Recent Submissions

  • UNC93B1 Is Widely Expressed in the Murine CNS and Is Required for Neuroinflammation and Neuronal Injury Induced by MicroRNA .

    Klammer, Markus G; Dzaye, Omar; Wallach, Thomas; Krüger, Christina; Gaessler, Dorothea; Buonfiglioli, Alice; Derkow, Katja; Kettenmann, Helmut; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Lehnardt, Seija; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-09-13)
    The chaperone protein Unc-93 homolog B1 (UNC93B1) regulates internalization, trafficking, and stabilization of nucleic acid-sensing Toll-like receptors (TLR) in peripheral immune cells. We sought to determine UNC93B1 expression and its functional relevance in inflammatory and injurious processes in the central nervous system (CNS). We found that UNC93B1 is expressed in various CNS cells including microglia, astrocytes, oligodendrocytes, and neurons, as assessed by PCR, immunocyto-/histochemistry, and flow cytometry. UNC93B1 expression in the murine brain increased during development. Exposure to the microRNA let-7b, a recently discovered endogenous TLR7 activator, but also to TLR3 and TLR4 agonists, led to increased UNC93B1 expression in microglia and neurons. Microglial activation by extracellular let-7b required functional UNC93B1, as assessed by TNF ELISA. Neuronal injury induced by extracellular let-7b was dependent on UNC93B1, as UNC93B1-deficient neurons were unaffected by the microRNA's neurotoxicity in vitro. Intrathecal application of let-7b triggered neurodegeneration in wild-type mice, whereas mice deficient for UNC93B1 were protected against injurious effects on neurons and axons. In summary, our data demonstrate broad UNC93B1 expression in the murine brain and establish this chaperone as a modulator of neuroinflammation and neuronal injury triggered by extracellular microRNA and subsequent induction of TLR signaling.
  • Helicobacter pylori CagA Induces Cortactin Y-470 Phosphorylation-Dependent Gastric Epithelial Cell Scattering via Abl, Vav2 and Rac1 Activation.

    Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Harrer, Aileen; Rottner, Klemens; Backert, Steffen; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-08-23)
    The pathogen Helicobacter pylori is the first reported bacterial type-1 carcinogen playing a role in the development of human malignancies, including gastric adenocarcinoma. Cancer cell motility is an important process in this scenario, however, the molecular mechanisms are still not fully understood. Here, we demonstrate that H. pylori subverts the actin-binding protein cortactin through its type-IV secretion system and injected oncoprotein CagA, e.g., by inducing tyrosine phosphorylation of cortactin at Y-470, which triggers gastric epithelial cell scattering and motility. During infection of AGS cells, cortactin was discovered to undergo tyrosine dephosphorylation at residues Y-421 and Y-486, which is mediated through inactivation of Src kinase. However, H. pylori also profoundly activates tyrosine kinase Abl, which simultaneously phosphorylates cortactin at Y-470. Phosphorylated cortactin interacts with the SH2-domain of Vav2, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the Rho-family of GTPases. The cortactin/Vav2 complex then stimulates a previously unrecognized activation cascade including the small GTPase Rac1, to effect actin rearrangements and cell scattering. We hypothesize that injected CagA targets cortactin to locally open the gastric epithelium in order to get access to certain nutrients. This may disturb the cellular barrier functions, likely contributing to the induction of cell motility, which is important in gastric cancer development.
  • Cortactin Is Required for Efficient FAK, Src and Abl Tyrosine Kinase Activation and Phosphorylation of CagA.

    Knorr, Jakob; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Fiedler, Florian; Soltan Esmaeili, Delara; Rohde, Manfred; Rottner, Klemens; Backert, Steffen; Tegtmeyer, Nicole; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-03)
    Cortactin is a well-known regulatory protein of the host actin cytoskeleton and represents an attractive target of microbial pathogens like Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori manipulates cortactin's phosphorylation status by type-IV secretion-dependent injection of its virulence protein CagA. Multiple host tyrosine kinases, like FAK, Src, and Abl, are activated during infection, but the pathway(s) involved is (are) not yet fully established. Among them, Src and Abl target CagA and stimulate tyrosine phosphorylation of the latter at its EPIYA-motifs. To investigate the role of cortactin in more detail, we generated a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of cortactin in AGS gastric epithelial cells. Surprisingly, we found that FAK, Src, and Abl kinase activities were dramatically downregulated associated with widely diminished CagA phosphorylation in cortactin knockout cells compared to the parental control. Together, we report here a yet unrecognized cortactin-dependent signaling pathway involving FAK, Src, and Abl activation, and controlling efficient phosphorylation of injected CagA during infection. Thus, the cortactin status could serve as a potential new biomarker of gastric cancer development.
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14 produces R-bodies, extendable protein polymers with roles in host colonization and virulence.

    Wang, Bryan; Lin, Yu-Cheng; Vasquez-Rifo, Alejandro; Jo, Jeanyoung; Price-Whelan, Alexa; McDonald, Shujuan Tao; Brown, Lewis M; Sieben, Christian; Dietrich, Lars E P; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Nature, 2021-07-29)
    R-bodies are long, extendable protein polymers formed in the cytoplasm of some bacteria; they are best known for their role in killing of paramecia by bacterial endosymbionts. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14, an opportunistic pathogen of diverse hosts, contains genes (referred to as the reb cluster) with potential to confer production of R-bodies and that have been implicated in virulence. Here, we show that products of the PA14 reb cluster associate with R-bodies and control stochastic expression of R-body structural genes. PA14 expresses reb genes during colonization of plant and nematode hosts, and R-body production is required for full virulence in nematodes. Analyses of nematode ribosome content and immune response indicate that P. aeruginosa R-bodies act via a mechanism involving ribosome cleavage and translational inhibition. Our observations provide insight into the biology of R-body production and its consequences during P. aeruginosa infection.
  • Analysis of Bacterial Communities on North Sea Macroalgae and Characterization of the Isolated Planctomycetes gen. nov., sp. nov., sp. nov., sp. nov. and sp. nov.

    Wiegand, Sandra; Rast, Patrick; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Heuer, Anja; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Kohn, Timo; Vollmers, John; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; et al. (MDPI, 2021-07-13)
    Planctomycetes are bacteria that were long thought to be unculturable, of low abundance, and therefore neglectable in the environment. This view changed in recent years, after it was shown that members of the phylum Planctomycetes can be abundant in many aquatic environments, e.g., in the epiphytic communities on macroalgae surfaces. Here, we analyzed three different macroalgae from the North Sea and show that Planctomycetes is the most abundant bacterial phylum on the alga Fucus sp., while it represents a minor fraction of the surface-associated bacterial community of Ulva sp. and Laminaria sp. Especially dominant within the phylum Planctomycetes were Blastopirellula sp., followed by Rhodopirellula sp., Rubripirellula sp., as well as other Pirellulaceae and Lacipirellulaceae, but also members of the OM190 lineage. Motivated by the observed abundance, we isolated four novel planctomycetal strains to expand the collection of species available as axenic cultures since access to different strains is a prerequisite to investigate the success of planctomycetes in marine environments. The isolated strains constitute four novel species belonging to one novel and three previously described genera in the order Pirellulales, class Planctomycetia, phylum Planctomycetes.
  • Cortactin Is Required for Efficient FAK, Src and Abl Tyrosine Kinase Activation and Phosphorylation of CagA.

    Knorr, Jakob; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Fiedler, Florian; Soltan Esmaeili, Delara; Rohde, Manfred; Rottner, Klemens; Backert, Steffen; Tegtmeyer, Nicole; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-03)
    Cortactin is a well-known regulatory protein of the host actin cytoskeleton and represents an attractive target of microbial pathogens like Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori manipulates cortactin's phosphorylation status by type-IV secretion-dependent injection of its virulence protein CagA. Multiple host tyrosine kinases, like FAK, Src, and Abl, are activated during infection, but the pathway(s) involved is (are) not yet fully established. Among them, Src and Abl target CagA and stimulate tyrosine phosphorylation of the latter at its EPIYA-motifs. To investigate the role of cortactin in more detail, we generated a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of cortactin in AGS gastric epithelial cells. Surprisingly, we found that FAK, Src, and Abl kinase activities were dramatically downregulated associated with widely diminished CagA phosphorylation in cortactin knockout cells compared to the parental control. Together, we report here a yet unrecognized cortactin-dependent signaling pathway involving FAK, Src, and Abl activation, and controlling efficient phosphorylation of injected CagA during infection. Thus, the cortactin status could serve as a potential new biomarker of gastric cancer development.
  • Genome analyses of the carboxydotrophic sulfate-reducers Desulfotomaculum nigrificans and Desulfotomaculum carboxydivorans and reclassification of Desulfotomaculum caboxydivorans as a later synonym of Desulfotomaculum nigrificans.

    Visser, Michael; Parshina, Sofiya N; Alves, Joana I; Sousa, Diana Z; Pereira, Inês A C; Muyzer, Gerard; Kuever, Jan; Lebedinsky, Alexander V; Koehorst, Jasper J; Worm, Petra; et al. (BioMedCentral (BMC), 2014-06-15)
    Desulfotomaculum nigrificans and D. carboxydivorans are moderately thermophilic members of the polyphyletic spore-forming genus Desulfotomaculum in the family Peptococcaceae. They are phylogenetically very closely related and belong to 'subgroup a' of the Desulfotomaculum cluster 1. D. nigrificans and D. carboxydivorans have a similar growth substrate spectrum; they can grow with glucose and fructose as electron donors in the presence of sulfate. Additionally, both species are able to ferment fructose, although fermentation of glucose is only reported for D. carboxydivorans. D. nigrificans is able to grow with 20% carbon monoxide (CO) coupled to sulfate reduction, while D. carboxydivorans can grow at 100% CO with and without sulfate. Hydrogen is produced during growth with CO by D. carboxydivorans. Here we present a summary of the features of D. nigrificans and D. carboxydivorans together with the description of the complete genome sequencing and annotation of both strains. Moreover, we compared the genomes of both strains to reveal their differences. This comparison led us to propose a reclassification of D. carboxydivorans as a later heterotypic synonym of D. nigrificans.
  • Global mapping ofSalmonella entericahost protein-protein interactions during infection.

    Walch, Philipp; Selkrig, Joel; Knodler, Leigh A; Rettel, Mandy; Stein, Frank; Fernandez, Keith; Viéitez, Cristina; Potel, Clément M; Scholzen, Karoline; Geyer, Matthias; et al. (Cell Press, 2021-07-02)
    Intracellular bacterial pathogens inject effector proteins to hijack host cellular processes and promote their survival and proliferation. To systematically map effector-host protein-protein interactions (PPIs) during infection, we generated a library of 32 Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (STm) strains expressing chromosomally encoded affinity-tagged effectors and quantified PPIs in macrophages and epithelial cells. We identified 446 effector-host PPIs, 25 of which were previously described, and validated 13 by reciprocal co-immunoprecipitation. While effectors converged on the same host cellular processes, most had multiple targets, which often differed between cell types. We demonstrate that SseJ, SseL, and SifA modulate cholesterol accumulation at the Salmonella-containing vacuole (SCV) partially via the cholesterol transporter Niemann-Pick C1 protein. PipB recruits the organelle contact site protein PDZD8 to the SCV, and SteC promotes actin bundling by phosphorylating formin-like proteins. This study provides a method for probing host-pathogen PPIs during infection and a resource for interrogating STm effector mechanisms.
  • Loss of Hem1 disrupts macrophage function and impacts migration, phagocytosis, and integrin-mediated adhesion.

    Stahnke, Stephanie; Döring, Hermann; Kusch, Charly; de Gorter, David J J; Dütting, Sebastian; Guledani, Aleks; Pleines, Irina; Schnoor, Michael; Sixt, Michael; Geffers, Robert; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-03-11)
    Hematopoietic-specific protein 1 (Hem1) is an essential subunit of the WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) in immune cells. WRC is crucial for Arp2/3 complex activation and the protrusion of branched actin filament networks. Moreover, Hem1 loss of function in immune cells causes autoimmune diseases in humans. Here, we show that genetic removal of Hem1 in macrophages diminishes frequency and efficacy of phagocytosis as well as phagocytic cup formation in addition to defects in lamellipodial protrusion and migration. Moreover, Hem1-null macrophages displayed strong defects in cell adhesion despite unaltered podosome formation and concomitant extracellular matrix degradation. Specifically, dynamics of both adhesion and de-adhesion as well as concomitant phosphorylation of paxillin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were significantly compromised. Accordingly, disruption of WRC function in non-hematopoietic cells coincided with both defects in adhesion turnover and altered FAK and paxillin phosphorylation. Consistently, platelets exhibited reduced adhesion and diminished integrin αIIbβ3 activation upon WRC removal. Interestingly, adhesion phenotypes, but not lamellipodia formation, were partially rescued by small molecule activation of FAK. A full rescue of the phenotype, including lamellipodia formation, required not only the presence of WRCs but also their binding to and activation by Rac. Collectively, our results uncover that WRC impacts on integrin-dependent processes in a FAK-dependent manner, controlling formation and dismantling of adhesions, relevant for properly grabbing onto extracellular surfaces and particles during cell edge expansion, like in migration or phagocytosis.
  • Analysis of bacterial communities in a municipal duck pond during a phytoplankton bloom and isolation of Anatilimnocola aggregata gen. nov., sp. nov., Lacipirellula limnantheis sp. nov. and Urbifossiella limnaea gen. nov., sp. nov. belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Rast, Patrick; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Kohn, Timo; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Heuer, Anja; Quast, Christian; Glöckner, Frank Oliver; et al. (Wiley & Sond Ltd., 2021-01-12)
    Waterbodies such as lakes and ponds are fragile environments affected by human influences. Suitable conditions can result in massive growth of phototrophs, commonly referred to as phytoplankton blooms. Such events benefit heterotrophic bacteria able to use compounds secreted by phototrophs or their biomass as major nutrient source. One example of such bacteria are Planctomycetes, which are abundant on the surfaces of marine macroscopic phototrophs; however, less data are available on their ecological roles in limnic environments. In this study, we followed a cultivation-independent deep sequencing approach to study the bacterial community composition during a cyanobacterial bloom event in a municipal duck pond. In addition to cyanobacteria, which caused the bloom event, members of the phylum Planctomycetes were significantly enriched in the cyanobacteria-attached fraction compared to the free-living fraction. Separate datasets based on isolated DNA and RNA point towards considerable differences in the abundance and activity of planctomycetal families, indicating different activity peaks of these families during the cyanobacterial bloom. Motivated by the finding that the sampling location harbours untapped bacterial diversity, we included a complementary cultivation-dependent approach and isolated and characterized three novel limnic strains belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes.
  • Call for a pan-European COVID-19 response must be comprehensive - Authors' reply.

    Priesemann, Viola; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Ciesek, Sandra; Cuschieri, Sarah; Czypionka, Thomas; Giordano, Giulia; Hanson, Claudia; Hens, Niel; Iftekhar, Emil; Klimek, Peter; et al. (Elsevier, 2021-04-22)
    No abstract available
  • The Zinc Finger Antiviral Protein ZAP Restricts Human Cytomegalovirus and Selectively Binds and Destabilizes Viral / Transcripts.

    Gonzalez-Perez, Ana Cristina; Stempel, Markus; Wyler, Emanuel; Urban, Christian; Piras, Antonio; Hennig, Thomas; Ganskih, Sabina; Wei, Yuanjie; Heim, Albert; Landthaler, Markus; et al. (ASM, 2021-05-04)
    Interferon-stimulated gene products (ISGs) play a crucial role in early infection control. The ISG zinc finger CCCH-type antiviral protein 1 (ZAP/ZC3HAV1) antagonizes several RNA viruses by binding to CG-rich RNA sequences, whereas its effect on DNA viruses is less well understood. Here, we decipher the role of ZAP in the context of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, a β-herpesvirus that is associated with high morbidity in immunosuppressed individuals and newborns. We show that expression of the two major isoforms of ZAP, ZAP-S and ZAP-L, is induced during HCMV infection and that both negatively affect HCMV replication. Transcriptome and proteome analyses demonstrated that the expression of ZAP results in reduced viral mRNA and protein levels and decelerates the progression of HCMV infection. Metabolic RNA labeling combined with high-throughput sequencing (SLAM-seq) revealed that most of the gene expression changes late in infection result from the general attenuation of HCMV. Furthermore, at early stages of infection, ZAP restricts HCMV by destabilizing a distinct subset of viral mRNAs, particularly those from the previously uncharacterized UL4-UL6 HCMV gene locus. Through enhanced cross-linking immunoprecipitation and sequencing analysis (eCLIP-seq), we identified the transcripts expressed from this HCMV locus as the direct targets of ZAP. Moreover, our data show that ZAP preferentially recognizes not only CG, but also other cytosine-rich sequences, thereby expanding its target specificity. In summary, this report is the first to reveal direct targets of ZAP during HCMV infection, which strongly indicates that transcripts from the UL4-UL6 locus may play an important role for HCMV replication.IMPORTANCE Viral infections have a large impact on society, leading to major human and economic losses and even global instability. So far, many viral infections, including human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection, are treated with a small repertoire of drugs, often accompanied by the occurrence of resistant mutants. There is no licensed HCMV vaccine in sight to protect those most at risk, particularly immunocompromised individuals or pregnant women who might otherwise transmit the virus to the fetus. Thus, the identification of novel intervention strategies is urgently required. In this study, we show that ZAP decelerates the viral gene expression cascade, presumably by selectively handpicking a distinct set of viral transcripts for degradation. Our study illustrates the potent role of ZAP as an HCMV restriction factor and sheds light on a possible role for UL4 and/or UL5 early during infection, paving a new avenue for the exploration of potential targets for novel therapies.
  • Fed-Batch - Polyhydroxyalkanoates Production in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and Δ phaZ KT2440 and Δ Mutant on Biodiesel-Derived Crude Glycerol.

    Borrero-de Acuña, José Manuel; Rohde, Manfred; Saldias, Cesar; Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-03-16)
    Crude glycerol has emerged as a suitable feedstock for the biotechnological production of various industrial chemicals given its high surplus catalyzed by the biodiesel industry. Pseudomonas bacteria metabolize the polyol into several biopolymers, including alginate and medium-chain-length poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (mcl-PHAs). Although P. putida is a suited platform to derive these polyoxoesters from crude glycerol, the attained concentrations in batch and fed-batch cultures are still low. In this study, we employed P. putida KT2440 and the hyper-PHA producer ΔphaZ mutant in two different fed-batch modes to synthesize mcl-PHAs from raw glycerol. Initially, the cells grew in a batch phase (μ max 0.21 h-1) for 22 h followed by a carbon-limiting exponential feeding, where the specific growth rate was set at 0.1 (h-1), resulting in a cell dry weight (CDW) of nearly 50 (g L-1) at 40 h cultivation. During the PHA production stage, we supplied the substrate at a constant rate of 50 (g h-1), where the KT2440 and the ΔphaZ produced 9.7 and 12.7 gPHA L-1, respectively, after 60 h cultivation. We next evaluated the PHA production ability of the P. putida strains using a DO-stat approach under nitrogen depletion. Citric acid was the main by-product secreted by the cells, accumulating in the culture broth up to 48 (g L-1) under nitrogen limitation. The mutant ΔphaZ amassed 38.9% of the CDW as mcl-PHA and exhibited a specific PHA volumetric productivity of 0.34 (g L-1 h-1), 48% higher than the parental KT2440 under the same growth conditions. The biosynthesized mcl-PHAs had average molecular weights ranging from 460 to 505 KDa and a polydispersity index (PDI) of 2.4-2.6. Here, we demonstrated that the DO-stat feeding approach in high cell density cultures enables the high yield production of mcl-PHA in P. putida strains using the industrial crude glycerol, where the fed-batch process selection is essential to exploit the superior biopolymer production hallmarks of engineered bacterial strains.
  • European Journal of Cell Biology - Editorial.

    Rottner, Klemens; Vicente-Manzanares, Miguel; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2021-04-20)
    [No abstract available]
  • Filling the Gaps in the Cyanobacterial Tree of Life-Metagenome Analysis of Stigonema ocellatum DSM 106950, SAG 13.99 and DSM 107014.

    Marter, Pia; Huang, Sixing; Brinkmann, Henner; Pradella, Silke; Jarek, Michael; Rohde, Manfred; Bunk, Boyke; Petersen, Jörn; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-09)
    Cyanobacteria represent one of the most important and diverse lineages of prokaryotes with an unparalleled morphological diversity ranging from unicellular cocci and characteristic colony-formers to multicellular filamentous strains with different cell types. Sequencing of more than 1200 available reference genomes was mainly driven by their ecological relevance (Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus), toxicity (Microcystis) and the availability of axenic strains. In the current study three slowly growing non-axenic cyanobacteria with a distant phylogenetic positioning were selected for metagenome sequencing in order to (i) investigate their genomes and to (ii) uncover the diversity of associated heterotrophs. High-throughput Illumina sequencing, metagenomic assembly and binning allowed us to establish nearly complete high-quality draft genomes of all three cyanobacteria and to determine their phylogenetic position. The cyanosphere of the limnic isolates comprises up to 40 heterotrophic bacteria that likely coexisted for several decades, and it is dominated by Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteriodetes. The diagnostic marker protein RpoB ensured in combination with our novel taxonomic assessment via BLASTN-dependent text-mining a reliable classification of the metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs). The detection of one new family and more than a dozen genera of uncultivated heterotrophic bacteria illustrates that non-axenic cyanobacteria are treasure troves of hidden microbial diversity.
  • The Two-Component System 09 Regulates Pneumococcal Carbohydrate Metabolism and Capsule Expression.

    Hirschmann, Stephanie; Gómez-Mejia, Alejandro; Mäder, Ulrike; Karsunke, Julia; Driesch, Dominik; Rohde, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Burchhardt, Gerhard; Hammerschmidt, Sven; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-02-24)
    Streptococcus pneumoniae two-component regulatory systems (TCSs) are important systems that perceive and respond to various host environmental stimuli. In this study, we have explored the role of TCS09 on gene expression and phenotypic alterations in S. pneumoniae D39. Our comparative transcriptomic analyses identified 67 differently expressed genes in total. Among those, agaR and the aga operon involved in galactose metabolism showed the highest changes. Intriguingly, the encapsulated and nonencapsulated hk09-mutants showed significant growth defects under nutrient-defined conditions, in particular with galactose as a carbon source. Phenotypic analyses revealed alterations in the morphology of the nonencapsulated hk09- and tcs09-mutants, whereas the encapsulated hk09- and tcs09-mutants produced higher amounts of capsule. Interestingly, the encapsulated D39∆hk09 showed only the opaque colony morphology, while the D39∆rr09- and D39∆tcs09-mutants had a higher proportion of transparent variants. The phenotypic variations of D39ΔcpsΔhk09 and D39ΔcpsΔtcs09 are in accordance with their higher numbers of outer membrane vesicles, higher sensitivity against Triton X-100 induced autolysis, and lower resistance against oxidative stress. In conclusion, these results indicate the importance of TCS09 for pneumococcal metabolic fitness and resistance against oxidative stress by regulating the carbohydrate metabolism and thereby, most likely indirectly, the cell wall integrity and amount of capsular polysaccharide.
  • Salmonella Typhimurium discreet-invasion of the murine gut absorptive epithelium.

    Fattinger, Stefan A; Böck, Desirée; Di Martino, Maria Letizia; Deuring, Sabrina; Samperio Ventayol, Pilar; Ek, Viktor; Furter, Markus; Kreibich, Saskia; Bosia, Francesco; Müller-Hauser, Anna A; et al. (PLOS, 2020-05-04)
    Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S.Tm) infections of cultured cell lines have given rise to the ruffle model for epithelial cell invasion. According to this model, the Type-Three-Secretion-System-1 (TTSS-1) effectors SopB, SopE and SopE2 drive an explosive actin nucleation cascade, resulting in large lamellipodia- and filopodia-containing ruffles and cooperative S.Tm uptake. However, cell line experiments poorly recapitulate many of the cell and tissue features encountered in the host's gut mucosa. Here, we employed bacterial genetics and multiple imaging modalities to compare S.Tm invasion of cultured epithelial cell lines and the gut absorptive epithelium in vivo in mice. In contrast to the prevailing ruffle-model, we find that absorptive epithelial cell entry in the mouse gut occurs through "discreet-invasion". This distinct entry mode requires the conserved TTSS-1 effector SipA, involves modest elongation of local microvilli in the absence of expansive ruffles, and does not favor cooperative invasion. Discreet-invasion preferentially targets apicolateral hot spots at cell-cell junctions and shows strong dependence on local cell neighborhood. This proof-of-principle evidence challenges the current model for how S.Tm can enter gut absorptive epithelial cells in their intact in vivo context.
  • Targeting bioenergetics is key to counteracting the drug-tolerant state of biofilm-grown bacteria.

    Donnert, Monique; Elsheikh, Sarah; Arce-Rodriguez, Alejandro; Pawar, Vinay; Braubach, Peter; Jonigk, Danny; Haverich, Axel; Weiss, Siegfried; Müsken, Mathias; Häussler, Susanne; et al. (PLOS, 2020-12-22)
    Embedded in an extracellular matrix, biofilm-residing bacteria are protected from diverse physicochemical insults. In accordance, in the human host the general recalcitrance of biofilm-grown bacteria hinders successful eradication of chronic, biofilm-associated infections. In this study, we demonstrate that upon addition of promethazine, an FDA approved drug, antibiotic tolerance of in vitro biofilm-grown bacteria can be abolished. We show that following the addition of promethazine, diverse antibiotics are capable of efficiently killing biofilm-residing cells at minimal inhibitory concentrations. Synergistic effects could also be observed in a murine in vivo model system. PMZ was shown to increase membrane potential and interfere with bacterial respiration. Of note, antibiotic killing activity was elevated when PMZ was added to cells grown under environmental conditions that induce low intracellular proton levels. Our results imply that biofilm-grown bacteria avoid antibiotic killing and become tolerant by counteracting intracellular alkalization through the adaptation of metabolic and transport functions. Abrogation of antibiotic tolerance by interfering with the cell's bioenergetics promises to pave the way for successful eradication of biofilm-associated infections. Repurposing promethazine as a biofilm-sensitizing drug has the potential to accelerate the introduction of new treatments for recalcitrant, biofilm-associated infections into the clinic.
  • Resolution of the Hypoxylon fuscum complex (hypoxylaceae, xylariales) and discovery and biological characterization of two of its prominent secondary metabolites.

    Lambert, Christopher; Pourmoghaddam, Mohammad Javad; Cedeño-Sanchez, Marjorie; Surup, Frank; Khodaparast, Seyed Akbar; Krisai-Greilhuber, Irmgard; Voglmayr, Hermann; Stradal, Theresia E B; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-02-11)
    Hypoxylon, a large, cosmopolitan genus of Ascomycota is in the focus of our current poly-thetic taxonomic studies, and served as an excellent source for bioactive secondary metabolites at the same time. The present work concerns a survey of the Hypoxylon fuscum species complex based on specimens from Iran and Europe by morphological studies and high performance liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry and diode array detection (HPLC-MS-DAD). Apart from known chemotaxonomic markers like binaphthalene tetrol (BNT) and daldinin F, two unprece-dented molecules were detected and subsequently isolated to purity by semi preparative HPLC. Their structures were established by nuclear-magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy as 3'-malonyl-daldinin F (6) and pseudofuscochalasin A (4). The new daldinin derivative 6 showed weak cytotoxicity towards mammalian cells but bactericidal activity. The new cytochalasin 4 was compared to cytochalasin C in an actin disruption assay using fluorescence microscopy of human osteo-sarcoma U2OS cells, revealing comparable activity towards F-actin but being irreversible compared to cytochalasin C. Concurrently, a multilocus molecular phylogeny based on ribosomal and proteinogenic nucleotide sequences of Hypoxylon species resulted in a well-supported clade for H. fuscum and its allies. From a comparison of morphological, chemotaxonomic and phylogenetic evidence, we introduce the new species H. eurasiaticum and H. pseudofuscum.
  • Kibdelosporangium persicum sp. nov., a new member of the Actinomycetes from a hot desert in Iran.

    Safaei, Nasim; Nouioui, Imen; Mast, Yvonne; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Rohde, Manfred; Schumann, Peter; Müller, Rolf; Wink, Joachim; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.;HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Microbiology Society, 2021-01-11)
    Isolate 4NS15T was isolated from a neglected arid habitat in Kerman, Iran. The strain showed 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity values of 98.9 % to the type strains of Kibdelosporangium aridum subsp. aridum, Kibdelosporangium phytohabitans and Kibdelosporangium philippinense and 98.6 % to the type strain K. aridum subsp. largum, respectively. Genome-based phylogenetic analysis revealed that isolate 4NS15T is closely related to Kibdelosporangium aridum subsp. aridum DSM 43828T. The digital DNA-DNA hybridization value between the genome sequences of 4NS15T and strain DSM 43828T is 29.8 %. Strain 4NS15T produces long chains of spores without a sporangium-like structure which can be distinguished from other Kibdelosporangium species. Isolate 4NS15T has a genome size of 10.35 Mbp with a G+C content of 68.1 mol%. Whole-cell hydrolysates of isolate 4NS15T are rich in meso-diaminopimelic acid and cell-wall sugars such as arabinose, galactose, glucose and ribose. Major fatty acids (>10 %) are C16 : 0, iso-C16 : 0 and iso-C15 : 0. The phospholipid profile contains diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylhydroxyethanolamine, aminolipid and glycoaminolipid. The predominant menaquinone is MK-9(H4). Based on its phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, isolate 4NS15T (NCCB 100701=CIP 111705=DSM 110728) merits recognition as representing a novel species of the genus Kibdelosporangium, for which the name Kibdelosporangium persicum sp. nov. is proposed.

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