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The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Luís Almeida and Ayesha Dhillon-La Brooy on their recently published review article "CD4+ T cell differentiation and function: unifying glycolysis, fatty acid oxidation, polyamines NAD mitochondria." (Almeida et al. 2021, JACI). In this work, the scientists emphasize the importance of mitochondrial metabolism in T cell development, activation, and effector function, and how nutrient requirements can be adapted to specific tissue conditions. The authors discuss recent findings on the mitochondrion and how glycolysis, amino acid catabolism, and fatty acid oxidation interact together with the tricarboxylic acid cycle. Integration of these metabolic pathways generates not only energy but also intermediates that can regulate epigenetic programs, leading to changes in T cell phenotype. Therefore, this review also highlights key enzymes, accessory metabolic pathways, and post-translational protein modifications that regulate T cell function in particular ways and may represent potential targets for therapeutic purposes.

The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene warmly congratulates Ayesha Dhillon-LaBrooy for have being granted with the Dagmar Eißner Sponsorship Prize. The Dagmar Eißner Award, named after the former director of the Clinic and Polyclinic for Nuclear Medicine and first vice president of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Prof. Dr. Dagmar Eißner, is endowed with 3000 Euros and is awarded to young female scientists of the University Medicine Mainz under the age of 35 for outstanding scientific achievements. The prize is awarded for the paper "Ribosome-Targeting Antibiotics Impair T Cell Effector Function and Ameliorate Autoimmunity by Blocking Mitochondrial Protein Synthesis" published in Immunity (Almeida et al, 2021).

The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Lis Velasquez and her colleagues on their recently published review article "Dendritic cell metabolism: moving beyond in vitro culture-generated paradigms" (Minarrieta et al. 2020, Curr. Opin. Biotechnol.). The article discusses the important role of metabolism during dendritic cell activation and differentiation. The researchers provide an overview of current in vitro models for analyzing metabolic processes and discuss new techniques and models with higher physiological relevance.

„The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Luís Almeida and Ayesha Dhillon-LaBrooy on their recent publication in Immunity. Almeida et al. (2020) „Ribosome-targeting antibiotics impair T cell effector function and ameliorate autoimmunity by blocking mitochondrial protein synthesis“. The current study shows for the first time that the antibiotic Linezolid has strong immunosuppressive properties and effectively blocks the progression of T cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. In a model system for multiple sclerosis, termed "Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis" (EAE), antibiotic treatment inhibits the function of self-reactive T helper (Th) cells. By blocking mitochondrial translation, Linezolid progressively compromises the integrity of the electron transport chain and disrupts the redox balance in Th17 cells. As a result, these cells, known as the main drivers of EAE, become functionally impaired which explains why Linezolid protects against the disease. The current study demonstrates that mitochondrial translation is a fundamental driver of T cell pathology, and shows potential new therapeutic avenues to ameliorate T cell-driven autoimmune responses. The effect on the Th17 effector response may also explain the problem of fungal infections in patients after treatment with Linezolid as a previously unknown side effect. Since Linezolid serves as a reserve antibiotic, the microbial compound Argyrin C (ArgC), which uses similar mechanisms and shows strong immunosuppression without significant antibiotic activity, could be an alternative agent to control T-cell mediated autoimmune diseases.


The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene is going to cooperate with the Department of Anaesthesiology at Renji Hospital of the Medical Faculty of Shanghai Jiaotong University. The cooperation is financially supported by the Sino-German Mobility Program of the Chinese-German Center for Science Funding. The project, initiated by Prof. Peiying Li and Prof. Tim Sparwasser, investigates to what extent a dietary restriction can maintain the homeostasis of mitochondrial CD4+ T cells and reduce immunosuppressive mechanisms. The study focuses on the purine metabolism, whose regulatory influence on immunosuppression after stroke is to be deciphered. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene is looking forward to a successful collaboration.

With reference to the status of Prof. Sucharit Bhakdi (Kiel) as "Emeritus" of the Johannes Gutenberg University (JGU) we would like to point out that since the 1st of September 1978, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has not granted emeritus positions to its professors. Therefore, Prof. Bhakdi is a retired professor and was not granted membership rights to the JGU and its University Medical School upon his retirement. His views regarding the Covid-19 pandemic, which we consider misleading, if not wrong, are not in accordance with the views of the University Medical Centre Mainz and the Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene. Thus we distance ourselves on crucial points from the views held by Prof. Bhakdi. If further questions arise, we would thank you to contact the Corporate Communication Department at

The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates Guilhermina Carriche on her publication in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Carriche et al, J Allergy Clin Immunol. 2020, Regulating T-cell differentiation through the polyamine spermidine. The study showed that polyamines modulate CD4+ T-cell differentiation in vitro and promote the differentiation of CD4+ T-cells into a regulatory phenotype with anti-inflammatory properties. It has also been confirmed in a mouse model that supplementation with polyamines promotes immunological balance and reduces the pathology of inflammatory colitis.

Dr. rer. nat. Luciana Berod was appointed Professor for Immunomodulation at the University of Mainz on July 24th, 2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates her very warmly. Her research group, which is affiliated to the Institute of Molecular Medicine, will work closely with our institute, so we are looking forward to a good cooperation.

On July 22nd, 2020 we received a visit from the Argentinean ambassador, Mr. Pedro Villagra Delgado, who informed himself about the German-Argentinean activities of the IMMH in the field of research and teaching. We felt very honored about his visit.

Martin Dennebaum, M.D., was appointed as senior physician
on 01.04.2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.

Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was elected as member of the "Senate Committee on Internationalization" by the Senate of the Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz during its meeting in May 2020. The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly on this appointment.

We congratulate Panagiota Mamareli on her recent publication:  Mamareli et al. Mucosal Immunol. 2020. Targeting cellular fatty acid synthesis limits T helper and innate lymphoid cell function during intestinal inflammation and infection.

The study proposes pharmacological targeting of ACC1, a key enzyme that controls fatty acid synthesis (FAS) within cells, as an effective approach to minimize infection-mediated intestinal inflammation by interfering with the early expansion of pro-inflammatory Th1 and Th17 lymphocytes. Furthermore, her data gives an insight in the metabolic regulation of innate type 3 lymphocytes, which produce the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-22, revealing an important role of ACC1-mediated lipogenesis for their function. The findings of the study were published in the Journal of Mucosal Immunology.

On April 14, 2020, subproject 18 "Inhibition of tumor-associated regulatory T cells by microbial metabolites" under the direction of Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was approved within the framework of the SFB 1292 "Targeted influence of converging mechanisms of inefficient immunity in tumor diseases and chronic infections". The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.

Statement on videos of the retired professor of the IMMH circulating on the Internet:
Mr. Bhakdi retired in 2012. In Germany, there are numerous active, proven experts in infection epidemiology, such as at the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). As a citizen, Mr. Bhakdi has of course the right to express his own opinion. However, this opinion is in no way, and we attach great importance to this, coordinated with the University Medical Center Mainz.

Prof. Dr. med. Sparwasser was elected as German representative of the IUIS Council at the 17th International Congress of Immunology in Beijing, organized by the IUIS (International Umbrella Organization of Immunologists). The Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.

On 31.05.2019 the project B08N "Modulation of inflammatory skin disease by blocking metabolic checkpoints" under the leadership of Univ.-Prof. Dr. med. Tim Sparwasser was approved as part of the Collaborative Research Center Transregio 156 "The Skin as Sensor and Effector Organ Orchestrating Local and Systemic Immune Responses". The Medical Institute for Microbiology and Hygiene congratulates him warmly.