The HPI lab is a research team led by Alain Roussel. It aims at understanding and analyzing the interactions of pathogens with their host, leading to its infection and possible destruction. Its targets of interest are diverse and include (i) bacteriophages, (ii) type 6 and type 9 secretion systems, and (iii) the host immune response with a particular focus on the role of antibodies.
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Understanding host-pathogen interactions is at the heart of the fight against pathogens involved in infectious diseases (viruses, bacteria).
For about ten years, we have been studying the structure and adhesion mechanism of bacteriophages (viruses infecting bacteria) infecting the bacterium used in the milk industry, Lactococcus lactis. We have determined the structures of several phage virions by electron microscopy, and that of the anti-receptors or baseplate (sets of 1-2 Mda), eventually complexed to their receptor, by X-ray diffraction. Still in the field of virology, we have recently launched a project on the human hepatitis E virus (HEV).
Photo credit: Jean-Marie Huron