Natural products of plant origin are used by humans for many centuries. Among the plant species attracting interest since ancient times to nowadays revival on qualitatively new bases undoubtedly belong St. John´s wort (Hypericum perforatum L.) and other taxons of this extensive but also variable genus Hypericum.

Important natural compounds from the representatives of this genus belong to secondary metabolites which are being used especially for their antidepressive properties. Beginning the late eighties the scope started to widen due to anticancer and antiviral effects. Photodynamic therapy of some cancer and diagnosis of cancer have started to be employed in clinics.

Despite a few decades of research, plant secondary metabolism remains still poorly characterised. Genetic maps of biosynthetic pathways are still far from complete, whereas knowledge on the regulation of these pathways is practically nonexistent. However, such knowledge is of crucial importance to improve the various secondary metabolites in plants or plant cell and tissue cultures.

Neither knowledge on biosynthesis of bio-active substances
in representatives of the genus Hypericum nor genes encoding for key enzymes in their biosynthetic pathways are an exception.

These all has become a motivation for project proposal and creation
of interdisciplinary research team based on outstanding personalities
of biomedical research.
© 2010 Juraj Piovár | 12.10.2010 |