• 3DTF: a web server for predicting transcription factor PWMs using 3D structure-based energy calculations.

      Gabdoulline, R; Eckweiler, D; Kel, A; Stegmaier, P; Heinrich-Heine University of Duesseldorf, Universitaetstr. 1, 40225 Duesseldorf, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38234 Braunschweig, GeneXplain GmbH, Am Exer 10 b, 38302 Wolfenbüttel, BIOBASE GmbH, Halchtersche Str. 33, 38304 Wolfenbüttel, Germany and Institute of Chemical Biology and Fundamental Medicine, Russian Academy of Science, 10 Lavrentyev Ave, 630090 Novosibirsk, Russia. (2012-06-11)
      We present the webserver 3D transcription factor (3DTF) to compute position-specific weight matrices (PWMs) of transcription factors using a knowledge-based statistical potential derived from crystallographic data on protein-DNA complexes. Analysis of available structures that can be used to construct PWMs shows that there are hundreds of 3D structures from which PWMs could be derived, as well as thousands of proteins homologous to these. Therefore, we created 3DTF, which delivers binding matrices given the experimental or modeled protein-DNA complex. The webserver can be used by biologists to derive novel PWMs for transcription factors lacking known binding sites and is freely accessible at http://www.gene-regulation.com/pub/programs/3dtf/.
    • The Activation of IL-1-Induced Enhancers Depends on TAK1 Kinase Activity and NF-κB p65.

      Jurida, Liane; Soelch, Johanna; Bartkuhn, Marek; Handschick, Katja; Müller, Helmut; Newel, Doris; Weber, Axel; Dittrich-Breiholz, Oliver; Schneider, Heike; Bhuju, Sabin; Saul, Vera V; Schmitz, M Lienhard; Kracht, Michael; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-02-04)
      The inflammatory gene response requires activation of the protein kinase TAK1, but it is currently unknown how TAK1-derived signals coordinate transcriptional programs in the genome. We determined the genome-wide binding of the TAK1-controlled NF-κB subunit p65 in relation to active enhancers and promoters of transcribed genes by chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq) experiments. Out of 35,000 active enhancer regions, 410 H3K4me1-positive enhancers show interleukin 1 (IL-1)-induced H3K27ac and p65 binding. Inhibition of TAK1 or IKK2 or depletion of p65 blocked inducible enhancer activation and gene expression. As exemplified by the CXC chemokine cluster located on chromosome 4, the TAK1-p65 pathway also regulates the recruitment kinetics of the histone acetyltransferase CBP, of NF-κB p50, and of AP-1 transcription factors to both promoters and enhancers. This study provides a high-resolution view of epigenetic changes occurring during the IL-1 response and allows the genome-wide identification of a distinct class of inducible p65 NF-κB-dependent enhancers in epithelial cells.
    • AgNPs Change Microbial Community Structures of Wastewater.

      Guo, Yuting; Cichocki, Nicolas; Schattenberg, Florian; Geffers, Robert; Harms, Hauke; Müller, Susann; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
      Due to their strong antimicrobial activity, silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) are massively produced, applied, consumed and, as a negative consequence, released into wastewater treatment plants. Most AgNPs are assumed to be bound by sludge, and thus bear potential risk for microbial performance and stability. In this lab-scale study, flow cytometry as a high-throughput method and 16S rRNA gene amplicon Illumina MiSeq sequencing were used to track microbial community structure changes when being exposed to AgNPs. Both methods allowed deeper investigation of the toxic impact of chemicals on microbial communities than classical EC50 determination. In addition, ecological metrics were used to quantify microbial community variations depending on AgNP types (10 and 30 nm) and concentrations. Only low changes in α- and intra-community β-diversity values were found both in successive negative and positive control batches and batches that were run with AgNPs below the EC50 value. Instead, AgNPs at EC50 concentrations caused upcoming of certain and disappearance of formerly dominant subcommunities. Flavobacteriia were among those that almost disappeared, while phylotypes affiliated with Gammaproteobacteria (3.6-fold) and Bacilli (8.4-fold) increased in cell abundance in comparison to the negative control. Thus, silver amounts at the EC50 value affected community structure suggesting a potential negative impact on functions in wastewater treatment systems.
    • Alloantigen-Induced Regulatory T Cells Generated in Presence of Vitamin C Display Enhanced Stability of Foxp3 Expression and Promote Skin Allograft Acceptance.

      Nikolouli, Eirini; Hardtke-Wolenski, Matthias; Hapke, Martin; Beckstette, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Floess, Stefan; Jaeckel, Elmar; Huehn, Jochen; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis and self-tolerance and can be therapeutically used for prevention of unwanted immune responses such as allotransplant rejection. Tregs are characterized by expression of the transcription factor Foxp3, and recent work suggests that epigenetic imprinting of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes is crucial for the stabilization of both Foxp3 expression and immunosuppressive properties within Tregs. Lately, vitamin C was reported to enhance the activity of enzymes of the ten-eleven translocation family, thereby fostering the demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes in developing Tregs. Here, we in vitro generated alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs (allo-iTregs) in presence of vitamin C. Although vitamin C hardly influenced the transcriptome of allo-iTregs as revealed by RNA-seq, those vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a more pronounced demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes accompanied with an enhanced stability of Foxp3 expression. Accordingly, when being tested in vivo in an allogeneic skin transplantation model, vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a superior suppressive capacity. Together, our results pave the way for the establishment of novel protocols for the in vitro generation of alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs for therapeutic use in transplantation medicine.
    • Amphibian gut microbiota shifts differentially in community structure but converges on habitat-specific predicted functions.

      Bletz, Molly C; Goedbloed, Daniel J; Sanchez, Eugenia; Reinhardt, Timm; Tebbe, Christoph C; Bhuju, Sabin; Geffers, Robert; Jarek, Michael; Vences, Miguel; Steinfartz, Sebastian; Helmholtz Centre for infection research. Inhoffenstr. 7. 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-15)
      Complex microbial communities inhabit vertebrate digestive systems but thorough understanding of the ecological dynamics and functions of host-associated microbiota within natural habitats is limited. We investigate the role of environmental conditions in shaping gut and skin microbiota under natural conditions by performing a field survey and reciprocal transfer experiments with salamander larvae inhabiting two distinct habitats (ponds and streams). We show that gut and skin microbiota are habitat-specific, demonstrating environmental factors mediate community structure. Reciprocal transfer reveals that gut microbiota, but not skin microbiota, responds differentially to environmental change. Stream-to-pond larvae shift their gut microbiota to that of pond-to-pond larvae, whereas pond-to-stream larvae change to a community structure distinct from both habitat controls. Predicted functions, however, match that of larvae from the destination habitats in both cases. Thus, microbial function can be matched without taxonomic coherence and gut microbiota appears to exhibit metagenomic plasticity.
    • The Anaerobically Induced sRNA PaiI Affects Denitrification in Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14.

      Tata, Muralidhar; Amman, Fabian; Pawar, Vinay; Wolfinger, Michael T; Weiss, Siegfried; Häussler, Susanne; Bläsi, Udo; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic pathogen that can thrive by anaerobic respiration in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients using nitrate as terminal electron acceptor. Here, we report the identification and characterization of the small RNA PaiI in the P. aeruginosa strain 14 (PA14). PaiI is anaerobically induced in the presence of nitrate and depends on the two-component system NarXL. Our studies revealed that PaiI is required for efficient denitrification affecting the conversion of nitrite to nitric oxide. In the absence of PaiI anaerobic growth was impaired on glucose, which can be reconciled with a decreased uptake of the carbon source under these conditions. The importance of PaiI for anaerobic growth is further underlined by the observation that a paiI deletion mutant was impaired in growth in murine tumors.
    • Analysis and Design of Stimulus Response Curves of E. coli.

      Kremling, Andreas; Goehler, Anna; Jahreis, Knut; Nees, Markus; Auerbach, Benedikt; Schmidt-Heck, Wolfgang; Kökpinar, Oznur; Geffers, Robert; Rinas, Ursula; Bettenbrock, Katja; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-11-12)
      Metabolism and signalling are tightly coupled in bacteria. Combining several theoretical approaches, a core model is presented that describes transcriptional and allosteric control of glycolysis in Escherichia coli. Experimental data based on microarrays, signalling components and extracellular metabolites are used to estimate kinetic parameters. A newly designed strain was used that adjusts the incoming glucose flux into the system and allows a kinetic analysis. Based on the results, prediction for intracelluar metabolite concentrations over a broad range of the growth rate could be performed and compared with data from literature.
    • Antibiotic control of tumor-colonizing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Weiss, Siegfried (2011-11)
      Systemic administration of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) into tumor-bearing mice results in preferential colonization of tumors and causes shrinkage and sometimes complete tumor clearance. However, in spite of these beneficial antitumor effects, the systemic administration of a bacterial pathogen raises serious safety concerns as well. Addressing those concerns, here, we demonstrate that tumor-colonizing Salmonella can be readily controlled by systemic administration of the antibiotic - ciprofloxacin. Treatment was most effective when started early postinfection. This was achieved at the expense of the efficacy of tumor therapy. In many of the mice treated in such a way, tumors re-grew again. Nevertheless, some mice were able to clear the tumor despite the start of antibiotic treatment only 24 h after the start of infection. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that such mice had elicited a specific antitumor immune response. Thus, S. typhimurium-mediated tumor therapy might be applied safely when combined with early antibiotic treatment. However, the therapeutic power of the bacteria needs to be enhanced in order to provide a more effective therapeutic tool.
    • Antibodies against C-reactive protein cross-react with 60-kilodalton heat shock proteins.

      Udvarnoki, Katalin; Cervenak, László; Uray, Katalin; Hudecz, Ferenc; Kacskovics, Imre; Spallek, Ralf; Singh, Mahavir; Füst, George; Prohászka, Zoltán; Third Department of Medicine, Semmelweis University, H-1125 Budapest, Kútvölgyi st. 4, Hungary. (2007-04)
      C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase reactant frequently used in histochemistry as a marker of ongoing inflammation. Furthermore, CRP is a powerful biomarker for the prediction of coronary artery disease risk. Heat-shock protein 60 (Hsp60) and CRP are complement-activating molecules, and the effect of their interactions on the regulation of complement activation was studied. However, during the first experiments, we learned that polyclonal anti-CRP antibodies cross-react with Hsp60. Therefore, the aim of our present study was to analyze the cross-reactivity of anti-CRP antibodies (Ab) with Hsp60 in solid-phase enzyme immune assays, in epitope studies using a series of overlapping synthetic peptides, and in Ouchterlony analyses. We found that three different commercial rabbit polyclonal antibodies and two monoclonal (9C9 and CRP-8) anti-CRP antibodies specifically recognize recombinant human Hsp60 and recombinant Mycobacterium tuberculosis Hsp65, respectively. Hsp60 was found to inhibit the binding of anti-CRP polyclonal Ab to Hsp60. Six epitope regions of Hsp60 were recognized by the anti-CRP antibodies, and one region (amino acids [AA] 218 to 232) was recognized by monoclonal antibodies CRP-8 and 9C9. This epitope region of Hsp60 displays 26.6% amino acid identity to CRP AA region 77 to 90. These data suggest that the B-cell epitopes shared between CRP and Hsp60 give rise to a true mimicry-based cross-reaction and the induction of cross-reactive antibodies. Our study underlines the importance of thorough study design and careful interpretation of results while using polyclonal anti-CRP antibodies for histochemistry, especially at low dilutions. Furthermore, analytical interference with Hsp60 in CRP assays should also be tested.
    • Application of Synthetic Peptide Arrays To Uncover Cyclic Di-GMP Binding Motifs

      Düvel, Juliane; Bense, Sarina; Möller, Stefan; Bertinetti, Daniela; Schwede, Frank; Morr, Michael; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Genieser, Hans-Gottfried; Jänsch, Lothar; Herberg, Friedrich W.; Frank, Ronald; Häussler, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-01-01)
      ABSTRACT High levels of the universal bacterial second messenger cyclic di-GMP (c-di-GMP) promote the establishment of surface-attached growth in many bacteria. Not only can c-di-GMP bind to nucleic acids and directly control gene expression, but it also binds to a diverse array of proteins of specialized functions and orchestrates their activity. Since its development in the early 1990s, the synthetic peptide array technique has become a powerful tool for high-throughput approaches and was successfully applied to investigate the binding specificity of protein-ligand interactions. In this study, we used peptide arrays to uncover the c-di-GMP binding site of a Pseudomonas aeruginosa protein (PA3740) that was isolated in a chemical proteomics approach. PA3740 was shown to bind c-di-GMP with a high affinity, and peptide arrays uncovered LKKALKKQTNLR to be a putative c-di-GMP binding motif. Most interestingly, different from the previously identified c-di-GMP binding motif of the PilZ domain (RXXXR) or the I site of diguanylate cyclases (RXXD), two leucine residues and a glutamine residue and not the charged amino acids provided the key residues of the binding sequence. Those three amino acids are highly conserved across PA3740 homologs, and their singular exchange to alanine reduced c-di-GMP binding within the full-length protein. IMPORTANCE In many bacterial pathogens the universal bacterial second messenger c-di-GMP governs the switch from the planktonic, motile mode of growth to the sessile, biofilm mode of growth. Bacteria adapt their intracellular c-di-GMP levels to a variety of environmental challenges. Several classes of c-di-GMP binding proteins have been structurally characterized, and diverse c-di-GMP binding domains have been identified. Nevertheless, for several c-di-GMP receptors, the binding motif remains to be determined. Here we show that the use of a synthetic peptide array allowed the identification of a c-di-GMP binding motif of a putative c-di-GMP receptor protein in the opportunistic pathogen P. aeruginosa . The application of synthetic peptide arrays will facilitate the search for additional c-di-GMP receptor proteins and aid in the characterization of c-di-GMP binding motifs.
    • Archival bone marrow trephines are suitable for high-throughput mutation analysis using next generation sequencing technology.

      Hasemeier, Britta; Geffers, Robert; Bartels, Stephan; Schlegelberger, Brigitte; Kreipe, Hans; Lehmann, Ulrich; Institute of Pathology, Medizinische Hochschule Hannover, Hannover, Germany (Ferrata Storti Foundation, 2013-09)
    • The arginine-ornithine antiporter ArcD contributes to biological fitness of Streptococcus suis.

      Fulde, Marcus; Willenborg, Joerg; Huber, Claudia; Hitzmann, Angela; Willms, Daniela; Seitz, Maren; Eisenreich, Wolfgang; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Goethe, Ralph; Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute for Microbiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany ; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      The arginine-ornithine antiporter (ArcD) is part of the Arginine Deiminase System (ADS), a catabolic, energy-providing pathway found in a variety of different bacterial species, including the porcine zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus suis. The ADS has recently been shown to play a role in the pathogenicity of S. suis, in particular in its survival in host cells. The contribution of arginine and arginine transport mediated by ArcD, however, has yet to be clarified. In the present study, we showed by experiments using [U-(13)C6]arginine as a tracer molecule that S. suis is auxotrophic for arginine and that bacterial growth depends on the uptake of extracellular arginine. To further study the role of ArcD in arginine metabolism, we generated an arcD-specific mutant strain and characterized its growth compared to the wild-type (WT) strain, a virulent serotype 2 strain. The mutant strain showed a markedly reduced growth in chemically defined media supplemented with arginine when compared to the WT strain, suggesting that ArcD promotes arginine uptake. To further evaluate the in vivo relevance of ArcD, we studied the intracellular bacterial survival of the arcD mutant strain in an epithelial cell culture infection model. The mutant strain was substantially attenuated, and its reduced intracellular survival rate correlated with a lower ability to neutralize the acidified environment. Based on these results, we propose that ArcD, by its function as an arginine-ornithine antiporter, is important for supplying arginine as substrate of the ADS and, thereby, contributes to biological fitness and virulence of S. suis in the host.
    • aroA-Deficient Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium Is More Than a Metabolically Attenuated Mutant.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Frahm, Michael; Kocijancic, Dino; Rohde, M; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Bielecka, Agata; Bueno, Emilio; Cava, Felipe; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Curtiss, Roy; Häussler, Susanne; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried (2016)
      Recombinant attenuated Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium strains are believed to act as powerful live vaccine carriers that are able to elicit protection against various pathogens. Auxotrophic mutations, such as a deletion of aroA, are commonly introduced into such bacteria for attenuation without incapacitating immunostimulation. In this study, we describe the surprising finding that deletion of aroA dramatically increased the virulence of attenuated Salmonella in mouse models. Mutant bacteria lacking aroA elicited increased levels of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) after systemic application. A detailed genetic and phenotypic characterization in combination with transcriptomic and metabolic profiling demonstrated that ΔaroA mutants display pleiotropic alterations in cellular physiology and lipid and amino acid metabolism, as well as increased sensitivity to penicillin, complement, and phagocytic uptake. In concert with other immunomodulating mutations, deletion of aroA affected flagellin phase variation and gene expression of the virulence-associated genes arnT and ansB Finally, ΔaroA strains displayed significantly improved tumor therapeutic activity. These results highlight the importance of a functional shikimate pathway to control homeostatic bacterial physiology. They further highlight the great potential of ΔaroA-attenuated Salmonella for the development of vaccines and cancer therapies with important implications for host-pathogen interactions and translational medicine.
    • Assessment of an APOBEC3B truncating mutation, c.783delG, in patients with breast cancer.

      Radmanesh, Hoda; Spethmann, Tessa; Enßen, Julia; Schürmann, Peter; Bhuju, Sabin; Geffers, Robert; Antonenkova, Natalia; Khusnutdinova, Elza; Sadr-Nabavi, Ariane; Shandiz, Fatemeh Homaei; Park-Simon, Tjoung-Won; Hillemanns, Peter; Christiansen, Hans; Bogdanova, Natalia; Dörk, Thilo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02)
      APOBEC3B belongs to the family of DNA-editing enzymes. A copy number variant targeting the genomic APOBEC3A-APOBEC3B locus has a significant impact on breast cancer risk, but the relative contribution of APOBEC3B is uncertain. In this study, we investigate a loss-of-function mutation that selectively targets APOBEC3B, for its association with breast cancer risk.
    • ATP inhibits the generation and function of regulatory T cells through the activation of purinergic P2X receptors.

      Schenk, Ursula; Frascoli, Michela; Proietti, Michele; Geffers, Robert; Traggiai, Elisabetta; Buer, Jan; Ricordi, Camillo; Westendorf, Astrid M; Grassi, Fabio; Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, Switzerland. (2011)
      Extracellular nucleotides are pleiotropic regulators of mammalian cell function. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) released from CD4(+) helper T cells upon stimulation of the T cell receptor (TCR) contributes in an autocrine manner to the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling through purinergic P2X receptors. Increased expression of p2rx7, which encodes the purinergic receptor P2X7, is part of the transcriptional signature of immunosuppressive CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(regs)). Here, we show that the activation of P2X7 by ATP inhibits the suppressive potential and stability of T(regs). The inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) increased ATP synthesis and P2X7-mediated signaling in T(regs), which induced their conversion to IL-17-secreting T helper 17 (T(H)17) effector cells in vivo. Moreover, pharmacological antagonism of P2X receptors promoted the cell-autonomous conversion of naïve CD4(+) T cells into T(regs) after TCR stimulation. Thus, ATP acts as an autocrine factor that integrates stimuli from the microenvironment and cellular energetics to tune the developmental and immunosuppressive program of the T cell in adaptive immune responses.
    • B-1-cell subpopulations contribute differently to gut immunity.

      Roy, Bishnudeo; Agarwal, Shiwani; Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Krey, Martina; Pabst, Oliver; Düber, Sandra; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-08)
      In mice, B-1 (B1a/B1b) cells are mainly located in the peritoneal cavity. B-1 cells are well known for their role in the early stages of Ab-mediated immune responses against pathogenic invasion as well as for the production of natural IgM antibodies. Although such B cells have been claimed to give rise to intestinal plasma cells producing IgA, a clear role of B-1 cells in IgA production in the gut-associated tissues is still not defined. Here, we employed the transgenic L2 mouse model characterized by the lack of B-2 cells and presence of B-1 cells as major B-cell subpopulation. The oligoclonality of the Ab repertoire in this mouse allowed us to take typical B1a cell VH sequences as indicators of the presence of IgM-producing B-1a cells in Peyer's patches as well as in lamina propria. However, amongst the IgAVH sequences recovered from the same tissues, none of the sequences showed B1a-cell specificity. Interestingly, all IgAVH sequences derived from the lamina propria of L2 mice displayed extensive numbers of nucleotide exchanges, indicating somatic hypermutation, and affinity maturation. This suggests that the contribution of natural unmutated IgA by B-1a cells to intestinal immunity is negligible.
    • Bacteria in Cancer Therapy: Renaissance of an Old Concept.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      The rising incidence of cancer cases worldwide generates an urgent need of novel treatment options. Applying bacteria may represent a valuable therapeutic variant that is intensively investigated nowadays. Interestingly, the idea to apply bacteria wittingly or unwittingly dates back to ancient times and was revived in the 19th century mainly by the pioneer William Coley. This review summarizes and compares the results of the past 150 years in bacteria mediated tumor therapy from preclinical to clinical studies. Lessons we have learned from the past provide a solid foundation on which to base future efforts. In this regard, several perspectives are discussed by which bacteria in addition to their intrinsic antitumor effect can be used as vector systems that shuttle therapeutic compounds into the tumor. Strategic solutions like these provide a sound and more apt exploitation of bacteria that may overcome limitations of conventional therapies.
    • BACTOME-a reference database to explore the sequence- and gene expression-variation landscape of Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates.

      Hornischer, Klaus; Khaledi, Ariane; Pohl, Sarah; Schniederjans, Monika; Pezoldt, Lorena; Casilag, Fiordiligie; Muthukumarasamy, Uthayakumar; Bruchmann, Sebastian; Thöming, Janne; Kordes, Adrian; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-10-01)
      Extensive use of next-generation sequencing (NGS) for pathogen profiling has the potential to transform our understanding of how genomic plasticity contributes to phenotypic versatility. However, the storage of large amounts of NGS data and visualization tools need to evolve to offer the scientific community fast and convenient access to these data. We introduce BACTOME as a database system that links aligned DNA- and RNA-sequencing reads of clinical Pseudomonas aeruginosa isolates with clinically relevant pathogen phenotypes. The database allows data extraction for any single isolate, gene or phenotype as well as data filtering and phenotypic grouping for specific research questions. With the integration of statistical tools we illustrate the usefulness of a relational database structure for the identification of phenotype-genotype correlations as an essential part of the discovery pipeline in genomic research. Furthermore, the database provides a compilation of DNA sequences and gene expression values of a plethora of clinical isolates to give a consensus DNA sequence and consensus gene expression signature. Deviations from the consensus thereby describe the genomic landscape and the transcriptional plasticity of the species P. aeruginosa. The database is available at https://bactome.helmholtz-hzi.de.
    • BCL6--regulated by AhR/ARNT and wild-type MEF2B--drives expression of germinal center markers MYBL1 and LMO2.

      Ding, Jie; Dirks, Wilhelm G; Ehrentraut, Stefan; Geffers, Robert; MacLeod, Roderick A F; Nagel, Stefan; Pommerenke, Claudia; Romani, Julia; Scherr, Michaela; Vaas, Lea A I; Zaborski, Margarete; Drexler, Hans G; Quentmeier, Hilmar; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-06)
      Genetic heterogeneity is widespread in tumors, but poorly documented in cell lines. According to immunoglobulin hypermutation analysis, the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cell line U-2932 comprises two subpopulations faithfully representing original tumor subclones. We set out to identify molecular causes underlying subclone-specific expression affecting 221 genes including surface markers and the germinal center oncogenes BCL6 and MYC. Genomic copy number variations explained 58/221 genes differentially expressed in the two U-2932 clones. Subclone-specific expression of the aryl-hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and the resulting activity of the AhR/ARNT complex underlaid differential regulation of 11 genes including MEF2B. Knock-down and inhibitor experiments confirmed that AhR/ARNT regulates MEF2B, a key transcription factor for BCL6. AhR, MEF2B and BCL6 levels correlated not only in the U-2932 subclones but in the majority of 23 cell lines tested, indicting overexpression of AhR as a novel mechanism behind BCL6 diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Enforced modulation of BCL6 affected 48/221 signature genes. Although BCL6 is known as a transcriptional repressor, 28 genes were up-regulated, including LMO2 and MYBL1 which, like BCL6, signify germinal center diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. Supporting the notion that BCL6 can induce gene expression, BCL6 and the majority of potential targets were co-regulated in a series of B-cell lines. In conclusion, genomic copy number aberrations, activation of AhR/ARNT, and overexpression of BCL6 are collectively responsible for differential expression of more than 100 genes in subclones of the U-2932 cell line. It is particularly interesting that BCL6 - regulated by AhR/ARNT and wild-type MEF2B - may drive expression of germinal center markers in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.
    • The BH3-only protein BID impairs the p38-mediated stress response and promotes hepatocarcinogenesis during chronic liver injury in mice.

      Orlik, Johanna; Schüngel, Sven; Buitrago-Molina, Laura Elisa; Marhenke, Silke; Geffers, Robert; Endig, Jessica; Lobschat, Katharina; Rössler, Stephanie; Goeppert, Benjamin; Manns, Michael P; Gross, Atan; Vogel, Arndt; Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2015-09)
      Apoptosis is critical for maintaining tissue homeostasis, and apoptosis evasion is considered as a hallmark of cancer. However, increasing evidence also suggests that proapoptotic molecules can contribute to the development of cancer, including liver cancer. The aim of this study was to further clarify the role of the proapoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 homology domain 3 (BH3)-only protein BH3 interacting-domain death agonist (BID) for chronic liver injury (CLI) and hepatocarcinogenesis (HCG). Loss of BID significantly delayed tumor development in two mouse models of Fah-mediated and HBsTg-driven HCG, suggesting a tumor-promoting effect of BID. Liver injury as well as basal and mitogen-stimulated hepatocyte proliferation were not modulated by BID. Moreover, there was no in vivo or in vitro evidence that BID was involved in DNA damage response in hepatocytes and hepatoma cells. Our data revealed that CLI was associated with strong activation of oxidative stress (OS) response and that BID impaired full activation of p38 after OS.