Beutenberg Campus/ Carl-Zeiss-Promenade

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

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

Our Immune System: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

How can our immune system recognize and protect us against yeast fungus Candida albicans and also be responsible for life threatening kidney diseases?

The most important task of our highly regulated immune system is the elimination of dangerous pathogens, but once the regulation fails the immune system can be responsible for severe diseases.

The yeast Candida albicans is an opportunistic pathogen that normally lives in our gut as part of our microbiome. In certain circumstances, however, the fungus may invade other tissues and cause mild but also lethal infections. In these processes it is crucial that Candida is detected early by immune cells.

The overactivation of the complement cascade, part of our innate immune system, is the cause of several kidney diseases that lead to kidney failure and ultimately to death. Nowadays, the available therapy involves kidney transplant or complement inhibitors, which are complicated processes and often unsuccessful.

With the help of cultured human cells and state-of-the-art microscopy we are able to recreate physiological mechanisms in our laboratory that allows us to study the different functions of our immune system.

Don’t be shy and join us into this journey behind the defense system of the human body!

Image (c) copyright: HKI/Andrea Hartmann
HKI_Our immune system

Our Immune System: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

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