Immunotherapy

Invasive fungal infections rarely occur in healthy hosts, and a compromised immune system is one of the major predisposing factors for invasive fungal disease. Although a wide range of antifungal drugs are available to treat such infections, therapies that aim at improving the immune system are increasingly recognized as essential in improving the outcome of fungal infections. Specifically, modification of immune-cell metabolism and phagocytosis are promising strategies to augment immune cell function. 

Interferon-g is a promising candidate due to its capacity to improve macrophage microbicidal activity, and clinical trials are ongoing to explore its potential to improve the outcome of candidemia. In close collaboration with the Department of Microbial Pathogenicity Mechanisms, we investigate how Candida albicans interacts with macrophages that were augmented by immunotherapy. We specifically focus on inflammasome activation and fungal escape from macrophages, which is in part mediated by the fungal toxin candidalysin.

Macrophage engulfing Candida albicans yeast
Publications

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 Jun 26(58), 15-23. PubMed PDF

Domínguez-Andrés J, Novakovic B, Li Y, Scicluna BP, Gresnigt MS, Arts RJW, Oosting M, Moorlag SJCFM, Groh LA, Zwaag J, Koch RM, Ter Horst R, Joosten LAB, Wijmenga C, Michelucci A, van der Poll T, Kox M, Pickkers P, Kumar V, Stunnenberg H, Netea MG (2019) The itaconate pathway is a central regulatory node linking innate immune tolerance and trained immunity. Cell Metab 29(1), 211-220.e5. PubMed Open Access PDF

Grondman I, Arts RJW, Koch RM, Leijte GP, Gerretsen J, Bruse N, Kempkes RWM, Ter Horst R, Kox M, Pickkers P, Netea MG, Gresnigt MS (2019) Frontline science: Endotoxin-induced immunotolerance is associated with loss of monocyte metabolic plasticity and reduction of oxidative burst. J Leukoc Biol 106(1), 11-25. PubMed Open Access PDF

Assendorp EL, Gresnigt MS, Sprenkeler EGG, Meis JF, Dors N, van der Linden JWM, Henriet SSV (2018) Adjunctive interferon-γ immunotherapy in a pediatric case of Aspergillus terreus infection. Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis 37(10), 1915-1922. PubMed Open Access

Kasper L, König A, Koenig PA, Gresnigt MS, Westman J, Drummond RA, Lionakis MS, Groß O, Ruland J, Naglik JR, Hube B (2018) The fungal peptide toxin Candidalysin activates the NLRP3 inflammasome and causes cytolysis in mononuclear phagocytes. Nat Commun 9(1), 4260. PubMed Open Access

Staff
Sophie Austermeier

Sophie Austermeier

Doctoral researcher

Phone: +49 3641 532-1389 Email: sophie.austermeier@leibniz-hki.de

Mark S Gresnigt

Dr. Mark S Gresnigt

Head

Phone: +49 3641 532-1305 Email: mark.gresnigt@leibniz-hki.de