Thomas J. Baiga

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Phenylpropenes such as chavicol, t-anol, eugenol, and isoeugenol are produced by plants as defense compounds against animals and microorganisms and as floral attractants of pollinators. Moreover, humans have used phenylpropenes since antiquity for food preservation and flavoring and as medicinal agents. Previous research suggested that the phenylpropenes(More)
Aromatic amino acid ammonia-lyases catalyze the deamination of L-His, L-Phe, and L-Tyr, yielding ammonia plus aryl acids bearing an alpha,beta-unsaturated propenoic acid. We report crystallographic analyses of unliganded Rhodobacter sphaeroides tyrosine ammonia-lyase (RsTAL) and RsTAL bound to p-coumarate and caffeate. His 89 of RsTAL forms a hydrogen bond(More)
Many plants synthesize the volatile phenylpropene compounds eugenol and isoeugenol to serve in defense against herbivores and pathogens and to attract pollinators. Clarkia breweri flowers emit a mixture of eugenol and isoeugenol, while Petunia hybrida flowers emit mostly isoeugenol with small amounts of eugenol. We recently reported the identification of a(More)
The phenylpropene t-anethole imparts the characteristic sweet aroma of anise (Pimpinella anisum, family Apiaceae) seeds and leaves. Here we report that the aerial parts of the anise plant accumulate t-anethole as the plant matures, with the highest levels of t-anethole found in fruits. Although the anise plant is covered with trichomes, t-anethole(More)
Phenylpropenes, a large group of plant volatile compounds that serve in multiple roles in defense and pollinator attraction, contain a propenyl side chain. Eugenol synthase (EGS) catalyzes the reductive displacement of acetate from the propenyl side chain of the substrate coniferyl acetate to produce the allyl-phenylpropene eugenol. We report here the(More)
Proteins participate in various biological processes and can be harnessed to probe and control biological events selectively and reproducibly, but the genetic code limits the building block to 20 common amino acids for protein manipulation in living cells. The genetic encoding of unnatural amino acids will remove this restriction and enable new chemical and(More)
Floral scent has been extensively investigated in plants of the South American genus Petunia. Flowers of Petunia integrifolia emit mostly benzaldehyde, while flowers of Petunia axillaris subsp. axillaris emit a mixture of volatile benzenoid and phenylpropanoid compounds that include isoeugenol and eugenol. Flowers of the artificial hybrid Petunia hybrida, a(More)
Plant growth depends on the integration of environmental cues and phytohormone-signaling pathways. During seedling emergence, elongation of the embryonic stem (hypocotyl) serves as a readout for light and hormone-dependent responses. We screened 10,000 chemicals provided exogenously to light-grown seedlings and identified 100 compounds that promote(More)
Caenorhabditis elegans sense natural chemicals in their environment and use them as cues to regulate their development. This investigation probes the mechanism of sensory trafficking by evaluating the processing of fluorescent derivatives of natural products in C. elegans. Fluorescent analogs of daumone, an ascaroside, and apigenin were prepared by total(More)
The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) family comprises three subtypes: PPARα, PPARγ, and PPARδ. PPARδ transcriptionally modulates lipid metabolism and the control of energy homeostasis; therefore, PPARδ agonists are promising agents for treating a variety of metabolic disorders. In the present study, we develop a panel of rationally designed(More)