Institute of Microbiology

Student: Expression of Salmonella typhimurium virulence factors during the infection

Group: Hardt
Position: Semesterarbeit / Diplomarbeit
Contact: Prof. Dr. Wolf Dietrich Hardt
Institute of Microbiology
Wolfgang-Pauli-Str. 10
HCI G 417
ETH Zürich
CH-8093 Zürich

Phone: +41(0)44 632 5143
Description: Salmonella typhimurium is one of the leading causes of bacterial food poisoning. The infection requires a large array of different virulence factors (Toxins, components of the Type III secretion apparatus etc.). The expression of these virulence factors must be tightly regulated in order to ensure that the right set of virulence factors is expressed at the appropriate stage of the disease.
The project is going to analyze the expression of several different virulence factors, including the SPI-1 Type III secretion system and several key SPI-1 effector proteins (i.e. SopE (Buchwald et al., 2002; Hardt et al., 1998)). To measure gene expression the student will use reporter gene techniques (GFP and luciferase), Western Blot, Immunofluorescence microscopy as well as real time RT-PCR. Gene expression will be analyzed in vitro, using tissue culture infection models and (in collaboration with a PhD student) in a new animal model (Barthel et al., 2003).


  • Barthel, M., S. Hapfelmeier, L. Quintanilla-Martinez, M. Kremer, M. Rohde, M. Hogardt, K. Pfeffer, H. Russmann, and W. D. Hardt. 2003. Pretreatment of Mice with Streptomycin Provides a Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Colitis Model That Allows Analysis of Both Pathogen and Host. Infect Immun 71:2839-2858.
  • Buchwald, G., A. Friebel, J. E. Galan, W. D. Hardt, A. Wittinghofer, and K. Scheffzek. 2002. Structural basis for the reversible activation of a Rho protein by the bacterial toxin SopE. Embo J 21:3286-95.
  • Hardt, W. D., L. M. Chen, K. E. Schuebel, X. R. Bustelo, and J. E. Galan. 1998. S. typhimurium encodes an activator of Rho GTPases that induces membrane ruffling and nuclear responses in host cells. Cell 93:815-26.
Time frame:
as agreed

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