David Ken Shintani
Department: Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Academic Unit: College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources
Title: Associate Professor
Professional degrees (Degree, year, Institution): Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Pathology, 1996, Michigan State University
Mail Stop: 200
Phone: (775) 784-4631
Fax: (775) 784-1650
Biophysics, Cancer, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Pharmacology
Plants produce a wide array of chemical compounds that can function as “green” alternative to petroleum based products. A major research focus of the Shintani Lab is to genetically engineer plants for the production of natural rubber, an important industrial polymer. Addition projects are also underway in the Shintani Lab to increase the Vitamin B1 content of plants to increase the nutritional value of staple food crops.
Rubber Biosynthesis: The one of the primary research focuses of the Shintani Lab is to identify and characterize protein components of the rubber biosynthetic machinery in plants. The rationale for this project is that natural rubber is an important plant derived commodity required for the manufacture of numerous industrial and medical products. We are taking a systems based approach employing proteomics, genomics and reverse genetic analyses to functionally identify the genes/proteins required for rubber biosynthesis. Through these studies we have identified a number of genes encoding proteins that control the quality and quantity of the rubber produced in plants. The genes identified through this research will be used for the improvement of current rubber producing crops and the development of alternative rubber producing domestic crops.
Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) Metabolism: Thiamin (Vitamin B1) deficiencies in humans can lead to a condition known as Beriberi that is manifested by severe neurological disorders and a general wasting phenomenon. Unlike humans and animals, plants can synthesize thiamin and therefore represent an important dietary source of Vitamin B1. The long term goal of our research is to engineering plants for increased nutritional content. As such, we are focused on understanding the regulatory mechanisms controlling the synthesis and utilization of Vitamin B1 in plants. Interestingly, in addition to thiamin’s importance to human nutrition, recent findings from the Shintani Lab have shown that this compound also plays an important role in protecting plants from oxidative stress.
Current Graduate Students
Xie, W., McMahan, C.M., DeGraw, A.J., Distefano, M.D., Cornish, K., Whalen, M.C., Shintani, D.K. (2008) Initiation of rubber biosynthesis: In vitro comparisons of benzophenone-modified diphosphate analogues in three rubber-producing species. Phytochemistry 69: 2539-2545.
Wachter, A., Tunc-Ozdemir, M., Grove, B.C., Green, P.J., Shintani, D.K., Breaker, R.R. (2007) Riboswitch control of gene expression in plants by splicing and alternative 3’ end processing of mRNA. Plant Cell 19: 3437-3450.
Ajjawi, I., Rodriguez Milla, M.A., Cushman, J.C., Shintani, D.K. (2007) Thiamin pyrophosphokinase is required for thiamin cofactor activation in Arabidopsis. Plant Molecular Biology 65(1-2): 151-162.
DeGraw, A.J., Zhao, Z., Strickland, C.L., Taban, A.H., Hsieh, J., Jefferies, M., Xie, Shintani, D., W., McMahan, C., Cornish, K., Distefano, M.D. (2007) A photoactive isoprenoid diphosphate analogue containing a stable phosphonate linkage: synthesis and biochemical studies with prenyltransferases. Journal of Organic Chemistry 72(13):4587-4595.
Bushman, S.B., Scholte, A.A., Cornish, K., Scott, D.J., Brichta, J.L., Vederas, J.C., Ochoa, O., Michelmore, R.W., Shintani, D.K., Knapp, S.J. (2006) Identification and Comparison of Natural Rubber from Two Lactuca Species. Phytochemistry 67 (23) 2590 - 2596
Faculty by research area
- Mastick, C
- Mastick C.
- Mastick G.
- Van der Linden
- von Bartheld
- von Bartheld