• Antibody induced CD4 down-modulation of T cells is site-specifically mediated by CD64(+) cells.

      Vogel, Stephanie; Grabski, Elena; Buschjäger, Daniela; Klawonn, Frank; Döring, Marius; Wang, Junxi; Fletcher, Erika; Bechmann, Ingo; Witte, Torsten; Durisin, Martin; Schraven, Burkhart; Mangsbo, Sara M; Schönfeld, Kurt; Czeloth, Niklas; Kalinke, Ulrich; Institute for Experimental Infection Research, TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Feodor-Lynen-Straße 7, D30625 Hannover, Germany. (2015)
      Treatment of PBMC with the CD4-specific mAb BT-061 induces CD4 down-modulation of T cells. Here we report that addition of BT-061 to purified T cells did not confer this effect, whereas incubation of T cells in BT-061 coated wells restored CD4 down-modulation. These results implied that Fcγ receptor mediated cell-cell interactions played a role. In consistence with this hypothesis PBMC depleted of CD64(+) monocytes did not confer CD4 down-modulation of BT-061 decorated T cells. Strikingly, CD4 down-modulation was observed in BT-061 treated synovial fluid punctuated from patients' inflamed joints that comprised enhanced numbers of CD64(+) cells. In contrast, in a circulating whole blood system injection of BT-061 did not induce CD4 down-modulation, due to CD64 saturation by serum IgG. Similarly, tonsil derived mononuclear cells devoid of CD64(+) cells did not show CD4 down-modulation, whereas addition of blood derived monocytes restored the effect. Thus, the interaction of BT-061 decorated T cells with CD64(+) cells is needed for CD4 down-modulation, implying that in patients BT-061 would primarily induce CD4 down-modulation at inflammatory sites. These results highlight the need not only to examine the interaction of a given mAb with single FcγR, but also the immunological environment that is appropriate to support such interactions.
    • Antigen presenting cell-selective drug delivery by glycan-decorated nanocarriers.

      Frenz, Theresa; Grabski, Elena; Durán, Verónica; Hozsa, Constantin; Stępczyńska, Anna; Furch, Marcus; Gieseler, Robert K; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 3-7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2015-09)
      Targeted drug delivery systems hold promise for selective provision of active compounds to distinct tissues or cell subsets. Thus, locally enhanced drug concentrations are obtained that would confer improved efficacy. As a consequence adverse effects should be diminished, as innocent bystander cells are less affected. Currently, several controlled drug delivery systems based on diverse materials are being developed. Some systems exhibit material-associated toxic effects and/or show low drug loading capacity. In contrast, liposomal nanocarriers are particularly favorable because they are well tolerated, poorly immunogenic, can be produced in defined sizes, and offer a reasonable payload capacity. Compared with other immune cells, professional antigen-presenting cells (APCs) demonstrate enhanced liposome uptake mediated by macropinocytosis, phagocytosis and presumably also by clathrin- and caveolae-mediated endocytosis. In order to further enhance the targeting efficacy toward APCs, receptor-mediated uptake appears advisable. Since APC subsets generally do not express single linage-specific receptors, members of the C-type lectin receptor (CLR) family are compelling targets. Examples of CLR expressed by APCs include DEC-205 (CD205) expressed by myeloid dendritic cells (DC) and monocytes, the mannose receptor C type 1 (MR, CD206) expressed by DC, monocytes and macrophages, DC-SIGN (CD209) expressed by DC, and several others. These receptors bind glycans, which are typically displayed by pathogens and thus support pathogen uptake and endocytosis. Further research will elucidate whether glycan-decorated liposomes will not only enhance APCs targeting but also enable preferential delivery of their payload to discrete subcellular compartments.
    • Antigenic and 3D structural characterization of soluble X4 and hybrid X4-R5 HIV-1 Env trimers.

      Arnold, Philipp; Himmels, Patricia; Weiß, Svenja; Decker, Tim-Michael; Markl, Jürgen; Gatterdam, Volker; Tampé, Robert; Bartholomäus, Patrick; Dietrich, Ursula; Dürr, Ralf (2014)
      HIV-1 is decorated with trimeric glycoprotein spikes that enable infection by engaging CD4 and a chemokine coreceptor, either CCR5 or CXCR4. The variable loop 3 (V3) of the HIV-1 envelope protein (Env) is the main determinant for coreceptor usage. The predominant CCR5 using (R5) HIV-1 Env has been intensively studied in function and structure, whereas the trimeric architecture of the less frequent, but more cytopathic CXCR4 using (X4) HIV-1 Env is largely unknown, as are the consequences of sequence changes in and near V3 on antigenicity and trimeric Env structure.
    • The antiviral drug ganciclovir does not inhibit microglial proliferation and activation.

      Skripuletz, Thomas; Salinas Tejedor, Laura; Prajeeth, Chittappen K; Hansmann, Florian; Chhatbar, Chintan; Kucman, Valeria; Zhang, Ning; Raddatz, Barbara B; Detje, Claudia N; Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Pul, Refik; Gudi, Viktoria; Kalinke, Ulrich; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Stangel, Martin; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625, Hannover, Germany. (2015)
      Ganciclovir is effective in the treatment of human infections with viruses of the Herpesviridae family. Beside antiviral properties, recently ganciclovir was described to inhibit microglial proliferation and disease severity of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an inflammatory model of multiple sclerosis. Microglial activation and proliferation are main characteristics of neuroinflammatory CNS diseases and inhibition of microglial functions might be beneficial in autoimmune diseases, or detrimental in infectious diseases. The objective of this study was to determine potential inhibitory effects of ganciclovir in three different murine animal models of CNS neuroinflammation in which microglia play an important role: Theiler´s murine encephalomyelitis, the cuprizone model of de- and remyelination, and the vesicular stomatitis virus encephalitis model. In addition, in vitro experiments with microglial cultures were performed to test the hypothesis that ganciclovir inhibits microglial proliferation. In all three animal models, neither microglial proliferation or recruitment nor disease activity was changed by ganciclovir. In vitro experiments confirmed that microglial proliferation was not affected by ganciclovir. In conclusion, our results show that the antiviral drug ganciclovir does not inhibit microglial activation and proliferation in the murine CNS.
    • 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.
    • Assessment and reporting of the clinical immunogenicity of therapeutic proteins and peptides-harmonized terminology and tactical recommendations.

      Shankar, G; Arkin, S; Cocea, L; Devanarayan, V; Kirshner, S; Kromminga, A; Quarmby, V; Richards, S; Schneider, C K; Subramanyam, M; Swanson, S; Verthelyi, D; Yim, S; Janssen Research & Development, LLC (Johnson & Johnson), 1400 McKean Road, P.O. Box 776, Spring House, Pennsylvania, 19477, USA, Gshanka3@its.jnj.com. (2014-07)
      Immunogenicity is a significant concern for biologic drugs as it can affect both safety and efficacy. To date, the descriptions of product immunogenicity have varied not only due to different degrees of understanding of product immunogenicity at the time of licensing but also due to an evolving lexicon that has generated some confusion in the field. In recent years, there has been growing consensus regarding the data needed to assess product immunogenicity. Harmonization of the strategy for the elucidation of product immunogenicity by drug developers, as well as the use of defined common terminology, can benefit medical practitioners, health regulatory agencies, and ultimately the patients. Clearly, understanding the incidence, kinetics and magnitude of anti-drug antibody (ADA), its neutralizing ability, cross-reactivity with endogenous molecules or other marketed biologic drugs, and related clinical impact may enhance clinical management of patients treated with biologic drugs. To that end, the authors present terms and definitions for describing and analyzing clinical immunogenicity data and suggest approaches to data presentation, emphasizing associations of ADA development with pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety that are necessary to assess the clinical relevance of immunogenicity.
    • Biosimilars: what clinicians should know.

      Weise, Martina; Bielsky, Marie-Christine; De Smet, Karen; Ehmann, Falk; Ekman, Niklas; Giezen, Thijs J; Gravanis, Iordanis; Heim, Hans-Karl; Heinonen, Esa; Ho, Kowid; Moreau, Alexandre; Narayanan, Gopalan; Kruse, Nanna A; Reichmann, Gabriele; Thorpe, Robin; van Aerts, Leon; Vleminckx, Camille; Wadhwa, Meenu; Schneider, Christian K; Bundesinstitut für Arzneimittel und Medizinprodukte, Bonn, Germany. martina.weise@bfarm.de (2012-12-20)
      Biosimilar medicinal products (biosimilars) have become a reality in the European Union and will soon be available in the United States. Despite an established legal pathway for biosimilars in the European Union since 2005 and increasing and detailed regulatory guidance on data requirements for their development and licensing, many clinicians, particularly oncologists, are reluctant to consider biosimilars as a treatment option for their patients. Major concerns voiced about biosimilars relate to their pharmaceutical quality, safety (especially immunogenicity), efficacy (particularly in extrapolated indications), and interchangeability with the originator product. In this article, the members and experts of the Working Party on Similar Biologic Medicinal Products of the European Medicines Agency (EMA) address these issues. A clear understanding of the scientific principles of the biosimilar concept and access to unbiased information on licensed biosimilars are important for physicians to make informed and appropriate treatment choices for their patients. This will become even more important with the advent of biosimilar monoclonal antibodies. The issues also highlight the need for improved communication between physicians, learned societies, and regulators.
    • cGAS Senses Human Cytomegalovirus and Induces Type I Interferon Responses in Human Monocyte-Derived Cells.

      Paijo, Jennifer; Döring, Marius; Spanier, Julia; Grabski, Elena; Nooruzzaman, Mohammed; Schmidt, Tobias; Witte, Gregor; Messerle, Martin; Hornung, Veit; Kaever, Volkhard; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, a joint venture between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and the Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2016-04)
      Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infections of healthy individuals are mostly unnoticed and result in viral latency. However, HCMV can also cause devastating disease, e.g., upon reactivation in immunocompromised patients. Yet, little is known about human immune cell sensing of DNA-encoded HCMV. Recent studies indicated that during viral infection the cyclic GMP/AMP synthase (cGAS) senses cytosolic DNA and catalyzes formation of the cyclic di-nucleotide cGAMP, which triggers stimulator of interferon genes (STING) and thus induces antiviral type I interferon (IFN-I) responses. We found that plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) as well as monocyte-derived DC and macrophages constitutively expressed cGAS and STING. HCMV infection further induced cGAS, whereas STING expression was only moderately affected. Although pDC expressed particularly high levels of cGAS, and the cGAS/STING axis was functional down-stream of STING, as indicated by IFN-I induction upon synthetic cGAMP treatment, pDC were not susceptible to HCMV infection and mounted IFN-I responses in a TLR9-dependent manner. Conversely, HCMV infected monocyte-derived cells synthesized abundant cGAMP levels that preceded IFN-I production and that correlated with the extent of infection. CRISPR/Cas9- or siRNA-mediated cGAS ablation in monocytic THP-1 cells and primary monocyte-derived cells, respectively, impeded induction of IFN-I responses following HCMV infection. Thus, cGAS is a key sensor of HCMV for IFN-I induction in primary human monocyte-derived DC and macrophages.
    • cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7 induced interferon-β contributes to the clearing of non tuberculous mycobacterial infection in mice.

      Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Nerlich, Andreas; Abdissa, Ketema; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Janze, Nina; Laarmann, Kristin; Spanier, Julia; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Goethe, Ralph; TWNCORe, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynnen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-10-03)
      Type I interferons (IFN-I), such as IFN-α and IFN-β are important messengers in the host response against bacterial infections. Knowledge about the role of IFN-I in infections by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) is limited. Here we show that macrophages infected with pathogens of the Mycobacterium avium complex produced significantly lower amounts of IFN-β than macrophages infected with the opportunistic pathogen M. smegmatis. To dissect the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon, we focused on the obligate pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis (MAP) and the opportunistic M. smegmatis. Viability of both bacteria was required for induction of IFN-β in macrophages. Both bacteria induced IFN-β via the cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7-pathway of IFN-β activation. Stronger phosphorylation of TBK1 and higher amounts of extracellular bacterial DNA in the macrophage cytosol were found in M. smegmatis infected macrophages than in MAP infected macrophages. After intraperitoneal infection of mice, a strong Ifnb induction by M. smegmatis correlated with clearance of the bacteria. In contrast, MAP only induced weak Ifnb expression which correlated with bacterial persistence and increased number of granulomas in the liver. In mice lacking the type I interferon receptor we observed improved survival of M. smegmatis while survival of MAP was similar to that in wildtype mice. On the other hand, treatment of MAP infected wildtype mice with the IFN-I inducer poly(I:C) or recombinant IFN-β impaired the survival of MAP. This indicates an essential role of IFN-I in clearing infections by MAP and M. smegmatis. The expression level of IFN-I is decisive for transient versus persistent NTM infection.
    • 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
    • Clinical development of gene therapy needs a tailored approach: a regulatory perspective from the European Union.

      Narayanan, Gopalan; Cossu, Giulio; Galli, Maria Cristina; Flory, Egbert; Ovelgonne, Hans; Salmikangas, Paula; Schneider, Christian K; Trouvin, Jean-Hugues (2014-03)
      Gene therapy is a rapidly evolving field that needs an integrated approach, as acknowledged in the concept article on the revision of the guideline on gene transfer medicinal products. The first gene therapy application for marketing authorization was approved in the International Conference on Harmonisation (ICH) region in 2012, the product being Alipogene tiparvovec. The regulatory process for this product has been commented on extensively, highlighting the challenges posed by such a novel technology. Here, as current or previous members of the Committee for Advanced Therapies, we share our perspectives and views on gene therapy as a treatment modality based on current common understanding and regulatory experience of gene therapy products in the European Union to date. It is our view that a tailored approach is needed for a given gene therapy product in order to achieve successful marketing authorization.
    • Coadministration of a Plasmid Encoding HIV-1 Gag Enhances the Efficacy of Cancer DNA Vaccines.

      Lambricht, Laure; Vanvarenberg, Kevin; De Beuckelaer, Ans; Van Hoecke, Lien; Grooten, Johan; Ucakar, Bernard; Lipnik, Pascale; Sanders, Niek N; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Préat, Véronique; Vandermeulen, Gaëlle; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2016)
      DNA vaccination holds great promise for the prevention and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. However, the clinical ability of DNA vaccines is still controversial due to the limited immune response initially observed in humans. We hypothesized that electroporation of a plasmid encoding the HIV-1 Gag viral capsid protein would enhance cancer DNA vaccine potency. DNA electroporation used to deliver plasmids in vivo, induced type I interferons, thereby supporting the activation of innate immunity. The coadministration of ovalbumin (OVA) and HIV-1 Gag encoding plasmids modulated the adaptive immune response. This strategy favored antigen-specific Th1 immunity, delayed B16F10-OVA tumor growth and improved mouse survival in both prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination approaches. Similarly, a prophylactic DNA immunization against the melanoma-associated antigen gp100 was enhanced by the codelivery of the HIV-1 Gag plasmid. The adjuvant effect was not driven by the formation of HIV-1 Gag virus-like particles. This work highlights the ability of both electroporation and the HIV-1 Gag plasmid to stimulate innate immunity for enhancing cancer DNA vaccine immunogenicity and demonstrates interesting tracks for the design of new translational genetic adjuvants to overcome the current limitations of DNA vaccines in humans.
    • The committee for advanced therapies' of the European Medicines Agency reflection paper on management of clinical risks deriving from insertional mutagenesis.

      Aiuti, Alessandro; Cossu, Giulio; de Felipe, Pablo; Galli, Maria Cristina; Narayanan, Gopalan; Renner, Matthias; Stahlbom, Axel; Schneider, Christian K; Voltz-Girolt, Caroline (2013-06)
      In the European Union, the Committee for Advanced Therapies of the European Medicines Agency takes the lead in the scientific assessment for marketing authorization applications for advanced therapy medicinal products, which include gene therapy medicinal products, somatic cell therapy medicinal products, and tissue-engineered products. The Committee for Advanced Therapies also takes the lead in defining the scientific framework for the quality, nonclinical and clinical development of such products. This reflection paper represents the Committee's current thinking on management of clinical risks deriving from insertional mutagenesis. A multidisciplinary approach to insertional mutagenesis is provided. This reflection paper has been adopted by the committee in its April 2013 meeting.
    • Critical role of perforin-dependent CD8+ T cell immunity for rapid protective vaccination in a murine model for human smallpox.

      Kremer, Melanie; Suezer, Yasemin; Volz, Asisa; Frenz, Theresa; Majzoub, Monir; Hanschmann, Kay-Martin; Lehmann, Michael H; Kalinke, Ulrich; Sutter, Gerd; TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, a joint venture between the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, and Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2012)
      Vaccination is highly effective in preventing various infectious diseases, whereas the constant threat of new emerging pathogens necessitates the development of innovative vaccination principles that also confer rapid protection in a case of emergency. Although increasing evidence points to T cell immunity playing a critical role in vaccination against viral diseases, vaccine efficacy is mostly associated with the induction of antibody responses. Here we analyze the immunological mechanism(s) of rapidly protective vaccinia virus immunization using mousepox as surrogate model for human smallpox. We found that fast protection against lethal systemic poxvirus disease solely depended on CD4 and CD8 T cell responses induced by vaccination with highly attenuated modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA) or conventional vaccinia virus. Of note, CD4 T cells were critically required to allow for MVA induced CD8 T cell expansion and perforin-mediated cytotoxicity was a key mechanism of MVA induced protection. In contrast, selected components of the innate immune system and B cell-mediated responses were fully dispensable for prevention of fatal disease by immunization given two days before challenge. In conclusion, our data clearly demonstrate that perforin-dependent CD8 T cell immunity plays a key role in MVA conferred short term protection against lethal mousepox. Rapid induction of T cell immunity might serve as a new paradigm for treatments that need to fit into a scenario of protective emergency vaccination.
    • Deciphering the EU clinical trials regulation.

      Abou-El-Enein, Mohamed; Schneider, Christian K; Twincore Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Hannover, Germany. (2016-03-10)
    • Development of the First World Health Organization Lentiviral Vector Standard: Toward the Production Control and Standardization of Lentivirus-Based Gene Therapy Products.

      Zhao, Yuan; Stepto, Hannah; Schneider, Christian K; TwinCore, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-08)
      Gene therapy is a rapidly evolving field. So far, there have been >2,400 gene therapy products in clinical trials and four products on the market. A prerequisite for producing gene therapy products is ensuring their quality and safety. This requires appropriately controlled and standardized production and testing procedures that result in consistent safety and efficacy. Assuring the quality and safety of lentivirus-based gene therapy products in particular presents a great challenge because they are cell-based multigene products that include viral and therapeutic proteins as well as modified cells. In addition to the continuous refinement of a product, changes in production sites and manufacturing processes have become more and more common, posing challenges to developers regarding reproducibility and comparability of results. This paper discusses the concept of developing a first World Health Organization International Standard, suitable for the standardization of assays and enabling comparison of cross-trial and cross-manufacturing results for this important vector platform. The standard will be expected to optimize the development of gene therapy medicinal products, which is especially important, given the usually orphan nature of the diseases to be treated, naturally hampering reproducibility and comparability of results.
    • Differential responses of immune cells to type I interferon contribute to host resistance to viral infection.

      Baranek, Thomas; Manh, Thien-Phong Vu; Alexandre, Yannick; Maqbool, Muhammad Ahmad; Cabeza, Joaquin Zacarias; Tomasello, Elena; Crozat, Karine; Bessou, Gilles; Zucchini, Nicolas; Robbins, Scott H; Vivier, Eric; Kalinke, Ulrich; Ferrier, Pierre; Dalod, Marc; Centre d'Immunologie de Marseille-Luminy, UNIV UM2, Aix-Marseille Université, Parc scientifique et technologique de Luminy, 13288 Marseille, France; Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Medicale (Inserm), UMR1104, 13288 Marseille, France; Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), UMR7280, 13288 Marseille, France. (2012-10-18)
      Type I interferons (IFNs) are central to antiviral defense, but how they orchestrate immune cell function is incompletely understood. We determined that IFNs produced during murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection differentially affect dendritic cells (DCs) and natural killer (NK) cells. IFNs induce cell-intrinsic responses in DCs, activating antiproliferative, antiviral, and lymphocyte-activating gene networks, consistent with high activity of the transcription factor STAT1 in these cells. By comparison, NK cells exhibit lower STAT1 expression and reduced IFN responsiveness. Rather, IFNs indirectly affect NK cells by inducing IL-15, which activates the transcription factor E2F and stimulates genes promoting cell expansion. IFN cell-intrinsic responses are necessary in DCs, but not NK cells, for MCMV resistance. Thus, sensitivity to IFN-induced cytokines and differences in IFN receptor signaling program immune cells to mount distinct responses that promote viral control.
    • Early endonuclease-mediated evasion of RNA sensing ensures efficient coronavirus replication.

      Kindler, Eveline; Gil-Cruz, Cristina; Spanier, Julia; Li, Yize; Wilhelm, Jochen; Rabouw, Huib H; Züst, Roland; Hwang, Mihyun; V'kovski, Philip; Stalder, Hanspeter; Marti, Sabrina; Habjan, Matthias; Cervantes-Barragan, Luisa; Elliot, Ruth; Karl, Nadja; Gaughan, Christina; van Kuppeveld, Frank J M; Silverman, Robert H; Keller, Markus; Ludewig, Burkhard; Bergmann, Cornelia C; Ziebuhr, John; Weiss, Susan R; Kalinke, Ulrich; Thiel, Volker; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infectionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-02)
      Coronaviruses are of veterinary and medical importance and include highly pathogenic zoonotic viruses, such as SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. They are known to efficiently evade early innate immune responses, manifesting in almost negligible expression of type-I interferons (IFN-I). This evasion strategy suggests an evolutionary conserved viral function that has evolved to prevent RNA-based sensing of infection in vertebrate hosts. Here we show that the coronavirus endonuclease (EndoU) activity is key to prevent early induction of double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) host cell responses. Replication of EndoU-deficient coronaviruses is greatly attenuated in vivo and severely restricted in primary cells even during the early phase of the infection. In macrophages we found immediate induction of IFN-I expression and RNase L-mediated breakdown of ribosomal RNA. Accordingly, EndoU-deficient viruses can retain replication only in cells that are deficient in IFN-I expression or sensing, and in cells lacking both RNase L and PKR. Collectively our results demonstrate that the coronavirus EndoU efficiently prevents simultaneous activation of host cell dsRNA sensors, such as Mda5, OAS and PKR. The localization of the EndoU activity at the site of viral RNA synthesis-within the replicase complex-suggests that coronaviruses have evolved a viral RNA decay pathway to evade early innate and intrinsic antiviral host cell responses.
    • Efficient virus assembly, but not infectivity, determines the magnitude of hepatitis C virus-induced interferon alpha responses of plasmacytoid dendritic cells.

      Grabski, Elena; Wappler, Ilka; Pfaender, Stephanie; Steinmann, Eike; Haid, Sibylle; Dzionek, Andrzej; Pietschmann, Thomas; Kalinke, Ulrich; Institute for Experimental Infection Research, TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Hannover, Germany. (2015-03-15)
      Worldwide, approximately 160 million people are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV), seven distinct genotypes of which are discriminated. The hallmarks of HCV are its genetic variability and the divergent courses of hepatitis C progression in patients. We assessed whether intragenotypic HCV variations would differentially trigger host innate immunity. To this end, we stimulated human primary plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) with crude preparations of different cell culture-derived genotype 2a HCV variants. Parental Japanese fulminant hepatitis C virus (JFH1) did not induce interferon alpha (IFN-α), whereas the intragenotypic chimera Jc1 triggered massive IFN-α responses. Purified Jc1 retained full infectivity but no longer induced IFN-α. Coculture of pDC with HCV-infected hepatoma cells retrieved the capacity to induce IFN-α, whereas Jc1-infected cells triggered stronger responses than JFH1-infected cells. Since the infectivity of virus particles did not seem to affect pDC activation, we next tested Jc1 mutants that were arrested at different stages of particle assembly. These experiments revealed that efficient assembly and core protein envelopment were critically needed to trigger IFN-α. Of note, sequences within domain 2 of the core that vitally affect virus assembly also crucially influenced the IFN-α responses of pDC. These data showed that viral determinants shaped host innate IFN-α responses to HCV.