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Associated Projects

Communication between bacteriophages and their host

Dr. Katharina Höfer

We will investigate the hypothesis that bacteria can secrete small diffusible molecules to modulate bacteriophage infection. Bacteriophages are viruses that infect and replicate only in bacterial cells. Bacteriophage research focuses on several model phages, which primarily infect Escherichia coli, such as bacteriophage T4. T4 is one of the most complexly built viruses and serves as an excellent model to elucidate the mechanisms of virus assembly, DNA packaging, and the lysis of the host. Based on the clinical potential of phages to kill bacteria, the characterization of the host’s defence strategies against phages is of high interest. In this project, we will analyze how the secretion of small diffusible molecules from E. coli can regulate T4 phage infection, which will improve our understanding of host defence mechanisms.