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
Pontes, A; Cadez, N; Goncalves, P; Sampaio, JP. 2019. A Quasi-Domesticate Relic Hybrid Population of Saccharomyces cerevisiae x S. paradoxus Adapted to Olive Brine. Frontiers in Genetics, 10, DOI: 10.3389/fgene.2019.00449
Vaz, F; Kounatidis, I; Covas, G; Parton, RM; Harkiolaki, M; Davis, I; Filipe, SR; Ligoxygakis, P. 2019. Accessibility to Peptidoglycan Is Important for the Recognition of Gram-Positive Bacteria in Drosophila. Cell Reports, 27, DOI: 10.1016/j.celrep.2019.04.103
Monteiro, JM; Covas, G; Rausch, D; Filipe, SR; Schneider, T; Sahl, HG; Pinho, MG. 2019. The pentaglycine bridges of Staphylococcus aureus peptidoglycan are essential for cell integrity. Scientific Reports, 9, DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-41461-1
Portela, R; Almeida, PL; Sobral, RG; Leal, CR. 2019. Motility and cell shape roles in the rheology of growing bacteria cultures. EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL E, 42, DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2019-11787-9
Mafalda Ramos de Matos; Ioana Posa; Filipa Sofia Carvalho; Vanessa Alexandra Morais; Ana Rita Grosso; Sérgio Fernandes de Almeida. 2019. A Systematic Pan-Cancer Analysis of Genetic Heterogeneity Reveals Associations with Epigenetic Modifiers. Cancers, DOI: 10.3390/cancers11030391