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Research Team Pfeffer

The Pfeffer research team is working on the identification and characterisation of antimicrobial effector systems involved in the control and elimination of intracellular pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes, Mycobacteria and Toxoplasma gondii. Our focus here is primarily on the mechanisms triggered by classical proinflammatory cytokines such as IFNβ, IFNγ, TNF and LT-β. We have succeeded in identifying a large family of IFN-induced GTPases, the so-called mGBPs, which are induced both after infections in vivo and under proinflammatory conditions in vitro. Our data support the hypothesis that some mGBPs directly interfere with intracellular T. gondii and result in the pathogen being less viable within the cell. We are currently focusing on characterising the molecular basis for the antimicrobial effect of mGBPs in different infection models with different pathogens. We use molecular methods, confocal microscopy, infection assays and expression studies to analyse the function and expression of individual mGBPs. The development of an mGBP deficient mouse line enables us to study the role of mGBPs in systemic infections in vivo.

Another research focus includes the role of LTßR in the immune defence against T. gondii.

In a third line of research, we are involved in microbiome analysis via WGS, especially in underlying haematological diseases.

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