Functional Genomics of Prokaryotes Research Program

Program Responsible: Jaime Mora-Celis, Ph.D.

The research group

When the research center was devoted to Nitrogen Fixation, the Program was called Molecular Ecology and after Metabolic Engineering. The main research areas were carbon and nitrogen metabolism of Rhizobium . With the years, we also studied the enhancing of nitrogen fixation in Rhizobium and the genetic determinants influencing it. With the name change to Genomic Sciences, the projects are being extended and focusing to the use of the new molecular tools of the genomic era.

Current research

Currently,our main objectives are the study of the relationship between gene order conservation (synteny) and function in proteobacterial genomes, the effect of sequence variability in cell fitness taking as example the species signatures of genes form the arginine biosynthetic pathway in the Rhizobiales and the proteomic and transcriptomic characterization of em>Rhizobium etli and Sinorhizobium meliloti .
We are developing the following projects: heterologous complementation of genes from the arginine biosynthesis pathway (Rafael Díaz, Carmen Vargas , Miguel Angel Villalobos ), characterization of the activities of ArgB and ArgC enzymes in Rhizobiales (Michael Dunn), genomic analysis of orthologs in Rhizobiales and other proteobacteria (Humberto Peralta , Gabriela Guerrero , Alejandro Aguilar), metabolic networks of syntenic genes and proteome and transcriptome of Rhizobium etli and Sinorhizobium meliloti in stress, biofilm, symbiosis and microaerobiosis conditions (Sergio Encarnacion and his group).

The questions we want to solve: What is the functional meaning of the bacterial chromosomal arrangement? What is the effect of sequence variability at genomic scales? How transcriptome and proteome in Rhizobium are modulated in response to changing environmental conditions?

The Program is mainly dedicated to the genomics and metabolism research in bacteria, specially the analysis of genome, transcriptome and proteome of Rhizobium and related organisms. This Program is led by Dr Jaime Mora (UNAM Professor Emeritus, SNI III Emeritus) and also participate four researchers, ten academic technicians and four graduate students.

The Program is fully equipped for molecular genetics work and has updated
instruments for analysis of proteome (2D-GE, MALDI-TOF , MS -MS, Ion trap), protein purification (BioRad), transcriptome (microarray spotting and software for its analysis) and genome (PFGE). Also, it has a greenhouse with controlled conditions for plant testing that also gives service to other laboratories in the Center. It is supervised by Yolanda Mora (chemist). Additionally, it has areas on microscopy (optical and electronic microscopes) and chromatography (HPLC).