Molecular Microbiology & Genomics

Molecular Microbiology

The MMG Group is interested in genomics and molecular microbiology applied to pathogenesis and resistance. Past achievements relate to the understanding of microbial pathogenicity and concern the role of bacterial peptidoglycan (PG) hydrolases in evading the immune response and the role of PG amidation in antibiotic resistance. Also, characterization of Salmonella virulence proteins led to findings relevant for targeting virulence. Applied research contributed to the development of a test for detection of carbapenemases (antimicrobial resistance), which is presently marketed. Using genomics, we revealed fundamental aspects related to the emergence of domesticated microorganisms. We integrated large-scale multi-omics data to understand mechanisms leading to alterations in cancer and revealed candidate genes to be used as prognostic factors and therapeutic targets.

Our objectives for the near future are to elucidate drivers and mechanisms of antimicrobial resistance and understand virulence mechanisms of intracellular pathogens. Another aim is to unveil the physiological role of PG amidation in order to develop strategies against pathogens and elucidate the role of PG hydrolases in bacterial virulence. The role of multipurpose ATPases in microbial pathogenesis and their use as targets in therapy will be also investigated. Population and functional genomics will be used to understand crucial aspects of microbial adaptation. We aim to decipher pathological conditions in human cells and explore therapeutic targets in aging, age-related disorders and cancer.


In 2013-2017 the MMG group published 146 WoS papers with 1465 citations, 4 books/book chapters; supervised 19 PhD and 25 MSc theses; participated in 10 international research projects (5 of which as PI) and 35 national projects (20 as PI), approximate total funding of 2.5 M€.

MMG Research Labs
Recent publications
Magdalena Ksiezarek; Teresa Gonçalves Ribeiro; Joana Rocha; Filipa Grosso; Svetlana Ugarcina Perovic; Luisa Peixe. 2021. Limosilactobacillus urinaemulieris sp. nov. and Limosilactobacillus portuensis sp. nov. isolated from urine of healthy women. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SYSTEMATIC AND EVOLUTIONARY MICROBIOLOGY, DOI: 10.1099/ijsem.0.004726
Magdalena Ksiezarek; Svetlana Ugarcina-Perovic; Joana Rocha; Filipa Grosso; Luísa Peixe. 2021. Long-term stability of the urogenital microbiota of asymptomatic European women. BMC MICROBIOLOGY, DOI: 10.1186/s12866-021-02123-3
Koufopanou, V; Lomas, S; Pronina, O; Almeida, P; Sampaio, JP; Mousseau, T; Liti, G; Burt, A. 2020. Population Size, Sex and Purifying Selection: Comparative Genomics of Two Sister Taxa of the Wild Yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus. Genome Biology and Evolution, 12, DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evaa141
Freitas, AR; Tedim, AP; Duarte, B; Elghaieb, H; Abbassi, MS; Hassen, A; Read, A; Alves, V; Novais, C; Peixe, L. 2020. Linezolid-resistant (Tn6246::fexB-poxtA) Enterococcus faecium strains colonizing humans and bovines on different continents: similarity without epidemiological link. JOURNAL OF ANTIMICROBIAL CHEMOTHERAPY, 75, DOI: 10.1093/jac/dkaa227
Libkind, D; Cadez, N; Opulente, DA; Langdon, QK; Rosa, CA; Sampaio, JP; Goncalves, P; Hittinger, CT; Lachance, MA. 2020. Towards yeast taxogenomics: lessons from novel species descriptions based on complete genome sequences. FEMS YEAST RESEARCH, 20, DOI: 10.1093/femsyr/foaa042