Innate immunity and bacterial infection
Bacterial infection, macrophage biology, pattern recognition receptors, innate immunity
Research interest of the Faculty Member
Dr. Knapp is interested in the innate immune response to clinically relevant bacterial infections such as pneumonia induced by Streptococcus pneumoniae or septic infections like E. coli peritonitis. In doing so, she initially studied the role of classical pattern recognition receptors and was the first to show the in vivo role of TLR2, TLR4, CD14 and LBP during specific bacterial infection and inflammation models (Knapp, 2003; Knapp, 2004; Branger, 2004; Knapp 2006a; Knapp, 2006b; Dessing, 2007; Knapp, 2008). Ongoing studies are aimed at a better understanding of the biological role of immunoreceptors (e.g. the TREM family) and their impact on responses elicited by heterologous receptors such as TLRs or NLRs (Knapp, 2004; Sharif, 2008; Lagler, 2009, Sharif submitted). Furthermore, Dr. Knapp’s lab investigates the impact of pre-existing tissue damage or viral infections on the course of secondary bacterial infections. This medically important question is based on the concept that tissue alterations result in the release and/or modification of endogenous molecules that in turn impact the function of immune effector cells (Matt, 2009; Sigel, 2012). In accordance with this idea she was the first to demonstrate that oxidized phospholipids negatively impact host defense against E. coli in vivo (Knapp, 2007; Matt, submitted). Current projects aim at delineating the cells and underlying molecular pathways that predispose patients to bacterial pneumonia after influenza infection. In addition, Dr. Knapp is interested in understanding the molecular mechanism by which selected bacterial toxins attack host cells in order to identify novel targets for therapeutic interventions (Zivkovic, 2011).
Collaborating research groups where PhD Students can perform their research stay
Dr. Tom van der Poll, Center of Experimental and Molecular Medicine, Academic Medical Center, University Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Meibergdreef 11, 1015 Amsterdam
Dr. Günter Weiss, Department of Internal Medicine, Clinical Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Medical University Innsbruck, Anichstrasse 35, 6020 Innsbruck
Dr. Marco Colonna, Dept. of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110
Know-how and infrastructure of the research group
In vitro and in vivo bacterial infection and inflammation models (pneumonia, muscle-abscess, acid aspiration and peritonitis), basic cellular and molecular biology techniques, biochemical analysis of signal transduction pathways, RNAi approaches, FACS, in vitro immunological assays, basics in confocal microscopy. Supporting infrastructure available in our lab such as: light cycler, fluorimeter, Licor Odyssey imaging system, Maxwell purification system, cell culture facilities, Amaxa nucleofector, microbiology lab (biosafety 2 level, including shaker, incubators), immunohistochemistry facilities, electrophoreses equipment, standard centrifuges and cytospin, access to animal facility (including allocated space for infectious diseases), FACS.