State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources (SKLMR)

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Director: Professor Xiuzhu Dong

Deputy Directors: Professor Hua Xiang, Professor Ying Huang

Areas of Research

The SKLMR conducts basic and application-oriented researches on microbial resources and their biotechnological exploitation, with emphasis on the following aspects: 1) collection, evaluation and ecological functions of microbial resources; 2) biology and adaptive mechanisms of extremophiles; 3) biosynthesis and metabolic regulation of microbial bioactive substances; 4) microbial biocatalysis and bioconversion.

Research Teams

The SKLMR currently consists of 17 research groups with a total of 74 staff members including 68 researchers, 5 technicians and 1 secretary. Among them, 54 members possess a Ph.D. degree and 40 hold a senior rank. In 2014, the SKLMR had an enrollment of 104 graduate students and 13 postdoctoral fellows.

Research Progress

1. Diversity and ecological functions of important environmental microorganisms  We identified and characterized two functional classes of macrolide phosphotransferase in Bacillus cereus group, encoded by intrinsic resistance genes and acquired resistance genes, respectively; and revealed habitat barriers to homologous recombination in the diversification of streptomycetes. We revealed the sulfur-oxidation pathways in acidothermophilic archaeon Metallosphaera cuprina and the strategies for adaptation to NaCl stress in Acidithiobacillus caldus. We also represented a mechanism that bacteria utilize to coordinate swarming motility, biosurfactant synthesis, and biofilm matrix exopolysaccharide production, which is critical for biofilm formation and bacterial survival in the environment.

2. Genetic and physiological mechanisms of extremophilic archaea  We revealed that haloarchaeal CRISPR authenticated protospacer adjacent motif of a target sequence to prime discriminative adaptation, and the molecular mechanism of the haloarchaea phosphoenolpyruvate-dependent phosphotransferase system. We demonstrated the mechanism for stabilizing mRNAs involved in methanol-dependent methanogenesis of cold-adaptive Methanosarcina mazei, and provided transcriptomic and physiological insights into the robustness of UASB granule-prevalent long filamentous cells of Methanosaeta harundinacea. We also studied the protein lysine methylation in Sulfolobus and the structure and function of a novel primase subunit PriX.

3. Microbial bioactive substances and the metabolic regulation  We provided new insights into the ways in which γ-butyrolactone/receptor systems modulate antibiotic biosynthesis in Streptomyces, and revealed that GouR, a TetR family transcriptional regulator, coordinated the biosynthesis and export of gougerotin in Streptomyces graminearus. We found that angucycline antibiotic jadomycin B could induce complex survival responses in Streptomyces coelicolor at subinhibitory concentration, and described the mechanism of this intriguing phenomenon. We also revealed the mechanism of bovicin HJ50 interacting with BovK, and the structure and mode of action of bovicin HJ50.

4. Microbial enzymology and biotechnology  We optimized the expression system of filamentous fungi Trichoderma reesei, and efficiently expressed a glucose oxidase protein from Aspergillus niger and two α-galactosidase proteins from Penicillium janczewskii and Trichoderma reesei respectively. We characterized alkaline xylanase Xyn11A and obtained its mutants that were more alkaline active and thermostable by directed evolution. We also explored the catalytic potentials of phenylacetone monooxygenase and γ-lactamase.

5. Single molecule and microfluidic research  We implemented real-time observation of yeast nucleosome assembly process on single-molecule level. We also developed a simple and reusable microfluidic SlipChip device for studying bacterial chemotaxis, and an integrated microfluidic device utilizing dielectrophoresis and multiplex array PCR for point-of-care detection of pathogens.

website:     State Key Laboratory of Microbial Resources (SKLMR)