Dieter M. Schifferli, Dr. med. vet., Ph. D.

faculty photo
Professor of Microbiology
Department: Microbiology
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Rosenthal Building 406
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6049
Office: 215 898-1695
Fax: 215 898-7887
Lab: 215-898-4423
Matura (Science)
College Calvin, Geneva, Switzerland, 1972.
DVM (Veterinary Medicine)
University of Bern, Switzerland, 1977.
Dr Med Vet (Veterinary Microbiology)
University of Bern, Switzerland, 1979.
PhD (Microbiology and Immunology)
University of Tennessee: Memphis, 1990.
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Description of Research Expertise

Research Interests
- Bacterial pathogenesis
- Bacterial adhesion
- Salmonella and Escherichia coli fimbriae
- Salmonella and adhesin vaccines
- Yersinia pestis and pneumonic plague

Key words: Yersinia pestis, Salmonella, Escherichia coli, fimbriae, adhesion, plague.

Description of Research
The long-term goal of this laboratory is to understand how bacterial pathogens initiate their infectious process. Our research is directed towards bacterial ligands that bind to specific host receptors and mediate bacterial colonization, host cell signaling, and/or optimal toxin delivery. A better understanding of the structure and function of the microbial ligands and host receptors will help to design new prophylactic and therapeutic approaches against bacterial pathogens. Studies in this laboratory are focused on Yersinia pestis, Escherichia coli and Salmonella ligands. Although Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of plague is best known to be transmitted by fleas to cause bubonic plague, it can also be inhaled, triggering the more contagious and lethal pneumonic plague. There is currently no protective vaccine against pneumonic plague and we are studying the structure and function of putative adhesins, as well as their immunogenic and protective properties for the development of a multi-subunit vaccine. Recently, we became interested in the use of next generation sequencing methods to screen for the distribution of virulence factors and virulence factor alleles in large collections of Salmonella isolates. We are looking for associations of specific virulence factor alleles with the strain origins, pathotypes, and the presence of antibiotic resistance genes, antibiotypes. Detected associations are then being studied for biological relevance.

The 987P-like CS18 fimbriae of human enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli ON phase variants. Fimbrial expression is regulated by CS18-specific DNA recombinases catalizing the inversion of a promoter-containing DNA segment. (Molecular Microbiology, Volume 48, Number 1, 2003, cover illustration)

Rotation Projects for 2013-2014
1. Switching virulence factor SNPs between Salmonella strains and functional assays.
2. Studies of new secretion systems of Y. pestis

Lab personnel:
Min Yue, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow -
Leon de Masi, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow -
Xiangan Han, Ph.D., visiting scholar (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Shanghai, China) -
Chunhong Zhu, Ph.D., visiting scholar (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yangzhou, Jiangsu, China)

Selected Publications

Yue M, Han X, Masi LD, Zhu C, Ma X, Zhang J, Wu R, Schmieder R, Kaushik RS, Fraser GP, Zhao S, McDermott PF, Weill FX, Mainil JG, Arze C, Fricke WF, Edwards RA, Brisson D, Zhang NR, Rankin SC, Schifferli DM: Allelic variation contributes to bacterial host specificity. Nature communications 6: 8754, Oct 2015.

Zhu C, Yue M, Rankin S, Weill FX, Frey J, Schifferli DM: One-step identification of five prominent chicken Salmonella serovars and biotypes. Journal of clinical microbiology 53: 3881-3, Sep 2015.

Nair Manoj K M, De Masi Leon, Yue Min, Galván Estela M, Chen Huaiqing, Wang Fang, Schifferli Dieter M: The adhesive properties of YapV and paralogous autotransporter proteins of Yersinia pestis. Infection and immunity 83(5): 1809-19, Feb 2015.

Zhang Junjie, De Masi Leon, John Beena, Chen Wenxin, Schifferli Dieter M: Improved delivery of the OVA-CD4 peptide to T helper cells by polymeric surface display on Salmonella. Microbial cell factories 13(1): 80, Jun 2014.

Yue Min, Schifferli Dieter M: Allelic variation in Salmonella: an underappreciated driver of adaptation and virulence. Frontiers in microbiology 4: 419, Jan 2014.

Bao, R., Nair, M. K., Tang, W. K., Esser, L., Sadhukhan, A., Holland, R. L., Xia, D., Schifferli, D. M.: Structural basis for the specific recognition of dual receptors by the homopolymeric pH 6 antigen (Psa) fimbriae of Yersinia pestis. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 110(3): 1065-70, Jan 2013.

Yue Min, Schmieder Robert, Edwards Robert A, Rankin Shelley C, Schifferli Dieter M: Microfluidic PCR Combined with Pyrosequencing for Identification of Allelic Variants with Phenotypic Associations among Targeted Salmonella Genes. Applied and environmental microbiology 78(20): 7480-2, Oct 2012.

Yue Min, Rankin Shelley C, Blanchet Ryan T, Nulton James D, Edwards Robert A, Schifferli Dieter M: Diversification of the Salmonella fimbriae: a model of macro- and microevolution. PloS one 7(6): e38596, 2012.

Guo, A., S. Cao, L. Tu, P. Chen, C. Zhang, A. Jia, W. Yang, Z. Liu, H. Chen, and D.M. Schifferli. : FimH alleles direct preferential binding of Salmonella to distinct mammalian cells or to avian cells. Microbiology 155(Pt 5): 1623-33, May 2009.

Liu, Fengzhi. Chen, Huaiqing. Galvan, Estela M. Lasaro, Melissa A. Schifferli, Dieter M.: Effects of Psa and F1 on the adhesive and invasive interactions of Yersinia pestis with human respiratory tract epithelial cells. Infection & Immunity 74(10): 5636-44, Oct 2006.

Zhu, Guoqiang. Chen, Huaiqing. Choi, Byung-Kwon. Del Piero, Fabio. Schifferli, Dieter M.: Histone H1 proteins act as receptors for the 987P fimbriae of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli. Journal of Biological Chemistry 280(24): 23057-65, Jun 17 2005.

Schifferli, D. M. : Adhesins of enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli strains that infect animals. EcoSal-Escherichia coli and Salmonella. Cellular and Molecular Biology, ASM Press, Washington, D.C. 2005.

Galván EM, Nair MK, Chen H, Del Piero F, Schifferli DM.: Biosafety level 2 model of pneumonic plague and protection studies with F1 and Psa. Infect. Immun. 78(8): 3443-53, Aug 2010.

Bao Rui, Esser Lothar, Sadhukhan Annapurna, Nair Manoj K M, Schifferli Dieter M, Xia Di: Crystallization and preliminary X-ray diffraction analysis of PsaA, the adhesive pilin subunit that forms the pH 6 antigen on the surface of Yersinia pestis. Acta crystallographica. Section F, Structural biology and crystallization communications 68(Pt 10): 1243-1246, Oct 2012.

Bartra Sara Schesser, Gong Xin, Lorica Cherish D, Jain Chaitanya, Nair Manoj K M, Schifferli Dieter, Qian Lianfen, Li Zhongwei, Plano Gregory V, Schesser Kurt: The outer membrane protein A (OmpA) of Yersinia pestis promotes intracellular survival and virulence in mice. Microbial pathogenesis 52(1): 41-6, Jan 2012.

Guo Jitao, Nair Manoj K M, Galván Estela M, Liu Shu-Lin, Schifferli Dieter M: Tn5AraOut mutagenesis for the identification of Yersinia pestis genes involved in resistance towards cationic antimicrobial peptides. Microbial pathogenesis 51(3): 121-32, Sep 2011.

Zhu Liqian, Ding Xiuyan, Zhu Xiaofang, Meng Songshu, Wang Jianye, Zhou Hong, Duan Qiangde, Tao Jie, Schifferli Dieter M, Zhu Guoqiang: Biphasic activation of PI3K/Akt and MAPK/Erk1/2 signaling pathways in bovine herpesvirus type 1 infection of MDBK cells. Veterinary research 42(1): 57, Jan-Feb 2011.

O'Keefe Alexandra, Hutton Tabitha A, Schifferli Dieter M, Rankin Shelley C: First detection of CTX-M and SHV extended-spectrum beta-lactamases in Escherichia coli urinary tract isolates from dogs and cats in the United States. Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 54(8): 3489-92, Aug 2010.

Galván Estela M, Lasaro Melissa A S, Schifferli Dieter M: Capsular antigen fraction 1 and Pla modulate the susceptibility of Yersinia pestis to pulmonary antimicrobial peptides such as cathelicidin. Infection and immunity 76(4): 1456-64, Apr 2008.

Guo Aizhen, Lasaro Melissa A, Sirard Jean-Claude, Kraehenbühl Jean-Pierre, Schifferli Dieter M: Adhesin-dependent binding and uptake of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium by dendritic cells. Microbiology (Reading, England) 153(Pt 4): 1059-69, Apr 2007.

Galván Estela M, Chen Huaiqing, Schifferli Dieter M: The Psa fimbriae of Yersinia pestis interact with phosphatidylcholine on alveolar epithelial cells and pulmonary surfactant. Infection and immunity 75(3): 1272-9, Mar 2007.

Chen Huaiqing, Schifferli Dieter M: Comparison of a fimbrial versus an autotransporter display system for viral epitopes on an attenuated Salmonella vaccine vector. Vaccine 25(9): 1626-33, Feb 2007.

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Last updated: 07/26/2022
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