the peptidome: a treasure trove of future peptide drugs

Harald Marx, Computational Systems Biology, University of Vienna

Bioactive peptides are pervasive across the tree of life, playing a pivotal role in cell-cell communication, e.g., in bidirectional host-symbiont, host-pathogen interactions, and microbiomes, ultimately impacting human health. Recent efforts in structural genome annotation indicate that known bioactive peptides just present the tip of the iceberg of a far more complex and multifaceted peptidome. Thus, systematic exploration of the peptidome is an opportunity to unlock a treasure trove of novel drugs, including peptide antibiotics to fight multi-drug resistant pathogens.

This talk introduces concepts and challenges common to mass spectrometry-based peptidomics. A key aspect is the statistical validation of peptide spectrum matches (PSMs) to separate genuine (un-)modified bioactive peptides from false positive PSMs. I will finish my talk with an in depth characterization of bioactive peptides driving host-symbiont interactions in the model legume Medicago truncatula.


Short CV

Harald Marx studied Bioinformatics at the Technical University of Munich and the Ludwig-Maximilian University of Munich. He graduated from the Technical University of Munich with a PhD in Computational Proteomics under supervision of Bernhard Kuster. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Coon lab at the University of Wisconsin-Madison before he started as a group leader at the University of Vienna.

The aim of his research is the large-scale discovery and functional annotation of bioactive peptides by interfacing dry- and wet-lab work. In his current research he is working on tailored approaches for peptidomics, including proteogenomics and meta-proteomics, to meet challenges in cancer treatment, infectious disease and microbiome health.