Adaptation to the host

The pathogenicity of the yeast Candida albicans is associated with adhesion, filamentation, invasion, and toxin production. Nevertheless most clinical isolates and other Candida species, such as C. glabrata, cause infections but often without hyphal formation or being highly damaging in in vitro models.

During infection, Candida species exchange their commensal niche, the intestine, to the bloodstream. This exchange of a commensal environment to an environment where C. albicans causes systemic disease is paired with a sudden exposure to host serum proteins and the inflammatory response. Similarly, C. albicans can cause infections at mucosal surfaces, which are associated with changes in physiology and particularly initiation of inflammation. We hypothesized that specific host factors may drive fungal adaptations to cope with the host immune system.

The research group, therefore, studies how the encounter of host immune mediators and serum proteins drives fungal adaptations that permit survival in the host and immune evasion or escape.


Austermeier S, Pekmezović M, Porschitz P, Lee S, Kichik N, Moyes DL, Ho J, Kotowicz NK, Naglik JR, Hube B, Gresnigt MS (2021) Albumin neutralizes hydrophobic toxins and modulates Candida albicans pathogenicity. mBio 12(13), e0053121. PubMed Open Access PDF

Last A, Maurer M, Mosig AS, Gresnigt MS, Hube B (2021) In vitro infection models to study fungal-host interactions. FEMS Microbiol Rev [Epub ahead of print] PubMed Open Access PDF

Pekmezovic M, Hovhannisyan H, Gresnigt MS, Iracane E, Oliveira-Pacheco J, Siscar-Lewin S, Seemann E, Qualmann B, Kalkreuter T, Müller S, Kamradt T, Mogavero S, Brunke S, Butler G, Gabaldón T, Hube B (2021) Candida pathogens induce protective mitochondria-associated type I interferon signalling and a damage-driven response in vaginal epithelial cells. Nat Microbiol 6(5), 643-657. PubMed Data

Austermeier S, Kasper L, Westman J, Gresnigt MS (2020) I want to break free - macrophage strategies to recognize and kill Candida albicans, and fungal counter-strategies to escape. Curr Opin Microbiol 58, 15-23. (Review) PubMed

d'Enfert C, Kaune AK, Alaban LR, Chakraborty S, Cole N, Delavy M, Kosmala D, Marsaux B, Fróis-Martins R, Morelli M, Rosati D, Valentine M, Xie Z, Emritloll Y, Warn PA, Bequet F, Bougnoux ME, Bornes S, Gresnigt MS, Hube B, Jacobsen ID, Legrand M, Leibundgut-Landmann S, Manichanh C, Munro CA, Netea MG, Queiroz K, Roget K, Thomas V, Thoral C, Van den Abbeele P, Walker AW, Brown AJP (2020) The impact of the Fungus-Host-Microbiota interplay upon Candida albicans infections: current knowledge and new perspectives. FEMS Microbiol Rev , fuaa060. (Review) PubMed Open Access PDF

Kumamoto CA, Gresnigt MS, Hube B (2020) The gut, the bad and the harmless: Candida Albicans as a commensal and opportunistic pathogen in the intestine. Curr Opin Microbiol 56, 7-15. (Review) PubMed

Sophie Austermeier

Sophie Austermeier

Doctoral researcher

Phone: +49 3641 532-1389 Email:

Axel Dietschmann

Axel Dietschmann

Postdoc - DFG Emmy Noether

Phone: +49 3641 532-1366 Email:

Mark S Gresnigt

Dr. Mark S Gresnigt

Head - DFG Emmy Noether

Phone: +49 3641 532-1305 Email:

Sophia Hitzler

Sophia Hitzler

Doctoral researcher - DFG Emmy Noether

Phone: +49 3641 532-1388 Email: