Pan-metabolic profiling of Archaea

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 adaptions, 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 genomics space.

This project aims at using genomic data to forge robust links between physiological phenotypes among modern Archaea and their genomics adaptations and how those are evolving.

By performing large-scale whole-genomics 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.

Duration: 01.06.2016-31.05.2024

Funding agency: WWTF

Project leader: Dr. Filipa Sousa

Participants: Filipa Sousa, Christa Schleper, Govind Nair, Sinje Neukirchen, Anastasiia Padalko, Edith Pichlhöfer, Chris Pruckner, Johanna Spiegelhofer, Joost van Ham


Read the "Club Wien" article on women in science: Filipa Sousa here (german only):

"Frauen in der Forschung: Das Geheimnis der Einzeller"