• Divergent co-transcriptomes of different host cells infected with Toxoplasma gondii reveal cell type-specific host-parasite interactions.

      Swierzy, Izabela J; Händel, Ulrike; Kaever, Alexander; Jarek, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Schlüter, Dirk; Lüder, Carsten G K; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-03)
      The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects various cell types in avian and mammalian hosts including humans. Infection of immunocompetent hosts is mostly asymptomatic or benign, but leads to development of largely dormant bradyzoites that persist predominantly within neurons and muscle cells. Here we have analyzed the impact of the host cell type on the co-transcriptomes of host and parasite using high-throughput RNA sequencing. Murine cortical neurons and astrocytes, skeletal muscle cells (SkMCs) and fibroblasts differed by more than 16,200 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) before and after infection with T. gondii. However, only a few hundred of them were regulated by infection and these largely diverged in neurons, SkMCs, astrocytes and fibroblasts indicating host cell type-specific transcriptional responses after infection. The heterogeneous transcriptomes of host cells before and during infection coincided with ~5,400 DEGs in T. gondii residing in different cell types. Finally, we identified gene clusters in both T. gondii and its host, which correlated with the predominant parasite persistence in neurons or SkMCs as compared to astrocytes or fibroblasts. Thus, heterogeneous expression profiles of different host cell types and the parasites' ability to adapting to them may govern the parasite-host cell interaction during toxoplasmosis.
    • Dysbiosis in chronic periodontitis: Key microbial players and interactions with the human host.

      Deng, Zhi-Luo; Szafrański, Szymon P; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7., 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-16)
      Periodontitis is an extremely prevalent disease worldwide and is driven by complex dysbiotic microbiota. Here we analyzed the transcriptional activity of the periodontal pocket microbiota from all domains of life as well as the human host in health and chronic periodontitis. Bacteria showed strong enrichment of 18 KEGG functional modules in chronic periodontitis, including bacterial chemotaxis, flagellar assembly, type III secretion system, type III CRISPR-Cas system, and two component system proteins. Upregulation of these functions was driven by the red-complex pathogens and candidate pathogens, e.g. Filifactor alocis, Prevotella intermedia, Fretibacterium fastidiosum and Selenomonas sputigena. Nine virulence factors were strongly up-regulated, among them the arginine deiminase arcA from Porphyromonas gingivalis and Mycoplasma arginini. Viruses and archaea accounted for about 0.1% and 0.22% of total putative mRNA reads, respectively, and a protozoan, Entamoeba gingivalis, was highly enriched in periodontitis. Fourteen human transcripts were enriched in periodontitis, including a gene for a ferric iron binding protein, indicating competition with the microbiota for iron, and genes associated with cancer, namely nucleolar phosphoprotein B23, ankyrin-repeat domain 30B-like protein and beta-enolase. The data provide evidence on the level of gene expression in vivo for the potentially severe impact of the dysbiotic microbiota on human health.