Immunreactions of the Lung in Infection and Allergies
In section A the projects are focused on the molecular interactions between microbes (bacteria, viruses and fungi) and the cells of the trachea, bronchi and lung. The role of the fusion protein of the respiratory syncytial virus interacting with epithelial cells of the respiratory tract is being studied. In another project the glycoprotein of influenza virus C will be used for gene transfer in differentiated epithelial cells. Three bacteria are used as tools in other studies: the expression of genes of Actinobacillus pleuropneumonia in the different phases of infection, virulence factors of Streptococcus suis in respect to the bacterium-host interaction and the relevance of the molecular mechanisms of the adherence of Streptococcus pneumoniae for mucosal or systemic vaccination strategies. The lung pathogen fungus Aspergillus fumigatus and its interactions with immune cells of the respiratory tract are being studied in the final project.
In section B the main aim is the investigation of the role of different cells of the immune system (lymphocytes, dendritic cells and eosinophilic granulocytes) in different infections and allergic disease models as well as in humans. The role of chemokine and neurotrophin receptors in allergy and inflammation of the lung is focused on in further projects. In volunteers and patients the interaction of environmental toxic agents with allergic reactions of the lung as well as the surfactant system of the lung will be studied by using different, well-controlled inhalation systems.