Joshua Blodgett

Assistant Professor of Biology
research interests:
  • Chemical Ecology
  • Biosynthesis, Regulation and Metabolism
  • Bioengineering and Synthetic Biology
  • Drug and Agricultural Lead Discovery
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    contact info:

    mailing address:

    • Washington University
    • CB 1137
    • One Brookings Drive
    • St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
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    Joshua Blodgett's lab is interested in a number of interdisciplinary questions surrounding bacterial small molecule production. These inquiries broadly span the fields of biology, chemistry, and ecology.

    Streptomyces bacteria and their close relatives rank amongst the most prolific producers of small molecules known to science. These organisms produce nearly half of all known microbial bioactive natural products and nearly 2/3rds of our clinically- utilized antibiotics. Understandably, they’ve had an immense impact on medicine and agriculture as producers of human and animal therapeutics, molecular probes, and crop protective agents.

    Although these bacteria have been a traditional source of valuable molecules, more recent genome analyses indicate that only a small fraction of their biosynthetic potential has been tapped thus far. This realization has engendered a new research paradigm; that of sequencing-based molecule discovery. Cognizant of the true molecule production capacity of these organisms, we’re now enabled to begin deciphering the evolutionary roles of these chemical modulators while creating opportunities to discover novel pharmacophores.

    The Blodgett lab is interested in a number of interdisciplinary questions surrounding bacterial small molecule production. These inquiries broadly span the fields of biology, chemistry, and ecology.

    recent courses

    Bacterial Bioprospecting and Biotechnology

    Many bacteria are essential in food industry (fermentation of meats, cheeses, and beverages), agriculture (crop protection against weeds, pathogenic bacteria, and fungi), biotechnology (producing fine chemicals, cofactors, amino acids, and industrial enzymes) and the pharmaceutical industry (producing clinical antibiotics, anticancer, antiviral, veterinary, and immunomodulatory drugs). This laboratory course examines how basic biological understanding can lead to discovery of bacterial products, enzymes and activities useful to humankind. We combine core concepts from biochemistry, bacterial genetics, bioinformatics, chemistry and enzymology to study bacteria from the genus Streptomyces and close relatives. Lines of inquiry include environmental isolations, molecular toolbox and host development, plus bioinformatic and laboratory-based analyses of secreted proteins and antibiotics.

      General Biochemistry I

      The first part of a two-semester survey of biochemistry. This course covers biological structures, enzymes, membranes, energy production and an introduction to metabolism.

        Selected Publications

        1. Multifunctional P450 Monooxygenase CftA Diversifies the Clifednamide Pool through Tandem C–H Bond Activations. J Yang, Y Qi, JAV Blodgett, TA Wencewicz. Journal of Natural Products, 2022. DOI: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.1c00606z
        2. A comparative metabologenomic approach reveals mechanistic insights into Streptomyces antibiotic crypticity, Y Qi, KK Nepal, JAV Blodgett. PNAS, 2021. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2103515118
        3. Draft Genome Sequences of Two Polycyclic Tetramate Macrolactam Producers, Streptomyces sp. Strains JV180 and SP18CM02. Qi Y, Nepal KK, Greif J, Martini C, Tomlinson C, Markovic C, Fronick C, Blodgett JAV. Microbiol Resour Announc. 2020 Dec 10;9(50):e01066-20. PMID: 33303657. DOI: 10.1128/MRA.01066-20.
        4. Genomic discovery of an evolutionarily programmed modality for small-molecule targeting of an intractable protein surface. Uddhav K. Shigdel, Seung-Joo Lee, Mathew E. Sowa, Brian R. Bowman, Keith Robison, Minyun Zhou, Khian Hong Pua, Dylan T. Stiles, Joshua A. V. Blodgett, Daniel W. Udwary, Andrew T. Rajczewski, Alan S. Mann, Siavash Mostafavi, Tara Hardy, Sukrat Arya, Zhigang Weng, Michelle Stewart, Kyle Kenyon, Jay P. Morgenstern, Ende Pan, Daniel C. Gray, Roy M. Pollock, Andrew M. Fry, Richard D. Klausner, Sharon A. Townson, and Gregory L. Verdine. PNAS, 2020. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2006560117
        5. Construction of a new integrating vector from actinophage ΦOZJ and its use in multiplex Streptomyces transformation. B Ko, JM D’Alessandro, L Douangkeomany, SD Stumpf, A deButts, JAV Blodgett. Journal of Industrial Microbiology & Biotechnology, 2019.  PMID: 31705217; DOI: 10.1007/s10295-019-02246-7
        6. Bioinformatic and Functional Evaluation of Actinobacterial Piperazate Metabolism.  Y Hu, Y Qi, SD Stumpf, JM D’Alessandro, JAV Blodgett.  ACS Chemical Biology, 2019.  DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.8b01086
        7. Native and Engineered Clifednamide Biosynthesis in Multiple Streptomyces spp.  ACS Synthetic Biology, 2018.  YI Qi, E Ding, JAV Blodgett.  DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00349
        8. Draft Genome Sequence of Streptomyces sp. Strain JV178, a Producer of Clifednamide-Type Polycyclic Tetramate Macrolactams.   Y Qi, JM D’Alessandro, JAV Blodgett.  Genome Announcements, 2018.DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.01401-17
        9. Chemical and Biological Aspects of Nutritional Immunity – Perspectives for New Anti-infectives Targeting Iron Uptake Systems.  Ursula Bilitewski, Joshua AV Blodgett, Anne‐Kathrin Duhme‐Klair, Sabrina Dallavalle, Sabine Laschat, Anne Routledge, Rainer Schobert.  Angewandte Chemie (International ed. in English), 2017.  PMID: 28439959; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201701586
        10. Conserved biosynthetic pathways for phosalacine, bialaphos and newly discovered phosphonic acid natural products. JAV Blodgett, JK Zhang, X Yu, WW Metcalf.  The Journal of Antibiotics, 2016.  PMID: 26328935; DOI: 10.1038/ja.2015.77
        11. Cellulolytic Streptomyces strains associated with herbivorous insects share a phylogenetically linked capacity to degrade lignocellulose. Adam J Book, Gina R Lewin, Bradon R McDonald, Taichi E Takasuka, Drew T Doering, Aaron S Adams, Joshua AV Blodgett, Jon Clardy, Kenneth F Raffa, Brian G Fox, Cameron R Currie.  ASM Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2014.  PMID: 24837391; PMC: PMC4148805; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.01133-14
        12. Targeted discovery of polycyclic tetramate macrolactams from an environmental Streptomyces strain.  Shugeng Cao, Joshua AV Blodgett, Jon Clardy.  Organic Letters, 2010.  PMID: 20843016; PMC: PMC2952660; DOI: 10.1021/ol1020064
        13. Common biosynthetic origins for polycyclic tetramate macrolactams from phylogenetically diverse bacteria.  JAV Blodgett, DC Oh, S Cao, CR Currie, R Kolter, J Clardy.  PNAS, 2010.  PMID: 20547882; PMC: PMC2900643; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1001513107
        14. Quorum-sensing-regulated bactobolin production by Burkholderia thailandensis E264.  Mohammad R Seyedsayamdost, Josephine R Chandler, Joshua AV Blodgett, Patricia S Lima, Breck A Duerkop, Ken-Ichi Oinuma, E Peter Greenberg, Jon Clardy.  Organic Letters, 2010.  PMID: 20095633; PMC: PMC2821070; DOI: 10.1021/ol902751x
        15. An unusual carbon-carbon bond cleavage reaction during phosphinothricin biosynthesis.  Robert M Cicchillo, Houjin Zhang, Joshua AV Blodgett, John T Whitteck, Gongyong Li, Satish K Nair, Wilfred A van der Donk, William W Metcalf.  Nature, 2009.  PMID: 19516340; PMC: PMC2874955; DOI: 10.1038/nature07972
        16. Biosynthesis of 2-hydroxyethylphosphonate, an unexpected intermediate common to multiple phosphonate biosynthetic pathways.  Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2008.  PMID: 18544530; PMC: PMC2516978; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M801788200
        17. Unusual transformations in the biosynthesis of the antibiotic phosphinothricin tripeptide.  Joshua AV Blodgett, Paul M Thomas, Gongyong Li, Juan E Velasquez, Wilfred A Van Der Donk, Neil L Kelleher, William W Metcalf.  Nature Chemical Biology, 2007.  PMID: 17632514; PMC: PMC4313788; DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.2007.9
        18. Heterologous production of fosfomycin and identification of the minimal biosynthetic gene cluster.  Ryan D Woodyer, Zengyi Shao, Paul M Thomas, Neil L Kelleher, Joshua AV Blodgett, William W Metcalf, Wilfred A van der Donk, Huimin Zhao.  Chemistry and Biology, 2006. PMID: 17113999; DOI: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2006.09.007
        19. Molecular cloning, sequence analysis, and heterologous expression of the phosphinothricin tripeptide biosynthetic gene cluster from Streptomyces viridochromogenes DSM 40736.  JAV Blodgett, JK Zhang, WW Metcalf.  ASM Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, 2005.  PMID: 15616300; PMC: PMC538901; DOI: 10.1128/AAC.49.1.230-240.2005