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Research focus:  

SFB 479
Versbacher Str. 7, 97078 Würzburg
Mail: sfb-479@vim.uni-wuerzburg.de
Url: http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de/SFB479/

Scientific members:

   Professors:

   Outside lecturer:

   Scientific assistants:

   Other participating persons and organisations:

Research foci (and basic equipment-based research projects):
AIMS:
The SFB 479 was founded in 1998 and is currently in its second round of funding. The SFB focusses on the analysis of the complex and dynamic interactions between microbial pathogens and their host organisms. It is hoped that this concerted research effort will contribute to an understanding of pathogenetic mechanisms in infectious disease and to the development of novel diagnostic, preventive, and therapeutic approaches. Infectious agents studied include viruses, bacteria and parasites. On the side of the host, cell culture and rodent models are investigated. The SFB is a cooperative venture of research groups in the faculties for medicine and biology; participating labs are located in the Institutes for Virology and Immunobiology, Hygiene and Microbiology, the Institute for Molecular Biology of Infectious Diseases, the Chair for Microbiology of the Biocenter, and the newly established Virchow Center. The project grant is subdivided into three sections, with a total of 15 individual projects.
TOPICS STUDIED:
The SFB 479 combines three interconnected areas of research:

A: Variability of microbial pathogens, the evolution and the appearance of new pathogenic variants, including the identification of pathogenicity factors,

B: pathomechanisms of the interaction of microorganisms and their components with host cells, and

C: interactions of microbial pathogens with the immune system of the host.

Both, the generation of effective immunity, and the suppression of the immune response by infectious agents are investigated.

THEME A: VARIABILITY OF MICROBIAL PATHOGENS:

The projects grouped under theme A study gene regulation and genetic variability of bacterial pathogens and their role in the infectious process. In addition to the identification and characterization of pathogenicity factors, these studies have direct implications for epidemiology and the evolution of pathogenic bacteria. Among these, pathogenic E. coli causing infections of the urinary tract (A1, Hacker) and the intestine (A3, Karch), B. pertussis bacteria (whooping cough; A2 Gross), staphylococci (A4, Ziebuhr) and the gastritogenic bacterium H. pylori (A5, Suerbaum) are studied.

THEME B: PATHOMECHANISMS OF THE INTERACTION BETWEEN HOST CELL AND INFECTIOUS AGENT:
Projects grouped under theme B analyse the interactions of pathogens with their host cells. The groups study bacteria replicating intracellularly and extracellularly, and viruses. Project B1 (Goebel) investigates the regulation of bacterial genes after the entry of L. monocytogenes into eucaryotic cells, project B5 (Kuhn) the mechanism by which this pathogen spreads within host cells and from one cell to another. Meningococci and their interactions with host cells are investigated in project B2 (Frosch) while interactions of coronaviruses (B3, Siddell) and herpes viruses (B6, Brune) with their host cells are investigated in two additional projects.

THEME C: IMMUNE RESPONSE AND IMMUNOMODULATION IN MICROBIAL INFECTIONS:

The projects grouped under theme C investigate the response of the immune system to microbial infections and the mechanisms by which infectious pathogens subvert immune defense. Project C1 (Moll) analyses the interaction of parasites with dendritic cells and other cells of the immune system. The role of NK and gamma/delta T-cells in infection is studied in project C2 (Herrmann), and the stimulation and modulation of the immune system via the costimulatory receptor CD28 is investigated in project C6 (Hünig). Virus induced immunosuppression is an important facet of pathogenicity. Project C4 (Schneider-Schaulies) investigates this aspect in the clinically highly relevant measles virus, and project C8 (Niewiesk/ter Meulen) has established a novel rodent model for the study of measles infection in vivo.

Results:
see individual projects

Equipment:
The SFB uses the equipment of the individual participating institutes.

Links:
Sonderforschungsbereich 479