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Information für die Wissenschaft Nr. 36 | 21. Juli 2010
Priority Programme 1580 “Intracellular Compartments as Places of Pathogen-Host-Interaction”.

The Senate of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has announced the establishment of a new Priority Programme on “Intracellular Compartments as Places of Pathogen-Host-Interaction”. The running period of the programme is scheduled to be 6 years, divided in two funding periods of 3 years each.

‘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 sub-cellular 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 the pathogen-containing compartment 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 Priority Programme is intended to bring microbiological and cell biological groups together to combine their expertises and experimental capabilities with the goal to understand the cell biology of pathogen-containing compartments. Therefore, cooperative applications from two groups each contributing distinct and complementary expertises, are encouraged. Short-time exchange of scientists between cooperating laboratories is part of this programme. Its members will be expected to incorporate participants into existing workshops and scientists funded by this programme will be expected to attend at least one such workshop per funding period. This Priority Programme intends to establish platforms that provide demanding technologies, in particular electron microscopy imaging.

Research proposals for the initial three-year funding period are now invited. All proposals must be written in English and be prepared according to the guidelines for individual research grants (1.02e, available from the DFG website). Please include three paper copies and one CD-ROM copy (containing proposal and all attachments as pdf). They should be marked “SPP 1580 - Intracellular Compartments as Places of Pathogen-Host-Interaction” and addressed to the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Kennedyallee 40, 53175 Bonn. Deadline for proposal submission is October 31, 2010. A review panel with project presentations will take place early in 2011.

Further Information

General questions regarding the programme, the submission procedure or the funding instrument are referred to

  • Dr. Andreas Strecker,
    Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft,
    53170 Bonn,
    Tel. +49 228 885-2530,

All questions regarding scientific aspects should be addressed to

  • Prof. Dr. Albert Haas,
    Institut für Zellbiologie,
    Ulrich-Haberland-Str. 61a,
    53121 Bonn,