Press releases

Cell compartments as niches for survival of infectious agents in the body

Internationales Symposium des Leibniz Center Infection

Hamburg, 20.01.2023 – The diverse strategies of infectious pathogens to survive and multiply in the host and how we could use these sophisticated strategies to better combat the pathogens are the focus of this year's symposium "Compartments in Infection" of the Leibniz Center Infection (LCI). On January 26 and 27, 2023, renowned scientists will gather at the Bernhard-Nocht-Institute for Tropical Medicine to discuss this topic.

Microscopic image of a malaria parasite and compartments.
@BNITM / Cellular Parasitology Department, Gilberger

Infectious pathogens use compartments in the body to escape host defenses and multiply. Each niche, which is essential for the survival of the pathogen, offers potential opportunities for medical agents to attack. It is important to find out how the pathogen obtains nutrients in the compartment and how it prevents an immune response. Although the opportunities for drugs to attack are very diverse in practice, the active agents must be able to enter the pathogen's niche. For example, the efficacy of antibiotics against tuberculosis depends on the type of niche that mycobacteria inhabit in the cell (presentation by Maximiliano Gutierrez).

The program of the event is diverse: in four sessions, renowned scientists will shed light on the interactions of bacterial, parasitic or viral infectious pathogens with different niches in human cells. Each session will be introduced by a keynote lecture.

Dr Tobias Spielmann, head of the research group "Malaria Cell Biology“  of Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM) will report on the critical function of the membrane surrounding the malaria parasite in the host cell: "This membrane is the interface between the parasite and the host cell, through which the parasite transports proteins or gains nutrients. What is interesting for us is that drugs can also reach the parasite through this gateway. This makes the pathogen vulnerable - an important finding for drug development," Spielmann explains.

Prof. Simon Alberti of the Technical University of Dresden addresses biomolecular subunits at the interface between cellular stress, disease and aging.

Dr Walter Mothes of Yale University, New Haven (USA) talks about imaging techniques to spatially and temporally resolve the synthesis of retroviruses and SARS-CoV-2.

Dr Maximilian Gutierrez of the Francis Crick Institute London (UK) will explain how the host cell environment influences antibiotic efficacy in tuberculosis.

The program will be complemented with many other contributions related to the topic: among others, the speakers will present new findings on the role of host cell membranes, lysosomes and phagosomes for intracellular infectious agents, on the characteristics of non-membrane-enclosed compartments, and on interactions of infectious agents with the cytoskeleton.

Due to the pandemic, the last LCI symposium had to be held as an online event. Now, we look forward to meeting again on site in 2023 with exciting presentations on the role of compartments in infectious diseases. Symposia like this are an integral part of the scientific exchange and serve not only for researchers to share new findings, but also to disseminate them to the public," says Prof. Thomas Dobner of LIV, current LCI spokesperson.

"Imaging techniques such as cryoelectron microscopy/tomography, with resolution down to the Ångström range, can visualize cellular compartments in great detail and revolutionise infection research by allowing us to identify new mechanisms and targets at the molecular level," explains Prof. Kay Grünewald, head of the LIV research group "Structural Cell Biology of Viruses" and co-organizer of the event.

"For our institute, which deals with bacterial infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, research into the intracellular compartments in which these pathogens multiply is a sustainable approach to identifying new treatment methods," says Prof. Ulrich E. Schaible of the FZB.

Press contact:

Julia Häberlein (Tel.: 040/480 51-108, press@lc-infection.de)

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Press Invitation:

Members of the press are cordially invited to attend the symposium. There will be an opportunity for separate questions and discussions with selected speakers as well as the current LCI spokesperson, Prof. Thomas Dobner.

Press briefings on January 26 and 27, 2023, by appointment. Registration at: press@lc-infection.de, Tel: 040/48051-108.

 

About the Leibniz Center Infection:

The Leibniz Center Infection (LCI) is a dynamic alliance of the Leibniz Institutes Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine (BNITM), Research Center Borstel, Leibniz Lung Center (FZB) and the Leibniz Institute for Virology (LIV) . As members of the Leibniz Association, the institutes conduct strategic, topic-oriented research of scientific issues of social relevance. The main purpose of the alliance is to promote the research focus "Global and emerging infections" as a core competence in the northern German scientific area. The aim is to create a national center of excellence in infection research together with local university partners and major research institutions.

More information: www.lc-infection.de/en.

 

Contact person

Dr Eleonora Schoenherr

BNITM-LCI-Koordination

Phone : +49 40 285380-269

Email : presse@bnitm.de