Metabolite secretion in microorganisms: the theory of metabolic overflow put to the test (Video) Event as iCalendar


05 April 2016

4 - 5pm

Venue: Ground Floor Seminar Room (G10)

Location: 70 Symonds Street, Auckland Central

Portrait of Silas Villas-Boas

An ABI seminar by Associate Professor Silas Villas-Boas, School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland.


Microbial cells secrete many metabolites during growth, including important intermediates of the central carbon metabolism. This has not been taken into account by researchers when modeling microbial metabolism for metabolic engineering and systems biology studies. The uptake of metabolites by microorganisms is well studied, but our knowledge of how and why they secrete different intracellular compounds is poor. The secretion of metabolites by microbial cells has traditionally been regarded as a consequence of intracellular metabolic overflow. However, we provide evidence based on time-series metabolomics data that microbial cells eliminate some metabolites in response to environmental cues, independent of metabolic overflow. Moreover, in this talk I will review the different mechanisms of metabolite secretion and explore how this knowledge can benefit metabolic modeling and engineering.


Dr Silas Villas-Boas is an Associate Professor at the School of Biological Sciences (UoA) and has a PhD degree from the Technical University of Denmark and worked over 3 years for AgResearch Ltd before joining the University of Auckland in 2007. Dr Villas-Boas' career is focused primarily on microbial metabolism, metabolomics and microbial natural products. Since 2001, he has established international expertise in metabolomics with over 80 scientific publications in peer-reviewed journals, 9 book chapters, and 3 patents registered. Dr Villas-Boas has contributed and co-edited the first international text-book on metabolome analysis published by John Wiley & Sons (2007) and received an Early Career Research Excellence Award from the University of Auckland for his discovery of novel bioactive metabolite. Dr Villas-Boas is a member of the editorial board of several scientific journals including Science Reviews (Springer), Metabolites (MDPI) and Computational and Structural Biotechnology Journal (International Chemical Biology Society).