Cellular microbiology

[Translate to English:] Bildunterschrift: A: Intrazelluläre Staphylococcus aureus (grün) in Endothelzellen (Zellkerne: blau; Fibronektin: rot), B: Anbindung von S. aureus an Osteoblasten, C: Wachstum von Staphylococcus schweitzeri auf Blutagar, D: Bakterien-spezifische Bildgebung

Our research group is working on various aspects of the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus. This germ is a frequently harmless coloniser of the skin and mucous membranes, but can also acquire pathogenic significance. It is an extremely versatile pathogen and can cause severe infections such as endocarditis, osteomyelitis and pneumonia.

It has been known for some years that S.aureus can invade host cells such as epithelial and endothelial cells and osteoblasts, where on the one hand the pathogen is protected from the immune system, but on the other hand it can also destroy the cells from within and penetrate through the cells into deeper tissue layers. We are interested in the bacterial as well as the host cell factors that enable or block the invasion of the cells.

Bacterial lipoproteins (Lpp), which are anchored in the bacterial membrane, on the one hand increase bacterial survival in the host environment by increasing nutrient uptake, on the other hand the lipid components of Lpp act as triggers for Toll-like receptor 2 (TLR2) and can alert the host immune system. We are investigating how S.aureus and other staphylococcal species use bacterial lipoproteins to modulate the host immune response as well as their fitness during colonisation. In addition, the effects of Lpp on the host's cellular metabolism during infection are currently being researched.

In a joint project with the AG Schaumburg, we are investigating the pathogenicity of S.schweitzeri, which is commonly found in African bats and monkeys but (so far) rarely transmitted to humans.

In collaboration with the European Institute for Molecular Imaging (EIMI), we are looking at how life-threatening bacterial infections can be visualised non-invasively in vivo. At this time, we are developing and validating specific imaging probes based on selective metabolic uptake of the bacteria. (Link)

The working group is assigned to the Professorship for Clinical Microbiology, Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Mathias Herrmann (mathias.herrmann@uni-muenster.de).