Department of Ecogenetics and Systems Biology - Division of Archaea Biology and Ecogenomics


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Pan-metabolic profiling of Archaea

Research > Ongoing Projects > Pan-metabolic profiling

Pan-metabolic profiling of Archaea: The ecology of genomics

The Archaea are a goldmine of discoveries, with fundamentally new forms regularly being discovered through metagenomics. We are beginning to realize the vast diversity of archaeal ecological adaptations, and how much we do not know regarding their metabolism. Uncharacterized genes of Archaea present a plethora of opportunities to, at the cutting edge of the field, identify new metabolic traits. Yet, to detect which gene innovations form the base for the ecological success of specific groups we have to look to the entire genomic space.

This proposal aims at using genomic data to forge robust links between physiological phenotypes among modern Archaea and their genomic adaptations and how those are evolving.By performing large-scale whole-genomic comparisons complemented with thorough phylogenetic analysis of all single gene trees, we will be able to define archaeal metabolic profiles, clusters of genes conserved among organisms with similar phenotypic traits, and identify what makes them so special. The metabolic profiles, defined at a pan-phenotypic level, will serve not only to develop a classification-tool aiming at an automatic metabolic classification of newly sequenced genomes, but also to pinpoint unknown archaeal conserved genes, potentially linked to metabolism, to be functional characterized. By extending this strategy to eukaryotes, the role of Archaea in Eukarya origin and evolution can be evaluated, and additional testable predictions will be made.

The metabolic profiles will serve to disentangling both specialist and generalist adaptation strategies first within archaeal groups, later in eukaryotes, thereby increasing our understanding in microbial ecological adaptations and evolution.

Vienna Science and Technology Fund Vienna Research Groups 2015 (WWTF)
"Computational Biosciences"


Participants: Filipa Sousa, Sinje Neukirchen
Proponent: Christa Schleper

Funding: Vienna Science and Technology Fund (WWTF)

Duration: 01.06.2016 - 31.05.2024

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