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Research project: MiPro
Microbes for production: A genomics-based approach to engineer novel industrial production strains
Project time: 01.10.09-31.12.12
Cluster coordinator: Prof. Dr. Karl-Erich Jaeger, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Jülich
Project partners: (alphabetical order)
   Dr. Thomas Drepper, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
   Prof. Dr. Michael Hecker, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
   Prof. Dr. Karl-Erich Jaeger, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf
   PD Dr. Michael Lalk, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald
   Dr. Christian Leggewie, evocatal GmbH
   Prof. Dr. Friedhelm Meinhardt, Westf. Wilhelms-Universität Münster
   Prof. Dr. Rolf Müller, Helmholtz-Inst. f. Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland
   Prof. Dr. Thomas Schweder, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität Greifswald
   Dr. Youming Zhang, Gene Bridges GmbH

      Overview subprojects

Industrial partners:
   BASF AG, Ludwigshafen
   evocatal GmbH, Düsseldorf
   Gene Bridges GmbH, Heidelberg
   Henkel KGaA, Düsseldorf

Microorganism-based production strategies are usually ecologically friendly, save energy and resources, and result in products which are often not accessible via chemical synthesis. Microorganisms naturally thrive and metabolize at moderate temperature, pressure, pH and ionic strength. However, during industrial production, comparably harsh conditions may exist, e.g. high pressure in a large volume fermenter or high concentrations of organic solvents for educt and/or product solubilisation. Also, production strains are usually genetically manipulated to ensure high level product formation which inevitably results in global stresses posed on such cells. Thus, robust microbial strains with optimal performance during production processes are urgently needed.
The Gram-positive bacterium Bacillus pumilus and the Gram-negative bacterium Burkholderia glumae represent two industrially relevant strains being identified or already used by the chemical companies Henkel AG & Co. KGaA and BASF AG, respectively, as microbial production strains. These strains will be engineered for expression and secretion of biotechnological relevant enzymes [1-3], e.g. lipases, phytases or laccases. Furthermore, secondary metabolites of biotechnological interest will be overproduced, namely lipopeptides and rhamnolipids, which both share biosurfactant properties. Global analysis methods including transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics will be applied to analyse cellular responses to overexpression and secretion conditions. Additionally, the genome of a Bu. glumae production strain will be sequenced and compared to the recently completed genome sequence of the respective wild-type strain. The anticipated results will be used to rationalize an engineering strategy aiming to construct production strains with improved properties.


[1] Beselin, A., Breuer., M., Hauer, B., Rosenau, F., Jaeger, K.-E. (2006) Verfahren zur Herstellung von Lipasen. Patent application PCT/EP 06 754 335.5
[2] Boekema, B.K., Beselin, A., Breuer, M., Hauer, B., Koster, M., Rosenau, F., Jaeger, K.-E., Tommassen, J. (2007) Hexadecane and Tween 80 stimulate lipase production in Burkholderia glumae by different mechanisms. Appl Environ Microbiol. 73:3838-3844
[3] Degering, C., Eggert, T., Puls, M., Bongaerts, J., Evers, S., Maurer, K.-H., Jaeger, K.-E. (2010) Optimization of protease secretion in Bacillus subtilis and Bacillus licheniformis by screening of homologous and heterologous signal peptides. Appl Environ Microbiol. 76:6370-6376