Subproject 6


Coxiella burnetii mediated subversion of antigen presenting cell function in the protective
immune response to Q fever in animals and humans

[Graphics: PD Dr. Michael Knittler, © Friedrich-Loeffler-Institut, Institute for Immunology]
Coxiella infected dendritic cell


The present project is designed to gain insight into processes regarding the immune subversion, antigen presentation and cell autonomous defense mechanisms in C. burnetii infected antigen presenting cells which have a key function in the cellular immune response towards intracellular pathogens. The focus of our studies will be the determination of the molecular requirements of functional processing and presentation of C. burnetii antigens. This will be analyzed for C. burnetii strains isolated from ticks, small ruminants and humans. With these studies, it will be possible for the first time to evaluate the immune pathogenic potential of C. burnetii. These studies will also allow new and deeper insights into virulence mechanisms of C. burnetii isolates from distinct environmental sources in human and animal hosts.

We expect our findings to have important implications for the development of new diagnostic tools suitable for the ÖGD for monitoring C. burnetii in the field, the future design of (i) vaccination strategies based on immunotherapeutic antigen-delivery to DCs and (ii) host-directed, personalized medicine by targeting autophagy and cell autonomous immunity.

Principal investigators

PD Dr. rer. nat. Michael R. Knittler

PD Dr. rer. nat. Michael R. Knittler
Institut für Immunologie
Südufer 10
17493 Greifswald - Insel Riems
Web link


Dr. rer. nat. Christian Berens

Dr. rer. nat. Christian Berens
Institut für molekulare Pathogenese
Naumburger Str. 96 a
07743 Jena
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