I am interested in the molecular basis and mechanisms of cellular communication. My doctoral thesis focused on bacterial metabolites produced by the intestinal microbiota and their importance for human health. Although the producing species behave usually as commensals the symbiosis between the human host and the microbes can be severely perturbed e.g. following antibiotic therapy. I investigated the mechanisms of metabolite signalling by previous unsuspected commensals causing antibiotic-associated haemorrhagic colitis (AAHC).
Currently, I am expanding my research towards G protein-coupled receptor signalling. G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) are the largest and most diverse group of membrane receptors in eukaryotes. GPCRs regulate an incredible range of bodily functions, from sensation to growth to hormone responses. Humans alone have nearly 1,000 different GPCRs, and each one is highly specific to a particular signal. For some orphan GPCRs, however, ligands and signalling function remain unknown. I am studying the signalling mechanisms of orphan GPCRs that have been identified as risk genes for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and the associated disorders - primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) and ankylosing spondylitis. Understanding those GPCRs’ function and involvement in disease will help to develop specific manipulation strategies.
- Wewalka Prize (ÖGGH – Austrian Society of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 2015
- Scientia Fellowship (FP7 Marie Curie Actions - COFUND) 2015
- United European Gastroenterology (UEG) Top Abstract Award 2013
- Scholarship of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Graz 2010
- Dr. Heinrich Jörg Scholarship, University of Graz 2010
- Publications: Schneditz G, Rentner J, Roier S, Pletz J, Herzog KA, Bücker R, Troeger H, Schild S, Weber H, Breinbauer R, Gorkiewicz G, Högenauer C, Zechner EL. Enterotoxicity of a nonribosomal peptide causes antibiotic-associated colitis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 9;111(36):13181-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1403274111. Epub 2014 Aug 25.
- Herzog KA, Schneditz G, Leitner E, Feierl G, Hoffmann KM, Zollner-Schwetz I, Krause R, Gorkiewicz G, Zechner EL, Högenauer C. Genotypes of Klebsiella oxytoca isolates from patients with nosocomial pneumonia are distinct from those of isolates from patients with antibiotic-associated hemorrhagic colitis. J Clin Microbiol. 2014 May;52(5):1607-16. doi: 10.1128/JCM.03373-13. Epub 2014 Mar 5.
- Zollner-Schwetz I, Herzog KA, Feierl G, Leitner E, Schneditz G, Sprenger H, Prattes J, Petritsch W, Wenzl H, Kump P, Gorkiewicz G, Zechner EL, Högenauer C. The Toxin-producing Pathobiont Klebsiella oxytoca is not associated with Flares of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Dig Dis Sci. 2015 Jun 20.