Project 7

Project 7

Rab and motor protein dependent intracellular processing of Borrelia burgdorferi by primary human macrophages

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Stefan Linder (2012 – 2017)
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene


The spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi is the causative agent of Lyme disease, a multisystemic disorder affecting the skin, nervous system and joints. In this project, we investigate the pathways regulating the intracellular processing of Borreliae by macrophages. In particular, we focus on the role of RabGTPases and microtubule-associated motor proteins of the kinesin and dynein families in the maturation of Borrelia-containing phagolysosomes. It is currently unknown which Rab or kinesin isoforms are involved or essential for the intracellular handling of Borrelia by macrophages. Moreover, from a general cell biological point of view, the intersection of RabGTPase signalling with microtubule-dependent transport of Rab-containing vesicles is largely unexplored. Intracellular handling of the large and easily visible Borrelia phagosomes is thus also a welcome model system to study this field. Within this project, we combine both approaches and place particular emphasis on the trafficking of vesicles containing specific RabGTPase isoforms by specific members of the kinesin motor family.