Lab Vanderhaeghen

Our research is focused on the following research topics:

Natural transformation of Actinobacteria
The ability of bacteria to obtain DNA by natural transformation is highly conserved in gram positive and gram negative bacteria. Although many organisms have those highly conserved genes, only relatively few bacteria are experimentally verified to take up DNA. We are interested in discovering new bacteria which are able to naturally take up DNA, as well as in the underlying mechanisms (e.g. Lichev 2019).

Sec-system mediated secretion in Streptomyces lividans
Streptomyces lividans is a soil bacterium which is specialized to degrade complex plant originated polysaccharides. The GH-family proteins, necessary for this degradation, are secreted with the Sec secretion system. Although the molecular mechanism is quite good understood, it is still unknown where the secretion occurs in the bacterial hyphae.

Metagenome screening by using alternative expression hosts
Bacterial enzymes are an issue of increasing interest as they offer the perspective to increasingly use renewable resources as raw materials for production processes in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and to reduce the demand for petrol-based compounds. Metagenome analysis allows studying the microorganisms in a sample without the need to cultivate them. Function-based metagenome analyses are almost exclusively performed in the classical cloning and expression host Escherichia coli. However, since the genetic diversity of complex environmental samples is vast, only a fraction of the genes encoding a certain function in a metagenomic library can be successfully detected. Thus, we are interested in establishing novel expression hosts (e.g. Leis et al. 2015).