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Research project: ExpresSys
A platform of novel microbial expression systems for industrially relevant genes
Project time: 01.02.10-30.11.13
Cluster coordinator: Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Liebl, Technische Universität München, Freising-Weihenstephan
Project partners: (alphabetical order)
   Dr. Sonja-Verena Albers, Max-Planck-Institut für terrestrische Mikrobiologie
   Prof. Dr. Garabed Antranikian, Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg
   Prof. Dr. Karl-Erich Jaeger, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
   Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Liebl, Technische Universität München
   Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller, Helmholtz-Inst. f. Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland
   Prof. Dr. Jörg Pietruszka, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
   Prof. Dr. Bettina Siebers, Universität Duisburg-Essen
   Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Streit, Universität Hamburg

      Overview subprojects

Industrial partners:
   BRAIN AG, Zwingenberg
   Evonik Industries, Marl
   Henkel KGaA, Düsseldorf
   Süd-Chemie AG, München
   Wacker Chemie AG, München

logoThis collaborative project addresses some major limitations of the commonly used, established host/expression systems: Genes for enzymes with interesting properties of academic or industrial interest often are not expressed well in standard hosts such as E. coli. Furthermore, in functional metagenomic screenings only a fraction of the tremendous genetic diversity of microorganisms in nature can be accessed, which is mainly due to the limited expression capacity for foreign genes by the traditional hosts, and the inefficiency of establishing large (meta)genomic gene libraries in hosts other than E. coli.

Therefore, alternative cloning and expression hosts are needed (i) in high-throughput functional screening strategies to enhance the detection frequency of the genes of interest and (ii) for the high-level expression of recombinant proteins. We intend to establish an expression platform comprised of a variety of phylogenetically diverse host organisms, including Thermus thermophilus, Micrococcus luteus, Rhodobacter capsulatus, Myxococcus xanthus, Sulfolobus solfataricus and S. acidocaldarius. Briefly, the main objectives of the collaboration are:
  • to establish and improve new host/vector systems for gene expression and functional screening of (meta)genomic libraries,
  • to provide new methods for the function-based detection of recombinant clones of interest,
  • to compare functional screening of (meta)genome libraries in different hosts,
  • to use the new host systems for the identification of novel enzyme-encoding genes,
  • to characterize and bring to application the novel enzymes found
The ExpresSys collaboration network involves eight research groups from Universities (Düsseldorf, Duisburg-Essen, Hamburg, TU Hamburg-Harburg, TU München), research institutions (Helmholz-Institute Saarbrücken, MPI of Terrestrial Microbiology Marburg) and the five industrial partners BRAIN AG (Zwingenberg), Evonik Industries (Marl), Henkel KGaA (Düsseldorf), Süd-Chemie (München), and Wacker Chemie (München).