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SFB 987 & ERA SynBio

Description of SFB-987

Microorganisms are omnipresent in the biosphere and provide the greatest diversity of life on Earth. They successfully colonize almost every possible habitat, regardless of facing welcoming or hostile conditions. A key factor for the ecological success of microorganisms is their enormous biochemical, physiological, genetic and cellular adaptation potential that allows them to timely respond to countless challenging environmental conditions and cellular cues. For most microorganisms, there is only once certainty: change! As a consequence, microorganisms have developed specialized mechanisms that enable both individual cells and cellular communities to recognize and to respond to environmental changes with high sensitivity and specificity. Within the framework of the SFB 987, microbiology-focused research teams working at the Philipps-University and the Max-Planck-Institute for terrestrial Microbiology jointly focus their research efforts on “Microbial Diversity in Environmental Signal Response”. The SFB 987 research consortium aims to significantly advance the current knowledge about the ability of microorganisms to interrogate and interpret environmental and cellular cues and to react with situation-conforming adaptive responses.

 

Description of ECFexpress

ERASynBio is a transnational initiative to promote the robust development of Synthetic Biology (SynBio) and to structure and coordinate national efforts and funding programs. Under this umbrella, the ECFexpress consortium – which includes research groups from Germany, the UK and the US – aims at developing a SynBio design framework based on ExtraCytoplasmic Function σfactors (ECFs) to implement highly orthogonal regulatory switches and circuits. ECFs, which are typically non-essential and stress-inducible, were discovered 25 years ago and represent the most minimalistic and diverse group of the σ70protein family that also includes the essential primary (or housekeeping) σ factors. ECFs represent ideal building blocks for SynBio applications, because they are modular, inherently orthogonal, universal, and scalable. By combining theoretical and experimental approaches, the ECFexpress consortium aims at implementing novel ECF-based switches and circuits in four phylogenetically diverse microorganisms to benchmark their orthogonality and to explore the ECF-based circuit design space.

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