Dr Jens Hör

Molecular Principles of RNA Phages

Our research and approach

The research group led by Jens Hör investigates the dynamics of infection, host takeover, and anti-phage defense during the interaction between RNA phages and their hosts. They seek to understand the molecular principles underlying these processes to develop new and improved antibacterial strategies such as phage therapy.

The emerging crisis of antibiotic-resistant bacteria demands the development of novel treatment options for bacterial infections. Phages as the natural predators of bacteria can be exploited to support this process. However, for this, it is crucial to have suitable phages at hand and understand how they function. RNA phages, unlike DNA phages, are heavily understudied. Their characterization will help to unfold the full potential of phages in the design of novel antimicrobial therapies and offers the opportunity to yield new molecular tools and technologies.

Jens Hör’s group works on the molecular principles of RNA phages in the context of phage-host interactions. They seek to understand how RNA phages take over their hosts during infection and how the hosts defend themselves against the invading phages. In addition, they isolate and functionally characterize new RNA phages.

The group employs classical biochemistry and molecular biology methods as well as state-of-the-art high-throughput methods to analyze the unique lifestyle of RNA phages in concert with their host. Their overall goal is to advance our understanding of RNA phages and how they can be exploited to develop novel antibacterial strategies.

Team members

Jens Hör

Dr Jens Hör

Group Leader



Discovery of phage determinants that confer sensitivity to bacterial immune systems

Stokar-Avihail A, Fedorenko T, Hör J, Garb J, Leavitt A, Millman A, Shulman G, Wojtania N, Melamed S, Amitai G, Sorek R (2023)

Cell 186 (9): 1863-1876.e16

Bacteria conjugate ubiquitin-like proteins to interfere with phage assembly

Hör J, Wolf SG, Sorek R (2023)

bioRxiv (Preprint)


INRI-seq enables global cell-free analysis of translation initiation and off-target effects of antisense inhibitors

Hör J, Jung J, Ðurica-Mitic S, Barquist L, Vogel J (2022)

Nucleic Acids Research 50 (22): e128

An overview of gene regulation in bacteria by small RNAs derived from mRNA 3' ends

Ponath F, Hör J, Vogel J (2022)

FEMS Microbiology Reviews 46 (5): fuac017

An expanded arsenal of immune systems that protect bacteria from phages

Millman A, Melamed S, Leavitt A, Doron S, Bernheim A, Hör J, Garb J, Bechon N, Brandis A, Lopatina A, …, Amitai G, Sorek R (2022)

Cell Host & Microbe 30 (11): 1556-1569.e5


Analysis of the RNA and Protein Complexome by Grad-seq

Hör J, Vogel J (2021)

Methods in Molecular Biology 2300: 183-201

Grad-seq identifies KhpB as a global RNA-binding protein in Clostridioides difficile that regulates toxin production

Lamm-Schmidt V, Fuchs M, Sulzer J, Gerovac M, Hör J, Dersch P, Vogel J, Faber F (2021)

microLife 2: uqab004


Grad-seq shines light on unrecognized RNA and protein complexes in the model bacterium Escherichia coli

Hör J, Di Giorgio S, Gerovac M, Venturini E, Förstner KU, Vogel J (2020)

Nucleic Acids Research 48 (16): 9301-9319

Grad-seq in a Gram-positive bacterium reveals exonucleolytic sRNA activation in competence control

Hör J, Garriss G, Di Giorgio S, Hack LM, Vanselow JT, Förstner KU, Schlosser A, Henriques-Normark B, Vogel J (2020)

The EMBO Journal 39 (9): e103852

Trans-Acting Small RNAs and Their Effects on Gene Expression in Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica

Hör J, Matera G, Vogel J, Gottesman S, Storz G (2020)

EcoSal Plus 9 (1): 10.1128/ecosalplus.ESP-0030-2019


Bacterial RNA Biology on a Genome Scale

Hör J, Gorski SA, Vogel J (2018)

Molecular Cell 70 (5): 785-799


Global snapshots of bacterial RNA networks

Hör J, Vogel J (2017)

The EMBO Journal 36 (3): 245-247

A Small Number of Low-abundance Bacteria Dominate Plant Species-specific Responses during Rhizosphere Colonization

Dawson W, Hör J, Egert M, van Kleunen M, Pester M (2017)

Frontiers in Microbiology 8: 975

Discovery of new RNA classes and global RNA-binding proteins

Smirnov A, Schneider C, Hör J, Vogel J (2017)

Current Opinion in Microbiology 39: 152-160