SPP 1316

Identification of host-adapted metabolic functions important for Yersinia pseudotuber­culosis virulence

Initial colonization of the gut and subsequent penetration of the intestinal epithelial layer by the enteric pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis demands expression of a special set of early-stage virulence genes, whereas persistence and multiplication in subepithelial tissues and organs requires synthesis of other patho­genicity factors, e.g. the antiphagocytic Yop proteins. A complex network of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory systems was identified to control expression of these virulence factors and important metabolic functions. In particular, the central carbon metabolism (glycolysis, TCA cycle) and associated amino acid and nucleoside catabolism were found to be co-regulated with expression of Yersinia virulence functions in response to temperature and nutrient availabi­lity. To gain a deeper insight into the host-adapted metabolism of Yersinia, the full spectrum of metabolic changes in response to the different virulence asso­ciated conditions (changes of temperature, nutrients, oxygen availability) will be elucidated using metabolome, fluxome, transcriptional and 13C-isotopologue profiling techniques. Additionally the molecular mechanisms mediating fine-tuned coregulation of metabolic and virulence genes over the course of the infection will be elucidated. Subsequently, expression and role of the identified host-adapted virulence pathways for patho­genesis will be evaluated in an established mouse infection model. Gained knowledge about crucial host-adapted metabolic pathways of an extracellular fast growing intestinal pathogen may lead to the identification of new targets for novel anti-infective compounds.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft


  • Prof Dr Petra Dersch

    Petra Dersch

    Head of the Department Molecular Infection Biology

    +49 531 6181-5700

    +49 531 6181-5709


    CV and Publications



Professor Dr. Michael Hensel (Universität Osnabrück)



Funding Agency

DFG - German Research Foundation