Beutenberg Campus/ Carl-Zeiss-Promenade

Leibniz-Institut für Naturstoff-Forschung und Infektionsbiologie – Hans-Knöll-Institut –

Ort: Leibniz-HKI Foyer, Building A1 , Beutenbergstr. 11a

Mold against human: the immune system decides

Molds are the big waste recycling machines in nature. Why do some of them cause allergies or severe diseases?

Molds are indispensable in nature. In forest soil, in the compost and also in the soil of our indoor plants they recycle and live off organic material. But what enables these fungi to cause allergies and severe diseases in humans?

Without noticing we breathe in hundreds of microscopically small mold spores every day when working in the garden or walking through the forest. Our immune system recognizes the strangers and removes them immediately. However, if we expose our body to a very high number of spores or our immune systems weakens, we may get an allergy or even a severe infections. Respiratory diseases are the focus of our center because the fungal spores are inhaled by humans.

By using bred human cells of the lung and the immune system we create model systems to replicate and simulate the interactions between the pathogen and human.  We can make this interaction visible by using high-resolution confocal laser scanning microscopy.

We show you the mechanisms with which the fungal spores can resist the immune system and which defense strategies our immune system has developed against fungal infections.

Image (c) copyright: HKI/Marie Röcker
HKI_Mold against human

Mold against human: the immune system decides

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