- The Institute
- Travel & Vaccines
- Alumni & Friends
Mycobacteria like Mycobacterium tuberculosis reside and multiply inside our cells. While their invasion and survival are under intense investigation, it is largely unknown how they leave the cells – something they need to do to spread the infection.
During their exit, the cells mostly remain intact. We investigated how intracellular pathogens perforate the membranes of their host cells so gently. The host cells, like many other cells, can form intracellular inclusion bodies („autophagosomes“), which are surrounded by a membrane and digest non-functional metabolic compounds and recycle the degradation products back into the cell. We have found that these inclusion bodies move at the rear pole of mycobacteria to the site of exit and close the membrane gap the bacteria leave behind. This observation raises the question whether such inclusion bodies also fix holes in cellular membranes caused by other kinds of injuries.
Lilli Gerstenmaier, Rachel Pilla, Lydia Herrmann, Hendrik Herrmann, Monica Prado, Margot Kolonko, Monica Hagedorn and external co-operation partners (see publication)