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Amoebae as a possible ecological niche of atypical Brucella species and fitness ground for preparation of macrophage infection (BruceFit4Infect)


Funding programme / funding institution: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) - Deutschland

Grant number: 01KI2112

Project homepage: -

Project description:

Primarily, we aim to elucidate the role that amoebae may play in the survival strategy of the poorly characterized atypical Brucella and Ochrobactrum species in the environment. Co-cultivation experiments will provide preliminary evidence for a conceivable physiological cross-talk between different amoeba species and the bacteria involved. Using mass spectrometric methods, we will identify possible substrates that have a growth-promoting effect on Brucella spp. In particular, we will analyze whether different types of amoebae have different permissivities for Brucella infection. Infection experiments with amoebae and the so-called gentamicin protection assay will be used to clarify whether these protozoa, which are ubiquitous in the environment, represent a survival niche for atypical Brucella species. We intend to use genetically engineered fluorescent Brucella mutants to optically follow and describe the formation of the Brucella-containing vacuole and the proliferation of the bacteria in the amoebae. Similar to what has been described for Legionella, we aim to clarify whether successful intracellular survival of atypical Brucella spp. in amoebae also increases their infectivity, thereby enhancing their survival in macrophages. This is of particular interest since macrophages are the primary host cells in primary hosts (animals) or in humans.

Project partners

  • Nachwuchsgruppe 2 Stoffwechsel mikrobieller Pathogene (Robert Koch-Institut)
  • Medizinische Fakultät - Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie (Universität Zürich)
  • National Center for Scientific Research, FR (CNRS) - Frankreich
  • National University of General San Martín (UNSAM) - Argentinien




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