On November 21, the 2013 Schering Prize was awarded to Dr. Bartlomiej Krawczyk from Professor Süssmuth’s group for the best dissertation in chemistry at Berlin Universities
In 2009, Bartlomiej Krawczyk joined UniCat Professor Roderich Süssmuth’s group at TU Berlin, receiving a fellowship from the BIG-NSE Graduate School. Working on microbial natural products with a focus on the biosynthesis and structure of novel lantibiotics, he completed his dissertation on “Discovery, characterization and biosynthesis of novel class III lantibiotics” in January 2013.
Bartlomiej Krawczyk currently works at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma GmbH & Co. KG. He was born in Wroclaw, Poland, in 1983. He studied biotechnology at Wroclaw University of Technology where he completed his MSc degree in 2007. After graduation he continued working on enzymatic catalysis at Wroclaw University of Technology in Prof. Sokalski’s group.
About Bartlomiej Krawczyk’s Dissertation
Lantibiotics represent an important class of peptide natural products synthesized by a large variety of bacteria. The most characteristic structural feature of all lantibiotics is the presence of lanthionine, a posttranslational modification necessary for their biological activity. The exceptional engineering potential and interesting biological properties turn lantibiotics into promising templates for the design of new biologically active compounds. This is further highlighted by recently reported labyrinthopeptins, class III lantibiotics revealing unique antiviral and antiallodynic properties, and a novel structural motif: labionin. In his dissertation, Bartlomiej Krawczyk addressed two crucial aspects related to class III lantibiotics: the discovery of novel labyrinthopeptin-like peptides, and the investigation of their biosynthesis.
Genome analysis of various bacteria species identified a number of putative class III lantibiotics producers. Using a combination of molecular biology, enzymology, and synthetic chemistry, it was possible in vitro to reconstitute biosynthesis of two lantibiotics: curvopeptin and flavipeptin. Subsequently, structures of these lantibiotics were elucidated using various mass spectrometric techniques. Therefore it was demonstrated that such approach can facilitate the discovery and characterization of novel lantibiotics, overcoming problems commonly associated with microbial production. Using these assays, it was possible to study biosynthesis and to provide valuable insights into the exact order of biochemical reactions, the substrate specificity of involved enzymes, and the final proteolytic step. In vitro reconstituted biosynthesis also helped to understand some difficulties encountered during preparations of labyrinthopeptin analogues. These studies highlighted that a better understanding of biosynthesis and its limitations is crucial to enable effective engineering of lantibiotics, and in consequence their practical applications.
The Schering Prize is valued at 5,000 euro and awarded annually by the Schering Foundation. The three universities of Berlin may nominate candidates for the award that honors the best dissertation in the field of chemistry. The prize was awarded for the first time in 1986.
For further information please contact:
Prof. Dr. Roderich Süssmuth, Institut für Chemie der TU Berlin, Tel.: 49 (0)30 314-24205, -78774, e-mail: suessmuth(at)chem.tu-berlin.de