Where Ideas Grow

Bioengineering & Synthetic Microbiology


MicroBioSyn is a multidisciplinary group focused on basic and applied aspects of bacterial physiology and metabolism. The main lines of research are: the development of bacterial chassis for the production of biomolecules and biopolymers, explore possible biotechnological/biomedical applications of these compounds, and study the molecular mechanisms regulating the production and secretion of target molecules.



MicroBioSyn members are contributing to generate robust bacterial chassis and to (re)design pathways for the optimized production of given compounds (w/ several European academic and industrial partners). In this context, we identified and validated neutral sites in the chromosome of Synechocystis foreseeing its use of as a photoautotrophic chassis (8; EPR#16175360.3). The assembly, export and characterization of cyanobacterial extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) and their potential application in bioremediation and biomedicine are being investigated (Univ. Florence, INEB & FEUP). A phylum-wide analysis of EPS-related genes/proteins was performed and a model for the assembly/export of the polymers was proposed. The potential of these polymers to be used as biosorbents for heavy metals and controlled delivery of functional proteins was demonstrated (1,3,7). The propensity of peptides for self-assembly in drug delivery and in aberrant aggregation in neurodegenerative disorders is also being studied. The adsorption of guest compounds by these peptide-based materials was found to be size-dependent allowing an extremely efficient separation of small compounds (10). The cyanobacterial biodiversity of the Portuguese coast and their potential to produce bioactive compounds was evaluated (CIIMAR, Scripps & Institut Pasteur) (6). In addition, the biosynthetic pathways for the production of secondary metabolites are being studied in cyanobacteria and Streptomyces, and already led to the identification of polyene biosynthetic precursor units and of novel regulatory proteins (Univ. Léon) (9). Recently, the group has been focusing on bacterial secretion mechanisms, not only identifying key players, but also contributing to better understand how secretion may be operated via non-classical pathways, namely via membrane vesicles (2).

This is a confocal micrograph of the filamentous, heterocyst-forming cyanobacterium Anabaena sp. PCC 7120 grown under nitrogen-fixing conditions. Cyanobacterial autofluorescence is presented in red, while GFP fluorescence is shown in green. In such strain, GFP expression is under the control of a he


Selected Publications

Santos M., Pereira S.B., Flores C., Príncipe C., Couto N., Karunakaran E., Cravo S.M., Oliveira P., Tamagnini P.,
Absence of KpsM (Slr0977) Impairs the Secretion of Extracellular Polymeric Substances (EPS) and Impacts Carbon Fluxes in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. mSphere6(1):1-20, 2021. [Journal: Article] [CI: 6] [IF: 5,0]
DOI: 10.1128/MSPHERE.00003-21 SCOPUS: 85100678478

Mota R., Vidal R., Pandeirada C., Flores C., Adessi A., De Philippis R., Nunes C., Coimbra M.A., Tamagnini P.,
Cyanoflan: A cyanobacterial sulfated carbohydrate polymer with emulsifying properties. Carbohydrate Polymers229:, 2020. [Journal: Article] [CI: 18] [IF: 9,4]
DOI: 10.1016/j.carbpol.2019.115525 SCOPUS: 85075448329

Brito Â., Vieira J., Vieira C.P., Zhu T., Leão P.N., Ramos V., Lu X., Vasconcelos V.M., Gugger M., Tamagnini P.,
Comparative Genomics Discloses the Uniqueness and the Biosynthetic Potential of the Marine Cyanobacterium Hyella patelloides. Frontiers in Microbiology11:, 2020. [Journal: Article] [CI: 4] [IF: 5,6]
DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.01527 SCOPUS: 85088429546

Flores C., Lima R.T., Adessi A., Sousa A., Pereira S.B., Granja P.L., De Philippis R., Soares P., Tamagnini P.,
Characterization and antitumor activity of the extracellular carbohydrate polymer from the cyanobacterium Synechocystis ΔsigF mutant. International Journal of Biological Macromolecules136:1219-1227, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 12] [IF: 5,2]
DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2019.06.152 SCOPUS: 85068191226

Flores C., Santos M., Pereira S.B., Mota R., Rossi F., De Philippis R., Couto N., Karunakaran E., Wright P.C., Oliveira P., Tamagnini P.,
The alternative sigma factor SigF is a key player in the control of secretion mechanisms in Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Environmental Microbiology21(1):343-359, 2019. [Journal: Article] [CI: 18] [IF: 4,9]
DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14465 SCOPUS: 85058060674

Wegelius A., Khanna N., Esmieu C., Barone G.D., Pinto F., Tamagnini P., Berggren G., Lindblad P.,
Generation of a functional, semisynthetic [FeFe]-hydrogenase in a photosynthetic microorganism. Energy and Environmental Science11(11):3163-3167, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 21] [IF: 33,3]
DOI: 10.1039/c8ee01975d SCOPUS: 85056794765

Gonçalves C.F., Pacheco C.C., Tamagnini P., Oliveira P.,
Identification of inner membrane translocase components of TolC-mediated secretion in the cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Environmental Microbiology20(7):2354-2369, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 21] [IF: 5,1]
DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14095 SCOPUS: 85044407325

Ferreira E.A., Pacheco C.C., Pinto F., Pereira J., Lamosa P., Oliveira P., Kirov B., Jaramillo A., Tamagnini P.,
Expanding the toolbox for Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803: Validation of replicative vectors and characterization of a novel set of promoters. Synthetic Biology3(1):, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 34]
DOI: 10.1093/synbio/ysy014 SCOPUS: 85091655430

Pacheco C.C., Büttel Z., Pinto F., Rodrigo G., Carrera J., Jaramillo A., Tamagnini P.,
Modulation of Intracellular O2 Concentration in Escherichia coli Strains Using Oxygen Consuming Devices. ACS Synthetic Biology7(7):1742-1752, 2018. [Journal: Article] [CI: 1] [IF: 5,6]
DOI: 10.1021/acssynbio.7b00428 SCOPUS: 85049323685

Pinto F., Pacheco C.C., Oliveira P., Montagud A., Landels A., Couto N., Wright P.C., Urchueguía J.F., Tamagnini P.,
Improving a Synechocystis-based photoautotrophic chassis through systematic genome mapping and validation of neutral sites. DNA Research22(6):425-437, 2015. [Journal: Article] [CI: 35] [IF: 5,3]
DOI: 10.1093/dnares/dsv024 SCOPUS: 84950258160

Ongoing Projects

Photosynthetic electron focusing technology for direct efficient biohydrogen production from solar energy
Reference: HORIZON-EIC-2021-PATHFINDEROPEN-01-04-GA 101070948
Proponent: CSIC-Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científic
Sponsor: CE - Comissão Europeia
From 01-OCT-22 to 30-SEP-27