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), Braunschweig Integrated Centre for Systems biology (BRICS), Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) and the Study Centre Hannover, Hannover/Germany.


  • Electro-Microbiology as a Promising Approach Towards Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability

    Ali, Jafar; Sohail, Aaqib; Wang, Lei; Rizwan Haider, Muhammad; Mulk, Shahi; Pan, Gang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI AG, 2018-07-12)
    Microbial electrochemical technologies provide sustainable wastewater treatment and energy production. Despite significant improvements in the power output of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), this technology is still far from practical applications. Extracting electrical energy and harvesting valuable products by electroactive bacteria (EAB) in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) has emerged as an innovative approach to address energy and environmental challenges. Thus, maximizing power output and resource recovery is highly desirable for sustainable systems. Insights into the electrode-microbe interactions may help to optimize the performance of BESs for envisioned applications, and further validation by bioelectrochemical techniques is a prerequisite to completely understand the electro-microbiology. This review summarizes various extracellular electron transfer mechanisms involved in BESs. The significant role of characterization techniques in the advancement of the electro-microbiology field is discussed. Finally, diverse applications of BESs, such as resource recovery, and contributions to the pursuit of a more sustainable society are also highlighted.
  • Detrimental Effect of Type I IFNs During Acute Lung Infection With Is Mediated Through the Stimulation of Neutrophil NETosis.

    Pylaeva, Ekaterina; Bordbari, Sharareh; Spyra, Ilona; Decker, Anna Sophie; Häussler, Susanne; Vybornov, Vadim; Lang, Stephan; Jablonska, Jadwiga; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic multidrug-resistant pathogen, able to grow in biofilms. It causes life-threatening complications in diseases characterized by the up-regulation of type I interferon (IFN) signaling, such as cancer or viral infections. Since type I IFNs regulate multiple functions of neutrophils, which constitute the first line of anti-bacterial host defense, in this work we aimed to study how interferon-activated neutrophils influence the course of P. aeruginosa infection of the lung. In lungs of infected IFN-sufficient WT mice, significantly elevated bacteria load was observed, accompanied by the prominent lung tissue damage. At the same time IFN-deficient animals seem to be partly resistant to the infection. Lung neutrophils from such IFN-deficient animals release significantly lower amounts of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) and reactive oxygen species (ROS), as compared to WT neutrophils. Of note, such IFN-deficient neutrophils show significantly decreased capacity to stimulate biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa. Reduced biofilm production impairs in turn the survival of bacteria in a lung tissue. In line with that, treatment of neutrophils with recombinant IFN-β enhances their NETosis and stimulates biofilm formation by Pseudomonas after co-incubation with such neutrophils. Possibly, bacteria utilizes neutrophil-derived NETs as a scaffold for released biofilms. In agreement with this, in vivo treatment with ROS-scavengers, NETs disruption or usage of the bacterial strains unable to bind DNA, suppress neutrophil-mediated biofilm formation in the lungs. Together, our findings indicate that the excessive activation of neutrophils by type I IFNs leads to their boosted NETosis that in turn triggers biofilm formation by P. aeruginosa and supports its persistence in the infected lung. Targeting these mechanisms could offer a new therapeutic approach to prevent persistent bacterial infections in patients with diseases associated with the up-regulation of type I IFNs.
  • Soluble immune markers in the different phases of chronic hepatitis B virus infection

    Wiegand, Steffen B.; Beggel, Bastian; Wranke, Anika; Aliabadi, Elmira; Jaroszewicz, Jerzy; Xu, Cheng Jian; Li, Yang; Manns, Michael P.; Lengauer, Thomas; Wedemeyer, Heiner; et al. (Nature publishing group, 2019-10-01)
    Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection may follow four different consecutive phases, which are defined by virology as well as biochemical markers and differ in terms of prognosis and need for antiviral treatment. Currently, host responses reflected by immune markers are not considered in this definition. We aimed to study soluble immune markers and their distribution in different phases of chronic HBV infection. In this cross-sectional retrospective study, we investigated a panel of 14 soluble immune markers (SIM) including CXCL10 in 333 patients with chronic HBV infection. In a small cohort of HBeAg positive patients we analyzed SIM before and after HBeAg seroconversion and compared seroconverters to patients with unknown outcome. Significant differences were documented in the levels of several SIM between the four phases of chronic HBV infection. The most pronounced difference among all investigated SIM was observed for CXCL10 concentrations with highest levels in patients with hepatitis. TGF-β and IL-17 revealed different levels between HBeAg negative patients. HBeAg positive patients with HBeAg seroconversion presented higher amounts of IL-12 before seroconversion compared to HBeAg positive patients with unknown follow up. SIM such as CXCL10 but also IL-12, TGF-β and IL-17 may be useful markers to further characterize the phase of chronic HBV infection.
  • Synchronous Germinal Center Onset Impacts the Efficiency of Antibody Responses.

    Arulraj, Theinmozhi; Binder, Sebastian C; Robert, Philippe A; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    The germinal center reaction is an important target for modulating antibody responses. Antibody production from germinal centers is regulated by a negative feedback mechanism termed antibody feedback. By imposing antibody feedback, germinal centers can interact and regulate the output of other germinal centers. Using an agent-based model of the germinal center reaction, we studied the impact of antibody feedback on kinetics and efficiency of a germinal center. Our simulations predict that high feedback of antibodies from germinal centers reduces the production of plasma cells and subsequently the efficiency of the germinal center reaction by promoting earlier termination. Affinity maturation is only weakly improved by increased antibody feedback and ultimately interrupted because of premature termination of the reaction. The model predicts that the asynchronous onset and changes in number of germinal centers could alter the efficiency of antibody response due to changes in feedback by soluble antibodies. Consequently, late initialized germinal centers have a compromised output due to higher antibody feedback from the germinal centers formed earlier. The results demonstrate potential effects of germinal center intercommunication and highlight the importance of understanding germinal center interactions for optimizing the antibody response, in particular, in the elderly and in the context of vaccination.
  • Hepatitis E Virus (HEV)-Specific T Cell Receptor Cross-Recognition: Implications for Immunotherapy.

    Soon, Chai Fen; Zhang, Shihong; Suneetha, Pothakamuri Venkata; Antunes, Dinler Amaral; Manns, Michael Peter; Raha, Solaiman; Schultze-Florey, Christian; Prinz, Immo; Wedemeyer, Heiner; Sällberg Chen, Margaret; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    T cell immunotherapy is a concept developed for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases, based on cytotoxic T lymphocytes to target tumor- or pathogen-specific antigens. Antigen-specificity of the T cell receptors (TCRs) is an important selection criterion in the developmental design of immunotherapy. However, off-target specificity is a possible autoimmunity concern if the engineered antigen-specific T cells are cross-reacting to self-peptides in-vivo. In our recent work, we identified several hepatitis E virus (HEV)-specific TCRs as potential candidates to be developed into T cell therapy to treat chronic hepatitis E. One of the identified TCRs, targeting a HLA-A2-restricted epitope at the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (HEV-1527: LLWNTVWNM), possessed a unique multiple glycine motif in the TCR-β CDR3, which might be a factor inducing cross-reactivity. The aim of our study was to explore if this TCR could cross-recognize self-peptides to underlay autoimmunity. Indeed, we found that this HEV-1527-specific TCR could also cross-recognize an apoptosis-related epitope, Nonmuscle Myosin Heavy Chain 9 (MYH9-478: QLFNHTMFI). While this TCR had dual specificities to both viral epitope and a self-antigen by double Dextramer binding, it was selectively functional against HEV-1527 but not activated against MYH9-478. The consecutive glycine motif in β chain may be the reason promoting TCR binding promiscuity to recognize a secondary target, thereby facilitating cross-recognition. In conclusion, candidate TCRs for immunotherapy development should be screened for autoimmune potential, especially when the TCRs exhibit unique sequence pattern.

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