Diversity, systematics and bioprospecting of Actinobacteria

PI: Dr. Imen Nouioui

The increasing number of multi-drug resistant pathogens due to the overuse of antibiotics in agriculture and medicine and the emergence of new epidemies, as seen with the current case of Covid-19, have led to high mortality rates worldwide. This situation urges to have efficient alternatives to cope with these threats to global public health. Members of the phylum Actinobacteria are well known for their extensive secondary metabolites biosynthetic capacity, which is the origin of about two-thirds of all naturally derived antibiotics available in the market. DSMZ has a large collection of more than 3,000 actinobacterial strains including rare taxa that might be exploited to improve agricultural, environmental and biotechnological practices. Our main research interest focuses on microbial systematics and bioprospecting of actinobacterial strains based on genomic approaches. The genome sequences enhance our understanding of the biodiversity of actinobacterial strains in natural habitats and opens up new routes to the discovery of novel bioactive compounds. Therefore, our research activities are focused on the biodiversity, selective isolation, dereplication and characterisation of novel actinomycetes from neglected and extreme environments. Furthermore, exploiting the new chemical diversity of actinobacteria based on a well-defined genome-guided discovery approach. Our strategies are built on high throughput genome sequencing technologies, comparative genomics pipelines and up-to-date analytical chemistry methods.


Selected references:

  1. Nouioui I, Ghodhbane-Gtari F, Montero-Calasanz MDC, Göker M, Meier-Kolthoff JP, Schumann P, Rohde M, Goodfellow M, Fernandez MP, Normand P, Tisa LS, Klenk HP, Gtari M. (2016). Proposal of a type strain for Frankia alni (Woronin 1866) Von Tubeuf 1895, emended description of Frankia alni, and recognition of Frankia casuarinae sp. nov. and Frankia elaeagni sp. nov. Int J Syst Evol Microbiol.66:5201-5210.
  2. Nouioui I, Carro L, García-López M, Meier-Kolthoff JP, Woyke T, Kyrpides NC, Pukall R, Klenk HP, Goodfellow M1, Göker M. (2018). Genome-Based Taxonomic Classification of the Phylum Actinobacteria. Front Microbiol. 9:2007.
  3. Nouioui I, Cortés-albayay C, Carro L, Castro JF, Gtari M, Ghodhbane-Gtari F,  Klenk H-P, Tisa LS, Sangal V, Goodfellow M. (2019). Genomic Insights Into Plant-Growth-Promoting Potentialities of the Genus Frankia. Front Microbiol. 10:1457.