A big thank you to all the people who helped us win a gold medal!

A modular screening platform for stabilized antimicrobial peptides expressed in Nicotiana benthamiana

Antimicrobial resistance is one of the ten most severe global health threats to humanity, according to the WHO. Pathogenic bacteria are constantly acquiring resistance to further antibiotics, leading to the emergence of multi-drug-resistant and therefore untreatable strains with the drugs available. A class of new potential antibacterial drugs are antimicrobial peptides (AMPs), which are part of the innate immune response of eukaryotes and prokaryotes. However, the medical applicability of unmodified AMPs is limited by their low in vivo stability. Therefore, we invented ATHELAS: an AMP-thioknot herbal expression and low effort activity screening platform. In our project, we use highly stable cyclic peptides from plants called cyclotides as a scaffold to stabilize AMPs. We developed a convenient platform to screen the properties of arbitrary stabilized peptides. Our platform includes an array of fast cloning, transient expression in Nicotiana benthamiana, efficient extraction and purification, and antibacterial activity testing.

Project Overview

For example, the AMP KR-12 was inserted into our scaffold peptide and afterward expressed, purified, and tested for its activity, all using our system.

Watch our Project Presentation Video!

In search of the perfect shooting locations, we took advantage of Tübingen's university und rich history with it's century old buildings. Take a look at our presentation video to see all the different aspects of Tübingen! We especially want to thank the Museum of the University of Tübingen (MUT) , where we filmed portions of our video inside the "Schlossküche", the castle's laboratory. This is where Friedrich Miescher isolated nucleic acid in 1869 as the first scientist in the world.

Project Picture


Creating a fast expression platform for grafted cyclotides, therewhile aiming to provide a system for the easy stabilization of antimicrobial peptides.

Model Picture


Pre-screening our Wetlab constructs using Molecular Docking and Molecular Dynamics simulations of membrane interaction.

Human Pracitces Picture

Human Practices

Learn about our public outreach initiatives and how we evaluated our project based on the feedback we collected.

Team picture


We are a team consisting of 20 motivated students. Get to know the awesome humans that make our team what it is.

Results Picture


Big plans are great. But producing useful results is better. Take a look at what we have achieved.


About Us

We are the iGEM Team Tuebingen, a group of motivated students who are working on creating a fast screening platform for stabilized peptides. We are aiming to provide a system that gives everyone the ability to stabilize peptides such as antimicrobial peptides to create better medical agents.

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