AG Zimmermann

  • Albert Zimmermann
  • Anja Voges

Research focus

Cytomegaloviruses (CMV) are of great medical importance as pathogens in immunodeficient patients and prenatally infected newborns. When dealing with their host, herpes viruses and especially CMV pursue a strategy of slow, efficient replication with only minor damage to the otherwise healthy host organism. After primary infection, the host remains infected for life. This has led to an evolutionary race between antiviral mechanisms of the immune system and proviral mechanisms of CMV that subvert the immune system.

An essential strategy for the identification of CMV genes that interfere with the immune response is the production of recombinant viruses using bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) and their phenotypic analysis. Based on the cloning of complete CMV genomes as bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) in E. coli, we produce mutants of the human and murine cytomegalovirus in E. coli by homologous recombination. Through functional analyzes of virus mutants, specific virus properties are traced back to defined genes (“functional genomics”).


Jaguva Vasudevan AA, Bähr A, Grothmann R, Singer A, Häussinger D, Zimmermann A*, Münk C. MXB inhibits murine cytomegalovirus. Virology. 2018 Sep;522:158-167. *corresponding author

Zimmermann A, Hauka S, Maywald M, Le VT, Schmidt SK, Däubener W, Hengel H. Checks and balances between human cytomegalovirus replication and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase. J Gen Virol. 2014 Mar;95(Pt 3):659-70.

Trilling M, Le VT, Fiedler M, Zimmermann A, Bleifuss E, Hengel H. Identification of DNA-damage DNA-binding protein 1 as a conditional essential factor for cytomegalovirus replication in interferon-?-stimulated cells. PLoS Pathog. 2011 Jun;7(6):e1002069.

Trilling M, Le VT, Zimmermann A, Ludwig H, Pfeffer K, Sutter G, Smith GL, Hengel H. Gamma interferon-induced interferon regulatory factor 1-dependent antiviral response inhibits vaccinia virus replication in mouse but not human fibroblasts. J Virol. 2009;83(8):3684-95.

Zimmermann A, Trilling M, Wagner M, Wilborn M, Bubic I, Jonjic S, Koszinowski U, Hengel H. A cytomegaloviral protein reveals a dual role for STAT2 in IFN-{gamma} signaling and antiviral responses. J Exp Med. 2005 May 16;201(10):1543-53.

Zimmermann A and Hengel H (2005) Cytomegalovirus interference with Interferons. In: Cytomegalovirus: Molecular Biology and Immunology. M.J.Reddehase. (eds) Caister Academic Press,  321-329 (Review)

Borst EM, Hahn G, Koszinowski UH, Messerle M. Cloning of the human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) genome as an infectious bacterial artificial chromosome in Escherichia coli: a new approach for construction of HCMV mutants. J Virol. 1999 Oct;73(10):8320-9.

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