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).


  • Terricaulis silvestris gen. Nov., sp. nov., a novel prosthecate, budding member of the family caulobacteraceae isolated from forest soil

    Vieira, Selma; Pascual, Javier; Boedeker, Christian; Geppert, Alicia; Riedel, Thomas; Rohde, Manfred; Overmann, Jörg; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Microbiology Society, 2020-08-07)
    The family Caulobacteraceae comprises prosthecate bacteria with a dimorphic cell cycle and also non-prosthecate bacteria. Cells of all described species divide by binary fission. Strain 0127_4T was isolated from forest soil in Baden Württemberg (Germany) and determined to be the first representative of the family Caulobacteraceae which divided by budding. Cells of strain 0127_4T were Gram-negative, rod-shaped, prosthecate, motile by means of a polar flagellum, non-spore-forming and non-capsulated. The strain formed small white colonies and grew aerobically and chemo-organotrophically utilizing organic acids, amino acids and proteinaceous substrates. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis indicated that this bacterium was related to Aquidulcibacter paucihalophilus TH1-2T and Asprobacter aquaticus DRW22-8T with 91.3 and 89.7% sequence similarity, respectively. Four unidentified glycolipids were detected as the major polar lipids and, unlike all described members of the family Caulobacteraceae, phosphatidylglycerol was absent. The major fatty acids were summed feature 8 (C18 : 1ω7c/C18 : 1ω6c), summed feature 9 (iso-C17 : 1ω9c/C16 : 0 10-methyl), C16 : 0 and summed feature 3 (C16 : 1ω6c/C16 : 1ω7c). The major respiratory quinone was Q-10. The G+C content of the genomic DNA was 63.5 %. Based on the present taxonomic characterization, strain 0127_4T represents a novel species of a new genus, Terricaulis silvestris gen. nov., sp. nov. The type strain of Terricaulis silvestris is 0127_4T (=DSM 104635T=CECT 9243T).
  • Computational strategies to combat COVID-19: useful tools to accelerate SARS-CoV-2 and coronavirus research.

    Hufsky, Franziska; Lamkiewicz, Kevin; Almeida, Alexandre; Aouacheria, Abdel; Arighi, Cecilia; Bateman, Alex; Baumbach, Jan; Beerenwinkel, Niko; Brandt, Christian; Cacciabue, Marco; et al. (Oxford Academic, 2020-11-04)
    SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) is a novel virus of the family Coronaviridae. The virus causes the infectious disease COVID-19. The biology of coronaviruses has been studied for many years. However, bioinformatics tools designed explicitly for SARS-CoV-2 have only recently been developed as a rapid reaction to the need for fast detection, understanding and treatment of COVID-19. To control the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is of utmost importance to get insight into the evolution and pathogenesis of the virus. In this review, we cover bioinformatics workflows and tools for the routine detection of SARS-CoV-2 infection, the reliable analysis of sequencing data, the tracking of the COVID-19 pandemic and evaluation of containment measures, the study of coronavirus evolution, the discovery of potential drug targets and development of therapeutic strategies. For each tool, we briefly describe its use case and how it advances research specifically for SARS-CoV-2. All tools are free to use and available online, either through web applications or public code repositories.
  • Dissecting Herpes Simplex Virus 1-Induced Host Shutoff at the RNA Level.

    Friedel, Caroline C; Whisnant, Adam W; Djakovic, Lara; Rutkowski, Andrzej J; Friedl, Marie-Sophie; Kluge, Michael; Williamson, James C; Sai, Somesh; Vidal, Ramon Oliveira; Sauer, Sascha; et al. (American Society for Microbilogy (ASM), 2020-11-04)
    Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) induces a profound host shut-off during lytic infection. The virion host shut-off (vhs) protein plays a key role in this process by efficiently cleaving host and viral mRNAs. Furthermore, the onset of viral DNA replication is accompanied by a rapid decline in host transcriptional activity. To dissect relative contributions of both mechanisms and elucidate gene-specific host transcriptional responses throughout the first 8h of lytic HSV-1 infection, we employed RNA-seq of total, newly transcribed (4sU-labelled) and chromatin-associated RNA in wild-type (WT) and Δvhs infection of primary human fibroblasts. Following virus entry, vhs activity rapidly plateaued at an elimination rate of around 30% of cellular mRNAs per hour until 8h p.i. In parallel, host transcriptional activity dropped to 10-20%. While the combined effects of both phenomena dominated infection-induced changes in total RNA, extensive gene-specific transcriptional regulation was observable in chromatin-associated RNA and was surprisingly concordant between WT and Δvhs infection. Both induced strong transcriptional up-regulation of a small subset of genes that were poorly expressed prior to infection but already primed by H3K4me3 histone marks at their promoters. Most interestingly, analysis of chromatin-associated RNA revealed vhs-nuclease-activity-dependent transcriptional down-regulation of at least 150 cellular genes, in particular of many integrin adhesome and extracellular matrix components. This was accompanied by a vhs-dependent reduction in protein levels by 8h p.i. for many of these genes. In summary, our study provides a comprehensive picture of the molecular mechanisms that govern cellular RNA metabolism during the first 8h of lytic HSV-1 infection.IMPORTANCE The HSV-1 virion host shut-off (vhs) protein efficiently cleaves both host and viral mRNAs in a translation-dependent manner. In this study, we model and quantify changes in vhs activity as well as virus-induced global loss of host transcriptional activity during productive HSV-1 infection. In general, HSV-1-induced alterations in total RNA levels were dominated by these two global effects. In contrast, chromatin-associated RNA depicted gene-specific transcriptional changes. This revealed highly concordant transcriptional changes in WT and Δvhs infection, confirmed DUX4 as a key transcriptional regulator in HSV-1 infection and depicted vhs-dependent, transcriptional down-regulation of the integrin adhesome and extracellular matrix components. The latter explained seemingly gene-specific effects previously attributed to vhs-mediated mRNA degradation and resulted in a concordant loss in protein levels by 8h p.i. for many of the respective genes.
  • Eosinophilic pulmonary vasculitis as a manifestation of the hyperinflammatory phase of COVID-19.

    Luecke, Eva; Jeron, Andreas; Kroeger, Andrea; Bruder, Dunja; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Jechorek, Doerthe; Borucki, Katrin; Reinhold, Dirk; Reinhold, Annegret; Foellner, Sebastian; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-10-26)
    No abstract available
  • Synthetic rewiring and boosting type I interferon responses for visualization and counteracting viral infections.

    Gödecke, Natascha; Riedel, Jan; Herrmann, Sabrina; Behme, Sara; Rand, Ulfert; Kubsch, Tobias; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Hauser, Hansjörg; Köster, Mario; Wirth, Dagmar; et al. (Oxford Academic, 2020-11-18)
    Mammalian first line of defense against viruses is accomplished by the interferon (IFN) system. Viruses have evolved numerous mechanisms to reduce the IFN action allowing them to invade the host and/or to establish latency. We generated an IFN responsive intracellular hub by integrating the synthetic transactivator tTA into the chromosomal Mx2 locus for IFN-based activation of tTA dependent expression modules. The additional implementation of a synthetic amplifier module with positive feedback even allowed for monitoring and reacting to infections of viruses that can antagonize the IFN system. Low and transient IFN amounts are sufficient to trigger these amplifier cells. This gives rise to higher and sustained-but optionally de-activatable-expression even when the initial stimulus has faded out. Amplification of the IFN response induced by IFN suppressing viruses is sufficient to protect cells from infection. Together, this interfaced sensor/actuator system provides a toolbox for robust sensing and counteracting viral infections.

View more