• Tools for studying the metabolism of new psychoactive substances for toxicological screening purposes - A comparative study using pooled human liver S9, HepaRG cells, and zebrafish larvae.

      Richter, Lilian H J; Herrmann, Jennifer; Andreas, Anastasia; Park, Yu Mi; Wagmann, Lea; Flockerzi, Veit; Müller, Rolf; Meyer, Markus R; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-05-01)
      New psychoactive substances (NPS) are an emerging topic amongst abused compounds. New varieties appear constantly on the market, without any knowledge about their toxicodynamic and/or -kinetic properties and knowledge of their metabolism is crucial for the development of analytical methods employed for their detection. Controlled human studies would of course be best suited but due to ethical reasons and lack of preclinical safety data, they are usually not available. Often, in vitro models are used to evaluate similarities to human in vivo hepatic phase I and II metabolism and systems explored include primary human hepatocytes, pooled human S9 fraction, and HepaRG, a human hepatic cell line. All these in vitro models have considerable limitations and drug distribution, reabsorption, enterohepatic circulation, and renal elimination cannot be studied. In the recent years, zebrafish (Danio rerio) larvae (embryos) were discussed as a potential in vivo model to overcome these limitations. To date, no studies demonstrating its suitability for studying NPS metabolism in the context of analytical toxicology are available. The aim of this study was to elucidate whether zebrafish larvae can serve as a surrogate for human hepatic metabolism of NPS to develop toxicological screening procedures. Here, we used methyl 2-(1-(5-fluoropentyl)-1H-pyrrolo[2,3-b]pyridine-3-carboxamido)-3,3-dimethylbutanoate (7'N-5F-ADB), a new synthetic cannabinoid, whose human metabolism was recently described in the literature, as a model compound to evaluate zebrafish larvae as a new tool for metabolism studies. Different conditions for zebrafish larvae and HepaRG protocols were tested. As zebrafish larvae and HepaRG cell incubations provided the highest number of metabolites and the most authentic spectrum of human metabolites. The most suitable larvae protocol was the incubation via medium and the analysis of the extracted zebrafish larvae. The zebrafish larvae model might be a promising preclinical surrogate for human hepatic metabolism of NPS.
    • A Highly Polymorphic Receptor Governs Many Distinct Self-Recognition Types within the Order.

      Cao, Pengbo; Wei, Xueming; Awal, Ram Prasad; Müller, Rolf; Wall, Daniel; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society of Microbiology, 2019-02-12)
      Self-recognition underlies sociality in many group-living organisms. In bacteria, cells use various strategies to recognize kin to form social groups and, in some cases, to transition into multicellular life. One strategy relies on a single genetic locus that encodes a variable phenotypic tag (“greenbeard”) for recognizing other tag bearers. Previously, we discovered a polymorphic cell surface receptor called TraA that directs self-identification through homotypic interactions in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. Recognition by TraA leads to cellular resource sharing in a process called outer membrane exchange (OME). A second gene in the traA operon, traB, is also required for OME but is not involved in recognition. Our prior studies of TraA identified only six recognition groups among closely related M. xanthus isolates. Here we hypothesize that the number of traA polymorphisms and, consequently, the diversity of recognition in wild isolates are much greater. To test this hypothesis, we expand the scope of TraA characterization to the order Myxococcales. From genomic sequences within the three suborders of Myxococcales, we identified 90 traA orthologs. Sequence analyses and functional characterization of traAB loci suggest that OME is well maintained among diverse myxobacterial taxonomic groups. Importantly, TraA orthologs are highly polymorphic within their variable domain, the region that confers selectivity in self-recognition. We experimentally defined 10 distinct recognition groups and, based on phylogenetic and experimental analyses, predicted >60 recognition groups among the 90 traA alleles. Taken together, our findings revealed a widespread greenbeard locus that mediates the diversity of self-recognition across the order Myxococcales.
    • Aurantimycin resistance genes contribute to survival of Listeria monocytogenes during life in the environment.

      Hauf, Samuel; Herrmann, Jennifer; Miethke, Marcus; Gibhardt, Johannes; Commichau, Fabian M; Müller, Rolf; Fuchs, Stephan; Halbedel, Sven; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-01-15)
      Bacteria can cope with toxic compounds such as antibiotics by inducing genes for their detoxification. A common detoxification strategy is compound excretion by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, which are synthesized upon compound contact. We previously identified the multi drug resistance ABC transporter LieAB in Listeria monocytogenes, a Gram-positive bacterium that occurs ubiquitously in the environment, but also causes severe infections in humans upon ingestion. Expression of the lieAB genes is strongly induced in cells lacking the PadR-type transcriptional repressor LftR, but compounds leading to relief of this repression in wild type cells were not known. Using RNA-Seq and promoter-lacZ fusions we demonstrate highly specific repression of the lieAB and lftRS promoters through LftR. Screening of a natural compound library yielded the depsipeptide aurantimycin A - synthesized by the soil-dwelling Streptomyces aurantiacus - as the first known naturally occurring inducer of lieAB expression. Genetic and phenotypic experiments concordantly show that aurantimycin A is a substrate of the LieAB transporter and thus, lftRS and lieAB represent the first known genetic module conferring and regulating aurantimycin A resistance. Collectively, these genes may support the survival of L. monocytogenes when it comes into contact with antibiotic-producing bacteria in the soil. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    • An endothelial cell line infected by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) allows the investigation of Kaposi's sarcoma and the validation of novel viral inhibitors in vitro and in vivo.

      Dubich, Tatyana; Lieske, Anna; Santag, Susann; Beauclair, Guillaume; Rückert, Jessica; Herrmann, Jennifer; Gorges, Jan; Büsche, Guntram; Kazmaier, Uli; Hauser, Hansjörg; Stadler, Marc; Schulz, Thomas F; Wirth, Dagmar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2019-01-04)
      Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a tumor of endothelial origin predominantly affecting immunosuppressed individuals. Up to date, vaccines and targeted therapies are not available. Screening and identification of anti-viral compounds are compromised by the lack of scalable cell culture systems reflecting properties of virus-transformed cells in patients. Further, the strict specificity of the virus for humans limits the development of in vivo models. In this study, we exploited a conditionally immortalized human endothelial cell line for establishment of in vitro 2D and 3D KSHV latency models and the generation of KS-like xenograft tumors in mice. Importantly, the invasive properties and tumor formation could be completely reverted by purging KSHV from the cells, confirming that tumor formation is dependent on the continued presence of KSHV, rather than being a consequence of irreversible transformation of the infected cells. Upon testing a library of 260 natural metabolites, we selected the compounds that induced viral loss or reduced the invasiveness of infected cells in 2D and 3D endothelial cell culture systems. The efficacy of selected compounds against KSHV-induced tumor formation was verified in the xenograft model. Together, this study shows that the combined use of anti-viral and anti-tumor assays based on the same cell line is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo and therefore allows faithful selection of novel drug candidates against Kaposi's sarcoma. KEY MESSAGES: Novel 2D, 3D, and xenograft mouse models mimic the consequences of KSHV infection. KSHV-induced tumorigenesis can be reverted upon purging the cells from the virus. A 3D invasiveness assay is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo. Chondramid B, epothilone B, and pretubulysin D diminish KS-like lesions in vivo.
    • Aspherical and Spherical InvA497-Functionalized Nanocarriers for Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Infective Agents.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Empting, Martin; De Rossi, Chiara; Mayr, Karsten; Dersch, Petra; Hartmann, Rolf; Müller, Rolf; Gordon, Sarah; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2018-12-05)
      The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of polymeric spherical and aspherical invasive nanocarriers, loaded with antibiotic, to access and treat intracellular bacterial infections. Aspherical nanocarriers were prepared by stretching of spherical precursors, and both aspherical and spherical nanocarriers were surface-functionalized with the invasive protein InvA497. The relative uptake of nanocarriers into HEp-2 epithelial cells was then assessed. Nanocarriers were subsequently loaded with a preparation of the non-permeable antibiotic gentamicin, and tested for their ability to treat HEp-2 cells infected with the enteroinvasive bacterium Shigella flexneri. InvA497-functionalized nanocarriers of both spherical and aspherical shape showed a significantly improved rate and extent of uptake into HEp-2 cells in comparison to non-functionalized nanocarriers. Functionalized and antibiotic-loaded nanocarriers demonstrated a dose dependent killing of intracellular S. flexneri. A slight but significant enhancement of intracellular bacterial killing was also observed with aspherical as compared to spherical functionalized nanocarriers at the highest tested concentration. InvA497-functionalized, polymer-based nanocarriers were able to efficiently deliver a non-permeable antibiotic across host cell membranes to affect killing of intracellular bacteria. Functionalized nanocarriers with an aspherical shape showed an interesting future potential for intracellular infection therapy.
    • Biocompatible bacteria-derived vesicles show inherent antimicrobial activity.

      Schulz, Eilien; Goes, Adriely; Garcia, Ronald; Panter, Fabian; Koch, Marcus; Müller, Rolf; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-11-28)
      Up to 25,000 people die each year from resistant infections in Europe alone, with increasing incidence. It is estimated that a continued rise in bacterial resistance by 2050 would lead up to 10 million annual deaths worldwide, exceeding the incidence of cancer deaths. Although the design of new antibiotics is still one way to tackle the problem, pharmaceutical companies investigate far less into new drugs than 30 years ago. Incorporation of antibiotics into nanoparticle drug carriers ("nanoantibiotics") is currently investigated as a promising strategy to make existing antibiotics regain antimicrobial strength and overcome certain types of microbial drug resistance. Many of these synthetic systems enhance the antimicrobial effect of drugs by protecting antibiotics from degradation and reducing their side effects. Nevertheless, they often cannot selectively target pathogenic bacteria and - due to their synthetic origin - may induce side-effects themselves. In this work, we present the characterisation of naturally derived outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) as biocompatible and inherently antibiotic drug carriers. We isolated OMVs from two representative strains of myxobacteria, Cystobacter velatus Cbv34 and Sorangiineae species strain SBSr073, a bacterial order with the ability of lysing other bacterial strains and currently investigated as sources of new secondary metabolites. We investigated the myxobacterias' inherent antibacterial properties after isolation by differential centrifugation and purification by size-exclusion chromatography. OMVs have an average size range of 145-194 nm. We characterised their morphology by electron cryomicroscopy and found that OMVs are biocompatible with epithelial cells and differentiated macrophages. They showed a low endotoxin activity comparable to those of control samples, indicating a low acute inflammatory potential. In addition, OMVs showed inherent stability under different storage conditions, including 4 °C, -20 °C, -80 °C and freeze-drying. OMV uptake in Gram-negative model bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) showed similar to better incorporation than liposome controls, indicating the OMVs may interact with model bacteria via membrane fusion. Bacterial uptake correlated with antimicrobial activity of OMVs as measured by growth inhibition of E. coli. OMVs from Cbv34 inhibited growth of E. coli to a comparable extent as the clinically established antibiotic gentamicin. Liquid-chromatography coupled mass spectrometry analyses revealed the presence of cystobactamids in OMVs, inhibitors of bacterial topoisomerase currently studied to treat different Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens. This work, may serve as an important basis for further evaluation of OMVs derived from myxobacteria as novel therapeutic delivery systems against bacterial infections.
    • Mast cells as protectors of health.

      Dudeck, Anne; Köberle, Martin; Goldmann, Oliver; Meyer, Nicole; Dudeck, Jan; Lemmens, Stefanie; Rohde, Manfred; Roldán, Nestor González; Dietze-Schwonberg, Kirsten; Orinska, Zane; Medina, Eva; Hendrix, Sven; Metz, Martin; Zenclussen, Ana Claudia; von Stebut, Esther; Biedermann, Tilo; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-11-20)
      Mast cells (MC), well known for their effector functions in Th2 skewed allergic and also autoimmune inflammation, become increasingly acknowledged for their role in protection of health. It is now clear that they are also key modulators of immune responses at interface organs like skin or gut. MC can prime tissues for adequate inflammatory responses and cooperate with dendritic cells in T cell activation. They also regulate harmful immune responses in trauma and help to successfully orchestrate pregnancy. This review focusses on the beneficial effects of mast cells on tissue homeostasis and elimination of toxins or venoms. MC can enhance pathogen clearance in many bacterial, viral, and parasite infections, e.g. by TLR2 triggered degranulation, secretion of antimicrobial cathelicidins, recruiting neutrophils or by providing extracellular DNA traps. The role of MC in tumors is more ambiguous, however, encouraging new findings show they can change the tumor microenvironment towards anti-tumor immunity when adequately triggered. Uterine tissue remodeling by α-chymase (MCP-5) is crucial for successful embryo implantation. MCP-4 and the tryptase MCP-6 emerge to be protective in CNS trauma by reducing inflammatory damage and excessive scar formation, thereby protecting axon growth. Last but not least, we see proteases like carboxypeptidase A released by FcεRI activated MC detoxify an increasing number of venoms and endogenous toxins. A better understanding of the plasticity of MC will help to improve these advantageous effects, and hint on ways to cut down detrimental MC actions.
    • Synthetic biology approaches and combinatorial biosynthesis towards heterologous lipopeptide production.

      Yan, Fu; Burgard, Christian; Popoff, Alexander; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Zipf, Gregor; Maier, Josef; Bernauer, Hubert S; Wenzel, Silke C; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-10-14)
      Synthetic biology techniques coupled with heterologous secondary metabolite production offer opportunities for the discovery and optimisation of natural products. Here we developed a new assembly strategy based on type IIS endonucleases and elaborate synthetic DNA platforms, which could be used to seamlessly assemble and engineer biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs). By applying this versatile tool, we designed and assembled more than thirty different artificial myxochromide BGCs, each around 30 kb in size, and established heterologous expression platforms using a derivative of Myxococcus xanthus DK1622 as a host. In addition to the five native types of myxochromides (A, B, C, D and S), novel lipopeptide structures were produced by combinatorial exchange of nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) encoding genes from different myxochromide BGCs. Inspired by the evolutionary diversification of the native myxochromide megasynthetases, the ancestral A-type NRPS was engineered by inactivation, deletion, or duplication of catalytic domains and successfully converted into functional B-, C- and D-type megasynthetases. The constructional design approach applied in this study enables combinatorial engineering of complex synthetic BGCs and has great potential for the exploitation of other natural product biosynthetic pathways.
    • Metabolic and Biosynthetic Diversity in Marine Myxobacteria.

      Gemperlein, Katja; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Garcia, Ronald; La Clair, James J; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-05)
      Prior to 2005, the vast majority of characterized myxobacteria were obtained from terrestrial habitats. Since then, several species of halotolerant and even obligate marine myxobacteria have been described. Chemical analyses of extracts from these organisms have confirmed their ability to produce secondary metabolites with unique chemical scaffolds. Indeed, new genera of marine-derived myxobacteria, particularly Enhygromyxa, have been shown to produce novel chemical scaffolds that differ from those observed in soil myxobacteria. Further studies have shown that marine sponges and terrestrial myxobacteria are capable of producing similar or even identical secondary metabolites, suggesting that myxobacterial symbionts may have been the true producers. Recent in silico analysis of the genome sequences available from six marine myxobacteria disclosed a remarkably versatile biosynthetic potential. With access to ever-advancing tools for small molecule and genetic evaluation, these studies suggest a bright future for expeditions into this yet untapped resource for secondary metabolites
    • Future Directions of Marine Myxobacterial Natural Product Discovery Inferred from Metagenomics.

      Garcia, Ronald; La Clair, James J; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-08-29)
      Over the last two decades, halophilic (organisms that thrive at high salt concentrations) and halotolerant (organisms that have adapted to high salt concentrations) myxobacteria emerged as an important source of structurally diverse secondary metabolites from the marine environment. This review explores the advance of metagenomics analysis and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny of the cultured and uncultured myxobacteria from marine and other salt-environments up to July 2018. The diversity of novel groups of myxobacteria in these environments appears unprecedented, especially in the
    • A "Motif-Oriented" Total Synthesis of Nannocystin Ax. Preparation and Biological Assessment of Analogues.

      Meng, Zhanchao; Souillart, Laetitia; Monks, Brendan; Huwyler, Nikolas; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Fürstner, Alois; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-07-06)
      The highly cytotoxic cyclodepsipeptides of the nannocystin family are known to bind to the eukaryotic translation elongation factor 1α (EF-1α). Analysis of the docking pose, as proposed by a previous in silico study, suggested that the trisubstituted alkene moiety and the neighboring methyl ether form a domain that might be closely correlated with biological activity. This hypothesis sponsored a synthetic campaign which was designed to be "motif-oriented": specifically, a sequence of ring closing alkyne metathesis (RCAM) followed by hydroxy-directed trans-hydrostannation of the resulting cycloalkyne was conceived, which allowed this potentially anchoring substructure to be systematically addressed at a late stage. This inherently flexible approach opened access to nannocystin Ax (1) itself as well as to 10 non-natural analogues. While the biological data confirmed the remarkable potency of this class of compounds and showed that the domain in question is indeed an innate part of the pharmacophore, the specific structure/activity relationships can only partly be reconciled with the original in silico docking study; therefore, we conclude that this model needs to be carefully revisited.
    • Self-resistance guided genome mining uncovers new topoisomerase inhibitors from myxobacteria.

      Panter, Fabian; Krug, Daniel; Baumann, Sascha; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-06-07)
      There is astounding discrepancy between the genome-inscribed production capacity and the set of known secondary metabolite classes from many microorganisms as detected under laboratory cultivation conditions. Genome-mining techniques are meant to fill this gap, but in order to favor discovery of structurally novel as well as bioactive compounds it is crucial to amend genomics-based strategies with selective filtering principles. In this study, we followed a self-resistance guided approach aiming at the discovery of inhibitors of topoisomerase, known as valid target in both cancer and antibiotic therapy. A common host self-defense mechanism against such inhibitors in bacteria is mediated by so-called pentapeptide repeat proteins (PRP). Genes encoding the biosynthetic machinery for production of an alleged topoisomerase inhibitor were found on the basis of their collocation adjacent to a predicted PRP in the genome of the myxobacterium
    • A fluorescence anisotropy assay to discover and characterize ligands targeting the maytansine site of tubulin.

      Menchon, Grégory; Prota, Andrea E; Lucena-Agell, Daniel; Bucher, Pascal; Jansen, Rolf; Irschik, Herbert; Müller, Rolf; Paterson, Ian; Díaz, J Fernando; Altmann, Karl-Heinz; Steinmetz, Michel O; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-29)
      Microtubule-targeting agents (MTAs) like taxol and vinblastine are among the most successful chemotherapeutic drugs against cancer. Here, we describe a fluorescence anisotropy-based assay that specifically probes for ligands targeting the recently discovered maytansine site of tubulin. Using this assay, we have determined the dissociation constants of known maytansine site ligands, including the pharmacologically active degradation product of the clinical antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab emtansine. In addition, we discovered that the two natural products spongistatin-1 and disorazole Z with established cellular potency bind to the maytansine site on β-tubulin. The high-resolution crystal structures of spongistatin-1 and disorazole Z in complex with tubulin allowed the definition of an additional sub-site adjacent to the pocket shared by all maytansine-site ligands, which could be exploitable as a distinct, separate target site for small molecules. Our study provides a basis for the discovery and development of next-generation MTAs for the treatment of cancer.
    • Concepts and Methods to Access Novel Antibiotics from Actinomycetes.

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

      Wang, Xue; Zhou, Haibo; Chen, Hanna; Jing, Xiaoshu; Zheng, Wentao; Li, Ruijuan; Sun, Tao; Liu, Jiaqi; Fu, Jun; Huo, Liujie; Li, Yue-Zhong; Shen, Yuemao; Ding, Xiaoming; Müller, Rolf; Bian, Xiaoying; Zhang, Youming; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-05-01)
      Bacterial genomes encode numerous cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) that represent a largely untapped source of drugs or pesticides. Mining of the cryptic products is limited by the unavailability of streamlined genetic tools in native producers. Precise genome engineering using bacteriophage recombinases is particularly useful for genome mining. However, recombinases are usually host-specific. The genome-guided discovery of novel recombinases and their transient expression could boost cryptic BGC mining. Herein, we reported a genetic system employing Red recombinases from Burkholderiales strain DSM 7029 for efficient genome engineering in several Burkholderiales species that currently lack effective genetic tools. Using specialized recombinases-assisted in situ insertion of functional promoters, we successfully mined five cryptic nonribosomal peptide synthetase/polyketide synthase BGCs, two of which were silent. Two classes of lipopeptides, glidopeptins and rhizomides, were identified through extensive spectroscopic characterization. This recombinase expression strategy offers utility within other bacteria species, allowing bioprospecting for potentially scalable discovery of novel metabolites with attractive bioactivities.
    • Correlating chemical diversity with taxonomic distance for discovery of natural products in myxobacteria.

      Hoffmann, Thomas; Krug, Daniel; Bozkurt, Nisa; Duddela, Srikanth; Jansen, Rolf; Garcia, Ronald; Gerth, Klaus; Steinmetz, Heinrich; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus 8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-02-23)
      Some bacterial clades are important sources of novel bioactive natural products. Estimating the magnitude of chemical diversity available from such a resource is complicated by issues including cultivability, isolation bias and limited analytical data sets. Here we perform a systematic metabolite survey of ~2300 bacterial strains of the order Myxococcales, a well-established source of natural products, using mass spectrometry. Our analysis encompasses both known and previously unidentified metabolites detected under laboratory cultivation conditions, thereby enabling large-scale comparison of production profiles in relation to myxobacterial taxonomy. We find a correlation between taxonomic distance and the production of distinct secondary metabolite families, further supporting the idea that the chances of discovering novel metabolites are greater by examining strains from new genera rather than additional representatives within the same genus. In addition, we report the discovery and structure elucidation of rowithocin, a myxobacterial secondary metabolite featuring an uncommon phosphorylated polyketide scaffold.
    • Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 regulates endothelial cell migration by shifting the phospholipid composition.

      Glatzel, Daniel K; Koeberle, Andreas; Pein, Helmut; Löser, Konstantin; Stark, Anna; Keksel, Nelli; Werz, Oliver; Müller, Rolf; Bischoff, Iris; Fürst, Robert; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institute für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-02)
      The enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) plays a crucial role in fatty acid metabolism. In recent years, ACC has been recognized as a promising drug target for treating different diseases. However, the role of ACC in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) has been neglected so far. To characterize the role of ACC, we used the ACC inhibitor, soraphen A, as a chemical tool, and also a gene silencing approach. We found that ACC1 was the predominant isoform in human umbilical vein ECs as well as in human microvascular ECs and that soraphen A reduced the levels of malonyl-CoA. We revealed that ACC inhibition shifted the lipid composition of EC membranes. Accordingly, membrane fluidity, filopodia formation, and migratory capacity were reduced. The antimigratory action of soraphen A depended on an increase in the cellular proportion of PUFAs and, most importantly, on a decreased level of phosphatidylglycerol. Our study provides a causal link between ACC, membrane lipid composition, and cell migration in ECs. Soraphen A represents a useful chemical tool to investigate the role of fatty acid metabolism in ECs and ACC inhibition offers a new and valuable therapeutic perspective for the treatment of EC migration-related diseases.
    • Draft Genome Sequence and Annotation of the Obligate Bacterial Endosymbiont Caedibacter taeniospiralis, Causative Agent of the Killer Phenotype in Paramecium tetraurelia.

      Zaburannyi, Nestor; Grosser, Katrin; Gasparoni, Gilles; Müller, Rolf; Schrallhammer, Martina; Simon, Martin; Helmholtz Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-01-18)
      Caedibacter taeniospiralis is an obligate endosymbiont living in the cytoplasm of Paramecium tetraureliaC. taeniospiralis causes the so-called killer trait, eliminating intraspecific competitors of its host when released into the medium by the concerted action of the unusual protein structure R-body (refractile body) in addition to an as-yet-unknown toxin.
    • N-Acylated amino acid methyl esters from marine group bacteria.

      Bruns, Hilke; Ziesche, Lisa; Taniwal, Nargis Khakin; Wolter, Laura; Brinkhoff, Thorsten; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Schulz, Stefan; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Beilstein Institut, 2018-01-01)
      The human gut microbiome matures towards the adult composition during the first years of life and is implicated in early immune development. Here, we investigate the effects of microbial genomic diversity on gut microbiome development using integrated early childhood data sets collected in the DIABIMMUNE study in Finland, Estonia and Russian Karelia. We show that gut microbial diversity is associated with household location and linear growth of children. Single nucleotide polymorphism- and metagenomic assembly-based strain tracking revealed large and highly dynamic microbial pangenomes, especially in the genus Bacteroides, in which we identified evidence of variability deriving from Bacteroides-targeting bacteriophages. Our analyses revealed functional consequences of strain diversity; only 10% of Finnish infants harboured Bifidobacterium longum subsp. infantis, a subspecies specialized in human milk metabolism, whereas Russian infants commonly maintained a probiotic Bifidobacterium bifidum strain in infancy. Groups of bacteria contributing to diverse, characterized metabolic pathways converged to highly subject-specific configurations over the first two years of life. This longitudinal study extends the current view of early gut microbial community assembly based on strain-level genomic variation.
    • The vacuolar-type ATPase inhibitor archazolid increases tumor cell adhesion to endothelial cells by accumulating extracellular collagen.

      Luong, Betty; Schwenk, Rebecca; Bräutigam, Jacqueline; Müller, Rolf; Menche, Dirk; Bischoff, Iris; Fürst, Robert; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      The vacuolar-type H+-ATPase (v-ATPase) is the major proton pump that acidifies intracellular compartments of eukaryotic cells. Since the inhibition of v-ATPase resulted in anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects in different tumor models, this enzyme has emerged as promising strategy against cancer. Here, we used the well-established v-ATPase inhibitor archazolid, a natural product first isolated from the myxobacterium Archangium gephyra, to study the consequences of v-ATPase inhibition in endothelial cells (ECs), in particular on the interaction between ECs and cancer cells, which has been neglected so far. Human endothelial cells treated with archazolid showed an increased adhesion of tumor cells, whereas the transendothelial migration of tumor cells was reduced. The adhesion process was independent from the EC adhesion molecules ICAM-1, VCAM-1, E-selectin and N-cadherin. Instead, the adhesion was mediated by β1-integrins expressed on tumor cells, as blocking of the integrin β1 subunit reversed this process. Tumor cells preferentially adhered to the β1-integrin ligand collagen and archazolid led to an increase in the amount of collagen on the surface of ECs. The accumulation of collagen was accompanied by a strong decrease of the expression and activity of the protease cathepsin B. Overexpression of cathepsin B in ECs prevented the capability of archazolid to increase the adhesion of tumor cells onto ECs. Our study demonstrates that the inhibition of v-ATPase by archazolid induces a pro-adhesive phenotype in endothelial cells that promotes their interaction with cancer cells, whereas the transmigration of tumor cells was reduced. These findings further support archazolid as a promising anti-metastatic compound.