Research

CeMiSt will select key secondary metabolite-producing microorganisms to represent several groups (prokaryotes, eukaryotes) and niches (water, soil). The microorganisms are selected based on expertise of the Center and we will determine if “known” secondary metabolites (SM) from these microorganisms are produced in their natural environments. 

We will measure gene expression (of SM BGCs) both by amplicon sequencing and targeted chemical analyses. We will determine diversity of species and of SM BGCs using amplicon sequencing and metagenome analyses and subsequently isolate microorganisms and engineer model microbial systems. These will be based on de novo isolation of microorganisms selected from species diversity and SM genetic profiles of the natural environments. 

SM production of the key microorganisms will be manipulated by mutagenesis, and we will in mixed model communities determine if SM production provides a competitive advantage and is selected for. We will determine the evolution, i.e. rate of genetic change and ancestral origin of SM BGCs, by analyses of genome sequenced SM producing microorganisms, by sampling over time from natural niches and determining BGCs sequences, and by monitoring mutational changes and transfer of BGCs during co-adaptive evolution studies. The mechanisms by which SMs exert their effect will be determined by transcriptomic, metabolomic and phenotypic analyses. CeMiSt will be organized in three research areas.