Recent Submissions

  • 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.
  • An Interferon Signature Discriminates Pneumococcal From Staphylococcal Pneumonia.

    Strehlitz, Anja; Goldmann, Oliver; Pils, Marina C; Pessler, Frank; Medina, Eva; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Despite the low prevalence of CAP caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), CAP patients often receive empirical antibiotic therapy providing coverage for MRSA such as vancomycin or linezolid. An early differentiation between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus pneumonia can help to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics. The objective of this study was to identify candidate biomarkers that can discriminate pneumococcal from staphylococcal pneumonia. A genome-wide transcriptional analysis of lung and peripheral blood performed in murine models of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus lung infection identified an interferon signature specifically associated with S. pneumoniae infection. Prediction models built using a support vector machine and Monte Carlo cross-validation, identified the combination of the interferon-induced chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 serum concentrations as the set of biomarkers with best sensitivity, specificity, and predictive power that enabled an accurate discrimination between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus pneumonia. The predictive performance of these biomarkers was further validated in an independent cohort of mice. This study highlights the potential of serum CXCL9 and CXCL10 biomarkers as an adjunctive diagnostic tool that could facilitate prompt and correct pathogen-targeted therapy in CAP patients.
  • Regulatory T-Cells Mediate IFN-α-Induced Resistance against Antigen-Induced Arthritis.

    Narendra, Sudeep Chenna; Chalise, Jaya Prakash; Biggs, Sophie; Kalinke, Ulrich; Magnusson, Mattias; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    CD4 Arthritis was triggered by intra-articular injection of methylated bovine serum albumin (mBSA) in wild-type mice, Foxp3DTReGFP Both control mice and mice devoid of IFNAR-signaling in T helper cells were protected from arthritis by IFN-α. Depletion of T By activating IDO during antigen sensitization, IFN-α activates T
  • Human monocyte-derived macrophages inhibit HCMV spread independent of classical antiviral cytokines.

    Becker, Jennifer; Kinast, Volker; Döring, Marius; Lipps, Christoph; Duran, Veronica; Spanier, Julia; Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Wirth, Dagmar; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Alcamí, Antonio; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig. (2018-01-01)
    Infection of healthy individuals with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is usually unnoticed and results in life-long latency, whereas HCMV reactivation as well as infection of newborns or immunocompromised patients can cause life-threatening disease. To better understand HCMV pathogenesis we studied mechanisms that restrict HCMV spread. We discovered that HCMV-infected cells can directly trigger plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to mount antiviral type I interferon (IFN-I) responses, even in the absence of cell-free virus. In contrast, monocyte-derived cells only expressed IFN-I when stimulated by cell-free HCMV, or upon encounter of HCMV-infected cells that already produced cell-free virus. Nevertheless, also in the absence of cell-free virus, i.e., upon co-culture of infected epithelial/endothelial cells and monocyte-derived macrophages (moMΦ) or dendritic cells (moDC), antiviral responses were induced that limited HCMV spread. The induction of this antiviral effect was dependent on cell-cell contact, whereas cell-free supernatants from co-culture experiments also inhibited virus spread, implying that soluble factors were critically needed. Interestingly, the antiviral effect was independent of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IFN-I as indicated by cytokine inhibition experiments using neutralizing antibodies or the vaccinia virus-derived soluble IFN-I binding protein B18R, which traps human IFN-α and IFN-β. In conclusion, our results indicate that human macrophages and dendritic cells can limit HCMV spread by IFN-I dependent as well as independent mechanisms, whereas the latter ones might be particularly relevant for the restriction of HCMV transmission via cell-to-cell spread.
  • Pulmonale Immunität bei Tuberkulose

    Herzmann, C.; Dallenga, T.; Kalinke, U.
    Tuberculosis is transmitted by inhalation of Mycobacterium tuberculosis-containing aerosols; 75 % of all patients show pulmonary manifestation. Immune responses after exposure that lead to clinical symptoms occur mainly in the respiratory tract and are only poorly understood. In most cases, cells of the innate immune system are believed to control the growth of or eradicate inhaled mycobacteria. However, this cannot be verified in vivo using standard methods. Subsequently, CD4+ and CD8+ T cell-driven adaptive immune responses are induced that attempt to control bacterial growth. The humoral defence appears to be less important. This article gives an overview of the current understanding of pulmonary immune mechanisms during exposure, latent infection, active disease and therapy of tuberculosis. Übersicht Herzmann C et al. Pulmonale Immunität bei … Pneumologie H
  • Type I Interferon Receptor Signaling of Neurons and Astrocytes Regulates Microglia Activation during Viral Encephalitis.

    Chhatbar, Chintan; Detje, Claudia N; Grabski, Elena; Borst, Katharina; Spanier, Julia; Ghita, Luca; Elliott, David A; Jordão, Marta Joana Costa; Mueller, Nora; Sutton, James; Prajeeth, Chittappen K; Gudi, Viktoria; Klein, Michael A; Prinz, Marco; Bradke, Frank; Stangel, Martin; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-10-02)
    In sterile neuroinflammation, a pathological role is proposed for microglia, whereas in viral encephalitis, their function is not entirely clear. Many viruses exploit the odorant system and enter the CNS via the olfactory bulb (OB). Upon intranasal vesicular stomatitis virus instillation, we show an accumulation of activated microglia and monocytes in the OB. Depletion of microglia during encephalitis results in enhanced virus spread and increased lethality. Activation, proliferation, and accumulation of microglia are regulated by type I IFN receptor signaling of neurons and astrocytes, but not of microglia. Morphological analysis of myeloid cells shows that type I IFN receptor signaling of neurons has a stronger impact on the activation of myeloid cells than of astrocytes. Thus, in the infected CNS, the cross talk among neurons, astrocytes, and microglia is critical for full microglia activation and protection from lethal encephalitis.
  • The olfactory epithelium as a port of entry in neonatal neurolisteriosis.

    Pägelow, Dennis; Chhatbar, Chintan; Beineke, Andreas; Liu, Xiaokun; Nerlich, Andreas; van Vorst, Kira; Rohde, Manfred; Kalinke, Ulrich; Förster, Reinhold; Halle, Stephan; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Hornef, Mathias W; Fulde, Marcus; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-10-15)
    Bacterial infections of the central nervous system (CNS) remain a major cause of mortality in the neonatal population. Commonly used parenteral infection models, however, do not reflect the early course of the disease leaving this critical step of the pathogenesis largely unexplored. Here, we analyzed nasal exposure of 1-day-old newborn mice to Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). We found that nasal, but not intragastric administration, led to early CNS infection in neonate mice. In particular, upon bacterial invasion of the olfactory epithelium, Lm subsequently spread along the sensory neurons entering the brain tissue at the cribriform plate and causing a significant influx of monocytes and neutrophils. CNS infection required listeriolysin for penetration of the olfactory epithelium and ActA, a mediator of intracellular mobility, for translocation into the brain tissue. Taken together, we propose an alternative port of entry and route of infection for neonatal neurolisteriosis and present a novel infection model to mimic the clinical features of late-onset disease in human neonates.
  • Chemokine receptors CCR2 and CX3CR1 regulate viral encephalitis-induced hippocampal damage but not seizures.

    Käufer, Christopher; Chhatbar, Chintan; Bröer, Sonja; Waltl, Inken; Ghita, Luca; Gerhauser, Ingo; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-09-18)
    Viral encephalitis is a major risk factor for the development of seizures, epilepsy, and hippocampal damage with associated cognitive impairment, markedly reducing quality of life in survivors. The mechanisms underlying seizures and hippocampal neurodegeneration developing during and after viral encephalitis are only incompletely understood, hampering the development of preventive treatments. Recent findings suggest that brain invasion of blood-born monocytes may be critically involved in both seizures and brain damage in response to encephalitis, whereas the relative role of microglia, the brain's resident immune cells, in these processes is not clear. CCR2 and CX3CR1 are two chemokine receptors that regulate the responses of myeloid cells, such as monocytes and microglia, during inflammation. We used
  • Interferon-beta expression and type I interferon receptor signaling of hepatocytes prevent hepatic necrosis and virus dissemination in Coxsackievirus B3-infected mice.

    Koestner, Wolfgang; Spanier, Julia; Klause, Tanja; Tegtmeyer, Pia-K; Becker, Jennifer; Herder, Vanessa; Borst, Katharina; Todt, Daniel; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Gerhauser, Ingo; Detje, Claudia N; Geffers, Robert; Langereis, Martijn A; Vondran, Florian W R; Yuan, Qinggong; van Kuppeveld, Frank J M; Ott, Michael; Staeheli, Peter; Steinmann, Eike; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Wacker, Frank; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany (2018-08-01)
    During Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection hepatitis is a potentially life threatening complication, particularly in newborns. Studies with type I interferon (IFN-I) receptor (IFNAR)-deficient mice revealed a key role of the IFN-I axis in the protection against CVB3 infection, whereas the source of IFN-I and cell types that have to be IFNAR triggered in order to promote survival are still unknown. We found that CVB3 infected IFN-β reporter mice showed effective reporter induction, especially in hepatocytes and only to a minor extent in liver-resident macrophages. Accordingly, upon in vitro CVB3 infection of primary hepatocytes from murine or human origin abundant IFN-β responses were induced. To identify sites of IFNAR-triggering we performed experiments with Mx reporter mice, which upon CVB3 infection showed massive luciferase induction in the liver. Immunohistological studies revealed that during CVB3 infection MX1 expression of hepatocytes was induced primarily by IFNAR-, and not by IFN-III receptor (IFNLR)-triggering. CVB3 infection studies with primary human hepatocytes, in which either the IFN-I or the IFN-III axis was inhibited, also indicated that primarily IFNAR-, and to a lesser extent IFNLR-triggering was needed for ISG induction. Interestingly, CVB3 infected mice with a hepatocyte-specific IFNAR ablation showed severe liver cell necrosis and ubiquitous viral dissemination that resulted in lethal disease, as similarly detected in classical IFNAR-/- mice. In conclusion, we found that during CVB3 infection hepatocytes are major IFN-I producers and that the liver is also the organ that shows strong IFNAR-triggering. Importantly, hepatocytes need to be IFNAR-triggered in order to prevent virus dissemination and to assure survival. These data are compatible with the hypothesis that during CVB3 infection hepatocytes serve as important IFN-I producers and sensors not only in the murine, but also in the human system.
  • Development of a Bead-Based Multiplex Assay for the Analysis of the Serological Response against the Six Pathogens HAV, HBV, HCV, CMV, T. gondii, and H. pylori.

    Filomena, Angela; Pessler, Frank; Akmatov, Manas K; Krause, Gérard; Duffy, Darragh; Gärtner, Barbara; Gerhard, Markus; Albert, Matthew L; Joos, Thomas O; Schneiderhan-Marra, Nicole; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-10-30)
    The spread of infectious diseases and vaccination history are common subjects of epidemiological and immunological research studies. Multiplexed serological assays are useful tools for assessing both current and previous infections as well as vaccination efficacy. We developed a serological multi-pathogen assay for hepatitis A, B and C virus, cytomegalovirus (CMV),
  • NS Segment of a 1918 Influenza A Virus-Descendent Enhances Replication of H1N1pdm09 and Virus-Induced Cellular Immune Response in Mammalian and Avian Systems.

    Petersen, Henning; Mostafa, Ahmed; Tantawy, Mohamed A; Iqbal, Azeem A; Hoffmann, Donata; Tallam, Aravind; Selvakumar, Balachandar; Pessler, Frank; Beer, Martin; Rautenschlein, Silke; Pleschka, Stephan; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    The 2009 pandemic influenza A virus (IAV) H1N1 strain (H1N1pdm09) has widely spread and is circulating in humans and swine together with other human and avian IAVs. This fact raises the concern that reassortment between H1N1pdm09 and co-circulating viruses might lead to an increase of H1N1pdm09 pathogenicity in different susceptible host species. Herein, we explored the potential of different NS segments to enhance the replication dynamics, pathogenicity and host range of H1N1pdm09 strain A/Giessen/06/09 (Gi-wt). The NS segments were derived from (i) human H1N1- and H3N2 IAVs, (ii) highly pathogenic- (H5- or H7-subtypes) or (iii) low pathogenic avian influenza viruses (H7- or H9-subtypes). A significant increase of growth kinetics in A549 (human lung epithelia) and NPTr (porcine tracheal epithelia) cells was only noticed
  • Identification of a Predominantly Interferon-λ-Induced Transcriptional Profile in Murine Intestinal Epithelial Cells.

    Selvakumar, Tharini A; Bhushal, Sudeep; Kalinke, Ulrich; Wirth, Dagmar; Hauser, Hansjörg; Köster, Mario; Hornef, Mathias W; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-01)
    Type I (α and β) and type III (λ) interferons (IFNs) induce the expression of a large set of antiviral effector molecules
  • Type I interferon receptor signaling delays Kupffer cell replenishment during acute fulminant viral hepatitis.

    Borst, Katharina; Frenz, Theresa; Spanier, Julia; Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Chhatbar, Chintan; Skerra, Jennifer; Ghita, Luca; Namineni, Sukumar; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Köster, Mario; Heikenwaelder, Mathias; Sutter, Gerd; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-12-21)
    Virus-induced fulminant hepatitis is a major cause of acute liver failure. During acute viral hepatitis the impact of type I interferon (IFN-I) on myeloid cells, including liver-resident Kupffer cells (KC), is only partially understood. Herein, we dissected the impact of locally induced IFN-I responses on myeloid cell function and hepatocytes during acute liver inflammation. Two different DNA-encoded viruses, vaccinia virus (VACV) and murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), were studied. In vivo imaging was applied to visualize local IFN-β induction and IFN-I receptor (IFNAR) triggering in VACV-infected reporter mice. Furthermore, mice with a cell type-selective IFNAR ablation were analyzed to dissect the role of IFNAR signaling in myeloid cells and hepatocytes. Experiments with Cx3cr1 VACV infection induced local IFN-β responses, which lead to IFNAR signaling primarily within the liver. IFNAR triggering was needed to control the infection and prevent fulminant hepatitis. The severity of liver inflammation was independent of IFNAR triggering of hepatocytes, whereas IFNAR triggering of myeloid cells protected from excessive inflammation. Upon VACV or MCMV infection KC disappeared, whereas infiltrating monocytes differentiated to KC afterwards. During IFNAR triggering such replenished monocyte-derived KC comprised more IFNAR-deficient than -competent cells in mixed bone marrow chimeric mice, whereas after the decline of IFNAR triggering both subsets showed an even distribution. Upon VACV infection IFNAR triggering of myeloid cells, but not of hepatocytes, critically modulates acute viral hepatitis. During infection with DNA-encoded viruses IFNAR triggering of liver-infiltrating blood monocytes delays the development of monocyte-derived KC, pointing towards new therapeutic strategies for acute viral hepatitis.
  • Early Lymphocyte Loss and Increased Granulocyte/Lymphocyte Ratio Predict Systemic Spread of in a Mouse Model of Acute Skin Infection.

    Loof, Torsten G; Sohail, Aaqib; Bahgat, Mahmoud M; Tallam, Aravind; Arshad, Haroon; Akmatov, Manas K; Pils, Marina C; Heise, Ulrike; Beineke, Andreas; Pessler, Frank; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
    Group A streptococci may induce lymphopenia, but the value of lymphocyte loss as early biomarkers for systemic spread and severe infection has not been examined systematically. We evaluated peripheral blood cell indices as biomarkers for severity and spread of infection in a mouse model of skin infection, using two isolates of greatly differing virulence. Internal organs were examined histologically. After subcutaneous inoculation, strain AP1 disseminated rapidly to peripheral blood and internal organs, causing frank sepsis. In contrast, seeding of internal organs by 5448 was mild, this strain could not be isolated from blood, and infection remained mostly localized to skin. Histopathologic examination of liver revealed microvesicular fatty change (steatosis) in AP1 infection, and examination of spleen showed elevated apoptosis and blurring of the white pulp/red pulp border late (40 h post infection) in AP1 infection. Both strains caused profound lymphopenia, but lymphocyte loss was more rapid early in AP1 infection, and lymphocyte count at 6 h post infection was the most accurate early marker for AP1 infection (area under the receiver operator curve [AUC] = 0.93), followed by the granulocyte/lymphocyte ratio (AUC = 0.89). The results suggest that virulence of correlates with the degree of early lymphopenia and underscore the value of peripheral blood indices to predict severity of bacterial infections in mice. Early lymphopenia and elevated granulocyte/lymphocyte ratio merit further investigation as biomarkers for systemic spread of skin infections in humans and, possibly, related pyogenic streptococci in humans and animals.
  • Differentiation of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells into Functional Endothelial Cells in Scalable Suspension Culture.

    Olmer, Ruth; Engels, Lena; Usman, Abdulai; Menke, Sandra; Malik, Muhammad Nasir Hayat; Pessler, Frank; Göhring, Gudrun; Bornhorst, Dorothee; Bolten, Svenja; Abdelilah-Seyfried, Salim; Scheper, Thomas; Kempf, Henning; Zweigerdt, Robert; Martin, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-05-08)
    Endothelial cells (ECs) are involved in a variety of cellular responses. As multifunctional components of vascular structures, endothelial (progenitor) cells have been utilized in cellular therapies and are required as an important cellular component of engineered tissue constructs and in vitro disease models. Although primary ECs from different sources are readily isolated and expanded, cell quantity and quality in terms of functionality and karyotype stability is limited. ECs derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) represent an alternative and potentially superior cell source, but traditional culture approaches and 2D differentiation protocols hardly allow for production of large cell numbers. Aiming at the production of ECs, we have developed a robust approach for efficient endothelial differentiation of hiPSCs in scalable suspension culture. The established protocol results in relevant numbers of ECs for regenerative approaches and industrial applications that show in vitro proliferation capacity and a high degree of chromosomal stability.
  • Application of light sheet microscopy for qualitative and quantitative analysis of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue in mice.

    Mzinza, David Twapokera; Fleige, Henrike; Laarmann, Kristin; Willenzon, Stefanie; Ristenpart, Jasmin; Spanier, Julia; Sutter, Gerd; Kalinke, Ulrich; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Förster, Reinhold; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle uns klinische Ifektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-02-12)
    Bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue (BALT) develops at unpredictable locations around lung bronchi following pulmonary inflammation. The formation and composition of BALT have primarily been investigated by immunohistology that, due to the size of the invested organ, is usually restricted to a limited number of histological sections. To assess the entire BALT of the lung, other approaches are urgently needed. Here, we introduce a novel light sheet microscopy-based approach for assessing lymphoid tissue in the lung. Using antibody staining of whole lung lobes and optical clearing by organic solvents, we present a method that allows in-depth visualization of the entire bronchial tree, the lymphatic vasculature and the immune cell composition of the induced BALT. Furthermore, three-dimensional analysis of the entire lung allows the qualitative and quantitative enumeration of the induced BALT. Using this approach, we show that a single intranasal application of the replication-deficient poxvirus MVA induces BALT that constitutes up to 8% of the entire lung volume in mice deficient in CCR7, in contrast to wild type mice (WT). Furthermore, BALT induced by heat-inactivated E. coli is dominated by a pronounced T cell infiltration in Cxcr5-deficient mice, in contrast to WT mice.Cellular and Molecular Immunology advance online publication, 12 February 2018; doi:10.1038/cmi.2017.150.
  • Type I Interferon Signaling Is Required for CpG-Oligodesoxynucleotide-Induced Control of Leishmania major, but Not for Spontaneous Cure of Subcutaneous Primary or Secondary L. major Infection.

    Schleicher, Ulrike; Liese, Jan; Justies, Nicole; Mischke, Thomas; Haeberlein, Simone; Sebald, Heidi; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Bogdan, Christian; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018)
    We previously showed that in mice infected with Leishmania major type I interferons (IFNs) initiate the innate immune response to the parasite at day 1 and 2 of infection. Here, we investigated which type I IFN subtypes are expressed during the first 8 weeks of L. major infection and whether type I IFNs are essential for a protective immune response and clinical cure of the disease. In self-healing C57BL/6 mice infected with a high dose of L. major, IFN-α4, IFN-α5, IFN-α11, IFN-α13, and IFN-β mRNA were most prominently regulated during the course of infection. In C57BL/6 mice deficient for IFN-β or the IFN-α/β-receptor chain 1 (IFNAR1), development of skin lesions and parasite loads in skin, draining lymph node, and spleen was indistinguishable from wild-type (WT) mice. In line with the clinical findings, C57BL/6 IFN-β-/-, IFNAR1-/-, and WT mice exhibited similar mRNA expression levels of IFN-γ, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-12, IL-13, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and arginase 1 during the acute and late phase of the infection. Also, myeloid dendritic cells from WT and IFNAR1-/- mice produced comparable amounts of IL-12p40/p70 protein upon exposure to L. major in vitro. In non-healing BALB/c WT mice, the mRNAs of IFN-α subtypes (α2, α4, α5, α6, and α9) were rapidly induced after high-dose L. major infection. However, genetic deletion of IFNAR1 or IFN-β did not alter the progressive course of infection seen in WT BALB/c mice. Finally, we tested whether type I IFNs and/or IL-12 are required for the prophylactic effect of CpG-oligodesoxynucleotides (ODN) in BALB/c mice. Local and systemic administration of CpG-ODN 1668 protected WT and IFN-β-/- mice equally well from progressive leishmaniasis. By contrast, the protective effect of CpG-ODN 1668 was lost in BALB/c IFNAR1-/- (despite a sustained suppression of IL-4) and in BALB/c IL-12p35-/- mice. From these data, we conclude that IFN-β and IFNAR1 signaling are dispensable for a curative immune response to L. major in C57BL/6 mice and irrelevant for disease development in BALB/c mice, whereas IL-12 and IFN-α subtypes are essential for the disease prevention by CpG-ODNs in this mouse strain.
  • Tolerogenic Transcriptional Signatures of Steady-State and Pathogen-Induced Dendritic Cells.

    Vendelova, Emilia; Ashour, Diyaaeldin; Blank, Patrick; Erhard, Florian; Saliba, Antoine-Emmanuel; Kalinke, Ulrich; Lutz, Manfred B; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018)
    Dendritic cells (DCs) are key directors of tolerogenic and immunogenic immune responses. During the steady state, DCs maintain T cell tolerance to self-antigens by multiple mechanisms including inducing anergy, deletion, and Treg activity. All of these mechanisms help to prevent autoimmune diseases or other hyperreactivities. Different DC subsets contribute to pathogen recognition by expression of different subsets of pattern recognition receptors, including Toll-like receptors or C-type lectins. In addition to the triggering of immune responses in infected hosts, most pathogens have evolved mechanisms for evasion of targeted responses. One such strategy is characterized by adopting the host's T cell tolerance mechanisms. Understanding these tolerogenic mechanisms is of utmost importance for therapeutic approaches to treat immune pathologies, tumors and infections. Transcriptional profiling has developed into a potent tool for DC subset identification. Here, we review and compile pathogen-induced tolerogenic transcriptional signatures from mRNA profiling data of currently available bacterial- or helminth-induced transcriptional signatures. We compare them with signatures of tolerogenic steady-state DC subtypes to identify common and divergent strategies of pathogen induced immune evasion. Candidate molecules are discussed in detail. Our analysis provides further insights into tolerogenic DC signatures and their exploitation by different pathogens.
  • Mass-spectrometric profiling of cerebrospinal fluid reveals metabolite biomarkers for CNS involvement in varicella zoster virus reactivation.

    Kuhn, Maike; Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Akmatov, Manas K; Klawonn, Frank; Wang, Junxi; Skripuletz, Thomas; Kaever, Volkhard; Stangel, Martin; Pessler, Frank; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-01-17)
    Varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation spans the spectrum from uncomplicated segmental herpes zoster to life-threatening disseminated CNS infection. Moreover, in the absence of a small animal model for this human pathogen, studies of pathogenesis at the organismal level depend on analysis of human biosamples. Changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) metabolites may reflect critical aspects of host responses and end-organ damage in neuroinfection and neuroinflammation. We therefore applied a targeted metabolomics screen of CSF to three clinically distinct forms of VZV reactivation and infectious and non-infectious disease controls in order to identify biomarkers for CNS involvement in VZV reactivation.
  • Macrophage depletion by liposome-encapsulated clodronate suppresses seizures but not hippocampal damage after acute viral encephalitis.

    Waltl, Inken; Käufer, Christopher; Bröer, Sonja; Chhatbar, Chintan; Ghita, Luca; Gerhauser, Ingo; Anjum, Muneeb; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle uns klinische Ifektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-02)
    Viral encephalitis is a major risk factor for the development of seizures and epilepsy, but the underlying mechanisms are only poorly understood. Mouse models such as viral encephalitis induced by intracerebral infection with Theiler's virus in C57BL/6 (B6) mice allow advancing our understanding of the immunological and virological aspects of infection-induced seizures and their treatment. Previous studies using the Theiler's virus model in B6 mice have indicated that brain-infiltrating inflammatory macrophages and the cytokines released by these cells are key to the development of acute seizures and hippocampal damage in this model. However, approaches used to prevent or reduce macrophage infiltration were not specific, so contribution of other mechanisms could not be excluded. In the present study, we used a more selective and widely used approach for macrophage depletion, i.e., systemic administration of clodronate liposomes, to study the contribution of macrophage infiltration to development of seizures and hippocampal damage. By this approach, almost complete depletion of monocytic cells was achieved in spleen and blood of Theiler's virus infected B6 mice, which was associated with a 70% decrease in the number of brain infiltrating macrophages as assessed by flow cytometry. Significantly less clodronate liposome-treated mice exhibited seizures than liposome controls (P<0.01), but the development of hippocampal damage was not prevented or reduced. Clodronate liposome treatment did not reduce the increased Iba1 and Mac3 labeling in the hippocampus of infected mice, indicating that activated microglia may contribute to hippocampal damage. The unexpected mismatch between occurrence of seizures and hippocampal damage is thought-provoking and suggests that the mechanisms involved in degeneration of specific populations of hippocampal neurons in encephalitis-induced epilepsy are more complex than previously thought.

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