Max Planck Gesellschaft

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science was established in 1911 (then called the Kaiser Wilhelm Society). It is an independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany. The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists. According to SIR Global Ranking, the Max Planck Society ranks third in Europe for the amount of scientific output that is included into the set of the 10% of the most cited papers in their respective scientific fields. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the Max Planck Society as No. 1 in the world for science research, and third place in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and the Argonne National Laboratory, US)

Terrestrial Microbiology (MPI-TM)
  • Prof. Tobias J. Erb
  • Dr. Jan Zarzycki
  • Dr. Lennart Schada von Borzyskowski
  • Daniel Marchal

Molecular Plant Physiology (MPI-MP)

  • Dr. Arren Bar-Even
  • Dr. Steffen Lindner
  • Ari Satanowski
  • Helena Schulz-Mirbach

MPIMP will introduce the different variants of the hydroxyaspartate shunt and the CO2 reduction module into dedicated gene deletion E. coli strains whose growth depends on the introduced activity. This will enable the direct testing and optimization of the synthetic pathways (both in terms of enzymatic components and of expression levels) before introduced into photosynthetic organisms.

MPITM will identify, characterize and engineer the enzymes required to construct the hydroxyaspartate shunt, as well as the CO2-reducing system. MPITM will reconstitute these pathways in vitro and provide the partners with optimized enzymes for in vivo implementation. MPITM will assay activity of the enzymes and pathway segments to confirm successful in vivo implementation.

Relevant Expertise

Arren Bar-Even’s team (MPIMP) studies the design principles of cellular metabolism and their implementation in metabolic engineering to support novel growth properties. To address the grand challenges our industrial society faces radical solutions are required. The Bar-Even lab tries to tackle these challenges by advancing innovative forms of metabolism, especially the use of one-carbon compounds. Using computational tools for pathway design and analysis they identify promising metabolic routes and further implement them in model microbes.

Tobias Erb’s research interest is the microbial carbon cycle, in particular the biochemistry and synthetic biology of microbial one-carbon metabolism and CO2-fixation. The team of Tobias Erb (MPITM) focuses on the discovery, the functional study and the design of novel enzymes and pathways that capture and convert one-carbon compounds, such as CO2, formate, formaldehyde and methanol. The Erb lab has a strong expertise in enzyme and pathway engineering. The team of Tobias Erb has designed and realized synthetic metabolic pathways for the capture and conversion of one-carbon compounds and implemented them into natural and artificial cells to harvest one carbon compounds as a sustainable feedstock for green economy and improve photosynthetic productivity.