Prof. Engelmann

Recent Submissions

  • Characterization of functional traits with focus on udder health in heifers with divergent paternally inherited haplotypes on BTA18.

    Heimes, A; Brodhagen, J; Weikard, R; Hammon, H M; Meyerholz, M M; Petzl, W; Zerbe, H; Engelmann, S; Schmicke, M; Hoedemaker, M; et al. (BioMedCentral, 2019-07-11)
    BACKGROUND: A major challenge in modern medicine and animal husbandry is the issue of antimicrobial resistance. One approach to solving this potential medical hazard is the selection of farm animals with less susceptibility to infectious diseases. Recent advances in functional genome analysis and quantitative genetics have opened the horizon to apply genetic marker information for efficiently identifying animals with preferential predisposition regarding health traits. The current study characterizes functional traits with a focus on udder health in dairy heifers. The animals were selected for having inherited alternative paternal haplotypes for a genomic region on Bos taurus chromosome (BTA) 18 genetically associated with divergent susceptibility to longevity and animal health, particularly mastitis. RESULTS: In the first weeks of lactation, the q heifers which had inherited the unfavorable (q) paternal haplotype displayed a significantly higher number of udder quarters with very low somatic cell count (< 10,000 cells / ml) compared to their paternal half-sib sisters with the favorable (Q) paternal haplotype. This might result in impaired mammary gland sentinel function towards invading pathogens. Furthermore, across the course of the first lactation, there was indication that q half-sib heifers showed higher somatic cell counts, a surrogate trait for udder health, in whole milkings compared to their paternal half-sib sisters with the favorable (Q) paternal haplotype. Moreover, heifers with the haplotype Q had a higher feed intake and higher milk yield compared to those with the q haplotype. Results of this study indicate that differences in milk production and calculated energy balance per se are not the main drivers of the genetically determined differences between the BTA18 Q and q groups of heifers. CONCLUSIONS: The paternally inherited haplotype from a targeted BTA18 genomic region affect somatic cell count in udder quarters during the early postpartum period and might also contribute to further aspects of animal's health and performance traits due to indirect effects on feed intake and metabolism.
  • Development and evaluation of a milk protein transcript depletion method for differential transcriptome analysis in mammary gland tissue.

    Brodhagen, Johanna; Weikard, Rosemarie; Thom, Ulrike; Heimes, Annika; Günther, Juliane; Hadlich, Frieder; Zerbe, Holm; Petzl, Wolfgang; Meyerholz, Marie M; Hoedemaker, Martina; et al. (BioMed Central (BMC), 2019-05-22)
    Background: In the mammary gland transcriptome of lactating dairy cows genes encoding milk proteins are highly abundant, which can impair the detection of lowly expressed transcripts and can bias the outcome in global transcriptome analyses. Therefore, the aim of this study was to develop and evaluate a method to deplete extremely highly expressed transcripts in mRNA from lactating mammary gland tissue. Results: Selective RNA depletion was performed by hybridization of antisense oligonucleotides targeting genes encoding the caseins (CSN1S1, CSN1S2, CSN2 and CSN3) and whey proteins (LALBA and PAEP) within total RNA followed by RNase H-mediated elimination of the respective transcripts. The effect of the RNA depletion procedure was monitored by RNA sequencing analysis comparing depleted and non-depleted RNA samples from Escherichia coli (E. coli) challenged and non-challenged udder tissue of lactating cows in a proof of principle experiment. Using RNase H-mediated RNA depletion, the ratio of highly abundant milk protein gene transcripts was reduced in all depleted samples by an average of more than 50% compared to the non-depleted samples. Furthermore, the sensitivity for discovering transcripts with marginal expression levels and transcripts not yet annotated was improved. Finally, the sensitivity to detect significantly differentially expressed transcripts between non-challenged and challenged udder tissue was increased without leading to an inadvertent bias in the pathogen challengeassociated biological signaling pathway patterns. Conclusions: The implementation of selective RNase H-mediated RNA depletion of milk protein gene transcripts from the mammary gland transcriptome of lactating cows will be highly beneficial to establish comprehensive transcript catalogues of the tissue that better reflects its transcriptome complexity.
  • Human antibody responses against non-covalently cell wall-bound Staphylococcus aureus proteins.

    Romero Pastrana, Francisco; Neef, Jolanda; Koedijk, Dennis G A M; de Graaf, Douwe; Duipmans, José; Jonkman, Marcel F; Engelmann, Susanne; van Dijl, Jan Maarten; Buist, Girbe; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-02-19)
    Human antibody responses to pathogens, like Staphylococcus aureus, are important indicators for in vivo expression and immunogenicity of particular bacterial components. Accordingly, comparing the antibody responses to S. aureus components may serve to predict their potential applicability as antigens for vaccination. The present study was aimed at assessing immunoglobulin G (IgG) responses elicited by non-covalently cell surface-bound proteins of S. aureus, which thus far received relatively little attention. To this end, we applied plasma samples from patients with the genetic blistering disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB) and healthy S. aureus carriers. Of note, wounds of EB patients are highly colonized with S. aureus and accordingly these patients are more seriously exposed to staphylococcal antigens than healthy individuals. Ten non-covalently cell surface-bound proteins of S. aureus, namely Atl, Eap, Efb, EMP, IsaA, LukG, LukH, SA0710, Sle1 and SsaA2, were selected by bioinformatics and biochemical approaches. These antigens were recombinantly expressed, purified and tested for specific IgG responses using human plasma. We show that high exposure of EB patients to S. aureus is mirrored by elevated IgG levels against all tested non-covalently cell wall-bound staphylococcal antigens. This implies that these S. aureus cell surface proteins are prime targets for the human immune system.
  • Staphylococcal serine protease-like proteins are pacemakers of allergic airway reactions to Staphylococcus aureus.

    Stentzel, Sebastian; Teufelberger, Andrea; Nordengrün, Maria; Kolata, Julia; Schmidt, Frank; van Crombruggen, Koen; Michalik, Stephan; Kumpfmüller, Jana; Tischer, Sebastian; Schweder, Thomas; et al. (2017-02)
    A substantial subgroup of asthmatic patients have "nonallergic" or idiopathic asthma, which often takes a severe course and is difficult to treat. The cause might be allergic reactions to the gram-positive pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, a frequent colonizer of the upper airways. However, the driving allergens of S aureus have remained elusive.
  • Determining the bacterial cell biology of Planctomycetes.

    Boedeker, Christian; Schüler, Margarete; Reintjes, Greta; Jeske, Olga; van Teeseling, Muriel C F; Jogler, Mareike; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Devos, Damien P; Kucklick, Martin; et al. (2017-04-10)
    Bacteria of the phylum Planctomycetes have been previously reported to possess several features that are typical of eukaryotes, such as cytosolic compartmentalization and endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake. However, recent evidence points towards a Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, although in-depth experimental analysis has been hampered by insufficient genetic tools. Here we develop methods for expression of fluorescent proteins and for gene deletion in a model planctomycete, Planctopirus limnophila, to analyse its cell organization in detail. Super-resolution light microscopy of mutants, cryo-electron tomography, bioinformatic predictions and proteomic analyses support an altered Gram-negative cell plan for Planctomycetes, including a defined outer membrane, a periplasmic space that can be greatly enlarged and convoluted, and an energized cytoplasmic membrane. These conclusions are further supported by experiments performed with two other Planctomycetes, Gemmata obscuriglobus and Rhodopirellula baltica. We also provide experimental evidence that is inconsistent with endocytosis-like macromolecule uptake; instead, extracellular macromolecules can be taken up and accumulate in the periplasmic space through unclear mechanisms.
  • Costs of life - Dynamics of the protein inventory of Staphylococcus aureus during anaerobiosis.

    Zühlke, Daniela; Dörries, Kirsten; Bernhardt, Jörg; Maaß, Sandra; Muntel, Jan; Liebscher, Volkmar; Pané-Farré, Jan; Riedel, Katharina; Lalk, Michael; Völker, Uwe; et al. (2016)
    Absolute protein quantification was applied to follow the dynamics of the cytoplasmic proteome of Staphylococcus aureus in response to long-term oxygen starvation. For 1,168 proteins, the majority of all expressed proteins, molecule numbers per cell have been determined to monitor the cellular investments in single branches of bacterial life for the first time. In the presence of glucose the anaerobic protein pattern is characterized by increased amounts of glycolytic and fermentative enzymes such as Eno, GapA1, Ldh1, and PflB. Interestingly, the ferritin-like protein FtnA belongs to the most abundant proteins during anaerobic growth. Depletion of glucose finally leads to an accumulation of different enzymes such as ArcB1, ArcB2, and ArcC2 involved in arginine deiminase pathway. Concentrations of 29 exo- and 78 endometabolites were comparatively assessed and have been integrated to the metabolic networks. Here we provide an almost complete picture on the response to oxygen starvation, from signal transduction pathways to gene expression pattern, from metabolic reorganization after oxygen depletion to beginning cell death and lysis after glucose exhaustion. This experimental approach can be considered as a proof of principle how to combine cell physiology with quantitative proteomics for a new dimension in understanding simple life processes as an entity.
  • Mixture Effects of Estrogenic Pesticides at the Human Estrogen Receptor α and β.

    Seeger, Bettina; Klawonn, Frank; Nguema Bekale, Boris; Steinberg, Pablo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
    Consumers of fruits and vegetables are frequently exposed to small amounts of hormonally active pesticides, some of them sharing a common mode of action such as the activation of the human estrogen receptor α (hERα) or β (hERβ). Therefore, it is of particular importance to evaluate risks emanating from chemical mixtures, in which the individual pesticides are present at human-relevant concentrations, below their corresponding maximum residue levels. Binary and ternary iso-effective mixtures of estrogenic pesticides at effect concentrations eliciting a 1 or 10% effect in the presence or absence of 17β-estradiol were tested experimentally at the hERα in the yeast-based estrogen screen (YES) assay as well as in the human U2-OS cell-based ERα chemical-activated luciferase gene expression (ERα CALUX) assay and at the hERβ in the ERβ CALUX assay. The outcome was then compared to predictions calculated by means of concentration addition. In most cases, additive effects were observed with the tested combinations in all three test systems, an observation that supports the need to expand the risk assessment of pesticides and consider cumulative risk assessment. An additional testing of mixture effects at the hERβ showed that most test substances being active at the hERα could also elicit additive effects at the hERβ, but the hERβ was less sensitive. In conclusion, effects of the same ligands at the hERα and the hERβ could influence the estrogenic outcome under physiological conditions.
  • Global antibody response to Staphylococcus aureus live-cell vaccination.

    Selle, Martina; Hertlein, Tobias; Oesterreich, Babett; Klemm, Theresa; Kloppot, Peggy; Müller, Elke; Ehricht, Ralf; Stentzel, Sebastian; Bröker, Barbara M; Engelmann, Susanne; et al. (2016)
    The pathogen Staphylococcus aureus causes a broad range of severe diseases and is feared for its ability to rapidly develop resistance to antibiotic substances. The increasing number of highly resistant S. aureus infections has accelerated the search for alternative treatment options to close the widening gap in anti-S. aureus therapy. This study analyses the humoral immune response to vaccination of Balb/c mice with sublethal doses of live S. aureus. The elicited antibody pattern in the sera of intravenously and intramuscularly vaccinated mice was determined using of a recently developed protein array. We observed a specific antibody response against a broad set of S. aureus antigens which was stronger following i.v. than i.m. vaccination. Intravenous but not intramuscular vaccination protected mice against an intramuscular challenge infection with a high bacterial dose. Vaccine protection was correlated with the strength of the anti-S. aureus antibody response. This study identified novel vaccine candidates by using protein microarrays as an effective tool and showed that successful vaccination against S. aureus relies on the optimal route of administration.
  • Extracellular milieu grossly alters pathogen-specific immune response of mammary epithelial cells.

    Bauer, Isabel; Günther, Juliane; Wheeler, Thomas T; Engelmann, Susanne; Seyfert, Hans-Martin; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (2015)
    Considerably divergent data have been published from attempts to model the E. coli vs. S. aureus specific immune reaction of the udder using primary cultures of bovine mammary epithelial cells from cows (pbMEC). Some groups reported a swift, strong and transient inflammatory response against challenges with E. coli and only a weak and retarded response against S. aureus, in agreement with the respective reaction of the udder. Others found almost the reverse. Presence or absence of fetal calf serum distinguished the experimental setting between both groups. We examined here if this causes the divergent reaction of the pbMEC towards both pathogen species. We challenged pbMEC with proteins from heat killed E. coli or S. aureus pathogens or purified TLR2 and TLR4 ligands. The stimuli were applied in normal growth medium with (SM10) or without (SM0) 10% fetal calf serum, or in the basal medium supplemented with 10 mg/ml milk proteins (SM Milk).
  • Specific serum IgG at diagnosis of Staphylococcus aureus bloodstream invasion is correlated with disease progression.

    Stentzel, Sebastian; Sundaramoorthy, Nandakumar; Michalik, Stephan; Nordengrün, Maria; Schulz, Sarah; Kolata, Julia; Kloppot, Peggy; Engelmann, Susanne; Steil, Leif; Hecker, Michael; et al. (2015-07-05)
    Although Staphylococcus aureus is a prominent cause of infections, no vaccine is currently available. Active vaccination relies on immune memory, a core competence of the adaptive immune system. To elucidate whether adaptive immunity can provide protection from serious complications of S. aureus infection, a prospective observational study of 44 patients with S. aureus infection complicated by bacteremia was conducted. At diagnosis, serum IgG binding to S. aureus extracellular proteins was quantified on immunoblots and with Luminex-based FLEXMAP 3D™ assays comprising 64 recombinant S. aureus proteins. Results were correlated with the course of the infection with sepsis as the main outcome variable. S. aureus-specific serum IgG levels at diagnosis of S. aureus infection were lower in patients developing sepsis than in patients without sepsis (P<0.05). The pattern of IgG binding to eight selected S. aureus proteins correctly predicted the disease course in 75% of patients. Robust immune memory of S. aureus was associated with protection from serious complications of bacterial invasion. Serum IgG binding to eight conserved S. aureus proteins enabled stratification of patients with high and low risk of sepsis early in the course of S. aureus infections complicated by bacteremia.
  • A systematic proteomic analysis of Listeria monocytogenes house-keeping protein secretion systems.

    Halbedel, Sven; Reiss, Swantje; Hahn, Birgit; Albrecht, Dirk; Mannala, Gopala Krishna; Chakraborty, Trinad; Hain, Torsten; Engelmann, Susanne; Flieger, Antje (2014-11)
    Listeria monocytogenes is a firmicute bacterium causing serious infections in humans upon consumption of contaminated food. Most of its virulence factors are secretory proteins either released to the medium or attached to the bacterial surface. L. monocytogenes encodes at least six different protein secretion pathways. Although great efforts have been made in the past to predict secretory proteins and their secretion routes using bioinformatics, experimental evidence is lacking for most secretion systems. Therefore, we constructed mutants in the main housekeeping protein secretion systems, which are the Sec-dependent transport, the YidC membrane insertases SpoIIIJ and YqjG, as well as the twin-arginine pathway, and analyzed their secretion and virulence defects. Our results demonstrate that Sec-dependent secretion and membrane insertion of proteins via YidC proteins are essential for viability of L. monocytogenes. Depletion of SecA or YidC activity severely affected protein secretion, whereas loss of the Tat-pathway was without any effect on secretion, viability, and virulence. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis combined with protein identification by mass spectrometry revealed that secretion of many virulence factors and of enzymes synthesizing and degrading the cell wall depends on the SecA route. This finding was confirmed by SecA inhibition experiments using sodium azide. Analysis of secretion of substrates typically dependent on the accessory SecA2 ATPase in wild type and azide resistant mutants of L. monocytogenes revealed for the first time that SecA2-dependent protein secretion also requires the ATPase activity of the house-keeping SecA protein.
  • Metaproteomics to unravel major microbial players in leaf litter and soil environments: challenges and perspectives.

    Becher, Dörte; Bernhardt, Jörg; Fuchs, Stephan; Riedel, Katharina; Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University of Greifswald, Institute of Microbiology, Greifswald, Germany. (2013-10)
    Soil- and litter-borne microorganisms vitally contribute to biogeochemical cycles. However, changes in environmental parameters but also human interferences may alter species composition and elicit alterations in microbial activities. Soil and litter metaproteomics, implying the assignment of soil and litter proteins to specific phylogenetic and functional groups, has a great potential to provide essential new insights into the impact of microbial diversity on soil ecosystem functioning. This article will illuminate challenges and perspectives of current soil and litter metaproteomics research, starting with an introduction to an appropriate experimental design and state-of-the-art proteomics methodologies. This will be followed by a summary of important studies aimed at (i) the discovery of the major biotic drivers of leaf litter decomposition, (ii) metaproteomics analyses of rhizosphere-inhabiting microbes, and (iii) global approaches to study bioremediation processes. The review will be closed by a brief outlook on future developments and some concluding remarks, which should assist the reader to develop successful concepts for soil and litter metaproteomics studies.