Functional Genomics of Artemisia annua and Metabolic Engineering of Artemisinin
Artemisia annua (called "Sweet Wormwood" in English and "Qinghao (Ching-how)" in Chinese ) is a traditional Chinese medicinal plant. In China, this plant has been prescribed for more than two thousand years for treatment of fever with chills. From 1969 to 1977, Chinese scientists identified Qinghaosu (artemisinin), a sesquiterpene lactone endoperoxide as a very effective medicine for the treatment of malaria caused by parasites in the genus of Plasmodium. Artemisinin is particularly effective in the treatment of severe malaria caused by P. falciparum. We are collaborating with Drs. Ramsey Lewis and Hanna Gracz to use an integrated approach to further understand biosyntheses of artemisinin and other medicinal metabolites in this medicinal plant.