Chair of Microbiology

    Host cell death induced by Staphylococcus aureus

    Staphylococcus aureus is a versatile microbial pathogen and among the most frequently isolated from community-acquired and nosocomial infections. Although representing part of the normal human flora, S. aureus can cause a broad spectrum of infections with a high rate of mortality and of complications. Among a wide spectrum of pathogenicity mechanisms, active induction of cell death has been considered a basic mechanism associated with pathology of S. aureus infection and demonstrated for infected endothelial and epithelial cells, mononuclear cells and leucocytes. The role of host cell death for the different disease outcomes is still unclear. Generally, bacteria may induce cell death to disrupt epithelial or endothelial barriers to allow pathogen penetration into the submucosal tissues. Induction of cell death within cells of the immune system further can contribute to a spread of infection and prolonged disease manifestation. Alternatively, induction of apoptosis in infected human cells epithelial may have a protective function for the host.

    Goals of this project

    • Definition of infection-induced cell death pathways
    • Identification and evaluation of host cell death factors involved in infection-induced cytotoxicity
    • IdeIdentification and evaluation of bacterial factors supporting host cell death


    Funding for this project is provided by the German Science Foundation (DFG) within the Transregional Collaborative Research Center 34 (TR34) “Pathophysiology of Staphylococci in the post-genomic Era”