Project 8

Project 8

Spatiotemporal control of bacterial phagocytosis and phagosome maturation

Project leader:
Prof. Dr. Martin Aepfelbacher (2008 – 2017)
University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Institute of Medical Microbiology, Virology and Hygiene


Unique signalling complexes are assembled at the contact site of pathogenic bacteria and host cells and control bacterial invasion and phagosome maturation. We study the dynamic recruitment of a regulator of the Rho GTP-binding protein CDC42, CDC42GAP, to the bacterial uptake site as well as to the bacteria loaded phagosome in endothelial cells. CDC42GAP is bound to recycling endosomes and through the delivery to the phagocytic cup controls local Cdc42 activity. Cdc42 acts back on the delivery of the Cdc42GAP by regulating the exocyst complex that tethers the recycling endosomes to the phagocytic cup. How this regulatory cycle is functioning on the molecular level is in the center of our interest. To study this process a combination of cell biological, biochemical and microbiological techniques is applied.