EcTop Quantitative analysis and modeling of pathogen replication and spread
The alteration of cells and cellular networks by pathogens has been studied, so far, primarily by using simplified monolayer cell cultures and qualitative measurements. To understand the complexity of host-pathogen interactions, quantitative analyses on more authentic cell systems as well as mathematical models of pathogen replication and spread are required. These approaches will be pursued in EcTop4 that focuses on medically highly relevant pathogens and utilizes or develops culture systems ranging from standard monolayers to organotypic 3D cultures. An emphasis is put on novel detection systems such as live cell imaging, super resolution microscopy and electron microscopy techniques allowing visualization of biologically relevant processes with high temporal and spatial resolution. A long-term goal is to establish comparative mathematical models inferred from culture systems standardized for the respective pathogen groups and taking into account the stochastic nature of molecular processes. These studies will thus identify rate-controlling steps and determine the impact of cell-cell communication on pathogen replication and spread and may guide the development of novel and broad-spectrum therapies.

Bartenschlager, Brügger (Z2), Dalpke, Fackler, Frischknecht, Hamprecht (Z3), Höfer, Huber, Kräusslich, Lanzer, Lemke, Lohmann, Müller, Schirmacher, Schwarz, Tanaka, Urban