Investigation of the commensal mycobiota in the murine genital tract – genetic, hormonal and environmental impact on the murine vaginal mycobiome

Doctoral Researcher

Background and current state of research

Speaker of the project group is Celeste Scholz.

In 2020, doctoral researchers from at least two or more RTG projects working in different disciplines could apply for extra funding for a small interdiciplinary project within the RTG.

The aim of this offer is

  • to enhance the scientific collaboration within the RTG,
  • to widen interdisciplinary skills of the doctoral researchers and
  • to provide the doctoral researchers the opportunity to practice
    • writing a proposal,
    • working as a team,
    • coordinating a small own research project (one of the junior researchers helds the position of the project leader).

Four proposals have been submitted and reviewed by two external reviewers and two members of the supervisory board. The results were pretty clear, all of the proposals received good scores. However, there were two first places and two second places. Both 1st and 2nd winners were close from the score. Therefore, the overall funding budget was devided between the four groups giving all of them the chance to make this experience.

Under the header "Our goals" you find more information about this mini-proposal.

Our goals

Infections with Chlamydia trachomatis are the most frequently sexually transmitted bacterial infections in humans worldwide and can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy or infertility. More than 100 million new infections are recorded annually. We established a chlamydial infection model of the murine genital tract with C. muridarum showing the expression of characteristic organ manifestations. In our previous studies, we were able to show that the vaginal bacteriome changes significantly when the sex hormone progesterone is administered and simultaneously the susceptibility to chlamydia increases. Our bacteriome data indicate that there are influences on the host's immune response to chlamydial infections and chronic inflammation. In a further project we are examining if there are differences in the vaginal bacteriome of wild type and HIF 1 α-/- mice. In the herein proposed project, we aim to decipher the murine vaginal mycobiome of both mouse strains in order to determine possible in the vaginal mycobiome differences, and if those are impacting chlamydial infections. For this reason, we will contrast the vaginal commensal mycobiota in wild type and HIF1α ko mice, as well as investigate the hormonal impact on them vaginal commensal mycobiota. In addition, we will examine whether the fungal composition correlates with inflammatory tissue reaction in the uterus or local immune responses and if there are differences in the occurrence of mycobiota in HIF-1α-/- and C57-BL/6 mice.

Project leader: Celeste Scholz

Project budget: 15.000 €

Running time: April - December 2020