Modulation and integration of host cell signalling pathways via mycobacterial substrate-binding lipoproteins

Dr. Claudia Jessen-Trefzer (CIBSS-AI), Department of Pharmaceutical Biology and Biotechnology (Faculty of Chemistry and Pharmacy), University of Freiburg

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Prof. Dr. Olaf Groß (CIBSS-PI), Institute of Neuropatholog, University Medical Center (Faculty of Medicine)

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Tuberculosis remains the leading cause of death from infectious agents globally. Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis, Mtb) is thus one of the most successful pathogens that can survive for a long time in human cells. This pathogen permanently resides in the phagosome of myeloid immune cells such as macrophages without getting killed in its inhospitable environment. To avoid host defences, M. tuberculosis modulates host cells. Certain lipoproteins have been shown to facilitate adhesion to, and translocation of virulence factors into host cells, and to modulate inflammatory processes. Within CIBSS, we investigate mycobacterial lipoproteins and their activity on immune cells in a systematic manner. The integration of host immune response signalling processes that produces a unique environment for pathogens that vice versa influences their intra and intercellular signalling pathways is key to understand host-pathogen interactions. Our long-term goal is to find novel drug targets and to establish new control-of-function approaches to interfere with host-microbe cell signalling.