Centre Algatech

Institute of Michrobiology, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic


Project Info

  • Name: PHOTOMACHINES - Reorganization of photosynthetic cells for the purpose of high production of therapeutic peptides" will start in 2024
  • Registration Number:: CZ.02.01.01/00/22_008/0004624
  • Grant Provider: Johannes Amos Comenius Programme - Research and development 
  • Period: 2023 - 2028
  • Total project budget (CZK): 392 658 273

Main beneficiary of the project

Project Partners


Project Leader for MBÚ AV ČR Třeboň


Project description

The project aims to eliminate obstacles hindering the broader commercial utilization of phototrophic microorganisms (microalgae) for the production of valuable substances. Using methods of metabolic engineering and synthetic biology, a conceptually new type of photosynthetic cellular factories (PHOTOMACHINES) will be developed, sufficiently productive and robust for industrial biotechnology. The primary goal is the production of therapeutic peptides, but metabolic pathways for the production of other metabolites will be identified and subsequently transferred to the production system.

During the project, a system (photosynthetic bio-factory Syn2Cell) will be created for the production of valuable metabolites. It will be based on a strictly separated growth phase from the production phase. Modified cells during the growth phase will store carbon and nitrogen in phycobilisome light-harvesting complexes (PBS), which will then be broken down and utilized in the production phase for bio-product formation. Syn2Cell will feature a robust photosynthetic apparatus and stable genotype, with modified metabolic pathways to increase production and optimized redox homeostasis. The system's development will be complemented by screening secondary metabolites in cyanobacteria with anti-virulent and anti-proliferative effects. The focus is on producing peptides with proven therapeutic properties and possibly other bioactive substances. Concurrently, the identification of metabolic pathways for the production of additional metabolites will take place, which will be subsequently incorporated into the production system. Additionally, a technological procedure for cultivating the cellular system in pilot volumes in tens of liters will be developed.

The project also aims at advancing synthetic biology of algae, including the identification of enzymes crucial for the targeted expression of highly valuable metabolites with application potential, such as photosynthetic pigments like fucoxanthin.

Publication of results will adhere completely to the principles of Open Science.






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