Recent Submissions

  • Clarithromycin Exerts an Antibiofilm Effect against rdar Biofilm Formation, and Transforms the Physiology towards an Apparent Oxygen-depleted Energy and Carbon Metabolism.

    Zafar, Munira; Jahan, Humera; Shafeeq, Sulman; Nimtz, Manfred; Jänsch, Lothar; Römling, Ute; Choudhary, M Iqbal; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ASM, 2020-08-24)
    Upon biofilm formation, production of extracellular matrix components and alteration in physiology and metabolism allows bacteria to build up multicellular communities which can facilitate nutrient acquisition during unfavorable conditions and provide protection towards various forms of environmental stresses to individual cells. Thus, bacterial cells become tolerant against antimicrobials and the immune system within biofilms. In the current study, we evaluated the antibiofilm activity of the macrolides clarithromycin and azithromycin. Clarithromycin showed antibiofilm activity against rdar (red, dry and rough) biofilm formation of the gastrointestinal pathogen Salmonella typhimurium ATCC14028 Nalr at 1.56 μM subinhibitory concentration in standing culture and dissolved cell aggregates at 15 μM in a microaerophilic environment suggesting that the oxygen level affects the activity of the drug. Treatment with clarithromycin significantly decreased transcription and production of the rdar biofilm activator CsgD, with biofilm genes such as csgB and adrA to be consistently downregulated. While fliA and other flagellar regulon genes were upregulated, apparent motility was downregulated. RNA sequencing showed a holistic cell response upon clarithromycin exposure, whereby not only genes involved in the biofilm-related regulatory pathways, but also genes that likely contribute to intrinsic antimicrobial resistance, and the heat shock stress response were differentially regulated. Most significantly, clarithromycin exposure shifts the cells towards an apparent oxygen- and energy- depleted status, whereby the metabolism that channels into oxidative phosphorylation is downregulated, and energy gain by degradation of propane 1,2-diol, ethanolamine and L-arginine catabolism, potentially also to prevent cytosolic, is upregulated. This analysis will allow the subsequent identification of novel intrinsic antimicrobial resistance determinants.
  • Results of the first pilot external quality assessment (EQA) scheme for anti-SARS-CoV2-antibody testing.

    Haselmann, Verena; Özçürümez, Mustafa K; Klawonn, Frank; Ast, Volker; Gerhards, Catharina; Eichner, Romy; Costina, Victor; Dobler, Gerhard; Geilenkeuser, Wolf-Jochen; Wölfel, Roman; et al. (DeGruyter, 2020-08-27)
  • Observing Protein Degradation by the PAN-20S Proteasome by Time-Resolved Neutron Scattering.

    Mahieu, Emilie; Covès, Jacques; Krüger, Georg; Martel, Anne; Moulin, Martine; Carl, Nico; Härtlein, Michael; Carlomagno, Teresa; Franzetti, Bruno; Gabel, Frank; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-06-24)
    The proteasome is a key player of regulated protein degradation in all kingdoms of life. Although recent atomic structures have provided snapshots on a number of conformations, data on substrate states and populations during the active degradation process in solution remain scarce. Here, we use time-resolved small-angle neutron scattering of a deuterium-labeled GFPssrA substrate and an unlabeled archaeal PAN-20S system to obtain direct structural information on substrate states during ATP-driven unfolding and subsequent proteolysis in solution. We find that native GFPssrA structures are degraded in a biexponential process, which correlates strongly with ATP hydrolysis, the loss of fluorescence, and the buildup of small oligopeptide products. Our solution structural data support a model in which the substrate is directly translocated from PAN into the 20S proteolytic chamber, after a first, to our knowledge, successful unfolding process that represents a point of no return and thus prevents dissociation of the complex and the release of harmful, aggregation-prone products.
  • Heparin 2.0: A New Approach to the Infection Crisis.

    Seffer, Malin-Theres; Cottam, Daniel; Forni, Lui G; Kielstein, Jan T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Karger AG, 2020-07-02)
    In April 2020, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for certain medical devices to be used in patients with coronavirus disease 2019 (CO-VID-19). This included extracorporeal blood purification devices. This narrative review will give a brief overview regarding some of the extracorporeal devices that could be used to treat COVID-19 patients, including the Seraph® 100 Microbind® Affinity Blood Filter, produced by ExThera Medical (Martinez, CA, USA), first licensed in the European Economic Area in 2019. The Seraph® 100 contains ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene beads with end point-attached heparin and is approved for the reduction of pathogens from the bloodstream either as a single agent or as an adjunct to conventional anti-infective agents. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, and toxins have been shown to bind to the immobilized heparin in a similar way to the interaction with heparan sulfate on the cell surface. This binding is nonreversible and as such, the pathogens are removed from the bloodstream. In this review, we describe the pathophysiological basis and rationale for using heparin for pathogen removal from the blood as well as exploring the technology behind the adaptation of heparin to deprive it of its systemic anticoagulant activity. In addition, we summarize the in vitro data as well as the available preclinical testing and published clinical reports. Finally, we discuss the enormous potential of this technology in an era of increasing antibiotic resistance and high mortality associated with sepsis and consider the application of this as a possible treatment option for COVID-19.
  • Clearance of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine by the Seraph® 100 Microbind® Affinity blood filter - approved for the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

    Seffer, Malin-Theres; Martens-Lobenhoffer, Jens; Schmidt, Julius J; Eden, Gabriele; Bode-Böger, Stefanie M; Kielstein, Jan T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-06-19)
    On April 17th 2020 the US Food and Drug Administration granted Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) emergency use authorizations for the Seraph® 100 Microbind® Affinity Blood Filter. The medical device is aimed to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients with confirmed or imminent respiratory failure. The aim of this life size in vitro pharmacokinetic study was to investigate the in-vitro adsorption of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine from human plasma using equipment that is also used at the bedside. After start of the hemoperfusion Pre (Cpre ) Seraph® plasma levels were obtained at 5 (C5 ), 10 (C10 ), 15 (C15 ), 30 (C30 ), 60 (C60 ) and 120 (C120 ) minutes into the procedure. At two timepoints (5 min and 120 min) post (Cpost ) Seraph® plasma levels were determined that were used to calculate the plasma clearance. Both drugs were determined using a validated HPLC method Median [IQR] plasma clearance of the Seraph for chloroquine / hydroxychloroquine was 1.71 [0.51-4.38] ml/min / 1.79 [0.21-3.68] ml/min respectively. The lack of elimination was also confirmed by the fact that plasma levels did not change over the 120 min treatment. As neither chloroquine nor hydroxychloroquine were removed by the treatment with the Seraph dose adjustments in COVID-19 patients undergoing this treatment are not necessary. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
  • The crystal structure of the heme d biosynthesis-associated small c-type cytochrome NirC reveals mixed oligomeric states in crystallo.

    Klünemann, Thomas; Henke, Steffi; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (: International Union of Crystallography, 2020-03-25)
    Monoheme c-type cytochromes are important electron transporters in all domains of life. They possess a common fold hallmarked by three α-helices that surround a covalently attached heme. An intriguing feature of many monoheme c-type cytochromes is their capacity to form oligomers by exchanging at least one of their α-helices, which is often referred to as 3D domain swapping. Here, the crystal structure of NirC, a c-type cytochrome co-encoded with other proteins involved in nitrite reduction by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, has been determined. The crystals diffracted anisotropically to a maximum resolution of 2.12 Å (spherical resolution of 2.83 Å) and initial phases were obtained by Fe-SAD phasing, revealing the presence of 11 NirC chains in the asymmetric unit. Surprisingly, these protomers arrange into one monomer and two different types of 3D domain-swapped dimers, one of which shows pronounced asymmetry. While the simultaneous observation of monomers and dimers probably reflects the interplay between the high protein concentration required for crystallization and the structural plasticity of monoheme c-type cytochromes, the identification of conserved structural motifs in the monomer together with a comparison with similar proteins may offer new leads to unravel the unknown function of NirC.
  • Structure of heme d-free cd nitrite reductase NirS.

    Klünemann, Thomas; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (International Union of Crystallography, 2020-05-29)
    A key step in anaerobic nitrate respiration is the reduction of nitrite to nitric oxide, which is catalysed by the cd1 nitrite reductase NirS in, for example, the Gram-negative opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Each subunit of this homodimeric enzyme consists of a cytochrome c domain and an eight-bladed β-propeller that binds the uncommon isobacteriochlorin heme d1 as an essential part of its active site. Although NirS has been well studied mechanistically and structurally, the focus of previous studies has been on the active heme d1-bound form. The heme d1-free form of NirS reported here, which represents a premature state of the reductase, adopts an open conformation with the cytochrome c domains moved away from each other with respect to the active enzyme. Further, the movement of a loop around Trp498 seems to be related to a widening of the propeller, allowing easier access to the heme d1-binding side. Finally, a possible link between the open conformation of NirS and flagella formation in P. aeruginosa is discussed.
  • Responsiveness to Influenza Vaccination Correlates with NKG2C-Expression on NK Cells.

    Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Pathirana, Rishi D; Klawonn, Frank; Cox, Rebecca J; Guzmán, Carlos A; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-06-05)
    Influenza vaccination often results in a large percentage of low responders, especially in high-risk groups. As a first line of defense, natural killer (NK) cells play a crucial role in the fight against infections. However, their implication with regard to vaccine responsiveness is insufficiently assessed. Therefore, this study aimed at the validation of essential NK cell features potentially associated with differential vaccine responsiveness with a special focus on NKG2C- and/or CD57-expressing NK cells considered to harbor memory-like functions. To this end, 16 healthy volunteers were vaccinated with an adjuvanted pandemic influenza vaccine. Vaccine responders and low responders were classified according to their hemagglutination inhibition antibody titers. A majority of responders displayed enhanced frequencies of NKG2C-expressing NK cells 7- or 14-days post-vaccination as compared to low responders, whereas the expression of CD57 was not differentially modulated. The NK cell cytotoxic potential was found to be confined to CD56dimCD16+ NKG2C-expressing NK cells in the responders but not in the low responders, which was further confirmed by stochastic neighbor embedding analysis. The presented study is the first of its kind that ascribes CD56dimCD16+ NKG2C-expressing NK cells a crucial role in biasing adaptive immune responses upon influenza vaccination and suggests NKG2C as a potential biomarker in predicting pandemic influenza vaccine responsiveness.
  • Biocatalysts from Biosynthetic Pathways: Enabling Stereoselective, Enzymatic Cycloether Formation on a Gram Scale

    Hollmann, Tim; Berkhan, Gesche; Wagner, Lisa; Sung, Kwang Hoon; Kolb, Simon; Geise, Hendrik; Hahn, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2020-03-30)
    Biosynthetic pathways of natural products contain many enzymes that contribute to the rapid assembly of molecular complexity. Enzymes that form complex structural elements with multiple stereocenters, like chiral saturated oxygen heterocycles (CSOH), are of particular interest for a synthetic application, as their use promises to significantly simplify access to these elements. Here, the biocatalytic characterization of AmbDH3, an enzyme that catalyzes intramolecular oxa-Michael addition (IMOMA) is reported. This reaction essentially gives access to various types of CSOH with adjacent stereocenters, but it is not yet part of the repertoire of preparative biocatalysis. An in-depth study on the synthetic utility of AmbDH3 was performed, which made extensive use of complex synthetic precursor surrogates. The enzyme exhibited stability and broad substrate tolerance in in vitro experiments, which was in agreement with the results of molecular modeling. Its selectivity profile enabled kinetic resolution of chiral tetrahydropyrans (THPs) under control of up to four stereocenters. A systematic optimization of the reaction conditions enabled gram-scale conversions yielding preparative amounts of chiral THP. The synthetic utility of AmbDH3 was finally demonstrated by its successful application in the key step of a chemoenzymatic total synthesis to the THP-containing phenylheptanoid (−)-centrolobine. These results highlight the synthetic potential of AmbDH3 and related IMOMA cyclases as a biocatalytic alternative that further develops the available chemical-synthetic IMOMA methodology.
  • 1H, 13C, 15N chemical shift assignments of SHP2 SH2 domains in complex with PD-1 immune-tyrosine motifs.

    Marasco, Michelangelo; Kirkpatrick, John P; Carlomagno, Teresa; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-04-01)
    Inhibition of immune checkpoint receptor Programmed Death-1 (PD-1) via monoclonal antibodies is an established anticancer immunotherapeutic approach. This treatment has been largely successful; however, its high cost demands equally effective, more affordable alternatives. To date, the development of drugs targeting downstream players in the PD-1-dependent signaling pathway has been hampered by our poor understanding of the molecular details of the intermolecular interactions involved in the pathway. Activation of PD-1 leads to phosphorylation of two signaling motifs located in its cytoplasmic domain, the immune tyrosine inhibitory motif (ITIM) and immune tyrosine switch motif (ITSM), which recruit and activate protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP2. This interaction is mediated by the two Src homology 2 (SH2) domains of SHP2, termed N-SH2 and C-SH2, which recognize phosphotyrosines pY223 and pY248 of ITIM and ITSM, respectively. SHP2 then propagates the inhibitory signal, ultimately leading to suppression of T cell functionality. In order to facilitate mechanistic structural studies of this signaling pathway, we report the resonance assignments of the complexes formed by the signaling motifs of PD-1 and the SH2 domains of SHP2.
  • Crystal structure of NirF: insights into its role in heme d biosynthesis.

    Klünemann, Thomas; NIMTZ, MANFRED; Jänsch, Lothar; Layer, Gunhild; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley Online Open, 2020-04-07)
    Certain facultative anaerobes such as the opportunistic human pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa can respire on nitrate, a process generally known as denitrification. This enables denitrifying bacteria to survive in anoxic environments and contributes, for example, to the formation of biofilm, hence increasing difficulties in eradicating P. aeruginosa infections. A central step in denitrification is the reduction of nitrite to nitric oxide by nitrite reductase NirS, an enzyme that requires the unique cofactor heme d1 . While heme d1 biosynthesis is mostly understood, the role of the essential periplasmatic protein NirF in this pathway remains unclear. Here, we have determined crystal structures of NirF and its complex with dihydroheme d1 , the last intermediate of heme d1 biosynthesis. We found that NirF forms a bottom-to-bottom β-propeller homodimer and confirmed this by multi-angle light and small-angle X-ray scattering. The N termini are adjacent to each other and project away from the core structure, which hints at simultaneous membrane anchoring via both N termini. Further, the complex with dihydroheme d1 allowed us to probe the importance of specific residues in the vicinity of the ligand binding site, revealing residues not required for binding or stability of NirF but essential for denitrification in experiments with complemented mutants of a ΔnirF strain of P. aeruginosa. Together, these data suggest that NirF possesses a yet unknown enzymatic activity and is not simply a binding protein of heme d1 derivatives. DATABASE: Structural data are available in PDB database under the accession numbers 6TV2 and 6TV9.
  • The guide sRNA sequence determines the activity level of box C/D RNPs.

    Graziadei, Andrea; Gabel, Frank; Kirkpatrick, John; Carlomagno, Teresa; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2020-03-23)
    2'-O-rRNA methylation, which is essential in eukaryotes and archaea, is catalysed by the Box C/D RNP complex in an RNA-guided manner. Despite the conservation of the methylation sites, the abundance of site-specific modifications shows variability across species and tissues, suggesting that rRNA methylation may provide a means of controlling gene expression. As all Box C/D RNPs are thought to adopt a similar structure, it remains unclear how the methylation efficiency is regulated. Here, we provide the first structural evidence that, in the context of the Box C/D RNP, the affinity of the catalytic module fibrillarin for the substrate-guide helix is dependent on the RNA sequence outside the methylation site, thus providing a mechanism by which both the substrate and guide RNA sequences determine the degree of methylation. To reach this result, we develop an iterative structure-calculation protocol that exploits the power of integrative structural biology to characterize conformational ensembles.
  • Structure of a Protein-RNA Complex by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

    Ahmed, Mumdooh; Marchanka, Alexander; Carlomagno, Teresa; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-02-05)
    Solid-state NMR (ssNMR) is applicable to high molecular-weight (MW) protein assemblies in a non-amorphous precipitate. The technique yields atomic resolution structural information on both soluble and insoluble particles without limitations of MW or requirement of crystals. Herein, we propose and demonstrate an approach that yields the structure of protein-RNA complexes (RNP) solely from ssNMR data. Instead of using low-sensitivity magnetization transfer steps between heteronuclei of the protein and the RNA, we measure paramagnetic relaxation enhancement effects elicited on the RNA by a paramagnetic tag coupled to the protein. We demonstrate that this data, together with chemical-shift-perturbation data, yields an accurate structure of an RNP complex, starting from the bound structures of its components. The possibility of characterizing protein-RNA interactions by ssNMR may enable applications to large RNP complexes, whose structures are not accessible by other methods.
  • Molecular mechanism of SHP2 activation by PD-1 stimulation.

    Marasco, M; Berteotti, A; Weyershaeuser, J; Thorausch, N; Sikorska, J; Krausze, J; Brandt, H J; Kirkpatrick, J; Rios, P; Schamel, W W; et al. (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2020-01-01)
    In cancer, the programmed death-1 (PD-1) pathway suppresses T cell stimulation and mediates immune escape. Upon stimulation, PD-1 becomes phosphorylated at its immune receptor tyrosine-based inhibitory motif (ITIM) and immune receptor tyrosine-based switch motif (ITSM), which then bind the Src homology 2 (SH2) domains of SH2-containing phosphatase 2 (SHP2), initiating T cell inactivation. The SHP2-PD-1 complex structure and the exact functions of the two SH2 domains and phosphorylated motifs remain unknown. Here, we explain the structural basis and provide functional evidence for the mechanism of PD-1-mediated SHP2 activation. We demonstrate that full activation is obtained only upon phosphorylation of both ITIM and ITSM: ITSM binds C-SH2 with strong affinity, recruiting SHP2 to PD-1, while ITIM binds N-SH2, displacing it from the catalytic pocket and activating SHP2. This binding event requires the formation of a new inter-domain interface, offering opportunities for the development of novel immunotherapeutic approaches.
  • ADAP Promotes Degranulation and Migration of NK Cells Primed During Infection in Mice.

    Böning, Martha A L; Trittel, Stephanie; Riese, Peggy; van Ham, Marco; Heyner, Maxi; Voss, Martin; Parzmair, Gerald P; Klawonn, Frank; Jeron, Andreas; Guzman, Carlos A; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    The adhesion and degranulation-promoting adaptor protein (ADAP) serves as a multifunctional scaffold and is involved in the formation of immune signaling complexes. To date only limited and moreover conflicting data exist regarding the role of ADAP in NK cells. To extend existing knowledge we investigated ADAP-dependency of NK cells in the context of in vivo infection with the intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). Ex vivo analysis of infection-primed NK cells revealed impaired cytotoxic capacity in NK cells lacking ADAP as indicated by reduced CD107a surface expression and inefficient perforin production. However, ADAP-deficiency had no global effect on NK cell morphology or intracellular distribution of CD107a-containing vesicles. Proteomic definition of ADAPko and wild type NK cells did not uncover obvious differences in protein composition during the steady state and moreover, similar early response patterns were induced in NK cells upon infection independent of the genotype. In line with protein network analyses that suggested an altered migration phenotype in naïve ADAPko NK cells, in vitro migration assays uncovered significantly reduced migration of both naïve as well as infection-primed ADAPko NK cells compared to wild type NK cells. Notably, this migration defect was associated with a significantly reduced expression of the integrin CD11a on the surface of splenic ADAP-deficient NK cells 1 day post-Lm infection. We propose that ADAP-dependent alterations in integrin expression might account at least in part for the fact that during in vivo infection significantly lower numbers of ADAPko NK cells accumulate in the spleen i.e., the site of infection. In conclusion, we show here that during systemic Lm infection in mice ADAP is essential for efficient cytotoxic capacity and migration of NK cells.
  • Small-Angle Neutron Scattering of RNA-Protein Complexes.

    Lapinaite, Audrone; Carlomagno, Teresa; Gabel, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-01-01)
    Small-angle neutron scattering (SANS) provides structural information on biomacromolecules and their complexes in dilute solutions at the nanometer length scale. The overall dimensions, shapes, and interactions can be probed and compared to information obtained by complementary structural biology techniques such as crystallography, NMR, and EM. SANS, in combination with solvent H2O/D2O exchange and/or deuteration, is particularly well suited to probe the internal structure of RNA-protein (RNP) complexes since neutrons are more sensitive than X-rays to the difference in scattering length densities of proteins and RNA, with respect to an aqueous solvent. In this book chapter we provide a practical guide on how to carry out SANS experiments on RNP complexes, as well as possibilities of data analysis and interpretation.
  • Molecular Mechanisms of Vaspin Action - From Adipose Tissue to Skin and Bone, from Blood Vessels to the Brain.

    Weiner, Juliane; Zieger, Konstanze; Pippel, Jan; Heiker, John T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2019-01-01)
    Visceral adipose tissue-derived serine protease inhibitor (vaspin) or SERPINA12 according to the serpin nomenclature was identified together with other genes and gene products that were specifically expressed or overexpressed in the intra-abdominal or visceral adipose tissue (AT) of the Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rat. These rats spontaneously develop visceral obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and -glycemia, as well as hypertension and thus represent a well suited animal model of obesity and related metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.The follow-up study reporting the cloning, expression and functional characterization of vaspin suggested the great and promising potential of this molecule to counteract obesity induced insulin resistance and inflammation and has since initiated over 300 publications, clinical and experimental, that have contributed to uncover the multifaceted functions and molecular mechanisms of vaspin action not only in the adipose, but in many different cells, tissues and organs. This review will give an update on mechanistic and structural aspects of vaspin with a focus on its serpin function, the physiology and regulation of vaspin expression, and will summarize the latest on vaspin function in various tissues such as the different adipose tissue depots as well as the vasculature, skin, bone and the brain.
  • In vivo model to study the impact of genetic variation on clinical outcome of mastitis in uniparous dairy cows.

    Rohmeier, L; Petzl, W; Koy, M; Eickhoff, T; Hülsebusch, A; Jander, S; Macias, L; Heimes, A; Engelmann, S; Hoedemaker, M; et al. (BioMed Central (BMC), 2020-01-31)
    BACKGROUND: In dairy herds, mastitis causes detrimental economic losses. Genetic selection offers a sustainable tool to select animals with reduced susceptibility towards postpartum diseases. Studying underlying mechanisms is important to assess the physiological processes that cause differences between selected haplotypes. Therefore, the objective of this study was to establish an in vivo infection model to study the impact of selecting for alternative paternal haplotypes in a particular genomic region on cattle chromosome 18 for mastitis susceptibility under defined conditions in uniparous dairy cows. RESULTS: At the start of pathogen challenge, no significant differences between the favorable (Q) and unfavorable (q) haplotypes were detected. Intramammary infection (IMI) with Staphylococcus aureus 1027 (S. aureus, n = 24, 96 h) or Escherichia coli 1303 (E. coli, n = 12, 24 h) was successfully induced in all uniparous cows. This finding was confirmed by clinical signs of mastitis and repeated recovery of the respective pathogen from milk samples of challenged quarters in each animal. After S. aureus challenge, Q-uniparous cows showed lower somatic cell counts 24 h and 36 h after challenge (P < 0.05), lower bacterial shedding in milk 12 h after challenge (P < 0.01) and a minor decrease in total milk yield 12 h and 24 h after challenge (P < 0.01) compared to q-uniparous cows. CONCLUSION: An in vivo infection model to study the impact of genetic selection for mastitis susceptibility under defined conditions in uniparous dairy cows was successfully established and revealed significant differences between the two genetically selected haplotype groups. This result might explain their differences in susceptibility towards IMI. These clinical findings form the basis for further in-depth molecular analysis to clarify the underlying genetic mechanisms for mastitis resistance.
  • The Alkylquinolone Repertoire of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is Linked to Structural Flexibility of the FabH-like 2-Heptyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone (PQS) Biosynthesis Enzyme PqsBC.

    Witzgall, Florian; Depke, Tobias; Hoffmann, Michael; Empting, Martin; Brönstrup, Mark; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2018-07-16)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. It produces a large armory of saturated and mono-unsaturated 2-alkyl-4(1H)-quinolones (AQs) and AQ N-oxides (AQNOs) that serve as signaling molecules to control the production of virulence factors and that are involved in membrane vesicle formation and iron chelation; furthermore, they also have, for example, antibiotic properties. It has been shown that the β-ketoacyl-acyl-carrier protein synthase III (FabH)-like heterodimeric enzyme PqsBC catalyzes the last step in the biosynthesis of the most abundant AQ congener, 2-heptyl-4(1H)-quinolone (HHQ), by condensing octanoyl-coenzyme A (CoA) with 2-aminobenzoylacetate (2-ABA), but the basis for the large number of other AQs/AQNOs produced by P. aeruginosa is not known. Here, we demonstrate that PqsBC uses different medium-chain acyl-CoAs to produce various saturated AQs/AQNOs and that it also biosynthesizes mono-unsaturated congeners. Further, we determined the structures of PqsBC in four different crystal forms at 1.5 to 2.7 Å resolution. Together with a previous report, the data reveal that PqsBC adopts open, intermediate, and closed conformations that alter the shape of the acyl-binding cavity and explain the promiscuity of PqsBC. The different conformations also allow us to propose a model for structural transitions that accompany the catalytic cycle of PqsBC that might have broader implications for other FabH-enzymes, for which such structural transitions have been postulated but have never been observed.
  • Insights into the Cnx1E catalyzed MPT-AMP hydrolysis.

    Hercher, Thomas W; Krausze, Joern; Hoffmeister, Sven; Zwerschke, Dagmar; Lindel, Thomas; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Mendel, Ralf R; Kruse, Tobias; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Portland Press, 2020-01-31)
    Molybdenum insertases (Mo-insertases) catalyze the final step of molybdenum cofactor (Moco) biosynthesis, an evolutionary old and highly conserved multi-step pathway. In the first step of the pathway, GTP serves as substrate for the formation of cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate, which is subsequently converted into molybdopterin (MPT) in the second pathway step. In the following synthesis steps, MPT is adenylated yielding MPT-AMP that is subsequently used as substrate for enzyme catalyzed molybdate insertion. Molybdate insertion and MPT-AMP hydrolysis are catalyzed by the Mo-insertase E-domain. Earlier work reported a highly conserved aspartate residue to be essential for Mo-insertase functionality. In this work, we confirmed the mechanistic relevance of this residue for the Arabidopsis thaliana Mo-insertase Cnx1E. We found that the conservative substitution of Cnx1E residue Asp274 by Glu (D274E) leads to an arrest of MPT-AMP hydrolysis and hence to the accumulation of MPT-AMP. We further showed that the MPT-AMP accumulation goes in hand with the accumulation of molybdate. By crystallization and structure determination of the Cnx1E variant D274E, we identified the potential reason for the missing hydrolysis activity in the disorder of the region spanning amino acids 269 to 274. We reasoned that this is caused by the inability of a glutamate in position 274 to coordinate the octahedral Mg2+-water complex in the Cnx1E active site.

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