B.5: Pathogens Attacking Endothelial and Epithelial Barriers
Participants: Ulrich Dobrindt, Cornelius Faber, Helge Karch, Stephan Ludwig, Mario Schelhaas, Alexander Schmidt, Hans-Joachim Schnittler
Endothelial and epithelial barriers represent the first line of defence of organisms against pathogens and fulfil a key role in host defence and in initiating inflammatory reactions following pathogen infection. As counter measures microorganisms have developed multiple strategies to evade an effective immune response and to breach cellular barriers. We aim to characterize the cross-talk between pathogens and barrier-forming cells of the host focusing on the three severe pathogens (S. aureus, E. coli and influenza virus) that represent an internationally recognized focus in Münster and are analysed in national and international consortia coordinated by CiM scientists. Key factors required for the pathogens to compromise or breach the barrier, to manipulate cellular signalling and differentiation, and to efficiently enter and survive within the host cells will be identified and characterized mechanistically. Importantly, novel labelling approaches using pathogen-specific markers and imaging technologies, such as MRI, PET, and FRI, will be developed and combined with the use of genetic manipulations to monitor how pathogens move in infected animals, penetrate barriers and damage host tissue. A central aim constitutes the identification of novel targets and modalities for imaging-based diagnostic approaches and therapies in infections.