Institute of Microbiology

Erb, Tobias Jürgen, Dr.

Tobias Jürgen Erb

ETH Zürich
Dr. Tobias Jürgen Erb
Institut für Mikrobiologie
HCI F 437
Vladimir-Prelog-Weg 1-5/10
8093 Zuerich

Phone: +41 44 632 36 54


Link to TOBI's GROUP PAGE at the MPI in MARBURG >>


SHORT CV (for more information click here, for full CV click here)

from 11/2014 Head of the Max Planck Research Group "Biochemistry and Synthetic Biology of Microbial Metabolism" at the MPI Marburg
2013 Elected member of the Junge Akademie at the BBAW and Leopoldina
2012-now SNF-AMBIZIONE Fellow & Junior Group Leader at the Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich (CH)
2011-2012 ETH-Fellow with Julia A. Vorholt, Institute of Microbiology, ETH Zurich (CH)
2009-2011 DFG-Postdoctoral Fellow with John A. Gerlt, Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US)
2009 Doctorate in Microbiology with Georg Fuchs, University of Freiburg (D)
2007 Visiting scholar at the Ohio State University (US), invited by Birgit E. Alber
1999-2005 Diploma in Biology & Magister scientiarum in Chemistry with Georg Fuchs, University of Freiburg (D)

RESEARCH INTERESTS (for more information click here)

Physiology of Archaea & Bacteria, Microbial one-carbon metabolism        
Mechanisms and Evolution of CO2-fixing enzymes        
Natural & synthetic CO2-fixation pathways        
"Understanding life is impossible without understanding the biochemistry of microbes."

Microorganisms represent the majority of species on Earth and exceed all other life forms in number and biomass by several orders of magnitude. This makes them key players in the global cycle of elements, controlling the release and fixation of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur.

Our research is located at the interface of microbial physiology, biochemistry, and ecology. We are driven by the desire to discover and engineer novel microbial pathways and enzymes that involve the transformation of carbon compounds, in particular acetate, methanol, methane or CO2. These compounds are central to the global carbon cycle and their conversion through microbes has a direct impact on the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

We currently focus on answering the following questions: How many metabolic pathways in the global carbon cycle are still undiscovered and what is their ecological importance? How do enzymes catalyze challenging reactions (e.g. the fixation of CO2) and what drives their evolution? Can we construct novel enzymes and completely novel metabolic pathways (e.g. for the efficient fixation of CO2 into value-added compounds) using the methods of synthetic biology?


SELECTED PUBLICATIONS (for more publications click here, for Pubmed list click here)

Rosenthal, R.G., Ebert, M.-O., Kiefer, P., Peter, D.M., Vorholt, J.A. and *Erb, T.J. (2014) Direct evidence for a covalent ene adduct intermediate in NAD(P)H-dependent enzymes. Nature Chem. Biol. 10:50-55

Schada von Borzyskowski, L., Rosenthal, R.G., *Erb T.J. (2013) Evolutionary history and biotechnological future of carboxylases. J. Biotechnol. 168:243-51

Erb TJ, Evans BS, Kyuil C, Warlick BP, Sriram J, Wood BM, Sweedler JV, Tabita FR, Gerlt JA (2012). A RubisCO-like protein links SAM metabolism and isoprenoid biosynthesis. Nature Chem. Biol. 8:926-923

*Erb TJ , Kiefer P, Hattendorf B, Günther D, Vorholt JA (2012) GFAJ-1 is an arsenate resistant, phosphate dependent organism. Science 337:467-70

*Erb TJ (2011) Carboxylase and Carboxylase-like Proteins in Natural and Synthetic pathways. Appl. Env. Microbiol. 77:8466-8477

*Erb TJ , Brecht V, Fuchs G, Muller M, Alber BE (2009) Carboxylation mechanism and stereochemistry of crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/reductase, a carboxylating enoyl-thioester reductase. PNAS 106:8871-76

Erb TJ , Berg IA, Brecht V, Muller M, Fuchs G, Alber BE (2007) Synthesis Of C5-dicarboxylic acids from C2-units involving crotonyl-CoA carboxylase/reductase: The ethylmalonyl-CoA pathway. PNAS 104:10631-6




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© 2015 Microbiology ETH Zürich | Imprint | Disclaimer | 29 September 2014