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), Würzburg/Germany, Braunschweig Integrated Centre for Systems biology (BRICS), Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) the Study Centre Hannover, Hannover/Germany and the Centre for Individualised Infection Medicine (CiiM).


  • Exogenous and Endogenous Triggers Differentially Stimulate Pigr Expression and Antibacterial Secretory Immunity in the Murine Respiratory Tract.

    Pausder, Alexander; Fricke, Jennifer; Schughart, Klaus; Schreiber, Jens; Strowig, Till; Bruder, Dunja; Boehme, Julia; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2021-11-26)
    Purpose: Transport of secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) through the airway epithelial cell barrier into the mucosal lumen by the polymeric immunoglobulin receptor (pIgR) is an important mechanism of respiratory mucosal host defense. Identification of immunomodulating substances that regulate secretory immunity might have therapeutic implications with regard to an improved immune exclusion. Thus, we sought to analyze secretory immunity under homeostatic and immunomodulating conditions in different compartments of the murine upper and lower respiratory tract (URT&LRT). Methods: Pigr gene expression in lung, trachea, and nasal-associated lymphoid tissue (NALT) of germ-free mice, specific pathogen-free mice, mice with an undefined microbiome, as well as LPS- and IFN-γ-treated mice was determined by quantitative real-time PCR. IgA levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), nasal lavage (NAL), and serum were determined by ELISA. LPS- and IFN-γ-treated mice were colonized with Streptococcus pneumoniae and bacterial CFUs were determined in URT and LRT. Results: Respiratory Pigr expression and IgA levels were dependent on the degree of exposure to environmental microbial stimuli. While immunostimulation with LPS and IFN-γ differentially impacts respiratory Pigr expression and IgA in URT vs. LRT, only prophylactic IFN-γ treatment reduces nasal colonization with S. pneumoniae. Conclusion: Airway-associated secretory immunity can be partly modulated by exposure to microbial ligands and proinflammatory stimuli. Prophylactic IFN-γ-treatment modestly improves antibacterial immunity in the URT, but this does not appear to be mediated by SIgA or pIgR.
  • IgG seroprevalence of COVID-19 among people living with HIV or at high risk of HIV in south-west Germany: A seroprevalence study.

    Kaddu-Mulindwa, Dominic; Keuser, Lukas; Lesan, Vadim; Rissland, Jürgen; Smola, Sigrun; Werdecker, Victoria; Stilgenbauer, Stephan; Christofyllakis, Konstantinos; Thurner, Lorenz; Bewarder, Moritz; et al. (John Wiley & Sons LTD, 2021-11-22)
    Objectives: Seroprevalence studies of SARS-CoV-2 have shown that there is a high number of undiagnosed missing cases. Seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 in people living with HIV (PLWH) is lacking. Therefore, we conducted a prospective cross-sectional study to estimate the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 among PLWH without known diagnosis of COVID-19 in the south-west of Germany. Methods: Serological testing for SARS-CoV-2 immunoglobulin G (IgG) antibodies based on two assays was performed in PLWH who visited the outpatient HIV centre of two hospitals from April to June 2020. Additionally, patients had to answer questionnaires about possible COVID-19-related symptoms and predefined risk factors. Moreover, we tested 50 non-HIV-infected patients receiving post- or pre-exposure (PEP/PrEP) HIV prophylaxis. Results: In all, 594 (488 male, 106 female) PLWH (median age 51 years) and 50 PEP/PrEP-users were included in the study. The estimated seroprevalence of the PLWH cohort was 1.85% (11/594), with 11 positive tested cases in the cohort. Among all patients, only five had COVID-19-related symptoms. One PCR-positive patient did not show any antibody response in repeatedly carried out tests. None of the patients was hospitalized due to COVID-19. Three PrEP users were tested positive. Three patients had been previously diagnosed with SARS-COV-2 infection before inclusion. The used questionnaire did not help to detect SARS-CoV-2 positive patients.
  • In vitro interaction network of a synthetic gut bacterial community.

    Weiss, Anna S; Burrichter, Anna G; Durai Raj, Abilash Chakravarthy; von Strempel, Alexandra; Meng, Chen; Kleigrewe, Karin; Münch, Philipp C; Rössler, Luis; Huber, Claudia; Eisenreich, Wolfgang; et al. (NPG, 2021-12-02)
    A key challenge in microbiome research is to predict the functionality of microbial communities based on community membership and (meta)-genomic data. As central microbiota functions are determined by bacterial community networks, it is important to gain insight into the principles that govern bacteria-bacteria interactions. Here, we focused on the growth and metabolic interactions of the Oligo-Mouse-Microbiota (OMM12) synthetic bacterial community, which is increasingly used as a model system in gut microbiome research. Using a bottom-up approach, we uncovered the directionality of strain-strain interactions in mono- and pairwise co-culture experiments as well as in community batch culture. Metabolic network reconstruction in combination with metabolomics analysis of bacterial culture supernatants provided insights into the metabolic potential and activity of the individual community members. Thereby, we could show that the OMM12 interaction network is shaped by both exploitative and interference competition in vitro in nutrient-rich culture media and demonstrate how community structure can be shifted by changing the nutritional environment. In particular, Enterococcus faecalis KB1 was identified as an important driver of community composition by affecting the abundance of several other consortium members in vitro. As a result, this study gives fundamental insight into key drivers and mechanistic basis of the OMM12 interaction network in vitro, which serves as a knowledge base for future mechanistic in vivo studies.
  • The Host Response to Viral Infections Reveals Common and Virus-Specific Signatures in the Peripheral Blood.

    Tsalik, Ephraim L; Fiorino, Cassandra; Aqeel, Ammara; Liu, Yiling; Henao, Ricardo; Ko, Emily R; Burke, Thomas W; Reller, Megan E; Bodinayake, Champica K; Nagahawatte, Ajith; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-10-27)
    Viruses cause a wide spectrum of clinical disease, the majority being acute respiratory infections (ARI). In most cases, ARI symptoms are similar for different viruses although severity can be variable. The objective of this study was to understand the shared and unique elements of the host transcriptional response to different viral pathogens. We identified 162 subjects in the US and Sri Lanka with infections due to influenza, enterovirus/rhinovirus, human metapneumovirus, dengue virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein Barr Virus, or adenovirus. Our dataset allowed us to identify common pathways at the molecular level as well as virus-specific differences in the host immune response. Conserved elements of the host response to these viral infections highlighted the importance of interferon pathway activation. However, the magnitude of the responses varied between pathogens. We also identified virus-specific responses to influenza, enterovirus/rhinovirus, and dengue infections. Influenza-specific differentially expressed genes (DEG) revealed up-regulation of pathways related to viral defense and down-regulation of pathways related to T cell and neutrophil responses. Functional analysis of entero/rhinovirus-specific DEGs revealed up-regulation of pathways for neutrophil activation, negative regulation of immune response, and p38MAPK cascade and down-regulation of virus defenses and complement activation. Functional analysis of dengue-specific up-regulated DEGs showed enrichment of pathways for DNA replication and cell division whereas down-regulated DEGs were mainly associated with erythrocyte and myeloid cell homeostasis, reactive oxygen and peroxide metabolic processes. In conclusion, our study will contribute to a better understanding of molecular mechanisms to viral infections in humans and the identification of biomarkers to distinguish different types of viral infections.
  • Ecological and pharmacological activities of polybrominated diphenyl ethers (Pbdes) from the indonesian marine sponge lamellodysidea herbacea.

    Faisal, Muhammad R; Kellermann, Matthias Y; Rohde, Sven; Putra, Masteria Y; Murniasih, Tutik; Risdian, Chandra; Mohr, Kathrin I; Wink, Joachim; Praditya, Dimas F; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (MDPI, 2021-10-27)
    Two known Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers (PBDEs), 3,4,5-tribromo-2-(2',4'-dibromophenoxy)phenol (1d) and 3,4,5,6-tetrabromo-2-(2',4'-dibromophenoxy)phenol (2b), were isolated from the Indonesian marine sponge Lamellodysidea herbacea. The structure was confirmed using 13C chemical shift average deviation and was compared to the predicted structures and recorded chemical shifts in previous studies. We found a wide range of bioactivities from the organic crude extract, such as (1) a strong deterrence against the generalist pufferfish Canthigaster solandri, (2) potent inhibition against environmental and human pathogenic bacterial and fungal strains, and (3) the inhibition of the Hepatitis C Virus (HCV). The addition of a bromine atom into the A-ring of compound 2b resulted in higher fish feeding deterrence compared to compound 1d. On the contrary, compound 2b showed only more potent inhibition against the Gram-negative bacteria Rhodotorula glutinis (MIC 2.1 μg/mL), while compound 1d showed more powerful inhibition against the other human pathogenic bacteria and fungi. The first report of a chemical defense by compounds 1d and 2b against fish feeding and environmental relevant bacteria, especially pathogenic bacteria, might be one reason for the widespread occurrence of the shallow water sponge Lamellodysidea herbacea in Indonesia and the Indo-Pacific.

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