group leader: Prof. Jänsch

Recent Submissions

  • The zlog value as a basis for the standardization of laboratory results

    Hoffmann, Georg; Klawonn, Frank; Lichtinghagen, Ralf; Orth, Matthias; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-26)
    Abstract Background: With regard to the German E-Health Law of 2016, the German Society for Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (DGKL) has been invited to develop a standard procedure for the storage and transmission of laboratory results. We suggest the commonly used z-transformation. Methods: This method evaluates by how many standard deviations (SDs) a given result deviates from the mean of the respective reference population. We confirm with real data that laboratory results of healthy individuals can be adjusted to a normal distribution by logarithmic transformation. Results: Thus, knowing the lower and upper reference limits LL and UL, one can transform any result x into a zlog value using the following equation: $\eqalign{ {\rm{zlog}} = & {\rm{(log(x)}}-{\rm{(log(LL)}} + {\rm{log(UL))/2)\cdot3}}{\rm{.92/(log(UL)}} \cr -{\bf{ }}{\rm{log(LL))}} \cr} $ The result can easily be interpreted, as its reference interval (RI) is –1.96 to +1.96 by default, and very low or high results yield zlog values around –5 and +5, respectively. For intuitive data presentation, the zlog values may be transformed into a continuous color scale, e.g. from blue via white to orange. Using the inverse function, any zlog value can then be translated into the theoretical result of an analytical method with another RI: (1) $${\rm{x}} = {\rm{L}}{{\rm{L}}^{0.5 - {\rm{zlog}}/3.92}} \cdot {\rm{U}}{{\rm{L}}^{0.5 + {\rm{zlog}}/3.92}}$$ Conclusions: Our standardization proposal can easily be put into practice and may effectively contribute to data quality and patient safety in the frame of the German E-health law. We suggest for the future that laboratories should provide the zlog value in addition to the original result, and that the data transmission protocols (e.g. HL7, LDT) should contain a special field for this additional value.
  • Mass-spectrometric profiling of cerebrospinal fluid reveals metabolite biomarkers for CNS involvement in varicella zoster virus reactivation.

    Kuhn, Maike; Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Akmatov, Manas K; Klawonn, Frank; Wang, Junxi; Skripuletz, Thomas; Kaever, Volkhard; Stangel, Martin; Pessler, Frank; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-01-17)
    Varicella zoster virus (VZV) reactivation spans the spectrum from uncomplicated segmental herpes zoster to life-threatening disseminated CNS infection. Moreover, in the absence of a small animal model for this human pathogen, studies of pathogenesis at the organismal level depend on analysis of human biosamples. Changes in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) metabolites may reflect critical aspects of host responses and end-organ damage in neuroinfection and neuroinflammation. We therefore applied a targeted metabolomics screen of CSF to three clinically distinct forms of VZV reactivation and infectious and non-infectious disease controls in order to identify biomarkers for CNS involvement in VZV reactivation.
  • The interferon-stimulated gene product oligoadenylate synthetase-like protein enhances replication of Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) and interacts with the KSHV ORF20 protein.

    Bussey, Kendra A; Lau, Ulrike; Schumann, Sophie; Gallo, Antonio; Osbelt, Lisa; Stempel, Markus; Arnold, Christine; Wissing, Josef; Gad, Hans Henrik; Hartmann, Rune; Brune, Wolfram; Jänsch, Lothar; Whitehouse, Adrian; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-03)
    Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is one of the few oncogenic human viruses known to date. Its large genome encodes more than 85 proteins and includes both unique viral proteins as well as proteins conserved amongst herpesviruses. KSHV ORF20 is a member of the herpesviral core UL24 family, but the function of ORF20 and its role in the viral life cycle is not well understood. ORF20 encodes three largely uncharacterized isoforms, which we found were localized predominantly in the nuclei and nucleoli. Quantitative affinity purification coupled to mass spectrometry (q-AP-MS) identified numerous specific interacting partners of ORF20, including ribosomal proteins and the interferon-stimulated gene product (ISG) oligoadenylate synthetase-like protein (OASL). Both endogenous and transiently transfected OASL co-immunoprecipitated with ORF20, and this interaction was conserved among all ORF20 isoforms and multiple ORF20 homologs of the UL24 family in other herpesviruses. Characterization of OASL interacting partners by q-AP-MS identified a very similar interactome to that of ORF20. Both ORF20 and OASL copurified with 40S and 60S ribosomal subunits, and when they were co-expressed, they associated with polysomes. Although ORF20 did not have a global effect on translation, ORF20 enhanced RIG-I induced expression of endogenous OASL in an IRF3-dependent but IFNAR-independent manner. OASL has been characterized as an ISG with antiviral activity against some viruses, but its role for gammaherpesviruses was unknown. We show that OASL and ORF20 mRNA expression were induced early after reactivation of latently infected HuARLT-rKSHV.219 cells. Intriguingly, we found that OASL enhanced infection of KSHV. During infection with a KSHV ORF20stop mutant, however, OASL-dependent enhancement of infectivity was lost. Our data have characterized the interaction of ORF20 with OASL and suggest ORF20 usurps the function of OASL to benefit KSHV infection.
  • Sweep Dynamics (SD) plots: Computational identification of selective sweeps to monitor the adaptation of influenza A viruses.

    Klingen, Thorsten R; Reimering, Susanne; Loers, Jens; Mooren, Kyra; Klawonn, Frank; Krey, Thomas; Gabriel, Gülsah; McHardy, Alice Carolyn; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-10)
    Monitoring changes in influenza A virus genomes is crucial to understand its rapid evolution and adaptation to changing conditions e.g. establishment within novel host species. Selective sweeps represent a rapid mode of adaptation and are typically observed in human influenza A viruses. We describe Sweep Dynamics (SD) plots, a computational method combining phylogenetic algorithms with statistical techniques to characterize the molecular adaptation of rapidly evolving viruses from longitudinal sequence data. SD plots facilitate the identification of selective sweeps, the time periods in which these occurred and associated changes providing a selective advantage to the virus. We studied the past genome-wide adaptation of the 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza A (pH1N1) and seasonal H3N2 influenza A (sH3N2) viruses. The pH1N1 influenza virus showed simultaneous amino acid changes in various proteins, particularly in seasons of high pH1N1 activity. Partially, these changes resulted in functional alterations facilitating sustained human-to-human transmission. In the evolution of sH3N2 influenza viruses, we detected changes characterizing vaccine strains, which were occasionally revealed in selective sweeps one season prior to the WHO recommendation. Taken together, SD plots allow monitoring and characterizing the adaptive evolution of influenza A viruses by identifying selective sweeps and their associated signatures.
  • Effects of pathogen dependency in a multi-pathogen infectious disease system including population level heterogeneity - a simulation study.

    Bakuli, Abhishek; Klawonn, Frank; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12-13)
    Increased computational resources have made individual based models popular for modelling epidemics. They have the advantage of incorporating heterogeneous features, including realistic population structures (like e.g. households). Existing stochastic simulation studies of epidemics, however, have been developed mainly for incorporating single pathogen scenarios although the effect of different pathogens might directly or indirectly (e.g. via contact reductions) effect the spread of each pathogen. The goal of this work was to simulate a stochastic agent based system incorporating the effect of multiple pathogens, accounting for the household based transmission process and the dependency among pathogens.
  • Effects of drift and noise on the optimal sliding window size for data stream regression models

    Tschumitschew, Katharina; Klawonn, Frank; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05-27)
  • Iron affinity gel and gallium immobilized metal affinity chromatographic technique for phosphopeptide enrichment: a comparative study

    Biswas, Sagarika; Sarkar, Ashish; Misra, Richa; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; Department of Genomics and Molecular Medicine, CSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India; Department of Genomics and Molecular Medicine, CSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India; Department of Genomics and Molecular Medicine, CSIR – Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Delhi, India (2017-02-28)
  • Der zlog-Wert als Basis für die Standardisierung von Laborwerten

    Hoffmann, Georg; Klawonn, Frank; Lichtinghagen, Ralf; Orth, Matthias; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforshung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-01)
    Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Im Zuge des deutschen E-Health-Gesetzes von 2016 wurde die DGKL aufgefordert, Vorschläge für die standardisierte Speicherung und Übermittlung von Labordaten zu erarbeiten. Wir schlagen dafür die in der Statistik weit verbreitete z-Transformation vor. Methoden Man erhält mit diesem Verfahren einen Relativwert, der angibt, um wie viele Standardabweichungen ein Messwert vom Mittelwert des Referenzkollektivs abweicht. Anhand realer Daten belegen wir die Annahme, dass die Werte gesunder Referenzpersonen durch logarithmische Transformation einer Normalverteilung angenähert werden können. Ergebnisse Kennt man somit die Unter- und Obergrenze UG und OG des Referenzintervalls, so kann man jedes Laborergebnis mit folgender Gleichung transformieren: Der zlog-Wert ist leicht interpretierbar: Sein Referenzintervall liegt methodenunabhängig stets zwischen –1,96 und +1,96; stark erniedrigte oder erhöhte Laborergebnisse führen zu zlog-Werten um –5 bzw. +5. Für eine intuitive Befunddarstellung kann man zlog-Werte auch in eine kontinuierliche Farbskala, z. B. von Blau über Weiß bis Orange umrechnen. Mithilfe der Umkehrfunktion lässt sich aus dem zlog-Wert auch das theoretische Resultat einer Messmethode mit einem anderen Referenzintervall berechnen: Schlussfolgerung Unser Standardisierungsvorschlag ist ein leicht realisierbarer und effektiver Beitrag zur Verbesserung der Datenqualität und Patientensicherheit im Rahmen des E-Health-Gesetzes. Es wird gefordert, dass alle Labore künftig zusätzlich zum Originalwert den zlog-Wert zur Verfügung stellen und dass in die Protokolle für die elektronische Labordatenübertragung (HL7, LDT) ein eigenes Feld für diesen zusätzlichen Wert eingefügt wird.
  • TCR signalling network organization at the immunological synapses of murine regulatory T cells.

    van Ham, Marco; Teich, René; Philipsen, Lars; Niemz, Jana; Amsberg, Nicole; Wissing, Josef; Nimtz, Manfred; Gröbe, Lothar; Kliche, Stefanie; Thiel, Nadine; Klawonn, Frank; Hubo, Mario; Jonuleit, Helmut; Reichardt, Peter; Müller, Andreas J; Huehn, Jochen; Jänsch, Lothar; Helmholtz-Zetrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-17)
    Regulatory T (Treg) cells require T-cell receptor (TCR) signalling to exert their immunosuppressive activity, but the precise organization of the TCR signalling network compared to conventional T (Tconv) cells remains elusive. By using accurate mass spectrometry and multi-epitope ligand cartography (MELC) we characterized TCR signalling and recruitment of TCR signalling components to the immunological synapse (IS) in Treg cells and Tconv cells. With the exception of Themis which we detected in lower amounts in Treg cells, other major TCR signalling components were found equally abundant, however, their phosphorylation-status notably discriminates Treg cells from Tconv cells. Overall, this study identified 121 Treg cell-specific phosphorylations. Short-term triggering of T cell subsets via CD3 and CD28 widely harmonized these variations with the exception of eleven TCR signalling components that mainly regulate cytoskeleton dynamics and molecular transport. Accordingly, conjugation with B cells indeed caused variant cellular morphology and revealed a Treg cell-specific recruitment of TCR signalling components such as PKCθ, PLCγ1 and ZAP70 as well as B cell-derived CD86 into the IS. Together, results from this study support the existence of a Treg cell-specific IS and suggest Treg cell-specific cytoskeleton dynamics as a novel determinant for the unique functional properties of Treg cells.
  • Assessment of cross-species transmission of hepatitis C virus-related non-primate hepacivirus in a population of humans at high risk of exposure.

    Pfaender, Stephanie; Walter, Stephanie; Todt, Daniel; Behrendt, Patrick; Doerrbecker, Juliane; Wölk, Benno; Engelmann, Michael; Gravemann, Ute; Seltsam, Axel; Steinmann, Joerg; Burbelo, Peter D; Klawonn, Frank; Feige, Karsten; Pietschmann, Thomas; Cavalleri, Jessika-M V; Steinmann, Eike; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2015-09)
    The recent discovery of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related viruses in different animal species has raised new speculations regarding the origin of HCV and the possibility of a zoonotic source responsible for the endemic HCV transmission. As a consequence, these new findings prompt questions regarding the potential for cross-species transmissions of hepaciviruses. The closest relatives to HCV discovered to date are the non-primate hepaciviruses (NPHVs), which have been described to infect horses. To evaluate the risk of a potential zoonotic transmission, we analysed NPHV RNA and antibodies in humans with occupational exposure to horses in comparison with a low-risk group. Both groups were negative for NPHV RNA, even though low seroreactivities against various NPHV antigens could be detected irrespective of the group. In conclusion, we did not observe evidence of NPHV transmission between horses and humans.
  • Patient's Experience in Pediatric Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders: Computerized Classification of Questionnaires.

    Mücke, Urs; Klemann, Christian; Baumann, Ulrich; Meyer-Bahlburg, Almut; Kortum, Xiaowei; Klawonn, Frank; Lechner, Werner M; Grigull, Lorenz; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    Primary immunodeficiency disorders (PIDs) are a heterogeneous group of more than 200 rare diseases. Timely diagnosis is of uttermost importance. Therefore, we aimed to develop a diagnostic questionnaire with computerized pattern-recognition in order to support physicians to identify suspicious patient histories.
  • Global proteome response of Escherichia coli BL21 to production of human basic fibroblast growth factor in complex and defined medium

    Li, Zhaopeng; Nimtz, Manfred; Rinas, Ursula; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; Technical Chemistry - Life Science; Leibniz University of Hannover; Hannover Germany; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research; Braunschweig Germany; Technical Chemistry - Life Science; Leibniz University of Hannover; Hannover Germany (2017-06-20)
  • Degradable magnesium implant-associated infections by bacterial biofilms induce robust localized and systemic inflammatory reactions in a mouse model.

    Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Babbar, Anshu; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Pils, Marina; Rohde, M; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-01)
    Biomaterial-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections constitute cascade of host immune reactions ultimately leading towards implant failure. Due to lack of relevant in vivo biofilm models, majority of the studies report host immune responses against free living or planktonic bacteria while bacteria in clinical situations live more frequently as biofilm communities than as single cells. Present study investigated host immune responses against biomaterial-associated P. aeruginosa biofilms in a clinically relevant mouse model. Previously, we reported metallic magnesium, a prospective biodegradable implant, to be permissive for bacterial biofilms in vivo even though it exhibits antibacterial properties in vitro. Therefore, magnesium was employed as biomaterial to investigate in vivo biofilm formation and associated host immune responses by using two P. aeruginosa strains and two mouse strains. P. aeruginosa formed biofilms on subcutaneously implanted magnesium discs. Non-invasive in vivo imaging indicated transient inflammatory responses at control sites whereas robust prolonged interferon-β (IFN-β) expression was observed from biofilms in a transgenic animal reporter. Further, immunohistology and electron microscopic results showed that bacterial biofilms were located in two dimensions immediately on the implant surface and at a short distance in the adjacent tissue. These biofilms were surrounded by inflammatory cells (mainly polymorphonuclear cells) as compared to controls. Interestingly, even though the number of live bacteria in various organs remained below detectable levels, splenomegaly indicated systemic inflammatory processes. Overall, these findings confirmed the resistance of biofilm infections in vivo to potentially antibacterial properties of magnesium degradation products. In vivo imaging and histology indicated the induction of both, local and systemic host inflammatory responses against P. aeruginosa biofilms. Even though the innate host immune defenses could not eliminate the local infection for up to two weeks, there was no apparent systemic bacteremia and all animals investigated survived the infection.
  • Diagnostic needs for rare diseases and shared prediagnostic phenomena: Results of a German-wide expert Delphi survey.

    Blöß, Susanne; Klemann, Christian; Rother, Ann-Katrin; Mehmecke, Sandra; Schumacher, Ulrike; Mücke, Urs; Mücke, Martin; Stieber, Christiane; Klawonn, Frank; Kortum, Xiaowei; Lechner, Werner; Grigull, Lorenz; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
    Worldwide approximately 7,000 rare diseases have been identified. Accordingly, 4 million individuals live with a rare disease in Germany. The mean time to diagnosis is about 6 years and patients receive several incorrect diagnoses during this time. A multiplicity of factors renders diagnosing a rare disease extremely difficult. Detection of shared phenomena among individuals with different rare diseases could assist the diagnostic process. In order to explore the demand for diagnostic support and to obtain the commonalities among patients, a nationwide Delphi survey of centers for rare diseases and patient groups was conducted.
  • The Host-Pathogen interaction of human cyclophilin A and HIV-1 Vpr requires specific N-terminal and novel C-terminal domains

    Solbak, Sara M; Wray, Victor; Horvli, Ole; Raae, Arnt J; Flydal, Marte I; Henklein, Petra; Henklein, Peter; Nimtz, Manfred; Schubert, Ulrich; Fossen, Torgils (2011-12-20)
    Abstract Background Cyclophilin A (CypA) represents a potential key molecule in future antiretroviral therapy since inhibition of CypA suppresses human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication. CypA interacts with the virus proteins Capsid (CA) and Vpr, however, the mechanism through which CypA influences HIV-1 infectivity still remains unclear. Results Here the interaction of full-length HIV-1 Vpr with the host cellular factor CypA has been characterized and quantified by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. A C-terminal region of Vpr, comprising the 16 residues 75GCRHSRIGVTRQRRAR90, with high binding affinity for CypA has been identified. This region of Vpr does not contain any proline residues but binds much more strongly to CypA than the previously characterized N-terminal binding domain of Vpr, and is thus the first protein binding domain to CypA described involving no proline residues. The fact that the mutant peptide Vpr75-90 R80A binds more weakly to CypA than the wild-type peptide confirms that Arg-80 is a key residue in the C-terminal binding domain. The N- and C-terminal binding regions of full-length Vpr bind cooperatively to CypA and have allowed a model of the complex to be created. The dissociation constant of full-length Vpr to CypA was determined to be approximately 320 nM, indicating that the binding may be stronger than that of the well characterized interaction of HIV-1 CA with CypA. Conclusions For the first time the interaction of full-length Vpr and CypA has been characterized and quantified. A non-proline-containing 16-residue region of C-terminal Vpr which binds specifically to CypA with similar high affinity as full-length Vpr has been identified. The fact that this is the first non-proline containing binding motif of any protein found to bind to CypA, changes the view on how CypA is able to interact with other proteins. It is interesting to note that several previously reported key functions of HIV-1 Vpr are associated with the identified N- and C-terminal binding domains of the protein to CypA.
  • Physiological response of Pichia pastoris GS115 to methanol-induced high level production of the Hepatitis B surface antigen: catabolic adaptation, stress responses, and autophagic processes

    Vanz, Ana L; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Adnan, Ahmad; Nimtz, Manfred; Gurramkonda, Chandrasekhar; Khanna, Navin; Rinas, Ursula (2012-08-08)
    Abstract Background Pichia pastoris is an established eukaryotic host for the production of recombinant proteins. Most often, protein production is under the control of the strong methanol-inducible aox1 promoter. However, detailed information about the physiological alterations in P. pastoris accompanying the shift from growth on glycerol to methanol-induced protein production under industrial relevant conditions is missing. Here, we provide an analysis of the physiological response of P. pastoris GS115 to methanol-induced high-level production of the Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg). High product titers and the retention of the protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are supposedly of major impact on the host physiology. For a more detailed understanding of the cellular response to methanol-induced HBsAg production, the time-dependent changes in the yeast proteome and ultrastructural cell morphology were analyzed during the production process. Results The shift from growth on glycerol to growth and HBsAg production on methanol was accompanied by a drastic change in the yeast proteome. In particular, enzymes from the methanol dissimilation pathway started to dominate the proteome while enzymes from the methanol assimilation pathway, e.g. the transketolase DAS1, increased only moderately. The majority of methanol was metabolized via the energy generating dissimilatory pathway leading to a corresponding increase in mitochondrial size and numbers. The methanol-metabolism related generation of reactive oxygen species induced a pronounced oxidative stress response (e.g. strong increase of the peroxiredoxin PMP20). Moreover, the accumulation of HBsAg in the ER resulted in the induction of the unfolded protein response (e.g. strong increase of the ER-resident disulfide isomerase, PDI) and the ER associated degradation (ERAD) pathway (e.g. increase of two cytosolic chaperones and members of the AAA ATPase superfamily) indicating that potential degradation of HBsAg could proceed via the ERAD pathway and through the proteasome. However, the amount of HBsAg did not show any significant decline during the cultivation revealing its general protection from proteolytic degradation. During the methanol fed-batch phase, induction of vacuolar proteases (e.g. strong increase of APR1) and constitutive autophagic processes were observed. Vacuolar enclosures were mainly found around peroxisomes and not close to HBsAg deposits and, thus, were most likely provoked by peroxisomal components damaged by reactive oxygen species generated by methanol oxidation. Conclusions In the methanol fed-batch phase P. pastoris is exposed to dual stress; stress resulting from methanol degradation and stress resulting from the production of the recombinant protein leading to the induction of oxidative stress and unfolded protein response pathways, respectively. Finally, the modest increase of methanol assimilatory enzymes compared to the strong increase of methanol dissimilatory enzymes suggests here a potential to increase methanol incorporation into biomass/product through metabolic enhancement of the methanol assimilatory pathway.
  • Impact of the rpoS genotype for acid resistance patterns of pathogenic and probiotic Escherichia coli

    Coldewey, Sina M; Hartmann, Maike; Schmidt, Dorothea S; Engelking, Uta; Ukena, Sya N; Gunzer, Florian (2007-03-26)
    Abstract Background Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), a subgroup of Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (STEC), may cause severe enteritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and is transmitted orally via contaminated foods or from person to person. The infectious dose is known to be very low, which requires most of the bacteria to survive the gastric acid barrier. Acid resistance therefore is an important mechanism of EHEC virulence. It should also be a relevant characteristic of E. coli strains used for therapeutic purposes such as the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 (EcN). In E. coli and related enteric bacteria it has been extensively demonstrated, that the alternative sigma factor σS, encoded by the rpoS gene, acts as a master regulator mediating resistance to various environmental stress factors. Methods Using rpoS deletion mutants of a highly virulent EHEC O26:H11 patient isolate and the sequenced prototype EHEC EDL933 (ATCC 700927) of serotype O157:H7 we investigated the impact of a functional rpoS gene for orchestrating a satisfactory response to acid stress in these strains. We then functionally characterized rpoS of probiotic EcN and five rpoS genes selected from STEC isolates pre-investigated for acid resistance. Results First, we found out that ATCC isolate 700927 of EHEC EDL933 has a point mutation in rpoS, not present in the published sequence, leading to a premature stop codon. Moreover, to our surprise, one STEC strain as well as EcN was acid sensitive in our test environment, although their cloned rpoS genes could effectively complement acid sensitivity of an rpoS deletion mutant. Conclusion The attenuation of sequenced EHEC EDL933 might be of importance for anyone planning to do either in vitro or in vivo studies with this prototype strain. Furthermore our data supports recently published observations, that individual E. coli isolates are able to significantly modulate their acid resistance phenotype independent of their rpoS genotype.
  • Lipopolysaccharide binding protein, interleukin-10, interleukin-6 and C-reactive protein blood levels in acute ischemic stroke patients with post-stroke infection

    Worthmann, Hans; Tryc, Anita B; Dirks, Meike; Schuppner, Ramona; Brand, Korbinian; Klawonn, Frank; Lichtinghagen, Ralf; Weissenborn, Karin (2015-01-23)
    Abstract Background Ischemic stroke patients are prone to infection by stroke-induced immunodepression. We hypothesized that levels of lipopolysaccharide binding protein (LBP), interleukin-10 (IL-10), IL-6 and C-reactive protein (CRP) are early predictors for the development of stroke-associated infection. Methods Fifty-six patients with ischemic stroke (n = 51) and transient ischemic attack (TIA) (n = 5) who presented within 6 hours after symptom onset and who were free of detectable infection on admission were included in the study. Of these, 20 developed early infections during the first week. Blood samples were taken at 6, 12, and 24 hours and at 3 and 7 days after stroke onset. Levels of LBP, Il-10, IL-6 and CRP, as well as S100B, were measured as markers of inflammation and brain damage by commercially available immunometric tests. Results In the univariate analysis, levels of LBP, IL-10, IL-6 and CRP significantly differed between patients who developed an infection and those who did not. In the binary logistic regression analysis, which was adjusted for National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) on admission, stroke subtype and S100B peak levels, as indicator of the extent of brain damage, IL-10 at 6 hours, CRP at 6 hours and NIHSS on admission were identified as independent predictors of infection (IL-10: P = 0.009; CRP: P = 0.018; NIHSS: P = 0.041). The area under the curve (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves in relation to the dichotomized status of the infection (infection versus no infection) was 0.74 (95% confidence interval: 0.59 to 0.88) for CRP at 6 hours, 0.76 (0.61 to 0.9) for IL-10 at 6 hours, 0.83 (0.71 to 0.94) for NIHSS on admission and 0.94 (0.88 to 1) for the combination of CRP, IL-10 and NIHSS. In a subanalysis, 16 patients with early infections were matched with 16 patients without infection according to S100B peak levels. Here, the temporal pattern of LBP, IL-10, IL-6 and CRP significantly differed between the patient groups. Conclusions Our data show that blood levels of inflammation markers may be used as early predictors of stroke-associated infection. We propose prospective studies to investigate if the calculated cut-offs of CRP, IL-10 and NIHSS might help to identify patients who should receive early preventive antibiotic treatment.
  • Infection- and procedure-dependent effects on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in mice

    Preusse, Matthias; Tantawy, Mohamed A; Klawonn, Frank; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank (2013-12-17)
    Abstract Background Investigating the host response in the early stage of influenza A virus (IAV) infection is of considerable interest. However, it is conceivable that effects due to the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure might introduce artifacts. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of anesthesia and/or intranasal infection on transcription of selected pulmonary mRNAs in two inbred mouse strains with differential susceptibility to IAV infection. Results DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice were evaluated in a time course experiment in which lung tissue was sampled after 6, 12, 18, 24, 48 and 120 h. After anesthesia with ketamine and xylazine, a suspension of mouse-adapted IAV strain PR8_Mun in 20 μl sterile buffer, or 20 μl sterile buffer only, was instilled intranasally. The mice receiving anesthesia and PBS only were designated the “mock treatment” group. Pulmonary expression of 10 host mRNAs (Fos, Retnla, Irg1, Il6, Il1b, Cxcl10, Stat1, Ifng, Ifnl2, and Mx1) and viral hemagglutinin (HA) mRNA were determined at the designated time points. As expected, weight loss and viral replication were greater in the DBA/2J strain (which is more susceptible to IAV infection). Four mRNAs (Retnla, Irg1, Il6, and Cxcl10) were procedure-dependently regulated in DBA/2J mice between 6 and 24 h, and two (Retnla and Il6) in C57BL/6J mice, although to a lesser extent. All 10 mRNAs rose after infection, but one (Fos) only in DBA/2J mice. These infection-dependent effects could be separated from procedure-dependent effects beginning around 12 h in DBA/2J and 18 h in C57BL/6J mice. The interferon-related mRNAs Stat1, Ifng, Infl2, and Mx1 were unaffected by mock treatment in either mouse strain. Mx1 and Infl2 correlated best with HA mRNA expression (r = 0.97 and 0.93, respectively, in DBA/2J). Conclusions These results demonstrate effects of the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure on pulmonary gene expression, which are detectable between approximately 6 and 24 h post procedure and vary in intensity and temporal evolution depending on the mouse strain used. Mock infection controls should be included in all studies on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of infection with IAV and, likely, other respiratory pathogens.
  • Evaluation of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, prolylpeptidyl isomerase A, and a set of stably expressed genes as reference mRNAs in urate crystal inflammation

    Della Beffa, Cristina; Klawonn, Frank; Menetski, Joseph P; Schumacher, H R; Pessler, Frank (2011-10-25)
    Abstract Background The murine air pouch membrane represents an easily accessible tissue for studies on gene regulation in acute inflammation. Considering that acute inflammation may affect expression of molecular reference genes, we evaluated the expression of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and prolylpeptidyl isomerase A (PPIA) in the air pouch membrane during a complete time course of urate crystal inflammation and correlated the results with expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α. In addition, we aimed to identify alternate potential reference genes. Methods Using custom microfluidic real-time PCR arrays, the expression of 96 genes including GAPDH, PPIA, IL-1β, and HIF-1α was determined in dissected air pouch membranes 1, 4, 9, 18, 27, and 50 hours (h) after injecting monosodium urate (MSU) crystals into the pouch. One-way ANOVA was used to detect differential gene expression throughout the time course. Using the genes on these arrays as a convenience sample, alternate candidate reference genes were sought (1) with a biostatistical approach and (2) using the geNorm software tool. Results Pouch leukocytes peaked at t = 9h and declined toward t = 50h. PPIA expression was not differentially regulated (p = 0.52, ANOVA). In contrast, GAPDH mRNA increased steadily after crystal injection, reaching a maximal 2.8-fold increase at t = 18h (p = 0.0006, t test), which followed a marked induction of IL-1β (max., 208-fold at t = 4h, p = 8.4 × 10-5, t test) and HIF-1α (max., 6.6-fold at t = 4h, p = 0.00025, t test). Fifteen genes were artifactually identified as "significantly regulated" when Ct values were normalized against GAPDH expression. The biostatistical approach and the geNorm analysis identified overlapping sets of candidate reference genes. Both ranked PPIA as the best candidate, followed by defender against cell death 1 (DAD1) and high-mobility group B1 (HMGB1). Conclusions GAPDH mRNA expression is up-regulated in urate crystal inflammation, possibly due to inflammation-associated hypoxia. Using GAPDH mRNA for molecular normalization resulted in significant artifacts in the calculated expression of the target mRNAs. PPIA and other stably expressed genes promise to be more appropriate reference genes in this model.

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