Systems Biology & Microbial Cell Engineering
Microorganisms are essential for many industrial sectors. They are sophisticated factories in micro-format, which are able to perfectly produce pharmaceutical drugs, enzymes for the chemical, pharmaceutical, agrochemical or food industries or a variety of highly valuable chemicals. This requires the use of biotechnological methods. The characterization of production cells is as necessary as cell design, the systematic development of possible production lines or as finding ideal growth conditions which are all major research fields of acib.
In the past research relied on an empirical access to cell improvement. Trying out many different variants was labor intensive. Targets were reached slowly. Now acib focuses on the modern, fast approaches of systems biology.
Transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics or cytometry are used to analyze the cell factories up to the molecular level. Powerful analytical methods for fermentation processes, the genome of the cells or modeling of cellular functions and processes on a computer enable the precise adjustment of the cells to the requirements.
acib’s goal is the design of new biotechnological production platforms. Here we rely on 25+ years of experience and knowledge around various microbial production systems and methods of analysis.
acib works with bacteria such as Escherichia coli, with higher cells such as the yeast Pichia pastoris or with fungi like Aspergillus. All are used effectively in biotechnological production, but still have much room for improvement.
acib’s overall goal is the knowledge based engineering of microbial production systems for metabolites and recombinant proteins. Our challenges are to convert information from systems biological analysis and models into successful engineering strategies to adapt the cellular metabolism and its regulation efficiently for most efficient production of biomolecules. For example, we have identified negative metabolic trade off of industrial strains, which provides a framework for further targeted cell engineering, which will be a major breakthrough in further improvement of industrial processes.
The challenges in heterologous protein production are still strongly found in folding and secretion of non-native proteins, limiting yields and productivities. Based on a unique extensive dataset generated at acib, we will address specific parts of the secretory pathway, which have been identified as major limiting bottlenecks. While having reached the g/L range with several complex products such as antibody Fab fragments, acib scientists work on further innovative improvement by enhancing intracellular transport and oxidative folding and reducing proteolytic degradation. acib’s strategic projects are targeted towards emerging fields, namely membrane transport and artificial organelle targeting of enzymes and pathways and non-transcriptional regulation in microbial host organisms.