Bacterial pathogens express a capsule consisting of extracellular polysaccharides that form a protective layer shielding the bacterial cell from the hosts’ immune defense mechanisms. As outermost barrier, those capsular polysaccharides are the first surface structures encountered by the human immune system and can thus be used as antigens in glycoconjugate vaccine formulations, which have been proven highly effective against a variety of infectious diseases. The focus of our research lies on (i) understanding the enzymes involved in bacterial capsule biosynthesis and (ii) using these enzymes as synthesis tools for the development of glycoconjugate vaccines.
DFG Programme ‘Research Grants’: Exploring and exploiting members of the newly discovered family of multi-domain capsule polymerases identified in group II polysaccharide expressing pathogens. GEPRIS project number 41282453