The SFB 766 facilitates the research of the bacterial cell envelope in a unique comprehensive approach from synthesis over pathenogenesis, structural biology up to evolution.


In our research program we investigate:

1. the structure of the cell envelope, it´s composition and development.

2. the function of the cell envelope, particularly of the membrane.
Which strategies do bacteria apply to protect themselve from their selve produced antibiotics? How can antibiotics arrive through the cell envelope?

3. Interactions with eucaryotes. We want to examine signalling molecules which are important for the interactive recognition between bacteria and cells. How do basic infection mechanisms work in model systems of animals and plants?

The SFB 766 has two tightly intertwined sections:

Section A focusses on the biosynthesis, structure and function of cell envelope components on the microbial side. Important aspects are the synthesis and chemical composition of murein, lipids and surface polysaccarides in gram-positive bacteria. Further insights into the structure of the bacterial envelope will be gained by studies of resistance mechanisms and the biosynthesis of antibiotics acting on cell walls.

Concerning bacterial membranes and membrane proteins we will investigate the mechanism of action of antimicrobial peptides, the function and regulation of transporters of antibiotics, the contribution of cyanobacterial outer membranes to plant colonization, and the role of membrane-anchored mycobacterial adenylyl cyclases in pathogenesis.

Section B deals with the role of bacterial cell envelope components in microbe/host interaction and infection. Particular emphasis will be on the proteins of the bacterial surface and their interactions with eukaryotic host cells as well as on recognition of envelope components by the innate immune system of human, murine and plant cells. We will characterize the respective microbial elements by a combination of methods involving cellular microbiology, structural biology and bioinformatics.