State-of-the art fluorescence microscopes tailored in their configurations to live-cell studies of bacteria are available in biosafety level II laboratories at the IMIT. These systems allow the IMIT research groups to study bacterial physiology, growth and development of pathogenic bacteria, bacteria-host cell interactions as well as the activity of antibacterial agents in real time and over prolonged periods. In addition, an atomic force microscope is available, which scans surfaces with a resolution down to 10 nanometres.
NatResource, Tübingen’s natural product center, connects natural product isolating research groups (from Microbiology, Chemistry, and Pharmacy) with research groups (from Biology and Medicial Faculty) characterizing the bioactive molecules. Natural product research in Tübingen covers the identification of novel producer strains, compound purification and structure elucidation, analysis of biosynthetic pathways, and characterization of biological activities on the molecular level.
Mining microbial genomes for their biosynthetic gene clusters revealed the true potential of many organisms to produce natural products. Part of our research program is the development of effective and user-friendly bioinformatic programs to mine microbial genomes for secondary metabolite gene clusters and prioritize most promising ones that likely encode novel antibiotics. Here we present a selection of bioinformatic tools useful for genome mining, which Tübinger researchers have been a part of developing.