The major human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus asymptomatically colonizes the anterior nares of humans, but also causes a wide spectrum of diseases ranging from simple skin infections to major life-threatening acute infections. Additionally, S. aureus can cause chronic infections (osteomyelitis, device-related infections, and lung infections in patients with cystic fibrosis) that require successful adaptation of the pathogen to the human host. In the short term, regulatory mechanisms allow the pathogen to quickly change its phenotype in response to the micro-environment. In the long term, mutation or recombination together with purging selection enforced by the changing environment leads to inheritable shifts in the bacterial population. The focus of our research is the analysis of the regulation and expression of virulence genes and of genomic adaptations during infection and the elucidation of population dynamics of the species S. aureus.
Institut für Med. Mikrobiologie und Hygiene