This is the institutional Repository of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig/Germany (HZI), the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrücken/Germany, the TWINCORE Zentrum für Exprerimentelle und Klinische Infektionsforschung, Hannover/Germany,Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung (HIRI), BRICS, CSSB and the Study Centre Hannover, Hannover/Germany.


  • Importance of flagella in acute and chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

    Lorenz, Anne; Preuße, Matthias; Bruchmann, Sebastian; Pawar, Vinay; Grahl, Nora; Pils, Marina C; Nolan, Laura M; Filloux, Alain; Weiss, Siegfried; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-11-08)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an environmental microorganism and a causative agent of diverse acute and chronic, biofilm-associated infections. Advancing research-based knowledge on its adaptation to conditions within the human host is bound to reveal novel strategies and targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we investigated the traits that P. aeruginosa PA14 as well as a virulence attenuated ΔlasR mutant need to survive in selected murine infection models. Experimentally, the genetic programs that the bacteria use to adapt to biofilm-associated versus acute infections were dissected by passaging transposon mutant libraries through mouse lungs (acute) or mouse tumours (biofilm-infection). Adaptive metabolic changes of P. aeruginosa were generally required during both infection processes. Counter-selection against flagella expression was observed during acute lung infections. Obviously, avoidance of flagella-mediated activation of host immunity is advantageous for the wildtype bacteria. For the ΔlasR mutant, loss of flagella did not confer a selective advantage. Apparently, other pathogenesis mechanisms are active in this virulence attenuated strain. In contrast, the infective process of P. aeruginosa in the chronic biofilm model apparently required expression of flagellin. Together, our findings imply that the host immune reactions against the infectious agent are very decisive for acuteness and duration of the infectious disease. They direct disease outcome.
  • Microglia have a protective role in viral encephalitis-induced seizure development and hippocampal damage.

    Waltl, Inken; Käufer, Christopher; Gerhauser, Ingo; Chhatbar, Chintan; Ghita, Luca; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-11-01)
    In the central nervous system (CNS), innate immune surveillance is mainly coordinated by microglia. These CNS resident myeloid cells are assumed to help orchestrate the immune response against infections of the brain. However, their specific role in this process and their interactions with CNS infiltrating immune cells, such as blood-borne monocytes and T cells are only incompletely understood. The recent development of PLX5622, a specific inhibitor of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor that depletes microglia, allows studying the role of microglia in conditions of brain injury such as viral encephalitis, the most common form of brain infection. Here we used this inhibitor in a model of viral infection-induced epilepsy, in which C57BL/6 mice are infected by a picornavirus (Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus) and display seizures and hippocampal damage. Our results show that microglia are required early after infection to limit virus distribution and persistence, most likely by modulating T cell activation. Microglia depletion accelerated the occurrence of seizures, exacerbated hippocampal damage, and led to neurodegeneration in the spinal cord, which is normally not observed in this mouse strain. This study enhances our understanding of the role of microglia in viral encephalitis and adds to the concept of microglia-T cell crosstalk.
  • Screening for inhibitors of mutacin synthesis in Streptococcus mutans using fluorescent reporter strains.

    Premnath, Priyanka; Reck, Michael; Wittstein, Kathrin; Stadler, Marc; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2018-03-27)
    Within the polymicrobial dental plaque biofilm, bacteria kill competitors by excreting mixtures of bacteriocins, resulting in improved fitness and survival. Inhibiting their bacteriocin synthesis might therefore be a useful strategy to eliminate specific pathogens. We used Streptococcus mutans, a highly acidogenic inhabitant of dental plaque, as a model and searched for natural products that reduced mutacin synthesis. To this end we fused the promoter of mutacin VI to the GFP+ gene and integrated the construct into the genome of S. mutans UA159 by single homologous recombination. The resulting reporter strain 423p - gfp + was used to screen 297 secondary metabolites from different sources, mainly myxobacteria and fungi, for their ability to reduce the fluorescence of the fully induced reporter strain by > 50% while growth was almost unaffected (> 90% of control). Seven compounds with different chemical structures and different modes of action were identified. Erinacine C was subsequently validated and shown to inhibit transcription of all three mutacins of S. mutans. The areas of the inhibition zones of the sensor strains S. sanguinis and Lactococcus lactis were reduced by 35% to 61% in comparison to controls in the presence of erinacine C, demonstrating that the amount of active mutacins in the culture supernatants of S. mutans was reduced. Erinacines are cyathane diterpenes that were extracted from cultures of the edible mushroom Hericium erinaceus. They have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective effects. For erinacine C, a new biological activity was found here. We demonstrate the successful development of a whole-cell fluorescent reporter for the screening of natural compounds and report that erinacine C suppresses mutacin synthesis in S. mutans without affecting cell viability.
  • Induced B Cell Development in Adult Mice.

    Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Düber, Sandra; Roy, Bishnudeo; Thomsen, Irene; Garbe, Annette I; Klawonn, Frank; Pabst, Oliver; Kretschmer, Karsten; Weiss, Siegfried; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    We employed the B-Indu-Rag1 model in which the coding exon of recombination-activating gene 1 (Rag1) is inactivated by inversion. It is flanked by inverted loxP sites. Accordingly, B cell development is stopped at the pro/pre B-I cell precursor stage. A B cell-specific Cre recombinase fused to a mutated estrogen receptor allows the induction of RAG1 function and B cell development by application of Tamoxifen. Since Rag1 function is recovered in a non-self-renewing precursor cell, only single waves of development can be induced. Using this system, we could determine that B cells minimally require 5 days to undergo development from pro/preB-I cells to the large and 6 days to the small preB-II cell stage. First immature transitional (T) 1 and T2 B cells could be detected in the bone marrow at day 6 and day 7, respectively, while their appearance in the spleen took one additional day. We also tested a contribution of adult bone marrow to the pool of B-1 cells. Sublethally irradiated syngeneic WT mice were adoptively transferred with bone marrow of B-Indu-Rag1 mice and B cell development was induced after 6 weeks. A significant portion of donor derived B-1 cells could be detected in such adult mice. Finally, early VH gene usage was tested after induction of B cell development. During the earliest time points the VH genes proximal to D/J were found to be predominantly rearranged. At later time points, the large family of the most distal VH prevailed.
  • Concepts and Methods to Access Novel Antibiotics from Actinomycetes.

    Hug, Joachim J; Bader, Chantal D; Remškar, Maja; Cirnski, Katarina; Müller, Rolf (MPDI, 2018-05-22)
    Actinomycetes have been proven to be an excellent source of secondary metabolites for more than half a century. Exhibiting various bioactivities, they provide valuable approved drugs in clinical use. Most microorganisms are still untapped in terms of their capacity to produce secondary metabolites, since only a small fraction can be cultured in the laboratory. Thus, improving cultivation techniques to extend the range of secondary metabolite producers accessible under laboratory conditions is an important first step in prospecting underexplored sources for the isolation of novel antibiotics. Currently uncultured actinobacteria can be made available by bioprospecting extreme or simply habitats other than soil. Furthermore, bioinformatic analysis of genomes reveals most producers to harbour many more biosynthetic gene clusters than compounds identified from any single strain, which translates into a silent biosynthetic potential of the microbial world for the production of yet unknown natural products. This review covers discovery strategies and innovative methods recently employed to access the untapped reservoir of natural products. The focus is the order of actinomycetes although most approaches are similarly applicable to other microbes. Advanced cultivation methods, genomics- and metagenomics-based approaches, as well as modern metabolomics-inspired methods are highlighted to emphasise the interplay of different disciplines to improve access to novel natural products.

View more