Chair of Microbiology
Biocenter, University of Würzburg
Tel.: 0931 31 84403
Fax: 0931 31 84402
Bordetella pertussis is the etiological agent of whooping cough and has recently been reclassified by the CDC as a re-emerging disease mainly due to vaccination failures. Because B. pertussis and B. parapertussis are obligate human pathogens, the current animal models (mainly mice) and cell culture systems have little in vivo relevance. Roy Gross and Maria Steinke investigate Bordetella virulence in a new 3D tissue-engineered human airway mucosa model, which closely resembles native human airway mucosa, a ciliated and mucus-producing epithelium. They perform imaging of the infection with different B. pertussis strains and mutants using multi-photon laser-scanning and multiparameter light-sheet fluorescence microscopy (cooperation Andreas Beilhack) and Raman spectroscopy and they investigate host cell gene expression responses after infection (cooperation Jörg Vogel). The tissue model will be improved by adding human microvascular endothelial cells on the basal side of the scaffold, which would simulate the endothelial barrier.