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).


  • A New PqsR Inverse Agonist Potentiates Tobramycin Efficacy to Eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

    Schütz, Christian; Ho, Duy‐Khiet; Hamed, Mostafa Mohamed; Abdelsamie, Ahmed Saad; Röhrig, Teresa; Herr, Christian; Kany, Andreas Martin; Rox, Katharina; Schmelz, Stefan; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; et al. (Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021-03-18)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections can be notoriously difficult to treat and are often accompanied by the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSI) acting on PqsR (MvfR) – a crucial transcriptional regulator serving major functions in PA virulence – can enhance antibiotic efficacy and eventually prevent the AMR. An integrated drug discovery campaign including design, medicinal chemistry‐driven hit‐to‐lead optimization and in‐depth biological profiling of a new QSI generation is reported. The QSI possess excellent activity in inhibiting pyocyanin production and PqsR reporter‐gene with IC50 values as low as 200 and 11 × 10−9 m, respectively. Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) as well as safety pharmacology studies especially highlight the promising translational properties of the lead QSI for pulmonary applications. Moreover, target engagement of the lead QSI is shown in a PA mucoid lung infection mouse model. Beyond that, a significant synergistic effect of a QSI‐tobramycin (Tob) combination against PA biofilms using a tailor‐made squalene‐derived nanoparticle (NP) formulation, which enhance the minimum biofilm eradicating concentration (MBEC) of Tob more than 32‐fold is demonstrated. The novel lead QSI and the accompanying NP formulation highlight the potential of adjunctive pathoblocker‐mediated therapy against PA infections opening up avenues for preclinical development.
  • Post-injury immunosuppression and secondary infections are caused by an AIM2 inflammasome-driven signaling cascade.

    Roth, Stefan; Cao, Jiayu; Singh, Vikramjeet; Tiedt, Steffen; Hundeshagen, Gabriel; Li, Ting; Boehme, Julia D; Chauhan, Dhruv; Zhu, Jie; Ricci, Alessio; et al. (Elsevier (Cell Press), 2021-03-04)
    Loss of lymphocytes, particularly T cell apoptosis, is a central pathological event after severe tissue injury that is associated with increased susceptibility for life-threatening infections. The precise immunological mechanisms leading to T cell death after acute injury are largely unknown. Here, we identified a monocyte-T cell interaction driving bystander cell death of T cells in ischemic stroke and burn injury. Specifically, we found that stroke induced a FasL-expressing monocyte population, which led to extrinsic T cell apoptosis. This phenomenon was driven by AIM2 inflammasome-dependent interleukin-1β (IL-1β) secretion after sensing cell-free DNA. Pharmacological inhibition of this pathway improved T cell survival and reduced post-stroke bacterial infections. As such, this study describes inflammasome-dependent monocyte activation as a previously unstudied cause of T cell death after injury and challenges the current paradigms of post-injury lymphopenia.
  • Amycolatomycins A and B, Cyclic Hexapeptides Isolated from an sp. 195334CR.

    Primahana, Gian; Risdian, Chandra; Mozef, Tjandrawati; Wink, Joachim; Surup, Frank; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-05)
    The rare actinobacterium Amycolatopsis sp. strain 195334CR was found to produce previously undescribed cyclic hexapeptides, which we named amycolatomycin A and B (1 and 2). Their planar structures were determined by high-resolution mass spectrometry as well as extensive 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy, while the absolute stereochemistry of its amino acids were determined by Marfey's method. Moreover, 1 and 2 differ by the incorporation of l-Ile and l-allo-Ile, respectively, whose FDVA (Nα-(2,4-Dinitro-5-fluorphenyl)-L-valinamide) derivatives were separated on a C4 column. Their hallmark in common is a unique 2,6-dichloro-tryptophan amino acid unit. Amycolatomycin A (1) exhibited weak activity against Bacillus subtilis DSM 10 (minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) = 33.4 µg/mL).
  • A Point Mutation in the Transcriptional Repressor PerR Results in a Constitutive Oxidative Stress Response in630Δ. Clostridioides difficile

    Troitzsch, Daniel; Zhang, Hao; Dittmann, Silvia; Düsterhöft, Dorothee; Möller, Timon Alexander; Michel, Annika-Marisa; Jänsch, Lothar; Riedel, Katharina; Borrero-de Acuña, José Manuel; Jahn, Dieter; et al. (ASM, 2021-03-03)
    The human pathogen Clostridioides difficile has evolved into the leading cause of nosocomial diarrhea. The bacterium is capable of spore formation, which even allows survival of antibiotic treatment. Although C. difficile features an anaerobic lifestyle, we determined a remarkably high oxygen tolerance of the laboratory reference strain 630Δerm A mutation of a single nucleotide (single nucleotide polymorphism [SNP]) in the DNA sequence (A to G) of the gene encoding the regulatory protein PerR results in an amino acid substitution (Thr to Ala) in one of the helices of the helix-turn-helix DNA binding domain of this transcriptional repressor in C. difficile 630Δerm PerR is a sensor protein for hydrogen peroxide and controls the expression of genes involved in the oxidative stress response. We show that PerR of C. difficile 630Δerm has lost its ability to bind the promoter region of PerR-controlled genes. This results in a constitutive derepression of genes encoding oxidative stress proteins such as a rubrerythrin (rbr1) whose mRNA abundance under anaerobic conditions was increased by a factor of about 7 compared to its parental strain C. difficile 630. Rubrerythrin repression in strain 630Δerm could be restored by the introduction of PerR from strain 630. The permanent oxidative stress response of C. difficile 630Δerm observed here should be considered in physiological and pathophysiological investigations based on this widely used model strain.IMPORTANCE The intestinal pathogen Clostridioides difficile is one of the major challenges in medical facilities nowadays. In order to better combat the bacterium, detailed knowledge of its physiology is mandatory. C. difficile strain 630Δerm was generated in a laboratory from the patient-isolated strain C. difficile 630 and represents a reference strain for many researchers in the field, serving as the basis for the construction of insertional gene knockout mutants. In our work, we demonstrate that this strain is characterized by an uncontrolled oxidative stress response as a result of a single-base-pair substitution in the sequence of a transcriptional regulator. C. difficile researchers working with model strain 630Δerm should be aware of this permanent stress response.
  • Characterization of the all-E. coli transcription-translation system myTXTL by mass spectrometry.

    Garenne, David; Beisel, Chase L; Noireaux, Vincent; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (Wiley, 2019-05-14)
    Rationale: Cell-free transcription-translation (TXTL) is becoming a popular technology to prototype and engineer biological systems outside living organisms. TXTL relies commonly on a cytoplasmic extract that provides the molecular components necessary to recapitulate gene expression in vitro, where most of the available systems are derived from E. coli. The proteinic and enzymatic composition of lysates, however, is typically unknown. In this work, we analyzed by mass spectrometry the molecular constituents of the all-E. coli TXTL platform myTXTL prepared from the E. coli strain BL21 Rosetta2. Methods: Standard TXTL reactions were assembled and executed for 10-12 hours at 29°C. In addition to a no-DNA control, four DNA programs were executed in separate reactions to synthesize the reporter protein deGFP as well as the phages MS2, phix174 and T7. The reactions were treated according to standard procedures (trypsin treatment, cleaning) before performing liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Data analysis was performed using Sequest and protein identification using Scaffold. Results: A total of 500-800 proteins were identified by LC/MS in the blank reactions. We organized the most abundant protein sets into several categories pertaining, in particular, to transcription, translation and ATP regeneration. The synthesis of deGFP was easily measured. The major structural proteins that compose the three phages MS2, phix174 and T7 were also identified. Conclusions: Mass spectrometry is a practical tool to characterize biochemical solutions as complex as a cell-free TXTL reaction and to determine the presence of synthesized proteins. The data presented demonstrate that the composition of TXTL based on lysates can be used to validate some underlying molecular mechanisms implicated in cell-free protein synthesis. The composition of the lysate shows significant differences with respect to similar studies on other E. coli strains.

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