Prof. Dr. Martin Messerle participates in RESIST research projects D1 and D2.

My Research Interest in RESIST

Our aim is to understand the genome encapsidation protein network of human cytomegalovirus (CMV), which could be the target of urgently needed novel drugs against CMV. In previous work we have characterized several viral proteins that are key in this process, for instance the third subunit of the CMV terminase and the putative capsid vertex specific components.  

Our further studies will build on the analysis of CMV mutants, using the BAC mutagenesis technique and a newly established highly efficient transfection technique (adenofection) that allows us to directly analyse cells transfected with mutant CMV genomes. In collaboration with the Grünewald, Krey and Sodeik groups we aim at a comparative and comprehensive characterization of capsid and virion assembly across the herpesviral subfamilies, including structure determination of key encapsidation proteins and analysis of the genome packaging by state-of-the-art fluorescence and cryo-electron microscopy techniques.

Prof. Messerle about his scientific work

Prof. Dr. Martin Messerle – Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

  • Since 2005  Professor of Molecular Virology (W2), Institute of Virology, MHH

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Training

  • 1980 – 1986 University of Tübingen, Studies of Biology

  • 1986 Diploma Biology (University of Tübingen)

  • 1990 Promotion Dr. rer. nat. (University of Tübingen; Supervisor: Prof. Dr. med. U. Koszinowski)

  • 2003 Habilitation (Ludwig Maximilians University Munich)

Academic and Research Posts

  • 1986 – 1988 Research Assistant, Research Center for Virus Disease of Animals, Tübingen 

  • 1988 – 1990 Research Assistant, Institute of Virology, University of Ulm 

  • 1991 – 1992 Postdoctoral Fellow, Institute of Virology, University of Ulm 

  • 1993 – 1994 Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Medicine I, University Clinics Freiburg

  • 1995 – 1996 Group leader, Institute of Virology, University of Heidelberg 

  • 1997 Guest Scientist, Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA

  • 1996 – 2001 Group leader, Max von Pettenkofer-Institute, Genzentrum, Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich

  • 2001 – 2004 Head of Virus-Cell-Interaction Group, Medical Faculty, University of Halle-Wittenberg

  • Since 2005 Professor for Molecular Virology (W2), Institute of Virology, MHH

Awards and Prizes

  • 1999 Löffler-Frosch-Award of the German Society of Virology

  • 2004 Robert-Koch-Award of the City of Clausthal-Zellerfeld

Recommended Links

For further information about Prof. Messerle’s scientific work please check the following links:

10 Selected Publications (of > 119 original publications)

Hammer Q, Rückert T, Borst EM, Dunst J, Haubner A, Durek P, Heinrich F, Gasparoni G, Babic M, Tomic A, Pietra G, Nienen M, Blau IW, Hofmann J, Na IK, Prinz I, Koenecke C, Hemmati P, Babel N, Arnold R, Walter J, Thurley K, Mashreghi MF, Messerle M, Romagnani C. Peptide-specific recognition of human cytomegalovirus strains controls adaptive natural killer cells. Nat Immunol. 2018; 19:453-463. doi: 10.1038/s41590-018-0082-6. 

Neuber S, Wagner K, Goldner T, Lischka P, Steinbrueck L, Messerle M, Borst EM. Mutual Interplay between the Human Cytomegalovirus Terminase Subunits pUL51, pUL56, and pUL89 Promotes Terminase Complex Formation. J Virol. 2017; 91: e02384-16. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02384-16.

Thiel N, Keyser KA, Lemmermann NA, Oduro JD, Wagner K, Elsner C, Halenius A, Lenac Roviš T, Brinkmann MM, Jonjić S, Cicin-Sain L, Messerle M. The mouse cytomegalovirus gene m42 targets surface expression of the protein tyrosine phosphatase CD45 in infected macrophages. PLoS Pathog. 2016; 12:e1006057. doi: 10.1371/ journal.ppat.1006057.

Tomić A, Varanasi PR, Golemac M, Malić S, Riese P, Borst EM, Mischak-Weissinger E, Guzmán CA, Krmpotić A, Jonjić S*, Messerle M*. (2016). Activation of innate and adaptive immunity by a recombinant human cytomegalovirus strain expressing an NKG2D ligand. PLoS Pathog. 2016; 12:e1006015. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1006015. *joint senior authors.

Borst EM, Bauerfeind R, Binz A, Stephan TM, Neuber S, Wagner K, Steinbrück L, Sodeik B, Lenac Roviš T, Jonjić S, Messerle M. The essential human cytomegalovirus proteins pUL77 and pUL93 are structural components necessary for viral genome encapsidation. J Virol. 2016; 90:5860-75. doi:10.1128/JVI.00384-16.

Halle S, Keyser KA, Stahl FR, Busche A, Marquardt A, Zheng X, Galla M, Heissmeyer V, Heller K, Boelter J, Wagner K, Bischoff Y, Martens R, Braun A, Werth K, Uvarovskii A, Kempf H, Meyer-Hermann M, Arens R, Kremer M, Sutter G, Messerle M, Förster R. In vivo killing capacity of cytotoxic T cells is limited and involves dynamic interactions and T cell cooperativity. Immunity 2016; 44:233-245. doi:10.1016/j.immuni.2016.01.010.

Slavuljica I, Busche A, Babić M, Mitrović M, Gašparović I, Cekinović D, Markova Car E, Pernjak Pugel E, Ciković A, Lisnić VJ, Britt WJ, Koszinowski U, Messerle M*, Krmpotić A*, Jonjić S*. Recombinant mouse cytomegalovirus expressing a  ligand for the NKG2D receptor is attenuated and has improved vaccine properties. J Clin Invest. 2010; 120:4532-45. doi: 10.1172/JCI43961. *joint senior authors.

Glass M, Busche A, Wagner K, Messerle M*, Borst EM. Conditional and reversible disruption of essential herpesvirus proteins. Nat Methods 2009; 6:577-9. doi: 10.1038/nmeth.1346. *corresponding author.

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; 73:8320-9.

Messerle M, Crnkovic I, Hammerschmidt W, Ziegler H, Koszinowski UH. Cloning and mutagenesis of a herpesvirus genome as an infectious bacterial artificial chromosome. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1997; 94:14759-63.


  Prof. Dr. Martin Messerle
  Cytomegalovirus (CMV) research group, Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School (MHH)
  Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1
30625 Hannover
  +49 511 532 – 4320