Jörg Schwender earned his Ph.D. in 1999 at the University of
Karlsruhe, Germany, where he was working with H. K. Lichtenthaler on a
novel biosynthetic pathway for plant isoprenoids. He then moved to the
Plant Biology Department at Michigan State University where he worked as
a Post-Doc with J. Ohlrogge and Y. Shachar-Hill on central metabolism in
developing oil seeds and described the RubisCO Shunt, part of a carbon
efficient biochemical transformation of sugars into storage lipids in
seeds. In 2005 J. Schwender moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory and
established an independent research program.
Structure and Function of Plant Central Metabolism
Plant biomass is of major economic value with increasing importance
as renewable resource for the production of fuel and chemical feedstocks
for the chemical industry. Rational engineering of plant metabolism is
still hampered by the lack of understanding of the very complex
biochemical machinery. This also applies to central metabolism, a
conserved metabolic network that fuels all cellular activities with
building blocks and energy cofactors. Given rapid advances in molecular
genetics as well as in the omics technologies within the recent decades,
one might expect that at least for central metabolism the parts list has
been comprehensively discovered. However, new links in the plants’
central metabolism continue to be discovered today. Further, we are far
from a good understanding of central metabolism with regards to the
coordination of metabolic activities by multilayered and intertwined
regulatory circuits. This limits our ability to exploit mechanisms of
pathway regulation to maximize end product yield e.g. by use of
synthetic biology approaches.
Schematic of carbon flow during storage synthesis in developing seeds of Brassica napus based on metabolic
flux analysis (See publications below). PPP = pentose phosphate pathway; TAG = triacylglycerol.
The Schwender group is interested in increasing the basic understanding of control and regulation of plant central
metabolism, with focus on heterotrophic sink tissues like seeds. We use isotope labeling experiments, mathematical models
and computer simulation to describe and analyze metabolism quantitatively. In particular we have extensive experience in
steady-state stable isotope labeling to determine the flux distribution in central carbon metabolism. Cultures of developing
embryos of Brassica napus and other brassicaceae species turned out to be excellent in vitro models to study seed
development and storage synthesis. Growing in culture, embryos are labeled with a variety of 13C-labeled precursors
and individual C-atoms are traced through the metabolic network by analyzing the label in metabolites and end products by GC/MS
and NMR. Different nutritional conditions or genotypes can be analyzed and compared.
Plant Metabolic Networks
Schwender, Jörg (Ed.)
2009, X, 390 p. 13 illus., 11 in color., Springer, NY, Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-387-78744-2
- Shi H. and Schwender J. Mathematical models of plant metabolism.
Curr Opin Biotechnol 37: 143-152 (2016) PubMed
- Schwender J., Hebbelmann I., Heinzel N., Hildebrandt T., Rogers A., Naik D., Klapperstuck
M., Braun H.P., Schreiber F., Denolf P., Borisjuk L., Rolletschek H. Quantitative Multilevel
Analysis of Central Metabolism in Developing Oilseeds of Oilseed Rape during in Vitro Culture.
Plant Physiol 168: 828-848 (2015) PubMed
- Schwender J., König C., Klapperstück M., Heinzel N., Munz E., Hebbelmann I., Hay J.O., Denolf P.,
Bodt S.D., Redestig H., Caestecker E., Jakob P.M., Borisjuk L., Rolletschek H. Transcript abundance
on its own cannot be used to infer fluxes in central metabolism. Front Plant Sci 5:668 (2014) PubMed
- Hay J.O. and Schwender J. Flux variability analysis: Application to developing oilseed rape embryos
using toolboxes for constraint-based modeling. Plant Metabolic Flux Analysis: Methods and Protocols,
Methods in Molecular Biology, M. Dieuaide-Noubhani and A. Paula Alonso, Editors, Chapter 18, Vol. 1090, pp. 301-316,
Springer Science + Business Media, New York, NY (2014). PubMed
- Hay J.O., Shi H., Heinzel N., Hebbelmann I., Rolletschek H., and Schwender J. Integration of a
constraint-based metabolic model of Brassica napus developing seeds with (13)C-metabolic flux analysis.
Frontiers in Plant Science 5, p. 724. (2014) PubMed
- Schwender J., Konig C., Klapperstuck M., Heinzel N., Munz E., Hebbelmann I., Hay J.O., Denolf P., De Bodt S.,
Redestig H., Caestecker E., Jakob P.M., Borisjuk L., and Rolletschek H. Transcript abundance on its own
cannot be used to infer fluxes in central metabolism. Frontiers in Plant Science 5, p. 668. (2014)
- Yan Y., Candreva J., Shi H., Ernst E., Martienssen R., Schwender J., and Shanklin J. Survey of the
total fatty acid and triacylglycerol composition and content of 30 duckweed species and cloning of a Δ6-desaturase
responsible for the production of γ-linolenic and stearidonic acids in Lemna gibba. BMC Plant Biology, 13:201
- Borisjuk L., Neuberger T., Schwender J., Heinzel N., Sunderhaus S., Fuchs J., Hay, J.O., Tschiersch H., Braun H.
P., Denolf P., Lambert B., Jakob P. M., and Rolletschek H. Seed architecture shapes embryo metabolism in oilseed
Plant Cell, 25(5):1625-1640 (2013). PubMed
- Fan J., Yan C., Andre C., Shanklin J., Schwender J., and Xu C. Oil accumulation is controlled by carbon
precursor supply for fatty acid synthesis in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Plant Cell Physiol., 53(8):1380-1390
- Lohr M., Schwender J., and Polle J.E.W. Isoprenoid biosynthesis in eukaryotic phototrophs: A spotlight on
algae (Review). Plant Science, 185-186:9-22 (2012).
- O’Grady J., Schwender J., Shachar-Hill Y., and Morgan J.A.
Metabolic cartography: Experimental quantification of metabolic fluxes from isotopic labeling studies.
Journal of Experimental Botany, 63(6):2293-2308 (March, 2012).
- Schwender J., and Hay J.O.
Predictive modeling of biomass component tradeoffs in Brassica napus developing oilseeds based on in silico
manipulation of storage metabolism.
Plant Physiology, 160(3):1218-1236 (2012). PubMed
- Hay J. and Schwender J.
Metabolic network reconstruction and flux variability analysis of storage synthesis in developing oilseed
grape (Brassica napus L.) embryos.
The Plant Journal 67(3), 526–541 (2011). PubMed
- Hay J. and Schwender J.
Computational analysis of storage synthesis in developing Brassica napus L. (oilseed grape) embryos:
flux variability analysis in relation to 13C metabolic flux analysis.
The Plant Journal 67(3), 513–525 (2011). PubMed
- Lohr M., Schwender J., and Polle J.E.W.
Isoprenoid biosynthesis in eukaryotic phototrophs: A spotlight on algae.
Plant Sciences, 185-186:9-22. doi:10.1016/j.plantsci.2011.07.018 (2011).
- Schwender J.
Experimental flux measurements on a network scale.
Frontiers in Plant Sci., 2:63. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2011.00063 (2011).
- Koschützki D., Junker B.H., Schwender J., and Schreiber F.
Structural analysis of metabolic networks based on flux centrality.
J. Theor Biol., 265:261-269, DOI 10.1016/j.jtbi.2010.05.009 (2010).
- Lonien J., and Schwender J.
Analysis of metabolic flux phenotypes for two Arabidopsis thaliana mutants with severe impairment
in seed storage lipid synthesis.
Plant Physiology, 151(3):1617-1634 (2009). PubMed
- van der Lelie D., Taghavi S., Monchy S., Schwender J., Miller L., Ferrieri R., Rogers A., Wu X., Zhu W.,
Weyens N., Vangronsveld J., and Newman L.
Poplar and its bacterial endophytes: Coexistence and harmony.
Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences 28(5), 346-358 (2009).
- Schwender J.
Metabolic flux analysis as a tool in metabolic engineering of plants.
Curr. Opin. Biotechnol., 19(2):131-137 (2008). PubMed
- Junker B.H., Lonien J., Heady L.E., Rogers A. and Schwender J.
Parallel determination of enzyme activities and in vivo fluxes in Brassica napus embryos grown on
organic or inorganic nitrogen source.
Phytochemistry, 68(16-18):2232-2242 (2007). PubMed
- Schwender J., Shachar-Hill Y. and Ohlrogge, J.B.
Mitochondrial metabolism in developing embryos of Brassica napus.
J Biol Chem., 281:34040-34047 (2006).
J Biol Chem of November 10, (2006).
Paper of the Week
- Goffman F.D., Alonso A.P., Schwender J., Shachar-Hill Y. and Ohlrogge, J.B.
Light enables a very high efficiency of carbon storage in developing embryos of rapeseed.
Plant Physiol., 138(4):2269-2279 (2005).
- Ruuska S.A., Schwender J. and Ohlrogge J.B.
The capacity of green oilseeds to utilize photosynthesis to drive biosynthetic processes.
Plant Physiol., 136(1):2700-2709 (2004).
- Schwender J., Goffman F., Ohlrogge J.B. and Shachar-Hill Y.
Rubisco without the Calvin cycle improves the carbon efficiency of developing green seeds.
Nature, 432:779-782 (2004).
CH Surridge, Nature News and Views:
Plant biochemistry: Green catalytic converter.
Nature, 432:684 (2004).
- Schwender J., Ohlrogge J.B. and Shachar-Hill Y.
Understanding flux in plant metabolic networks.
Curr Opin Plant Biol., 7(3):309-317 (2004).
- Schwender J., Ohlrogge J.B. and Shachar-Hill Y.
A flux model of glycolysis and oxidative pentosephosphate pathway in developing Brassica napus embryos.
J Biol Chem., 278(32):29442-29453 (2003). PubMed Full Text
- Schwender J. and Ohlrogge J.B.
Probing in vivo metabolism by stable isotope labeling of storage lipids and proteins in developing Brassica napus embryos.
Plant Physiol., 130(1):347-361 (2002). PubMed Full Text