Experimental Virology

HZI 0803 ag pietschmann twincore 004

At TWINCORE , the Experimental Virology research group of Prof. Dr. Thomas Pietschmann researches the background of hepatitis C. The problem of researching this virus is that only humans and chimpanzees are infected and it is subsequently difficult to research on the organism itself. In order to reveal the secrets of the virus, Thomas Pietschmann has developed a cell culture model. This is comprised of human liver cells and a virus variant that reproduces particularly well in cell cultures. With this test system he and his colleagues examine how the virus manages to penetrate our liver cells and why liver cells from, for example, mice, are not receptive to the virus.


The group Experimental Virology is based at the TWINCORE in Hannover.



Barbier, J.; Wegner, J.; Benson, S.; Gentzsch, J.; Pietschmann, T. & Kirschning, A. (2012), 'Total Synthesis of a Noricumazoleâ??A Library and Evaluation of HCV Inhibition', Chemistry 18 (29) , 9083-9090 .

Chhatwal, P.; Bankwitz, D.; Gentzsch, J.; Frentzen, A.; Schult, P.; Lohmann, V. & Pietschmann, T. (2012), 'Bile Acids Specifically Increase Hepatitis C Virus RNA-Replication', PloS One 7 (4) , e36029 .

Ciesek, S. & Wedemeyer, H. (2012), 'Immunosuppression, liver injury and post-transplant HCV recurrence', J Viral Hepat 19 (1) , 1-8 .

Doerrbecker J, Behrendt P, Mateu-Gelabert P, Ciesek S, Riebesehl N, Wilhelm C, Steinmann J, Pietschmann T, Steinmann E (2012) Transmission of hepatitis C virus among people who inject drugs: viral stability and association with drug preparation equipment. J Infect Dis (in press).

Ejaz A, Steinmann E, Banki Z, Kusuma A, Khalid S, Lengauer S, Wilhelm C, Zoller H, Schloegl A, Steinmann J, Grabski E, Kleines M, Pietschmann T, Stoiber H (2012) Specific acquisition of functional CD59 but not CD46 or CD55 by hepatitis C virus. PLoS One (in press).

Haid, S.; Novodomska, A.; Gentzsch, J.; Grethe, C.; Geuenich, S.; Bankwitz, D.; Chhatwal, P.; Jannack, B.; Hennebelle, T.; Bailleul, F.; Keppler, O. T.; Ponisch, M.; Bartenschlager, R.; Hernandez, C.; Lemasson, M.; Rosenberg, A.; Wong-Staal, F.; Davioud-Charvet, E. & Pietschmann, T. (2012), 'A Plant-Derived Flavonoid Inhibits Entry of All HCV Genotypes Into Human Hepatocytes', Gastroenterology 143 (1) , 213-222. e215 .

Fofana, I.; Fafi-Kremer, S.; Carolla, P.; Fauvelle, C.; Zahid, M. N.; Turek, M.; Heydmann, L.; Cury, K.; Hayer, J.; Combet, C.; Cosset, F. L.; Pietschmann, T.; Hiet, M. S.; Bartenschlager, R.; Habersetzer, F.; Doffoel, M.; Keck, Z. Y.; Foung, S. K.; Zeisel, M. B.; Stoll-Keller, F. & Baumert, T. F. (2012), 'Mutations that Alter Use of Hepatitis C Virus Cell Entry Factors Mediate Escape from Neutralizing Antibodies', Gastroenterology 143 (1) , 223-233.e229 .

Frentzen A, Hueging K, Bitzegeio J, Pietschmann T, Steinmann E (2012) Two methods of heterokaryon formation to discover HCV restriction factors. J Vis Exp 65 (in press).

Menzel, N.; Fischl, W.; Hueging, K.; Bankwitz, D.; Frentzen, A.; Haid, S.; Gentzsch, J.; Kaderali, L.; Bartenschlager, R. & Pietschmann, T. (2012), 'MAP-Kinase Regulated Cytosolic Phospholipase A2 Activity Is Essential for Production of Infectious Hepatitis C Virus Particles', PLoS Pathog 8 (7) , e1002829 .

Rath, P. M.; Saner, F.; Paul, A.; Lehmann, N.; Steinmann, E.; Buer, J. & Steinmann, J. (2012), 'Multiplex PCR for rapid and improved diagnosis of bloodstream infections in liver transplant recipients', J Clin Microbiol 50 (6) , 2069-2071 .

Ruhl, M.; Chhatwal, P.; Strathmann, H.; Kuntzen, T.; Bankwitz, D.; Skibbe, K.; Walker, A.; Heinemann, F. M.; Horn, P. A.; Allen, T. M.; Hoffmann, D.; Pietschmann, T. & Timm, J. (2012), 'Escape from a dominant HLA-B*15-restricted CD8+ T cell response against hepatitis C virus requires compensatory mutations outside the epitope', J Virol 86 (2) , 991-1000 .

Sandmann, L.; Wilson, M.; Back, D.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Steinmann, E.; Pietschmann, T.; von Hahn, T. & Ciesek, S. (2012), 'Antiretroviral drugs do not facilitate hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in vitro', Antiviral Res 96 (1) , 51-58 .

Stegmann, K. A.; Bjorkstrom, N. K.; Ciesek, S.; Lunemann, S.; Jaroszewicz, J.; Wiegand, J.; Malinski, P.; Dustin, L. B.; Rice, C. M.; Manns, M. P.; Pietschmann, T.; Cornberg, M.; Ljunggren, H. G. & Wedemeyer, H. (2012), 'Interferon alpha-stimulated natural killer cells from patients with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection recognize HCV-infected and uninfected hepatoma cells via DNAX accessory molecule-1', J Infect Dis 205 (9) , 1351-1362 .

Steinmann E, Gravemann U, Friesland M, Doerrbecker J, Muller TH, Pietschmann T, Seltsam A (2012) Two pathogen reduction technologies-methylene blue plus light and shortwave ultraviolet light-effectively inactivate hepatitis C virus in blood products. Transfusion (in press).

Steinmann J, Paulmann D, Becker B, Bischoff B, Steinmann E, Steinmann J (2012) Comparison of virucidal activity of alcohol-based sanitisers versus antimicorbial hand soaps in vitro and in vivo. J Hosp Inf (in press).

Steinmann J, Steinmann E (2012) Viruzidieprüfung von Händedesinfektionsmittel in vivo. Hyg Med 2012; 37-7/8:296-302 (in press). 

von Hahn, T.; Schiene-Fischer, C.; Van, N. D.; Pfander, S.; Karavul, B.; Steinmann, E.; Potthoff, A.; Strassburg, C.; Hamdi, N.; Abdelaziz, A. I.; Sarrazin, C.; Muller, T.; Berg, T.; Trepo, E.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Pietschmann, T. & Ciesek, S. (2012), 'Hepatocytes that Express Variants of Cyclophilin A are Resistant to HCV Infection and Replication', Gastroenterology 143 (2) , 439-447 e431 .



Burgel, B.; Friesland, M.; Koch, A.; Manns, M. P.; Wedemeyer, H.; Weissenborn, K.; Schulz-Schaeffer, W. J.; Pietschmann, T.; Steinmann, E. & Ciesek, S. (2011), 'Hepatitis C virus enters human peripheral neuroblastoma cells - evidence for extra-hepatic cells sustaining hepatitis C virus penetration', J Viral Hepat 18 (8) , 562-570 .

Ciesek, S. & Manns, M. P. (2011), 'Hepatitis in 2010: the dawn of a new era in HCV therapy', Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 8 (2) , 69-71 .

Ciesek, S.; Westhaus, S.; Wicht, M.; Wappler, I.; Henschen, S.; Sarrazin, C.; Hamdi, N.; Abdelaziz, A. I.; Strassburg, C. P.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Pietschmann, T. & von Hahn, T. (2011), 'Impact of intra- and interspecies variation of occludin on its function as coreceptor for authentic hepatitis C virus particles', J Virol 85 (15) , 7613-7621 .

Ciesek, S.; von Hahn, T. & Manns, M. P. (2011), 'Second-wave protease inhibitors: choosing an heir', Clin Liver Dis 15 (3) , 597-609 .

Ciesek, S.; von Hahn, T.; Colpitts, C. C.; Schang, L. M.; Friesland, M.; Steinmann, J.; Manns, M. P.; Ott, M.; Wedemeyer, H.; Meuleman, P.; Pietschmann, T. & Steinmann, E. (2011), 'The green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) inhibits hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry', Hepatology 54 (6) , 1947-1955 .

Doerrbecker, J.; Friesland, M.; Ciesek, S.; Erichsen, T. J.; Mateu-Gelabert, P.; Steinmann, J.; Pietschmann, T. & Steinmann, E. (2011), 'Inactivation and survival of hepatitis C virus on inanimate surfaces', J Infect Dis 204 (12) , 1830-1838 .

Frentzen, A.; Huging, K.; Bitzegeio, J.; Friesland, M.; Haid, S.; Gentzsch, J.; Hoffmann, M.; Lindemann, D.; Zimmer, G.; Zielecki, F.; Weber, F.; Steinmann, E. & Pietschmann, T. (2011), 'Completion of hepatitis C virus replication cycle in heterokaryons excludes dominant restrictions in human non-liver and mouse liver cell lines', PLoS Pathog 7 (4) , e1002029 .

Gentzsch, J.; Hinkelmann, B.; Kaderali, L.; Irschik, H.; Jansen, R.; Sasse, F.; Frank, R. & Pietschmann, T. (2011), 'Hepatitis C virus complete life cycle screen for identification of small molecules with pro- or antiviral activity', Antiviral Res 89 (2) , 136-148 .

Lupberger, J.; Zeisel, M. B.; Xiao, F.; Thumann, C.; zona, L.; Davis, C.; Mee, C. J.; Turek, M.; Gorke, S.; Royer, C.; Fischer, B.; Zahid, M. N.; Lavillette, D.; Fresquet, J.; Cosset, F. L.; Rothenberg, S. M.; Pietschmann, T.; Patel, A. H.; Pessaux, P.; Doffoel, M.; Raffelsberger, W.; Poch, O.; McKeating, J. A.; Brino, L. & Baumert, T. F. (2011), 'EGFR and EphA2 are host factors for hepatitis C virus entry and possible targets for antiviral therapy', Nat Med 17 (5) , 589-595 .

Paulmann, D.; Steinmann, J.; Becker, B.; Bischoff, B. & Steinmann, E. (2011), 'Virucidal activity of different alcohols against murine norovirus, a surrogate of human norovirus', J Hosp Infect 79 (4) , 378-379 .

Steinmann, E.; Ciesek, S.; Friesland, M.; Erichsen, T. J. & Pietschmann, T. (2011), 'Prolonged Survival of Hepatitis C Virus in the Anesthetic Propofol', Clin Infect Dis 53 (9) , 963-964 .

Steinmann, J.; Kaase, M.; Gatermann, S.; Popp, W.; Steinmann, E.; Damman, M.; Paul, A.; Saner, F.; Buer, J. & Path, P. (2011), 'Outbreak due to a Klebsiella pneumoniae strain harbouring KPC-2 and VIM-1 in a German university hospital, July 2010 to January 2011', Euro Surveill 16 (33) , pii: 19944 .

von Hahn, T.; Ciesek, S. & Manns, M. P. (2011), 'Arrest all accessories -- inhibition of hepatitis C virus by compounds that target host factors', Discov Med 12 (64) , 237-244 .

von Hahn, T.; Ciesek, S.; Wegener, G.; Plentz, R. R.; Weismuller, T. J.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Greten, T. F. & Malek, N. P. (2011), 'Epidemiological trends in incidence and mortality of hepatobiliary cancers in Germany', Scand J Gastroenterol 46 (9) , 1092-1098 .

von Hahn, T.; Schulze, A.; Chicano Wust, I.; Heidrich, B.; Becker, T.; Steinmann, E.; Helfritz, F.; Rohrmann, K.; Urban, S.; Manns, M.; Pietschmann, T. & Ciesek, S. (2011), 'The novel immunosuppressive protein kinase C inhibitor sotrastaurin has no pro-viral effects on the replication cycle of hepatitis B or C virus', PLoS One 6 (9) , e24142 .


Bankwitz, D.; Steinmann, E.; Bitzegeio, J.; Ciesek, S.; Friesland, M.; Herrmann, E.; Zeisel, M. B.; Baumert, T. F.; Keck, Z. Y.; Foung, S. K.; Pecheur, E. I. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Hepatitis C virus hypervariable region 1 modulates receptor interactions, conceals the CD81 binding site, and protects conserved neutralizing epitopes', J Virol 84 (11) , 5751-5763 .

Bitzegeio, J.; Bankwitz, D.; Hueging, K.; Haid, S.; Brohm, C.; Zeisel, M. B.; Herrmann, E.; Iken, M.; Ott, M.; Baumert, T. F. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Adaptation of hepatitis C virus to mouse CD81 permits infection of mouse cells in the absence of human entry factors', PLoS Pathog 6 , e1000978 .

Ciesek, S.; Steinmann, E.; Iken, M.; Ott, M.; Helfritz, F. A.; Wappler, I.; Manns, M. P.; Wedemeyer, H. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Glucocorticosteroids increase cell entry by hepatitis C virus', Gastroenterology 138 (5) , 1875-1884 .

Ciesek, S.; Friesland, M.; Steinmann, J.; Becker, B.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Pietschmann, T. & Steinmann, E. (2010), 'How stable is the hepatitis C virus (HCV)? Environmental stability of HCV and its susceptibility to chemical biocides', J Infect Dis 201 (12) , 1859-1866 .

Hahn, T.; Steinmann, E.; Ciesek, S. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Know your enemy: translating insights about the molecular biology of hepatitis C virus into novel therapeutic approaches', Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 4 (1) , 63-79 .

Haid, S.; Windisch, M. P.; Bartenschlager, R. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Mouse-specific residues of claudin-1 limit hepatitis C virus genotype 2a infection in a human hepatocyte cell line', J Virol 84 (2) , 964-975 .

Lemon, S. M.; McKeating, J. A.; Pietschmann, T.; Frick, D. N.; Glenn, J. S.; Tellinghuisen, T. L.; Symons, J. & Furman, P. A. (2010), 'Development of novel therapies for hepatitis C', Antiviral Res 86 (1) , 79-92 .

Montserret, R.; Saint, N.; Vanbelle, C.; Salvay, A. G.; Simorre, J. P.; Ebel, C.; Sapay, N.; Renisio, J. G.; Bockmann, A.; Steinmann, E.; Pietschmann, T.; Dubuisson, J.; Chipot, C. & Penin, F. (2010), 'NMR structure and ion channel activity of the p7 protein from hepatitis C virus', Biol Chem 285 (41) , 31446-31461 .

Stegmann, K. A.; Bjorkstrom, N. K.; Veber, H.; Ciesek, S.; Riese, P.; Wiegand, J.; Hadem, J.; Suneetha, P. V.; Jaroszewicz, J.; Wang, C.; Schlaphoff, V.; Fytili, P.; Cornberg, M.; Manns, M.; Geffers, R.; Pietschmann, T.; Guzman, C.; Ljunggren, H. & Wedemeyer, H. (2010), 'Interferon-alpha-induced TRAIL on natural killer cells is associated with control of hepatitis C virus infection', Gastroenterology 138 (5) , 1885-1897 .

Steinmann, E. & Pietschmann, T. (2010), 'Hepatitis C virus p7-a viroporin crucial for virus assembly and an emerging target for antiviral therapy', Viruses 2 (9) , 2078-2095 (Review) .

Steinmann, J.; Becker, B.; Bischoff, B.; Paulmann, D.; Friesland, M.; Pietschmann, T. & Steinmann, E. (2010), 'Virucidal activity of 2 alcohol-based formulations proposed as hand rubs by the World Health Organization', Am J Infect Control 38 (1) , 66-68 .



Brohm, C.; Steinmann, E.; Friesland, M.; Lorenz, I. C.; Patel, A.; Penin, F.; Bartenschlager, R. & Pietschmann, T. (2009), 'Characterization of determinants important for hepatitis C virus p7 function in morphogenesis using trans-complementation', J Virol 83 (22) , 11682-11693 .

Ciesek, S.; Steinmann, E.; Wedemeyer, H.; Manns, M. P.; Neyts, J.; Tautz, N.; Madan, V.; Bartenschlager, R.; von Hahn, T. & Pietschmann, T. (2009), 'Cyclosporine A inhibits hepatitis C virus nonstructural protein 2 through cyclophilin A', Hepatology 50 (5) , 1638-1645 .

Haid, S.; Pietschmann, T. & Pecheur, E. I. (2009), 'Low pH-dependent hepatitis C virus membrane fusion depends on E2 integrity, target lipid composition, and density of virus particles', Pecheur EI Haid S 284 (26) , 17657-17667 .

Haybaeck, J.; Zeller, N.; Wolf, M. J.; Weber, A.; Wagner, U.; Kurrer, M. O.; Bremer, J.; Iezzi, G.; Graf, R.; Clavien, P. A.; Thimme, R.; Blum, H.; Nedospasov, S. A.; Zatloukal, K.; Ramzan, M.; Ciesek, S.; Pietschmann, T.; Marche, P. N.; Karin, M.; Kopf, M.; Browning, J. L.; Aguzzi, A. & Heikenwalder, M. (2009), 'A lymphotoxin-driven pathway to hepatocellular carcinoma', Cancer Cell 16 (4) , 295-308 .

Pietschmann, T. (2009), 'Full-length infectious HCV chimeras', Methods Mol Biol 510 , 347-359 .

Pietschmann, T.; Zayas, M.; Meuleman, P.; Long, G.; Appel, N.; Koutsoudakis, G.; Kallis, S.; Leroux-Roels, G.; Lohmann, V. & Bartenschlager, R. (2009), 'Production of infectious genotype 1b virus particles in cell culture and impairment by replication enhancing mutations', PLoS Pathog 5 (6) , e1000475 .

Pietschmann, T. (2009), 'Regulation of hepatitis C virus replication by microRNAs', J Hepatol 50 (50(3)) , 441-444 .

Pietschmann, T. (2009), 'Virology: Final entry key for hepatitis C', Nature 457 (7231) , 797-798 .

Witteveldt, J.; Evans, M. J.; Bitzegeio, J.; Koutsoudakis, G.; Owsianka, A. M.; Angus, A. G.; Keck, Z. Y.; Foung, S. K.; Pietschmann, T.; Rice, C. M. & Patel, A. H. (2009), 'CD81 is dispensable for hepatitis C virus cell-to-cell transmission in hepatoma cells', J Gen Virol 90 (Pt 1) , 48-58 .



Ciesek, S.; Steinmann, E.; Manns, M. P.; Wedemeyer, H. & Pietschmann, T. (2008), 'The suppressive effect that myriocin has on hepatitis C virus RNA replication is independent of inhibition of serine palmitoyl transferase', J Infect Dis 198 (7) , 1091-1093 .

Jirasko, V.; Montserret, R.; Appel, N.; Janvier, A.; Eustachi, L.; Brohm, C.; Steinmann, E.; Pietschmann, T.; Penin, F. & Bartenschlager, R. (2008), 'Structural and functional characterization of nonstructural protein 2 for its role in hepatitis C virus assembly', J Biol Chem 283 (42) , 28546-28562 .

Pietschmann, T.; Steinmann, E. & Ciesek, S. (2008), '[Hepatitis C virus cell culture models--new perspectives for research and clinic]', Dtsch Med Wochenschr 133 (30) , 1580-1584 .

Steinmann, E.; Brohm, C.; Kallis, S.; Bartenschlager, R. & Pietschmann, T. (2008), 'Efficient trans-encapsidation of hepatitis C virus RNAs into infectious virus-like particles', J Virol 82 (14) , 7034-7046 .


  • Prof Dr Thomas Pietschmann

    Portrait Arbeitsgruppenleiter Experimentelle Virologie, Das HZI in Braunschweig und die MHH haben gemeinsam ein Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung gegründet - das Twincore.

    Head of the Department Experimental Virology

    +49 511-220027-130

    +40 511-220027-178


Bachelor & Master
Are you interested in a bachelor or master thesis? We are looking forward to your request!

Audio Podcast

  • Hepatitis-C-Infektion - eine Frage der Stabilität. Jürgen Wehland Preis für Dr. Eike Steinmann
    Für seine herausragende Forschung als Nachwuchswissenschaftler erhält Dr. Eike Steinmann den Jürgen Wehland Preis des HZI. Er hat die Stabiltität des Hepatitis-C-Virus in Lösungen und auf Oberflächen erforscht - mit überraschenden Ergebnissen. Hören Sie selbst...
  • Kleine Moleküle ganz groß – Mit Naturstoffen gegen Hepatitis C
    Mit weltweit 130 Millionen Infizierten ist Hepatitis C eine der häufigsten Infektionskrankheiten. Die Therapien, die es derzeit gibt, sind langwierig, haben starke Nebenwirkungen und helfen nicht jedem Patienten. Florenz Sasse vom Braunschweiger Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung und Thomas Pietschmann vom TWINCORE in Hannover suchen gemeinsam nach neuen Wirkstoffen gegen das Hepatitis C-Virus. Hören Sie hier von ihren ersten Treffern und folgen Sie Florenz Sasse zu einer Bibliothek der anderen Art…