Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine

Research Interests

Human body surfaces are colonized by highly complex and variable consortia of microorganisms, so called microbiota, which play essential roles for many human body functions. In fact, humans have more bacterial than body cells together constituting a ‘metaorganism’. Only a small minority of the bacterial colonizers can be pathogens but these bacteria are highly relevant because they are responsible for the vast majority of invasive, often fatal infections. Despite its importance the microbial ecology of human body surfaces has hardly been explored.

Staphylococcus aureus is a constituent of the nasal microbiota in 20-30% of the human population and also represents the most frequent cause of life-threatening invasive infections in the northern hemisphere. The individual predisposition to S. aureus colonization and the transition from commensal to pathogenic life-styles represent exciting examples of microbe-host coevolution and adaptation processes. We are studying the underlying principles of S. aureus nasal colonization, metabolic adaptation and fitness, and resistance to defensin-like antimicrobial peptides.

CV Andreas Peschel

Andreas Peschel studied Biology in Bochum and Tübingen, Germany, and obtained Diploma and PhD degrees in Microbiology. He held postdoctoral positions in the labs of Friedrich Götz in Tübingen and of Jos van Strijp in Utrecht (The Netherlands) focusing on Staphylococcus aureus cell wall and host/pathogen interaction. After a period as Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Biology he accepted a call to the Medical Microbiology and Hygiene Department as a Professor of Cellular and Molecular Microbiology in Tübingen. Since 2008 he is a Full Professor of Microbiology at the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine Tübingen (IMIT) heading the Infection Biology Department. His lab studies staphylococcal biology with special interests in nasal colonization, teichoic acids, and evasion of antimicrobial defense mechanisms.

Andreas Peschel, selected publications:

  1. Weidenmaier C, Kokai-Kun JF, Kristian SA, Chanturyia T, Kalbacher H, Gross M, Nicholson G, Neumeister B, Mond JJ, Peschel A (2004) Role of teichoic acids in Staphylococcus aureus nasal colonization, a major risk factor in nosokomial infections. Nat Med 10:243-245
  2. Wang R, Braughton KR, Kretschmer D, Bach TH, Queck SY, Li M, Kennedy AD, Dorward DW, Klebanoff SJ, Peschel A, DeLeo FR, Otto M (2007) Identification of novel cytolytic peptides as key virulence determinants of community-associated MRSA. Nat Med 13:1510-1514
  3. Kretschmer D, Gleske A-K, Rautenberg M, Wang R, Köberle M, Bohn E, Schöneberg T, Rabiet M-J, Boulay F, Klebanoff SJ, van Kessel KA, van Strijp JA, Otto M, Peschel A (2010) Human formyl peptide receptor 2 senses highly pathogenic Staphylococcus aureus. Cell Host Microbe 7:463-73
  4. Winstel V, Liang C, Sanchez-Carballo P, Steglic M, Munar M, Bröker BM, Penadés JR, Nübel U, Holst O, Dandekar T, Peschel A*, Xia G (2013) Wall teichoic acid structure governs horizontal gene transfer between major bacterial pathogens. Nat Commun 4:2345 8038 (*, corresponding author)
  5. Bloes DA, Kretschmer D, Peschel A (2015) Enemy attraction: bacterial agonists for leukocyte chemotaxis receptors. Nat Rev Microbiol. 13:95-104
  6. Zipperer A, Konnerth MC, Laux C, Berscheid A, Janek D, Weidenmaier C, Burian M, Schilling NA, Slavetinsky C, Marschall M, Willmann M, Kalbacher H, Schittek B, Brötz-Oesterhelt H, Grond S, Peschel A*, Krismer B (2016) Human commensals producing a novel antibiotic impair pathogen colonization. Nature 535:511-6. (*, corresponding author)
  7. Hanzelmann D, Joo HS, Franz-Wachtel M, Hertlein T, Stevanovic S, Macek B, Götz F, Otto M, Kretschmer D, Peschel A (2016) Nat Commun 7:12304
  8. Tacconelli E, Autenrieth IB, Peschel A (2017) Fighting the enemy within. Science 355:689-690.