• Immune-responsive gene 1 protein links metabolism to immunity by catalyzing itaconic acid production.

      Michelucci, Alessandro; Cordes, Thekla; Ghelfi, Jenny; Pailot, Arnaud; Reiling, Norbert; Goldmann, Oliver; Binz, Tina; Wegner, André; Tallam, Aravind; Rausell, Antonio; et al. (2013-05-07)
      Immunoresponsive gene 1 (Irg1) is highly expressed in mammalian macrophages during inflammation, but its biological function has not yet been elucidated. Here, we identify Irg1 as the gene coding for an enzyme producing itaconic acid (also known as methylenesuccinic acid) through the decarboxylation of cis-aconitate, a tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate. Using a gain-and-loss-of-function approach in both mouse and human immune cells, we found Irg1 expression levels correlating with the amounts of itaconic acid, a metabolite previously proposed to have an antimicrobial effect. We purified IRG1 protein and identified its cis-aconitate decarboxylating activity in an enzymatic assay. Itaconic acid is an organic compound that inhibits isocitrate lyase, the key enzyme of the glyoxylate shunt, a pathway essential for bacterial growth under specific conditions. Here we show that itaconic acid inhibits the growth of bacteria expressing isocitrate lyase, such as Salmonella enterica and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, Irg1 gene silencing in macrophages resulted in significantly decreased intracellular itaconic acid levels as well as significantly reduced antimicrobial activity during bacterial infections. Taken together, our results demonstrate that IRG1 links cellular metabolism with immune defense by catalyzing itaconic acid production.
    • Optimizing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium for bacteria-mediated tumor therapy.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Curtiss, Roy; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Bacteria-mediated tumor therapy using Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a therapeutic option with great potential. Numerous studies explored the potential of Salmonella Typhimurium for therapeutic applications, however reconciling safety with vectorial efficacy remains a major issue. Recently we have described a conditionally attenuated Salmonella vector that is based on genetic lipopolysaccharide modification. This vector combines strong attenuation with appropriate anti-tumor properties by targeting various cancerous tissues in vivo. Therefore, it was promoted as an anti-tumor agent. In this addendum, we summarize these findings and demonstrate additional optimization steps that may further improve the therapeutic efficacy of our vector strain.
    • Strong interferon-inducing capacity of a highly virulent variant of influenza A virus strain PR8 with deletions in the NS1 gene.

      Kochs, Georg; Martínez-Sobrido, Luis; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; García-Sastre, Adolfo; Staeheli, Peter; Department of Virology, University of Freiburg, D-79008 Freiburg, Germany. georg.kochs@uniklinik-freiburg.de (2009-12)
      Influenza viruses lacking the interferon (IFN)-antagonistic non-structural NS1 protein are strongly attenuated. Here, we show that mutants of a highly virulent variant of A/PR/8/34 (H1N1) carrying either a complete deletion or C-terminal truncations of NS1 were far more potent inducers of IFN in infected mice than NS1 mutants derived from standard A/PR/8/34. Efficient induction of IFN correlated with successful initial virus replication in mouse lungs, indicating that the IFN response is boosted by enhanced viral activity. As the new NS1 mutants can be handled in standard biosafety laboratories, they represent convenient novel tools for studying virus-induced IFN expression in vivo.
    • Type I IFNs induce anti-tumor polarization of tumor associated neutrophils in mice and human.

      Andzinski, Lisa; Kasnitz, Nadine; Stahnke, Stephanie; Wu, Ching-Fang; Gereke, Marcus; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; Schilling, Bastian; Brandau, Sven; Weiss, Siegfried; Jablonska, Jadwiga; et al. (2016-04-15)
      The importance of tumor associated neutrophils (TANs) in cancer development is in the meantime well established. Numerous of clinical data document the adverse prognostic effects of neutrophil infiltration in solid tumors. However, certain tumor therapies need functional neutrophils to be effective, suggesting altered neutrophil polarization associated with different outcomes for cancer patients. Therefore, modulation of neutrophilic phenotypes represents a potent therapeutic option, but factors mediating neutrophil polarization are still poorly defined. In this manuscript we provide evidence that type I IFNs alter neutrophilic phenotype into anti-tumor, both in mice and human. In the absence of IFN-β, pro-tumor properties, such as reduced tumor cytotoxicity with low neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) expression, low ICAM1 and TNF-α expression, dominated neutrophil phenotypes in primary lesion and premetastatic lung. Interestingly, such neutrophils have significantly prolonged life-span. Notably, interferon therapy in mice altered TAN polarization towards anti-tumor N1. Similar changes in neutrophil activation could be observed in melanoma patients undergoing type I IFN therapy. Altogether, these data highlight the therapeutic potential of interferons, suggesting optimization of its clinical use as potent anti-tumor agent.
    • Type I Interferons Interfere with the Capacity of mRNA Lipoplex Vaccines to Elicit Cytolytic T Cell Responses.

      De Beuckelaer, Ans; Pollard, Charlotte; Van Lint, Sandra; Roose, Kenny; Van Hoecke, Lien; Naessens, Thomas; Udhayakumar, Vimal Kumar; Smet, Muriel; Sanders, Niek; Lienenklaus, Stefan; et al. (2016-11)
      Given their high potential to evoke cytolytic T cell responses, tumor antigen-encoding messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines are now being intensively explored as therapeutic cancer vaccines. mRNA vaccines clearly benefit from wrapping the mRNA into nano-sized carriers such as lipoplexes that protect the mRNA from degradation and increase its uptake by dendritic cells in vivo. Nevertheless, the early innate host factors that regulate the induction of cytolytic T cells to mRNA lipoplex vaccines have remained unresolved. Here, we demonstrate that mRNA lipoplexes induce a potent type I interferon (IFN) response upon subcutaneous, intradermal and intranodal injection. Regardless of the route of immunization applied, these type I IFNs interfered with the generation of potent cytolytic T cell responses. Most importantly, blocking type I IFN signaling at the site of immunization through the use of an IFNAR blocking antibody greatly enhanced the prophylactic and therapeutic antitumor efficacy of mRNA lipoplexes in the highly aggressive B16 melanoma model. As type I IFN induction appears to be inherent to the mRNA itself rather than to unique properties of the mRNA lipoplex formulation, preventing type I IFN induction and/or IFNAR signaling at the site of immunization might constitute a widely applicable strategy to improve the potency of mRNA vaccination.