• Activation of Innate and Adaptive Immunity by a Recombinant Human Cytomegalovirus Strain Expressing an NKG2D Ligand.

      Tomić, Adriana; Varanasi, Pavankumar R; Golemac, Mijo; Malić, Suzana; Riese, Peggy; Borst, Eva M; Mischak-Weissinger, Eva; Guzmán, Carlos A; Krmpotić, Astrid; Jonjić, Stipan; Messerle, Martin; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12)
      Development of an effective vaccine against human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) is a need of utmost medical importance. Generally, it is believed that a live attenuated vaccine would best provide protective immunity against this tenacious pathogen. Here, we propose a strategy for an HCMV vaccine that aims at the simultaneous activation of innate and adaptive immune responses. An HCMV strain expressing the host ligand ULBP2 for the NKG2D receptor was found to be susceptible to control by natural killer (NK) cells, and preserved the ability to stimulate HCMV-specific T cells. Infection with the ULBP2-expressing HCMV strain caused diminished cell surface levels of MHC class I molecules. While expression of the NKG2D ligand increased the cytolytic activity of NK cells, NKG2D engagement in CD8+ T cells provided co-stimulation and compensated for lower MHC class I expression. Altogether, our data indicate that triggering of both arms of the immune system is a promising approach applicable to the generation of a live attenuated HCMV vaccine.
    • Analysis of bacterial core communities in the central Baltic by comparative RNA-DNA-based fingerprinting provides links to structure-function relationships.

      Brettar, Ingrid; Christen, Richard; Höfle, Manfred G; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre of Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-01)
      Understanding structure-function links of microbial communities is a central theme of microbial ecology since its beginning. To this end, we studied the spatial variability of the bacterioplankton community structure and composition across the central Baltic Sea at four stations, which were up to 450 km apart and at a depth profile representative for the central part (Gotland Deep, 235 m). Bacterial community structure was followed by 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA)- and 16S rRNA gene-based fingerprints using single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) electrophoresis. Species composition was determined by sequence analysis of SSCP bands. High similarities of the bacterioplankton communities across several hundred kilometers were observed in the surface water using RNA- and DNA-based fingerprints. In these surface communities, the RNA- and DNA-based fingerprints resulted in very different pattern, presumably indicating large difference between the active members of the community as represented by RNA-based fingerprints and the present members represented by the DNA-based fingerprints. This large discrepancy changed gradually over depth, resulting in highly similar RNA- and DNA-based fingerprints in the anoxic part of the water column below 130 m depth. A conceivable mechanism explaining this high similarity could be the reduced oxidative stress in the anoxic zone. The stable communities on the surface and in the anoxic zone indicate the strong influence of the hydrography on the bacterioplankton community structure. Comparative analysis of RNA- and DNA-based community structure provided criteria for the identification of the core community, its key members and their links to biogeochemical functions.
    • Analysis of structure and composition of bacterial core communities in mature drinking water biofilms and bulk water of a citywide network in Germany.

      Henne, Karsten; Kahlisch, Leila; Brettar, Ingrid; Höfle, Manfred G (2012-05)
      The bacterial core communities of bulk water and corresponding biofilms of a more than 20-year-old drinking water network were compared using 16S rRNA single-strand confirmation polymorphism (SSCP) fingerprints based on extracted DNA and RNA. The structure and composition of the bacterial core community in the bulk water was highly similar (>70%) across the city of Braunschweig, Germany, whereas all biofilm samples contained a unique community with no overlapping phylotypes from bulk water. Biofilm samples consisted mainly of Alphaproteobacteria (26% of all phylotypes), Gammaproteobacteria (11%), candidate division TM6 (11%), Chlamydiales (9%), and Betaproteobacteria (9%). The bulk water community consisted primarily of Bacteroidetes (25%), Betaproteobacteria (20%), Actinobacteria (16%), and Alphaproteobacteria (11%). All biofilm communities showed higher relative abundances of single phylotypes and a reduced richness compared to bulk water. Only biofilm communities sampled at nearby sampling points showed similar communities irrespective of support materials. In all of our bulk water studies, the community composition determined from 16S rRNA was completely different from the 16S rRNA gene-based community composition, whereas in biofilms both molecular fractions resulted in community compositions that were similar to each other. We hypothesize that a higher fraction of active bacterial phylotypes and a better protection from oxidative stress in drinking water biofilms are responsible for this higher similarity.
    • Anti-nuclear autoantibodies in the general German population: prevalence and lack of association with selected cardiovascular and metabolic disorders-findings of a multicenter population-based study.

      Akmatov, Manas K; Röber, Nadja; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Flesch-Janys, Dieter; Fricke, Julia; Greiser, Halina; Günther, Kathrin; Kaaks, Rudolf; Kemmling, Yvonne; Krone, Bastian; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Moebus, Susanne; Obi, Nadia; Guzman, Carlos A; Conrad, Karsten; Pessler, Frank; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-06)
      We determined the prevalence of anti-nuclear autoantibodies (ANAs) in the German adult population and examined the association between ANAs and cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.
    • Assessing the viability of bacterial species in drinking water by combined cellular and molecular analyses.

      Kahlisch, Leila; Henne, Karsten; Gröbe, Lothar; Brettar, Ingrid; Höfle, Manfred G; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-02)
      The question which bacterial species are present in water and if they are viable is essential for drinking water safety but also of general relevance in aquatic ecology. To approach this question we combined propidium iodide/SYTO9 staining ("live/dead staining" indicating membrane integrity), fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) and community fingerprinting for the analysis of a set of tap water samples. Live/dead staining revealed that about half of the bacteria in the tap water had intact membranes. Molecular analysis using 16S rRNA and 16S rRNA gene-based single-strand conformation polymorphism (SSCP) fingerprints and sequencing of drinking water bacteria before and after FACS sorting revealed: (1) the DNA- and RNA-based overall community structure differed substantially, (2) the community retrieved from RNA and DNA reflected different bacterial species, classified as 53 phylotypes (with only two common phylotypes), (3) the percentage of phylotypes with intact membranes or damaged cells were comparable for RNA- and DNA-based analyses, and (4) the retrieved species were primarily of aquatic origin. The pronounced difference between phylotypes obtained from DNA extracts (dominated by Betaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Actinobacteria) and from RNA extracts (dominated by Alpha-, Beta-, Gammaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Cyanobacteria) demonstrate the relevance of concomitant RNA and DNA analyses for drinking water studies. Unexpected was that a comparable fraction (about 21%) of phylotypes with membrane-injured cells was observed for DNA- and RNA-based analyses, contradicting the current understanding that RNA-based analyses represent the actively growing fraction of the bacterial community. Overall, we think that this combined approach provides an interesting tool for a concomitant phylogenetic and viability analysis of bacterial species of drinking water.
    • The bacterial second messenger cdiGMP exhibits promising activity as a mucosal adjuvant.

      Ebensen, Thomas; Schulze, Kai; Riese, Peggy; Morr, Michael; Guzmán, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-08)
      The development of mucosal adjuvants is still a critical need in vaccinology. In the present work, we show that bis(3',5')-cyclic dimeric GMP (cdiGMP), a second messenger that modulates cell surface properties of several microorganisms, exerts potent activity as a mucosal adjuvant. BALB/c mice were immunized intranasally with the model antigen beta-galactosidase (beta-Gal) coadministered with cdiGMP. Animals receiving cdiGMP as an adjuvant showed significantly higher anti-beta-Gal immunoglobulin G (IgG) titers in sera than controls (i.e., 512-fold [P < 0.05]). Coadministration of cdiGMP also stimulated efficient beta-Gal-specific secretory IgA production in the lung (P < 0.016) and vagina (P < 0.036). Cellular immune responses were observed in response to both the beta-Gal protein and a peptide encompassing its major histocompatibility complex class I-restricted epitope. The IgG1-to-IgG2a ratio of anti-beta-Gal antibodies and the observed profiles of secreted cytokines suggest that a dominant Th1 response pattern is promoted by mucosal coadministration of cdiGMP. Finally, the use of cdiGMP as a mucosal adjuvant also led to the stimulation of in vivo cytotoxic T-lymphocyte responses in C57BL/6 mice intranasally immunized with ovalbumin and cdiGMP (up to 30% of specific lysis). The results obtained indicate that cdiGMP is a promising tool for the development of mucosal vaccines.
    • Bivalent mucosal peptide vaccines administered using the LCP carrier system stimulate protective immune responses against Streptococcus pyogenes infection.

      Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Chandrudu, Saranya; Skwarczynski, Mariusz; Toth, Istvan; Olive, Colleen; Guzman, Carlos A; Helmholtz Centre for infection researchGmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-05)
      Despite the broad knowledge about the pathogenicity of Streptococcus pyogenes there is still a controversy about the correlate of protection in GAS infections. We aimed in further improving the immune responses stimulated against GAS comparing different vaccine formulations including bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) and BPPCysMPEG, a derivative of the macrophage-activating lipopeptide (MALP-2), as adjuvants, respectively, to be administered with and without the universal T helper cell epitope P25 along with the optimized B cell epitope J14 of the M protein and B and T cell epitopes of SfbI. Lipopeptide based nano carrier systems (LCP) were used for efficient antigen delivery across the mucosal barrier. The stimulated immune responses were efficient in protecting mice against a respiratory challenge with a lethal dose of a heterologous S. pyogenes strain. Moreover, combination of the LCP based peptide vaccine with c-di-AMP allowed reduction of antigen dose at the same time maintaining vaccine efficacy.
    • Blockade of Neutrophil's Chemokine Receptors CXCR1/2 Abrogate Liver Damage in Acute-on-Chronic Liver Failure.

      Khanam, Arshi; Trehanpati, Nirupma; Riese, Peggy; Rastogi, Archana; Guzman, Carlos A.; Sarin, Shiv Kumar; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Neutrophils serve as critical players in the pathogenesis of liver diseases. Chemokine receptors CXCR1 and CXCR2 are required for neutrophil chemotaxis to the site of inflammation/injury and are crucial in hepatic inflammatory response. However, key mechanism of neutrophil-mediated liver injury in acute-on-chronic liver failure (ACLF) remains highly elusive; which could be targeted for the development of new therapeutic interventions.
    • Cell aggregation enhances bone formation by human mesenchymal stromal cells.

      Chatterjea, A; LaPointe, V L; Barradas, A; Garritsen, H; Yuan, H; Renard, A; van Blitterswijk, C A; de Beor, J; Hemholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Vraunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-15)
      The amount of bone generated using current tissue engineering approaches is insufficient for many clinical applications. Previous in vitro studies suggest that culturing cells as 3D aggregates can enhance their osteogenic potential, but the effect on bone formation in vivo is unknown. Here, we use agarose wells to generate uniformly sized mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC) aggregates. When combined with calcium phosphate ceramic particles and a gel prepared from human platelet-rich plasma, we generated a tissue engineered construct which significantly improved in vivo bone forming capacity as compared to the conventional system of using single cells seeded directly on the ceramic surface. Histology demonstrated the reproducibility of this system, which was tested using cells from four different donors. In vitro studies established that MSC aggregation results in an up-regulation of osteogenic transcripts. And finally, the in vivo performance of the constructs was significantly diminished when unaggregated cells were used, indicating that cell aggregation is a potent trigger of in vivo bone formation by MSCs. Cell aggregation could thus be used to improve bone tissue engineering strategies.
    • Characterization of a Novel Intracellularly Activated Gene from Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhi

      Basso, Holger; Rharbaoui, Faiza; Staendner, Lothar H.; Medina, Eva; García-Del Portillo, Francisco; Guzmán, Carlos A. (American Society for Microbiology, 2002-10)
    • Construction and characterization of a live attenuated vaccine candidate against Shigella dysenteriae type 1.

      Klee, S R; Tzschaschel, B D; Fält, I; Kärnell, A; Lindberg, A A; Timmis, K N; Guzmán, C A (1997-06)
    • Cyanoethylation of the glucans dextran and pullulan: Substitution pattern and formation of nanostructures and entrapment of magnetic nanoparticles.

      Fiege, Kathrin; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Atarijabarzadeh, Sevil; Mischnick, Petra; Institute for Food Chemistry, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Schleinitzstraße 20, D-38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      Cyanoethylglucans with a degree of substitution in the range of 0.74 to 2.40 for dextran and 0.84 to 2.42 for pullulan were obtained by Michael addition of acrylonitrile to the glucans under various conditions. Products were thoroughly characterized, comprising elementary analysis, NMR and ATR-IR spectroscopy, and analysis of the substituent distribution in the glucosyl units by GC-FID and GC-MS of the constituting monosaccharide derivatives. Nanostructuring of the highly substituted cyanoethylpolysaccharides was performed by dialysis against a non-solvent. In the presence of ferromagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles, multicore cyanoethylglucan-coated ferromagnetic nanoparticles were formed by selective entrapment. The specific interaction between cyano groups and iron could be proven. The size distribution and morphology of the nanoparticles were analyzed by dynamic light scattering (DLS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy (EF-TEM) with parallel electron energy loss spectroscopy (PEELS).
    • Cyclic di-nucleotides: new era for small molecules as adjuvants.

      Libanova, Rimma; Becker, Pablo D; Guzmán, Carlos A; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-03)
      The implementation of vaccination as an empiric strategy to protect against infectious diseases was introduced even before the advent of hygiene and antimicrobials in the medical practice. Nevertheless, it was not until a few decades ago that we really started understanding the underlying mechanisms of protection triggered by vaccination. Vaccines were initially based on attenuated or inactivated organisms. Subunit vaccines were then introduced as more refined formulations, exhibiting improved safety profiles. However, purified antigens tend to be poorly immunogenic and often require the use of adjuvants to achieve adequate stimulation of the immune system. Vaccination strategies, such as mucosal administration, also require potent adjuvants to improve performance. In the 1990s, immunologists found that pathogens could be sensed as 'danger signals' by receptors recognizing conserved motifs. Although our knowledge is still limited, tremendous advances were made in the understanding of host defence mechanisms regulated by these evolutionary conserved receptors, and the molecular structures which are recognized by them. This opened a new era in adjuvant development. Some of the latest players arrived to this field are the cyclic di-nucleotides, which are ubiquitous prokaryotic intracellular signalling molecules. This review is focused on their potential for the development of vaccines and immunotherapies.
    • Cyclic GMP-AMP Displays Mucosal Adjuvant Activity in Mice.

      Skrnjug, Ivana; Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; Ruecker, Christine; Helmholtz Cente for infection research,Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      The recently discovered mammalian enzyme cyclic GMP-AMP synthase produces cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP) after being activated by pathogen-derived cytosolic double stranded DNA. The product can stimulate STING-dependent interferon type I signaling. Here, we explore the efficacy of cGAMP as a mucosal adjuvant in mice. We show that cGAMP can enhance the adaptive immune response to the model antigen ovalbumin. It promotes antigen specific IgG and a balanced Th1/Th2 lymphocyte response in immunized mice. A characteristic of the cGAMP-induced immune response is the slightly reduced induction of interleukin-17 as a hallmark of Th17 activity - a distinct feature that is not observed with other cyclic di-nucleotide adjuvants. We further characterize the innate immune stimulation activity in vitro on murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells and human dendritic cells. The observed results suggest the consideration of cGAMP as a candidate mucosal adjuvant for human vaccines.
    • Deletion of Irf3 and Irf7 Genes in Mice Results in Altered Interferon Pathway Activation and Granulocyte-Dominated Inflammatory Responses to Influenza A Infection.

      Hatesuer, Bastian; Hoang, Hang Thi Thu; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Gerhauser, Ingo; Elbahesh, Husni; Geffers, Robert; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The interferon (IFN) pathway plays an essential role in the innate immune response following viral infections and subsequent shaping of adaptive immunity. Infections with influenza A viruses (IAV) activate the IFN pathway after the recognition of pathogen-specific molecular patterns by respective pattern recognition receptors. The IFN regulatory factors IRF3 and IRF7 are key players in the regulation of type I and III IFN genes. In this study, we analyzed the role of IRF3 and IRF7 for the host response to IAV infections in Irf3-/-, Irf7-/-, and Irf3-/-Irf7-/- knockout mice. While the absence of IRF3 had only a moderate impact on IFN expression, deletion of IRF7 completely abolished IFNα production after infection. In contrast, lack of both IRF3 and IRF7 resulted in the absence of both IFNα and IFNβ after IAV infection. In addition, IAV infection of double knockout mice resulted in a strong increase of mortality associated with a massive influx of granulocytes in the lung and reduced activation of the adaptive immune response.
    • Development and characterization of attenuated metabolic mutants of Bordetella bronchiseptica for applications in vaccinology.

      Yevsa, Tetyana; Ebensen, Thomas; Fuchs, Barbara; Zygmunt, Beata; Libanova, Rimma; Gross, Roy; Schulze, Kai; Guzmán, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-01)
      Bordetella bronchiseptica is an important pathogen causing a number of veterinary respiratory syndromes in agriculturally important and food-producing confinement-reared animals, resulting in great economic losses annually amounting to billions of euros worldwide. Currently available live vaccines are incompletely satisfactory in terms of efficacy and safety. An efficient vaccine for livestock animals would allow reducing the application of antibiotics, thereby preventing the massive release of pharmaceuticals into the environment. Here, we describe two new potential vaccine strains based on the BB7865 strain. Two independent attenuating mutations were incorporated by homologous recombination in order to make negligible the risk of recombination and subsequent reversion to the virulent phenotype. The mutations are critical for bacterial metabolism, resistance to oxidative stress, intracellular survival and in vivo persistence. The resulting double mutants BB7865 risA aroA and BB7865 risA dapE were characterized as promising vaccine candidates, which are able to confer protection against colonization of the lower respiratory tract after sublethal challenge with the wild-type strain.
    • Dynamic changes in viral population structure and compartmentalization during chronic hepatitis C virus infection in children.

      Gismondi, María Inés; Díaz Carrasco, Juan María; Valva, Pamela; Becker, Pablo Daniel; Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; Campos, Rodolfo Héctor; Preciado, María Victoria; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2013-12)
      Classic phylogenetic and modern population-based clustering methods were used to analyze hepatitis C virus (HCV) evolution in plasma and to assess viral compartmentalization within peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) in 6 children during 3.2-9.6yr of follow-up. Population structure analysis of cloned amplicons encompassing hypervariable region 1 led to the distinction of two evolutionary patterns, one highly divergent and another one genetically homogeneous. Viral adaptability was reflected by co-evolution of viral communities switching rapidly from one to another in the context of divergence and stability associated with highly homogeneous communities which were replaced by new ones after long periods. Additionally, viral compartmentalization of HCV in PBMCs was statistically demonstrated, suggesting their role as a pool of genetic variability. Our results support the idea of a community-based structure of HCV viral populations during chronic infection and highlight a role of the PBMC compartment in the persistence of such structure.
    • Efficient nanoparticle-mediated needle-free transcutaneous vaccination via hair follicles requires adjuvantation.

      Mittal, Ankit; Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Weißmann, Sebastian; Hansen, Steffi; Lehr, Claus Michael; Guzmán, Carlos A; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-01)
      Trans-follicular (TF) vaccination has recently been studied as a unique route for non-invasive transcutaneous vaccination. The present study aims to extensively characterize the immune responses triggered by TF vaccination using ovalbumin loaded chitosan-PLGA (poly lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles without skin pre-treatment to preserve skin integrity. The impact of formulation composition i.e. antigenic solution or antigen-loaded nanoparticles with or without adjuvant [bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate] on immune response quality following TF immunization was analyzed and compared with immune responses obtained after tape stripping the skin. The results presented in this study confirm the ability of nanoparticle based vaccine formulations to deliver antigen across the intact skin via the follicular route, but at the same time demonstrate the necessity to include adjuvants to generate efficient antigen-specific humoral and cellular immune responses.