Recent Submissions

  • Updates to the recently introduced family Lacipirellulaceae in the phylum Planctomycetes: isolation of strains belonging to the novel genera Aeoliella, Botrimarina, Pirellulimonas and Pseudobythopirellula and the novel species Bythopirellula polymerisocia and Posidoniimonas corsicana.

    Wiegand, Sandra; Jogler, Mareike; Boedeker, Christian; Heuer, Anja; Peeters, Stijn H; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jetten, Mike S M; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; et al. (Springer, 2020-11-05)
    Eight novel strains of the phylum Planctomycetes were isolated from different aquatic habitats. Among these habitats were the hydrothermal vent system close to Panarea Island, a public beach at Mallorca Island, the shore of Costa Brava (Spain), and three sites with brackish water in the Baltic Sea. The genome sizes of the novel strains range from 4.33 to 6.29 Mb with DNA G+C contents between 52.8 and 66.7%. All strains are mesophilic (Topt 24-30 °C) and display generation times between 17 and 94 h. All eight isolates constitute novel species of either already described or novel genera within the family Lacipirellulaceae. Two of the novel species, Posidoniimonas polymericola (type strain Pla123aT = DSM 103020T = LMG 29466T) and Bythopirellula polymerisocia (type strain Pla144T = DSM 104841T = VKM B-3442T), belong to established genera, while the other strains represent the novel genera Aeoliella gen. nov., Botrimarina gen. nov., Pirellulimonas gen. nov. and Pseudobythopirellula gen. nov. Based on our polyphasic analysis, we propose the species Aeoliella mucimassa sp. nov. (type strain Pan181T = DSM 29370T = LMG 31346T = CECT 9840T = VKM B-3426T), Botrimarina colliarenosi sp. nov. (type strain Pla108T = DSM 103355T = LMG 29803T), Botrimarina hoheduenensis sp. nov. (type strain Pla111T = DSM 103485T = STH00945T, Jena Microbial Resource Collection JMRC), Botrimarina mediterranea sp. nov. (type strain Spa11T = DSM 100745T = LMG 31350T = CECT 9852T = VKM B-3431T), Pirellulimonas nuda sp. nov. (type strain Pla175T = DSM 109594T = CECT 9871T = VKM B-3448T) and Pseudobythopirellula maris sp. nov. (type strain Mal64T = DSM 100832T = LMG 29020T).
  • Molecular Dissection of Neurodevelopmental Disorder-Causing Mutations in CYFIP2.

    Schaks, Matthias; Reinke, Michael; Witke, Walter; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-05-29)
    Actin remodeling is frequently regulated by antagonistic activities driving protrusion and contraction downstream of Rac and Rho small GTPases, respectively. WAVE regulatory complex (WRC), which primarily operates downstream of Rac, plays pivotal roles in neuronal morphogenesis. Recently, two independent studies described de novo mutations in the CYFIP2 subunit of WRC, which caused intellectual disability (ID) in humans. Although mutations had been proposed to effect WRC activation, no experimental evidence for this was provided. Here, we made use of CRISPR/Cas9-engineered B16-F1 cell lines that were reconstituted with ID-causing CYFIP variants in different experimental contexts. Almost all CYFIP2-derived mutations (7 out of 8) promoted WRC activation, but to variable extent and with at least two independent mechanisms. The majority of mutations occurs in a conserved WAVE-binding region, required for WRC transinhibition. One mutation is positioned closely adjacent to the Rac-binding A site and appears to ease Rac-mediated WRC activation. As opposed to these gain-of-function mutations, a truncating mutant represented a loss-of-function variant and failed to interact with WRC components. Collectively, our data show that explored CYFIP2 mutations frequently, but not always, coincide with WRC activation and suggest that normal brain development requires a delicate and precisely tuned balance of neuronal WRC activity.
  • Loss of Ena/VASP interferes with lamellipodium architecture, motility and integrin-dependent adhesion.

    Damiano-Guercio, Julia; Kurzawa, Laëtitia; Mueller, Jan; Dimchev, Georgi; Schaks, Matthias; Nemethova, Maria; Pokrant, Thomas; Brühmann, Stefan; Linkner, Joern; Blanchoin, Laurent; et al. (eLife Sciences Publications, 2020-05-11)
    Cell migration entails networks and bundles of actin filaments termed lamellipodia and microspikes or filopodia, respectively, as well as focal adhesions, all of which recruit Ena/VASP family members hitherto thought to antagonize efficient cell motility. However, we find these proteins to act as positive regulators of migration in different murine cell lines. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated loss of Ena/VASP proteins reduced lamellipodial actin assembly and perturbed lamellipodial architecture, as evidenced by changed network geometry as well as reduction of filament length and number that was accompanied by abnormal Arp2/3 complex and heterodimeric capping protein accumulation. Loss of Ena/VASP function also abolished the formation of microspikes normally embedded in lamellipodia, but not of filopodia capable of emanating without lamellipodia. Ena/VASP-deficiency also impaired integrin-mediated adhesion accompanied by reduced traction forces exerted through these structures. Our data thus uncover novel Ena/VASP functions of these actin polymerases that are fully consistent with their promotion of cell migration.
  • WAVE1 and WAVE2 have distinct and overlapping roles in controlling actin assembly at the leading edge.

    Tang, Qing; Schaks, Matthias; Koundinya, Neha; Yang, Changsong; Pollard, Luther W; Svitkina, Tatyana M; Rottner, Klemens; Goode, Bruce L; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society for Cell Biology, 2020-07-22)
    SCAR/WAVE proteins and Arp2/3 complex assemble branched actin networks at the leading edge. Two isoforms of SCAR/WAVE, WAVE1 and WAVE2, reside at the leading edge, yet it has remained unclear whether they perform similar or distinct roles. Further, there have been conflicting reports about the Arp2/3-independent biochemical activities of WAVE1 on actin filament elongation. To investigate this in vivo, we knocked out WAVE1 and WAVE2 genes, individually and together, in B16-F1 melanoma cells. We demonstrate that WAVE1 and WAVE2 are redundant for lamellipodia formation and motility. However, there is a significant decrease in the rate of leading edge actin extension in WAVE2 KO cells, and an increase in WAVE1 KO cells. The faster rates of actin extension in WAVE1 KO cells are offset by faster retrograde flow, and therefore do not translate into faster lamellipodium protrusion. Thus, WAVE1 restricts the rate of actin extension at the leading edge, and appears to couple actin networks to the membrane to drive protrusion. Overall, these results suggest that WAVE1 and WAVE2 have redundant roles in promoting Arp2/3-dependent actin nucleation and lamellipodia formation, but distinct roles in controlling actin network extension and harnessing network growth to cell protrusion.
  • 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).
  • Unsaturated Fatty Acids Control Biofilm Formation of and Other Gram-Positive Bacteria.

    Yuyama, Kamila Tomoko; Rohde, Manfred; Molinari, Gabriella; Stadler, Marc; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-11-08)
    Infections involving biofilms are difficult to treat due to increased resistances against antibiotics and the immune system. Hence, there is an urgent demand for novel drugs against biofilm infections. During our search for novel biofilm inhibitors from fungi, we isolated linoleic acid from the ascomycete Hypoxylon fragiforme which showed biofilm inhibition of several bacteria at sub-MIC concentrations. Many fatty acids possess antimicrobial activities, but their minimum inhibitory concentrations (MIC) are high and reports on biofilm interferences are scarce. We demonstrated that not only linoleic acid but several unsaturated long-chain fatty acids inhibited biofilms at sub-MIC concentrations. The antibiofilm activity exerted by long-chain fatty acids was mainly against Gram-positive bacteria, especially against Staphylococcus aureus. Micrographs of treated S. aureus biofilms revealed a reduction in the extracellular polymeric substances, pointing to a possible mode of action of fatty acids on S. aureus biofilms. The fatty acids had a strong species specificity. Poly-unsaturated fatty acids had higher activities than saturated ones, but no obvious rule could be found for the optimal length and desaturation for maximal activity. As free fatty acids are non-toxic and ubiquitous in food, they may offer a novel tool, especially in combination with antibiotics, for the control of biofilm infections.
  • Host-induced spermidine production in motile triggers phagocytic uptake.

    Felgner, Sebastian; Preusse, Matthias; Beutling, Ulrike; Stahnke, Stephanie; Pawar, Vinay; Rohde, Manfred; Brönstrup, Mark; Stradal, Theresia; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (elifeSciences, 2020-09-22)
    Exploring the complexity of host-pathogen communication is vital to understand why microbes persist within a host, while others are cleared. Here, we employed a dual-sequencing approach to unravel conversational turn-taking of dynamic host-pathogen communications. We demonstrate that upon hitting a host cell, motile Pseudomonas aeruginosa induce a specific gene expression program. This results in the expression of spermidine on the surface, which specifically activates the PIP3-pathway to induce phagocytic uptake into primary or immortalized murine cells. Non-motile bacteria are more immunogenic due to a lower expression of arnT upon host-cell contact, but do not produce spermidine and are phagocytosed less. We demonstrate that not only the presence of pathogen inherent molecular patterns induces immune responses, but that bacterial motility is linked to a host-cell-induced expression of additional immune modulators. Our results emphasize on the value of integrating microbiological and immunological findings to unravel complex and dynamic host-pathogen interactions.
  • Diversely Functionalised Cytochalasins through Mutasynthesis and Semi-Synthesis.

    Wang, Chongqing; Lambert, Christopher; Hauser, Maurice; Deuschmann, Adrian; Zeilinger, Carsten; Rottner, Klemens; Stradal, Theresia E B; Stadler, Marc; Skellam, Elizabeth J; Cox, Russell J; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2020-06-02)
    Mutasynthesis of pyrichalasin H from Magnaporthe grisea NI980 yielded a series of unprecedented 4'-substituted cytochalasin analogues in titres as high as the wild-type system (≈60 mg L-1 ). Halogenated, O-alkyl, O-allyl and O-propargyl examples were formed, as well as a 4'-azido analogue. 4'-O-Propargyl and 4'-azido analogues reacted smoothly in Huisgen cycloaddition reactions, whereas p-Br and p-I compounds reacted in Pd-catalysed cross-coupling reactions. A series of examples of biotin-linked, dye-linked and dimeric cytochalasins was rapidly created. In vitro and in vivo bioassays of these compounds showed that the 4'-halogenated and azido derivatives retained their cytotoxicity and antifungal activities; but a unique 4'-amino analogue was inactive. Attachment of larger substituents attenuated the bioactivities. In vivo actin-binding studies with adherent mammalian cells showed that actin remains the likely intracellular target. Dye-linked compounds revealed visualisation of intracellular actin structures even in the absence of phalloidin, thus constituting a potential new class of actin-visualisation tools with filament-barbed end-binding specificity.
  • SARS-CoV-2 outbreak investigation in a German meat processing plant.

    Günther, Thomas; Czech-Sioli, Manja; Indenbirken, Daniela; Robitaille, Alexis; Tenhaken, Peter; Exner, Martin; Ottinger, Matthias; Fischer, Nicole; Grundhoff, Adam; Brinkmann, Melanie M; et al. (EMBO Press, 2020-10-04)
    We describe a multifactorial investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a large meat processing complex in Germany. Infection event timing, spatial, climate and ventilation conditions in the processing plant, sharing of living quarters and transport, and viral genome sequences were analyzed. Our results suggest that a single index case transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to co-workers over distances of more than 8 meters, within a confined work area in which air is constantly recirculated and cooled. Viral genome sequencing shows that all cases share a set of mutations representing a novel sub-branch in the SARS-CoV-2 C20 clade. We identified the same set of mutations in samples collected in the time period between this initial infection cluster and a subsequent outbreak within the same factory, with the largest number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in a German meat processing facility reported so far. Our results indicate climate conditions, fresh air exchange rates, and airflow as factors that can promote efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 via long distances and provide insights into possible requirements for pandemic mitigation strategies in industrial workplace settings.
  • The Arp2/3 complex is critical for colonisation of the mouse skin by melanoblasts.

    Papalazarou, Vassilis; Swaminathan, Karthic; Jaber-Hijazi, Farah; Spence, Heather; Lahmann, Ines; Nixon, Colin; Salmeron-Sanchez, Manuel; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Rottner, Klemens; Machesky, Laura M; et al. (Company of Biologists, 2020-10-07)
    The Arp2/3 complex is essential for the assembly of branched filamentous actin but its role in physiology and development is surprisingly little understood. Melanoblasts deriving from the neural crest migrate along the developing embryo and traverse the dermis to reach the epidermis colonising the skin and eventually homing within the hair follicles. We have previously established that Rac1 and Cdc42 direct melanoblast migration in vivo We hypothesised that the Arp2/3 complex might be the main downstream effector of these small GTPases. Arp3 depletion in the melanocyte lineage results in severe pigmentation defects in dorsal and ventral regions of the mouse skin. Arp3 null melanoblasts demonstrate proliferation and migration defects and fail to elongate as their wild-type counterparts. Conditional deletion of Arp3 in primary melanocytes causes improper proliferation, spreading, migration and adhesion to extracellular matrix. Collectively, our results suggest that the Arp2/3 complex is absolutely indispensable in the melanocyte lineage in mouse development, and indicate a significant role in developmental processes that require tight regulation of actin-mediated motility.
  • Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans in the ruhr district, germany: History, distribution, decline dynamics and disease symptoms of the salamander plague

    Schulz, Vanessa; Schulz, Alina; Klamke, Marine; Preissler, Kathleen; Sabino-Pinto, Joana; Müsken, Mathias; Schlüpmann, Martin; Heldt, Lorenz; Kamprad, Felix; Enss, Julian; et al. (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Herpetologie und Terrarienkunde e.V. (DGHT), 2020-08-15)
    he chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal), recently introduced from Asia to Europe, causes mortality in numerous species of salamanders and newts and has led to catastrophic declines and local extinctions of the European fire salamander (Salamandra salamandra) in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. Due to the continuous spread of the pathogen, Germany can be considered as the current ‘hotspot’ of Bsal-driven salamander declines. The pathogen was detected in 2015 in the Eifel Mountains where it probably has been present at least since 2004. Moreover, Bsal was found in 2017 in the Ruhr District where it also might occur since 2004. The Ruhr District is a heavily urbanized and industrialized region in western Germany, which offers an unprecedented opportunity to monitor range expansion and infection dynamics of Bsal in an area affected by intense human activities. We here review the current knowledge on Bsal in the Ruhr District where the pathogen by now has been recorded based on qPCR data from 18 sites distributed over eight cities. Transect counts (adult salamanders) and larval removal-sampling at two sites where Bsal was recorded in 2017 and 2018, confirm that fire salamander populations at the affected sites have declined dramatically. However, single negative-tested individuals were still observed and reproduction could be ascertained. Moreover, we successfully detected Bsal by analysing environmental DNA (eDNA) from samples obtained from a standing water body as well as a stream. Detailed monitoring of a site in Essen (Kruppwald) from January to May 2019 provided data on infection and disease dynamics during an acute Bsal-outbreak in a population of European fire salamanders. After initial observation of single dead infected salamanders in January and February 2019, the maximum Bsal loads in the population ranged from 7.90E+03 ITS copies in early March to 2.29E+09 ITS copies at the end of March. Prevalence of infection ranged from 4% to 50% and significantly increased over time; prevalence of externally visible disease symptoms peaked on May 2 and May 8. Single dead salamanders were encountered throughout the monitoring period. Recaptures of two infected salamanders indicated an increase of Bsal load by about one order of magnitude within one week. Infected salamanders showed small-sized regular round ulcerations usually of 0.25–1 mm but sometimes up to 2.5 mm in diameter, which gave the impression of outward growth from the centre of each ulceration. Among salamander individuals monitored in the Kruppwald, such ulcerations were only found in infected salamanders, but we found no significant correlation between the intensity of the ulcerations and Bsal load. Heat treatment proved effective to cure even deep ulcerations when salamanders were kept for 10 days at 25–27°C or 14 days at 25°C, but infection persisted and ulcerations reappeared six weeks after the end of the treatment; only heat treatment at 25°C for 21 days proved effective to reliably clear the infection in three tested salamanders. Key words. Amphibia, Caudata, Salamandra salamandra, European fire salamander, Bsal, chytridiomycosis, heat treatment, emerging infectious disease, amphibian disease, eDNA.
  • Toll-like Receptor 5 Activation by the CagY Repeat Domains of Helicobacter pylori.

    Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Neddermann, Matthias; Lind, Judith; Pachathundikandi, Suneesh Kumar; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Gutiérrez-Escobar, Andrés Julián; Brönstrup, Mark; Tegge, Werner; Hong, Minsun; Rohde, Manfred; et al. (Cell Press, 2020-11-15)
    Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is an important human pathogen associated with gastric inflammation and neoplasia. It is commonly believed that this bacterium avoids major immune recognition by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) because of low intrinsic activity of its flagellin and lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In particular, TLR5 specifically detects flagellins in various bacterial pathogens, while Hp evolved mutations in flagellin to evade detection through TLR5. Cancerogenic Hp strains encode a type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS core component and pilus-associated protein CagY, a large VirB10 ortholog, drives effector molecule translocation. Here, we identify CagY as a flagellin-independent TLR5 agonist. We detect five TLR5 interaction sites, promoting binding of CagY-positive Hp to TLR5-expressing cells, TLR5 stimulation, and intracellular signal transduction. Consequently, CagY constitutes a remarkable VirB10 member detected by TLR5, driving crucial innate immune responses by this human pathogen.
  • A recently isolated human commensal Escherichia coli ST10 clone member mediates enhanced thermotolerance and tetrathionate respiration on a P1 phage derived IncY plasmid.

    Kamal, Shady Mansour; Cimdins-Ahne, Annika; Lee, Changhan; Li, Fengyang; Martin-Rodriguez, Alberto J; Seferbekova, Zaira; Afasizhev, Robert; Tesfaye Wami, Haleluya; Katikaridis, Panagiotis; Meins, Lena; et al. (Wiley, 2020-09-28)
    The ubiquitous human commensal Escherichia coli has been well investigated through its model representative E. coli K-12. In this work, we initially characterized E. coli Fec10, a recently isolated human commensal strain of phylogroup A/sequence type ST10. Compared to E. coli K-12, the 4.88 Mbp Fec10 genome is characterized by distinct single nucleotide polymorphisms and acquisition of genomic islands. In addition, E. coli Fec10 possesses a 155.86 kbp IncY plasmid, a composite element based on phage P1. pFec10 codes for a variety of cargo genes such as a tetrathionate reductase and its corresponding regulatory two-component system. Among cargo gene products is also the Transmissible Locus of Protein Quality Control (TLPQC), which mediates tolerance to lethal temperatures in bacteria. The disaggregase ClpGGI of TLPQC constitutes a major determinant of thermotolerance of E. coli Fec10. We confirm stand-alone disaggregation activity, but observe distinct biochemical characteristics of ClpGGI-Fec10 compared to the nearly identical Pseudomonas aeruginosa ClpGGI-SG17M. Furthermore, we observed a unique contribution of ClpGGI-Fec10 to the exquisite thermotolerance of E. coli Fec10 suggesting functional differences between both disaggregases in vivo. Detection of thermotolerance in 10% of human commensal E. coli isolates suggests successful establishment of food-borne heat resistant strains in the human gut.
  • Three Planctomycetes isolated from biotic surfaces in the Mediterranean Sea and the Pacific Ocean constitute the novel species Symmachiella dynata gen. nov., sp. nov. and Symmachiella macrocystis sp. nov.

    Salbreiter, Markus; Waqqas, Muhammad; Jogler, Mareike; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Wiegand, Sandra; Peeters, Stijn H; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Boedeker, Christian; Rast, Patrick; et al. (Springer, 2020-08-24)
    Planctomycetes is a phylum of environmentally important bacteria, which also receive significant attention due to their fascinating cell biology. Access to axenic Planctomycete cultures is crucial to study cell biological features within this phylum in further detail. In this study, we characterise three novel strains, Mal52T, Pan258 and CA54T, which were isolated close to the coasts of the islands Mallorca (Spain) and Panarea (Italy), and from Monterey Bay, CA, USA. The three isolates show optimal growth at temperatures between 22 and 24 °C and at pH 7.5, divide by polar budding, lack pigmentation and form strong aggregates in liquid culture. Analysis of five phylogenetic markers suggests that the strains constitute two novel species within a novel genus in the family Planctomycetaceae. The strains Mal52T (DSM 101177T = VKM B-3432T) and Pan258 were assigned to the species Symmachiella dynata gen nov., sp. nov., while strain CA54T (DSM 104301T = VKM B-3450T) forms a separate species of the same genus, for which we propose the name Symmachiella macrocystis sp. nov.
  • Stieleria varia sp. nov., isolated from wood particles in the Baltic Sea, constitutes a novel species in the family Pirellulaceae within the phylum Planctomycetes.

    Surup, Frank; Wiegand, Sandra; Boedeker, Christian; Heuer, Anja; Peeters, Stijn H; Jogler, Mareike; Jetten, Mike S M; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; et al. (Springer, 2020-08-14)
    Species belonging to the bacterial phylum Planctomycetes are ubiquitous members of the microbial communities in aquatic environments and are frequently isolated from various biotic and abiotic surfaces in marine and limnic water bodies. Planctomycetes have large genomes of up to 12.4 Mb, follow complex lifestyles and display an uncommon cell biology; features which motivate the investigation of members of this phylum in greater detail. As a contribution to the current collection of axenic cultures of Planctomycetes, we here describe strain Pla52T isolated from wood particles in the Baltic Sea. Phylogenetic analysis places the strain in the family Pirellulaceae and suggests two species of the recently described genus Stieleria as current closest neighbours. Strain Pla52nT shows typical features of members of the class Planctomycetia, including division by polar budding and the presence of crateriform structures. Colonies of strain Pla52nT have a light orange colour, which is an unusual pigmentation compared to the majority of members in the phylum, which show either a pink to red pigmentation or entirely lack pigmentation. Optimal growth of strain Pla52nT at 33 °C and pH 7.5 indicates a mesophilic (i.e. with optimal growth between 20 and 45 °C) and neutrophilic growth profile. The strain is an aerobic heterotroph with motile daughter cells. Its genome has a size of 9.6 Mb and a G + C content of 56.0%. Polyphasic analyses justify delineation of the strain from described species within the genus Stieleria. Therefore, we conclude that strain Pla52nT = LMG 29463T = VKM B-3447T should be classified as the type strain of a novel species, for which we propose the name Stieleria varia sp. nov.
  • IgM cleavage by Streptococcus suis reduces IgM bound to the bacterial surface and is a novel complement evasion mechanism.

    Rungelrath, Viktoria; Weiße, Christine; Schütze, Nicole; Müller, Uwe; Meurer, Marita; Rohde, Manfred; Seele, Jana; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Kirschfink, Michael; Beineke, Andreas; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-28)
    Streptococcus suis (S. suis) causes meningitis, arthritis and endocarditis in piglets. The aim of this study was to characterize the IgM degrading enzyme of S. suis (IdeSsuis) and to investigate the role of IgM cleavage in evasion of the classical complement pathway and pathogenesis. Targeted mutagenesis of a cysteine in the putative active center of IdeSsuis abrogated IgM cleavage completely. In contrast to wt rIdeSsuis, point mutated rIdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce complement-mediated hemolysis indicating that complement inhibition by rIdeSsuis depends on the IgM proteolytic activity. A S. suis mutant expressing IdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce IgM labeling, whereas the wt and complemented mutant showed less IgM F(ab')2 and IgM Fc antigen on the surface. IgM cleavage increased survival of S. suis in porcine blood ex vivo and mediated complement evasion as demonstrated by blood survival and C3 deposition assays including the comparative addition of rIdeSsuis and rIdeSsuis_C195S. However, experimental infection of piglets disclosed no significant differences in virulence between S. suis wt and isogenic mutants without IgM cleavage activity. This work revealed for the first time in vivo labeling of S. suis with IgM in the cerebrospinal fluid of piglets with meningitis. In conclusion, this study classifies IdeSsuis as a cysteine protease and emphasizes the role of IgM cleavage for bacterial survival in porcine blood and complement evasion though IgM cleavage is not crucial for the pathogenesis of serotype 2 meningitis.
  • The Small GTPase Rac1 Increases Cell Surface Stiffness and Enhances 3D Migration Into Extracellular Matrices.

    Kunschmann, Tom; Puder, Stefanie; Fischer, Tony; Steffen, Anika; Rottner, Klemens; Mierke, Claudia Tanja; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Nature research, 2019-05-22)
    Membrane ruffling and lamellipodia formation promote the motility of adherent cells in two-dimensional motility assays by mechano-sensing of the microenvironment and initiation of focal adhesions towards their surroundings. Lamellipodium formation is stimulated by small Rho GTPases of the Rac subfamily, since genetic removal of these GTPases abolishes lamellipodium assembly. The relevance of lamellipodial or invadopodial structures for facilitating cellular mechanics and 3D cell motility is still unclear. Here, we hypothesized that Rac1 affects cell mechanics and facilitates 3D invasion. Thus, we explored whether fibroblasts that are genetically deficient for Rac1 (lacking Rac2 and Rac3) harbor altered mechanical properties, such as cellular deformability, intercellular adhesion forces and force exertion, and exhibit alterations in 3D motility. Rac1 knockout and control cells were analyzed for changes in deformability by applying an external force using an optical stretcher. Five Rac1 knockout cell lines were pronouncedly more deformable than Rac1 control cells upon stress application. Using AFM, we found that cell-cell adhesion forces are increased in Rac1 knockout compared to Rac1-expressing fibroblasts. Since mechanical deformability, cell-cell adhesion strength and 3D motility may be functionally connected, we investigated whether increased deformability of Rac1 knockout cells correlates with changes in 3D motility. All five Rac1 knockout clones displayed much lower 3D motility than Rac1-expressing controls. Moreover, force exertion was reduced in Rac1 knockout cells, as assessed by 3D fiber displacement analysis. Interference with cellular stiffness through blocking of actin polymerization by Latrunculin A could not further reduce invasion of Rac1 knockout cells. In contrast, Rac1-expressing controls treated with Latrunculin A were again more deformable and less invasive, suggesting actin polymerization is a major determinant of observed Rac1-dependent effects. Together, we propose that regulation of 3D motility by Rac1 partly involves cellular mechanics such as deformability and exertion of forces.
  • A network of trans-cortical capillaries as mainstay for blood circulation in long bones.

    Grüneboom, Anika; Hawwari, Ibrahim; Weidner, Daniela; Culemann, Stephan; Müller, Sylvia; Henneberg, Sophie; Brenzel, Alexandra; Merz, Simon; Bornemann, Lea; Zec, Kristina; et al. (Nature publishing group(NPG), 2019-01-21)
    Closed circulatory systems (CCS) underlie the function of vertebrate organs, but in long bones their structure is unclear, although they constitute the exit route for bone marrow (BM) leukocytes. To understand neutrophil emigration from BM, we studied the vascular system of murine long bones. Here we show that hundreds of capillaries originate in BM, cross murine cortical bone perpendicularly along the shaft and connect to the periosteal circulation. Structures similar to these trans-cortical-vessels (TCVs) also exist in human limb bones. TCVs express arterial or venous markers and transport neutrophils. Furthermore, over 80% arterial and 59% venous blood passes through TCVs. Genetic and drug-mediated modulation of osteoclast count and activity leads to substantial changes in TCV numbers. In a murine model of chronic arthritic bone inflammation, new TCVs develop within weeks. Our data indicate that TCVs are a central component of the CCS in long bones and may represent an important route for immune cell export from the BM.
  • The planctomycete Stieleria maiorica Mal15 employs stieleriacines to alter the species composition in marine biofilms.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jeske, Olga; Sandargo, Birthe; Boedeker, Christian; Wiegand, Sandra; Bartling, Pascal; Jogler, Mareike; Rohde, Manfred; Petersen, Jörn; Medema, Marnix H; et al. (Nature publishing group(NPG), 2020-06-12)
    Bacterial strains of the phylum Planctomycetes occur ubiquitously, but are often found on surfaces of aquatic phototrophs, e.g. alga. Despite slower growth, planctomycetes are not outcompeted by faster-growing bacteria in biofilms on such surfaces; however, strategies allowing them to compensate for slower growth have not yet been investigated. Here, we identified stieleriacines, a class of N-acylated tyrosines produced by the novel planctomycete Stieleria maiorica Mal15T, and analysed their effects on growth of the producing strain and bacterial species likely co-occurring with strain Mal15T. Stieleriacines reduced the lag phase of Mal15T and either stimulated or inhibited biofilm formation of two bacterial competitors, indicating that Mal15T employs stieleriacines to specifically alter microbial biofilm composition. The genetic organisation of the putative stieleriacine biosynthetic cluster in strain Mal15T points towards a functional link of stieleriacine biosynthesis to exopolysaccharide-associated protein sorting and biofilm formation.
  • Rosistilla oblonga gen. nov., sp. nov. and Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov., isolated from biotic or abiotic surfaces in Northern Germany, Mallorca, Spain and California, USA.

    Waqqas, Muhammad; Salbreiter, Markus; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Heuer, Anja; Rast, Patrick; Peeters, Stijn H; Boedeker, Christian; Jetten, Mike S M; et al. (Springer, 2020-07-04)
    Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria with fascinating cell biological features. Strains available as axenic cultures in most cases have been isolated from aquatic environments and serve as a basis to study planctomycetal cell biology and interactions in further detail. As a contribution to the current collection of axenic cultures, here we characterise three closely related strains, Poly24T, CA51T and Mal33, which were isolated from the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively. The strains display cell biological features typical for related Planctomycetes, such as division by polar budding, presence of crateriform structures and formation of rosettes. Optimal growth was observed at temperatures of 30-33 °C and at pH 7.5, which led to maximal growth rates of 0.065-0.079 h-1, corresponding to generation times of 9-11 h. The genomes of the novel isolates have a size of 7.3-7.5 Mb and a G + C content of 57.7-58.2%. Phylogenetic analyses place the strains in the family Pirellulaceae and suggest that Roseimaritima ulvae and Roseimaritima sediminicola are the current closest relatives. Analysis of five different phylogenetic markers, however, supports the delineation of the strains from members of the genus Roseimaritima and other characterised genera in the family. Supported by morphological and physiological differences, we conclude that the strains belong to the novel genus Rosistilla gen. nov. and constitute two novel species, for which we propose the names Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov. and Rosistilla oblonga sp. nov. (the type species). The two novel species are represented by the type strains Poly24T (= DSM 102938T = VKM B-3434T = LMG 31347T = CECT 9848T) and CA51T (= DSM 104080T = LMG 29702T), respectively.

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