• 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; et al. (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.
    • Collection and analysis of salivary proteins from the biting midge Culicoides nubeculosus (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae).

      Langner, Kathrin F A; Darpel, Karin E; Denison, Eric; Drolet, Barbara S; Leibold, Wolfgang; Mellor, Philip S; Mertens, Peter P C; Nimtz, Manfred; Greiser-Wilke, Irene; USDA-ARS, Arthropod-Borne Animal Diseases Research Laboratory, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071, USA. klangner@uwyo.edu (2007-03)
      Salivary proteins of hematophagous Culicoides spp. are thought to play an important role in pathogen transmission and skin hypersensitivity. Analysis of these proteins, however, has been problematic due to the difficulty in obtaining adequate amounts of secreted Culicoides saliva. In the current study, a collection method for midge saliva was developed. Over a 3-d period, 3- to 5-d-old male and female Culicoides nubeculosus Meigen (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) were repeatedly placed onto the collection system and allowed to deposit saliva into a filter. Salivary products were eluted from the filters and evaluated by gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry as well as by intradermal testing and determination of clotting time. Gel electrophoresis revealed approximately 55 protein spots displaying relative molecular masses from 5 to 67 kDa and isoelectric points ranging from 4.5 to 9.8. The majority of molecular species analyzed by mass spectrometry showed high convergence with salivary proteins recently obtained from a cDNA library of Culicoides sonorensis Wirth & Jones, including proteins involved in sugarmeal digestion, defense, and coagulation inhibition as well as members of the D7 family and unclassified salivary proteins. In addition, the proteome analysis revealed a number of peptides that were related to proteins from insect species other than Culicoides. Intradermal injection of the saliva in human skin produced edema, vasodilatation, and pruritus. The anticoagulant activity of the saliva was demonstrated by significantly prolonged clotting times for human platelets. The potential role of the identified salivary proteins in the transmission of pathogens and the induction of allergies is discussed.
    • Functional antibodies targeting IsaA of Staphylococcus aureus augment host immune response and open new perspectives for antibacterial therapy.

      Lorenz, Udo; Lorenz, Birgit; Schmitter, Tim; Streker, Karin; Erck, Christian; Wehland, Jürgen; Nickel, Joachim; Zimmermann, Bastian; Ohlsen, Knut; Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Paediatric Surgery, University Clinic of Würzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany. u.lorenz@mail.uni-wuerzburg.de (2011-01)
      Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of nosocomial infections. Multiple antibiotic resistance and severe clinical outcomes provide a strong rationale for development of immunoglobulin-based strategies. Traditionally, novel immunological approaches against bacterial pathogens involve antibodies directed against cell surface-exposed virulence-associated epitopes or toxins. In this study, we generated a monoclonal antibody targeting the housekeeping protein IsaA, a suggested soluble lytic transglycosylase of S. aureus, and tested its therapeutic efficacy in two experimental mouse infection models. A murine anti-IsaA antibody of the IgG1 subclass (UK-66P) showed the highest binding affinity in Biacore analysis. This antibody recognized all S. aureus strains tested, including hospital-acquired and community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains. Therapeutic efficacy in vivo in mice was analyzed using a central venous catheter-related infection model and a sepsis survival model. In both models, anti-IsaA IgG1 conferred protection against staphylococcal infection. Ex vivo, UK-66P activates professional phagocytes and induces highly microbicidal reactive oxygen metabolites in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in bacterial killing. The study provides proof of concept that monoclonal IgG1 antibodies with high affinity to the ubiquitously expressed, single-epitope-targeting IsaA are effective in the treatment of staphylococcal infection in different mouse models. Anti-IsaA antibodies might be a useful component in an antibody-based therapeutic for prophylaxis or adjunctive treatment of human cases of S. aureus infections.
    • Inactivation of Lgt allows systematic characterization of lipoproteins from Listeria monocytogenes.

      Baumgärtner, Maja; Kärst, Uwe; Gerstel, Birgit; Loessner, Martin; Wehland, Jürgen; Jänsch, Lothar; Department of Cell Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-01)
      Lipoprotein anchoring in bacteria is mediated by the prolipoprotein diacylglyceryl transferase (Lgt), which catalyzes the transfer of a diacylglyceryl moiety to the prospective N-terminal cysteine of the mature lipoprotein. Deletion of the lgt gene in the gram-positive pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (i) impairs intracellular growth of the bacterium in different eukaryotic cell lines and (ii) leads to increased release of lipoproteins into the culture supernatant. Comparative extracellular proteome analyses of the EGDe wild-type strain and the Delta lgt mutant provided systematic insight into the relative expression of lipoproteins. Twenty-six of the 68 predicted lipoproteins were specifically released into the extracellular proteome of the Delta lgt strain, and this proved that deletion of lgt is an excellent approach for experimental verification of listerial lipoproteins. Consequently, we generated Delta lgt Delta prfA double mutants to detect lipoproteins belonging to the main virulence regulon that is controlled by PrfA. Overall, we identified three lipoproteins whose extracellular levels are regulated and one lipoprotein that is posttranslationally modified depending on PrfA. It is noteworthy that in contrast to previous studies of Escherichia coli, we unambiguously demonstrated that lipidation by Lgt is not a prerequisite for activity of the lipoprotein-specific signal peptidase II (Lsp) in Listeria.
    • The MprF protein is required for lysinylation of phospholipids in listerial membranes and confers resistance to cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) on Listeria monocytogenes.

      Thedieck, Kathrin; Hain, Torsten; Mohamed, Walid; Tindall, Brian J; Nimtz, Manfred; Chakraborty, Trinad; Wehland, Jürgen; Jänsch, Lothar; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Division of Cell and Immune Biology, Cellular Proteomics Group, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-12)
      Pathogenic bacteria have to cope with defence mechanisms mediated by adaptive and innate immunity of the host cells. Cationic antimicrobial peptides (CAMPs) represent one of the most effective components of the host innate immune response. Here we establish the function of Lmo1695, a member of the VirR-dependent virulence regulon, recently identified in Listeria monocytogenes. Lmo1695 encodes a membrane protein of 98 kDa with strong homology to the multiple peptide resistance factor (MprF) of Staphylococcus aureus. Like staphylococcal MprF, we found that Lmo1695 is involved in the synthesis of the membrane phospholipid lysylphosphatidylglycerol (L-PG). In addition, Lmo1695 is also essential for lysinylation of diphosphatidylglycerol (DPG), another phospholipid widely distributed in bacterial membranes. A Deltalmo1695 mutant lacking the lysinylated phospholipids was particularly susceptible to CAMPs of human and bacterial origin. The mutant strain infected both epithelial cells and macrophages only poorly and was attenuated for virulence when tested in a mouse model of infection. Lmo1695 is a member of a growing list of survival factors which enable growth of L. monocytogenes in different environments.
    • Remote control of tumour-targeted Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium by the use of L-arabinose as inducer of bacterial gene expression in vivo.

      Loessner, Holger; Endmann, Anne; Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Rohde, Manfred; Miloud, Tewfik; Hämmerling, Günter; Neuhaus, Klaus; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. holger.loessner@helmholtz-hzi.de (2007-06)
      We have used Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) which are able to colonize tumours besides spleen and liver. Bacteria were equipped with constructs encoding green fluorescent protein or luciferase as reporters under control of the promoter PBAD that is inducible with L-arabinose. Reporter genes could be induced in culture but also when the bacteria resided within the mouse macrophages J774A.1. More important, strong expression of reporters by the bacteria could be detected in mice after administration of L-arabinose. This was especially pronounced in bacteria colonizing tumours. Histology demonstrated that the bacteria had accumulated in and close to necrotic areas of tumours. Bacterial gene induction was observed in both regions. PBAD is tightly controlled also in vivo because gene E of bacteriophage PhiX174 could be introduced as inducible suicide gene. The possibility to deliberately induce genes in bacterial carriers within the host should render them extremely powerful tools for tumour therapy.