This is the institutional Repository of the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research in Braunschweig/Germany (HZI), the Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS), Saarbrücken/Germany, the TWINCORE Zentrum für Exprerimentelle und Klinische Infektionsforschung, Hannover/Germany,Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung (HIRI), Braunschweig Integrated Centre for Systems biology (BRICS), Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) and the Study Centre Hannover, Hannover/Germany.


  • DSA are associated with more graft injury, more fibrosis and upregulation of rejection associated transcripts in subclinical rejection.

    Höfer, Anne; Jonigk, Danny; Hartleben, Björn; Verboom, Murielle; Hallensleben, Michael; Hübscher, Stefan G; Manns, Michael P; Jaeckel, Elmar; Taubert, Richard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins , 2019-10-23)
    Background: Subclinical T cell-mediated rejection (subTCMR) is commonly found after liver transplantation and has a good short-term prognosis, even when it is left untreated. Donor-specific antibodies (DSA) are putatively associated with a worse prognosis for recipient and graft after liver transplantation. Methods: To assess the immune regulation in subTCMR grafts, gene expression of 93 transcripts for graft injury, tolerance and immune regulation was analyzed in 77 biopsies with “no histological rejection” (NHR; n=25), “clinical TCMR” (cTMCR; n=16) and subTCMR (n=36). In addition, all available subTCMR biopsies (n=71) were tested for DSA with bead assays. Results: SubTCMR showed heterogeneous and intermediate expression profiles of transcripts that were upregulated in cTCMR. Graft gene expression suggested a lower activation of effector lymphocytes and a higher activation of regulatory T cells in grafts with subTCMR compared to cTCMR.DSA positivity in subTCMR was associated with histological evidence of more severe graft inflammation and fibrosis. This more severe DSA+ associated graft injury in subTCMR was converged with an upregulation of cTCMR associated transcripts. In nonsupervised analysis DSA positive subTCMR mostly clustered together with cTCMR, while DSA negative subTCMR clustered together with NHR. Conclusion: T cell-mediated rejection seem to form a continuum of alloimmune activation. Although subTCMR exhibited less expression of TCMR associated transcript, DSA positivity in subTCMR was associated with an upregulation of rejection associated transcripts. The identification of DSA positive subclinical rejection might help to define patients with more inflammation in the graft and development of fibrosis.
  • Cytotoxic, anti-biofilm and antimicrobial polyketides from the plant associated fungus Chaetosphaeronema achilleae.

    Narmani, Abolfazl; Teponno, Rémy Bertrand; Helaly, Soleiman E; Arzanlou, Mahdi; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-10-23)
    From extracts of the plant associated fungus Chaetosphaeronema achilleae collected in Iran, a previously unreported isoindolinone named chaetosisoindolinone (1) and a previously undescribed indanone named chaetosindanone (2) were isolated in addition to five known metabolites, 2-(2-acetyl-3,5-dihydroxyphenyl) acetic acid (3), vulculic acid (4), 2-(2-acetyl-3-hydroxy-5-methoxyphenyl)acetic acid (5), curvulin (6), and curvulol (7). Their structures were elucidated on the basis of extensive spectroscopic analysis and high-resolution mass spectrometry. The isolated compounds were tested for their antimicrobial, anti-biofilm, and nematicidal activities. Compound 2 exhibited cytotoxicity against the human breast adenocarcinoma MCF-7 cells with an IC50 value of 1.5 μg/mL. Furthermore, compounds 4 and 7 almost completely inhibited biofilm formation in Staphylococcus aureus at 256 μg/mL. Weak antimicrobial activities were also observed for some of the isolated compounds against Mucor hiemalis, Rhodoturula glutinis, Chromobacterium violaceum, and Staphylococcus aureus.
  • Differential regulation of AMP-activated protein kinase in healthy and cancer cells explains why V-ATPase inhibition selectively kills cancer cells.

    Bartel, Karin; Müller, Rolf; von Schwarzenberg, Karin; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society for biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2019-10-11)
    The cellular energy sensor AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a metabolic hub regulating various pathways involved in tumor metabolism. Here, we report that vacuolar H+-ATPase (V-ATPase) inhibition differentially affects regulation of AMPK in tumor and non-tumor cells and that this differential regulation contributes to the selectivity of V-ATPase inhibitors for tumor cells. In non-malignant cells, the V-ATPase inhibitor archazolid increased phosphorylation and lysosomal localization of AMPK. We noted that AMPK localization has a pro-survival role, as AMPK silencing decreased cellular growth rates. In contrast, in cancer cells, we found that AMPK is constitutively active and that archazolid does not affect its phosphorylation and localization. Moreover, V-ATPase-independent AMPK induction in the tumor cells protected them from archazolid-induced cytotoxicity, further underlining the role of AMPK as a pro-survival mediator. These observations indicate that AMPK regulation is uncoupled from V-ATPase activity in cancer cells and that this makes them more susceptible to cell death induction by V-ATPase inhibitors. In both tumor and healthy cells, V-ATPase inhibition induced a distinct metabolic regulatory cascade downstream of AMPK, affecting ATP and NADPH levels, glucose uptake, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. We could attribute the pro-survival effects to AMPK's ability to maintain redox homeostasis by inhibiting ROS production and maintaining NADPH levels. In summary, the results of our work indicate that V-ATPase inhibition has differential effects on AMPK-mediated metabolic regulation in cancer and healthy cells and explain the tumor-specific cytotoxicity of V-ATPase inhibition.
  • Characterization of Endogenous SERINC5 Protein as anti-HIV-1 Factor.

    Passos, Vânia; Zillinger, Thomas; Casartelli, Nicoletta; Wachs, Amelie S; Xu, Shuting; Malassa, Angelina; Steppich, Katja; Schilling, Hildegard; Franz, Sergej; Todt, Daniel; et al. (American Society of Microbiology, 2019-10-09)
    When expressed in virus-producing cells, the cellular multipass-transmembrane protein SERINC5 reduces the infectivity of HIV-1 particles and is counteracted by HIV-1 Nef. Due to the unavailability of an antibody of sufficient specificity and sensitivity, investigation of SERINC5 protein expression and subcellular localization has been limited to heterologously expressed SERINC5. We generated, via CRISPR/Cas9-assisted gene editing, Jurkat T-cell clones expressing endogenous SERINC5 bearing an extracellularly exposed HA epitope (Jurkat SERINC5(iHA-knock-in) T-cells). This modification enabled quantification of endogenous SERINC5 protein levels and demonstrated a predominant localization in lipid rafts. IFN-α treatment enhanced cell surface levels of SERINC5 in a Ruxolitinib-sensitive manner in the absence of modulation of mRNA and protein quantities. Parental and SERINC5(iHA-knock-in) T-cells shared the ability to produce infectious wildtype HIV-1, but not HIV-1 Δnef SERINC5-imposed reduction of infectivity involved a modest reduction of virus fusogenicity. Association of endogenous SERINC5 protein with HIV-1 Δnef virions was consistently detectable as a 35 kDa species, as opposed to heterologous SERINC5 that presented as 51 kDa species. Nef-mediated functional counteraction did not correlate with virion exclusion of SERINC5, arguing for the existence of additional counteractive mechanisms of Nef that act on virus-associated SERINC5. In HIV-1-infected cells, Nef triggered internalization of SERINC5 in the absence of detectable changes of steady-state protein levels. These findings establish new properties of endogenous SERINC5 expression and subcellular localization, challenge existing concepts of HIV-1 Nef-mediated antagonism of SERINC5 and uncover an unprecedented role of IFN-α in modulating SERINC5 through accumulation at the cell surface.IMPORTANCE SERINC5 is the long-searched antiviral factor that is counteracted by the HIV-1 accessory gene product Nef. Here, we engineered, via CRISPR/Cas9 technology, T-cell lines that express endogenous SERINC5 alleles tagged with a knocked-in HA epitope. This genetic modification enabled us to study basic properties of endogenous SERINC5 and to verify proposed mechanisms of HIV-1 Nef-mediated counteraction of SERINC5. Using this unique resource, we identified the susceptibility of endogenous SERINC5 protein to posttranslational modulation by type I IFNs and suggest uncoupling of Nef-mediated functional antagonism from SERINC5 exclusion from virions.
  • Sparticolins A-G, Biologically Active Oxidized Spirodioxynaphthalene Derivatives from the Ascomycete Sparticola junci.

    Phukhamsakda, Chayanard; Macabeo, Allan Patrick G; Huch, Volker; Cheng, Tian; Hyde, Kevin D; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society of Chemistry, 2019-10-25)
    To explore the chemical diversity of metabolites from new species of Dothideomycetes, the ex-type strain of Sparticola junci was investigated. Seven highly oxygenated and functionalized spirodioxynaphthalene natural products incorporating carboxyalkylidene-cyclopentanoid (1-4), carboxyl-functionalized oxabicyclo[3.3.0]octane (5-6), and annelated 2-cyclopentenone/δ-lactone (7) units, sparticolins A-G, were isolated from submerged cultures of the fungus. Their chemical structures including their relative (and absolute) configurations were established through spectroscopic and X-ray crystallographic analyses. Sparticolin B (2) exhibited inhibitory activity against the Gram-positive bacteria Bacillus subtilis, Micrococcus luteus, and Staphylococcus aureus, while sparticolin G (7) showed antifungal activities against Schizosaccharomyces pombe and Mucor hiemalis. All other sparticolins were only weakly active against S. aureus and also showed weak activities against the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Compounds 2 and 7 also showed moderate cytotoxic activities against seven mammalian cell lines.

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