Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg

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The development of enzymes for the directed modification and for the downstream processing of (therapeutic) proteins and enzymes are the main research interests of the group of Prof. Pietzsch.


"Carbonic anydrase Inhibitors (CAI) - Development of a diagnostic tool for the rapid and reliable determination of the carbonic anhydrase activity of antitumor markers and agents."

The research field for the identification of carbonic anhydrases as potential target molecules for anticancer drugs has grown strongly over the past 15 years. The effect of the potential inhibitors is characterized by different methods and different enzymes. This often leads to problems in the comparability of data. A uniform test procedure would minimize these limitations. For the successful development and establishment of an appropriate test kit, it is absolutely necessary to have human carbonic anhydrase IX and XII available at low cost and in constant quality. In our experience, this is currently not the case. In cooperation with the BioSolutions GmbH Halle this project therefore addresses two research topics. On the one hand, an enzyme inhibition test suitable for high sample volumes should be established and, on the other hand, the development of an efficient method for the recombinant production of carbonic anhydrase IX and XII is aimed to be developed.

The aim of this project is to contribute to the development of an efficient test procedure for the analysis of carbonic anhydrase active substances.

Project term: 01.10.2019 - 31.01.2022
Funding period: 01.10.2019 – 30.04.2022


There is a great need for innovative materials, like e.g. wound dressings and skin replacement, to efficiently help patients with poorly healing wounds, in particular large-area or chronic wounds such as ulcus cruris (so-called "open leg"). Especially in view of the demographic development and the increasing health care costs the wound treatments play an increasing role. Within the ElastoHEAL project new production methods and novel biopolymers, based on an extracellular structural protein, will be developed. A unique combination of biocompatibility, durability and biodegradability with favorable mechanical properties that are similar to those of the skin to be treated is the main advantageous of protein-based materials over currently used wound dressings. In addition to improving wound healing and reducing scarring, protein-based biopolymers should also make it easier to treat injuries at mechanically stressed areas of the skin such as joints.

Project term: 01.05.2018 - 30.04.2021

Funding period: 01.05.2018 - 31.07.2021

Efficient, inducible, antibioticfree expression of therapeutic proteins in bacteria

A  biopharmaceutical is a medicine whose active substance is made by a  living organism. The most popular subset of biological drugs are  recombinant therapeutic proteins that are biotechnologically  manufactured in living sources including human, animal, plant, fungal or  microbial cells. The majority of these products is produced in  microbial cells, namely bacteria.

The  production of therapeutic proteins in bacteria requires an efficient  expression platform, consisting of an adapted bacterial strain and an  optimized vector. This platform has to meet the scientific and technical  demands of an industrial utilization, as well as fulfill the regulatory  requirements of the pharmaceutical industry.

In  this sponsored project, the goal is to establish a bacterial expression  platform through an extensive scientific research work in collaboration  with the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. Based on the  results of this research, the development of a proprietary expression  platform is planned, which is supposed to be used as a basis for the  production of therapeutic proteins in Halle (Saale).

This  project and the transfer of knowledge and research expertise into an  industrial application is partly funded by the European Union,  particularly the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Project term: 01.12.2018 - 30.11.2021

Funding period: 01.12.2018 - 28.02.2022

Transglutaminase Kristallstruktur

The previously developed know-how of the design of biocatalysts for the production of optically active low molecular weight compounds (e. g. amino acids) was extended recently to the field of site-directed modification of macromolecules. Research projects focus on the development of a TRANSGLUTAMINASE [Marx, C., Hertel, T. and Pietzsch, M. (2007). Enz. Microb. Technol., 40, 1543 – 1550] by random and site-directed mutagenesis in order to optimize this enzyme, e. g. for the PEGylation of therapeutic proteins. Covalent cross-linking of proteins of animal (collagen, casein) and plant origin in order to produce thin films and foils is another application of this enzyme.  In the research field of downstream processing biocatalysts are investigated for their potential to remove contaminations (e. g. ENDOTOXINS, host cell proteins) specifically. Also, crystallization of proteins for purification purposes and integrated bioprocess development are investigated.

DESIGNER proteins

"Development of protein-based, formaldehyde-free binder"

The aim of the project funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the development of protein-based binders and the biotechnological production of DESIGNER proteins.

DESIGNER proteins are optimized, non-natural proteins. The application of these artificial macromolecules is planned mainly in material science for the development of binders for sand and/or wood materials. Commercially mainly formaldehyde-containing resins are used for this purpose. Because of the disadvantages of these conventional binders in terms of environmental compatibility and health risks, biodegradable alternatives are in the focus of modern science. Our research includes the de novo design of proteins as applicable binders as well as their testing with sand and wood as materials. For the production of the DESIGNER proteins different microbial production strains will be used and their cultivation using renewable resources as carbon source should be optimized.

This project is a contribution to the development of an efficient process for the production of durable protein-based binders that are no risk to environment and health.

Project term: 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2019
Funding period: 01.01.2016 - 31.3.2020

Forschungsportal Sachsen- Anhalt

Here you will find detailed information on research projects of our group.

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