Recent Submissions

  • Yersinia Pseudotuberculosis Modulates Regulatory T Cell Stability via Injection of Yersinia Outer Proteins in a Type III Secretion System-Dependent Manner.

    Elfiky, Ahmed; Bonifacius, Agnes; Pezoldt, Joern; Pasztoi, Maria; Chaoprasid, Paweena; Sadana, Pooja; El-Sherbeeny, Nagla; Hagras, Magda; Scrima, Andrea; Dersch, Petra; Huehn, Jochen; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Akadémiai Kiadó, 2018-12-23)
    Adaptive immunity is essentially required to control acute infection with enteropathogenic
  • Microbiome yarns: the Global Phenotype-Genotype Survey: Episode II: laryngeal microbiota and vocal phenotypes (or diction and addiction).

    Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Rohde, Manfred; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-03-01)
  • Comparative genomic analysis of eight novel haloalkaliphilic bacteriophages from Lake Elmenteita, Kenya.

    Akhwale, Juliah Khayeli; Rohde, Manfred; Rohde, Christine; Bunk, Boyke; Spröer, Cathrin; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Boga, Hamadi Iddi; Wittmann, Johannes; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
    We report complete genome sequences of eight bacteriophages isolated from Haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita found on the floor of Kenyan Rift Valley. The bacteriophages were sequenced, annotated and a comparative genomic analysis using various Bioinformatics tools carried out to determine relatedness of the bacteriophages to each other, and to those in public databases. Basic genome properties like genome size, percentage coding density, number of open reading frames, percentage GC content and gene organizations revealed the bacteriophages had no relationship to each other. Comparison to other nucleotide sequences in GenBank database showed no significant similarities hence novel. At the amino acid level, phages of our study revealed mosaicism to genes with conserved domains to already described phages. Phylogenetic analyses of large terminase gene responsible for DNA packaging and DNA polymerase gene for replication further showed diversity among the bacteriophages. Our results give insight into diversity of bacteriophages in Lake Elmenteita and provide information on their evolution. By providing primary sequence information, this study not only provides novel sequences for biotechnological exploitation, but also sets stage for future studies aimed at better understanding of virus diversity and genomes from haloalkaline lakes in the Rift Valley.
  • Contribution of the Cpx envelope stress system to metabolism and virulence regulation in Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

    Subramaniam, Sivaraman; Müller, Volker S; Hering, Nina A; Mollenkopf, Hans; Becker, Daniel; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Dersch, Petra; Pohlmann, Anne; Tedin, Karsten; Porwollik, Steffen; McClelland, Michael; Meyer, Thomas F; Hunke, Sabine; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
    The Cpx-envelope stress system regulates the expression of virulence factors in many Gram-negative pathogens. In Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium deletion of the sensor kinase CpxA but not of the response regulator CpxR results in the down regulation of the key regulator for invasion, HilA encoded by the Salmonella pathogenicity island 1 (SPI-1). Here, we provide evidence that cpxA deletion interferes with dephosphorylation of CpxR resulting in increased levels of active CpxR and consequently in misregulation of target genes. 14 potential operons were identified to be under direct control of CpxR. These include the virulence determinants ecotin, the omptin PgtE, and the SPI-2 regulator SsrB. The Tat-system and the PocR regulator that together promote anaerobic respiration of tetrathionate on 1,2-propanediol are also under direct CpxR control. Notably, 1,2-propanediol represses hilA expression. Thus, our work demonstrates for the first time the involvement of the Cpx system in a complex network mediating metabolism and virulence function.
  • Intracellular Streptococcal Uptake and Persistence: A Potential Cause of Erysipelas Recurrence.

    Jendoubi, Fatma; Rohde, Manfred; Prinz, Jörg Christoph; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Erysipelas is a severe streptococcal infection of the skin primarily spreading through the lymphatic vessels. Penicillin is the treatment of choice. The most common complication consists in relapses which occur in up to 40% or more of patients despite appropriate antibiotic treatment. They cause lymphatic damage resulting in irreversible lymphedema and ultimately elephantiasis nostras and lead to major health restrictions and high socio-medical costs. Prevention of relapses is an unmet need, because even long-term prophylactic penicillin application does eventually not reduce the risk of recurrence. In this article we assess risk factors and causes of erysipelas recurrence. A systematic literature search for clinical studies addressing potential causes and measures for prevention of erysipelas recurrence was combined with a review of experimental and clinical data assessing the ability and clinical relevance of streptococci for intracellular uptake and persistence. The literature review found that venous insufficiency, lymphedema, and intertrigo from fungal infections are considered to be major risk factors for recurrence of erysipelas but cannot adequately explain the high recurrence rate. As hitherto unrecognized likely cause of erysipelas relapses we identify the ability of streptococci for intracellular uptake into and persistence within epithelial and endothelial cells and macrophages. This creates intracellular streptococcal reservoirs out of reach of penicillins which do not reach sufficient bactericidal intracellular concentrations. Incomplete streptococcal elimination due to intracellular streptococcal persistence has been observed in various deep tissue infections and is considered as cause of relapsing streptococcal pharyngitis despite proper antibiotic treatment. It may also serves as endogenous infectious source of erysipelas relapses. We conclude that the current antibiotic treatment strategies and elimination of conventional risk factors employed in erysipelas management are insufficient to prevent erysipelas recurrence. The reactivation of streptococcal infection from intracellular reservoirs represents a plausible explanation for the frequent occurrence erysipelas relapses. Prevention of erysipelas relapses therefore demands for novel antibiotic strategies capable of eradicating intracellular streptococcal persistence.
  • Metabolome and transcriptome-wide effects of the carbon storage regulator A in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.

    Berndt, Volker; Beckstette, Michael; Volk, Marcel; Dersch, Petra; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-01-15)
    The carbon storage regulator A (CsrA) is a conserved global regulatory system known to control central carbon pathways, biofilm formation, motility, and pathogenicity. The aim of this study was to characterize changes in major metabolic pathways induced by CsrA in human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) grown under virulence factor-inducing conditions. For this purpose, the metabolomes and transcriptomes of EPEC and an isogenic ∆csrA mutant derivative were analyzed by untargeted mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing, respectively. Of the 159 metabolites identified from untargeted GC/MS and LC/MS data, 97 were significantly (fold change ≥ 1.5; corrected p-value ≤ 0.05) regulated between the knockout and the wildtype strain. A lack of csrA led to an accumulation of fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and glycogen synthesis pathway products, whereas metabolites in lower glycolysis and the citric acid cycle were downregulated. Associated pathways from the citric acid cycle like aromatic amino acid and siderophore biosynthesis were also negatively influenced. The nucleoside salvage pathways were featured by an accumulation of nucleosides and nucleobases, and a downregulation of nucleotides. In addition, a pronounced downregulation of lyso-lipid metabolites was observed. A drastic change in the morphology in the form of vesicle-like structures of the ∆csrA knockout strain was visible by electron microscopy. Colanic acid synthesis genes were strongly (up to 50 fold) upregulated, and the abundance of colanic acid was 3 fold increased according to a colorimetric assay. The findings expand the scope of pathways affected by the csrA regulon and emphasize its importance as a global regulator.
  • Molecular typing of Streptococcus suis strains isolated from diseased and healthy pigs between 1996-2016.

    Prüfer, T Louise; Rohde, Judith; Verspohl, Jutta; Rohde, Manfred; de Greeff, Astrid; Willenborg, Jörg; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
    Streptococcus suis is an economically important pathogen of pigs as well as a zoonotic cause of human disease. Serotyping is used for further characterization of isolates; some serotypes seem to be more virulent and more widely spread than others. This study characterizes a collection of German field isolates of Streptococcus suis from pigs dating from 1996 to 2016 with respect to capsular genes (cps) specific for individual serotypes and pathotype by multiplex PCR and relates results to the clinical background of these isolates. The most prominent finding was the reduction in prevalence of serotype-2/serotype-1/2 among invasive isolates during this sampling period, which might be attributed to widely implemented autogenous vaccination programs in swine against serotype 2 in Germany. In diseased pigs (systemically ill; respiratory disease) isolates of serotype-1/serotype-14, serotype-2/serotype-1/2, serotype 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 were most frequent while in carrier isolates a greater variety of cps types was found. Serotype-1/serotype-14 seemed to be preferentially located in joints, serotype 4 and serotype 3 in the central nervous system, respectively. The virulence associated extracellular protein factor was almost exclusively associated with invasive serotype-1/serotype-14 and serotype-2/serotype-1/2 isolates. In contrast, lung isolates of serotype-2/serotype-1/2 mainly harbored the gene for muramidase-released protein. Serotype 4 and serotype 9 isolates from clinically diseased pigs most frequently carried the muramidase-released protein gene and the suilysin gene. When examined by transmission electron microscopy all but one of the isolates which were non-typable by molecular and serological methods showed various amounts of capsular material indicating potentially new serotypes among these isolates. Given the variety of cps types/serotypes detected in pigs, not only veterinarians but also medical doctors should consider other serotypes than just serotype 2 when investigating potential human cases of Streptococcus suis infection.
  • Herpes zoster incidence in Germany - an indirect validation study for self-reported disease data from pretest studies of the population-based German National Cohort.

    Caputo, Mahrrouz; Horn, Johannes; Karch, André; Akmatov, Manas K; Becher, Heiko; Braun, Bettina; Brenner, Hermann; Castell, Stefanie; Fischer, Beate; Giani, Guido; Günther, Kathrin; Hoffmann, Barbara; Jöckel, Karl-Heinz; Keil, Thomas; Klüppelholz, Birgit; Krist, Lilian; Leitzmann, Michael F; Lieb, Wolfgang; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Moebus, Susanne; Obi, Nadia; Pischon, Tobias; Schipf, Sabine; Schmidt, Börge; Sievers, Claudia; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Völzke, Henry; Mikolajczyk, Rafael (2019-01-30)
    Until now, herpes zoster (HZ)-related disease burden in Germany has been estimated based on health insurance data and clinical findings. However, the validity of self-reported HZ is unclear. This study investigated the validity of self-reported herpes zoster (HZ) and its complication postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) using data from the pretest studies of the German National Cohort (GNC) in comparison with estimates based on health insurance data. Data of 4751 participants aged between 20 and 69 years from two pretest studies of the GNC carried out in 2011 and 2012 were used. Based on self-reports of physician-diagnosed HZ and PHN, age- and sex-specific HZ incidence rates and PHN proportions were estimated. For comparison, estimates based on statutory health insurance data from the German population were considered. Eleven percent (95%-CI, 10.4 to 12.3, n = 539) of the participants reported at least one HZ episode in their lifetime. Our estimated age-specific HZ incidence rates were lower than previous estimates based on statutory health insurance data. The PHN proportion in participants older than 50 years was 5.9% (1.9 to 13.9%), which was in line with estimates based on health insurance data. As age- and sex-specific patterns were comparable with that in health insurance data, self-reported diagnosis of HZ seems to be a valid instrument for overall disease trends. Possible reasons for observed differences in incidence rates are recall bias in self-reported data or overestimation in health insurance data.
  • Day and Night: Metabolic Profiles and Evolutionary Relationships of Six Axenic Non-Marine Cyanobacteria.

    Will, Sabine Eva; Henke, Petra; Boedeker, Christian; Huang, Sixing; Brinkmann, Henner; Rohde, Manfred; Jarek, Michael; Friedl, Thomas; Seufert, Steph; Schumacher, Martin; Overmann, Jörg; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Petersen, Jörn; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2019-01-01)
    Cyanobacteria are dominant primary producers of various ecosystems and they colonize marine as well as freshwater and terrestrial habitats. On the basis of their oxygenic photosynthesis they are known to synthesize a high number of secondary metabolites, which makes them promising for biotechnological applications. State-of-the-art sequencing and analytical techniques and the availability of several axenic strains offer new opportunities for the understanding of the hidden metabolic potential of cyanobacteria beyond those of single model organisms. Here, we report comprehensive genomic and metabolic analyses of five non-marine cyanobacteria, that is, Nostoc sp. DSM 107007, Anabaena variabilis DSM 107003, Calothrix desertica DSM 106972, Chroococcidiopsis cubana DSM 107010, Chlorogloeopsis sp. PCC 6912, and the reference strain Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803. Five strains that are prevalently belonging to the order Nostocales represent the phylogenetic depth of clade B1, a morphologically highly diverse sister lineage of clade B2 that includes strain PCC 6803. Genome sequencing, light and scanning electron microscopy revealed the characteristics and axenicity of the analyzed strains. Phylogenetic comparisons showed the limits of the 16S rRNA gene for the classification of cyanobacteria, but documented the applicability of a multilocus sequence alignment analysis based on 43 conserved protein markers. The analysis of metabolites of the core carbon metabolism showed parts of highly conserved metabolic pathways as well as lineage specific pathways such as the glyoxylate shunt, which was acquired by cyanobacteria at least twice via horizontal gene transfer. Major metabolic changes were observed when we compared alterations between day and night samples. Furthermore, our results showed metabolic potential of cyanobacteria beyond Synechocystis sp. PCC 6803 as model organism and may encourage the cyanobacterial community to broaden their research to related organisms with higher metabolic activity in the desired pathways.
  • An Unprecedented Medium-Chain Diunsaturated -acylhomoserine Lactone from Marine Group Bacteria.

    Ziesche, Lisa; Wolter, Laura; Wang, Hui; Brinkhoff, Thorsten; Pohlner, Marion; Engelen, Bert; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Schulz, Stefan; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2018-12-31)
    N-acylhomoserine lactones (AHLs), bacterial signaling compounds involved in quorum-sensing, are a structurally diverse group of compounds. We describe here the identification, synthesis, occurrence and biological activity of a new AHL, N-((2E,5Z)-2,5-dodecadienoyl)homoserine lactone (11) and its isomer N-((3E,5Z)-3,5-dodecadienoyl)homoserine lactone (13), occurring in several Roseobacter group bacteria (Rhodobacteraceae). The analysis of 26 strains revealed the presence of 11 and 13 in six of them originating from the surface of the macroalgae Fucus spiralis or sediments from the North Sea. In addition, 18 other AHLs were detected in 12 strains. Compound identification was performed by GC/MS. Mass spectral analysis revealed a diunsaturated C12 homoserine lactone as structural element of the new AHL. Synthesis of three likely candidate compounds, 11, 13 and N-((2E,4E)-2,4-dodecadienoyl)homoserine lactone (5), revealed the former to be the natural AHLs. Bioactivity test with quorum-sensing reporter strains showed high activity of all three compounds. Therefore, the configuration and stereochemistry of the double bonds in the acyl chain seemed to be unimportant for the activity, although the chains have largely different shapes, solely the chain length determining activity. In combination with previous results with other Roseobacter group bacteria, we could show that there is wide variance between AHL composition within the strains. Furthermore, no association of certain AHLs with different habitats like macroalgal surfaces or sediment could be detected. View Full-Text
  • Thermoplasmatales and sulfur-oxidizing bacteria dominate the microbial community at the surface water of a CO-rich hydrothermal spring located in Tenorio Volcano National Park, Costa Rica.

    Arce-Rodríguez, Alejandro; Puente-Sánchez, Fernando; Avendaño, Roberto; Martínez-Cruz, María; de Moor, J Maarten; Pieper, Dietmar H; Chavarría, Max; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2019-01-01)
    Here we report the chemical and microbial characterization of the surface water of a CO2-rich hydrothermal vent known in Costa Rica as Borbollones, located at Tenorio Volcano National Park. The Borbollones showed a temperature surrounding 60 °C, a pH of 2.4 and the gas released has a composition of ~ 97% CO2, ~ 0.07% H2S, ~ 2.3% N2 and ~ 0.12% CH4. Other chemical species such as sulfate and iron were found at high levels with respect to typical fresh water bodies. Analysis by 16S rRNA gene metabarcoding revealed that in Borbollones predominates an archaeon from the order Thermoplasmatales and one bacterium from the genus Sulfurimonas. Other sulfur- (genera Thiomonas, Acidithiobacillus, Sulfuriferula, and Sulfuricurvum) and iron-oxidizing bacteria (genera Sideroxydans, Gallionella, and Ferrovum) were identified. Our results show that CO2-influenced surface water of Borbollones contains microorganisms that are usually found in acid rock drainage environments or sulfur-rich hydrothermal vents. To our knowledge, this is the first microbiological characterization of a CO2-dominated hydrothermal spring from Central America and expands our understanding of those extreme ecosystems.
  • 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.
  • Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae resides intracellularly within porcine epithelial cells.

    Raymond, B B A; Turnbull, L; Jenkins, C; Madhkoor, R; Schleicher, I; Uphoff, C C; Whitchurch, C B; Rohde, M; Djordjevic, S P; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-12-06)
    Enzootic pneumonia incurs major economic losses to pork production globally. The primary pathogen and causative agent, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, colonises ciliated epithelium and disrupts mucociliary function predisposing the upper respiratory tract to secondary pathogens. Alleviation of disease is reliant on antibiotics, vaccination, and sound animal husbandry, but none are effective at eliminating M. hyopneumoniae from large production systems. Sustainable pork production systems strive to lower reliance on antibiotics but lack of a detailed understanding of the pathobiology of M. hyopneumoniae has curtailed efforts to develop effective mitigation strategies. M. hyopneumoniae is considered an extracellular pathogen. Here we show that M. hyopneumoniae associates with integrin β1 on the surface of epithelial cells via interactions with surface-bound fibronectin and initiates signalling events that stimulate pathogen uptake into clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs) and caveosomes. These early events allow M. hyopneumoniae to exploit an intracellular lifestyle by commandeering the endosomal pathway. Specifically, we show: (i) using a modified gentamicin protection assay that approximately 8% of M. hyopneumoniae cells reside intracellularly; (ii) integrin β1 expression specifically co-localises with the deposition of fibronectin precisely where M. hyopneumoniae cells assemble extracellularly; (iii) anti-integrin β1 antibodies block entry of M. hyopneumoniae into porcine cells; and (iv) M. hyopneumoniae survives phagolysosomal fusion, and resides within recycling endosomes that are trafficked to the cell membrane. Our data creates a paradigm shift by challenging the long-held view that M. hyopneumoniae is a strict extracellular pathogen and calls for in vivo studies to determine if M. hyopneumoniae can traffic to extrapulmonary sites in commercially-reared pigs.
  • Iron Regulation in Clostridioides difficile.

    Berges, Mareike; Michel, Annika-Marisa; Lassek, Christian; Nuss, Aaron M; Beckstette, Michael; Dersch, Petra; Riedel, Katharina; Sievers, Susanne; Becher, Dörte; Otto, Andreas; Maaß, Sandra; Rohde, Manfred; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Borrero-de Acuña, Jose M; Jahn, Martina; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Jahn, Dieter; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    The response to iron limitation of several bacteria is regulated by the ferric uptake regulator (Fur). The Fur-regulated transcriptional, translational and metabolic networks of the Gram-positive, pathogen Clostridioides difficile were investigated by a combined RNA sequencing, proteomic, metabolomic and electron microscopy approach. At high iron conditions (15 μM) the C. difficile fur mutant displayed a growth deficiency compared to wild type C. difficile cells. Several iron and siderophore transporter genes were induced by Fur during low iron (0.2 μM) conditions. The major adaptation to low iron conditions was observed for the central energy metabolism. Most ferredoxin-dependent amino acid fermentations were significantly down regulated (had, etf, acd, grd, trx, bdc, hbd). The substrates of these pathways phenylalanine, leucine, glycine and some intermediates (phenylpyruvate, 2-oxo-isocaproate, 3-hydroxy-butyryl-CoA, crotonyl-CoA) accumulated, while end products like isocaproate and butyrate were found reduced. Flavodoxin (fldX) formation and riboflavin biosynthesis (rib) were enhanced, most likely to replace the missing ferredoxins. Proline reductase (prd), the corresponding ion pumping RNF complex (rnf) and the reaction product 5-aminovalerate were significantly enhanced. An ATP forming ATPase (atpCDGAHFEB) of the F0F1-type was induced while the formation of a ATP-consuming, proton-pumping V-type ATPase (atpDBAFCEKI) was decreased. The [Fe-S] enzyme-dependent pyruvate formate lyase (pfl), formate dehydrogenase (fdh) and hydrogenase (hyd) branch of glucose utilization and glycogen biosynthesis (glg) were significantly reduced, leading to an accumulation of glucose and pyruvate. The formation of [Fe-S] enzyme carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (coo) was inhibited. The fur mutant showed an increased sensitivity to vancomycin and polymyxin B. An intensive remodeling of the cell wall was observed, Polyamine biosynthesis (spe) was induced leading to an accumulation of spermine, spermidine, and putrescine. The fur mutant lost most of its flagella and motility. Finally, the CRISPR/Cas and a prophage encoding operon were downregulated. Fur binding sites were found upstream of around 20 of the regulated genes. Overall, adaptation to low iron conditions in C. difficile focused on an increase of iron import, a significant replacement of iron requiring metabolic pathways and the restructuring of the cell surface for protection during the complex adaptation phase and was only partly directly regulated by Fur.
  • Virulence factor-dependent basolateral invasion of choroid plexus epithelial cells by pathogenic Escherichia coli in vitro.

    Rose, Rebekah; Häuser, Svenja; Stump-Guthier, Carolin; Weiss, Christel; Rohde, Manfred; Kim, Kwang Sik; Ishikawa, Hiroshi; Schroten, Horst; Schwerk, Christian; Adam, Rüdiger; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxford Academic Press, 2018-11-21)
    Escherichia coli is the most common Gram-negative causative agent of neonatal meningitis and E. coli meningitis is associated with high morbidity and mortality. Previous research has been carried out with regard to the blood-brain barrier and thereby unveiled an assortment of virulence factors involved in E. coli meningitis. Little, however, is known about the role of the blood-cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) barrier (BCSFB), in spite of several studies suggesting that the choroid plexus (CP) is a possible entry point for E. coli into the CSF spaces. Here, we used a human CP papilloma (HIBCPP) cell line that was previously established as valid model for the study of the BCSFB. We show that E. coli invades HIBCPP cells in a polar fashion preferentially from the physiologically relevant basolateral side. Moreover, we demonstrate that deletion of outer membrane protein A, ibeA or neuDB genes results in decreased cell infection, while absence of fimH enhances invasion, although causing reduced adhesion to the apical side of HIBCPP cells. Our findings suggest that the BCSFB might constitute an entry point for E. coli into the central nervous system, and HIBCPP cells are a valuable tool for investigating E. coli entry of the BCSFB.
  • The Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Cpx envelope stress system contributes to transcriptional activation of rovM.

    Thanikkal, Edvin J; Gahlot, Dharmender K; Liu, Junfa; Fredriksson Sundbom, Marcus; Gurung, Jyoti M; Ruuth, Kristina; Francis, Monika K; Obi, Ikenna R; Thompson, Karl M; Chen, Shiyun; Dersch, Petra; Francis, Matthew S; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-12-06)
    The Gram-negative enteropathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis possesses a number of regulatory systems that detect cell envelope damage caused by noxious extracytoplasmic stresses. The CpxA sensor kinase and CpxR response regulator two-component regulatory system is one such pathway. Active Cpx signalling upregulates various factors designed to repair and restore cell envelope integrity. Concomitantly, this pathway also down-regulates key determinants of virulence. In Yersinia, cpxA deletion accumulates high levels of phosphorylated CpxR (CpxR~P). Accumulated CpxR~P directly repressed rovA expression and this limited expression of virulence-associated processes. A second transcriptional regulator, RovM, also negatively regulates rovA expression in response to nutrient stress. Hence, this study aimed to determine if CpxR~P can influence rovA expression through control of RovM levels. We determined that the active CpxR~P isoform bound to the promoter of rovM and directly induced its expression, which naturally associated with a concurrent reduction in rovA expression. Site-directed mutagenesis of the CpxR~P binding sequence in the rovM promoter region desensitised rovM expression to CpxR~P. These data suggest that accumulated CpxR~P inversely manipulates the levels of two global transcriptional regulators, RovA and RovM, and this would be expected to have considerable influence on Yersinia pathophysiology and metabolism.
  • Bacterial community structure and effects of picornavirus infection on the anterior nares microbiome in early childhood.

    Caputo, Mahrrouz; Zoch-Lesniak, Beate; Karch, André; Vital, Marius; Meyer, Frederic; Klawonn, Frank; Baillot, Armin; Pieper, Dietmar H; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2019-01-07)
    Little is known regarding the nasal microbiome in early childhood and the impact of respiratory infection on the infants' nasal microbial composition. Here we investigated the temporal dynamics and diversity of the bacterial composition in the anterior nares in children attending daycare centers. For our investigation, we considered 76 parental-taken nasal swabs of 26 children (aged 13 to 36 months) collected over a study period of 3 months. Overall, there was no significant age-specific effect or seasonal shift in the nasal bacterial community structure. In a sub-sample of 14 healthy children the relative abundance of individual taxa as well as the overall diversity did not reveal relevant changes, indicating a stable community structure over the entire study period. Moreover, the nasal bacterial profiles clustered subject-specific with Bray-Curtis similarities being elevated in intra-subject calculations compared to between-subject calculations. The remaining subset of 12 children provided samples taken during picornavirus infection (PVI) and either before or after a PVI. We detected an association between the relative abundance of members of the genus Streptococcus and PV when comparing both (i) samples taken during PVI with samples out of 14 healthy children and (ii) samples taken during PVI with samples taken after PVI within the same individual. In addition, the diversity was higher during PVI than after infection. Our findings suggest that a personalized structure of the nasal bacterial community is established already in early childhood and could be detected over a timeframe of 3 months. Studies following infants over a longer time with frequent swab sampling would allow investigating whether certain parameter of the bacterial community, such as the temporal variability, could be related to viral infection.
  • Novel type of pilus associated with a Shiga-toxigenic E. coli hybrid pathovar conveys aggregative adherence and bacterial virulence.

    Lang, Christina; Fruth, Angelika; Holland, Gudrun; Laue, Michael; Mühlen, Sabrina; Dersch, Petra; Flieger, Antje; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2018-12-05)
    A large German outbreak in 2011 was caused by a locus of enterocyte effacement (LEE)-negative enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC) strain of the serotype O104:H4. This strain harbors markers that are characteristic of both EHEC and enteroaggregative E. coli (EAEC), including aggregative adhesion fimbriae (AAF) genes. Such rare EHEC/EAEC hybrids are highly pathogenic due to their possession of a combination of genes promoting severe toxicity and aggregative adhesion. We previously identified novel EHEC/EAEC hybrids and observed that one strain exhibited aggregative adherence but had no AAF genes. In this study, a genome sequence analysis showed that this strain belongs to the genoserotype O23:H8, MLST ST26, and harbors a 5.2 Mb chromosome and three plasmids. One plasmid carries some EAEC marker genes, such as aatA and genes with limited protein homology (11-61%) to those encoding the bundle-forming pilus (BFP) of enteropathogenic E. coli. Due to significant protein homology distance to known pili, we designated these as aggregate-forming pili (AFP)-encoding genes and the respective plasmid as pAFP. The afp operon was arranged similarly to the operon of BFP genes but contained an additional gene, afpA2, which is homologous to afpA. The deletion of the afp operon, afpA, or a nearby gene (afpR) encoding an AraC-like regulator, but not afpA2, led to a loss of pilin production, piliation, bacterial autoaggregation, and importantly, a >80% reduction in adhesion and cytotoxicity toward epithelial cells. Gene sets similar to the afp operon were identified in a variety of aatA-positive but AAF-negative intestinal pathogenic E. coli. In summary, we characterized widely distributed and novel fimbriae that are essential for aggregative adherence and cytotoxicity in a LEE-negative Shiga-toxigenic hybrid.
  • Type IV Secretion System and Its Adhesin Subunit, CagL, Mediate Potent Inflammatory Responses in Primary Human Endothelial Cells.

    Tafreshi, Mona; Guan, Jyeswei; Gorrell, Rebecca J; Chew, Nicole; Xin, Yue; Deswaerte, Virginie; Rohde, Manfred; Daly, Roger J; Peek, Richard M; Jenkins, Brendan J; Davies, Elizabeth M; Kwok, Terry; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    The Gram-negative bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, causes chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer in humans. Although the gastric epithelium is the primary site of H. pylori colonization, H. pylori can gain access to deeper tissues. Concurring with this notion, H. pylori has been found in the vicinity of endothelial cells in gastric submucosa. Endothelial cells play crucial roles in innate immune response, wound healing and tumorigenesis. This study examines the molecular mechanisms by which H. pylori interacts with and triggers inflammatory responses in endothelial cells. We observed that H. pylori infection of primary human endothelial cells stimulated secretion of the key inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). In particular, IL-8, a potent chemokine and angiogenic factor, was secreted by H. pylori-infected endothelial cells to levels ~10- to 20-fold higher than that typically observed in H. pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells. These inflammatory responses were triggered by the H. pylori type IV secretion system (T4SS) and the T4SS-associated adhesin CagL, but not the translocation substrate CagA. Moreover, in contrast to integrin α5β1 playing an essential role in IL-8 induction by H. pylori upon infection of gastric epithelial cells, both integrin α5β1 and integrin αvβ3 were dispensable for IL-8 induction in H. pylori-infected endothelial cells. However, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is crucial for mediating the potent H. pylori-induced IL-8 response in endothelial cells. This study reveals a novel mechanism by which the H. pylori T4SS and its adhesin subunit, CagL, may contribute to H. pylori pathogenesis by stimulating the endothelial innate immune responses, while highlighting EGFR as a potential therapeutic target for controlling H. pylori-induced inflammation. Introduction
  • Microbial community changes induced by uranyl nitrate in bentonite clay microcosms

    Lopez-Fernandez, Margarita; Vilchez-Vargas, Ramiro; Jroundi, Fadwa; Boon, Nico; Pieper, Dietmar; Merroun, Mohamed L.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2017-12-23)
    Deep geological repository (DGR) is one of the internationally accepted options to dispose radioactive wastes. Bentonite formations from Almeria, Spain, were selected as reference material for arti fi cial barriers for the future Spanish repository. However, the safety of this long-term disposal could be compromised not only by physi- cochemical factors but also by microbial processes. The highly radioactive waste must be safely stored at least for 100,000 years for the radioactivity to decrease to similar levels to those of natural uranium. To simulate a scenario where the mobilization of radionuclides from the repository to the host formations may occur, long- term microcosms were studied. After being exposed to uranyl nitrate for 5 months, the response of the bentonite microbial community to the addition of this radionuclide was evaluated. High throughput 16S rRNA gene se- quencing revealed that the structure of the microbial community after the uranyl nitrate treatment di ff ers to that of the control microcosms. The microbial diversity was dominated by Firmicutes and Proteobacteria. Moreover, after the uranyl nitrate treatment OTUs annotated as Paracoccus and Bacillus were highly enriched. The mi- neralogy of bentonites was not a ff ected by the uranyl nitrate treatment as was demonstrated by X-ray di ff raction analysis. In addition, the study of uranium-bacteria interaction revealed the ability of isolates to biomineralize uranium as uranium phosphate mineral phases. Thus, the changes induced by the release of uranium in the microbial population may also affect the mobility of this radionuclide, making it less mobile and therefore less harmful for this environment.

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