C2: Bartonella bacilliformis pathogenicity factors as diagnostic and therapeutic targets

Principal Investigator:

Prof. Dr. Volkhard A. J. Kempf

Universitätsklinikum Frankfurt
Institut für Medizinische Mikrobiologie
und Krankenhaushygiene
Goethe-Universität Frankfurt/Main
Paul-Ehrlich-Str. 40
60596 Frankfurt/Main
Tel.: +49 (0)69-6301 5019
Fax: +49 (0)69-6301 83431
E-Mail: volkhard.kempf(at)kgu(dot)de

Project description

Bartonella bacilliformis is the causative agent of Carrións disease, a vector borne illness restricted to the South American Andes. The bacteria cause severe hemolytic fever with high fatality rates. The inhibition of hemolysis represents a promising therapeutic approach. Two pathogenicity factors play a crucial role in hemolysis of which at least one represents a promising drug target. Humans are the only known reservoir host for B. bacilliformis and represent the source of new outbreaks. It is therefore of particular importance for disease control to identify asymptomatic carriers. For this, an alpha version of a B. bacilliformis IgG ELISA and line blot were developed.

Scanning electron microscopy of infected human erythrocytes with B. bacilliformis.

B. bacilliformis NovaLisa® KIT.

Scientific goal:

The project aims to analyze the role of the two pathogenicity factors in the process of hemolysis to develop a novel, anti-virulence-based therapeutic strategy. Furthermore, the alpha version of the B. bacilliformis IgG ELISA and line blot will be evaluated in field studies in cooperation with our partners from Lima/Peru.


DRUID Collaboration partners:

A7 Przyborski lab, C1 Bender / Hildt, E7 Locker lab, Gold Standard Diagnostics (formerly NovaTec)

References C2: [1] Garcia-Quintanilla et al. (2019) Parasites&Vectors 12(1):141, [2] Riess et al. (2004) J Exp Med 200:1267-78, [3] Dichter et al. (2019) Microbiology Res Announc, DOI: 10.1128/MRA.01377-19, [4] Dichter et al. (2021) Lancet Microbe 2:e685–94.