DFG: Collaborative Research Center TR 34 "Pathophysiology of staphylococci in the post-genomic era"
Staphylococcus aureus is a dangerous pathogen and worldwide one of the main causes for bacterial infections inside and outside hospitals. Moreover, S. aureus is a notorious example of the antibiotic resistance crisis, one of the imminent health threats in the 21st century. Despite huge efforts so far no effective vaccines against these bacteria have been developed.
S. aureus also is a fascinating model organism to investigate host-pathogen interaction. Everyone of us encounters theses bacteria, often already within the first hours of life. The consequences are manifold: the bacteria may be eliminated rapidly, colonize without symptoms, cause mild skin infections or life-threatening diseases. The species S. aureus avails of an impressive repertoire of fitness and virulence factors, including numerous immune evasion molecules. Their elaborate regulatory networks enable the pathogens to resist adverse environmental conditions and to adapt to oxidative stress, nutrient or oxygen limitation. During the recent years it has become increasingly apparent that S. aureus can also exist as an intracellular pathogen. The bacteria can persist in epithelium and endothilium cells and provoke chronic infections.
The Collaborative Research Center Transregio 34 is a joint effort of research groups from the universities of Greifswald, Münster, Tübingen and Würzburg to significantly improve the understanding of the infection biology of S. aureus. The complexity of the topic calls for an interdisciplinary approach and novel methods. The program links bacteriological and immunological expertise and combines them with quantitative analytics of biomolecules, structural biology, genomics, bioinformatics, haematology and imaging. Since whole genome sequences of S. aureus and its human host are available, the post-genomic era opens up the way for comprehensive analyses of transcription profiles, proteins and metabolites. Today it is possible to record high-resolution “biological fingerprints” of bacterium and host, which until recently has only been hardly conceivable. The CRC therefore has the chance to achieve a new quality in understanding the cell physiology and infection biology.
Prof. Dr. Barbara M. Bröker
Abteilung für Immunologie
Phone: +49 3834 86-5595