The WhiteBiotech (industrial biotechnology) interdepartmental unit is a joint effort of active groups working in microbial biotechnology and protein science with a record of mutual collaboration at CIB. The mission of the WhiteBiotech unit is promoting excellence in knowledge transfer and innovation in applied biotechnology, acting as an accelerator for these activities at the National and European level.
The unit integrates front-line technologies and research strategies - including structural, molecular and chemical biology, computational (bio)chemistry, protein engineering, and systems and synthetic microbiology - to develop novel biotechnological products of interest for the bio-based and other industrial sectors, bulk and fine chemicals and pharmaceuticals included.
Our connection with these industrial sectors has a recognized international dimension, as shown by coordination of two large FP7 projects and one H2020 project of the BioBased Industries Joint-Undertaking (BBI-JU; www.bbi-europe.eu), together with the recent involvement in six more BBI-JU and H2020 projects (and several ITN networks) and a score of related projects funded at national level.
The Interdepartmental Unit was created in 2012 (by a CSIC decision of 31 July) and, since its establishment date, has undergone several reorganizations as a result of the evolution of the CIB staff and the recommendations of the Scientific Committee, being currently constituted by de following 15 scientists/PIs: Sonsoles Martín Santamaría - Auxiliadora Prieto - Carmen Gil - Ana Martínez - Cristina Vega - Rafael Giraldo - Antonio Romero - Eduardo Díaz - Germán Rivas - María Jesús Martínez - Ángel T. Martínez (Coordinator) - Fernando Díaz - Miguel Angel Peñalva - (not in the picture: José Luis García - Ignacio Casal)
Research topics of the unit members are:
1) Microbial cell-factories for enzymes and metabolites of interest, Membrane trafficking and optimized secretion of fungal enzymes, Carbohydrate-acting enzymes (GHs, esterases and others), Fungal oxidoreductases, Rational design and directed molecular evolution of enzymatic biocatalysts
2) Crystallography and x-ray diffraction analysis, Protein science for drug design, Macromolecular interactions and synthetic cell-like environments
3) Microbial genomics and metagenomics, Advanced functional proteomics, Systems biology, Computational biology in enzyme and drug design
4) Biotechnology for lignocellulose biorefineries, Degradation & valorization of lignin and carbohydrates, Bacterial metabolism of aromatics, steroids and other compounds, Bioplastics/biomaterials from renewable resources and wastes, Synthetic microbiology
Dinjaski N, Fernández-Gutiérrez M, Selvam S, Parra-Ruiz FJ, Lehman SM, Roman JS, García E, García JL, García AJ, Prieto MA. 2014. PHACOS, a functionalized bacterial polyester with bactericidal activity against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. Biomaterials 35: 14-24
Fernández C, González-Rubio G, Langer J, Tardajos G, Liz-Marzán LM, Giraldo R*, Guerrero-Martínez A*. 2016. Nucleation of amyloid oligomers by RepA-WH1 prionoid-functionalized gold nanorods. Angewandte Chemie International Edition 55: 11237-11241
Fernández FJ, Arda A, López-Estepa M, Aranda J, Peña-Soler E, Garces F, Round A, Campos-Olivas R, Bruix M, Coll M, Tuñón I, Jiménez-Barbero J, Vega MC. 2016. Mechanism of sulfur transfer across protein-protein interfaces: The cysteine desulfurase model system. ACS Catalysis 6: 3975-3984
Martín-Moldes Z, Blázquez B, Baraquet C, Harwood CS, Zamarro MT, Díaz E. 2016. Degradation of cyclic diguanosine monophosphate by a hybrid two-component protein protects Azoarcus sp strain CIB from toluene toxicity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113: 13174-13179
Martínez AT, Ruiz-Dueñas FJ, Camarero S, Serrano A, Linde D, Lund H, Vind J, Tovborg M, Herold-Majumdar OM, Hofrichter M, Liers C, Ullrich R, Scheibner K, Sannia G, Piscitelli A, Pezzella C, Sener ME, Kilic S, van Berkel WJH, Guallar V, Lucas MF, Zuhse R, Ludwig R, Hollmann F, Fernandez-Fueyo E, Record E, Faulds CB, Tortajada M, Winckelmann I, Rasmussen JA, Gelo-Pujic M, Gutierrez A, del Rio JC, Rencoret J, Alcalde M. 2017. Oxidoreductases on their way to industrial biotransformations. Biotechnology Advances 35: 815-831
Martínez I, Mohamed MES, Rozas D, García JL, Díaz E. 2016. Engineering synthetic bacterial consortia for enhanced desulfurization and revalorization of oil sulfur compounds. Metabolic Engineering 35: 46-54
Palomo V, Pérez DI, Roca C, Anderson C, Rodríguez-Muela N, Pérez C, Morales-García JA, Reyes JA, Campillo NE, Pérez-Castillo AM, Rubin LL, Timchenko L, Gil C, Martínez A. 2017. Subtly modulating glycogen synthase kinase 3 beta: Allosteric inhibitor development and their potential for the treatment of chronic diseases. Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 60: 4983-5001
Peláez-García A, Barderas R, Batlle R, Viñas-Castells R, Bartolomé RA, Torres S, Mendes M, López-Lucendo M, Mazzolini R, Bonilla F, de Herreros AG, Casal JI. 2015. A proteomic analysis reveals that snail regulates the expression of the nuclear orphan receptor nuclear receptor subfamily 2 group f member 6 (nr2f6) and interleukin 17 (il-17) to inhibit adipocyte differentiation. Molecular & Cellular Proteomics 14: 303-315
Pinar M, Arst HN, Pantazopoulou A, Tagua VG, de los Ríos V, Rodríguez-Salarichs J, Díaz JF, Peñalva MA. 2015. TRAPPII regulates exocytic Golgi exit by mediating nucleotide exchange on the Ypt31 ortholog RabE(RAB11). Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112: 4346-4351
Ruiz FM, Fernández IS, López-Merino L, Lagartera L, Kaltner H, Menéndez M, André S, Solís D, Gabius HJ, Romero A. 2013. Fine-tuning of prototype chicken galectins: Structure of CG-2 and structure-activity correlations. Acta Crystallographica section D-Biological Crystallography 69: 1665-1676
Sáez-Calvo G, Sharma A, Balaguer FA, Barasoain I, Rodríguez-Salarichs J, Olieric N, Muñoz-Hernández H, Berbís MA, Wendeborn S, Peñalva MA, Matesanz R, Canales A, Prota AE, Jiménez-Barbero J, Andreu JM, Lamberth C, Steinmetz MO, Díaz JF. 2017. Triazolopyrimidines stabilize microtubules by binding to the vinca inhibitor site of tubulin. Cell Chemical Biology 24:737-750
EnzOx2 "New enzymatic oxidation/oxyfunctionalization technologies for added value bio-based products” (H2020 BBI-JU, 2016-2019; funding; 3.0 M€; http://enzox2.eu). The project focuses on the development of new enzymatic technologies in the production of: i) Polymer building blocks from bio-based 5-hydroxymethylfurfural; ii) Active pharmaceutical ingredients; and iii) Terpenes as flavor & fragrance precursors. 12 partners - Coordinator Angel T. Martínez.
SYNPOL "Biopolymers from syngas fermentation" (FP7, 2012-2016; 7.5 M€ funding; http://www.synpol.org). The project aims to propel the sustainable production of new biopolymers from feedstock, and will establish a platform for biopolymer production through modern processing technologies. Coordinator: Jose L Garcia (CIB).
INDOX "Optimized oxidoreductases for medium and large scale industrial biotransformations" (FP7, 2013-2016; 7.8 M€ funding; http://www.indoxproject.eu). The project aims to provide industrial case stories to demonstrate the efficacy of optimized biocatalysts on targeted oxidative reactions, and to establish the processes scalability, sustainability and cost-efficiency versus chemical conversion processes. 7 partners - Coordinator: Angel T. Martinez (CIB).
LIAR "Living Architecture" (H2020, 2016-2019; 3.0 M€ funding; http://livingarchitecture-h2020.eu). LIAR is a modular bioreactor-wall, based on microbial fuel cell technology, as an integral component of human dwelling, capable of extracting valuable resources from sunlight, waste water and air, and generating oxygen, proteins and biomass. Coordinator: Newcastle University (UK). 6 partners including CIB (PI: Jose L. García).
CELBICON "Cost-effective CO2 conversion into chemicals via combination of capture, electrochemical and bi-ochemical conversion technologies" (H2020, 2016-2019; 5.4 M€ funding; http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/200178_es.html). The project will bridge CO2 capture with electrochemical reduction and fermentation to bioplastics, isoprene, lactic acid and methane. Coordinator: Politecnico de Torino (Italy). 13 partners including CIB (PI: Auxiliadora Prieto).
P4SB "From Plastic waste to Plastic value using Pseudomonas putida Synthetic Biology" (FP7, 2015-2019; 7.0 M€ funding; http://www.p4sb.eu). Using Synthetic Biology to bring about the sustainable and environmentally-friendly bioconversion of oil-based plastic waste into fully biodegradable counterparts. Coordinator: RWTH Aachen (Germany). 12 partners including CIB (PI: Auxiliadora Prieto).
AFTERLIFE " Advanced filtration technologies for the recovery and later conversion of relevant fractions from wastewater" (H2020 BBI-JU, 2017-2021; 3.9 M€ funding; https://bbi-europe.eu/projects/afterlife). The project proposes a flexible, cost- and resource-efficient process for the production value-added biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) from wastewaters. Coordinator: Eggplant (Italy). 15 partners including CIB (PI: Auxiliadora Prieto).
RefuCoat "Full recyclable food package with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities by the use of high performance coatings" (H2020 BBI-JU 2017-2020; 2.3 M€ funding; https://www.refucoat.eu). This project is developing hybrid bio-based high oxygen/water barrier and active coatings to be used in food packages (films and trays). Coordinator: AIMPLAS (Spain). 12 partners including CIB (PI: Auxiliadora Prieto).
PDE4NPD "Parasite-specific cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterase inhibitors to target neglected parasitic diseases" (FP7-Health Program, 2014-2018; 6M€ funding; https://www.pde4npd.eu/). This project aims to unite global efforts to target the highly druggable class of enzymes called cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases. Coordinator: VU Amsterdam (Netherlands). 10 partners including CIB (PI: Carmen Gil)
LigBio "A Synthetic Biology approach for bacterial bioconversion of lignin into renewable chemicals" (Eranet-IB, 2015-2018; 0.8 M€ funding; http://www.era-ib.net/ligbio). This project will study Pseudomonas putida KT2440 to elucidate lignin degradation by bacteria, and develop a fermentation process for the production of renewable aromatics from lignin. Coordinator: Warwick University (UK). 4 partners including CIB (PI: Eduardo Diaz).
TOLLERANT "Toll-Like Receptor 4 activation and function in diseases: an integrated chemical-biology approach" (2015-2018; H2020-MSCA-ITN-2014; 3.1 M€ funding; http://www.tollerant.eu). TOLLERANT relies on synergies and combination of chemistry, biology, biophysics, biochemistry and pharmacology expertises. 7 partners including CIB (PI: Sonsoles Martin Santamaria).
DRIVE "Driving next generation autophagy researchers towards translation" (H2020 MSCA-ITN-ETN; 2017-2021, 3.8M€ funding; http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/211903_en.html). The goal is to train young scientists in the applied autophagy field. Coordinator: UMCG Groningen (Netherlands). 14 partners including CIB (PI: Ana Martinez).
GlycoPharm “The Sugar Code: from (bio)chemical concept to clinics" (FP7-PEOPLE-2012-ITN 317297; 2012-2016; 3.0 M€ funding; http://www.glycopharm.eu). GlycoPharm offers training to young researchers in the interdisciplinary field of glycosciences. 12 partners including CIB (participants: Sonsoles Martin Santamaria and Antonio Romero).
Two additional H2020 projects will be carried out during the 2018-2020 period with participation of the WhiteBiotech unit:
- EngiCoin "Engineered microbial factories for CO2 exploitation in an integrated waste treatment platform" (H2020, 2018-2021; 7.0 M€ funding; website to be launched in Jan-2018. The project will develop new microbial factories (using Synechocystis, Ralstonia and Acetobacterium), exploiting CO2 for the production of value-added chemicals. Coordinator: Turin University (Italy). 12 partners including CIB (PI: Auxiliadora Prieto).
- IBISBA 1.0 "Industrial Biotechnology Innovation and Synthetic Biology Accelerator" (H2020 INFRAIA [Integrating and opening research infrastructures of European interest]; 2018-2021; 5 M€ funding; http://www.ibisba.com). The aim is to support and accelerate the uptake of industrial biotechnology, as a key enabling technology for advanced manufacturing, by providing a network of research infrastructure facilities to promote R&D in bioprocess development. Coordinator: INRA-Toulouse (France). 16 partners including CSIC (PI: María Jesús Martínez).
Recently (15-Dec-2017) the following two novel H2020 proposals with participation of the WhiteBiotech unit (Ángel T. Martínez) were granted by the BBI-JU (https://www.bbi-europe.eu) to be initiated in 2018:
- WoodZymes "Extremozymes for wood based building blocks" (H2020 BBI-JU, 2018-2021; 3.3 M€ funding). The project focuses on the use of new/engineered extremophilic enzymes to substitute harsh and energy-demanding chemical treatments for sustainable production of bio-based building blocks and products in wood biorefinery. 11 partners, including CIB.
- SusBind "Development and pilot production of sustainable bio-binder systems for wood based panels" (H2020 BBI-JU, 2018-2021; 4.4 M€ funding). The objective is to produce bio-based binders in the manufacturing of wood boards using greener technologies, such as enzymatic epoxidation. 12 partners, including world-leading companies (such as IKEA) and CIB.