Imaging of immune cell dynamics and host-pathogen interactions in gut-associated lymphoid tissue during Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infections

Principal investigators: Petra Dersch, Jan Rossaint
Project number: CRC 1450 C07
Project term: 01/2021–12/2024

Graphical abstract
© CRC inSight

In order to obtain a high spatio-temporal resolution of the infection process of the gut pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, we will image the recruitment and dynamics of immune cell populations (1, 2) and characterize Yersinia-targeted immune cells in infected lymphoid tissue of mice (3) during the entire course of the infection. For this purpose, the immune response will be visualized on a cellular level (confocal intravital microscopy) as well as on whole organ levels (e.g. by PET-CT). In this context, we will also analyse the role of platelets (4) for neutrophil recruitment during Yersinia infections and address different neutrophil functions, including NET formation.

In an approach to investigate how Yersinia may escape removal by the immune system and achieve persistence in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues, we will investigate bacterial evasion mechanisms and how they are regulated and manipulated in vivo (5).

Immune cells (neutrophils) infected by enteric bacteria (Yersinia pseudotuberculosis) in a cell culture. Confocal microscopy shows the neutrophil’s cell nuclei (blue), actin (the “skeleton” of the cells, orange) and the bacteria (green). These bacteria lack a specific gene, allowing the immune cells to take them up more efficiently. We are investigating, for example, whether such bacterial mutations give neutrophils an advantage in eradicating the bacteria from the body or whether they help the bacteria survive these immune cells’ attacks.
© Héctor Álvarez Manzo / Petra Dersch's research group


Principal investigators

Project members


The names of the principal investigators in our network have been bolded. Publications released prior to 2021, when funding for our network commenced, represent previous project-related work.


Heine W, Beckstette M, Heroven AK, Thiemann S, Heise U, Nuss AM, Pisano F, Strowig T, Dersch P. Loss of CNFY toxin-induced inflammation drives Yersinia pseudotuberculosis into persistency. PLoS Pathog 2018;14: e1006858. Abstract


Nuss AM, Beckstette M, Pimenova M, Schmuhl C, Opitz W, Pisano F, Heroven AK, Dersch P. Tissue dual RNA-seq allows fast discovery of infection-specific functions and riboregulators shaping host-pathogen transcriptomes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2017;114: E791-E800. Abstract
Pezoldt J, Pisano F, Heine W, Pasztoi M, Rosenheinrich M, Nuss AM, Pils MC, Prinz I, Forster R, Huehn J, Dersch P. Impact of CCR7 on T-Cell Response and Susceptibility to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Infection. J Infect Dis 2017;216: 752-760. Abstract


Rossaint J, Kuhne K, Skupski J, Van Aken H, Looney MR, Hidalgo A, Zarbock A. Directed transport of neutrophil-derived extracellular vesicles enables platelet-mediated innate immune response. Nat Commun 2016;7: 13464. Abstract
Rossaint J, Oehmichen J, Van Aken H, Reuter S, Pavenstadt HJ, Meersch M, Unruh M, Zarbock A. FGF23 signaling impairs neutrophil recruitment and host defense during CKD. J Clin Invest 2016;126: 962-974. Abstract


Avican K, Fahlgren A, Huss M, Heroven AK, Beckstette M, Dersch P, Fallman M. Reprogramming of Yersinia from virulent to persistent mode revealed by complex in vivo RNA-seq analysis. PLoS Pathog 2015;11: e1004600. Abstract
Rossaint J, Berger C, Kraft F, Van Aken H, Giesbrecht N, Zarbock A. Hydroxyethyl starch 130/04 decreases inflammation, neutrophil recruitment, and neutrophil extracellular trap formation. Br J Anaesth 2015;114: 509-519. Abstract


Rossaint J, Herter JM, Van Aken H, Napirei M, Doring Y, Weber C, Soehnlein O, Zarbock A. Synchronized integrin engagement and chemokine activation is crucial in neutrophil extracellular trap-mediated sterile inflammation. Blood 2014;123: 2573-2584. Abstract
Sreeramkumar V, Adrover JM, Ballesteros I, Cuartero MI, Rossaint J, Bilbao I, Nacher M, Pitaval C, Radovanovic I, Fukui Y, McEver RP, Filippi M-D, Lizasoain I, Ruiz-Cabello J, Zarbock A, Moro MA, Hidalgo A. Neutrophils scan for activated platelets to initiate inflammation. Science 2014;346: 1234-1238. Abstract


Schweer J, Kulkarni D, Kochut A, Pezoldt J, Pisano F, Pils MC, Genth H, Huehn J, Dersch P. The cytotoxic necrotizing factor of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis (CNFY) enhances inflammation and Yop delivery during infection by activation of Rho GTPases. PLoS Pathog 2013;9: e1003746. Abstract