Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine

Our Reserach Priorities

Interplay between bacterial effectors and the host

Many groups of bacteria are part of the normal human microbiota. We are investigating the role of staphylococci (skin bacteria) and their influence on humans and human cells. Many bacteria secrete effectors that influence the immune system, the nervous system, and the physiology and motility of human cells. Bacterial effectors can have both negative and positive effects on humans. For example, we have shown that certain neurotransmitters produced by bacteria accelerate wound healing and interfere with the sympathetic nervous system. Research into bacterial effectors is only just beginning. We want to find out which ones have a positive or negative effect on humans.

Over the past 10 years, we have identified and isolated a number of bacterial effectors and studied their effect on bacteria and host cells.

Some recent publications:

Bacterial lipoproteins (Lpp) and immune stimulation and immune evasion

Nguyen, M.T., and Götz, F. (2016) Lipoproteins of Gram-Positive Bacteria: Key Players in the Immune Response and Virulence. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 80: 891-903.

Nguyen, M.T., Kraft, B., Yu, W., Demicrioglu, D.D., Hertlein, T., Burian, M., Schmaler, M., Boller, K., Bekeredjian-Ding, I., Ohlsen, K., Schittek, B., and Götz, F. (2015) The νSaα Specific Lipoprotein Like Cluster (lpl) of S. aureus USA300 Contributes to Immune Stimulation and Invasion in Human Cells. PLoS Pathog 11: e1004984.

Nguyen, M.T., Uebele, J., Kumari, N., Nakayama, H., Peter, L., Ticha, O., Woischnig, A.K., Schmaler, M., Khanna, N., Dohmae, N., Lee, B.L., Bekeredjian-Ding, I., and Götz, F. (2017) Lipid moieties on lipoproteins of commensal and non-commensal staphylococci induce differential immune responses. Nat Commun 8: 2246.

Nguyen, M.T., Matsuo, M., Niemann, S., Herrmann, M., and Götz, F. (2020) Lipoproteins in Gram-Positive Bacteria: Abundance, Function, Fitness. Front Microbiol 11: 582582.

Tribelli, P.M., Luqman, A., Nguyen, M.T., Madlung, J., Fan, S.H., Macek, B., Sass, P., Bitschar, K., Schittek, B., Kretschmer, D., and Götz, F. (2019) Staphylococcus aureus Lpl protein triggers human host cell invasion via activation of Hsp90 receptor. Cell Microbiol: e13111.

Bacterial neurotransmitters and interference with host neuro receptors

Luqman, A., Ebner, P., Reichert, S., Sass, P., Kabagema-Bilan, C., Heilmann, C., Ruth, P., and Götz, F. (2019) A new host cell internalisation pathway for SadA-expressing staphylococci triggered by excreted neurochemicals. Cell Microbiol: e13044.

Luqman, A., Kharisma, V.D., Ruiz, R.A., and Götz, F. (2020a) In Silico and in Vitro Study of Trace Amines (TA) and Dopamine (DOP) Interaction with Human Alpha 1-Adrenergic Receptor and the Bacterial Adrenergic Receptor QseC. Cell Physiol Biochem 54: 888-898.

Luqman, A., Muttaqin, M.Z., Yulaipi, S., Ebner, P., Matsuo, M., Zabel, S., Tribelli, P.M., Nieselt, K., Hidayati, D., and Götz, F. (2020b) Trace amines produced by skin bacteria accelerate wound healing in mice. Commun Biol 3: 277.

Luqman, A., Nega, M., Nguyen, M.T., Ebner, P., and Götz, F. (2018) SadA-Expressing Staphylococci in the Human Gut Show Increased Cell Adherence and Internalization. Cell Rep 22: 535-545.

The human skin microbiota harbors neurotransmitter-producing bacteria

Luqman, A., Zabel, S., Rahmdel, S., Merz, B., Gruenheit, N., Harter, J., Nieselt, K., and Götz, F. (2020) The Neuromodulator-Encoding sadA Gene Is Widely Distributed in the Human Skin Microbiome. Front Microbiol 11: 573679.

New plant-derived antibiotics and their mode of action

Guttroff, C., Baykal, A., Wang, H., Popella, P., Kraus, F., Biber, N., Krauss, S., Götz, F., and Plietker, B. (2017) Polycyclic Polyprenylated Acylphloroglucinols: An Emerging Class of Non-Peptide-Based MRSA- and VRE-Active Antibiotics. Angew Chem Int Ed Engl 56: DOI: 10.1002/anie.201707069.

Saising, J., Nguyen, M.T., Härtner, T., Ebner, P., Al Mamun Bhuyan, A., Berscheid, A., Muehlenkamp, M., Schakermann, S., Kumari, N., Maier, M.E., Voravuthikunchai, S.P., Bandow, J., Lang, F., Brötz-Oesterhelt, H., and Götz, F. (2018) Rhodomyrtone (Rom) is a membrane-active compound. Biochim Biophys Acta 1860: 1114-1124.

Wang, H., Kraus, F., Popella, P., Baykal, A., Guttroff, C., Francois, P., Sass, P., Plietker, B., and Götz, F. (2019) The Polycyclic Polyprenylated Acylphloroglucinol Antibiotic PPAP 23 Targets the Membrane and Iron Metabolism in Staphylococcus aureus. Front Microbiol 10: 14.

Unraveling new mechanism in staphylococcal cell separation by the major autolysin (Atl)

Nega, M., Tribelli, P.M., Hipp, K., Stahl, M., and Götz, F. (2020) New insights in the coordinated amidase and glucosaminidase activity of the major autolysin (Atl) in Staphylococcus aureus. Commun Biol 3: 695

Discovery of a new CO2/bicarbonate transporter in Firmicutes

Fan, S.H., Ebner, P., Reichert, S., Hertlein, T., Zabel, S., Lankapalli, A.K., Nieselt, K., Ohlsen, K., and Götz, F. (2019) MpsAB is important for Staphylococcus aureus virulence and growth at atmospheric CO2 levels. Nat Commun 10: 3627.