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Philippe Hauser Lab

Philippe Hauser, PhD, MER1
++41 (0)21 314 4084
++41 (0)79 556 2298

Research topics

Pneumocystis jirovecii is a microscopic fungus causing severe pneumonia in immuno-compromised patients (AIDS, transplantation recipients, leukemia, etc.). In the absence of an in vitro culture system, the biology of this fungus remains poorly known.

Genomics of P. jirovecii

Thanks to recent technical developments, we have sequenced and are currently analyzing P. jirovecii genome (see Comparative genomics revealed the loss of specific pathways in Pneumocystis species. These findings strongly suggest that these fungi are obligate biotrophs of mammalian lungs, i.e. pathogens retrieving their nutriments without killing the cells of their host.

Mode of sexual reproduction of P. jirovecii

Comparative genomics were also used to investigate the mode of reproduction of P. jirovecii, a crucial feature since sexuality occurs within the host and appears obligatory. These analyses led to the working hypothesis that the mode of reproduction of Pneumocystis species is primary homothallism, i.e. that both sexes are present in each strain.

Search for new therapeutic target against P. jirovecii i

In the absence of efficient therapy to replace antifolates, we look for new therapeutic targets. We determine the function of new potential drug target genes by their expression in model yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae (one picture shows a green-fluorescent P. jirovecii protein localized in the nuclear membrane of S. cerevisiae, the second picture shows S. cerevisiae nuclear and mitochondrial DNA stained in blue with DAPI). These recombinant strains are also used to search for new drugs.

Current lab members
Name Position Contact
Amanda Luraschi Diplomante
Sophie Chevalley Technician

Selected publications


1: Almeida JMGCF, Cissé OH, Fonseca Á, Pagni M, and Hauser PM.
    Comparative Genomics suggests Primary Homothallism of Pneumocystis species
MBio. 2015 ; 6: e02250-14.
2: Luraschi A, Cissé OH, Monod M, Pagni M, and Hauser PM.
    Functional characterization of the Pneumocystis jirovecii potential drug targets dhfs and abz2 involved in folate biosynthesis.
Anti. Ag. Chemo 2015, 59: 2560-2566.


1: Cissé OH, Pagni M, Hauser PM.
    Comparative genomics suggests that the human pathogenic fungus Pneumocystis jirovecii acquired obligate biotrophy through gene loss.
Genome Biol Evol. 2014 Jul 24;6(8):1938-48. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evu155.
2: Hauser PM, Bernard T, Greub G, Jaton K, Pagni M, Hafen GM.
    Microbiota present in cystic fibrosis lungs as revealed by whole genome sequencing.
PLoS One. 2014 ; 9:e90934.
3: Hauser PM, Kovacs JA.
    Molecular epidemiology of Pneumocystis outbreaks
In The Mycota Vol. XII: Human Fungal Pathogens, 2nd ed. (O. Kurzai, ed.).
4: Hauser PM.
    Genomic insights into the fungal pathogens of the genus pneumocystis: obligate biotrophs of humans and other mammals.
PLoS Pathog. 2014 Nov 6;10(11):e1004425. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1004425. eCollection 2014 Nov.


1: Cissé OH, Almeida JMGCF, Fonseca Á, Kumar AA, Salojärvi J, Overmyer K, Hauser PM*, and Pagni M* (*contributed equally to this work)
    Genome Sequencing of the plant pathogen Taphrina deformans, the Causal Agent of Peach Leaf Curl
MBio. 2013 ; 4: e00055-13.
2: Hauser PM, Rabodonirina M, and Nevez G.
    Pneumocystis jirovecii genotypes involved in PCP outbreaks among renal transplant recipients.
Clin Infect Dis. 2013. 56:165-6
3: Rabodonirina M, Vaillant L, Taffé P, Nahimana A, Gillibert R-P, Vanhems P., and Hauser PM.
    Pneumocystis jirovecii Genotype Associated with Increased Death Rate of HIV-infected Patients with Pneumonia.
Emerg Infect Dis. 2013. 19:21-8.


1: Cissé OH, Pagni M, and Hauser PM.
    De novo assembly of the Pneumocystis jirovecii genome from a single bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a patient.
MBio. 2012. 4: doi:pii: e00428-12.
2: Pliquett RU, Asbe-Vollkopf A, Hauser PM, Lo Presti L, Hunfeld KP, Berger A, Scheuermann EH, Jung O, Geiger H, Hauser IA.
    A Pneumocystis jirovecii pneumonia outbreak in a single kidneytransplant center: role of Cytomegalovirus co-infection.
Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Inf. Dis. 2012. 31:2429-37.

Last Update on 14.10.2015 - Publication credits - Legal information