Institute of Biotechnology and Drug Research (IBWF e.V.) Kaiserslautern, Germany
The institute was founded in fall 1998 by members of the department of Biotechnology of the University of Kaiserslautern. It is a not for profit organisation and is supported by the state of Rheinland-Pfalz (MBWF).
At the IBWF, microbiologists, biochemists, chemists and molecular biologists are joining forces to develop new biologically active substances as well as enzymes from fungi. Based on 25 years’ experience in these fields of research, we are able to offer a wide range of services. Our extensive and unique collection of fungal cultures (over 8000 strains of basidiomycetes, ascomycetes, zygomycetes and mitosporic fungi) and their metabolites, in combination with our own novel molecular biological test systems for pharmaceutical and agricultural applications, offer a wide scope for collaboration with partners in industry, the public sector and academia alike. Our products also include enzymes for biotransformations, paper production and other purposes. Our expertise extends to the characterization of molecular targets of active compounds, as well as the biosynthesis of specific substances and the genetic characterization of biosynthetic pathways. We also routinely identify fungi by cultural or microscopic characters, and by DNA sequence analysis based on PCR-amplified stretches of the ribosomal DNA gene cluster. These services can be performed entirely in-house, thereby ensuring confidentiality for sensitive work.
In the field of phytopathology, we presently focus on Magnaporthe grisea, the causal agent of rice blast disease, as a model organism to study plant-pathogen interactions and infection-related morphogenesis at a biochemical and molecular level. By using inhibitors from natural sources as tools for molecular biology, we identify genes encoding factors which are essential for pathogenicity and thus represent potential targets for fungicides. We aim to develop fungicides which are based on natural products and are therefore environmentally safe.
The strobilurin-type fungicides, which have been discovered by our group, are one example of a successful commercial application based on a fungal product; they are currently in worldwide use and are marketed by the BASF Company and others. Natural nematicides are currently being developed on the basis of the omphalotins.
Our discovery of galiellalactone has provided the first inhibitor of the interleukin-6-mediated signal transduction pathway. This pathway plays an important role in diverse inflammatory processes and is thus of substantial pharmacological interest. Gliovirin is another example of a potent inhibitor of inflammatory processes. Several reporter gene assays have been established in order to screen for and identify natural compounds interfering with disease-relevant mammalian signal-transduction.
Our successful work has resulted in over 500 publications and 20 patents to date, confirming the leading international position of the IBWF. Current projects are carried out with funding from major German companies, the State of Rheinland-Pfalz and the federal Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF).