Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Two million euros for infection research

17.12.2013
Viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens trigger changes to cell membranes in humans in the event of an infection.

What exactly happens there will be investigated by a new research group at the universities of Würzburg and Duisburg-Essen. They will receive around two million euros for their work.

Contacts between pathogens and human cell membranes play a major role in an infection: the viruses or bacteria dock to special receptor proteins there. In so doing, they trigger processes that enable them to penetrate the cell, among other things. But the immune system’s defensive reactions, such as the activation of T cells, are also controlled by these processes.

The receptors often sit in well-defined regions of the cell membrane, where particularly large numbers of sphingolipid molecules are gathered. Simply put, these molecules consist of a head and tail. “If pathogens dock there, an enzyme is activated that decapitates the sphingolipids, creating ceramides,” explains virology professor Sibylle Schneider-Schaulies from the University of Würzburg. This then results in further changes to the membrane.

Sights set on measles viruses and other pathogens

It is precisely these membrane changes that will receive the attention of a new research group approved by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in early December. “We intend to make the changes visible and to observe them,” says the Würzburg virologist: “If we can understand their importance to the disease process, it might be possible to produce new treatments.”

The research group will focus on the following pathogens: measles viruses, meningococci (pathogens that cause meningitis, among other diseases), mycobacteria (tuberculosis), and gonococci (gonorrhea).

Facts about the new research group

Sibylle Schneider-Schaulies is the spokesperson for the new group (“Sphingolipid Dynamics in Infection Control”). It has brought together research teams from the universities of Würzburg and Duisburg-Essen. The DFG will provide the project with around two million euros in funding over the next three years; much of this money will be used to finance doctoral positions.

Research teams involved

From the Institute of Molecular Biology at the University of Duisburg-Essen, the teams led by Heike Grassmé and Professor Erich Gulbins are involved, with the latter also acting as the deputy spokesperson for the research group.

Joining them from the University of Würzburg’s Institute of Virology and Immunobiology are Niklas Beyersdorf, Nora Müller, Jürgen Schneider-Schaulies, and Sibylle Schneider-Schaulies. Also involved are the Würzburg scientists Thomas Rudel (Microbiology/Biocenter), Markus Sauer (Biotechnology and Biophysics/Biocenter), Alexandra Schubert-Unkmeir (Hygiene and Microbiology), and Jürgen Seibel (Organic Chemistry).

Information about DFG research groups

In early December, the DFG set up four new research groups all at the same time (University of Würzburg, University of Bremen, Dresden University of Technology, and Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich). According to a statement by the DFG, research consortia should provide scientists with the opportunity to address current issues in their fields and to develop new methods for tackling them. All DFG research groups work across various locations and disciplines.

Contact

Prof. Dr. Sibylle Schneider-Schaulies, spokesperson for the DFG research group “Sphingolipid Dynamics in Infection Control”, Institute of Virology and Immunobiology, University of Würzburg, T +49 (0)931 31-81566, s-s-s@vim.uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

Further reports about: Infection Virology cell membrane immunobiology receptor protein two million

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement
26.06.2017 | University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine

nachricht New insight into a central biological dogma on ion transport
26.06.2017 | Aarhus University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Study shines light on brain cells that coordinate movement

26.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Smooth propagation of spin waves using gold

26.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Switchable DNA mini-machines store information

26.06.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>