• Our aim is to advance our understanding of biological systems,

    ranging from single species to multi-species systems and ecosystems,

    based on data from large-scale bioanalytical methods.

  • We develop, improve and apply

    computational methods

    for the interpretation of molecular information in biology.

  • We establish and analyse

    quantitative mathematical models.


  • Job opening: Group Leader Position


    The Division of Computational Systems Biology at the University of Vienna is offering a

    Group Leader Position in Bioinformatics

    CUBE - the division of Computational Systems Biology - is part of the Department of Microbiology and Ecosystem Science of the ...

  • CUBE observes the mercury transit


    During the afternoon of May 9th the planet mercury has (slightly) obstructed the sun. Mercury became visible in front of the sun at 13:12 and did not leave the sun until sunset. CUBE has observed the cosmic spectacle on the ...

  • CAMI project featured in Nature Methods



    The Critical Assessment of Metagenome Interpretation (CAMI) competition has been featured in a recent Nature Methods technology article. CAMI was launched by Alice McHardy from the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Alexander Sczyrba at ...

  • Mag. Andreas Bachmayr


    Andreas graduated in the master course "Genetics and developmental biology" by successfully defending his master thesis today. In his master project entitled "Computational analysis of plastid DNA insertions into nuclear and mitochondrial genomes in non-photosynthetic parasitic plants from next generation sequencing data" ...

Latest publications

Deep metagenome and metatranscriptome analyses of microbial communities affiliated with an industrial biogas fermenter, a cow rumen, and elephant feces reveal major differences in carbohydrate hydrolysis strategies.

The diverse microbial communities in agricultural biogas fermenters are assumed to be well adapted for the anaerobic transformation of plant biomass to methane. Compared to natural systems, biogas reactors are limited in their hydrolytic potential. The reasons for this are not understood.
In this paper, we show that a typical industrial biogas reactor fed with maize silage, cow manure, and chicken manure has relatively lower hydrolysis rates compared to feces samples from herbivores. We provide evidence that on average, 2.5 genes encoding cellulolytic GHs/Mbp were identified in the biogas fermenter compared to 3.8 in the elephant feces and 3.2 in the cow rumen data sets. The ratio of genes coding for cellulolytic GH enzymes affiliated with the Firmicutes versus the Bacteroidetes was 2.8:1 in the biogas fermenter compared to 1:1 in the elephant feces and 1.4:1 in the cow rumen sample. Furthermore, RNA-Seq data indicated that highly transcribed cellulases in the biogas fermenter were four times more often affiliated with the Firmicutes compared to the Bacteroidetes, while an equal distribution of these enzymes was observed in the elephant feces sample.
Our data indicate that a relatively lower abundance of bacteria affiliated with the phylum of Bacteroidetes and, to some extent, Fibrobacteres is associated with a decreased richness of predicted lignocellulolytic enzymes in biogas fermenters. This difference can be attributed to a partial lack of genes coding for cellulolytic GH enzymes derived from bacteria which are affiliated with the Fibrobacteres and, especially, the Bacteroidetes. The partial deficiency of these genes implies a potentially important limitation in the biogas fermenter with regard to the initial hydrolysis of biomass. Based on these findings, we speculate that increasing the members of Bacteroidetes and Fibrobacteres in biogas fermenters will most likely result in an increased hydrolytic performance.

Güllert S, Fischer MA, Turaev D, Noebauer B, Ilmberger N, Wemheuer B, Alawi M, Rattei T, Daniel R, Schmitz RA, Grundhoff A, Streit WR
2016 - Biotechnol Biofuels, 121

Suppressed recombination and unique candidate genes in the divergent haplotype encoding Fhb1, a major Fusarium head blight resistance locus in wheat.

Fine mapping and sequencing revealed 28 genes in the non-recombining haplotype containing Fhb1 . Of these, only a GDSL lipase gene shows a pathogen-dependent expression pattern. Fhb1 is a prominent Fusarium head blight resistance locus of wheat, which has been successfully introgressed in adapted breeding material, where it confers a significant increase in overall resistance to the causal pathogen Fusarium graminearum and the fungal virulence factor and mycotoxin deoxynivalenol. The Fhb1 region has been resolved for the susceptible wheat reference genotype Chinese Spring, yet the causal gene itself has not been identified in resistant cultivars. Here, we report the establishment of a 1 Mb contig embracing Fhb1 in the donor line CM-82036. Sequencing revealed that the region of Fhb1 deviates from the Chinese Spring reference in DNA size and gene content, which explains the repressed recombination at the locus in the performed fine mapping. Differences in genes expression between near-isogenic lines segregating for Fhb1 challenged with F. graminearum or treated with mock were investigated in a time-course experiment by RNA sequencing. Several candidate genes were identified, including a pathogen-responsive GDSL lipase absent in susceptible lines. The sequence of the Fhb1 region, the resulting list of candidate genes, and near-diagnostic KASP markers for Fhb1 constitute a valuable resource for breeding and further studies aiming to identify the gene(s) responsible for F. graminearum and deoxynivalenol resistance.

Schweiger W, Steiner B, Vautrin S, Nussbaumer T, Siegwart G, Zamini M, Jungreithmeier F, Gratl V, Lemmens M, Mayer KF, Bérgès H, Adam G, Buerstmayr H
2016 - Theor. Appl. Genet., in press

High definition for systems biology of microbial communities: metagenomics gets genome-centric and strain-resolved.

The systems biology of microbial communities, organismal communities inhabiting all ecological niches on earth, has in recent years been strongly facilitated by the rapid development of experimental, sequencing and data analysis methods. Novel experimental approaches and binning methods in metagenomics render the semi-automatic reconstructions of near-complete genomes of uncultivable bacteria possible, while advances in high-resolution amplicon analysis allow for efficient and less biased taxonomic community characterization. This will also facilitate predictive modeling approaches, hitherto limited by the low resolution of metagenomic data. In this review, we pinpoint the most promising current developments in metagenomics. They facilitate microbial systems biology towards a systemic understanding of mechanisms in microbial communities with scopes of application in many areas of our daily life.

Turaev D, Rattei T
2016 - Curr. Opin. Biotechnol., 174-181