Dr Peter Sebo


Head, Laboratory of Molecular Biology of Bacterial Pathogens
Cell and Molecular Microbiology Division


• Host-bacterial pathogen interactions
• Bacterial protein toxins
• Molecular and cellular microbiology
• Immunology
• Vaccines
• Structure-function relationship, mechanism of action and role in virulence of adenylate cyclase toxin of the whooping cough agent Bordetella pertussis

Czech Academy of Sciences
Institute of Microbiology
Videnska 1083
CZ-142 20 Prague 4
Czech Republic

+420 241 062 762

FEMS Expert: Dr Peter Sebo

member of EAM and EMBO; guest editor for Pathogens and Disease

Peter Sebo specializes in the RTX family of toxins produced by Gram-negative pathogens. Currently, he heads a research team primarily focusing on the molecular mechanism of action of the adenylate cyclase toxin-hemolysin (ACT or CyaA) from the whooping cough agent Bordetella pertussis. His studies focus on the role of the toxin in bacterial virulence and aim to elucidate the mechanisms by the cAMP produced by the toxin suppresses and manipulates host innate and adaptive immune defences.

Recent achievements of Dr Peter Sebo’s lab include:

  • definition of binding site of the toxin on the CD11b subunit of the CR3 receptor of phagocytes
  • structural analysis of the mechanism of calcium-driven folding of the toxin secreted by the T1SS apparatus of the bacterium
  • detailed analysis of the molecular mechanism of membrane translocation of the toxin across phagocyte membrane and formation of cation-selective pores by oligomers of the toxin

Peter Sebo’s team is also involved in development of immunotherapeutic CD8+ T cell-activating vaccines, where the toxoid of CyaA is used to deliver antigens into dendritic cell. His activities are also devoted to development of a next generation of pertussis vaccines. Peter also serves as a Professor of microbiology at the University of Chemistry and technology in Prague, teaching a course on ‘Molecular mechanisms of bacterial virulence’.

Peter Sebo guest edited the 2016 Bacterial Toxins Thematic Issue published in Pathogens and Disease.