• 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, M; 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.; et al. (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; 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.
    • 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; et al. (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; Häussler, Susanne; 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; et al. (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.
    • Induction of endogenous Type I interferon within the central nervous system plays a protective role in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

      Khorooshi, Reza; Mørch, Marlene Thorsen; Holm, Thomas Hellesøe; Berg, Carsten Tue; Dieu, Ruthe Truong; Dræby, Dina; Issazadeh-Navikas, Shohreh; Weiß, Siegfried; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Owens, Trevor; et al. (2015-07)
      The Type I interferons (IFN), beta (IFN-β) and the alpha family (IFN-α), act through a common receptor and have anti-inflammatory effects. IFN-β is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and is effective against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Mice with EAE show elevated levels of Type I IFNs in the central nervous system (CNS), suggesting a role for endogenous Type I IFN during inflammation. However, the therapeutic benefit of Type I IFN produced in the CNS remains to be established. The aim of this study was to examine whether experimentally induced CNS-endogenous Type I IFN influences EAE. Using IFN-β reporter mice, we showed that direct administration of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a potent inducer of IFN-β, into the cerebrospinal fluid induced increased leukocyte numbers and transient upregulation of IFN-β in CD45/CD11b-positive cells located in the meninges and choroid plexus, as well as enhanced IFN-β expression by parenchymal microglial cells. Intrathecal injection of poly I:C to mice showing first symptoms of EAE substantially increased the normal disease-associated expression of IFN-α, IFN-β, interferon regulatory factor-7 and IL-10 in CNS, and disease worsening was prevented for as long as IFN-α/β was expressed. In contrast, there was no therapeutic effect on EAE in poly I:C-treated IFN receptor-deficient mice. IFN-dependent microglial and astrocyte response included production of the chemokine CXCL10. These results show that Type I IFN induced within the CNS can play a protective role in EAE and highlight the role of endogenous type I IFN in mediating neuroprotection.
    • Influence of infection route and virulence factors on colonization of solid tumors by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Bumann, Dirk; Weiss, Siegfried; Dept. Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-06)
      Administration of facultative anaerobic bacteria such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium as anticancer treatment holds a great therapeutic potential. Here, we tested different routes of application of S. typhimurium with regard to tumor colonization and therapeutic efficacy. No differences between intravenous and intraperitoneal infection were observed, often leading to a complete tumor clearance. In contrast, after oral application, tumor colonization was inefficient and delayed. No therapeutic effect was observed under such conditions. We also showed that tumor invasion and colonization were independent of functional Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI) 1 and SPI 2. Furthermore, tumor invasion and colonization did not require bacterial motility or chemotactic responsiveness. The distribution of the bacteria within the tumor was independent of such functions.
    • Influence of internalin a murinisation on host resistance to orally acquired listeriosis in mice.

      Bergmann, Silke; Beard, Philippa M; Pasche, Bastian; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Gahan, Cormac G M; Schughart, Klaus; Lengeling, Andreas; Infection and Immunity Division, The Roslin Institute and R(D)SVS, University of Edinburgh, Easter Bush Veterinary Campus, Edinburgh EH25 9RG, UK. andreas.lengeling@roslin.ed.ac.uk. (2013)
      The bacterial surface protein internalin (InlA) is a major virulence factor of the food-born pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. It plays a critical role in the bacteria crossing the host intestinal barrier by a species-specific interaction with the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. In mice, the interaction of InlA with murine E-cadherin is impaired due to sequence-specific binding incompatibilities. We have previously used the approach of 'murinisation' to establish an oral listeriosis infection model in mice by exchanging two amino acid residues in InlA. This dramatically increases binding to mouse E-cadherin. In the present study, we have used bioluminescent murinised and non-murinised Listeria strains to examine the spatiotemporal dissemination of Listeria in four diverse mouse genetic backgrounds after oral inoculation.
    • Insights into host-pathogen interactions from state-of-the-art animal models of respiratory Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

      Lorenz, Anne; Pawar, Vinay; Häussler, Susanne; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-11)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an important opportunistic pathogen that can cause acute respiratory infections in immunocompetent patients or chronic infections in immunocompromised individuals and in patients with cystic fibrosis. When acquiring the chronic infection state, bacteria are encapsulated within biofilm structures enabling them to withstand diverse environmental assaults, including immune reactions and antimicrobial therapy. Understanding the molecular interactions within the bacteria, as well as with the host or other bacteria, is essential for developing innovative treatment strategies. Such knowledge might be accumulated in vitro. However, it is ultimately necessary to confirm these findings in vivo. In the present Review, we describe state-of-the-art in vivo models that allow studying P. aeruginosa infections in molecular detail. The portrayed mammalian models exclusively focus on respiratory infections. The data obtained by alternative animal models which lack lung tissue, often provide molecular insights that are easily transferable to mammals. Importantly, these surrogate in vivo systems reveal complex molecular interactions of P. aeruginosa with the host. Herein, we also provide a critical assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of such models.
    • An integrative computational approach to effectively guide experimental identification of regulatory elements in promoters.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Weiss, Siegfried; Leschner, Sara; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr, 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Igor.Deyneko@helmholtz-hzi.de (2012)
      Transcriptional activity of genes depends on many factors like DNA motifs, conformational characteristics of DNA, melting etc. and there are computational approaches for their identification. However, in real applications, the number of predicted, for example, DNA motifs may be considerably large. In cases when various computational programs are applied, systematic experimental knock out of each of the potential elements obviously becomes nonproductive. Hence, one needs an approach that is able to integrate many heterogeneous computational methods and upon that suggest selected regulatory elements for experimental verification.
    • An Intrinsic Propensity of Murine Peritoneal B1b Cells to Switch to IgA in Presence of TGF-β and Retinoic Acid.

      Roy, Bishnudeo; Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Agarwal, Shiwani; Krey, Martina; Düber, Sandra; Weiss, Siegfried (2013)
      In the present study we have investigated the comparative switching propensity of murine peritoneal and splenic B cell subpopulations to IgA in presence of retinoic acid (RA) and TGF-β.
    • Liposome-encapsulated antigens induce a protective CTL response against Listeria monocytogenes independent of CD4+ T cell help.

      Grenningloh, R; Darj, A; Bauer, H; zur Lage, S; Chakraborty, T; Jacobs, T; Weiss, S; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2008-06)
      Protection against intracellular pathogens is usually mediated by cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Induction of a protective CTL response for vaccination purposes has proven difficult because of the limited access of protein antigens or attenuated pathogens to the MHC class I presentation pathway. We show here that pH-sensitive PE/CHEMS liposomes can be used as a vehicle to efficiently deliver intact proteins for presentation by MHC class I. Mice immunized with listerial proteins encapsulated in such liposomes launched a strong CTL response and were protected against a subsequent challenge with L. monocytogenes. Remarkably, the CTL response was induced independently of detectable CD4(+) T cell help.
    • Listeria monocytogenes desensitizes immune cells to subsequent Ca2+ signaling via listeriolysin O-induced depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores.

      Gekara, Nelson O; Groebe, Lothar; Viegas, Nuno; Weiss, Siegfried; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. nelson.gekara@helmholtz-hzi.de (2008-02)
      Listeriolysin O (LLO), the pore-forming toxin of Listeria monocytogenes, is a prototype of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) secreted by several pathogenic and nonpathogenic gram-positive bacteria. In addition to mediating the escape of the bacterium into the cytosol, this toxin is generally believed to be a central player in host-pathogen interactions during L. monocytogenes infection. LLO triggers the influx of Ca(2+) into host cells as well as the release of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores. Thus, many of the cellular responses induced by LLO are related to calcium signaling. Interestingly, in this study, we report that prolonged exposure to LLO desensitizes cells to Ca(2+) mobilization upon subsequent stimulations with LLO. Cells preexposed to LLO-positive L. monocytogenes but not to the LLO-deficient Deltahly mutant were found to be highly refractory to Ca(2+) induction in response to receptor-mediated stimulation. Such cells also exhibited diminished Ca(2+) signals in response to stimulation with LLO and thapsigargin. The presented results suggest that this phenomenon is due to the depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores. The ability of LLO to desensitize immune cells provides a significant hint about the possible role played by CDCs in the evasion of the immune system by bacterial pathogens.
    • Listeria monocytogenes induces T cell receptor unresponsiveness through pore-forming toxin listeriolysin O.

      Gekara, Nelson O; Zietara, Natalia; Geffers, Robert; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. nelson.gekara@mims.umu.se (2010-12-01)
      The success of many pathogens relies on their ability to circumvent the innate and adaptive immune defenses. How bacterial pathogens subvert adaptive immune defenses is not clear. Cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) represent an expansive family of homologous pore-forming toxins that are produced by more than 20 gram-positive bacterial species. Listeriolysin O (LLO), a prototype CDC, is the main virulence factor of Listeria monocytogenes.
    • Local application of bacteria improves safety of Salmonella-mediated tumor therapy and retains advantages of systemic infection.

      Kocijancic, Dino; Felgner, Sebastian; Schauer, Tim; Frahm, Michael; Heise, Ulrike; Zimmermann, Kurt; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-07)
      Cancer is a devastating disease and a large socio-economic burden. Novel therapeutic solutions are on the rise, although a cure remains elusive. Application of microorganisms represents an ancient therapeutic strategy, lately revoked and refined via simultaneous attenuation and amelioration of pathogenic properties. Salmonella Typhimurium has prevailed in preclinical development. Yet, using virulent strains for systemic treatment might cause severe side effects. In the present study, we highlight a modified strain based on Salmonella Typhimurium UK-1 expressing hexa-acylated Lipid A. We corroborate improved anti-tumor properties of this strain and investigate to which extent an intra-tumoral (i.t.) route of infection could help improve safety and retain advantages of systemic intravenous (i.v.) application. Our results show that i.t. infection exhibits therapeutic efficacy against CT26 and F1.A11 tumors similar to a systemic route of inoculation. Moreover, i.t. application allows extensive dose titration without compromising tumor colonization. Adverse colonization of healthy organs was generally reduced via i.t. infection and accompanied by less body weight loss of the murine host. Despite local application, adjuvanticity remained, and a CT26-specific CD8+ T cell response was effectively stimulated. Most interestingly, also secondary tumors could be targeted with this strategy, thereby extending the unique tumor targeting ability of Salmonella. The i.t. route of inoculation may reap the benefits of systemic infection and aid in safety assurance while directing potency of an oncolytic vector to where it is most needed, namely the primary tumor.