Dr. Thomas Drepper

Research focus

Plants produce a high variety of secondary metabolites that are involved e.g. in plant-microbe interactions or are of pharmacological significance. However, the discovery, characterization and production of plant metabolites is often limited because these compounds usually accumulate at low amounts. Therefore, our focus here is to develop “synthetic microbes” for the production of such plant natural products. In this context the facultative photosynthetic bacterium Rhodobacter capsulatus will be established as an alternative expression host. During phototrophic growth, R. capsulatus forms a continuous system of intracytoplasmic membrane vesicles. This feature makes R. capsulatus a suitable platform host for the functional expression of plant-derived membrane bound enzymes and entire secondary metabolite pathways.

The ten most important publications

  1. Binder D, Probst C, Grünberger A, Hilgers F, Loeschcke A, Jaeger KE, Kohlheyer D, Drepper T (2016) Comparative Single-Cell Analysis of Different E. coli Expression Systems during Microfluidic Cultivation. PloS one 11(8):e0160711.
  2. Binder D, Frohwitter J, Mahr R, Bier C, Grünberger A, Loeschcke A, Peters-Wendisch P, Kohlheyer D, Pietruszka J, Frunzke J, Jaeger KE, Wendisch VF, Drepper T (2016) Light-controlled cell factories - Employing photocaged IPTG for light-mediated optimization of lac-based gene expression and (+)-valencene biosynthesis in Corynebacterium glutamicum. Appl Environ Microbiol.
  3. Binder D, Bier C, Grünberger A, Drobietz D, Hage-Hülsmann J, Wandrey G, Buchs J, Kohlheyer D, Loeschcke A, Wiechert W, Jaeger KE, Pietruszka J, Drepper T (2016) Photocaged Arabinose: A Novel Optogenetic Switch for Rapid and Gradual Control of Microbial Gene Expression. Chembiochem 17(4):296-299.
  4. Domröse A, Klein AS, Hage-Hülsmann J, Thies S, Svensson V, Classen T, Pietruszka J, Jaeger KE, Drepper T, Loeschcke A (2015) Efficient recombinant production of prodigiosin in Pseudomonas putida. Frontiers in microbiology 6:972.
  5. Kaschner M, Loeschcke A, Krause J, Minh BQ, Heck A, Endres S, Svensson V, Wirtz A, von Haeseler A, Jaeger KE, Drepper T, Krauss U (2014) Discovery of the first light-dependent protochlorophyllide oxidoreductase in anoxygenic phototrophic bacteria. Molecular microbiology 93(5):1066-1078.
  6. Loeschcke A, Markert A, Wilhelm S, Wirtz A, Rosenau F, Jaeger KE, Drepper T (2013) TREX: a universal tool for the transfer and expression of biosynthetic pathways in bacteria. ACS Synth Biol 2(1):22-33.
  7. Potzkei J, Kunze M, Drepper T, Gensch T, Jaeger KE, Büchs J (2012) Real-time determination of intracellular oxygen in bacteria using a genetically encoded FRET-based biosensor. BMC Biol 10:28.
  8. Drepper T, Krauss U, Meyer zu Berstenhorst S, Pietruszka J, Jaeger KE (2011) Lights on and action! Controlling microbial gene expression by light. Applied microbiology and biotechnology 90(1):23-40.
  9. Drepper T, Huber R, Heck A, Circolone F, Hillmer AK, Büchs J, Jaeger KE (2010) Flavin mononucleotide-based fluorescent reporter proteins outperform green fluorescent protein-like proteins as quantitative in vivo real-time reporters. Appl Environ Microbiol 76(17):5990-5994.
  10. Drepper T, Eggert T, Circolone F, Heck A, Krauss U, Guterl JK, Wendorff M, Losi A, Gärtner W, Jaeger KE (2007) Reporter proteins for in vivo fluorescence without oxygen. Nat Biotechnol 25(4):443-445.
Dr. Thomas Drepper
CEPLAS Thomas Drepper


 +49 2461 61-4173

Institute of Molecular Enzyme Technology
Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf c/o Forschungszentrum Jülich


52428 Jülich


Heinrich Heine University
University of Cologne
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research
Forschungszentrum Jülich