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Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-08-01 - 2025-07-31

The proposed project embarks on a previous collaboration in the framework of H2020-MSCA-RISE “GoMyTRi” that has successfully laid the groundwork for an international collaboration involving three worldwide leading research infrastructures from Germany, the Netherlands, and Thailand. The common research interest of the three partners is basic and applied mycology, and they joined forces to explore the beneficial secondary metabolites for development of antibiotics, and to find potential candidates for development of environmentally friendly fungal biocontol agents. The interdisciplinary training conducted in the course of “GoMyTri” has already resulted in several joint scientific publications, and some of the PhD candidates involved have graduated with excellent grades, while some of the postdoctoral researchers involved have gained valuable experience in project management. During the past years, the collaboration has been consolidated and the partners have also been changing the scope of their respective research agendas. The new proposal aims to expand the collaboration by adding further, carefully selected partners from Austria, the Czech Republic, Kenya and South Africa, which have an excellent scientific track record and bring in additional know-how and expertise. The new objectives have been expanded to the implementation of –OMICS technologies and studies on the interaction of fungal organisms in order to discover new bioactive molecules. Furthermore, the project aims at characterization of the mycobiota of important agricultural plants. The scientists involved in the training program will thus be working in an interdisciplinary scenario that is intended to tackle several important global challenges at once and be given the opportunity to learn many important methods and techniques that are essential for studies of beneficial as well as detrimental fungal organisms. In addition, several dissemination events are planned.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-01-01 - 2024-12-31

The team established screening systems fpr microbes and plants to identify new bioactive substances and enzymes. So far, 17 new substances and one new enzyme were found and characterized. Two of them have new antibiotic activities and another two are promising candidates with antiproliferative activities whic are actually tested in cooperation with medical instiitutes of the Medical Universities in Krems and Vienna. All new substances and their functions are under patenting applications. Apart from applied aspects, members of the BiMM team have published more than 50 scientific papers in which the BiMM equipment and expertise has been used to generate and interprete the data. Future perspectives: many cooperation activities have been established that will also in future use the know-how and the infrastructure of the BiMM facility. Cooperations will be ongoing with our partners from industry and academia, among other, the Austrian Center for Industrial Biotechnology (ACIB) or BIOMIN/DSM, and University clinics like UKH St.Pölten or th Karl-Landsteiner University and University of Applied Sciences in Krems.
Research project (§ 26 & § 27)
Duration : 2021-01-01 - 2023-12-31

Fusaria represent one of the most important group of plant-pathogenic fungi. They are widely distributed and infect various economically important crops such as rice, wheat and maize. The Fusarium fujikuroi species complex (FFC), consisting of about 50 monophyletic, highly related Fusarium sp. comprises important members of these plant pathogens. Members of this group are known to produce a broad spectrum of small molecular weight compounds, so-called secondary metabolites (SMs), including harmful mycotoxins that frequently contaminate food and feed. A crucial step to combat mycotoxin contaminations is to understand the regulatory network that orchestrates their biosynthesis. In the recent years, it became evident that chromatin structure plays a key role in regulating fungal SM gene expression. The chromatin structure is highly dynamic and driven by changes in posttranslational modifications (PTMs) of histones deposited on the genome. In F. fujikuroi, trimethylation of histone 3 lysine 27 (H3K27me3) – a hallmark of facultative heterochromatin – functions in SM gene silencing. In contrast to published filamentous fungi, loss of H3K27me3 is lethal in this fungus. Knock-down of FfKMT6 by RNA Interference resulted in reduced H3K27me3 levels accompanied by crippled growth, abolished conidiation and increased SM biosynthesis. Intriguingly, reversion phenotypes occurred that showed elevated KMT6 expression and restored wild type-like growth and conidiation. The goal of EpiVit is to gain deeper knowledge on PRC2-mediated gene silencing in members of the FFC. In the focus of this project is the better understanding of the mode of action of Kmt6. Based on this, the following objectives were defined: (1) Evaluate whether Kmt6 vitality is conserved within members of the FFC; (2) Unravel the cause that sets F. fujikuroi (or the FFC) apart from other fungal species; and (3) Exploitation of the relationship between H3K27me3 and other relevant histone PTMs (histone crosstalk).