Institute for Medical Virology and Epidemiology of Viral Diseases


Address: Elfriede-Aulhorn-Str. 6
72076 Tübingen

Phone number: +49 7071 29-80247

Fax number: 07071 29-5790

E-mail address: sekretariat.​iftner@​med.​uni-​tuebingen.​de

Research Section Molecular Virology

Welcome to the homepage of the research section Molecular Virology, headed by Prof. Dr. Michael Schindler. Our research interests are viral immune evasion mechanisms and cell biology of chronic and emerging infections such as HIV, HCMV, Flavi- and Filoviruses. We have extensive knowledge in BSL-3 live cell imaging of viral infections and established novel methods to detect protein-protein interactions in living cells.

A major effort of the lab is to clarify the causes and consequences of HIV induced generalized immune activation. HIV-1 can infect resting T cells but needs to drive cellular activation for efficient viral gene expression and thus completion of the viral life cycle. Hence, a concept of HIV/AIDS pathogenesis is that this immune activation results in increased T cell hyperproliferation and turnover. Ultimately, continuous T cell death leads to an exhaustion of the regenerative capacity of the immune system, loss of total T cell numbers and therefore AIDS. We analyze the mechanisms by which HIV proteins induce unspecific immune activation and thereby generate a cellular environment promoting viral replication. On the other hand, we investigate how the virus manages to evade the specific antiviral innate and adaptive immune response of the host and counteracts cellular restriction factors.

Another cell biology focused project is the release route of Hepatitis C Virus. Viruses hijack cellular pathways in order to produce infectious viral progeny. Elusive up to now, we have shown that HCV is not released via classical Golgi-mediated secretion. In contrast, HCV bypasses this cellular organelle and uses a pathway directly from the endoplasmic reticulum to the plasma membrane. This exciting results point towards the possible existence of a not yet described cellular secretion route, which could represent a seminal cell biological finding. We aim to identify host cell factors involved in this pathway and use HCV as a molecular tool.

Our basic research converges with therapeutic applications and culminated in the initiation of various projects with the aim to develop and establish novel antivirals. Examples are targeting of HIV-1 infected cells by immunotherapeutic antibodies, a small compound with a broad antiviral activity against Flaviviruses, small-peptide inhibitors of herpesvirus entry, as well as the potential utilization of virosomes as vaccines.


Head of the Research Section{element.contextual_1.children.icon}: Prof. Dr. Michael Schindler

More about the Person{element.contextual_1.children.icon}: +49 7071 29-87459{element.contextual_1.children.icon}: +49 7071 29-25193

E-mail address:{element.contextual_1.children.icon}: We are always interested in collaborations; offer Master/Bachelor, MD as well as PhD-theses in various interdisciplinary projects. For further information contact Michael Schindler via mail or phone.{element.contextual_1.children.icon}: Postdoc/PhD-student positions available:
Development of broadly acting antivirals targeting conserved host cell mechanisms and viral structures.

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Highlight publications of the section

  • Businger R, Deutschmann J, Gruska I, Milbradt J, Wiebusch L, Gramberg T, Schindler M.(2019) Human cytomegalovirus overcomes SAMHD1 restriction in macrophages via pUL97. Nat Microbiol. 2019 Sep 23. doi: 10.1038/s41564-019-0557-8.
  • Nehls J, Businger R, Hoffmann M, Brinkmann C, Fehrenbacher B, Schaller M, Maurer B, Schönfeld C, Kramer D, Hailfinger S, Pöhlmann S, Schindler M. (2019) Release of Immunomodulatory Ebola Virus Glycoprotein-Containing Microvesicles is Suppressed by Tetherin in a Species-Specific Manner. Cell Reports 26, 1-13 Feb 12, 2019.
  • Bayer K, Banning C, Bruss V, Wiltzer-Bach L, Schindler M. (2016) Hepatitis C virus is released via a non-canonical secretory route. J Virol. 2016 Sep 14. pii: JVI.01615-16.
  • Hagen N, Bayer K, Rösch K, Schindler M. (2014) The intraviral protein interaction network of hepatitis C virus. Mol Cell Proteomics. 2014 Jul;13(7):1676-89
  • Koppensteiner H, Banning C, Schneider C, Hohenberg H, Schindler M. (2012) Macrophage Internal HIV-1 Is Protected from Neutralizing Antibodies. J Virol. 2012 Mar;86(5):2826.

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