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The metabolism of pathogenic organisms as a target for intervention

Pathogenic organisms utilize complex metabolic networks to replicate within host tissues. This process is key to their disease causing potential.

Infectious diseases are becoming more pressing health problems worldwide. Growing resistance of the pathogens increasingly restricts the effectiveness of the antibiotics in use today. At the same time, hardly any new drug substances are being discovered, which means that progressively fewer therapeutic options remain available for infectious diseases.

Metabolism in contest between host and pathogen
Metabolic processes are crucial for the replication of pathogens and the outbreak of disease in the host. At the same time, metabolic processes are also ideal targets for intervention to kill the pathogens. Using disease models of typhoid fever and diarrhea, our research group is investigating how Salmonella and Shigella obtain nutrition from their hosts, what enzymes they use to degrade these nutrients, and how they coordinate the individual activities in metabolic networks. We isolate pathogens from infected host cells, analyze their proteins, and simulate the metabolic processes in computer models.

Target for treating infectious diseases
Our goal is to gain a comprehensive understanding of metabolic activities in pathogens and, on this basis, to develop and test experimentally new therapeutic approaches to infectious diseases.