficient production in heterologous host using specific promoter." Sci. Rep. 7: 3382 (2017).
  2. Ray L., Valentic T., Miyazawa T., Withall D.M., Song L., Milligan J.C., Osada H., Takahashi S., Tsai S.-C., and Challis G.L.:
    "A crotonyl-CoA reductase-carboxylase independent pathway for assembly of unusual alkylmalonyl-CoA polyketide synthase extender units."
    Nat. Commun. 7:13609 (2016).
  3. Shinohara Y., Takahashi S., Osada H., and Koyama Y.:
    "Identification of a novel sesquiterpene biosynthetic machinery involved in astellolide biosynthesis."
    Sci. Rep. 6: 32865 (2016).
  4. Miyazawa T., Takahashi S., Kawata A., Panthee S., Hayashi T., Shimizu T., Nogawa T., and Osada H.:
    "Identification of middle chain fatty acyl-CoA ligase responsible for the biosynthesis of 2-alkylmalonyl-CoAs for polyketide extender unit."
    J. Biol. Chem. 290, 26994-27011 (2015).
  5. Kato N., Nogawa T., Hirota H., Jang J.-H., Takahashi S., Ahn J.S., Osada H.:
    "A new enzyme involved in the control of the stereochemistry in the decalin formation during equisetin biosynthesis."
    Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 460, 210-215 (2015).
  6. Takahashi, S., Nagano, S., Nogawa, T., Kanoh, N., Uramoto, M., Kawatani, M., Shimizu, T., Miyazawa, T., Shiro, Y., and Osada, H.:
    "Structure-function analyses of cytochrome P450revI involved in reveromycin A biosynthesis and evaluation of the biological activity of its substrate, reveromycin T."
    J. Biol. Chem. 289, 32446-32458 (2014).
  7. Takahashi, S., Toyoda, A., Sekiyama, Y., Takagi, H., Nogawa, T., Uramoto, M., Suzuki, R., Koshino, H., Kumano, T., Panthee, S., Dairi, T., Ishikawa, J., Ikeda, H., Sakaki, Y., and Osada, H.:
    "Reveromycin A biosynthesis uses RevG and RevJ for stereospecific spiroacetal formation."
    Nat. Chem. Biol. 7, 461-468 (2011).
  8. Panthee, S., Takahashi, S., Takagi, H., Nogawa, T., Oowada, E., Uramoto, M., and Osada, H.:
    "Furaquinocins I and J: Novel polyketide isoprenoid hybrid compounds from Streptomyces reveromyceticus SN-593."
    J. Antibiot., 64, 509-513 (2011).
  9. Kato, N., Tokuoka, M., Shinohara, Y., Kawatani, M., Uramoto, M., Seshime, Y., Fujii, I., Kitamoto, K., Takahashi, T., Takahashi, S., Koyama, Y., and Osada, H.:
    "Genetic safeguard against mycotoxin cyclopiazonic acid production in Aspergillus oryzae."
    Chembiochem. 12, 1376-1382 (2011).
  10. Takahashi, S., Takagi, H., Toyoda, A., Uramoto, M., Nogawa, T., Ueki, M., Sakaki, Y., and Osada, H.:
    "Biochemical characterization of a novel indole prenyltransferase from Streptomyces sp. SN-593."
    J. Bacteriol. 192, 2839-2851 (2010).

Lab Members

Principal Investigator

Shunji Takahashi
Unit Leader

Core Members

Naoki Kato
Research Scientist
Shogo Furutani
Postdoctoral Researcher
Naoko Kito
Postdoctoral Researcher
Hiroshi Takagi
Technical Staff I
Kiyomi Kinugasa
Technical Staff I
Yumi Sato
Technical Staff I