• 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.
    • Systemic and Mucosal Immune Reactivity upon Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis Infection in Mice.

      Koc, Arzu; Bargen, Imke; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Roderfeld, Martin; Tschuschner, Annette; Rath, Timo; Gerlach, Gerald F; Hornef, Mathias; Goethe, Ralph; Weiss, Siegfried; et al. (2014)
      Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the cause of Johne's disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder of ruminants. Due to the similar pathology, MAP was also suggested to cause Crohn's disease (CD). Despite of intensive research, this question is still not settled, possibly due to the lack of versatile mouse models. The aim of this study was to identify basic immunologic mechanisms in response to MAP infection. Immune compromised C57BL/6 Rag2-/- mice were infected with MAP intraperitoneally. Such chronically infected mice were then reconstituted with CD4+ and CD8+ T cells 28 days after infection. A systemic inflammatory response, detected as enlargement of the spleen and granuloma formation in the liver, was observed in mice infected and reconstituted with CD4+ T cells. Whereby inflammation in infected and CD4+CD45RBhi T cell reconstituted animals was always higher than in the other groups. Reconstitution of infected animals with CD8+ T cells did not result in any inflammatory signs. Interestingly, various markers of inflammation were strongly up-regulated in the colon of infected mice reconstituted with CD4+CD45RBlo/int T cells. We propose, the usual non-colitogenic CD4+CD45RBlo/int T cells were converted into inflammatory T cells by the interaction with MAP. However, the power of such cells might be not sufficient for a fully established inflammatory response in the colon. Nevertheless, our model system appears to mirror aspects of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like CD and Johne's diseases. Thus, it will provide an experimental platform on which further knowledge on IBD and the involvement of MAP in the induction of CD could be acquired.
    • Therapeutic benefit of Salmonella attributed to LPS and TNF-α is exhaustible and dictated by tumor susceptibility.

      Kocijancic, Dino; Leschner, Sara; Felgner, Sebastian; Komoll, Ronja-Melinda; Frahm, Michael; Pawar, Vinay; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-05-30)
      The potential of bacteria-mediated tumor therapy (BMTT) is highlighted by more than a century of investigation. Attenuated Salmonella has prevailed as promising therapeutic agents. For BMTT - categorized as an immune therapy - the exact contribution of particular immune reactions to the therapeutic effect remains ambiguous. In addition, one could argue for or against the requirement of bacterial viability and tumor targeting. Herein we evaluate the isolated therapeutic efficacy of purified LPS and TNF-α, which together account for a dominant immunogenic pathway of gram negative bacteria like Salmonella. We show that therapeutic efficacy against CT26 tumors does not require bacterial viability. Analogous to viable Salmonella SL7207, tumor regression by a specific CD8+ T cell response can be induced by purified LPS or recombinant TNF-α (rTNF-α). Conversely, therapeutic effects against RenCa tumors were abrogated upon bacterial avitalization and limited using isolated adjuvants. This argues for an alternative mechanistic explanation for SL7207 against RenCa that depends on viability and persistence. Unable to boost bacterial therapies by co-injection of rTNF-α suggested therapeutic effects along this axis are exhausted by the intrinsic adjuvanticity of bacteria alone. However, the importance of TNF-α for BMTT was highlighted by its support of tumor invasion and colonization in concert with lower infective doses of Salmonella. In consideration, bacterial therapeutic effectiveness along the axis of LPS and TNF-α appears limited, and does not offer the necessary plasticity for different tumors. This emphasizes a need for recombinant strengthening and vehicular exploitation to accommodate potency, plasticity and distinctiveness in BMTT.
    • Therapeutic Potential of Bacteria against Solid Tumors.

      Hatzikirou, Haralampos; López Alfonso, Juan Carlos; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-04-01)
      Intentional bacterial infections can produce efficacious antitumor responses in mice, rats, dogs, and humans. However, low overall success rates and intense side effects prevent such approaches from being employed clinically. In this work, we titered bacteria and/or the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα in a set of established murine models of cancer. To interpret the experiments conducted, we considered and calibrated a tumor-effector cell recruitment model under the influence of functional tumor-associated vasculature. In this model, bacterial infections and TNFα enhanced immune activity and altered vascularization in the tumor bed. Information to predict bacterial therapy outcomes was provided by pretreatment tumor size and the underlying immune recruitment dynamics. Notably, increasing bacterial loads did not necessarily produce better long-term tumor control, suggesting that tumor sizes affected optimal bacterial loads. Short-term treatment responses were favored by high concentrations of effector cells postinjection, such as induced by higher bacterial loads, but in the longer term did not correlate with an effective restoration of immune surveillance. Overall, our findings suggested that a combination of intermediate bacterial loads with low levels TNFα administration could enable more favorable outcomes elicited by bacterial infections in tumor-bearing subjects. Cancer Res; 77(7); 1553-63. ©2017 AACR.
    • Therapy of solid tumors using probiotic Symbioflor-2: restraints and potential.

      Kocijancic, Dino; Felgner, Sebastian; Frahm, Michael; Komoll, Ronja-Melinda; Iljazovic, Aida; Pawar, Vinay; Rohde, M; Heise, Ulrike; Zimmermann, Kurt; Gunzer, Florian; et al. (2016-04-19)
      To date, virulent bacteria remain the basis of most bacteria mediated cancer therapies. For clinical application attenuation is required. However, this might result in a drastically lowered therapeutic capacity. Herein we argue that the E. coli probiotic Symbioflor-2, with a history of safe application may constitute a viable tumor therapeutic candidate. We demonstrate that Symbioflor-2 displays a highly specific tumor targeting ability as determined in murine CT26 and RenCa tumor models. The excellent specificity was ascribed to reduced levels of adverse colonization. A high safety standard was demonstrated in WT and Rag1-/- mice. Thus, Symbioflor-2 may represent an ideal tumor targeting delivery system for therapeutic molecules. Moreover, Symbioflor-2 was capable of inducing CT26 tumor clearance as result of an adjuvant effect on tumor specific CD8+ T cells analogous to the Salmonella variant SL7207. However, lower therapeutic efficacy against RenCa tumors suggested a generally reduced therapeutic potency for probiotics. Interestingly, concurrent depletion of Gr-1+ or Ly6G+ cells installed therapeutic efficacy equal to SL7207, thus highlighting the role of innate effector cells in restraining the anti-tumor effects of Symbioflor-2. Collectively, our findings argue for a strategy of safe strain application and a more sustainable use of bacteria as a delivery system for therapeutic molecules.
    • Topical imiquimod yields systemic effects due to unintended oral uptake.

      Grine, Lynda; Steeland, Sophie; Van Ryckeghem, Sara; Ballegeer, Marlies; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Sanders, Niek N; Vandenbroucke, Roosmarijn E; Libert, Claude; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Repetitive application of topical imiquimod is used as an experimental model for the induction of psoriasiform skin lesions in mice. The model is characterized by several inflammatory processes, including cytokine production both locally and systemically, cellular infiltration, and splenomegaly. To investigate the production of type I interferons in response to imiquimod-containing Aldara cream, IFNβ-luciferase reporter mice were imaged in vivo and ex vivo. Type I interferons were found to be produced in the skin, but also in the intestinal system caused by unintended ingestion of imiquimod by the mice. Through the use of Elizabethan collars to prevent ingestion, these effects, including psoriasiform lesions were nearly completely prevented. Our findings reveal that topical treatment with Aldara induces a psoriasiform skin inflammation, but that its mode of action depends on ingestion of the chemical, which leads to systemic responses and affects local inflammation. Therefore, potential ingestion of topical treatments during experimental procedures should be taken into account during assessment of cutaneous inflammatory parameters in skin disease models.
    • Tumor invasion of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is accompanied by strong hemorrhage promoted by TNF-alpha.

      Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Dietrich, Nicole; Viegas, Nuno; Jablonska, Jadwiga; Lyszkiewicz, Marcin; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Falk, Werner; Gekara, Nelson; Loessner, Holger; et al. (2009)
      Several facultative anaerobic bacteria with potential therapeutic abilities are known to preferentially colonize solid tumors after systemic administration. How they efficiently find and invade the tumors is still unclear. However, this is an important issue to be clarified when bacteria should be tailored for application in cancer therapy.
    • Tumour-targeting bacteria-based cancer therapies for increased specificity and improved outcome.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Pawar, Vinay; Kocijancic, Dino; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-03)
    • 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 Interferon Signaling Is Required for CpG-Oligodesoxynucleotide-Induced Control of Leishmania major, but Not for Spontaneous Cure of Subcutaneous Primary or Secondary L. major Infection.

      Schleicher, Ulrike; Liese, Jan; Justies, Nicole; Mischke, Thomas; Haeberlein, Simone; Sebald, Heidi; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Bogdan, Christian; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018)
      We previously showed that in mice infected with Leishmania major type I interferons (IFNs) initiate the innate immune response to the parasite at day 1 and 2 of infection. Here, we investigated which type I IFN subtypes are expressed during the first 8 weeks of L. major infection and whether type I IFNs are essential for a protective immune response and clinical cure of the disease. In self-healing C57BL/6 mice infected with a high dose of L. major, IFN-α4, IFN-α5, IFN-α11, IFN-α13, and IFN-β mRNA were most prominently regulated during the course of infection. In C57BL/6 mice deficient for IFN-β or the IFN-α/β-receptor chain 1 (IFNAR1), development of skin lesions and parasite loads in skin, draining lymph node, and spleen was indistinguishable from wild-type (WT) mice. In line with the clinical findings, C57BL/6 IFN-β-/-, IFNAR1-/-, and WT mice exhibited similar mRNA expression levels of IFN-γ, interleukin (IL)-4, IL-12, IL-13, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and arginase 1 during the acute and late phase of the infection. Also, myeloid dendritic cells from WT and IFNAR1-/- mice produced comparable amounts of IL-12p40/p70 protein upon exposure to L. major in vitro. In non-healing BALB/c WT mice, the mRNAs of IFN-α subtypes (α2, α4, α5, α6, and α9) were rapidly induced after high-dose L. major infection. However, genetic deletion of IFNAR1 or IFN-β did not alter the progressive course of infection seen in WT BALB/c mice. Finally, we tested whether type I IFNs and/or IL-12 are required for the prophylactic effect of CpG-oligodesoxynucleotides (ODN) in BALB/c mice. Local and systemic administration of CpG-ODN 1668 protected WT and IFN-β-/- mice equally well from progressive leishmaniasis. By contrast, the protective effect of CpG-ODN 1668 was lost in BALB/c IFNAR1-/- (despite a sustained suppression of IL-4) and in BALB/c IL-12p35-/- mice. From these data, we conclude that IFN-β and IFNAR1 signaling are dispensable for a curative immune response to L. major in C57BL/6 mice and irrelevant for disease development in BALB/c mice, whereas IL-12 and IFN-α subtypes are essential for the disease prevention by CpG-ODNs in this mouse strain.
    • 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.
    • Visualizing production of beta interferon by astrocytes and microglia in brain of La Crosse virus-infected mice.

      Kallfass, Carsten; Ackerman, Andreas; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Heimrich, Bernd; Staeheli, Peter; Department of Virology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. (2012-10)
      Beta interferon (IFN-β) is a major component of innate immunity in mammals, but information on the in vivo source of this cytokine after pathogen infection is still scarce. To identify the cell types responsible for IFN-β production during viral encephalitis, we used reporter mice that express firefly luciferase under the control of the IFN-β promoter and stained organ sections with luciferase-specific antibodies. Numerous luciferase-positive cells were detected in regions of La Crosse virus (LACV)-infected mouse brains that contained many infected cells. Double-staining experiments with cell-type-specific markers revealed that similar numbers of astrocytes and microglia of infected brains were luciferase positive, whereas virus-infected neurons rarely contained detectable levels of luciferase. Interestingly, if a mutant LACV unable of synthesizing the IFN-antagonistic factor NSs was used for challenge, the vast majority of the IFN-β-producing cells in infected brains were astrocytes rather than microglia. Similar conclusions were reached in a second series of experiments in which conditional reporter mice expressing the luciferase reporter gene solely in defined cell types were infected with wild-type or mutant LACV. Collectively, our data suggest that glial cells rather than infected neurons represent the major source of IFN-β in LACV-infected mouse brains. They further indicate that IFN-β synthesis in astrocytes and microglia is differentially affected by the viral IFN antagonist, presumably due to differences in LACV susceptibility of these two cell types.
    • Visualizing the beta interferon response in mice during infection with influenza A viruses expressing or lacking nonstructural protein 1.

      Kallfass, Carsten; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Staeheli, Peter; Department of Virology, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany. (2013-06)
      The innate host defense against influenza virus is largely dependent on the type I interferon (IFN) system. However, surprisingly little is known about the cellular source of IFN in the infected lung. To clarify this question, we employed a reporter mouse that contains the firefly luciferase gene in place of the IFN-β-coding region. IFN-β-producing cells were identified either by simultaneous immunostaining of lungs for luciferase and cellular markers or by generating conditional reporter mice that express luciferase exclusively in defined cell types. Two different strains of influenza A virus were employed that either do or do not code for nonstructural protein 1 (NS1), which strongly suppresses innate immune responses of infected cells. We found that epithelial cells and lung macrophages, which represent the prime host cells for influenza viruses, showed vigorous IFN-β responses which, however, were severely reduced and delayed if the infecting virus was able to produce NS1. Interestingly, CD11c(+) cell populations that were either expressing or lacking macrophage markers produced the bulk of IFN-β at 48 h after infection with wild-type influenza A virus. Our results demonstrate that the virus-encoded IFN-antagonistic factor NS1 disarms specifically epithelial cells and lung macrophages, which otherwise would serve as main mediators of the early response against infection by influenza virus.