– – Independent Junior Group – – Receptors of pathogens and hosts (Lisa Bäumer / Lisa Ott)

Activation and inflammatory signal transmission of human cells caused by the resurgent pathogen Corynebacterium diphtheriae


Corynebacterium diphtheriae is the classical etiological agent of diphtheria, an inflammatory disease of the upper respiratory tract, but also cases of cutaneous diphtheria occur. Additionally, systemic infections such as endocarditis, osteomyelitis, pneumonia and others are increasingly being reported (Ott, 2018). The molecular mechanisms of signal transduction in host cells leading to inflammatory response or cell death are widely unknown.

To address this question, my research focusses on the identification of genes and proteins involved in the pathogenicity of Corynebacterium diphtheriae as well as host cell response in terms of intracellular signaling and adaptive immune response. Various strategies are used to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying the virulence of C. diphtheriae.
The main project is based on generating monoclonal antibodies specifically directed against C. diphtheriae surface proteins to identify molecules that are involved in the adhesion process of bacteria and epithelial cells. The long-term goal is to use these data to clarify which bacterial ligand triggers the activation of epithelial cells.
Furthermore, RNA sequencing studies combined with proteomic analysis have recently started investigating changes of the transcripts and proteomes of C. diphtheriae as well as human macrophages during infection. The resulting data will be bioinformatically analyzed in cooperation with the working group of Prof. Dr. Julio Vera-González with the aim of reconstructing intracellular signaling networks of both macrophages and bacteria.



– Postdoc-Stipendium 2013 (FFL)

– Nachwuchsförderung des Departments Biologie 2017

– Habilitations-Stipendium 2018 (FFL)


ORCID ID Lisa Ott: