A Tribute to Professor Maike Petersen

Document Type : Letter to The Editor


Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, School of Pharmacy, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, I.R. Iran.


Maike Petersen as a professor of pharmaceutical biology at Marburg University has been admired on the occasion of her 62nd birthday. Her scientific trend, mesmerizing character, discipline, and good nature make her a role model for the generation of students and colleagues. Her behavior can profoundly influence the thoughts on scholarship, leadership, and humanity. A rare combination of a personality trait with simultaneous brilliance and humbleness makes her so respected. In addition to all the marvelous attributes of her personality, her reputation as a phytochemist is truly deserved. A brief review of her achievements shows that she is one of the pioneers in the identification and characterization of enzymes, especially in vitro plant cultures, to shed light on the biosynthetic pathways in the way of the production of valuable metabolites. Trends of her research show her focused and oriented investigations in the field. Therefore, within this letter, her commitment to innovation, pluralism, generosity of spirit with all due respect has been admired.


1. Petersen M. Current status of metabolic phytochemistry. Phytochemistry. 2007 Nov-Dec;68(22-24):2847-60. doi: 10.1016/j.phytochem.2007.07.029. Epub 2007 Sep 18. PMID: 17881017.
2. Petersen M, Seitz HU. Reconstitution of cytochrome P-450-dependent digitoxin 12 beta-hydroxylase from cell cultures of foxglove (Digitalis lanata EHRH.). Biochem J. 1988 Jun 1;252(2):537-43. doi: 10.1042/bj2520537. PMID: 3137929; PMCID: PMC1149177.
3. Petersen M, Alfermann AW. Two new enzymes of rosmarinic acid biosynthesis from cell cultures of Coleus blumei: hydroxyphenylpyruvate reductase and rosmarinic acid synthase. Z Naturforsch C. 1988 Aug 1;43(7-8):501-4.
4. Petersen MS. Characterization of rosmarinic acid synthase from cell cultures of Coleus blumei. Phytochemistry. 1991 Jan 1;30(9):2877-81.
5. Petersen M, Häusler E, Karwatzki B, Meinhard J. Proposed biosynthetic pathway for rosmarinic acid in cell cultures of Coleus blumei Benth. Planta. 1993 Jan 1;189(1):10-4.
6. Petersen M. Cytochrome P450-dependent hydroxylation in the biosynthesis of rosmarinic acid in Coleus. Phytochemistry. 1997 Jul 1;45(6):1165-72.
7. Molog G, Empt U, Kuhlmann S, van Uden W, Pras N, Alfermann A, Petersen M. Deoxypodophyllotoxin 6-hydroxylase, a cytochrome P450 monooxygenase from cell cultures of Linum flavum involved in the biosynthesis of cytotoxic lignans. Planta. 2001 Dec 1;214(2):288-94.
8. Kranz K, Petersen M. β-Peltatin 6-O-methyltransferase from suspension cultures of Linum nodiflorum. Phytochemistry. 2003 Sep 1;64(2):453-8.
9. Berger A, Meinhard J, Petersen M. Rosmarinic acid synthase is a new member of the superfamily of BAHD acyltransferases. Planta. 2006 Nov 1;224(6):1503-10.
10. Sander M, Petersen M. Distinct substrate specificities and unusual substrate flexibilities of two hydroxycinnamoyltransferases, rosmarinic acid synthase and hydroxycinnamoyl-CoA: shikimate hydroxycinnamoyl-transferase, from Coleus blumei Benth. Planta. 2011 Jun 1;233(6):1157-71.
11. Hücherig S, Petersen M. RNAi suppression and overexpression studies of hydroxyphenylpyruvate reductase (HPPR) and rosmarinic acid synthase (RAS) genes related to rosmarinic acid biosynthesis in hairy root cultures of Coleus blumei. Plant Cell Tiss Organ Cult. 2013 Jun 1;113(3):375-85.