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Information for Researchers No. 64 | 3 December 2013
Priority Programme “Intracellular Compartments as Places of Pathogen-Host-Interaction” (SPP 1580)

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has established a Priority Programme on “Intracellular Compartments as Places of Pathogen-Host-Interaction” (SPP 1580). The programme started in July 2011 and is designed to run for six years. Applications are now invited for the second three-year period (2014-2017) of this Priority Programme.

“Intracellular” pathogenic microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, fungi) can enter cells of “host” organisms and multiply within them. As these cells are often part of the host defence system, their normal duty would be to eliminate the microbial intruder, yet host cells are re-programmed by the pathogen, turning them into hospitable homes. Pathogens exist within host cells during at least some period of the infection in defined membrane-surrounded locations, the subcellular compartments. Research into these compartments as locations of the decision between multiplication and elimination of a microbial pathogen is the core of this Priority Programme. The relevant questions are:

  • Which are the constituents of pathogen-containing compartments?
  • Which (patho-)physiological conditions are found in these compartments?
  • Which pathogen- and host-derived compounds contribute to the establishment and the maintenance and disruption of these compartments?
  • Which interactions and vesicular trafficking events occur between phagosomes/vacuoles and other compartments of the infected cell and how are these interactions regulated?

Germany has an excellent, traditionally biochemically and genetically oriented microbiological research and a strong cell biology which uses molecular biological and imaging methods, genetically accessible model organisms and biochemical tools to understand the eukaryotic cell. Further, modern biophysical analysis of cell structure and function contributes to our understanding of cell dynamics and function. Applications to participate in this programme are invited from research groups that provide state-of-the-art approaches to study the ultrastructure, composition, biophysical properties or the dynamics of intracellular microbe-containing compartments. Therefore, applications which, e.g., concentrate on general microbial virulence factors or on immunological aspects of infection beyond the infected cell, cannot be considered, neither can proposals concentrating on virus-containing compartments. This programme brings together microbiological and cell biological groups to combine their expertise and experimental capabilities with the goal to understand the cell biology of pathogen-containing compartments. Hence, cooperative applications from two groups each contributing distinct and complementary expertises, are encouraged. The Priority Programme intends to support young investigators through workshops and laboratory exchange and also runs a gender equality programme.

Research proposals for the second three-years funding period, written in English, are now invited. They should be marked “SPP 1580” and must be submitted to the DFG through the online submission portal elan. Deadline for proposal submission is 3 February 2014. Please follow the guidelines for project submission according to forms 50.05 and 54.01 (German/English) meticulously.

Proposals will be evaluated in the course of a colloquium with talks and/or poster presentations on 29 April 2014 in Bonn.

Further Information

For details about the Priority Programme and the currently funded projects please refer to:

The DFG’s electronic proposal processing system elan with proposal instructions and guidelines can be found at:

Proposal guidelines and preparation instructions are outlined in the DFG forms 50.05 and 54.01 which can be found on the DFG’s website at:

For scientific enquiries concerning the scope of the programme please contact the Priority Programme’s coordinator:

For administrative enquiries please contact: