Recent Submissions

  • Influenza-Activated ILC1s Contribute to Antiviral Immunity Partially Influenced by Differential GITR Expression.

    Vashist, Neha; Trittel, Stephanie; Ebensen, Thomas; Chambers, Benedict J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Riese, Peggy; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) represent diversified subsets of effector cells as well as immune regulators of mucosal immunity and are classified into group 1 ILCs, group 2 ILCs, and group 3 ILCs. Group 1 ILCs encompass natural killer (NK) cells and non-NK ILCs (ILC1s) and mediate their functionality via the rapid production of IFN-γ and TNF-α. The current knowledge of ILC1s mainly associates them to inflammatory processes. Much less is known about their regulation during infection and their capacity to interact with cells of the adaptive immune system. The present study dissected the role of ILC1s during early influenza A virus infection, thereby revealing their impact on the antiviral response. Exploiting in vitro and in vivo H1N1 infection systems, a cross-talk of ILC1s with cells of the innate and the adaptive immunity was demonstrated, which contributes to anti-influenza immunity. A novel association of ILC1 functionality and the expression of the glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related protein (GITR) was observed, which hints toward a so far undescribed role of GITR in regulating ILC1 responsiveness. Overexpression of GITR inhibits IFN-γ production by ILC1s, whereas partial reduction of GITR expression can reverse this effect, thereby regulating ILC1 functionality. These new insights into ILC1 biology define potential intervention targets to modulate the functional properties of ILC1s, thus contributing toward the development of new immune interventions against influenza.
  • De Novo Fatty Acid Synthesis During Mycobacterial Infection Is a Prerequisite for the Function of Highly Proliferative T Cells, But Not for Dendritic Cells or Macrophages.

    Stüve, Philipp; Minarrieta, Lucía; Erdmann, Hanna; Arnold-Schrauf, Catharina; Swallow, Maxine; Guderian, Melanie; Krull, Freyja; Hölscher, Alexandra; Ghorbani, Peyman; Behrends, Jochen; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Hölscher, Christoph; Sparwasser, Tim D; Berod, Luciana; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of human tuberculosis, is able to efficiently manipulate the host immune system establishing chronic infection, yet the underlying mechanisms of immune evasion are not fully understood. Evidence suggests that this pathogen interferes with host cell lipid metabolism to ensure its persistence. Fatty acid metabolism is regulated by acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) 1 and 2; both isoforms catalyze the conversion of acetyl-CoA into malonyl-CoA, but have distinct roles. ACC1 is located in the cytosol, where it regulates de novo fatty acid synthesis (FAS), while ACC2 is associated with the outer mitochondrial membrane, regulating fatty acid oxidation (FAO). In macrophages, mycobacteria induce metabolic changes that lead to the cytosolic accumulation of lipids. This reprogramming impairs macrophage activation and contributes to chronic infection. In dendritic cells (DCs), FAS has been suggested to underlie optimal cytokine production and antigen presentation, but little is known about the metabolic changes occurring in DCs upon mycobacterial infection and how they affect the outcome of the immune response. We therefore determined the role of fatty acid metabolism in myeloid cells and T cells during Mycobacterium bovis BCG or Mtb infection, using novel genetic mouse models that allow cell-specific deletion of ACC1 and ACC2 in DCs, macrophages, or T cells. Our results demonstrate that de novo FAS is induced in DCs and macrophages upon M. bovis BCG infection. However, ACC1 expression in DCs and macrophages is not required to control mycobacteria. Similarly, absence of ACC2 did not influence the ability of DCs and macrophages to cope with infection. Furthermore, deletion of ACC1 in DCs or macrophages had no effect on systemic pro-inflammatory cytokine production or T cell priming, suggesting that FAS is dispensable for an intact innate response against mycobacteria. In contrast, mice with a deletion of ACC1 specifically in T cells fail to generate efficient T helper 1 responses and succumb early to Mtb infection. In summary, our results reveal ACC1-dependent FAS as a crucial mechanism in T cells, but not DCs or macrophages, to fight against mycobacterial infection.
  • Pseudomonas-Specific NGS Assay Provides Insight Into Abundance and Dynamics of Species Including P. aeruginosa in a Cooling Tower.

    Pereira, Rui P A; Peplies, Jörg; Mushi, Douglas; Brettar, Ingrid; Höfle, Manfred G; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    Pseudomonas species are frequent inhabitants of freshwater environments and colonizers of water supply networks via bioadhesion and biofilm formation. P. aeruginosa is the species most commonly associated with human disease, causing a wide variety of infections with links to its presence in freshwater systems. Though several other Pseudomonas species are of ecological and public health importance, little knowledge exists regarding environmental abundances of these species. In the present study, an Illumina-based next-generation sequencing (NGS) approach using Pseudomonas-specific primers targeting the 16S rRNA gene was evaluated and applied to a set of freshwater samples from different environments including a cooling tower sampled monthly during 2 years. Our approach showed high in situ specificity and accuracy. NGS read counts revealed a precise quantification of P. aeruginosa and a good correlation with the absolute number of Pseudomonas genome copies in a validated genus-specific qPCR assay, demonstrating the ability of the NGS approach to determine both relative and absolute abundances of Pseudomonas species and P. aeruginosa. The characterization of Pseudomonas communities in cooling tower water allowed us to identify 43 phylotypes, with P. aeruginosa being the most abundant. A shift existed within each year from a community dominated by phylotypes belonging to P. fluorescens and P. oleovorans phylogenetic groups to a community where P. aeruginosa was highly abundant. Co-occurrence was observed between P. aeruginosa and other phylotypes of P. aeruginosa group as well as the potentially pathogenic species P. stutzeri, but not with phylotypes of the P. fluorescens group, indicating the need to further investigate the metabolic networks and ecological traits of Pseudomonas species. This study demonstrates the potential of deep sequencing as a valuable tool in environmental diagnostics and surveillance of health-related pathogens in freshwater environments
  • Human monocyte-derived macrophages inhibit HCMV spread independent of classical antiviral cytokines.

    Becker, Jennifer; Kinast, Volker; Döring, Marius; Lipps, Christoph; Duran, Veronica; Spanier, Julia; Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Wirth, Dagmar; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Alcamí, Antonio; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig. (2018-01-01)
    Infection of healthy individuals with human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is usually unnoticed and results in life-long latency, whereas HCMV reactivation as well as infection of newborns or immunocompromised patients can cause life-threatening disease. To better understand HCMV pathogenesis we studied mechanisms that restrict HCMV spread. We discovered that HCMV-infected cells can directly trigger plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to mount antiviral type I interferon (IFN-I) responses, even in the absence of cell-free virus. In contrast, monocyte-derived cells only expressed IFN-I when stimulated by cell-free HCMV, or upon encounter of HCMV-infected cells that already produced cell-free virus. Nevertheless, also in the absence of cell-free virus, i.e., upon co-culture of infected epithelial/endothelial cells and monocyte-derived macrophages (moMΦ) or dendritic cells (moDC), antiviral responses were induced that limited HCMV spread. The induction of this antiviral effect was dependent on cell-cell contact, whereas cell-free supernatants from co-culture experiments also inhibited virus spread, implying that soluble factors were critically needed. Interestingly, the antiviral effect was independent of IFN-γ, TNF-α, and IFN-I as indicated by cytokine inhibition experiments using neutralizing antibodies or the vaccinia virus-derived soluble IFN-I binding protein B18R, which traps human IFN-α and IFN-β. In conclusion, our results indicate that human macrophages and dendritic cells can limit HCMV spread by IFN-I dependent as well as independent mechanisms, whereas the latter ones might be particularly relevant for the restriction of HCMV transmission via cell-to-cell spread.
  • Rapid In Vivo Assessment of Adjuvant's Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes Generation Capabilities for Vaccine Development

    Lirussi, Darío; Ebensen, Thomas; Schulze, Kai; Reinhard, Elena; Trittel, Stephanie; Riese, Peggy; Prochnow, Blair; Guzmán, Carlos A.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
    The assessment of modern sub-unit vaccines reveals that the generation of neutralizing antibodies is important but not sufficient for adjuvant selection. Therefore, adjuvants with both humoral and cellular immuno-stimulatory capabilities that are able to promote cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL) responses are urgently needed. Thus, faithful monitoring of adjuvant candidates that induce cross-priming and subsequently enhance CTL generation represents a crucial step in vaccine development. In here we present an application for a method that uses SIINFEKL-specific (OT-I) T cells to monitor the cross-presentation of the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) in vivo in the presence of different adjuvant candidates. This method represents a rapid test to select adjuvants with the best cross-priming capabilities. The proliferation of CD8+ T cells is the most valuable indication of cross-priming and it is also regarded as a correlate of adjuvant-induced cross-presentation. This feature can be evaluated in different immune organs like lymph nodes and spleen. The extent of the CTL generation can also be monitored, thereby giving insights on the nature of a local (draining lymph node mainly) or a systemic response (distant lymph nodes and/or spleen). This technique further allows multiple modifications for testing drugs that can inhibit specific cross-presentation pathways and also offers the possibility to be used in different strains of conventional and genetically modified mice. In summary, the application that we present here will be useful for vaccine laboratories in industry or academia that develop or modify chemical adjuvants for vaccine research and development. © 2018, Journal of Visualized Experiments.
  • The gut microbiota promotes hepatic fatty acid desaturation and elongation in mice.

    Kindt, Alida; Liebisch, Gerhard; Clavel, Thomas; Haller, Dirk; Hörmannsperger, Gabriele; Yoon, Hongsup; Kolmeder, Daniela; Sigruener, Alexander; Krautbauer, Sabrina; Seeliger, Claudine; Ganzha, Alexandra; Schweizer, Sabine; Morisset, Rosalie; Strowig, Till; Daniel, Hannelore; Helm, Dominic; Küster, Bernhard; Krumsiek, Jan; Ecker, Josef; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-14)
    Interactions between the gut microbial ecosystem and host lipid homeostasis are highly relevant to host physiology and metabolic diseases. We present a comprehensive multi-omics view of the effect of intestinal microbial colonization on hepatic lipid metabolism, integrating transcriptomic, proteomic, phosphoproteomic, and lipidomic analyses of liver and plasma samples from germfree and specific pathogen-free mice. Microbes induce monounsaturated fatty acid generation by stearoyl-CoA desaturase 1 and polyunsaturated fatty acid elongation by fatty acid elongase 5, leading to significant alterations in glycerophospholipid acyl-chain profiles. A composite classification score calculated from the observed alterations in fatty acid profiles in germfree mice clearly differentiates antibiotic-treated mice from untreated controls with high sensitivity. Mechanistic investigations reveal that acetate originating from gut microbial degradation of dietary fiber serves as precursor for hepatic synthesis of C16 and C18 fatty acids and their related glycerophospholipid species that are also released into the circulation.
  • Biocompatible Coatings from Smart Biopolymer Nanoparticles for Enzymatically Induced Drug Release.

    Tolle, Christian; Riedel, Jan; Mikolai, Carina; Winkel, Andreas; Stiesch, Meike; Wirth, Dagmar; Menzel, Henning; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-28)
    Nanoparticles can be used as a smart drug delivery system, when they release the drug only upon degradation by specific enzymes. A method to create such responsive materials is the formation of hydrogel nanoparticles, which have enzymatically degradable crosslinkers. Such hydrogel nanoparticles were prepared by ionotropic gelation sodium alginate with lysine-rich peptide sequences-either α-poly-L-lysine (PLL) or the aggrecanase-labile sequence KKKK-GRD-ARGSV↓NITEGE-DRG-KKKK. The nanoparticle suspensions obtained were analyzed by means of dynamic light scattering and nanoparticle tracking analysis. Degradation experiments carried out with the nanoparticles in suspension revealed enzyme-induced lability. Drugs present in the polymer solution during the ionotropic gelation can be encapsulated in the nanoparticles. Drug loading was investigated for interferon-β (IFN-β) as a model, using a bioluminescence assay with MX2Luc2 cells. The encapsulation efficiency for IFN-β was found to be approximately 25%. The nanoparticles suspension can be used to spray-coat titanium alloys (Ti-6Al-4V) as a common implant material. The coatings were proven by ellipsometry, reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. An enzyme-responsive decrease in layer thickness is observed due to the degradation of the coatings. The Alg/peptide coatings were cytocompatible for human gingival fibroblasts (HGFIB), which was investigated by CellTiterBlue and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay. However, HGFIBs showed poor adhesion and proliferation on the Alg/peptide coatings, but these could be improved by modification of the alginate with a RGD-peptide sequence. The smart drug release system presented can be further tailored to have the right release kinetics and cell adhesion properties.
  • The gut microbiota drives the impact of bile acids and fat source in diet on mouse metabolism.

    Just, Sarah; Mondot, Stanislas; Ecker, Josef; Wegner, Katrin; Rath, Eva; Gau, Laura; Streidl, Theresa; Hery-Arnaud, Genevieve; Schmidt, Sinah; Lesker, Till Robin; Bieth, Valentin; Dunkel, Andreas; Strowig, Till; Hofmann, Thomas; Haller, Dirk; Liebisch, Gerhard; Gérard, Philippe; Rohn, Sascha; Lepage, Patricia; Clavel, Thomas; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-02)
    As the gut microbiota contributes to metabolic health, it is important to determine specific diet-microbiota interactions that influence host metabolism. Bile acids and dietary fat source can alter phenotypes of diet-induced obesity, but the interplay with intestinal microorganisms is unclear. Here, we investigated metabolic consequences of diets enriched in primary bile acids with or without addition of lard or palm oil, and studied gut microbiota structure and functions in mice. In combination with bile acids, dietary lard fed to male C57BL/6N mice for a period of 8 weeks enhanced fat mass accumulation in colonized, but not in germ-free mice when compared to palm oil. This was associated with impaired glucose tolerance, lower fasting insulin levels, lower counts of enteroendocrine cells, fatty liver, and elevated amounts of hepatic triglycerides, cholesteryl esters, and monounsaturated fatty acids. Lard- and bile acid-fed mice were characterized by shifts in dominant gut bacterial communities, including decreased relative abundances of Lachnospiraceae and increased occurrence of Desulfovibrionaceae and the species Clostridium lactatifermentans and Flintibacter butyricus. Metatranscriptomic analysis revealed shifts in microbial functions, including lipid and amino acid metabolism. Caution is required when interpreting data from diet-induced obesity models due to varying effects of dietary fat source. Detrimental metabolic consequences of a diet enriched with lard and primary bile acids were dependent on microbial colonization of the host and were linked to hepatic lipid rearrangements and to alterations of dominant bacterial communities in the cecum.
  • Humanized mouse model supports development, function, and tissue residency of human natural killer cells.

    Herndler-Brandstetter, Dietmar; Shan, Liang; Yao, Yi; Stecher, Carmen; Plajer, Valerie; Lietzenmayer, Melanie; Strowig, Till; de Zoete, Marcel R; Palm, Noah W; Chen, Jie; Blish, Catherine A; Frleta, Davor; Gurer, Cagan; Macdonald, Lynn E; Murphy, Andrew J; Yancopoulos, George D; Montgomery, Ruth R; Flavell, Richard A; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-07)
    Immunodeficient mice reconstituted with a human immune system represent a promising tool for translational research as they may allow modeling and therapy of human diseases in vivo. However, insufficient development and function of human natural killer (NK) cells and T cell subsets limit the applicability of humanized mice for studying cancer biology and therapy. Here, we describe a human interleukin 15 (
  • Chronic d-serine supplementation impairs insulin secretion.

    Suwandhi, Lisa; Hausmann, Simone; Braun, Alexander; Gruber, Tim; Heinzmann, Silke S; Gálvez, Eric J C; Buck, Achim; Legutko, Beata; Israel, Andreas; Feuchtinger, Annette; Haythorne, Elizabeth; Staiger, Harald; Heni, Martin; Häring, Hans-Ulrich; Schmitt-Kopplin, Philippe; Walch, Axel; Cáceres, Cristina García; Tschöp, Matthias H; Rutter, Guy A; Strowig, Till; Elsner, Martin; Ussar, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-25)
    The metabolic role of d-serine, a non-proteinogenic NMDA receptor co-agonist, is poorly understood. Conversely, inhibition of pancreatic NMDA receptors as well as loss of the d-serine producing enzyme serine racemase have been shown to modulate insulin secretion. Thus, we aim to study the impact of chronic and acute d-serine supplementation on insulin secretion and other parameters of glucose homeostasis. We apply MALDI FT-ICR mass spectrometry imaging, NMR based metabolomics, 16s rRNA gene sequencing of gut microbiota in combination with a detailed physiological characterization to unravel the metabolic action of d-serine in mice acutely and chronically treated with 1% d-serine in drinking water in combination with either chow or high fat diet feeding. Moreover, we identify SNPs in SRR, the enzyme converting L-to d-serine and two subunits of the NMDA receptor to associate with insulin secretion in humans, based on the analysis of 2760 non-diabetic Caucasian individuals. We show that chronic elevation of d-serine results in reduced high fat diet intake. In addition, d-serine leads to diet-independent hyperglycemia due to blunted insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. Inhibition of alpha 2-adrenergic receptors rapidly restores glycemia and glucose tolerance in d-serine supplemented mice. Moreover, we show that single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in SRR as well as in individual NMDAR subunits are associated with insulin secretion in humans. Thus, we identify a novel role of d-serine in regulating systemic glucose metabolism through modulating insulin secretion.
  • Identification of a Predominantly Interferon-λ-Induced Transcriptional Profile in Murine Intestinal Epithelial Cells.

    Selvakumar, Tharini A; Bhushal, Sudeep; Kalinke, Ulrich; Wirth, Dagmar; Hauser, Hansjörg; Köster, Mario; Hornef, Mathias W; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-01)
    Type I (α and β) and type III (λ) interferons (IFNs) induce the expression of a large set of antiviral effector molecules
  • Large-scale production of megakaryocytes in microcarrier-supported stirred suspension bioreactors.

    Eicke, Dorothee; Baigger, Anja; Schulze, Kai; Latham, Sharissa L; Halloin, Caroline; Zweigerdt, Robert; Guzman, Carlos A; Blasczyk, Rainer; Figueiredo, Constança; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-05)
    Megakaryocytes (MKs) are the precursors of platelets (PLTs) and may be used for PLT production in vivo or in vitro, as well as a source for PLT-derived growth factors. Induced pluripotent stem cells represent an unlimited cell source for the in vitro production of MKs. This study aimed at developing an effective, xeno-free and scalable system to produce high numbers of MKs. In particular, microcarrier beads-assisted stirred bioreactors were evaluated as a means of improving MK yields. This method resulted in the production of 18.7 × 10
  • Type I interferon receptor signaling delays Kupffer cell replenishment during acute fulminant viral hepatitis.

    Borst, Katharina; Frenz, Theresa; Spanier, Julia; Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Chhatbar, Chintan; Skerra, Jennifer; Ghita, Luca; Namineni, Sukumar; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Köster, Mario; Heikenwaelder, Mathias; Sutter, Gerd; Kalinke, Ulrich; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-12-21)
    Virus-induced fulminant hepatitis is a major cause of acute liver failure. During acute viral hepatitis the impact of type I interferon (IFN-I) on myeloid cells, including liver-resident Kupffer cells (KC), is only partially understood. Herein, we dissected the impact of locally induced IFN-I responses on myeloid cell function and hepatocytes during acute liver inflammation. Two different DNA-encoded viruses, vaccinia virus (VACV) and murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV), were studied. In vivo imaging was applied to visualize local IFN-β induction and IFN-I receptor (IFNAR) triggering in VACV-infected reporter mice. Furthermore, mice with a cell type-selective IFNAR ablation were analyzed to dissect the role of IFNAR signaling in myeloid cells and hepatocytes. Experiments with Cx3cr1 VACV infection induced local IFN-β responses, which lead to IFNAR signaling primarily within the liver. IFNAR triggering was needed to control the infection and prevent fulminant hepatitis. The severity of liver inflammation was independent of IFNAR triggering of hepatocytes, whereas IFNAR triggering of myeloid cells protected from excessive inflammation. Upon VACV or MCMV infection KC disappeared, whereas infiltrating monocytes differentiated to KC afterwards. During IFNAR triggering such replenished monocyte-derived KC comprised more IFNAR-deficient than -competent cells in mixed bone marrow chimeric mice, whereas after the decline of IFNAR triggering both subsets showed an even distribution. Upon VACV infection IFNAR triggering of myeloid cells, but not of hepatocytes, critically modulates acute viral hepatitis. During infection with DNA-encoded viruses IFNAR triggering of liver-infiltrating blood monocytes delays the development of monocyte-derived KC, pointing towards new therapeutic strategies for acute viral hepatitis.
  • Induction of CD4(+) and CD8(+) anti-tumor effector T cell responses by bacteria mediated tumor therapy.

    Stern, Christian; Kasnitz, Nadine; Kocijancic, Dino; Trittel, Stephanie; Riese, Peggy; Guzman, Carlos A; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-10-15)
    Facultative anaerobic bacteria like E. coli can colonize solid tumors often resulting in tumor growth retardation or even clearance. Little mechanistic knowledge is available for this phenomenon which is however crucial for optimization and further implementation in the clinic. Here, we show that intravenous injections with E. coli TOP10 can induce clearance of CT26 tumors in BALB/c mice. Importantly, re-challenging mice which had cleared tumors showed that clearance was due to a specific immune reaction. Accordingly, lymphopenic mice never showed tumor clearance after infection. Depletion experiments revealed that during induction phase, CD8(+) T cells are the sole effectors responsible for tumor clearance while in the memory phase CD8(+) and CD4(+) T cells were involved. This was confirmed by adoptive transfer. CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells could reject newly set tumors while CD8(+) T cells could even reject established tumors. Detailed analysis of adoptively transferred CD4(+) T cells during tumor challenge revealed expression of granzyme B, FasL, TNF-α and IFN-γ in such T cells that might be involved in the anti-tumor activity. Our findings should pave the way for further optimization steps of this promising therapy.
  • Self-Amplifying Replicon RNA Delivery to Dendritic Cells by Cationic Lipids

    Englezou, Pavlos C.; Sapet, Cedric; Démoulins, Thomas; Milona, Panagiota; Ebensen, Thomas; Schulze, Kai; Guzman, Carlos-Alberto; Poulhes, Florent; Zelphati, Olivier; Ruggli, Nicolas; McCullough, Kenneth C.; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
  • Memory CD8 T cells support the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cells in the bone marrow

    Geerman, Sulima; Brasser, Giso; Bhushal, Sudeep; Salerno, Fiamma; Kragten, Natasja A.; Hoogenboezem, Mark; de Haan, Gerald; Wolkers, Monika C.; Pascutti, María Fernanda; Nolte, Martijn A.; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
  • The chromatin remodeling factor SPOC1 acts as a cellular restriction factor against human cytomegalovirus by repressing the major immediate-early promoter.

    Reichel, Anna; Stilp, Anne-Charlotte; Scherer, Myriam; Reuter, Nina; Lukassen, Sören; Kasmapour, Bahram; Schreiner, Sabrina; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Winterpacht, Andreas; Stamminger, Thomas; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-09)
    The cellular protein SPOC1 (survival time-associated PHD finger protein in ovarian cancer 1) acts as a regulator of chromatin structure and DNA damage response. It binds H3K4me2/3 containing chromatin and promotes DNA condensation by recruiting corepressors such as KAP-1 and H3K9 methyltransferases. Previous studies identified SPOC1 as a restriction factor against human adenovirus (HAdV) infection that is antagonized by E1B-55K/E4orf6-dependent proteasomal degradation. Here, we demonstrate that, in contrast to HAdV-infected cells, SPOC1 is transiently upregulated during the early phase of HCMV replication. We show that expression of the immediate-early protein 1 (IE1) is sufficient and necessary to induce SPOC1. Additionally, we discovered that during later stages of infection SPOC1 is downregulated in a GSK-3β-dependent manner. We provide evidence that SPOC1 overexpression severely impairs HCMV replication by repressing the initiation of viral immediate early (IE) gene expression. Consistently, we observed that SPOC1-depleted primary human fibroblasts displayed augmented initiation of viral IE gene expression. This occurs in a MOI-dependent manner, a defining hallmark of intrinsic immunity. Interestingly, repression requires the presence of high SPOC1 levels at the start of infection while a later upregulation had no negative impact suggesting distinct temporal roles of SPOC1 during the HCMV replicative cycle. Mechanistically, we observed a highly specific association of SPOC1 with the major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) strongly suggesting that SPOC1 inhibits HCMV replication by MIEP binding and subsequent recruitment of heterochromatin building factors. Thus, our data add SPOC1 as a novel factor to the endowment of a host cell to restrict cytomegalovirus infections.
  • The chromatin remodeling factor SPOC1 acts as a cellular restriction factor against human cytomegalovirus by repressing the major immediate-early promoter.

    Reichel, Anna; Stilp, Anne-Charlotte; Scherer, Myriam; Reuter, Nina; Lukassen, Sören; Kasmapour, Bahram; Schreiner, Sabrina; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Winterpacht, Andreas; Stamminger, Thomas; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-09)
    The cellular protein SPOC1 (survival time-associated PHD finger protein in ovarian cancer 1) acts as a regulator of chromatin structure and DNA damage response. It binds H3K4me2/3 containing chromatin and promotes DNA condensation by recruiting corepressors such as KAP-1 and H3K9 methyltransferases. Previous studies identified SPOC1 as a restriction factor against human adenovirus (HAdV) infection that is antagonized by E1B-55K/E4orf6-dependent proteasomal degradation. Here, we demonstrate that, in contrast to HAdV-infected cells, SPOC1 is transiently upregulated during the early phase of HCMV replication. We show that expression of the immediate-early protein 1 (IE1) is sufficient and necessary to induce SPOC1. Additionally, we discovered that during later stages of infection SPOC1 is downregulated in a GSK-3β-dependent manner. We provide evidence that SPOC1 overexpression severely impairs HCMV replication by repressing the initiation of viral immediate early (IE) gene expression. Consistently, we observed that SPOC1-depleted primary human fibroblasts displayed augmented initiation of viral IE gene expression. This occurs in a MOI-dependent manner, a defining hallmark of intrinsic immunity. Interestingly, repression requires the presence of high SPOC1 levels at the start of infection while a later upregulation had no negative impact suggesting distinct temporal roles of SPOC1 during the HCMV replicative cycle. Mechanistically, we observed a highly specific association of SPOC1 with the major immediate-early promoter (MIEP) strongly suggesting that SPOC1 inhibits HCMV replication by MIEP binding and subsequent recruitment of heterochromatin building factors. Thus, our data add SPOC1 as a novel factor to the endowment of a host cell to restrict cytomegalovirus infections. Accumulating evidence indicates that during millennia of co-evolution host cells have developed a sophisticated compilation of cellular factors to restrict cytomegalovirus infections. Defining this equipment is important to understand cellular barriers against viral infection and to develop strategies to utilize these factors for antiviral approaches. So far, constituents of PML nuclear bodies and the interferon gamma inducible protein 16 (IFI16) were known to mediate intrinsic immunity against HCMV. In this study, we identify the chromatin modulator SPOC1 as a novel restriction factor against HCMV. We show that pre-existing high SPOC1 protein levels mediate a silencing of HCMV gene expression via a specific association with an important viral -regulatory element, the major immediate-early promoter. Since SPOC1 expression varies between cell-types, this factor may play an important role in the tissue-specific defense against HCMV.
  • Successful Fecal Microbiota Transplantation in a Patient with Severe Complicated Clostridium difficile Infection after Liver Transplantation.

    Schneider, Kai Markus; Wirtz, Theresa H; Kroy, Daniela; Albers, Stefanie; Neumann, Ulf Peter; Strowig, Till; Sellge, Gernot; Trautwein, Christian; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-18)
    Clostridium difficile infection (CDI) represents one of the most common healthcare-associated infections. Due to increasing numbers of recurrences and therapy failures, CDI has become a major disease burden. Studies have shown that fecal microbiota transplantation (FMT) can both be a safe and highly efficacious therapy for patients with therapy-refractory CDI. However, patients undergoing solid organ transplantation are at high risk for CDI due to long-term immunosuppression, previous antibiotic therapy, and proton pump inhibitor use. Additionally, these patients may be especially prone to adverse events related to FMT. Here, we report a successful FMT in a patient with severe therapy-refractory CDI after liver transplantation.
  • Tissue maintenance of CMV-specific inflationary memory T cells by IL-15.

    Baumann, Nicolas S; Torti, Nicole; Welten, Suzanne P M; Barnstorf, Isabel; Borsa, Mariana; Pallmer, Katharina; Oduro, Jennifer D; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Ikuta, Koichi; Ludewig, Burkhard; Oxenius, Annette; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-04)
    Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection induces an atypical CD8 T cell response, termed inflationary, that is characterised by accumulation and maintenance of high numbers of effector memory like cells in circulation and peripheral tissues-a feature being successfully harnessed for vaccine purposes. Although stability of this population depends on recurrent antigen encounter, the requirements for prolonged survival in peripheral tissues remain unknown. Here, we reveal that murine CMV-specific inflationary CD8 T cells are maintained in an antigen-independent manner and have a half-life of 12 weeks in the lung tissue. This half-life is drastically longer than the one of phenotypically comparable inflationary effector cells. IL-15 alone, and none of other common γ-cytokines, was crucial for survival of inflationary cells in peripheral organs. IL-15, mainly produced by non-hematopoietic cells in lung tissue and being trans-presented, promoted inflationary T cell survival by increasing expression of Bcl-2. These results indicate that inflationary CD8 T cells are not just simply effector-like cells, rather they share properties of both effector and memory CD8 T cells and they appear to be long-lived cells compared to the effector cells from acute virus infections.

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