Genomic and Applied Microbiology

Research project:


- funded by the BMBF in the framework of the ERASynBio initiative

The 1st joint call for proposals of ERASynBio was launched in May 2013 under the ERA-NET Scheme of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) of the European Commission. The call for proposals resulted in 55 proposals. After the assessment of an international Expert Evaluation Panel, the ERASynBio Call Group has selected 8 projects for funding.

RETROBIO Partners:
ETH Zürich - Prof. Sven Panke (Co-ordinator)
University of Basel - Prof. Florian Seebeck
University of Göttingen - Prof. Rolf Daniel
Graz University of Technology - Prof. Rolf Breinbauer

Project description:
We retrosynthetically designed a pathway along a completely novel set of new-to-nature metabolites for the synthesis of biotin, a high-value-added commercially relevant product currently manufactured by a chemical synthesis. The pathway will be implemented using rational design approaches complemented by advanced high throughput screening methods for the reprogramming of the substrate specificities of known enzymes. The project aims to demonstrate that multi-step biopathway design largely outside of the scope of reactions already known in nature is possible and provides attractive solutions to some of synthetic biology’s currently most intractable synthetic problems. Furthermore, we will demonstrate experimentally that retrosynthetic design is an excellent basis for rational biopathway design.
We expect the results to be a milestone in the demonstration of the potential of synthetic biology for the development of chemical syntheses, which hopefully encourages the more frequent application of biosynthesis as an alternative to chemical methods.

For more details on the ERASynBio initiative see