Dr. Mark Lange

Mark Lange

Associate Professor, Institute of Biological Chemistry. Co-Director of the J.J.Murdock Metabolomics Laboratory Service Center, Ph.D. 1995, University of Munich, Germany.
Lange Laboratory Website


Mark Lange.


Plants produce a diverse array of metabolites, the majority of which do not appear to be directly involved in growth and development.  These metabolites are commonly referred to as secondary metabolites, specialized metabolites or natural products.  In contrast to primary metabolites, which are found in all organisms and are usually involved in essential processes, plant natural products oftentimes play more elusive roles in the communication of plants with their environment (e.g., protection against herbivores and infection and attraction of pollinators and/or seed dispersers) and are differentially distributed.  Plant natural products are better known for their utility as dyes (e.g., indigo), fibers (e.g., cellulose), flavors (e.g., eugenol in cloves), fragrances (e.g., essential oils), and pharmaceuticals (e.g., morphine or taxol).  Research in my laboratory is aimed at characterizing the interface between primary and secondary metabolic pathways, with particular emphasis on the biosynthesis of terpenoids, the most diverse class of plant natural products.  We are taking advantage of recent and continuing advances in next-generation sequencing, metabolomics and computational biology to develop integrative mathematical models describing the regulation of terpenoid and related metabolic pathways, thus enabling gene discovery and knowledge-based approaches for pathway improvements by breeding or metabolic engineering.

Currently, we have an active research program in the following areas:


  • Development of metabolomics capabilities, including metabolite imaging.
  • Development of bioinformatic metabolic pathway analysis tools.
  • Development of mathematical models for terpenoid-producing cell types in plants.


  • Unraveling pathways leading to pharmaceutically relevant terpenoids in medicinal plants.


  • Modulating terpenoid production in mint for enhanced essential oils and sustainable chemical intermediates.
  • Biosynthesis of terpenoid essential oil in Citrus peel and of resin in pine trees.
  • Structure-function studies on enzymes relevant for terpenoid biosynthesis.


Selected References

(Jan. 2010 – Aug. 2013)
May B., Lange B.M., Wüst M. (2013) Biosynthesis of sesquiterpenes in grape berry exocarp of Vitis vinifera L.: evidence for a transport of farnesyl diphosphate precursors from plastids to the cytosol. Phytochemistry, in press. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2013.07.021

Cuthbertson D.J., Johnson S.R., Piljac-Zegarac J., Kappel J., Schäfer S., Wüst, M., Ketchum R., Croteau R.B., Marques J.V., Davin L.B., Lewis N.G., Rolf M., Kutchan T.M., Seojarto D.D., Lange B.M. (2013) Accurate mass-time tag library for LC/MS-based metabolite profiling of medicinal plants. Phytochemistry 91, 187-197.

Lange B.M., Ahkami A. (2013) Metabolic engineering of plant monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and diterpenes – current status and future opportunities. Plant Biotechnol. J. 11, 169-196.

Voo S.S., Grimes H.D., Lange B.M. (2013) Cell type-specific transcriptome analysis provides insights into the functional roles of soybean leaf paraveinal mesophyll. Plant Mol. Biol. Rep. 31, 210-221.

Lange B.M., Turner G.W. (2013) Terpenoid biosynthesis in secretory glandular trichomes – current status and future opportunities. Plant Biotechnol. J. 11, 2-22.

Cuthbertson D.J., Andrews P., Reganold J., Davies N., Lange B.M. (2012) Utility of metabolomics toward assessing the metabolic basis of quality traits in apples fruit with an emphasis on antioxidants. J. Agric. Food Chem. 60, 8552-8560.

Cuthbertson D., Piljac-Zegarac J., Lange B.M. (2012) Validation of a microscale extraction and high throughput analysis method for huperzine A in Huperzia . Biomed. Chromatogr. 26, 1191-1195.

Voo S.S., Grimes H.D., Lange B.M. (2012) Assessing the biosynthetic capabilities of secretory glands in Citrus peel. Plant Physiol. 159, 81-94.

Turner G.W., Cuthbertson D.J., Voo S.S., Settles M.L., Grimes H.D., Lange B.M. (2012) Experimental sink removal induces stress responses, including shifts in amino acid and phenylpropanoid metabolism, in soybean leaves. Planta 235, 939-954.

Quanbeck, S.M., Brachova L., Campbell A.A., Guan X., Perera A., He, K., Rhee S., Bais P., Dickerson J.A., Dixon P., Wohlgemuth G., Fiehn O., Barkan L., Lange I., Lange B.M. , Lee I., Cortes D., Salazar C., Shuman J., Shulaev V., Huhman D.V., Sumner L.W., Roth M.R., Welti R., Ilarslan H., Wurtele, E.S., Nikolau B.J. (2012) Metabolomics as a hypothesis-generating functional genomics tool for the annotation of Arabidopsis thaliana genes of “unknown function”. Frontiers Plant Sci. 3, Article 15.

Lange B.M., Mahmoud S.S., Wildung M.R., Turner G.W., Davis E.M., Lange I., Baker R.C., Boydston R.A., Croteau R.B. (2011) Improving peppermint essential oil yield and composition by metabolic engineering. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 16944-16949.

Turner G.W., Grimes H.D., Lange B.M. (2011) Soybean vegetative lipoxygenases are not vacuolar storage proteins. Funct. Plant Biol. 38, 778-787.

Rios-Estepa R., Lange I., Lee J.M., Lange B.M. (2010) Mathematical modeling-guided evaluation of biochemical, developmental, environmental and genotypic determinants of essential oil composition and yield in peppermint leaves. Plant Physiol. 152, 2105-2119 (COVER STORY).

Bais P., Moon S.M., He K., Leitao R., Dreher K., Walk T., Sucaet Y., Barkan L., Wohlgemuth G., Roth M.R., Wurtele E.S., Dixon P., Fiehn O., Lange B.M., Shulaev V., Sumner L.W., Welti R., Nikolau B.J., Rhee S.Y., Dickerson J.A. (2010) PlantMetabolomics.org: A web portal for Plant Metabolomics Experiments. Plant Physiol. 152, 1807-1816.