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).


  • Towards More Predictive, Physiological and Animal-free Models: Advances in Cell and Tissue Culture 2020 Conference Proceedings.

    Singh, Bhumika; Abdelgawad, Mohamed Essameldin; Ali, Zulfiqur; Bailey, Jarrod; Budyn, Elisa; Civita, Prospero; Clift, Martin J D; Connelly, John T; Constant, Samuel; Hittinger, Marius; et al. (Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments (FRAME), 2021-07-06)
    Experimental systems that faithfully replicate human physiology at cellular, tissue and organ level are crucial to the development of efficacious and safe therapies with high success rates and low cost. The development of such systems is challenging and requires skills, expertise and inputs from a diverse range of experts, such as biologists, physicists, engineers, clinicians and regulatory bodies. Kirkstall Limited, a biotechnology company based in York, UK, organised the annual conference, Advances in Cell and Tissue Culture (ACTC), which brought together people having a variety of expertise and interests, to present and discuss the latest developments in the field of cell and tissue culture and in vitro modelling. The conference has also been influential in engaging animal welfare organisations in the promotion of research, collaborative projects and funding opportunities. This report describes the proceedings of the latest ACTC conference, which was held virtually on 30th September and 1st October 2020, and included sessions on in vitro models in the following areas: advanced skin and respiratory models, neurological disease, cancer research, advanced models including 3-D, fluid flow and co-cultures, diabetes and other age-related disorders, and animal-free research. The roundtable session on the second day was very interactive and drew huge interest, with intriguing discussion taking place among all participants on the theme of replacement of animal models of disease.
  • Comparative analyses of the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and Hymenoscyphus albidus genomes reveals potentially adaptive differences in secondary metabolite and transposable element repertoires.

    Elfstrand, Malin; Chen, Jun; Cleary, Michelle; Halecker, Sandra; Ihrmark, Katarina; Karlsson, Magnus; Davydenko, Kateryna; Stenlid, Jan; Stadler, Marc; Durling, Mikael Brandström; et al. (BMC, 2021-07-04)
    Background: The dieback epidemic decimating common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) in Europe is caused by the invasive fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. In this study we analyzed the genomes of H. fraxineus and H. albidus, its native but, now essentially displaced, non-pathogenic sister species, and compared them with several other members of Helotiales. The focus of the analyses was to identify signals in the genome that may explain the rapid establishment of H. fraxineus and displacement of H. albidus. Results: The genomes of H. fraxineus and H. albidus showed a high level of synteny and identity. The assembly of H. fraxineus is 13 Mb longer than that of H. albidus', most of this difference can be attributed to higher dispersed repeat content (i.e. transposable elements [TEs]) in H. fraxineus. In general, TE families in H. fraxineus showed more signals of repeat-induced point mutations (RIP) than in H. albidus, especially in Long-terminal repeat (LTR)/Copia and LTR/Gypsy elements. Comparing gene family expansions and 1:1 orthologs, relatively few genes show signs of positive selection between species. However, several of those did appeared to be associated with secondary metabolite genes families, including gene families containing two of the genes in the H. fraxineus-specific, hymenosetin biosynthetic gene cluster (BGC). Conclusion: The genomes of H. fraxineus and H. albidus show a high degree of synteny, and are rich in both TEs and BGCs, but the genomic signatures also indicated that H. albidus may be less well equipped to adapt and maintain its ecological niche in a rapidly changing environment.
  • B cell depletion impairs vaccination-induced CD8 T cell responses in a type I interferon-dependent manner.

    Graalmann, Theresa; Borst, Katharina; Manchanda, Himanshu; Vaas, Lea; Bruhn, Matthias; Graalmann, Lukas; Koster, Mario; Verboom, Murielle; Hallensleben, Michael; Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; et al. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2021-07-05)
    Objectives: The monoclonal anti-CD20 antibody rituximab is frequently applied in the treatment of lymphoma as well as autoimmune diseases and confers efficient depletion of recirculating B cells. Correspondingly, B cell-depleted patients barely mount de novo antibody responses during infections or vaccinations. Therefore, efficient immune responses of B cell-depleted patients largely depend on protective T cell responses. Methods: CD8+ T cell expansion was studied in rituximab-treated rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients and B cell-deficient mice on vaccination/infection with different vaccines/pathogens. Results: Rituximab-treated RA patients vaccinated with Influvac showed reduced expansion of influenza-specific CD8+ T cells when compared with healthy controls. Moreover, B cell-deficient JHT mice infected with mouse-adapted Influenza or modified vaccinia virus Ankara showed less vigorous expansion of virus-specific CD8+ T cells than wild type mice. Of note, JHT mice do not have an intrinsic impairment of CD8+ T cell expansion, since infection with vaccinia virus induced similar T cell expansion in JHT and wild type mice. Direct type I interferon receptor signalling of B cells was necessary to induce several chemokines in B cells and to support T cell help by enhancing the expression of MHC-I. Conclusions: Depending on the stimulus, B cells can modulate CD8+ T cell responses. Thus, B cell depletion causes a deficiency of de novo antibody responses and affects the efficacy of cellular response including cytotoxic T cells. The choice of the appropriate vaccine to vaccinate B cell-depleted patients has to be re-evaluated in order to efficiently induce protective CD8+ T cell responses.
  • Meroterpenoids: A Comprehensive Update Insight on Structural Diversity and Biology.

    Nazir, Mamona; Saleem, Muhammad; Tousif, Muhammad Imran; Anwar, Muhammad Aijaz; Surup, Frank; Ali, Iftikhar; Wang, Daijie; Mamadalieva, Nilufar Z; Alshammari, Elham; Ashour, Mohamed L; et al. (MDPI, 2021-06-29)
    Meroterpenoids are secondary metabolites formed due to mixed biosynthetic pathways which are produced in part from a terpenoid co-substrate. These mixed biosynthetically hybrid compounds are widely produced by bacteria, algae, plants, and animals. Notably amazing chemical diversity is generated among meroterpenoids via a combination of terpenoid scaffolds with polyketides, alkaloids, phenols, and amino acids. This review deals with the isolation, chemical diversity, and biological effects of 452 new meroterpenoids reported from natural sources from January 2016 to December 2020. Most of the meroterpenoids possess antimicrobial, cytotoxic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, enzyme inhibitory, and immunosupressive effects.
  • Serum Concentration of the Phytohormone Abscisic Acid Is Associated With Immune-Regulatory Mediators and Is a Potential Biomarker of Disease Severity in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

    Hoang, Quynh Trang Mi; Nguyen, Van Kinh; Oberacher, Herbert; Fuchs, Dietmar; Hernandez-Vargas, Esteban A; Borucki, Katrin; Waldburg, Nadine; Wippermann, Jens; Schreiber, Jens; Bruder, Dunja; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-06-08)
    COPD and asthma are two distinct but sometimes overlapping diseases exhibiting varying degrees and types of inflammation on different stages of the disease. Although several biomarkers are defined to estimate the inflammatory endotype and stages in these diseases, there is still a need for new markers and potential therapeutic targets. We investigated the levels of a phytohormone, abscisic acid (ABA) and its receptor, LANCL2, in COPD patients and asthmatics. In addition, PPAR-γ that is activated by ABA in a ligand-binding domain-independent manner was also included in the study. In this study, we correlated ABA with COPD-propagating factors to define the possible role of ABA, in terms of immune regulation, inflammation, and disease stages. We collected blood from 101 COPD patients, 52 asthmatics, and 57 controls. Bronchoscopy was performed on five COPD patients and 29 controls. We employed (i) liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry and HPLC to determine the ABA and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase levels, respectively; (ii) real-time PCR to quantify the gene expression of LANCL2 and PPAR-γ; (iii) Flow cytometry to quantify adipocytokines; and (iv) immunoturbidimetry and ELISA to measure CRP and cytokines, respectively. Finally, a multinomial regression model was used to predict the probability of using ABA as a biomarker. Blood ABA levels were significantly reduced in COPD patients and asthmatics compared to age- and gender-matched normal controls. However, PPAR-γ was elevated in COPD patients. Intriguingly, ABA was positively correlated with immune-regulatory factors and was negatively correlated with inflammatory markers, in COPD. Of note, ABA was increased in advanced COPD stages. We thereby conclude that ABA might be involved in regulation of COPD pathogenesis and might be regarded as a potential biomarker for COPD stages.

View more