The acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide system is an important mediator of bacterial infections. Recently, acid sphingomyelinase and ceramide were demonstrated to mediate the disruption of tight junctions of endothelial cells in vitro and in vivo upon infection with Staphylococcus aureus.
In this project we therefore aim identify bacterial toxins that activate the acid sphingomyelinase/ceramide system. Molecular mechanisms by which these toxins stimulate acid sphingomyelinase and trigger the release of ceramide are characterized.
Funding is provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft within FOR2123 "Sphingolipids in infection control".