Natural Products
Beilstein Organic Chemistry Symposium 2015

28 – 30 September 2015
Yachthotel Chiemsee, Prien (Chiemsee), Germany


Scientific Organizer:
Jeroen Dickschat / Universität Bonn



The Beilstein Organic Chemistry Symposium 2015 was organized by Professor Jeroen Dickschat (University of Bonn) and took place in Prien am Chiemsee, Germany, during 28 – 30 September 2015. This year the symposium was inspired by two thematic issues about natural products published in the Beilstein Journal of Organic Chemistry [1,2] and dedicated to the chemistry and biochemistry of these fascinating compounds. A total number of twenty invited speakers and three guest speakers contributed to the success of this international conference. The topics included: recent developments in the chemical ecology of natural products, the biosynthesis of polyketides and peptides, the biosynthesis of terpenoids, and new total synthesis approaches towards complex natural products.

Within the chemical ecology session, Professor Helge Bode (University of Frankfurt) reported on two novel quorum sensing signals from entomopathogenic bacteria with a pyrone and a dialkylresorcinol core structure and their involvement in the pathogenic mechanisms of the bacteria. Professor Jörn Piel gave detailed insights into the biosynthesis of polytheonamides in the sponge Entotheonella, which are highly unusual ribosomal peptides that are heavily methylated by radical SAM-dependent methyl transferases. The biosynthesis session was initiated by Professor Rolf Müller (Helmholtz-Centre for Pharmaceutical Research, Saarbrücken), who presented his recent work on griselimycin, a highly potent antibiotic against Mycobacterium tuberculosis from a streptomycete, and investigations on its resistance mechanism. In the synthesis session Professor Henk Hiemstra (University of Amsterdam) gave a summary of his work on the total synthesis of solanoeclepin A, a terpenoid from potatoes that is active against potato cyst nematodes, using photochemistry approaches.

Terpenoid biosynthesis was covered with a lecture by Professor Wilhelm Boland (Max-Planck-Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena), who reported on the chain length control of polyprenyl diphosphate synthesis by various divalent transition metal cations, and a lecture by Professor Ikuro Abe (University of Tokyo), who shared his latest insights into complex reaction cascades during fungal meroterpenoid biosynthesis. Within the final biosynthesis session, Professor Peter Leadlay (University of Cambridge) emphasized the importance of modern whole-genome sequencing to uncover the enzymology of natural product biosyntheses, as was explained for a few recent examples from his laboratories including thiotetronate biosynthesis.

The social program included a boat trip to the Herreninsel and a visit to Schloß Herrenchiemsee (an incomplete building of King Ludwig II), sufficient time in the evenings for discussions, and – who dared – swimming in Lake Chiemsee at about 15 °C. I am very thankful to all participants for their contributions with lectures and intense discussions and to the whole team of the Beilstein Institute, in particular Dr. Peter Dietel, Dr. Michael Penk and Dr. Martin Hicks, for their outstanding organization, enabling a very focused and stimulating Beilstein Organic Chemistry Symposium 2015.

Jeroen S. Dickschat, Conference Chair

Bonn, October 2015



1. Dickschat, J. S. Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2011, 7, 1620–1621.
2. Dickschat, J. S. Beilstein J. Org. Chem. 2013, 9, 1897–1898.


Monday, 28 September


Session chair: Mathias Christmann

Entomopathogenic Bacteria and their Hosts – Understanding the “Natural” Function of Natural Products
Helge Bode / Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Natural Product Pathways from Sponge Symbionts
Jörn Piel / ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Chemical Communication and Defense in Arthropods and Amphibia – Parallels and Differences
Stefan Schulz / Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany

Metabolites from Marine-derived Fungi: Structural Diversity, Biosynthesis and Bioactivity
Gabriele König / University of Bonn, Germany


Session chair: Tobias A. M. Gulder

Innovative Antibiotics from Microorganisms: Two Case Studies
Rolf Müller / Universität des Saarlandes, Germany

Characterisation of Key Enzymes from the Biosynthetic Pathways of Unusual Polyketides for Chemoenzymatic Synthesis
Frank Hahn / Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany

Evolution of Natural Products for Cancer Chemotherapy
Jürgen Rohr / University of Kentucky, USA

Diverse Solutions to ß-Lactam Synthesis in Nature
Craig Townsend / Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA


Session chair: Jeroen S. Dickschat

Tuberculosinyl adenosine, a chemical marker for Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Adriaan Minnaard / University of Groningen, The Netherlands

Total synthesis of terreumol C
Thomas Lindel / Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany

Ideas about programming in highly reducing fungal PKS
Russell Cox / Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany



Tuesday, 29. September


Session chair: Stefan Schulz

The Chemistry and Biology of
Englerin A
Mathias Christmann / Freie Universität Berlin, Germany

Formal Total Synthesis of
Solanoeclepin A
Henk Hiemstra / University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Natural Products as a Rich Source of Bioactive Compounds and Inspiration for Chemical Transformations
Thomas Magauer / LMU Munich, Germany

Covergent Synthesis of Monoterpenoid Indole Alkaloids and Ent-kaurane Diterpenoids
Dawei Ma / Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

Total Synthesis and Functional Exploration of Bioactive Natural Macrocycles
Karl-Heinz Altmann / ETH Zurich, Switzerland




Wednesday, 30 September


Session Chair: Frank Hahn

Catalytic Mechanisms of the [Fe4S4] Enzymes IspG and IspH in the Non-mevalonate Isoprenoid Pathway
Michael Groll / Technische Universität München, Germany

Metal matters! Co2+ and Mg2+ ions control chain length of prenyl diphosphates in insects
Wilhelm Boland / Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany

Biosynthesis of Fungal Meroterpenoids
Ikuro Abe / University of Tokyo, Japan

Terpenes from Microorganisms
Jeroen Dickschat / University of Bonn, Germany


Session Chair: Helge Bode

Polyketide Biosynthesis in Neglected Bacteria
Christian Hertweck / Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology Jena, Germany

A Genomics-led Approach to Deciphering the Enzymology of Polyketide Antibiotic Biosynthesis
Peter Leadlay / University of Cambridge, UK

Peptide Antibiotics in Bacterial Host Pathogen Interactions
Roderich Süßmuth / Technische Universität Berlin, Germany

Crafting Complex Molecules Utilizing Enzymatic Pathways in Vivo and in Vitro
Tobias A. M. Gulder / Technische Universität München, Germany

Symposium 2015