Host Pathogen Interaction Screen

Coordinator:    Prof. Dr. Klaus Schughart
Institution: Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
About one fourth of all deaths are caused by infectious diseases. In Germany, about 1 Mio people become infected each year with influenza A virus, and during severe epidemics about 30.000 patients die. In recent years a more detailed understanding of the cellular, molecular and genetic basis of host-pathogen interactions has been obtained. But many aspects of the host response are still not understood. Therefore more research is needed to fully understand the host response to different pathogens, associated mechanisms of pathogenesis and possibilities to interfere with disease development. Here, the mouse plays a pivotal role as experimental model in the functional dissection of molecular and cellular host defense mechanisms inducing innate and adaptive immunity. In this project, we will phenotype the host response in mutant mouse lines to influenza A virus and Group A Streptococci (Streptococcus pyogenes) infections. Beside the documentation of disease progress (weight curves, survival rates) we will analyse the dissemination of pathogens to the target organs as well as the cytokine and chemokine profil in the serum. In addition, we will employ a new Listeria infection model to analyze mechanisms of mucosal immune responses at the intestinal barrier. In vivo imaging will help us to follow up bioluminescent Listeria within the organism during the course of infection. Our general aim is to identify, in collaboration with other partners of the NGFN network, pathways and genes involved in the pathogenesis of viral and bacterial infectious diseases.


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