Priority Research Area Infections


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Prof. Dr. Thomas Gutsmann
Prof. Dr. Thomas Gutsmann
04537 / 188-2910
04537 / 188-2091
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The RG Biophysics is dedicated to the structure-function analysis of bacterial and human membranes, their interaction with natural and synthetic antimicrobial peptides and membrane-active substances of pathogens. The focus is on mycobacteria and Gram-negative bacteria. Lung relevant pathogens in particular are characterized by low susceptibility to various AMPs. On the basis of the new findings, the development and characterization of new antimicrobial and anti-septic peptide-based active substances will be advanced up to first clinical trials. The molecular basis of bacterial resistance to natural and synthetic AMPs will be analyzed. This includes both per se existing and induced resistances. The signal transduction mechanisms underlying the activation of human immune cells by bacterial pathogenicity factors and their inhibition by AMPs will be characterized.

A new focus of our work in recent years is the interaction between membrane-active components of pathogens, especially intracellular bacteria, and membranes of human cells. The aim is to elucidate general survival strategies of intracellular microbes and the resulting new therapeutic approaches.

The basis for these investigations are on the one hand the established membrane reconstitution techniques and on the other hand the breadth of existing biophysical measurement methods for the spatially resolved analysis of dynamic processes. In recent years, the use of synchrotron radiation, e.g. at DESY, has been greatly expanded.