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Natural Product Biosynthesis (303J)

Dr J M Sanderson, Ext 42107, Room CG112.

See for further information.


These lectures provide knowledge of the mechanisms used by living organisms to synthesise a range of complex organic molecules, and will highlight the mechanistic aspects of key reactions in these biosyntheses.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of these lectures, students should be able to:


Lecture 1: Introduction. The biochemical environment. The roles of enzymes and cofactors in biocatalysis. Overview of major metabolic pathways. Definition of a 2° metabolite.

Lecture 2: Methods for studying important biosynthetic reactions. Polyketide biosynthesis.

Lecture 3: Biosynthesis of polyketides (contd.).

Lecture 4: β-Ketoacyl-ACP Synthase. The module hypothesis. Non-ribosomal peptide synthesis.

Lecture 5: The Shikimate pathway. Chorismate Mutase.

Lecture 6: The isoprene repeating unit. Biosynthesis of terpenes and steroids.

Lecture 7: Biosynthesis of alkaloids.

Lecture 8: Biosynthesis of alkaloids (contd.). Course overview.

Reading List

General Texts:

J. M. Berg, J. L. Tymoczko and L. Stryer, "Biochemistry", W. H. Freeman & Co., 7th ed., 2011.
J. Clayden, N. Greeves, S. Warren and P Wothers, "Organic Chemistry", Oxford University Press, 2000.
P. Y. Bruice, "Organic Chemistry", Prentice Hall, 5th ed., 2007.

More Specific Texts:

J. R. Hanson, “Natural Products: the Secondary Metabolites”, RSC, 2003.
J. Mann, "Chemical Aspects of Biosynthesis", OUP, 1999. §

§ essential reading