Now showing items 1-20 of 2633

    • Importance of flagella in acute and chronic Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections.

      Lorenz, Anne; Preuße, Matthias; Bruchmann, Sebastian; Pawar, Vinay; Grahl, Nora; Pils, Marina C; Nolan, Laura M; Filloux, Alain; Weiss, Siegfried; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-11-08)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an environmental microorganism and a causative agent of diverse acute and chronic, biofilm-associated infections. Advancing research-based knowledge on its adaptation to conditions within the human host is bound to reveal novel strategies and targets for therapeutic intervention. Here, we investigated the traits that P. aeruginosa PA14 as well as a virulence attenuated ΔlasR mutant need to survive in selected murine infection models. Experimentally, the genetic programs that the bacteria use to adapt to biofilm-associated versus acute infections were dissected by passaging transposon mutant libraries through mouse lungs (acute) or mouse tumours (biofilm-infection). Adaptive metabolic changes of P. aeruginosa were generally required during both infection processes. Counter-selection against flagella expression was observed during acute lung infections. Obviously, avoidance of flagella-mediated activation of host immunity is advantageous for the wildtype bacteria. For the ΔlasR mutant, loss of flagella did not confer a selective advantage. Apparently, other pathogenesis mechanisms are active in this virulence attenuated strain. In contrast, the infective process of P. aeruginosa in the chronic biofilm model apparently required expression of flagellin. Together, our findings imply that the host immune reactions against the infectious agent are very decisive for acuteness and duration of the infectious disease. They direct disease outcome.
    • Microglia have a protective role in viral encephalitis-induced seizure development and hippocampal damage.

      Waltl, Inken; Käufer, Christopher; Gerhauser, Ingo; Chhatbar, Chintan; Ghita, Luca; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-11-01)
      In the central nervous system (CNS), innate immune surveillance is mainly coordinated by microglia. These CNS resident myeloid cells are assumed to help orchestrate the immune response against infections of the brain. However, their specific role in this process and their interactions with CNS infiltrating immune cells, such as blood-borne monocytes and T cells are only incompletely understood. The recent development of PLX5622, a specific inhibitor of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor that depletes microglia, allows studying the role of microglia in conditions of brain injury such as viral encephalitis, the most common form of brain infection. Here we used this inhibitor in a model of viral infection-induced epilepsy, in which C57BL/6 mice are infected by a picornavirus (Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus) and display seizures and hippocampal damage. Our results show that microglia are required early after infection to limit virus distribution and persistence, most likely by modulating T cell activation. Microglia depletion accelerated the occurrence of seizures, exacerbated hippocampal damage, and led to neurodegeneration in the spinal cord, which is normally not observed in this mouse strain. This study enhances our understanding of the role of microglia in viral encephalitis and adds to the concept of microglia-T cell crosstalk.
    • Screening for inhibitors of mutacin synthesis in Streptococcus mutans using fluorescent reporter strains.

      Premnath, Priyanka; Reck, Michael; Wittstein, Kathrin; Stadler, Marc; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2018-03-27)
      Within the polymicrobial dental plaque biofilm, bacteria kill competitors by excreting mixtures of bacteriocins, resulting in improved fitness and survival. Inhibiting their bacteriocin synthesis might therefore be a useful strategy to eliminate specific pathogens. We used Streptococcus mutans, a highly acidogenic inhabitant of dental plaque, as a model and searched for natural products that reduced mutacin synthesis. To this end we fused the promoter of mutacin VI to the GFP+ gene and integrated the construct into the genome of S. mutans UA159 by single homologous recombination. The resulting reporter strain 423p - gfp + was used to screen 297 secondary metabolites from different sources, mainly myxobacteria and fungi, for their ability to reduce the fluorescence of the fully induced reporter strain by > 50% while growth was almost unaffected (> 90% of control). Seven compounds with different chemical structures and different modes of action were identified. Erinacine C was subsequently validated and shown to inhibit transcription of all three mutacins of S. mutans. The areas of the inhibition zones of the sensor strains S. sanguinis and Lactococcus lactis were reduced by 35% to 61% in comparison to controls in the presence of erinacine C, demonstrating that the amount of active mutacins in the culture supernatants of S. mutans was reduced. Erinacines are cyathane diterpenes that were extracted from cultures of the edible mushroom Hericium erinaceus. They have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and neuroprotective effects. For erinacine C, a new biological activity was found here. We demonstrate the successful development of a whole-cell fluorescent reporter for the screening of natural compounds and report that erinacine C suppresses mutacin synthesis in S. mutans without affecting cell viability.
    • Induced B Cell Development in Adult Mice.

      Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Düber, Sandra; Roy, Bishnudeo; Thomsen, Irene; Garbe, Annette I; Klawonn, Frank; Pabst, Oliver; Kretschmer, Karsten; Weiss, Siegfried; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      We employed the B-Indu-Rag1 model in which the coding exon of recombination-activating gene 1 (Rag1) is inactivated by inversion. It is flanked by inverted loxP sites. Accordingly, B cell development is stopped at the pro/pre B-I cell precursor stage. A B cell-specific Cre recombinase fused to a mutated estrogen receptor allows the induction of RAG1 function and B cell development by application of Tamoxifen. Since Rag1 function is recovered in a non-self-renewing precursor cell, only single waves of development can be induced. Using this system, we could determine that B cells minimally require 5 days to undergo development from pro/preB-I cells to the large and 6 days to the small preB-II cell stage. First immature transitional (T) 1 and T2 B cells could be detected in the bone marrow at day 6 and day 7, respectively, while their appearance in the spleen took one additional day. We also tested a contribution of adult bone marrow to the pool of B-1 cells. Sublethally irradiated syngeneic WT mice were adoptively transferred with bone marrow of B-Indu-Rag1 mice and B cell development was induced after 6 weeks. A significant portion of donor derived B-1 cells could be detected in such adult mice. Finally, early VH gene usage was tested after induction of B cell development. During the earliest time points the VH genes proximal to D/J were found to be predominantly rearranged. At later time points, the large family of the most distal VH prevailed.
    • Concepts and Methods to Access Novel Antibiotics from Actinomycetes.

      Hug, Joachim J; Bader, Chantal D; Remškar, Maja; Cirnski, Katarina; Müller, Rolf (MPDI, 2018-05-22)
      Actinomycetes have been proven to be an excellent source of secondary metabolites for more than half a century. Exhibiting various bioactivities, they provide valuable approved drugs in clinical use. Most microorganisms are still untapped in terms of their capacity to produce secondary metabolites, since only a small fraction can be cultured in the laboratory. Thus, improving cultivation techniques to extend the range of secondary metabolite producers accessible under laboratory conditions is an important first step in prospecting underexplored sources for the isolation of novel antibiotics. Currently uncultured actinobacteria can be made available by bioprospecting extreme or simply habitats other than soil. Furthermore, bioinformatic analysis of genomes reveals most producers to harbour many more biosynthetic gene clusters than compounds identified from any single strain, which translates into a silent biosynthetic potential of the microbial world for the production of yet unknown natural products. This review covers discovery strategies and innovative methods recently employed to access the untapped reservoir of natural products. The focus is the order of actinomycetes although most approaches are similarly applicable to other microbes. Advanced cultivation methods, genomics- and metagenomics-based approaches, as well as modern metabolomics-inspired methods are highlighted to emphasise the interplay of different disciplines to improve access to novel natural products.
    • Post-translational Serine/Threonine Phosphorylation and Lysine Acetylation: A Novel Regulatory Aspect of the Global Nitrogen Response Regulator GlnR in S. coelicolor M145.

      Amin, Rafat; Franz-Wachtel, Mirita; Tiffert, Yvonne; Heberer, Martin; Meky, Mohamed; Ahmed, Yousra; Matthews, Arne; Krysenko, Sergii; Jakobi, Marco; Hinder, Markus; Moore, Jane; Okoniewski, Nicole; Maček, Boris; Wohlleben, Wolfgang; Bera, Agnieszka; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2016-01-01)
      Soil-dwelling Streptomyces bacteria such as S.coelicolor have to constantly adapt to the nitrogen (N) availability in their habitat. Thus, strict transcriptional and post-translational control of the N-assimilation is fundamental for survival of this species. GlnR is a global response regulator that controls transcription of the genes related to the N-assimilation in S. coelicolor and other members of the Actinomycetales. GlnR represents an atypical orphan response regulator that is not activated by the phosphorylation of the conserved aspartate residue (Asp 50). We have applied transcriptional analysis, LC-MS/MS analysis and electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSAs) to understand the regulation of GlnR in S. coelicolor M145. The expression of glnR and GlnR-target genes was revisited under four different N-defined conditions and a complex N-rich condition. Although, the expression of selected GlnR-target genes was strongly responsive to changing N-concentrations, the glnR expression itself was independent of the N-availability. Using LC-MS/MSanalysis we demonstrated that GlnR was post-translationally modified. The post-translational modifications of GlnR comprise phosphorylation of the serine/threonine residues and acetylation of lysine residues. In the complex N-rich medium GlnR was phosphorylated on six serine/threonine residues and acetylated on one lysine residue. Under defined N-excess conditions only two phosphorylated residues were detected whereas under defined N-limiting conditions no phosphorylation was observed. GlnR phosphorylation is thus clearly correlated with N-rich conditions. Furthermore, GlnR was acetylated on four lysine residues independently of the N-concentration in the defined media and on only one lysine residue in the complex N-rich medium. Using EMSAs we demonstrated that phosphorylation inhibited the binding of GlnR to its targets genes, whereas acetylation had little influence on the formation of GlnR-DNA complex. This study clearly demonstrated that GlnR DNA-binding affinity is modulated by post-translational modifications in response to changing N-conditions in order to elicit a proper transcriptional response to the latter.
    • Heterologous Expression of the Nybomycin Gene Cluster from the Marine StrainStreptomyces albus subsp. NRRL B-24108.

      Rodríguez Estévez, Marta; Myronovskyi, Maksym; Gummerlich, Nils; Nadmid, Suvd; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2018-11-04)
      Streptomycetes represent an important reservoir of active secondary metabolites with potential applications in the pharmaceutical industry. The gene clusters responsible for their production are often cryptic under laboratory growth conditions. Characterization of these clusters is therefore essential for the discovery of new microbial pharmaceutical drugs. Here, we report the identification of the previously uncharacterized nybomycin gene cluster from the marine actinomycete
    • Kaposi's Sarcoma-Associated Herpesvirus Nonstructural Membrane Protein pK15 Recruits the Class II Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinase PI3K-C2α To Activate Productive Viral Replication.

      Abere, Bizunesh; Samarina, Naira; Gramolelli, Silvia; Rückert, Jessica; Gerold, Gisa; Pich, Andreas; Schulz, Thomas F; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-09-01)
      Kaposi's sarcoma (KS)-associated herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) causes the angiogenic tumor KS and two B-cell malignancies. The KSHV nonstructural membrane protein encoded by the open reading frame (ORF) K15 recruits and activates several cellular proteins, including phospholipase Cγ1 (PLCγ1), components of the NF-κB pathway, as well as members of the Src family of nonreceptor tyrosine kinases, and thereby plays an important role in the activation of angiogenic and inflammatory pathways that contribute to the pathogenesis of KS as well as KSHV productive (lytic) replication. In order to identify novel cellular components involved in the biology of pK15, we immunoprecipitated pK15 from KSHV-infected endothelial cells and identified associated proteins by label-free quantitative mass spectrometry. Cellular proteins interacting with pK15 point to previously unappreciated cellular processes, such as the endocytic pathway, that could be involved in the function of pK15. We found that the class II phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) PI3K-C2α, which is involved in the endocytosis of activated receptor tyrosine kinases and their signaling from intracellular organelles, interacts and colocalizes with pK15 in vesicular structures abundant in the perinuclear area. Further functional analysis revealed that PI3K-C2α contributes to the pK15-dependent phosphorylation of PLCγ1 and Erk1/2. PI3K-C2α also plays a role in KSHV lytic replication, as evidenced by the reduced expression of the viral lytic genes K-bZIP and ORF45 as well as the reduced release of infectious virus in PI3K-C2α-depleted KSHV-infected endothelial cells. Taken together, our results suggest a role of the cellular PI3K-C2α protein in the functional properties of the KSHV pK15 protein.
    • Presence of Infected Gr-1CD11bCD11c Monocytic Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells Subverts T Cell Response and Is Associated With Impaired Dendritic Cell Function in -Infected Mice.

      Abdissa, Ketema; Nerlich, Andreas; Beineke, Andreas; Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Pawar, Vinay; Heise, Ulrike; Janze, Nina; Falk, Christine; Bruder, Dunja; Schleicher, Ulrike; Bogdan, Christian; Weiss, Siegfried; Goethe, Ralph; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Drontiers, 2018-01-01)
      The Gram-negative bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, causes chronic gastritis, peptic ulcers, and gastric cancer in humans. Although the gastric epithelium is the primary site of H. pylori colonization, H. pylori can gain access to deeper tissues. Concurring with this notion, H. pylori has been found in the vicinity of endothelial cells in gastric submucosa. Endothelial cells play crucial roles in innate immune response, wound healing and tumorigenesis. This study examines the molecular mechanisms by which H. pylori interacts with and triggers inflammatory responses in endothelial cells. We observed that H. pylori infection of primary human endothelial cells stimulated secretion of the key inflammatory cytokines, interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-8 (IL-8). In particular, IL-8, a potent chemokine and angiogenic factor, was secreted by H. pylori-infected endothelial cells to levels ~10- to 20-fold higher than that typically observed in H. pylori-infected gastric epithelial cells. These inflammatory responses were triggered by the H. pylori type IV secretion system (T4SS) and the T4SS-associated adhesin CagL, but not the translocation substrate CagA. Moreover, in contrast to integrin α5β1 playing an essential role in IL-8 induction by H. pylori upon infection of gastric epithelial cells, both integrin α5β1 and integrin αvβ3 were dispensable for IL-8 induction in H. pylori-infected endothelial cells. However, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is crucial for mediating the potent H. pylori-induced IL-8 response in endothelial cells. This study reveals a novel mechanism by which the H. pylori T4SS and its adhesin subunit, CagL, may contribute to H. pylori pathogenesis by stimulating the endothelial innate immune responses, while highlighting EGFR as a potential therapeutic target for controlling H. pylori-induced inflammation. Introduction
    • The endosomal Toll-like receptors 7 and 9 cooperate in detection of MHV68 infection.

      Bussey, Kendra A; Murthy, Sripriya; Reimer, Elisa; Chan, Baca; Hatesuer, Bastian; Schughart, Klaus; Glaunsinger, Britt; Adler, Heiko; Brinkmann, Melanie M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Amercan Society of Microbiology, 2018-11-14)
      Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) is an amenable small animal model for study of the human pathogens Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Here, we have characterized the roles of the endosomal TLR escort protein UNC93B, endosomal TLR7, 9, and 13, and cell surface TLR2 in MHV68 detection. We found that the interferon α (IFNα) response of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to MHV68 was reduced in Tlr9-/- cells compared to wildtype (WT), but not completely lost. Tlr7-/- pDC responded similarly to WT. However, we found that in Unc93b-/- pDC, as well as in Tlr7/Tlr9-/- double knockout pDC, the IFNα response to MHV68 was completely abolished. Thus, the only pattern recognition receptors contributing to the IFNα response to MHV68 in pDC are TLR7 and TLR9, but the contribution of TLR7 is masked by the presence of TLR9. To address the role of UNC93B and TLR for MHV68 infection in vivo, we infected mice with MHV68. Lytic replication of MHV68 after intravenous infection was enhanced in the lungs, spleen, and liver of UNC93B-deficient mice, in the spleen of TLR9-deficient mice, and in the liver and spleen of Tlr7/Tlr9-/- mice. The absence of TLR2 or TLR13 did not affect lytic viral titers. We then compared reactivation of MHV68 from latently infected WT, Unc93b-/-, Tlr7/Tlr9-/-, Tlr7-/-, and Tlr9-/- splenocytes. We observed enhanced reactivation and latent viral loads, particularly from Tlr7/Tlr9-/- splenocytes, compared to WT. Our data show that UNC93B- dependent TLR7 and TLR9 cooperate in and contribute to detection and control of MHV68 infection.
    • Discovering RNA-Based Regulatory Systems for Virulence.

      Knittel, Vanessa; Vollmer, Ines; Volk, Marcel; Dersch, Petra; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      The genus Yersinia includes three human pathogenic species, Yersinia pestis, the causative agent of the bubonic and pneumonic plague, and enteric pathogens Y. enterocolitica and Y. pseudotuberculosis that cause a number of gut-associated diseases. Over the past years a large repertoire of RNA-based regulatory systems has been discovered in these pathogens using different RNA-seq based approaches. Among them are several conserved or species-specific RNA-binding proteins, regulatory and sensory RNAs as well as various RNA-degrading enzymes. Many of them were shown to control the expression of important virulence-relevant factors and have a very strong impact on Yersinia virulence. The precise targets, the molecular mechanism and their role for Yersinia pathogenicity is only known for a small subset of identified genus- or species-specific RNA-based control elements. However, the ongoing development of new RNA-seq based methods and data analysis methods to investigate the synthesis, composition, translation, decay, and modification of RNAs in the bacterial cell will help us to generate a more comprehensive view of Yersinia RNA biology in the near future
    • Metabolic and Biosynthetic Diversity in Marine Myxobacteria.

      Gemperlein, Katja; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Garcia, Ronald; La Clair, James J; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2018-09-05)
      Prior to 2005, the vast majority of characterized myxobacteria were obtained from terrestrial habitats. Since then, several species of halotolerant and even obligate marine myxobacteria have been described. Chemical analyses of extracts from these organisms have confirmed their ability to produce secondary metabolites with unique chemical scaffolds. Indeed, new genera of marine-derived myxobacteria, particularly Enhygromyxa, have been shown to produce novel chemical scaffolds that differ from those observed in soil myxobacteria. Further studies have shown that marine sponges and terrestrial myxobacteria are capable of producing similar or even identical secondary metabolites, suggesting that myxobacterial symbionts may have been the true producers. Recent in silico analysis of the genome sequences available from six marine myxobacteria disclosed a remarkably versatile biosynthetic potential. With access to ever-advancing tools for small molecule and genetic evaluation, these studies suggest a bright future for expeditions into this yet untapped resource for secondary metabolites
    • Mast cells as protectors of health.

      Dudeck, Anne; Köberle, Martin; Goldmann, Oliver; Meyer, Nicole; Dudeck, Jan; Lemmens, Stefanie; Rohde, Manfred; Roldán, Nestor González; Dietze-Schwonberg, Kirsten; Orinska, Zane; Medina, Eva; Hendrix, Sven; Metz, Martin; Zenclussen, Ana Claudia; von Stebut, Esther; Biedermann, Tilo; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut füt Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-11-20)
      Mast cells (MC), well known for their effector functions in Th2 skewed allergic and also autoimmune inflammation, become increasingly acknowledged for their role in protection of health. It is now clear that they are also key modulators of immune responses at interface organs like skin or gut. MC can prime tissues for adequate inflammatory responses and cooperate with dendritic cells in T cell activation. They also regulate harmful immune responses in trauma and help to successfully orchestrate pregnancy. This review focusses on the beneficial effects of mast cells on tissue homeostasis and elimination of toxins or venoms. MC can enhance pathogen clearance in many bacterial, viral, and parasite infections, e.g. by TLR2 triggered degranulation, secretion of antimicrobial cathelicidins, recruiting neutrophils or by providing extracellular DNA traps. The role of MC in tumors is more ambiguous, however, encouraging new findings show they can change the tumor microenvironment towards anti-tumor immunity when adequately triggered. Uterine tissue remodeling by α-chymase (MCP-5) is crucial for successful embryo implantation. MCP-4 and the tryptase MCP-6 emerge to be protective in CNS trauma by reducing inflammatory damage and excessive scar formation, thereby protecting axon growth. Last but not least, we see proteases like carboxypeptidase A released by FcεRI activated MC detoxify an increasing number of venoms and endogenous toxins. A better understanding of the plasticity of MC will help to improve these advantageous effects, and hint on ways to cut down detrimental MC actions.
    • Regulation of MRTF-A by JMY via a nucleation-independent mechanism.

      Kluge, Franziska; Weissbach, Julia; Weber, Anja; Stradal, Theresia; Posern, Guido; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2018-11-21)
      MRTF-A (myocardin-related transcription factor A) is a coactivator for SRF-mediated gene expression. The activity of MRTF-A is critically dependent on the dissociation of G-actin from N-terminal RPEL motifs. MRTF-SRF induction often correlates with enhanced polymerization of F-actin. Here we investigate MRTF regulation by the multifunctional JMY protein, which contains three WASP/verprolin homology 2 (WH2/V) domains and facilitates Arp2/3-dependent and -independent actin nucleation. Co-immunoprecipitation experiments, immunofluorescence and luciferase reporter assays were combined with selective inhibitors to investigate the effect of JMY and its domains on MRTF-A in NIH 3 T3 mouse fibroblasts. JMY induced MRTF-A transcriptional activity and enhanced its nuclear translocation. Unexpectedly, MRTF-A was hyperactivated when the Arp2/3-recruiting CA region of JMY was deleted or mutated, suggesting an autoinhibitory mechanism for full-length JMY. Moreover, isolated WH2/V domains which are unable to nucleate actin were sufficient for nuclear accumulation and SRF activation. Recombinant WH2/V regions of JMY biochemically competed with MRTF-A for actin binding. Activation of MRTF-A by JMY was unaffected by Arp3 knockdown, by an Arp2/3 inhibitor, and by latrunculin which disassembles cellular F-actin. Restriction of JMY to the nucleus abrogated its MRTF-A activation. Finally, JMY RNAi reduced basal and stimulated transcriptional activation via MRTF-A. Our results suggest that JMY activates MRTF-SRF independently of F-actin via WH2/V-mediated competition with the RPEL region for G-actin binding in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, the C-terminal region facilitates an autoinhibitory effect on full-length JMY, possibly by intramolecular folding.
    • The Francisella novicida Cas12a is sensitive to the structure downstream of the terminal repeat in CRISPR arrays.

      Liao, Chunyu; Slotkowski, Rebecca A; Achmedov, Tatjana; Beisel, Chase L; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (2018-10-12)
      The Class 2 Type V-A CRISPR effector protein Cas12a/Cpf1 has gained widespread attention in part because of the ease in achieving multiplexed genome editing, gene regulation, and DNA detection. Multiplexing derives from the ability of Cas12a alone to generate multiple guide RNAs from a transcribed CRISPR array encoding alternating conserved repeats and targeting spacers. While array design has focused on how to optimize guide-RNA sequences, little attention has been paid to sequences outside of the CRISPR array. Here, we show that a structured hairpin located immediately downstream of the 3' repeat interferes with utilization of the adjacent encoded guide RNA by Francisella novicida (Fn)Cas12a. We first observed that a synthetic Rho-independent terminator immediately downstream of an array impaired DNA cleavage based on plasmid clearance in E. coli and DNA cleavage in a cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) system. TXTL-based cleavage assays further revealed that inhibition was associated with incomplete processing of the transcribed CRISPR array and could be attributed to the stable hairpin formed by the terminator. We also found that the inhibitory effect partially extended to upstream spacers in a multi-spacer array. Finally, we found that removing the terminal repeat from the array increased the inhibitory effect, while replacing this repeat with an unprocessable terminal repeat from a native FnCas12a array restored cleavage activity directed by the adjacent encoded guide RNA. Our study thus revealed that sequences surrounding a CRISPR array can interfere with the function of a CRISPR nuclease, with implications for the design and evolution of CRISPR arrays.
    • Variations in Microbial Diversity and Metabolite Profiles of the Tropical Marine Sponge Xestospongia muta with Season and Depth.

      Villegas-Plazas, Marcela; Wos-Oxley, Melissa L; Sanchez, Juan A; Pieper, Dietmar H; Thomas, Olivier P; Junca, Howard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-11-10)
      Xestospongia muta is among the most emblematic sponge species inhabiting coral reefs of the Caribbean Sea. Besides being the largest sponge species growing in the Caribbean, it is also known to produce secondary metabolites. This study aimed to assess the effect of depth and season on the symbiotic bacterial dynamics and major metabolite profiles of specimens of X. muta thriving in a tropical marine biome (Portobelo Bay, Panamá), which allow us to determine whether variability patterns are similar to those reported for subtropical latitudes. The bacterial assemblages were characterized using Illumina deep-sequencing and metabolomic profiles using UHPLC-DAD-ELSD from five depths (ranging 9-28 m) across two seasons (spring and autumn). Diverse symbiotic communities, representing 24 phyla with a predominance of Proteobacteria and Chloroflexi, were found. Although several thousands of OTUs were determined, most of them belong to the rare biosphere and only 23 to a core community. There was a significant difference between the structure of the microbial communities in respect to season (autumn to spring), with a further significant difference between depths only in autumn. This was partially mirrored in the metabolome profile, where the overall metabolite composition did not differ between seasons, but a significant depth gradient was observed in autumn. At the phyla level, Cyanobacteria, Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, and Spirochaete showed a mild-moderate correlation with the metabolome profile. The metabolomic profiles were mainly characterized by known brominated polyunsaturated fatty acids. This work presents findings about the composition and dynamics of the microbial assemblages of X. muta expanding and confirming current knowledge about its remarkable diversity and geographic variability as observed in this tropical marine biome.
    • Stress-induced host membrane remodeling protects from infection by non-motile bacterial pathogens.

      Tawk, Caroline; Nigro, Giulia; Rodrigues Lopes, Ines; Aguilar, Carmen; Lisowski, Clivia; Mano, Miguel; Sansonetti, Philippe; Vogel, Jörg; Eulalio, Ana; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (2018-11-02)
      While mucosal inflammation is a major source of stress during enteropathogen infection, it remains to be fully elucidated how the host benefits from this environment to clear the pathogen. Here, we show that host stress induced by different stimuli mimicking inflammatory conditions strongly reduces the binding of Shigella flexneri to epithelial cells. Mechanistically, stress activates acid sphingomyelinase leading to host membrane remodeling. Consequently, knockdown or pharmacological inhibition of the acid sphingomyelinase blunts the stress-dependent inhibition of Shigella binding to host cells. Interestingly, stress caused by intracellular Shigella replication also results in remodeling of the host cell membrane, in vitro and in vivo, which precludes re-infection by this and other non-motile pathogens. In contrast, Salmonella Typhimurium overcomes the shortage of permissive entry sites by gathering effectively at the remaining platforms through its flagellar motility. Overall, our findings reveal host membrane remodeling as a novel stress-responsive cell-autonomous defense mechanism that protects epithelial cells from infection by non-motile bacterial pathogens.
    • Biofilm Inhibitory Abscisic Acid Derivatives from the Plant-Associated Dothideomycete Fungus, sp.

      Phukhamsakda, Chayanard; Macabeo, Allan Patrick G; Yuyama, Kamila Tomoko; Hyde, Kevin David; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-30)
      Roussoella species are well recorded from both monocotyledons and dicotyledons. As part of a research program to discover biologically active compounds from plant-associated Dothideomycetes in Thailand, the strain Roussoella sp. (MFLUCC 17-2059), which represents an undescribed species, was isolated from Clematis subumbellata Kurz, fermented in yeast-malt medium and explored for its secondary metabolite production. Bioassay-guided fractionation of the crude extract yielded the new abscisic acid derivative, roussoellenic acid (1), along with pestabacillin B (2), a related congener, and the cyclodipeptide, cyclo(S-Pro-S-Ile) (3). The structure of 1 was determined by 2D NMR spectroscopy and HR-ESIMS data analysis. Compounds 1 and 2 showed inhibitory activity on biofilm formation by Staphylococcus aureus. The biofilm formation of S. aureus was reduced to 34% at 16 µg/mL by roussoellenic acid (1), while pestabacillin B (2) only showed 36% inhibition at 256 µg/mL. In addition, compound 1 also had weak cytotoxic effects on L929 murine fibroblasts and human KB3-1 cancer cells.
    • An Interferon Signature Discriminates Pneumococcal From Staphylococcal Pneumonia.

      Strehlitz, Anja; Goldmann, Oliver; Pils, Marina C; Pessler, Frank; Medina, Eva; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
      Streptococcus pneumoniae is the most common cause of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Despite the low prevalence of CAP caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), CAP patients often receive empirical antibiotic therapy providing coverage for MRSA such as vancomycin or linezolid. An early differentiation between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus pneumonia can help to reduce the use of unnecessary antibiotics. The objective of this study was to identify candidate biomarkers that can discriminate pneumococcal from staphylococcal pneumonia. A genome-wide transcriptional analysis of lung and peripheral blood performed in murine models of S. pneumoniae and S. aureus lung infection identified an interferon signature specifically associated with S. pneumoniae infection. Prediction models built using a support vector machine and Monte Carlo cross-validation, identified the combination of the interferon-induced chemokines CXCL9 and CXCL10 serum concentrations as the set of biomarkers with best sensitivity, specificity, and predictive power that enabled an accurate discrimination between S. pneumoniae and S. aureus pneumonia. The predictive performance of these biomarkers was further validated in an independent cohort of mice. This study highlights the potential of serum CXCL9 and CXCL10 biomarkers as an adjunctive diagnostic tool that could facilitate prompt and correct pathogen-targeted therapy in CAP patients.
    • Influenza-Activated ILC1s Contribute to Antiviral Immunity Partially Influenced by Differential GITR Expression.

      Vashist, Neha; Trittel, Stephanie; Ebensen, Thomas; Chambers, Benedict J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Riese, Peggy; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
      Innate lymphoid cells (ILCs) represent diversified subsets of effector cells as well as immune regulators of mucosal immunity and are classified into group 1 ILCs, group 2 ILCs, and group 3 ILCs. Group 1 ILCs encompass natural killer (NK) cells and non-NK ILCs (ILC1s) and mediate their functionality via the rapid production of IFN-γ and TNF-α. The current knowledge of ILC1s mainly associates them to inflammatory processes. Much less is known about their regulation during infection and their capacity to interact with cells of the adaptive immune system. The present study dissected the role of ILC1s during early influenza A virus infection, thereby revealing their impact on the antiviral response. Exploiting in vitro and in vivo H1N1 infection systems, a cross-talk of ILC1s with cells of the innate and the adaptive immunity was demonstrated, which contributes to anti-influenza immunity. A novel association of ILC1 functionality and the expression of the glucocorticoid-induced TNFR-related protein (GITR) was observed, which hints toward a so far undescribed role of GITR in regulating ILC1 responsiveness. Overexpression of GITR inhibits IFN-γ production by ILC1s, whereas partial reduction of GITR expression can reverse this effect, thereby regulating ILC1 functionality. These new insights into ILC1 biology define potential intervention targets to modulate the functional properties of ILC1s, thus contributing toward the development of new immune interventions against influenza.