• 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.
    • Mast cells initiate early anti-Listeria host defences.

      Gekara, Nelson O; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Department of Molecular Immunology, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Nelson.Gekara@helmholtz-hzi.de (2008-01)
      The Gram-positive bacterium Listeria monocytogenes (L. m.) is the aetiological agent of listeriosis. The early phase listeriosis is characterized by strong innate host responses that play a major role in bacterial clearance. This is emphasized by the fact that mice deficient in T and B cells have a remarkable ability to control infection. Mast cells, among the principal effectors of innate immunity, have largely been studied in the context of hyper-reactive conditions such as allergy and autoimmune diseases. In the present study, we evaluated the significance of mast cells during the early phase of listeriosis. Compared with controls, mice depleted of mast cells showed hundred-fold higher bacterial burden in spleen and liver and were significantly impaired in neutrophil mobilization. Although L. m. interacts with and triggers mast cell degranulation, bacteria were hardly found within such cells. Mainly neutrophils and macrophages phagozytosed L. m. Thus, mast cells control infection not via direct bacterial uptake, but by initiating neutrophils influx to the site of infection. We show that this is initiated by pre-synthesized TNF-alpha, rapidly secreted by mast cell upon activation by L. m. We also show that upon recruitment, neutrophils also become activated and additionally secrete TNF-alpha thus amplifying the anti-L. m. inflammatory response.
    • MatrixCatch--a novel tool for the recognition of composite regulatory elements in promoters.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Kel, Alexander E; Kel-Margoulis, Olga V; Deineko, Elena V; Wingender, Edgar; Weiss, Siegfried; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. Igor.Deyneko@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013)
      Accurate recognition of regulatory elements in promoters is an essential prerequisite for understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation at the level of transcription. Composite regulatory elements represent a particular type of such transcriptional regulatory elements consisting of pairs of individual DNA motifs. In contrast to the present approach, most available recognition techniques are based purely on statistical evaluation of the occurrence of single motifs. Such methods are limited in application, since the accuracy of recognition is greatly dependent on the size and quality of the sequence dataset. Methods that exploit available knowledge and have broad applicability are evidently needed.
    • Mouse SAMHD1 Has Antiretroviral Activity and Suppresses a Spontaneous Cell-Intrinsic Antiviral Response.

      Behrendt, Rayk; Schumann, Tina; Gerbaulet, Alexander; Nguyen, Laura A; Schubert, Nadja; Alexopoulou, Dimitra; Berka, Ursula; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Peschke, Katrin; Gibbert, Kathrin; et al. (2013-08-29)
      Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), a hereditary autoimmune disease, clinically and biochemically overlaps with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and, like SLE, is characterized by spontaneous type I interferon (IFN) production. The finding that defects of intracellular nucleases cause AGS led to the concept that intracellular accumulation of nucleic acids triggers inappropriate production of type I IFN and autoimmunity. AGS can also be caused by defects of SAMHD1, a 3' exonuclease and deoxynucleotide (dNTP) triphosphohydrolase. Human SAMHD1 is an HIV-1 restriction factor that hydrolyzes dNTPs and decreases their concentration below the levels required for retroviral reverse transcription. We show in gene-targeted mice that also mouse SAMHD1 reduces cellular dNTP concentrations and restricts retroviral replication in lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Importantly, the absence of SAMHD1 triggered IFN-β-dependent transcriptional upregulation of type I IFN-inducible genes in various cell types indicative of spontaneous IFN production. SAMHD1-deficient mice may be instrumental for elucidating the mechanisms that trigger pathogenic type I IFN responses in AGS and SLE.
    • Murine solid tumours as a novel model to study bacterial biofilm formation in vivo.

      Pawar, V; Crull, K; Komor, U; Kasnitz, N; Frahm, M; Kocijancic, D; Westphal, K; Leschner, S; Wolf, K; Loessner, H; et al. (2014-08)
      Bacteria of many species are able to invade and colonize solid tumours in mice. We have focused on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Detailed analysis revealed that such tumour-invading Salmonella form biofilms, thus providing a versatile in vivo test system for studying bacterial phenotypes and host-pathogen interactions. It appears that biofilm formation by S. typhimurium is induced as a defence against the immune system of the host, and in particular against neutrophils. Further, we extended our work to the clinically more relevant biofilm infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The induction of P. aeruginosa biofilms in neoplastic tissue appears to be elicited as a reaction against the immune system. Reconstitution experiments reveal that T cells are responsible for biofilm induction. Isogenic mutants that are no longer able to form biofilms can be used for comparison studies to determine antimicrobial resistance, especially therapeutic efficacy against P. aeruginosa located in biofilms.
    • Murine toll-like receptor 2 activation induces type I interferon responses from endolysosomal compartments.

      Dietrich, Nicole; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Gekara, Nelson O; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      BACKGROUND: Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are among the first-line sentinels for immune detection and responsiveness to pathogens. The TLR2 subfamily of TLRs (TLR1, TLR2, TLR6) form heterodimers with each other and are thus able to recognize a broad range of components from several microbes such as yeast, Gram-positive bacteria and protozoa. Until now, TLR2 activation by bacterial ligands has long been associated with pro-inflammatory cytokines but not type I interferon responses. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Using a variety of transgenic mice, here we provide in vivo and in vitro data showing that TLR2 activation does in fact induce interferon-beta and that this occurs via MyD88-IRF1 and -IRF7 pathways. Interestingly, by microscopy we demonstrate that although a cell surface receptor, TLR2 dependent induction of type I interferons occurs in endolysosomal compartments where it is translocated to upon ligand engagement. Furthermore, we could show that blocking receptor internalization or endolysosomal acidification inhibits the ability of TLR2 to trigger the induction type I interferon but not pro-inflammatory responses. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: The results indicate that TLR2 activation induces pro-inflammatory and type I interferon responses from distinct subcellular sites: the plasma membrane and endolysosomal compartments respectively. Apart from identifying and characterizing a novel pathway for induction of type I interferons, the present study offers new insights into how TLR signaling discriminates and regulates the nature of responses to be elicited against extracellular and endocytosed microbes. These findings may also have clinical implication. Excessive production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and type I IFNs following activation of TLRs is a central pathologic event in several hyper-inflammatory conditions. The discovery that the induction of pro-inflammatory and type I IFN responses can be uncoupled through pharmacological manipulation of endolysosomal acidification suggests new avenues for potential therapeutic intervention against inflammations and sepsis.
    • The Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis specific mptD gene is required for maintenance of the metabolic homeostasis necessary for full virulence in mouse infections.

      Meißner, Thorsten; Eckelt, Elke; Basler, Tina; Meens, Jochen; Heinzmann, Julia; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Oelemann, Walter M R; Trenkamp, Sandra; Holst, Otto; Weiss, Siegfried; et al. (2014)
      Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne's disease, a chronic granulomatous enteritis in ruminants. Furthermore, infections of humans with MAP have been reported and a possible association with Crohn's disease and diabetes type I is currently discussed. MAP owns large sequence polymorphisms (LSPs) that were exclusively found in this mycobacteria species. The relevance of these LSPs in the pathobiology of MAP is still unclear. The mptD gene (MAP3733c) of MAP belongs to a small group of functionally uncharacterized genes, which are not present in any other sequenced mycobacteria species. mptD is part of a predicted operon (mptABCDEF), encoding a putative ATP binding cassette-transporter, located on the MAP-specific LSP14. In the present study, we generated an mptD knockout strain (MAPΔmptD) by specialized transduction. In order to investigate the potential role of mptD in the host, we performed infection experiments with macrophages. By this, we observed a significantly reduced cell number of MAPΔmptD early after infection, indicating that the mutant was hampered with respect to adaptation to the early macrophage environment. This important role of mptD was supported in mouse infection experiments where MAPΔmptD was significantly attenuated after peritoneal challenge. Metabolic profiling was performed to determine the cause for the reduced virulence and identified profound metabolic disorders especially in the lipid metabolism of MAPΔmptD. Overall our data revealed the mptD gene to be an important factor for the metabolic adaptation of MAP required for persistence in the host.
    • Neutrophils responsive to endogenous IFN-beta regulate tumor angiogenesis and growth in a mouse tumor model.

      Jablonska, Jadwiga; Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. jja@gbf.de (2010-04)
      Angiogenesis is a hallmark of malignant neoplasias, as the formation of new blood vessels is required for tumors to acquire oxygen and nutrients essential for their continued growth and metastasis. However, the signaling pathways leading to tumor vascularization are not fully understood. Here, using a transplantable mouse tumor model, we have demonstrated that endogenous IFN-beta inhibits tumor angiogenesis through repression of genes encoding proangiogenic and homing factors in tumor-infiltrating neutrophils. We determined that IFN-beta-deficient mice injected with B16F10 melanoma or MCA205 fibrosarcoma cells developed faster-growing tumors with better-developed blood vessels than did syngeneic control mice. These tumors displayed enhanced infiltration by CD11b+Gr1+ neutrophils expressing elevated levels of the genes encoding the proangiogenic factors VEGF and MMP9 and the homing receptor CXCR4. They also expressed higher levels of the transcription factors c-myc and STAT3, known regulators of VEGF, MMP9, and CXCR4. In vitro, treatment of these tumor-infiltrating neutrophils with low levels of IFN-beta restored expression of proangiogenic factors to control levels. Moreover, depletion of these neutrophils inhibited tumor growth in both control and IFN-beta-deficient mice. We therefore suggest that constitutively produced endogenous IFN-beta is an important mediator of innate tumor surveillance. Further, we believe our data help to explain the therapeutic effect of IFN treatment during the early stages of cancer development.
    • NK cell activation in visceral leishmaniasis requires TLR9, myeloid DCs, and IL-12, but is independent of plasmacytoid DCs.

      Schleicher, Ulrike; Liese, Jan; Knippertz, Ilka; Kurzmann, Claudia; Hesse, Andrea; Heit, Antje; Fischer, Jens A A; Weiss, Siegfried; Kalinke, Ulrich; Kunz, Stefanie; et al. (2007-04-16)
      Natural killer (NK) cells are sentinel components of the innate response to pathogens, but the cell types, pathogen recognition receptors, and cytokines required for their activation in vivo are poorly defined. Here, we investigated the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), myeloid DCs (mDCs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and of NK cell stimulatory cytokines for the induction of an NK cell response to the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. In vitro, pDCs did not endocytose Leishmania promastigotes but nevertheless released interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta and interleukin (IL)-12 in a TLR9-dependent manner. mDCs rapidly internalized Leishmania and, in the presence of TLR9, produced IL-12, but not IFN-alpha/beta. Depletion of pDCs did not impair the activation of NK cells in L. infantum-infected mice. In contrast, L. infantum-induced NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma production were abolished in mDC-depleted mice. The same phenotype was observed in TLR9(-/-) mice, which lacked IL-12 expression by mDCs, and in IL-12(-/-) mice, whereas IFN-alpha/beta receptor(-/-) mice showed only a minor reduction of NK cell IFN-gamma expression. This study provides the first direct evidence that mDCs are essential for eliciting NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma release in vivo and demonstrates that TLR9, mDCs, and IL-12 are functionally linked to the activation of NK cells in visceral leishmaniasis.
    • 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.
    • pH-degradable imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels for lymph node-focused immune activation.

      Nuhn, Lutz; Vanparijs, Nane; De Beuckelaer, Ans; Lybaert, Lien; Verstraete, Glenn; Deswarte, Kim; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Shukla, Nikunj M; Salyer, Alex C D; Lambrecht, Bart N; et al. (2016-07-19)
      Agonists of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are potent activators of the innate immune system and hold promise as vaccine adjuvant and for anticancer immunotherapy. Unfortunately, in soluble form they readily enter systemic circulation and cause systemic inflammatory toxicity. Here we demonstrate that by covalent ligation of a small-molecule imidazoquinoline-based TLR7/8 agonist to 50-nm-sized degradable polymeric nanogels the potency of the agonist to activate TLR7/8 in in vitro cultured dendritic cells is largely retained. Importantly, imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels focused the in vivo immune activation on the draining lymph nodes while dramatically reducing systemic inflammation. Mechanistic studies revealed a prevalent passive diffusion of the nanogels to the draining lymph node. Moreover, immunization studies in mice have shown that relative to soluble TLR7/8 agonist, imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels induce superior antibody and T-cell responses against a tuberculosis antigen. This approach opens possibilities to enhance the therapeutic benefit of small-molecule TLR agonist for a variety of applications.
    • Potentiation of epithelial innate host responses by intercellular communication.

      Dolowschiak, Tamas; Chassin, Cécilia; Ben Mkaddem, Sanae; Fuchs, Thilo M; Weiss, Siegfried; Vandewalle, Alain; Hornef, Mathias W; Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2010)
      The epithelium efficiently attracts immune cells upon infection despite the low number of pathogenic microbes and moderate levels of secreted chemokines per cell. Here we examined whether horizontal intercellular communication between cells may contribute to a coordinated response of the epithelium. Listeria monocytogenes infection, transfection, and microinjection of individual cells within a polarized intestinal epithelial cell layer were performed and activation was determined at the single cell level by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Surprisingly, chemokine production after L. monocytogenes infection was primarily observed in non-infected epithelial cells despite invasion-dependent cell activation. Whereas horizontal communication was independent of gap junction formation, cytokine secretion, ion fluxes, or nitric oxide synthesis, NADPH oxidase (Nox) 4-dependent oxygen radical formation was required and sufficient to induce indirect epithelial cell activation. This is the first report to describe epithelial cell-cell communication in response to innate immune activation. Epithelial communication facilitates a coordinated infectious host defence at the very early stage of microbial infection.
    • Presence of Infected Gr-1CD11bCD11c Monocytic Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells Subverts T Cell Response and Is Associated With Impaired Dendritic Cell Function in Mycobacterium avium-Infected Mice.

      Abdissa, Ketema; Nerlich, Andreas; Beineke, Andreas; Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Pawar, Vinay; Heise, Ulrike; Janze, Nina; Falk, Christine; Bruder, Dunja; Schleicher, Ulrike; et al. (2018-01-01)
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells with immunomodulatory function. To study the mechanism by which MDSC affect antimicrobial immunity, we infected mice with two M. avium strains of differential virulence, highly virulent Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium strain 25291 (MAA) and low virulent Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis strain 104 (MAH). Intraperitoneal infection with MAA, but not MAH, caused severe disease and massive splenic infiltration of monocytic MDSC (M-MDSC; Gr-1intCD11bhiCD11cint) expressing inducible NO synthase (Nos2) and bearing high numbers of mycobacteria. Depletion experiments demonstrated that M-MDSC were essential for disease progression. NO production by M-MDSC influenced antigen-uptake and processing by dendritic cells and proliferation of CD4+ T cells. M-MDSC were also induced in MAA-infected mice lacking Nos2. In these mice CD4+ T cell expansion and control of infection were restored. However, T cell inhibition was only partially relieved and arginase (Arg) 1-expressing M-MDSC were accumulated. Likewise, inhibition of Arg1 also partially rescued T cell proliferation. Thus, mycobacterial virulence results in the induction of M-MDSC that block the T cell response in a Nos2- and Arg1-dependent manner.
    • Priming of natural killer cells by nonmucosal mononuclear phagocytes requires instructive signals from commensal microbiota.

      Ganal, Stephanie C; Sanos, Stephanie L; Kallfass, Carsten; Oberle, Karin; Johner, Caroline; Kirschning, Carsten; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Staeheli, Peter; Aichele, Peter; et al. (2012-07-27)
      Mononuclear phagocytes are an important component of an innate immune system perceived as a system ready to react upon encounter of pathogens. Here, we show that in response to microbial stimulation, mononuclear phagocytes residing in nonmucosal lymphoid organs of germ-free mice failed to induce expression of a set of inflammatory response genes, including those encoding the various type I interferons (IFN-I). Consequently, NK cell priming and antiviral immunity were severely compromised. Whereas pattern recognition receptor signaling and nuclear translocation of the transcription factors NF-κB and IRF3 were normal in mononuclear phagocytes of germ-free mice, binding to their respective cytokine promoters was impaired, which correlated with the absence of activating histone marks. Our data reveal a previously unrecognized role for postnatally colonizing microbiota in the introduction of chromatin level changes in the mononuclear phagocyte system, thereby poising expression of central inflammatory genes to initiate a powerful systemic immune response during viral infection.
    • Regulation of Flagellum Biosynthesis in Response to Cell Envelope Stress in Serovar Typhimurium.

      Spöring, Imke; Felgner, Sebastian; Preuße, Matthias; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Rohde, M; Häussler, Susanne; Weiss, Siegfried; Erhardt, Marc (2018-05-01)
      Flagellum-driven motility of serovar Typhimurium facilitates host colonization. However, the large extracellular flagellum is also a prime target for the immune system. As consequence, expression of flagella is bistable within a population of , resulting in flagellated and nonflagellated subpopulations. This allows the bacteria to maximize fitness in hostile environments. The degenerate EAL domain protein RflP (formerly YdiV) is responsible for the bistable expression of flagella by directing the flagellar master regulatory complex FlhDC with respect to proteolytic degradation. Information concerning the environmental cues controlling expression of and thus about the bistable flagellar biosynthesis remains ambiguous. Here, we demonstrated that RflP responds to cell envelope stress and alterations of outer membrane integrity. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) truncation mutants of Typhimurium exhibited increasing motility defects due to downregulation of flagellar gene expression. Transposon mutagenesis and genetic profiling revealed that σ (RpoE) and Rcs phosphorelay-dependent cell envelope stress response systems sense modifications of the lipopolysaccaride, low pH, and activity of the complement system. This subsequently results in activation of RflP expression and degradation of FlhDC via ClpXP. We speculate that the presence of diverse hostile environments inside the host might result in cell envelope damage and would thus trigger the repression of resource-costly and immunogenic flagellum biosynthesis via activation of the cell envelope stress response. Pathogenic bacteria such as Typhimurium sense and adapt to a multitude of changing and stressful environments during host infection. At the initial stage of gastrointestinal colonization, uses flagellum-mediated motility to reach preferred sites of infection. However, the flagellum also constitutes a prime target for the host's immune response. Accordingly, the pathogen needs to determine the spatiotemporal stage of infection and control flagellar biosynthesis in a robust manner. We found that uses signals from cell envelope stress-sensing systems to turn off production of flagella. We speculate that downregulation of flagellum synthesis after cell envelope damage in hostile environments aids survival of during late stages of infection and provides a means to escape recognition by the immune system.
    • 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.
    • Synergistic and differential modulation of immune responses by Hsp60 and lipopolysaccharide.

      Osterloh, Anke; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Fleischer, Bernhard; Breloer, Minka; Department of Immunology, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, 20359 Hamburg, Germany. osterloh@bni.uni-hamburg.de (2007-02-16)
      Activation of professional antigen-presenting cells (APC) is a crucial step in the initiation of an efficient immune response. In this study we show that Hsp60 mediates immune stimulation by different mechanisms, dependent and independent of lipopolysaccharide (LPS). We have demonstrated earlier that both, Hsp60 and LPS, increase antigen-specific interferon (IFN) gamma release in T cells. Here we show that in contrast to LPS Hsp60 induces IFNalpha production in professional APC. Neutralization of IFNalpha as well as the absence of functional IFNalphabeta receptor on APC and T cells interfered with Hsp60-mediated IFNgamma secretion in antigen-dependent T cell activation, strongly suggesting that IFNalpha represents one factor contributing to Hsp60-specific immune stimulation. On the other hand, we show that Hsp60 bound to the cell surface of APC colocalizes with the LPS co-receptor CD14 and LPS binding sites. Hsp60 specifically binds bacterial LPS and both molecules synergistically enhanced IL-12p40 production in APC and IFNgamma release in antigen-dependent T cell activation. This effect was Hsp60-specific and dependent on LPS-binding by Hsp60. Furthermore, we show that Hsp60 exclusively binds to macrophages and DC but not to T or B lymphocytes and that both, T cell stimulation by Hsp60 as well as Hsp60/LPS complexes, strictly depends on the presence of professional APC and is not mediated by B cells. Taken together, our data support an extension of the concept of Hsp60 as an endogenous danger signal: besides its function as a classical danger signal indicating unplanned tissue destruction to the innate immune system, in the incident of bacterial infection extracellular Hsp60 may bind LPS and facilitate microbe recognition by lowering the threshold of pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) detection and enhancing Toll-like receptor (TLR) signaling.