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Millions for GBB in synthetic biology and biotechnology

31 May 2013

In the final FP7 KBBE call for Collaborative Projects targeted to a Special Group (EU) three major grants have been awarded to projects in which scientists of the Groningen Biomolecular Sciences and Biotechnology Institute (GBB) participate. The total volume of the grants is over 25 million EUR, of which the share of GBB is about 2.3 million.

The research is targeted to challenging topics that are relevant for the biobased economy and in which synthetic biology and biotechnology form key strategies that well suit GBB to contribute to the following programmes:

1) Programming synthetic networks for bio-based production of value chemicals (PROMYS)*, in which
Prof. Matthias Heinemann (Molecular Systems Biology) participates and
will receive just over 1.0 million EUR.

PROMYS will develop, validate and implement a novel synthetic biology platform technology termed ligand responsive regulation and selection systems that are biological devices that integrate biological sensing modules, within larger regulatory networks to control cellular programs. This technology will drastically accelerate the construction, optimization and performance of cell factories by enabling industrial users to impose non-natural objectives on the engineered cell factory. PROMYS will address three major challenges in metabolic engineering that limit the development of new cell factories: i) synthetic pathway construction, ii) cell factory optimization, and iii) control of populations during fermentation. The technology developed in PROMYS will be applied to deliver increased fermentation yields by continuously selecting for high yielding cell factories within the fermentation population. PROMYS is industry driven and designed such that the expected innovations of each work package have a direct commercialization partner, willing to commit the necessary resources to develop commercial products from the innovation.
For further information: m.heinemann
* Note: PROMYS was ranked first with a maximum score of 15.00 out of 15.00!

2) Synthetic Biology for the production of functional peptides (SYNPEPTIDE), in which
Prof. Oscar P. Kuipers (Molecular Genetics) participates and
will receive just over 1.0 million EUR.

Peptides are among the most versatile natural products that nature provides to cater for a broad set of biotechnological applications ranging from antibiotics to personal hygiene. Their diversity comes from a broad variety of posttranslational modifications that is used to provide additional functionality beyond to what is possible with the classic proteinogenic set of 20 amino acids. In SYNPEPTIDE, such additional functionality is recruited for rational molecular design purposes in order to facilitate the design and the production of synthetic peptides. To this end the integration of chemical diversity in peptide design and production will be standardized by the following activities: i) translational integration of chemically suitable non-canonical amino acids for posttranslational in vivo and in vitro modification and ii) systematic recruitment of selected highly relevant posttranslational modifications from natural peptide synthesis routes into the design process. Ultimately, drastically expansion of the arsenal of functionalities in the design of novel molecules allowed as well as the capacity to reliably produce them.
For further information: o.p.kuipers

3) Bacterial Hosts for production of bioactive phenolics from berry fruits (BACHBERRY), in which
Prof. Oscar P. Kuipers (Molecular Genetics) participates and
will receive just over 330 thousand EUR.

Plants synthesize a staggering variety of secondary metabolites, and this chemodiversity is a poorly used pool of natural molecules with bioactive properties of importance for applications in pharma and food industries. Berries have a great diversity, high content and unique profiles in phenolic compounds, making them a major source of these high-value metabolites. BACHBERRY focuses on phenolic compounds, a large and diverse class of plant metabolites, which are currently in the spotlight due to their claimed beneficial effects in prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, but also have applications as cosmetics, flavours, food colorants, etc. BACHBERRY aims to develop a portfolio of sustainable methodologies to mine the potential of the untapped biodiversity of the bioactive phenolic compounds in an extensive collection of berry species. Full exploitation of this unrivalled natural resource requires an integrated and comprehensive effort from bioprospecting in berries using SMART high-throughput screens for the valorisation of phenolic bioactivities aligned with their identification using cutting edge analytics and subsequent elucidation of their biosynthetic pathways. This knowledge will facilitate metabolic engineering of suitable bacterial hosts for high-value phenolics production in scalable fermentation bioprocesses, ultimately serving as commercial production platforms. BacHBerry develops a pipeline of sustainable and cost-effective processes to facilitate production of added-value berry phenolics with immediate potential for commercialization and consequent socio-economic benefits for the European community and beyond.
For further information: o.p.kuipers

Last modified:13 March 2020 02.14 a.m.
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