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Analysis of the transcriptional regulation of xanthan biosynthesis genes in Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris

The γ-proteobacterium Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris (Xcc) B100 synthesizes the exopolysaccharide (EPS) xanthan. Xanthan is produced in huge amounts for the food and cosmetic industry as for technical applications. Since xanthan cannot be re-metabolized by Xanthomonas, the cells have to make a principal decision to invest energy and metabolites in cell growth and division or in the production of xanthan. In our previous work we established the genome sequence (Vorhölter et al. 2008) of a model strain as for production strains of Xcc. On this basis extensive research was carried out on the transcriptome (micro arrays and RNAseq), proteome (2D-gels; MALDI-TOF-MS) and metabolome (GC-MS) level (Schatschneider et al., 2014, 2011; Frese et al., 2014; Musa et al, 2013; Sidhu et al, 2008). A metabolic flux model (Schatschneider et al., 2013) was established to simulate the redirection of metabolites during the growth of this microbe and to optimize xanthan production.

Aims of the project
The aim of this Ph.D. Project is to analyze the transcriptional regulation of xanthan biosynthesis. During the last years we could gain first knowledge on the transcriptional regulation of Xcc, in particular concerning xanthan production. Alterations in gene expression depending on growth phase, at environmental conditions or specific mutations should be monitored systematically. Putative genes identified by this approach encoding i.e. transcriptional regulators will be analysed in more detail. Regulatory proteins will be identified by DNA-affinity purification. The detailed functional results will be used to reconstruct the regulatory network of Xcc as far as xanthan synthesis is concerned, considering also the signalling-related results. The data and the resulting reconstructed network will be visualised and used to direct the metabolism towards xanthan biosynthesis.
How to apply:
Applications for fellowships with the CLIB-Graduate Cluster Industrial Biotechnology are centrally collected during the application call and distributed to the project leaders after the deadline. Please do not send your application by email. The application website will be open from 22 Oct - 15 Nov 2015. The application is a two-step process:
Online Application Form
  • Fill in and submit the online application form available at
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  • You will receive an automated email with information on how to log in to upload your certificates in step 2.
  • Certificates File

  • Prepare one pdf file with all your relevant certificates (for example your Masters degree, transcript of records, your secondary school leaving certificate, a brief CV, TOEFL etc.). Please include also a motivation letter.
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Bielefeld University combines classical academic tradition with innovative research and teaching. It was founded as a new type of university in 1969 with the aims of re-establishing the unity between research and teaching advocated by Humboldt, and of opening up the frontiers between the disciplines. The university has succeeded in maintaining and developing essential elements of this reform...

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