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Institute of Molecular Pathogenesis (IMP)

Working group Infection and Immunity

Research area Ruminants

The research area conducts research on the host-pathogen-interaction in bacterial infections of ruminants, particularly coxiellosis and STEC infection. The focus is laid on the following issues:

  • How do zoonotic bacteria modulate the immune system of the reservoir host?
  • What is the structure of infection defense at the host’s outer and inner boundary layers?


  • Cultivation, functional and phenotypic characterization of established cell lines (Vero cells, FKD-R, BGM)
  • Generation, cultivation, and functional and phenotypic characterization of primary cell cultures from ruminants
    • peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC)
    • polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN)
    • intraepithelial lymphocytes (IEL)
    • monocyte derived macrophages (MDM)
    • colonic crypt epithelial cells
  • Quantification of antigen-specific T cells from cattle, goats, and sheep by flow cytometry
  • Quantitative real-time RT-PCR for detection of the host cytokine response
  • In vitro Shiga toxin cytotoxicity test, Shiga toxin neutralization test
  • Adhesion and invasion assays
  • Characterization of Escherichia coli (DNA microarray analysis, phage induction)
  • Proteome analyses (2D-PAGE)


  • Determinants of Coxiella burnetii excretion by animal hosts
    (BMBF network „Q fever“; 2010-2013)
    More information (in German language only) under:
  • Factors determining intensity of shedding of Coxiella burnetii
    (EU-FP7 network „ANTIGONE – ANTIcipating the Global Onset of Novel Epidemics”; 2011-2016) 
    More information under:
  • Host adaptation of the newly emerging EHEC O104:H4
    (EU-FP7 network „ANTIGONE – ANTIcipating the Global Onset of Novel Epidemics”; 2011-2016) 
    More information under:
  • The reservoir in the reservoir: geno- and phenotypic characteristics of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli with persistence properties in cattle herds
    (DFG, 2012-2015) 
  • Recombinant Escherichia coli Shiga toxoids as broadly cross-protective vaccines to reduce STEC/EHEC shedding and transmission dynamics in cattle herds
    (FLI internal cooperation project; 2012-2014)