Organisation profile

Organisation profile

Genome Mining - Extended Bioinformatics Solutions

Developing the next generation of bioinformatics solutions for genome mining for secondary/specialized metabolites.

 

Genome Mining of microbial genome data indicates that many microorganisms code for a plethora of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that code for the synthesis of so called natural products, or secondary/specialised metabolites – small molecules that often have high bioactivities. For decades, they have served as lead compounds of most antibiotics, as well as many other drugs.

 

The majority of these pathways are still unexplored, and their potential of being drug candidates is untested. In our interdisciplinary team of microbiologists, bioinformaticians and software engineers, we are developing methods and computer programs to efficiently mine genomic data for BGCs. As our next step, we will integrate this with other omics data sources that will help us to assessing potential functions, and provide information for future metabolic engineering strategies to produce our target compounds.

 

The overall aim of our group is to transform omics data of specialised metabolite producers into knowledge about the biosynthesis, production and application of their natural products, thus providing powerful tools for finding the next generation of antibiotics and other drugs.

Cell factories for novel bioactive compounds

How can we most efficiently unleash the full potential of specialised actinobacterial metabolite producers?

 

Most antibiotics that we currently use to treat bacterial infections are natural products. Many of these life-saving compounds are produced by a group of soil bacteria called actinomycetes, with the genus Streptomyces being the most famous representative.

 

Although studied for many decades, genome mining studies indicate that these organisms still harbour a huge number of unknown biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that code for the biosynthesis of yet to be discovered molecules.

 

In our group of microbiologists, bioengineers, chemists and bioinformaticians, we are developing and using molecular tools, which often are based on CRISPR technology, in order to access and utilise this huge potential.

 

By integrating these genome editing technologies with large-scale transcriptomics and metabolomics data, we aim to develop a platform that can be used for rapid experimental identification of computationally predicted BGCs. We can then use this knowledge to rationally engineer the strains and design expression strategies to produce the target compounds under given fermentation conditions.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. Our work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

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