• Characterization of Five Zoonotic Streptococcus suis Strains from Germany, Including One Isolate from a Recent Fatal Case of Streptococcal Toxic Shock-Like Syndrome in a Hunter.

      Eisenberg, Tobias; Hudemann, Christoph; Hossain, Hamid M; Hewer, Angela; Tello, Khodr; Bandorski, Dirk; Rohde, M; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Baums, Christoph Georg; Infectious Diseases, College of Veterinary Medicine, University Leipzig, Leipzig. (2015-12)
      A Streptococcus suis isolate from a German hunter with streptococcal toxic shock-like syndrome (STSLS) and four additional zoonotic isolates were genotyped as mrp(+) epf* (variant 1890) sly(+) cps2(+). All five zoonotic German strains were characterized by high multiplication in human blood samples ex vivo, but induction of only low levels of proinflammatory cytokines compared to a Chinese STSLS strain.
    • Differential magnesium implant corrosion coat formation and contribution to bone bonding.

      Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Weizbauer, Andreas; Evertz, Florian; Hoffmann, Andrea; Rohde, M; Glasmacher, Birgit; Windhagen, Henning; Gross, Gerhard; Seitz, Jan-Marten; Mueller, Peter P; et al. (2017)
      Magnesium alloys are presently under investigation as promising biodegradable implant materials with osteoconductive properties. To study the molecular mechanisms involved, the potential contribution of soluble magnesium corrosion products to the stimulation of osteoblastic cell differentiation was examined. However, no evidence for the stimulation of osteoblast differentiation could be obtained when cultured mesenchymal precursor cells were differentiated in the presence of metallic magnesium or in cell culture medium containing elevated magnesium ion levels. Similarly, in soft tissue no bone induction by metallic magnesium or by the corrosion product magnesium hydroxide could be observed in a mouse model. Motivated by the comparatively rapid accumulation solid corrosion products physicochemical processes were examined as an alternative mechanism to explain the stimulation of bone growth by magnesium-based implants. During exposure to physiological solutions a structured corrosion coat formed on magnesium whereby the elements calcium and phosphate were enriched in the outermost layer which could play a role in the established biocompatible behavior of magnesium implants. When magnesium pins were inserted into avital bones, corrosion lead to increases in the pull out force, suggesting that the expanding corrosion layer was interlocking with the surrounding bone. Since mechanical stress is a well-established inducer of bone growth, volume increases caused by the rapid accumulation of corrosion products and the resulting force development could be a key mechanism and provide an explanation for the observed stimulatory effects of magnesium-based implants in hard tissue. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 105A: 697-709, 2017.
    • New insights into the antimicrobial effect of mast cells against Enterococcus faecalis.

      Scheb-Wetzel, Matthias; Rohde, Manfred; Bravo, Alicia; Goldmann, Oliver; Helmholtz Centre for infection reseach,Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-11)
      Enterococcus faecalis has emerged as an important cause of life-threatening multidrug-resistant bacterial infections in the hospital setting. The pathogenesis of enterococcal infections has remained a relatively neglected field despite their obvious clinical relevance. The objective of this study was to characterize the interactions between mast cells (MCs), an innate immune cell population abundant in the intestinal lamina propria, and E. faecalis. This study was conducted with primary bone marrow-derived murine MCs. The results demonstrated that MCs exerted an antimicrobial effect against E. faecalis that was mediated both by degranulation, with the concomitant discharge of the antimicrobial effectors contained in the granules, and by the release of extracellular traps, in which E. faecalis was snared and killed. In particular, the cathelicidin LL-37 released by the MCs had potent antimicrobial effect against E. faecalis. We also investigated the specific receptors involved in the recognition of E. faecalis by MCs. We found that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critically involved in the MC recognition of E. faecalis, since MCs deficient in the expression of MyD88, an adaptor molecule required for signaling by most TLRs, were significantly impaired in their capacity to degranulate, to reduce E. faecalis growth as well as to release tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) after encountering this pathogen. Furthermore, TLR2 was identified as the most prominent TLR involved in the recognition of E. faecalis by MCs. The results of this study indicate that MCs may be important contributors to the host innate immune defenses against E. faecalis.
    • Novel drug targets in cell wall biosynthesis exploited by gene disruption in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Elamin, Ayssar A; Steinicke, Susanne; Oehlmann, Wulf; Braun, Yvonne; Wanas, Hanaa; Shuralev, Eduard A; Huck, Carmen; Maringer, Marko; Rohde, M; Singh, Mahavir; et al. (2017)
      For clinicians, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a nightmare pathogen that is one of the top three causes of opportunistic human infections. Therapy of P. aeruginosa infections is complicated due to its natural high intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. Active efflux and decreased uptake of drugs due to cell wall/membrane permeability appear to be important issues in the acquired antibiotic tolerance mechanisms. Bacterial cell wall biosynthesis enzymes have been shown to be essential for pathogenicity of Gram-negative bacteria. However, the role of these targets in virulence has not been identified in P. aeruginosa. Here, we report knockout (k.o) mutants of six cell wall biosynthesis targets (murA, PA4450; murD, PA4414; murF, PA4416; ppiB, PA1793; rmlA, PA5163; waaA, PA4988) in P. aeruginosa PAO1, and characterized these in order to find out whether these genes and their products contribute to pathogenicity and virulence of P. aeruginosa. Except waaA k.o, deletion of cell wall biosynthesis targets significantly reduced growth rate in minimal medium compared to the parent strain. The k.o mutants showed exciting changes in cell morphology and colonial architectures. Remarkably, ΔmurF cells became grossly enlarged. Moreover, the mutants were also attenuated in vivo in a mouse infection model except ΔmurF and ΔwaaA and proved to be more sensitive to macrophage-mediated killing than the wild-type strain. Interestingly, the deletion of the murA gene resulted in loss of virulence activity in mice, and the virulence was restored in a plant model by unknown mechanism. This study demonstrates that cell wall targets contribute significantly to intracellular survival, in vivo growth, and pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, these findings establish a link between cell wall targets and virulence of P. aeruginosa and thus may lead to development of novel drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infection.
    • SCM, the M Protein of Streptococcus canis Binds Immunoglobulin G.

      Bergmann, Simone; Eichhorn, Inga; Kohler, Thomas P; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Goldmann, Oliver; Rohde, M; Fulde, Marcus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The M protein of Streptococcus canis (SCM) is a virulence factor and serves as a surface-associated receptor with a particular affinity for mini-plasminogen, a cleavage product of the broad-spectrum serine protease plasmin. Here, we report that SCM has an additional high-affinity immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding activity. The ability of a particular S. canis isolate to bind to IgG significantly correlates with a scm-positive phenotype, suggesting a dominant role of SCM as an IgG receptor. Subsequent heterologous expression of SCM in non-IgG binding S. gordonii and Western Blot analysis with purified recombinant SCM proteins confirmed its IgG receptor function. As expected for a zoonotic agent, the SCM-IgG interaction is species-unspecific, with a particular affinity of SCM for IgGs derived from human, cats, dogs, horses, mice, and rabbits, but not from cows and goats. Similar to other streptococcal IgG-binding proteins, the interaction between SCM and IgG occurs via the conserved Fc domain and is, therefore, non-opsonic. Interestingly, the interaction between SCM and IgG-Fc on the bacterial surface specifically prevents opsonization by C1q, which might constitute another anti-phagocytic mechanism of SCM. Extensive binding analyses with a variety of different truncated SCM fragments defined a region of 52 amino acids located in the central part of the mature SCM protein which is important for IgG binding. This binding region is highly conserved among SCM proteins derived from different S. canis isolates but differs significantly from IgG-Fc receptors of S. pyogenes and S. dysgalactiae sub. equisimilis, respectively. In summary, we present an additional role of SCM in the pathogen-host interaction of S. canis. The detailed analysis of the SCM-IgG interaction should contribute to a better understanding of the complex roles of M proteins in streptococcal pathogenesis.
    • Standard susceptibility testing overlooks potent azithromycin activity and cationic peptide synergy against MDR Stenotrophomonas maltophilia.

      Kumaraswamy, Monika; Lin, Leo; Olson, Joshua; Sun, Ching-Fang; Nonejuie, Poochit; Corriden, Ross; Döhrmann, Simon; Ali, Syed Raza; Amaro, Deirdre; Rohde, M; et al. (2016-05)
      The Gram-negative bacillus Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (SM) is an emerging MDR opportunistic pathogen. Recent studies identify a potentially relevant activity of azithromycin against Gram-negative bacteria overlooked in standard bacteriological testing. We investigated azithromycin activity against SM in testing conditions incorporating mammalian tissue culture medium and host defence factors.