Tools for synthetic biology

 

Megaplasmids

Fast-growing alpha-rhizobia have multireplicon genome architectures with a chromosome and several large extrachromosomal replicons. Sinorhizobium species contain one chromosome and two megaplasmids each having the size of small bacterial genomes. Megaplasmids offer versatile applications in synthetic biology such as construction of carrier replicons for insertion and transfer of large gene modules. The multireplicon structure of rhizobial genomes facilitates genome shuffling and reduction paving the way to study the effect of such manipulations on the organism.

 

Funding

SYNMIKRO (LOEWE program, State of Hesse)

 

Reporter and gene expression systems for alpha-rhizobia and related alpha-proteobacteria

alpha-rhizobia possessing GC-rich genomes are alternative Gram-negative bacterial hosts for production of heterologous proteins. Although a broad range of tools and methods for efficient genetic manipulation of alpha-rhizobia are available, constructs for controlled protein expression are only poorly developed in these organisms. This project aims at engineering of low and medium copy expression plasmids and constructs allowing stable genomic integration for ectopic gene expression. Engineering includes inducible promoters enabling the control of gene expression over a broad dynamic range. Another focus of our work is the engineering of reporter genes for monitoring of transcription and translation in alpha-rhizobia.

Funding

SYNMIKRO (LOEWE program, State of Hesse)

 

Intercellular signaling modules: Programming phenotypic population heterogeneity by intercellular signaling

Intercellular communication and multicellular coordination are widespread among prokaryotes and generally known as quorum sensing. Intercellular signaling and phenotypic heterogeneity coordinate bacterial metabolism and enable division of labor and bet hedging in populations. An example is the presence of a subpopulation that engage in the production of a high energy-demanding product and one showing no investment. The latter may have a higher reproduction rate due to saving of energy. Therefore, intercellular communication is vital towards the construction of synthetic microbial cells and their application. In this project, we are engineering intercellular communication to control and coordinate the activity of synthetic modules in bacteria at population level. Future applications may comprise parallel or sequential biosynthesis of different products by subpopulations and control of microbial consortia.

Funding

SYNMIKRO (LOEWE program, State of Hesse)

 

Laboratory automation platform

We are establishing a state-of-the-art Laboratory Automation Platform for library handling, automated screening assays, and combinatorial experiments in synthetic biology.

Funding

SYNMIKRO (LOEWE program, State of Hesse; German Research Foundation)

SYNMIKRO Young Researchers Groups

Almost all scientific members of SYNMIKRO are actively involved in DFG’s Collaborative Research Centers (Sonderforschungsbereiche), Research Training Groups (Graduiertenkollegs), or other Cooperative Research projects. Alongside performing adventurous experiments, and reporting excellent science, SYNMIKRO substantially promotes potential Young Research Group Leaders by constantly keeping its doors open to welcome and support Young Researchers planning to set up an Independent Research Group.
Our Young Research Groups