Welcome to the 6th International Symposium of the SFB 766


10th - 13th March 2019, Tübingen, Bootshaus am Neckar, Germany

The bacterial cell envelope, which consists of the cell membrane, the cell wall, and - in the case of Gram-negative bacteria - the outer membrane, determines the shape, surface properties and solute permeability of bacteria. It serves as a barrier by which bacteria interact and communicate with the environment. Therefore, the bacterial cell envelope has a decisive function in bacterial physiology, sensitivity or resistance towards antimicrobial agents, and biotechnological applications. In pathogens, the cell envelope considerably contributes to interactions with the host, plays an important role in infectivity, and elicits immune reactions. Due to its chemical and structural diversity and complexity, insight into the molecular details of bacterial cell envelopes is rather limited. Even with modern methodology the three-dimensional network of the cell wall, its complex chemical composition and its highly dynamic properties are poorly understood. Part of this void in our knowledge is due to difficulties in working with membrane proteins and complex lipo-oligosaccharides, and to the fact that many of the genes involved are essential for survival and can only be deleted under exceptional circumstances. A more in-depth understanding of the structure and the biosynthesis of the cell envelope and its interactions with the environment would greatly enhance our ability to control undesirable bacterial processes such as infectivity or biofilm formation and to potentially develop novel antimicrobial agents. For decades, collaborative research in Tübingen has successfully focused on research into various aspects of the bacterial cell envelope. Methodology has advanced to a stage that pertinent questions can now be tackled experimentally, which previously could not be solved. With the Collaborative Research Centre 766, a research network was established that comprises groups of the two Faculties Mathematics and Science and Medicine at the University Tübingen and the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology. This network studies components of the bacterial cell envelope, certain aspects of its function and its importance for interactions with host cells in a multidisciplinary approach. Participants have diverse scientific backgrounds such as microbiology, biochemistry, infection biology, cell biology, pharmacy and bioinformatics.

The 6th International Symposium on "The Bacterial Cell Envelope: Structure, Function, and Infection Interface" would like to highlight and concentrate our versatile knowledge of the bacterial cell envelope. Thus, we are very pleased to welcome international and national speakers at Tübingen to present their research findings and experiences and to furthermore discuss with us issues of basic research.

With kind regards
Wolfgang Wohlleben

on behalf of

The Organizing Committee