group leader: Prof. Bruder

Recent Submissions

  • Targeted antigen delivery to dendritic cells elicits robust antiviral T cell-mediated immunity in the liver.

    Volckmar, Julia; Gereke, Marcus; Ebensen, Thomas; Riese, Peggy; Philipsen, Lars; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Wohlleber, Dirk; Klopfleisch, Robert; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Müller, Andreas J; Gruber, Achim D; Knolle, Percy; Guzman, Carlos A; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03-07)
    Hepatotropic viruses such as hepatitis C virus cause life-threatening chronic liver infections in millions of people worldwide. Targeted in vivo antigen-delivery to cross-presenting dendritic cells (DCs) has proven to be extraordinarily efficient in stimulating antigen-specific T cell responses. To determine whether this approach would as well be suitable to induce local antiviral effector T cells in the liver we compared different vaccine formulations based on either the targeting of DEC-205 or TLR2/6 on cross-presenting DCs or formulations not involving in vivo DC targeting. As read-outs we used in vivo hepatotropic adenovirus challenge, histology and automated multidimensional fluorescence microscopy (MELC). We show that targeted in vivo antigen delivery to cross-presenting DCs is highly effective in inducing antiviral CTLs capable of eliminating virus-infected hepatocytes, while control vaccine formulation not involving DC targeting failed to induce immunity against hepatotropic virus. Moreover, we observed distinct patterns of CD8+ T cell interaction with virus-infected and apoptotic hepatocytes in the two DC-targeting groups suggesting that the different vaccine formulations may stimulate distinct types of effector functions. Our findings represent an important step toward the future development of vaccines against hepatotropic viruses and the treatment of patients with hepatic virus infection after liver transplantation to avoid reinfection.
  • ChIP-on-chip analysis identifies IL-22 as direct target gene of ectopically expressed FOXP3 transcription factor in human T cells

    Jeron, Andreas; Hansen, Wiebke; Ewert, Franziska; Buer, Jan; Geffers, Robert; Bruder, Dunja (2012-12-17)
    Abstract Background The transcription factor (TF) forkhead box P3 (FOXP3) is constitutively expressed at high levels in naturally occurring CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells (nTregs). It is not only the most accepted marker for that cell population but is also considered lineage determinative. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) of TFs in combination with genomic tiling microarray analysis (ChIP-on-chip) has been shown to be an appropriate tool for identifying FOXP3 transcription factor binding sites (TFBSs) on a genome-wide scale. In combination with microarray expression analysis, the ChIP-on-chip technique allows identification of direct FOXP3 target genes. Results ChIP-on-chip analysis of the human FOXP3 expressed in resting and PMA/ionomycin–stimulated Jurkat T cells revealed several thousand putative FOXP3 binding sites and demonstrated the importance of intronic regions for FOXP3 binding. The analysis of expression data showed that the stimulation-dependent down-regulation of IL-22 was correlated with direct FOXP3 binding in the IL-22 promoter region. This association was confirmed by real-time PCR analysis of ChIP-DNA. The corresponding ChIP-region also contained a matching FOXP3 consensus sequence. Conclusions Knowledge of the general distribution patterns of FOXP3 TFBSs in the human genome under resting and activated conditions will contribute to a better understanding of this TF and its influence on direct target genes, as well as its importance for the phenotype and function of Tregs. Moreover, FOXP3-dependent repression of Th17-related IL-22 may be relevant to an understanding of the phenomenon of Treg/Th17 cell plasticity.
  • ImmunoPET/MR imaging allows specific detection of Aspergillus fumigatus lung infection in vivo.

    Rolle, Anna-Maria; Hasenberg, Mike; Thornton, Christopher R; Solouk-Saran, Djamschid; Männ, Linda; Weski, Juliane; Maurer, Andreas; Fischer, Eliane; Spycher, Philipp R; Schibli, Roger; Boschetti, Frederic; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Bruder, Dunja; Severin, Gregory W; Autenrieth, Stella E; Krappmann, Sven; Davies, Genna; Pichler, Bernd J; Gunzer, Matthias; Wiehr, Stefan; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-02-23)
    Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a life-threatening lung disease caused by the fungus Aspergillus fumigatus, and is a leading cause of invasive fungal infection-related mortality and morbidity in patients with hematological malignancies and bone marrow transplants. We developed and tested a novel probe for noninvasive detection of A. fumigatus lung infection based on antibody-guided positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance (immunoPET/MR) imaging. Administration of a [(64)Cu]DOTA-labeled A. fumigatus-specific monoclonal antibody (mAb), JF5, to neutrophil-depleted A. fumigatus-infected mice allowed specific localization of lung infection when combined with PET. Optical imaging with a fluorochrome-labeled version of the mAb showed colocalization with invasive hyphae. The mAb-based newly developed PET tracer [(64)Cu]DOTA-JF5 distinguished IPA from bacterial lung infections and, in contrast to [(18)F]FDG-PET, discriminated IPA from a general increase in metabolic activity associated with lung inflammation. To our knowledge, this is the first time that antibody-guided in vivo imaging has been used for noninvasive diagnosis of a fungal lung disease (IPA) of humans, an approach with enormous potential for diagnosis of infectious diseases and with potential for clinical translation.
  • A cell culture-derived whole virus influenza A vaccine based on magnetic sulfated cellulose particles confers protection in mice against lethal influenza A virus infection.

    Pieler, Michael M; Frentzel, Sarah; Bruder, Dunja; Wolff, Michael W; Reichl, Udo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-07)
    Downstream processing and formulation of viral vaccines employs a large number of different unit operations to achieve the desired product qualities. The complexity of individual process steps involved, the need for time consuming studies towards the optimization of virus yields, and very high requirements regarding potency and safety of vaccines results typically in long lead times for the establishment of new processes. To overcome such obstacles, to enable fast screening of potential vaccine candidates, and to explore options for production of low cost veterinary vaccines a new platform for whole virus particle purification and formulation based on magnetic particles has been established. Proof of concept was carried out with influenza A virus particles produced in suspension Madin Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. The clarified, inactivated, concentrated, and diafiltered virus particles were bound to magnetic sulfated cellulose particles (MSCP), and directly injected into mice for immunization including positive and negative controls. We show here, that in contrast to the mock-immunized group, vaccination of mice with antigen-loaded MSCP (aMSCP) resulted in high anti-influenza A antibody responses and full protection against a lethal challenge with replication competent influenza A virus. Antiviral protection correlated with a 400-fold reduced number of influenza nucleoprotein gene copies in the lungs of aMSCP immunized mice compared to mock-treated animals, indicating the efficient induction of antiviral immunity by this novel approach. Thus, our data proved the use of MSCP for purification and formulation of the influenza vaccine to be fast and efficient, and to confer protection of mice against influenza A virus infection. Furthermore, the method proposed has the potential for fast purification of virus particles directly from bioreactor harvests with a minimum number of process steps towards formulation of low-cost veterinary vaccines, and for screening studies requiring fast purification protocols.
  • A Precise Temperature-Responsive Bistable Switch Controlling Yersinia Virulence.

    Nuss, Aaron Mischa; Schuster, Franziska; Roselius, Louisa; Klein, Johannes; Bücker, René; Herbst, Katharina; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Pisano, Fabio; Wittmann, Christoph; Münch, Richard; Müller, Johannes; Jahn, Dieter; Dersch, Petra; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12)
    Different biomolecules have been identified in bacterial pathogens that sense changes in temperature and trigger expression of virulence programs upon host entry. However, the dynamics and quantitative outcome of this response in individual cells of a population, and how this influences pathogenicity are unknown. Here, we address these questions using a thermosensing virulence regulator of an intestinal pathogen (RovA of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis) as a model. We reveal that this regulator is part of a novel thermoresponsive bistable switch, which leads to high- and low-invasive subpopulations within a narrow temperature range. The temperature range in which bistability is observed is defined by the degradation and synthesis rate of the regulator, and is further adjustable via a nutrient-responsive regulator. The thermoresponsive switch is also characterized by a hysteretic behavior in which activation and deactivation occurred on vastly different time scales. Mathematical modeling accurately mirrored the experimental behavior and predicted that the thermoresponsiveness of this sophisticated bistable switch is mainly determined by the thermo-triggered increase of RovA proteolysis. We further observed RovA ON and OFF subpopulations of Y. pseudotuberculosis in the Peyer's patches and caecum of infected mice, and that changes in the RovA ON/OFF cell ratio reduce tissue colonization and overall virulence. This points to a bet-hedging strategy in which the thermoresponsive bistable switch plays a key role in adapting the bacteria to the fluctuating conditions encountered as they pass through the host's intestinal epithelium and suggests novel strategies for the development of antimicrobial therapies.
  • Influenza A virus infection predisposes hosts to secondary infection with different Streptococcus pneumoniae serotypes with similar outcome but serotype-specific manifestation.

    Sharma-Chawla, Niharika; Sender, Vicky; Kershaw, Olivia; Gruber, Achim D; Volckmar, Julia; Henriques-Normark, Birgitta; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-09-19)
    Influenza A virus (IAV) and Streptococcus pneumoniae (S. pn.) are major causes of respiratory tract infections, particularly during co-infection. The synergism between these two pathogens is characterized by a complex network of dysregulated immune responses, some of which last until recovery post IAV infection. Despite the high serotype-diversity of S. pn. and the serotype-replacement observed since the introduction of conjugate vaccines, little is known about pneumococcal strain-dependency in the enhanced susceptibility to severe secondary S. pn. infection following IAV infection. Thus we studied how pre-infection with IAV alters host susceptibility to different S. pn. strains with varying degrees of invasiveness using a highly invasive serotype 4, an invasive serotype 7F and a carrier serotype 19F strain. A murine model of pneumococcal co-infection during the acute phase of IAV infection showed a significantly increased degree of pneumonia and mortality for all tested pneumococcal strains at otherwise sublethal doses. The incidence and kinetics of systemic dissemination however remained bacterial strain-dependent. Furthermore we observed strain-specific alterations in the pulmonary levels of alveolar macrophages, neutrophils and inflammatory mediators ultimately affecting immunopathology. During the recovery phase following IAV infection, bacterial growth in the lungs and systemic dissemination were enhanced in a strain-dependent manner. Altogether, this study shows that acute IAV infection predisposes the host to lethal S. pn. infection irrespective of the pneumococcal serotype, while the long lasting synergism between IAV and S. pn. is bacterial strain-dependent. These results hold implications for developing tailored therapeutic treatment regimens for dual infections during future IAV outbreaks.
  • Biodegradable chitosan nanoparticle coatings on titanium for the delivery of BMP-2.

    Poth, Nils; Seiffart, Virginia; Gross, Gerhard; Menzel, Henning; Dempwolf, Wibke; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
    A simple method for the functionalization of a common implant material (Ti6Al4V) with biodegradable, drug loaded chitosan-tripolyphosphate (CS-TPP) nanoparticles is developed in order to enhance the osseointegration of endoprostheses after revision operations. The chitosan used has a tailored degree of acetylation which allows for a fast biodegradation by lysozyme. The degradability of chitosan is proven via viscometry. Characteristics and degradation of nanoparticles formed with TPP are analyzed using dynamic light scattering. The particle degradation via lysozyme displays a decrease in particle diameter of 40% after 4 days. Drug loading and release is investigated for the nanoparticles with bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2), using ELISA and the BRE luciferase test for quantification and bioactivity evaluation. Furthermore, nanoparticle coatings on titanium substrates are created via spray-coating and analyzed by ellipsometry, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Drug loaded nanoparticle coatings with biologically active BMP-2 are obtained in vitro within this work. Additionally, an in vivo study in mice indicates the dose dependent induction of ectopic bone growth through CS-TPP-BMP-2 nanoparticles. These results show that biodegradable CS-TPP coatings can be utilized to present biologically active BMP-2 on common implant materials like Ti6Al4V.
  • Alveolar Type II Epithelial Cells Contribute to the Anti-Influenza A Virus Response in the Lung by Integrating Pathogen- and Microenvironment-Derived Signals

    Stegemann-Koniszewski, S.; Jeron, Andreas; Gereke, Marcus; Geffers, Robert; Kröger, Andrea; Gunzer, Matthias; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05-03)
    ABSTRACT Influenza A virus (IAV) periodically causes substantial morbidity and mortality in the human population. In the lower lung, the primary targets for IAV replication are type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECII), which are increasingly recognized for their immunological potential. So far, little is known about their reaction to IAV and their contribution to respiratory antiviral immunity in vivo . Therefore, we characterized the AECII response during early IAV infection by analyzing transcriptional regulation in cells sorted from the lungs of infected mice. We detected rapid and extensive regulation of gene expression in AECII following in vivo IAV infection. The comparison to transcriptional regulation in lung tissue revealed a strong contribution of AECII to the respiratory response. IAV infection triggered the expression of a plethora of antiviral factors and immune mediators in AECII with a high prevalence for interferon-stimulated genes. Functional pathway analyses revealed high activity in pathogen recognition, immune cell recruitment, and antigen presentation. Ultimately, our analyses of transcriptional regulation in AECII and lung tissue as well as interferon I/III levels and cell recruitment indicated AECII to integrate signals provided by direct pathogen recognition and surrounding cells. Ex vivo analysis of AECII proved a powerful tool to increase our understanding of their role in respiratory immune responses, and our results clearly show that AECII need to be considered a part of the surveillance and effector system of the lower respiratory tract. IMPORTANCE In order to confront the health hazard posed by IAV, we need to complete our understanding of its pathogenesis. AECII are primary targets for IAV replication in the lung, and while we are beginning to understand their importance for respiratory immunity, the in vivo AECII response during IAV infection has not been analyzed. In contrast to studies addressing the response of AECII infected with IAV ex vivo , we have performed detailed gene transcriptional profiling of AECII isolated from the lungs of infected mice. Thereby, we have identified an exceptionally rapid and versatile response to IAV infection that is shaped by pathogen-derived as well as microenvironment-derived signals and aims at the induction of antiviral measures and the recruitment and activation of immune cells. In conclusion, our study presents AECII as active players in antiviral defense in vivo that need to be considered part of the sentinel and effector immune system of the lung.
  • Morphological and Functional Alterations of Alveolar Macrophages in a Murine Model of Chronic Inflammatory Lung Disease

    Désirée Boehme, Julia; Pietkiewicz, Sabine; Lavrik, Inna; Jeron, Andreas; Bruder, Dunja (2015-08-30)
  • Evidence for a causal link between adaptor protein PDZK1 downregulation and Na⁺/H⁺ exchanger NHE3 dysfunction in human and murine colitis.

    Yeruva, Sunil; Chodisetti, Giriprakash; Luo, Min; Chen, Mingmin; Cinar, Ayhan; Ludolph, Lisa; Lünnemann, Maria; Goldstein, Julia; Singh, Anurag Kumar; Riederer, Brigitte; Bachmann, Oliver; Bleich, Andre; Gereke, Markus; Bruder, Dunja; Hagen, Susan; He, Peijian; Yun, Chris; Seidler, Ursula (2015-08)
    A dysfunction of the Na(+)/H(+) exchanger isoform 3 (NHE3) significantly contributes to the reduced salt absorptive capacity of the inflamed intestine. We previously reported a strong decrease in the NHERF family member PDZK1 (NHERF3), which binds to NHE3 and regulates its function in a mouse model of colitis. The present study investigates whether a causal relationship exists between the decreased PDZK1 expression and the NHE3 dysfunction in human and murine intestinal inflammation. Biopsies from the colon of patients with ulcerative colitis, murine inflamed ileal and colonic mucosa, NHE3-transfected Caco-2BBe colonic cells with short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of PDZK1, and Pdzk1-gene-deleted mice were studied. PDZK1 mRNA and protein expression was strongly decreased in inflamed human and murine intestinal tissue as compared to inactive disease or control tissue, whereas that of NHE3 or NHERF1 was not. Inflamed human and murine intestinal tissues displayed correct brush border localization of NHE3 but reduced acid-activated NHE3 transport activity. A similar NHE3 transport defect was observed when PDZK1 protein content was decreased by shRNA knockdown in Caco-2BBe cells or when enterocyte PDZK1 protein content was decreased to similar levels as found in inflamed mucosa by heterozygote breeding of Pdzk1-gene-deleted and WT mice. We conclude that a decrease in PDZK1 expression, whether induced by inflammation, shRNA-mediated knockdown, or heterozygous breeding, is associated with a decreased NHE3 transport rate in human and murine enterocytes. We therefore hypothesize that inflammation-induced loss of PDZK1 expression may contribute to the NHE3 dysfunction observed in the inflamed intestine.
  • First genomic analysis of dendritic cells from lung and draining lymph nodes in murine asthma.

    Tschernig, Thomas; Hartwig, Christina; Jeron, Andreas; Dinh, Quoc Thai; Gereke, Marcus; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
    Asthma is the consequence of allergic inflammation in the lung compartments and lung-draining lymph nodes. Dendritic cells initiate and promote T cell response and drive it to immunity or allergy. However, their modes of action during asthma are poorly understood. In this study, an allergic inflammation with ovalbumin was induced in 38 mice versus 42 control animals. After ovalbumin aerosol challenge, conventional dendritic cells (CD11c/MHCII/CD8) were isolated from the lungs and the draining lymph nodes by means of magnetic cell sorting followed by fluorescence-activated cell sorting. A comparative transcriptional analysis was performed using gene arrays. In general, many transcripts are up- and downregulated in the CD8(-) dendritic cells of the allergic inflamed lung tissue, whereas few genes are regulated in CD8(+) dendritic cells. The dendritic cells of the lymph nodes also showed minor transcriptional changes. The data support the relevance of the CD8(-) conventional dendritic cells but do not exclude distinct functions of the small population of CD8(+) dendritic cells, such as cross presentation of external antigen. So far, this is the first approach performing gene arrays in dendritic cells obtained from lung tissue and lung-draining lymph nodes of asthmatic-like mice.
  • Attenuation of immune-mediated influenza pneumonia by targeting the inducible co-stimulator (ICOS) molecule on T cells.

    Sakthivel, Priya; Gereke, Marcus; Breithaupt, Angele; Fuchs, Dietmar; Gigliotti, Luca; Gruber, Achim D; Dianzani, Umberto; Bruder, Dunja (2014)
    Inducible Co-stimulator (ICOS) plays a critical role in mediating T cell differentiation and function and is considered a key player in balancing T effector and T regulatory (Treg) cell responses. Here we show that activation of the ICOS signalling pathway during acute influenza A virus (IAV) infection by application of an agonistic ICOS antibody reduced the frequency of CD8+ T cells in the respiratory tract of IAV infected animals and delayed pathogen elimination. In line with this, immune-mediated influenza pneumonia was significantly ameliorated in mice that received ICOS agonist as indicated by significantly reduced alveolar infiltrations and bronchointerstitial pneumonia, while at the same time virus-related pathology remained unaffected. Importantly, ICOS agonist treatment resulted in expansion of CD4+Foxp3+ Tregs in IAV infected mice, which was associated with elevated levels of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 in the alveolar space. Together, our findings suggest a prominent role of ICOS signaling during acute IAV infection by increasing the Treg/CD8+ T cell ratio with beneficial outcome on immune-mediated pneumonia and underline the suitability of ICOS as potential therapeutic target for immune intervention in those infectious conditions characterized by strong immunopathology rather than virus-mediated cytopathic effects.
  • TLR7 contributes to the rapid progression but not to the overall fatal outcome of secondary pneumococcal disease following influenza A virus infection.

    Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Gereke, Marcus; Orrskog, Sofia; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Pasche, Bastian; Bader, Sophie R; Gruber, Achim D; Akira, Shizuo; Weiss, Siegfried; Henriques-Normark, Birgitta; Bruder, Dunja; Gunzer, Matthias; Immune Regulation Group, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
    Increased risk for bacterial superinfections substantially contributes to the mortality caused by influenza A virus (IAV) epidemics. While the mechanistic basis for this lethal synergism is still insufficiently understood, immune modulation through the viral infection has been shown to be involved. Since the pattern-recognition receptor (PRR) toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) is a major sensor for the viral genome, we studied how IAV recognition by TLR7 influences the development of secondary pneumococcal infection. In a mouse model of IAV, TLR7-deficient hosts induced a potent antiviral response and showed unchanged survival. In secondary pneumococcal infection during acute influenza, TLR7ko mice showed a fatal outcome similar to wild-type (WT) hosts, despite significantly delayed disease progression. Also, when bacterial superinfection occurred after virus clearance, WT and TLR7-deficient hosts showed similar mortality, even though we found the phagocytic activity of alveolar macrophages isolated from IAV-pre-infected hosts to be enhanced in TLR7ko over WT mice. Thus, we show that a virus-sensing PRR modulates the progression of secondary pneumococcal infection following IAV. However, the fatal overall outcome in WT as well as TLR7ko hosts suggests that processes distinct from TLR7-triggering override the contribution of this single PRR.
  • ChIP-on-chip analysis identifies IL-22 as direct target gene of ectopically expressed FOXP3 transcription factor in human T cells.

    Jeron, Andreas; Hansen, Wiebke; Ewert, Franziska; Buer, Jan; Geffers, Robert; Bruder, Dunja; Immune Regulation group, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, Braunschweig, 38124, Germany. (2012)
  • IL-4 Attenuates Pulmonary Epithelial Cell-Mediated Suppression of T Cell Priming.

    Albrecht, Melanie; Arnhold, Markus; Lingner, Sandra; Mahapatra, Subhashree; Bruder, Dunja; Hansen, Gesine; Dittrich, Anna-Maria; Pediatric Pneumology, Allergology and Neonatology, Medical School Hannover, Hannover, Germany. (2012)
    We have previously shown that Th2-polarized airway inflammation facilitates sensitization towards new, protein antigens. In this context, we could demonstrate that IL-4 needs to act on cells of the hematopoetic and the structural compartment in order to facilitate sensitization towards new antigens. We thus aimed to elucidate possible mechanisms of action of IL-4 on structural cells choosing to analyze pulmonary epithelial cells as an important part of the lung's structural system. We used a co-culture system of DC- or APC-dependent in vitro priming of T cells, co-cultivated on a layer of cells of a murine pulmonary epithelial cell line (LA-4) pretreated with or without IL-4. Effects on T cell priming were analyzed via CFSE-dilution and flow cytometric assessment of activation status. Pulmonary epithelial cells suppressed T cell proliferation in vitro but this effect was attenuated by pre-treatment of the epithelial cells with IL-4. Transwell experiments suggest that epithelial-mediated suppression of T cell activation is mostly cell-contact dependent and leads to attenuation in an early naive T cell phenotype. Secretion of soluble factors like TARC, TSLP, GM-CSF and CCL20 by epithelial cells did not change after IL-4 treatment. However, analysis of co-stimulatory expression on pulmonary epithelial cells revealed that pre-treatment of epithelial cells with IL-4 changed expression GITR-L, suggesting a possible mechanism for the effects observed. Our studies provide new insight into the role of IL-4 during the early phases of pulmonary sensitization: The inhibitory activity of pulmonary epithelial cells in homeostasis is reversed in the presence of IL-4, which is secreted in the context of Th2-dominated allergic airway inflammation. This mechanism might serve to explain facilitated sensitization in the clinical context of polysensitization where due to a pre-existing sensitization increased levels of IL-4 in the airways might facilitate T cell priming towards new antigens.
  • New insights into the molecular pathology of radiation-induced pneumopathy.

    Cappuccini, Federica; Eldh, Therese; Bruder, Dunja; Gereke, Marcus; Jastrow, Holger; Schulze-Osthoff, Klaus; Fischer, Ute; Köhler, David; Stuschke, Martin; Jendrossek, Verena; Institute of Cell Biology (Cancer Research), University Hospital Essen, Germany. (2011-10)
    Pneumonitis and fibrosis constitute dose-limiting side effects of thorax or total body irradiation. An improved understanding of the underlying mechanisms is a prerequisite for the development of effective radioprotective strategies. Here we characterized the behavior of resident and immune cells in a murine model of radiation-induced pneumopathy.
  • Production of extracellular traps against Aspergillus fumigatus in vitro and in infected lung tissue is dependent on invading neutrophils and influenced by hydrophobin RodA.

    Bruns, Sandra; Kniemeyer, Olaf; Hasenberg, Mike; Aimanianda, Vishukumar; Nietzsche, Sandor; Thywissen, Andreas; Jeron, Andreas; Latgé, Jean-Paul; Brakhage, Axel A; Gunzer, Matthias; Department of Molecular and Applied Microbiology, Leibniz Institute for Natural Product Research and Infection Biology-Hans-Knoell-Institute (HKI), Jena, Germany. (2010-04)
    Aspergillus fumigatus is the most important airborne fungal pathogen causing life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. Macrophages and neutrophils are known to kill conidia, whereas hyphae are killed mainly by neutrophils. Since hyphae are too large to be engulfed, neutrophils possess an array of extracellular killing mechanisms including the formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) consisting of nuclear DNA decorated with fungicidal proteins. However, until now NET formation in response to A. fumigatus has only been demonstrated in vitro, the importance of neutrophils for their production in vivo is unclear and the molecular mechanisms of the fungus to defend against NET formation are unknown. Here, we show that human neutrophils produce NETs in vitro when encountering A. fumigatus. In time-lapse movies NET production was a highly dynamic process which, however, was only exhibited by a sub-population of cells. NETosis was maximal against hyphae, but reduced against resting and swollen conidia. In a newly developed mouse model we could then demonstrate the existence and measure the kinetics of NET formation in vivo by 2-photon microscopy of Aspergillus-infected lungs. We also observed the enormous dynamics of neutrophils within the lung and their ability to interact with and phagocytose fungal elements in situ. Furthermore, systemic neutrophil depletion in mice almost completely inhibited NET formation in lungs, thus directly linking the immigration of neutrophils with NET formation in vivo. By using fungal mutants and purified proteins we demonstrate that hydrophobin RodA, a surface protein making conidia immunologically inert, led to reduced NET formation of neutrophils encountering Aspergillus fungal elements. NET-dependent killing of Aspergillus-hyphae could be demonstrated at later time-points, but was only moderate. Thus, these data establish that NET formation occurs in vivo during host defence against A. fumigatus, but suggest that it does not play a major role in killing this fungus. Instead, NETs may have a fungistatic effect and may prevent further spreading.
  • Phenotypic alterations in type II alveolar eithelial cells in CD4+T cell mediated lung inflammation

    Gereke, Marcus; Gröbe, Lothar; Prettin, Silvia; Kasper, Michael; Deppenmeier, Stefanie; Gruber, Achim D; Enelow, Richard I; Buer, Jan; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (BioMed Central, 2007-07-04)
  • The photosynthetic apparatus and its regulation in the aerobic gammaproteobacterium Congregibacter litoralis gen. nov., sp. nov.

    Spring, Stefan; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Fuchs, Bernhard M; Tindall, Brian J; Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen, Braunschweig, Germany. (2009)
    BACKGROUND: There is accumulating evidence that in some marine environments aerobic bacteriochlorophyll a-producing bacteria represent a significant part of the microbial population. The interaction of photosynthesis and carbon metabolism in these interesting bacteria is still largely unknown and requires further investigation in order to estimate their contribution to the marine carbon cycle. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Here, we analyzed the structure, composition and regulation of the photosynthetic apparatus in the obligately aerobic marine gammaproteobacterium KT71(T). Photoheterotrophically grown cells were characterized by a poorly developed lamellar intracytoplasmic membrane system, a type 1 light-harvesting antenna complex and a photosynthetic reaction center associated with a tetraheme cytochrome c. The only photosynthetic pigments produced were bacteriochlorophyll a and spirilloxanthin. Under semiaerobic conditions KT71(T) cells expressing a photosynthetic apparatus showed a light-dependent increase of growth yield in the range of 1.3-2.5 fold. The expression level of the photosynthetic apparatus depended largely on the utilized substrate, the intermediary carbon metabolism and oxygen tension. In addition, pigment synthesis was strongly influenced by light, with blue light exerting the most significant effect, implicating that proteins containing a BLUF domain may be involved in regulation of the photosynthetic apparatus. Several phenotypic traits in KT71(T) could be identified that correlated with the assumed redox state of growing cells and thus could be used to monitor the cellular redox state under various incubation conditions. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: In a hypothetical model that explains the regulation of the photosynthetic apparatus in strain KT71(T) we propose that the expression of photosynthesis genes depends on the cellular redox state and is maximal under conditions that allow a balanced membrane redox state. So far, bacteria capable of an obligately aerobic, photosynthetic metabolism constitute a unique phenotype within the class Gammaproteobacteria, so that it is justified to propose a new genus and species, Congregibacter litoralis gen. nov, sp. nov., represented by the type strain KT71(T) ( = DSM 17192(T) = NBRC 104960(T)).
  • Increased susceptibility for superinfection with Streptococcus pneumoniae during influenza virus infection is not caused by TLR7-mediated lymphopenia.

    Stegemann, Sabine; Dahlberg, Sofia; Kröger, Andrea; Gereke, Marcus; Bruder, Dunja; Henriques-Normark, Birgitta; Gunzer, Matthias; Otto-von-Guericke University, Institute of Molecular and Clinical Immunology, Magdeburg, Germany. (2009)
    Influenza A virus (IAV) causes respiratory tract infections leading to recurring epidemics with high rates of morbidity and mortality. In the past century IAV induced several world-wide pandemics, the most aggressive occurring in 1918 with a death toll of 20-50 million cases. However, infection with IAV alone is rarely fatal. Instead, death associated with IAV is usually mediated by superinfection with bacteria, mainly Streptococcus pneumoniae. The reasons for this increased susceptibility to bacterial superinfection have not been fully elucidated. We previously demonstrated that triggering of TLR7 causes immune incompetence in mice by induction of lymphopenia. IAV is recognized by TLR7 and infections can lead to lymphopenia. Since lymphocytes are critical to protect from S. pneumoniae it has long been speculated that IAV-induced lymphopenia might mediate increased susceptibility to superinfection. Here we show that sub-lethal pre-infections of mice with IAV-PR8/A/34 strongly increased their mortality in non-lethal SP infections, surprisingly despite the absence of detectable lymphopenia. In contrast to SP-infection alone co-infected animals were unable to control the exponential growth of SP. However, lymphopenia forced by TLR7-triggering or antibody-mediated neutropenia did not increase SP-susceptibility or compromise the ability to control SP growth. Thus, the immune-incompetence caused by transient lympho- or leukopenia is not sufficient to inhibit potent antibacterial responses of the host and mechanisms distinct from leukodepletion must account for increased bacterial superinfection during viral defence.