John Innes Centre

Prof Anne Osbourn

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Curriculum Vitae

  • 1982 BSc Botany, University of Durham (First Class).
  • 1985 PhD, Department of Genetics, University of Birmingham.
  • 1985 Research Associate, John Innes Institute, Norwich, UK.
  • 1987 Research Fellow, Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK
  • 1999 Group Leader, Sainsbury Laboratory, Norwich, UK
  • 2005 Group Leader, Dept. of Metabolic Biology, John Innes Centre
  • 2006 - 2008 Head, Dept. of Metabolic Biology, John Innes Centre
  • 2006 - present Honorary Professor, University of East Anglia, UK
  • 2008 - present Institute Strategic Programme Leader, Plant and Microbial Metabolism

Anne Osbourn

NRP Industrial Biotechnology and Bioenergy Alliance Director

Metabolic Biology

Contact details

Research interests

Plants produce a huge array of natural products (secondary metabolites).  These compounds are exploited by humans as sources of drugs, flavouring agents, fragrances and for a wide range of other applications.   The natural function of plant-derived natural products is in ecological interactions, where they provide protection against attack by herbivores and microbes and serve as attractants for pollinators and seed-dispersing agents.  They may also contribute to competition and invasiveness by suppressing the growth of neighbouring plant species (a phenomenon known as allelopathy). 

Our primary interests are in understanding the function and synthesis of plant-derived natural products and the origins of metabolic diversity.  This research impacts on other fundamental aspects of biology such as chromosome structure and gene regulation, genome plasticity, diversification of function of enzymes and multi-component pathways and adaptive evolution.  

The Osbourn group works with crop and model plants, using a wide range of multidisciplinary approaches that include genetics, genomics, computational biology, cell biology, protein and small molecule biochemistry. 

Recent Publications

Caputi L., Rejzek M., Louveau T., O'Neill E. C., Hill L., Osbourn A., Field R. A. (2013)
A one-pot enzymatic approach to the O-fluoroglucoside of N-methylanthranilate.
Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 21 (16) 4762-7
Colloms S. D., Merrick C. A., Olorunniji F. J., Stark W. M., Smith M. C. M., Osbourn A., Keasling J. D., Rosser S. J. (2013)
Rapid metabolic pathway assembly and modification using serine integrase site-specific recombination
Nucleic Acids Research 40 (2) 1-10
Geisler K., Hughes R. K., Sainsbury F., Lomonossoff G. P., Rejzek M., Fairhurst S., Olsen C. E., Motawiab M. S., Melton R. E., Hemmings A. M., Bak S., Osbourn A. (2013)
Biochemical analysis of a multifunction cytochrome P450 (CYP51) enzyme required for synthesis of antimicrobial triterpenes in plants
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 110 (35) E3360-E3367
Krokida A., Delis C., Geisler K., Garagounis C., Tsikou D., Peña-Rodríguez L. M., Katsarou D., Field B., Osbourn A. E., Papadopoulou K. K. (2013)
A metabolic gene cluster in Lotus japonicus discloses novel enzyme functions and products in triterpene biosynthesis.
New Phytologist 200 (3) 675-690
Mugford S. T., Louveau T., Melton R., Qi X., Bakht S., Hill L., Tsurushima T., Honkanen S., Rosser S. J., Lomonossoff G. P., Osbourn A. (2013)
Modularity of Plant Metabolic Gene Clusters: A Trio of Linked Genes That Are Collectively Required for Acylation of Triterpenes in Oat.
Plant Cell 25 (3) 1078-1092
Owatworakit A., Townsend B., Louveau T., Jenner H., Rejzek M., Hughes R. K., Saalbach G., Qi X., Bakht S., Roy A. D., Mugford S. T., Goss R. J., Field R. A., Osbourn A. (2013)
Glycosyltransferases from oat (Avena) implicated in the acylation of avenacins.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 288 (6) 3696-704
Turner T. R., Ramakrishnan K., Walshaw J., Heavens D., Alston M., Swarbreck D., Osbourn A., Grant A., Poole P. S. (2013)
Comparative metatranscriptomics reveals kingdom level changes in the rhizosphere microbiome of plants.
The ISME Journal 7 2248-2258
Field B., Osbourn A. (2012)
Order in the playground: Formation of plant gene clusters in dynamic chromosomal regions.
Mobile Genetics Elements 2 (1) 46-50
Kliebenstein K., Osbourn A. (2012)
Making new molecules - evolution of pathways for novel metabolites in plants
Current Opinions in Plant Biology 15 (4) 415-423
Osbourn A. E., O'Maille P. E., Rosser S. J., Lindsey K. (2012)
Synthetic biology. 4th New Phytologist Workshop, Bristol, UK, June 2012.
New Phytologist 196 (3) 671-7
Osbourn A., O'Maille P., Rosser S., Lindsey K. (2012)
Synthetic Biology: 4th New Phytologist Workshop, Bristol, UK June 2012
New Phytologist 196 671-677
Osbourn A., Papadopoulou K., Field B., Qi Y., Wegel E. (2012)
Finding and analysing plant metabolic gene clusters
Methods in Enzymology:Natural Product Biosynthesis by Microorganisms and Plants, Part C
517 (6) 113-138
Sainsbury F., Saxena P., Geisler K., Osbourn A., Lomonossoff G. (2012)
Using a virus-derived system to manipulate plant natural product biosynthetic pathways
Methods in Enzymology: Natural Product Biosynthesis by Microorganisms and Plants, Part C
Vol. 517 (9) 185-202
Xue Z., Duan L., Liu D., Guo J., Ge S., Dicks J., O'Maille P., Osbourn A., Qi X. (2012)
Divergent evolution of oxidosqualene cyclases in plants
New Phytologist 193 (4) 1022-1038