Interfakultäres Institut für Mikrobiologie und Infektionsmedizin

Arbeitsgruppe 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.

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.

Selected Publications

Maier L, Stein-Thoeringer C, Ley R, Brötz-Oesterhelt H, Link H, Ziemert N, Wagner S, Peschel A (2024) Integrating research on bacterial pathogens and commensals to fight infections - an ecological perspective. Lancet Microbe In press.

Torres Salazar BO, Dema T, Schilling NA, Janek D, Bornikoel J, Berscheid A, Elsherbini AM, Krauss S, Jaag SJ, Lämmerhofer M, Min Li, Alqahtani N, Horsburgh MJ, Weber T, Beltrán-Beleña JM, Brötz-Oesterhelt H, Grond S, Krismer B, Peschel A (2024) A nasal commensal produces the broad spectrum and short-lived antimicrobial peptide polyene epifadin to eliminate Staphylococcus aureus. Nat Microbiol. 9:200-213. doi: 10.1038/s41564-023-01544-2.

Heilbronner S, Krismer B, Brötz-Oesterhelt H, Peschel A (2021) The microbiome-shaping roles of bacteriocins. Nat Rev Microbiol. 19:726-739. doi: 10.1038/s41579-021-00569-w.

Du X, Larsen J, Li M, Walter A, Slavetinsky C, Both A, Sanchez Carballo PM, Stegger M, Lehmann E, Liu Y, Liu J, Slavetinsky J, Duda KA, Krismer B, Heilbronner S, Weidenmaier C, Mayer C, Rohde H, Winstel V, Peschel A (2021) Staphylococcus epidermidis clones express Staphylococcus aureus-type wall teichoic acid to shift from a commensal to pathogen lifestyle. Nat Microbiol. 6:757-768. doi: 10.1038/s41564-021-00913-z.

Gerlach D, Guo Y, De Castro C, Kim SH, Schlatterer K, Xu FF, Pereira C, Seeberger PH, Ali S, Codee J, Sirisan W, Schulte B, Wolz C, Larsen J, Molinaro A, Lee BL, Xia G, Stehle T, Peschel A (2018) Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus alters cell wall glycosylation to evade immunity. Nature 563:705-709. doi: 10.1038/s41586-018-0730-x.

Taconnelli E, Autenrieth IB, Peschel A (2017) Fighting the enemy within. Science 355:689-690. doi: 10.1126/science.aam6372.

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). doi: 10.1038/nature18634.

Hanzelmann D, Joo HS, Franz-Wachtel M, Hertlein T, Stevanovic S, Macek B, Götz F, Otto M, Kretschmer D, Peschel A (2016) Toll-like receptor 2 activation depends on lipopeptide shedding by bacterial surfactants. Nat Commun I7:12304. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12304.

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. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2010.05.012.

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 10:243-24. doi: 10.1038/nm991.