• 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • CD4 T Cell Dependent Colitis Exacerbation Following Re-Exposure of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

      Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Bargen, Imke; Pils, Marina C; Krey, Martina; Zur Lage, Susanne; Singh, Anurag K; Basler, Tina; Falk, Christine S; Seidler, Ursula; Hornef, Mathias W; Goethe, Ralph; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of Johne's disease (JD), a chronic inflammatory bowel disease of cattle characterized by intermittent to chronic diarrhea. In addition, MAP has been isolated from Crohn's disease (CD) patients. The impact of MAP on severity of clinical symptoms in JD as well as its role in CD are yet unknown. We have previously shown that MAP is able to colonize inflamed enteric tissue and to exacerbate the inflammatory tissue response (Suwandi et al., 2014). In the present study, we analyzed how repeated MAP administration influences the course of dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced colitis. In comparison to mice exposed to DSS or MAP only, repeated exposure of DSS-treated mice to MAP (DSS/MAP) revealed a significantly enhanced clinical score, reduction of colon length as well as severe CD4(+) T cell infiltration into the colonic lamina propria. Functional analysis identified a critical role of CD4(+) T cells in the MAP-induced disease exacerbation. Additionally, altered immune responses were observed when closely related mycobacteria species such as M. avium ssp. avium and M. avium ssp. hominissuis were administered. These data reveal the specific ability of MAP to aggravate intestinal inflammation and clinical symptoms. Overall, this phenotype is compatible with similar disease promoting capabilites of MAP in JD and CD.
    • cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7 induced interferon-β contributes to the clearing of non tuberculous mycobacterial infection in mice.

      Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Nerlich, Andreas; Abdissa, Ketema; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Janze, Nina; Laarmann, Kristin; Spanier, Julia; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Goethe, Ralph; TWNCORe, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynnen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2017-10-03)
      Type I interferons (IFN-I), such as IFN-α and IFN-β are important messengers in the host response against bacterial infections. Knowledge about the role of IFN-I in infections by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) is limited. Here we show that macrophages infected with pathogens of the Mycobacterium avium complex produced significantly lower amounts of IFN-β than macrophages infected with the opportunistic pathogen M. smegmatis. To dissect the molecular mechanisms of this phenomenon, we focused on the obligate pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp paratuberculosis (MAP) and the opportunistic M. smegmatis. Viability of both bacteria was required for induction of IFN-β in macrophages. Both bacteria induced IFN-β via the cGAS-STING-TBK1-IRF3/7-pathway of IFN-β activation. Stronger phosphorylation of TBK1 and higher amounts of extracellular bacterial DNA in the macrophage cytosol were found in M. smegmatis infected macrophages than in MAP infected macrophages. After intraperitoneal infection of mice, a strong Ifnb induction by M. smegmatis correlated with clearance of the bacteria. In contrast, MAP only induced weak Ifnb expression which correlated with bacterial persistence and increased number of granulomas in the liver. In mice lacking the type I interferon receptor we observed improved survival of M. smegmatis while survival of MAP was similar to that in wildtype mice. On the other hand, treatment of MAP infected wildtype mice with the IFN-I inducer poly(I:C) or recombinant IFN-β impaired the survival of MAP. This indicates an essential role of IFN-I in clearing infections by MAP and M. smegmatis. The expression level of IFN-I is decisive for transient versus persistent NTM infection.
    • A clonotypic Vγ4Jγ1/Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 innate γδ T-cell population restricted to the CCR6⁺CD27⁻ subset.

      Kashani, Elham; Föhse, Lisa; Raha, Solaiman; Sandrock, Inga; Oberdörfer, Linda; Koenecke, Christian; Suerbaum, Sebastian; Weiss, Siegfried; Prinz, Immo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Here we investigate the TCR repertoire of mouse Vγ4(+) γδ T cells in correlation with their developmental origin and homeostasis. By deep sequencing we identify a high frequency of straight Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 germline rearrangements without P- and N-nucleotides within the otherwise highly diverse Trd repertoire of Vγ4(+) cells. This sequence is infrequent in CCR6(-)CD27(+) cells, but abundant among CCR6(+)CD27(-) γδ T cells. Using an inducible Rag1 knock-in mouse model, we show that γδ T cells generated in the adult thymus rarely contain this germline-rearranged Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 sequence, confirming its fetal origin. Single-cell analysis and deep sequencing of the Trg locus reveal a dominant CDR3 junctional motif that completes the TCR repertoire of invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) cells. In conclusion, this study identifies an innate subset of fetal thymus-derived γδ T cells with an invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) TCR that is restricted to the CCR6(+)CD27(-) subset of γδ T cells.
    • Composing a Tumor Specific Bacterial Promoter.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Kasnitz, Nadine; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Systemically applied Salmonella enterica spp. have been shown to invade and colonize neoplastic tissues where it retards the growth of many tumors. This offers the possibility to use the bacteria as a vehicle for the tumor specific delivery of therapeutic molecules. Specificity of such delivery is solely depending on promoter sequences that control the production of a target molecule. We have established the functional structure of bacterial promoters that are transcriptionally active exclusively in tumor tissues after systemic application. We observed that the specific transcriptional activation is accomplished by a combination of a weak basal promoter and a strong FNR binding site. This represents a minimal set of control elements required for such activation. In natural promoters, additional DNA remodeling elements are found that alter the level of transcription quantitatively. Inefficiency of the basal promoter ensures the absence of transcription outside tumors. As a proof of concept, we compiled an artificial promoter sequence from individual motifs representing FNR and basal promoter and showed specific activation in a tumor microenvironment. Our results open possibilities for the generation of promoters with an adjusted level of expression of target proteins in particular for applications in bacterial tumor therapy.
    • Effects of Type I Interferons on Friend Retrovirus Infection

      Gerlach, Nicole; Schimmer, Simone; Weiss, Siegfried; Kalinke, Ulrich; Dittmer, Ulf (American Society for Microbiology, 2006-04)
    • Efficiency of Conditionally Attenuated Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium in Bacterium-Mediated Tumor Therapy.

      Frahm, Michael; Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Rohde, Manfred; Hensel, Michael; Curtiss, Roy; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Increasing numbers of cancer cases generate a great urge for new treatment options. Applying bacteria like Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium for cancer therapy represents an intensively explored option. These bacteria have been shown not only to colonize solid tumors but also to exhibit an intrinsic antitumor effect. In addition, they could serve as tumor-targeting vectors for therapeutic molecules. However, the pathogenic S. Typhimurium strains used for tumor therapy need to be attenuated for safe application. Here, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) deletion mutants (ΔrfaL, ΔrfaG, ΔrfaH, ΔrfaD, ΔrfaP, and ΔmsbB mutants) of Salmonella were investigated for efficiency in tumor therapy. Of such variants, the ΔrfaD and ΔrfaG deep rough mutants exhibited the best tumor specificity and lowest pathogenicity. However, the intrinsic antitumor effect was found to be weak. To overcome this limitation, conditional attenuation was tested by complementing the mutants with an inducible arabinose promoter. The chromosomal integration of the respective LPS biosynthesis genes into the araBAD locus exhibited the best balance of attenuation and therapeutic benefit. Thus, the present study establishes a basis for the development of an applicably cancer therapeutic bacterium.
    • Engineered Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium overcomes limitations of anti-bacterial immunity in bacteria-mediated tumor therapy

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Heise, Ulrike; Rohde, Manfred; Zimmermann, Kurt; Falk, Christine; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Mouse-Pathology Service Unit, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Central Facility for Microscopy, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Symbio Gruppe GmbH & Co KG, Herborn, Lower Saxony, Germany; Institute of Transplant Immunology, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Hessia, Germany; Infection Biology of Salmonella, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany (2017-09-29)
    • FurA contributes to the oxidative stress response regulation of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

      Eckelt, Elke; Meißner, Thorsten; Meens, Jochen; Laarmann, Kristin; Nerlich, Andreas; Jarek, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried; Gerlach, Gerald-F; Goethe, Ralph; HZI-Helmholzzentrum für Infektionsforschung (2015)
      The ferric uptake regulator A (FurA) is known to be involved in iron homeostasis and stress response in many bacteria. In mycobacteria the precise role of FurA is still unclear. In the presented study, we addressed the functional role of FurA in the ruminant pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) by construction of a furA deletion strain (MAPΔfurA). RNA deep sequencing revealed that the FurA regulon consists of repressed and activated genes associated to stress response or intracellular survival. Not a single gene related to metal homeostasis was affected by furA deletion. A decisive role of FurA during intracellular survival in macrophages was shown by significantly enhanced survival of MAPΔfurA compared to the wildtype, indicating that a principal task of mycobacterial FurA is oxidative stress response regulation in macrophages. This resistance was not associated with altered survival of mice after long term infection with MAP. Our results demonstrate for the first time, that mycobacterial FurA is not involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis. However, they provide strong evidence that FurA contributes to intracellular survival as an oxidative stress sensing regulator.
    • Identification of tumor-specific Salmonella Typhimurium promoters and their regulatory logic.

      Leschner, Sara; Deyneko, Igor V; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Wolf, Kathrin; Bloecker, Helmut; Bumann, Dirk; Loessner, Holger; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. sara.leschner@helmholtz-hzi.de (2012-04)
      Conventional cancer therapies are often limited in effectiveness and exhibit strong side effects. Therefore, alternative therapeutic strategies are demanded. The employment of tumor-colonizing bacteria that exert anticancer effects is such a novel approach that attracts increasing attention. For instance, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has been used in many animal tumor models as well as in first clinical studies. These bacteria exhibit inherent tumoricidal effects. In addition, they can be used to deliver therapeutic agents. However, bacterial expression has to be restricted to the tumor to prevent toxic substances from harming healthy tissue. Therefore, we screened an S. Typhimurium promoter-trap library to identify promoters that exclusively drive gene expression in the cancerous tissue. Twelve elements could be detected that show reporter gene expression in tumors but not in spleen and liver. In addition, a DNA motif was identified that appears to be necessary for tumor specificity. Now, such tumor-specific promoters can be used to safely express therapeutic proteins by tumor-colonizing S. Typhimurium directly in the neoplasia.
    • 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; Buttini, Manuel; Linster, Carole L; Medina, Eva; Balling, Rudi; Hiller, Karsten; Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine, University of Luxembourg, L-4362 Esch-Belval, Luxembourg. (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.
    • Immunoglobulins drive terminal maturation of splenic dendritic cells.

      Zietara, Natalia; Łyszkiewicz, Marcin; Puchałka, Jacek; Pei, Gang; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Hobeika, Elias; Reth, Michael; Martins dos Santos, Vitor A P; Krueger, Andreas; Weiss, Siegfried; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. zietara.natalia@mh-hannover.de (2013-02-05)
      Nature and physiological status of antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells DCs, are decisive for the immune reactions elicited. Multiple factors and cell interactions have been described that affect maturation of DCs. Here, we show that DCs arising in the absence of immunoglobulins (Ig) in vivo are impaired in cross-presentation of soluble antigen. This deficiency was due to aberrant cellular targeting of antigen to lysosomes and its rapid degradation. Function of DCs could be restored by transfer of Ig irrespective of antigen specificity and isotype. Modulation of cross-presentation by Ig was inhibited by coapplication of mannan and, thus, likely to be mediated by C-type lectin receptors. This unexpected dependency of splenic DCs on Ig to cross-present antigen provides insights into the interplay between cellular and humoral immunity and the immunomodulatory capacity of Ig.
    • In Vivo Conditions Enable IFNAR-Independent Type I Interferon Production by Peritoneal CD11b+ Cells upon Thogoto Virus Infection.

      Kochs, Georg; Anzaghe, Martina; Kronhart, Stefanie; Wagner, Valentina; Gogesch, Patricia; Scheu, Stefanie; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Waibler, Zoe; Medizinische Hochschule Hannover: Hannover, Niedersachsen, Germany. (2016-10-15)
      Type I interferons (IFNs) crucially contribute to host survival upon viral infections. Robust expression of type I IFNs (IFN-α/β) and induction of an antiviral state critically depend on amplification of the IFN signal via the type I IFN receptor (IFNAR). A small amount of type I IFN produced early upon virus infection binds the IFNAR and activates a self-enhancing positive feedback loop, resulting in induction of large, protective amounts of IFN-α. Unexpectedly, we found robust, systemic IFN-α expression upon infection of IFNAR knockout mice with the orthomyxovirus Thogoto virus (THOV). The IFNAR-independent IFN-α production required in vivo conditions and was not achieved during in vitro infection. Using replication-incompetent THOV-derived virus-like particles, we demonstrate that IFNAR-independent type I IFN induction depends on viral polymerase activity but is largely independent of viral replication. To discover the cell type responsible for this effect, we used type I IFN reporter mice and identified CD11b(+) F4/80(+) myeloid cells within the peritoneal cavity of infected animals as the main source of IFNAR-independent type I IFN, corresponding to the particular tropism of THOV for this cell type.
    • In-vivo expression profiling of Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections reveals niche-specific and strain-independent transcriptional programs.

      Bielecki, Piotr; Puchałka, Jacek; Wos-Oxley, Melissa L; Loessner, Holger; Glik, Justyna; Kawecki, Marek; Nowak, Mariusz; Tümmler, Burkhard; Weiss, Siegfried; dos Santos, Vítor A P Martins; Systems and Synthetic Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a threatening, opportunistic pathogen causing disease in immunocompromised individuals. The hallmark of P. aeruginosa virulence is its multi-factorial and combinatorial nature. It renders such bacteria infectious for many organisms and it is often resistant to antibiotics. To gain insights into the physiology of P. aeruginosa during infection, we assessed the transcriptional programs of three different P. aeruginosa strains directly after isolation from burn wounds of humans. We compared the programs to those of the same strains using two infection models: a plant model, which consisted of the infection of the midrib of lettuce leaves, and a murine tumor model, which was obtained by infection of mice with an induced tumor in the abdomen. All control conditions of P. aeruginosa cells growing in suspension and as a biofilm were added to the analysis. We found that these different P. aeruginosa strains express a pool of distinct genetic traits that are activated under particular infection conditions regardless of their genetic variability. The knowledge herein generated will advance our understanding of P. aeruginosa virulence and provide valuable cues for the definition of prospective targets to develop novel intervention strategies.
    • 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.