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Prof. Dr. Klaus T. Preissner

Prof. em. Dr. Klaus T. Preissner (Senior Scientist) am KHFI

Tel.: 06032-99-42242

Main areas of research: 

Cellular and molecular communications in the vascular system in relation to innate immunity and inflammation

  • The role of matrix proteins, adhesion receptors and protease systems in mechanisms of angiogenesis, atherogenesis and vascular remodeling
  • New adhesion receptors for recruitment and transmigration/invasion of leukocytes in inflammation
  • Mechanism of tumor-necrosis-factor-α shedding by ADAM17 and extracellular RNA 

Mechanisms in innate immunity and body defense with particular emphasis on haemostasis and wound healing

  • Role of extracellular RNA and DNA (including “Neutrophil Extracellular Traps”, NETs) in cardiovascular and neurological diseases as biomarkers and pathogenicity factors
  • Role of DAMPs and PAMPs in inflammatory reactions related to tissue and vessel regeneration
  • New intervention strategies in cardiovascular diseases using RNase and DNase 

Mechanisms of bacterial invasion and anti-adhesive strategies for anti-microbial therapies

  • Wound healing mechanisms and bacterial infection in vertebrates and insects
  • Bacterial adhesion, invasion and evasion strategies with special emphasis on S. aureus “Extracellular adherence protein” (Eap)


Research Themes:


The scientific interest and the active research of the group are concerned with the contribution of innate immunity processes in host-pathogen interactions, inflammation, wound healing and thrombosis, particularly dedicated to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. In this context, the as yet unrecognized role of self-extracellular nucleic acids as alarm signals and pathogenicity factors in cardiovascular and neurological disease is a major part of our work, documented by many recent publications, particularly achieved by multiple collaborations with different international laboratories.

A major part of our current work concentrates on the role of “Danger-associated molecular patterns” (DAMPs) such as endogenous extracellular nucleic acids as alarm signals in situations of microbe-host interactions or in diseases of the vascular, cardiopulmonary or neurological systems. To this end, during the last 20 years our group has made seminal discoveries with respective publications to show that self-extracellular RNA serves as a potent damaging factor in e.g. thrombosis, tissue edema, cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury or tumor progression and that RNase1 administration in related animal models is successful as a novel therapeutic intervention in such pathological situations. Likewise, together with cooperation partners in Munich and elsewhere, extracellular DNA/histone complexes (released from neutrophils as bacteria-killing “neutrophil extracellular traps”, NETs) have been shown to be principal intravascular inducers of arterial as well as venous thrombosis or the fibrotic transformation of special thrombi. Together, these novel concepts have had a major impact on our mechanistic understanding of cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases as well as for the use of potentially novel drugs such as RNase1 or DNase.

Previously, our work was concerned with new regulatory mechanisms of blood coagulation and thrombosis at the vessel wall and particularly with the diverse properties of vitronectin, a multifunctional adhesive and regulatory protein in vascular biology. Here, several discoveries, concerned with the scaffolding functions of vitronectin as matricellular protein and its receptors (integrins and non-integrins such as the urokinase receptor), were made, particularly related to inflammation, angiogenesis, and the regulation of vascular remodeling processes.

We further described new adhesion receptors (such as JAM-3 or RAGE) in the context of cell-to-cell communication in inflammatory reactions as being responsible for seminal reactions of the leukocyte recruitment process in innate immunity. Our research on a specific adherence protein of Staphylococcus aureus, designated “Extracellular adherence protein” (Eap), which presents strong anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic functions, has gained insights into bacteria-protective/evasion properties of this factor. Moreover, Eap has successfully been used as a novel anti-inflammatory approach in diverse animal models for therapeutic intervention in wound healing, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis or tumor metastasis. 

Previous Research Activities:


Regulation of thrombin function at the vascular endothelium, influence of thrombomodulin, serpins and proteoglycans


Structure-function relationships of vitronectin and its receptors, humoral and cellular activities of the matricellular protein

since 1997

Bacteria-host interactions, bacterial adhesion and evasion strategies in infection


Plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1) and its interactions with cells and proteins, role of PAI-1 in cell motility and cell functions


Functions of urokinase receptor as coordinator of cell adhesion and pericellular proteolysis, regulation of ß2-integrin-dependent leukocyte functions


Mechanisms of pathological angiogenesis, diabetic retinopathy (coop Diabetology)


Mechanisms of high-molecular-weight-kininogen as anti-adhesive and anti-inflammatory protein


Structure and function of Factor VII-activating protease (FSAP)

since 2002

Anti-inflammatory and anti-angiogenic mechanisms of “Extracellular adherence protein” (Eap) from Staphylococcus aureus (coop Medical Microbiology)


Discovery and functions of new cell adhesion receptors (JAM-3, RAGE), role in inflammation and thrombosis (coop Transfusion Medicine)


New RNA-binding autoantigens in neurological disorders (coop Neurology)


Vascular stem cells and mechanisms of placenta formation (coop Gynecology)

since 2002

New induction processes in haemostasis and blood coagulation, mechanisms of "Intra-vascular Tissue Factor Pathway"

since 2002

Extracellular RNA as endogenous alarm signal in body defense and cardio-vascular diseases

since 2005

Inflammatory and degenerative mechanisms in lung diseases, cellular activities of intrinsic coagulation in lung fibrosis (coop Pulmonology)

since 2006

“Neutrophil extracellular traps” (NET) in arterial and venous thrombosis and vascular diseases; cytotoxicity of histones