• Analysis of Jmjd6 cellular localization and testing for its involvement in histone demethylation.

      Hahn, Phillip; Wegener, Ivonne; Burrells, Alison; Böse, Jens; Wolf, Alexander; Erck, Christian; Butler, Danica; Schofield, Christopher J; Böttger, Angelika; Lengeling, Andreas; Department of Experimental Mouse Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      BACKGROUND: Methylation of residues in histone tails is part of a network that regulates gene expression. JmjC domain containing proteins catalyze the oxidative removal of methyl groups on histone lysine residues. Here, we report studies to test the involvement of Jumonji domain-containing protein 6 (Jmjd6) in histone lysine demethylation. Jmjd6 has recently been shown to hydroxylate RNA splicing factors and is known to be essential for the differentiation of multiple tissues and cells during embryogenesis. However, there have been conflicting reports as to whether Jmjd6 is a histone-modifying enzyme. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Immunolocalization studies reveal that Jmjd6 is distributed throughout the nucleoplasm outside of regions containing heterochromatic DNA, with occasional localization in nucleoli. During mitosis, Jmjd6 is excluded from the nucleus and reappears in the telophase of the cell cycle. Western blot analyses confirmed that Jmjd6 forms homo-multimers of different molecular weights in the nucleus and cytoplasm. A comparison of mono-, di-, and tri-methylation states of H3K4, H3K9, H3K27, H3K36, and H4K20 histone residues in wildtype and Jmjd6-knockout cells indicate that Jmjd6 is not involved in the demethylation of these histone lysine residues. This is further supported by overexpression of enzymatically active and inactive forms of Jmjd6 and subsequent analysis of histone methylation patterns by immunocytochemistry and western blot analysis. Finally, treatment of cells with RNase A and DNase I indicate that Jmjd6 may preferentially associate with RNA/RNA complexes and less likely with chromatin. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Taken together, our results provide further evidence that Jmjd6 is unlikely to be involved in histone lysine demethylation. We confirmed that Jmjd6 forms multimers and showed that nuclear localization of the protein involves association with a nucleic acid matrix.
    • Cellular changes in blood indicate severe respiratory disease during influenza infections in mice.

      Dengler, Leonie; Kühn, Nora; Shin, Dai-Lun; Hatesuer, Bastian; Schughart, Klaus; Wilk, Esther (2014)
      Influenza A infection is a serious threat to human and animal health. Many of the biological mechanisms of the host-pathogen-interactions are still not well understood and reliable biomarkers indicating the course of the disease are missing. The mouse is a valuable model system enabling us to study the local inflammatory host response and the influence on blood parameters under controlled circumstances. Here, we compared the lung and peripheral changes after PR8 (H1N1) influenza A virus infection in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice using virus variants of different pathogenicity resulting in non-lethal and lethal disease. We monitored hematological and immunological parameters revealing that the granulocyte to lymphocyte ratio in the blood represents an early indicator of severe disease progression already two days after influenza A infection in mice. These findings might be relevant to optimize early diagnostic options of severe influenza disease and to monitor successful therapeutic treatment in humans.
    • Equivalence of self- and staff-collected nasal swabs for the detection of viral respiratory pathogens.

      Akmatov, Manas K; Gatzemeier, Anja; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank; Department of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      The need for the timely collection of diagnostic biosamples during symptomatic episodes represents a major obstacle to large-scale studies on acute respiratory infection (ARI) epidemiology. This may be circumvented by having the participants collect their own nasal swabs. We compared self- and staff-collected swabs in terms of swabbing quality and detection of viral respiratory pathogens.
    • Host genetic background strongly influences the response to influenza a virus infections.

      Srivastava, Barkha; Błazejewska, Paulina; Hessmann, Manuela; Bruder, Dunja; Geffers, Robert; Mauel, Susanne; Gruber, Achim D; Schughart, Klaus; Department of Experimental Mouse Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research & University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Braunschweig, Germany. (2009)
      The genetic make-up of the host has a major influence on its response to combat pathogens. For influenza A virus, several single gene mutations have been described which contribute to survival, the immune response and clearance of the pathogen by the host organism. Here, we have studied the influence of the genetic background to influenza A H1N1 (PR8) and H7N7 (SC35M) viruses. The seven inbred laboratory strains of mice analyzed exhibited different weight loss kinetics and survival rates after infection with PR8. Two strains in particular, DBA/2J and A/J, showed very high susceptibility to viral infections compared to all other strains. The LD(50) to the influenza virus PR8 in DBA/2J mice was more than 1000-fold lower than in C57BL/6J mice. High susceptibility in DBA/2J mice was also observed after infection with influenza strain SC35M. In addition, infected DBA/2J mice showed a higher viral load in their lungs, elevated expression of cytokines and chemokines, and a more severe and extended lung pathology compared to infected C57BL/6J mice. These findings indicate a major contribution of the genetic background of the host to influenza A virus infections. The overall response in highly susceptible DBA/2J mice resembled the pathology described for infections with the highly virulent influenza H1N1-1918 and newly emerged H5N1 viruses.
    • Respiratory Mucosal Proteome Quantification in Human Influenza Infections.

      Marion, Tony; Elbahesh, Husni; Thomas, Paul G; DeVincenzo, John P; Webby, Richard; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Respiratory influenza virus infections represent a serious threat to human health. Underlying medical conditions and genetic make-up predispose some influenza patients to more severe forms of disease. To date, only a few studies have been performed in patients to correlate a selected group of cytokines and chemokines with influenza infection. Therefore, we evaluated the potential of a novel multiplex micro-proteomics technology, SOMAscan, to quantify proteins in the respiratory mucosa of influenza A and B infected individuals. The analysis included but was not limited to quantification of cytokines and chemokines detected in previous studies. SOMAscan quantified more than 1,000 secreted proteins in small nasal wash volumes from infected and healthy individuals. Our results illustrate the utility of micro-proteomic technology for analysis of proteins in small volumes of respiratory mucosal samples. Furthermore, when we compared nasal wash samples from influenza-infected patients with viral load ≥ 28 and increased IL-6 and CXCL10 to healthy controls, we identified 162 differentially-expressed proteins between the two groups. This number greatly exceeds the number of DEPs identified in previous studies in human influenza patients. Most of the identified proteins were associated with the host immune response to infection, and changes in protein levels of 151 of the DEPs were significantly correlated with viral load. Most important, SOMAscan identified differentially expressed proteins heretofore not associated with respiratory influenza infection in humans. Our study is the first report for the use of SOMAscan to screen nasal secretions. It establishes a precedent for micro-proteomic quantification of proteins that reflect ongoing response to respiratory infection.
    • Systems genetics of liver fibrosis: identification of fibrogenic and expression quantitative trait loci in the BXD murine reference population.

      Hall, Rabea A; Liebe, Roman; Hochrath, Katrin; Kazakov, Andrey; Alberts, Rudi; Laufs, Ulrich; Böhm, Michael; Fischer, Hans-Peter; Williams, Robert W; Schughart, Klaus; Weber, Susanne N; Lammert, Frank (2014)
      The progression of liver fibrosis in response to chronic injury varies considerably among individual patients. The underlying genetics is highly complex due to large numbers of potential genes, environmental factors and cell types involved. Here, we provide the first toxicogenomic analysis of liver fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride in the murine 'genetic reference panel' of recombinant inbred BXD lines. Our aim was to define the core of risk genes and gene interaction networks that control fibrosis progression. Liver fibrosis phenotypes and gene expression profiles were determined in 35 BXD lines. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis identified seven genomic loci influencing fibrosis phenotypes (pQTLs) with genome-wide significance on chromosomes 4, 5, 7, 12, and 17. Stepwise refinement was based on expression QTL mapping with stringent selection criteria, reducing the number of 1,351 candidate genes located in the pQTLs to a final list of 11 cis-regulated genes. Our findings demonstrate that the BXD reference population represents a powerful experimental resource for shortlisting the genes within a regulatory network that determine the liver's vulnerability to chronic injury.