Recent Submissions

  • Crystal structure of bacterial cytotoxic necrotizing factor CNFy reveals molecular building blocks for intoxication.

    Chaoprasid, Paweena; Lukat, Peer; Mühlen, Sabrina; Heidler, Thomas; Gazdag, Emerich-Mihai; Dong, Shuangshuang; Bi, Wenjie; Rüter, Christian; Kirchenwitz, Marco; Steffen, Anika; et al. (Springer, 2021-01-07)
    Cytotoxic necrotizing factors (CNFs) are bacterial single-chain exotoxins that modulate cytokinetic/oncogenic and inflammatory processes through activation of host cell Rho GTPases. To achieve this, they are secreted, bind surface receptors to induce endocytosis and translocate a catalytic unit into the cytosol to intoxicate host cells. A three-dimensional structure that provides insight into the underlying mechanisms is still lacking. Here, we determined the crystal structure of full-length Yersinia pseudotuberculosis CNFY . CNFY consists of five domains (D1-D5), and by integrating structural and functional data, we demonstrate that D1-3 act as export and translocation module for the catalytic unit (D4-5) and for a fused β-lactamase reporter protein. We further found that D4, which possesses structural similarity to ADP-ribosyl transferases, but had no equivalent catalytic activity, changed its position to interact extensively with D5 in the crystal structure of the free D4-5 fragment. This liberates D5 from a semi-blocked conformation in full-length CNFY , leading to higher deamidation activity. Finally, we identify CNF translocation modules in several uncharacterized fusion proteins, which suggests their usability as a broad-specificity protein delivery tool.
  • Dinoroseobacter shibae Outer Membrane Vesicles Are Enriched for the Chromosome Dimer Resolution Site dif.

    Wang, Hui; Beier, Nicole; Boedeker, Christian; Sztajer, Helena; Henke, Petra; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Mansky, Johannes; Rohde, Manfred; Overmann, Jörg; Petersen, Jörn; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-01-12)
    Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are universally produced by prokaryotes and play important roles in symbiotic and pathogenic interactions. They often contain DNA, but a mechanism for its incorporation is lacking. Here, we show that Dinoroseobacter shibae, a dinoflagellate symbiont, constitutively secretes OMVs containing DNA. Time-lapse microscopy captured instances of multiple OMV production at the septum during cell division. DNA from the vesicle lumen was up to 22-fold enriched for the region around the terminus of replication (ter). The peak of coverage was located at dif, a conserved 28-bp palindromic sequence required for binding of the site-specific tyrosine recombinases XerC/XerD. These enzymes are activated at the last stage of cell division immediately prior to septum formation when they are bound by the divisome protein FtsK. We suggest that overreplicated regions around the terminus have been repaired by the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery. The vesicle proteome was clearly dominated by outer membrane and periplasmic proteins. Some of the most abundant vesicle membrane proteins were predicted to be required for direct interaction with peptidoglycan during cell division (LysM, Tol-Pal, Spol, lytic murein transglycosylase). OMVs were 15-fold enriched for the saturated fatty acid 16:00. We hypothesize that constitutive OMV secretion in D. shibae is coupled to cell division. The footprint of the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery suggests a novel potentially highly conserved route for incorporation of DNA into OMVs. Clearing the division site from small DNA fragments might be an important function of vesicles produced during exponential growth under optimal conditions.IMPORTANCE Gram-negative bacteria continually form vesicles from their outer membrane (outer membrane vesicles [OMVs]) during normal growth. OMVs frequently contain DNA, and it is unclear how DNA can be shuffled from the cytoplasm to the OMVs. We studied OMV cargo in Dinoroseobacter shibae, a symbiont of dinoflagellates, using microscopy and a multi-omics approach. We found that vesicles formed during undisturbed exponential growth contain DNA which is enriched for genes around the replication terminus, specifically, the binding site for an enzyme complex that is activated at the last stage of cell division. We suggest that the enriched genes are the result of overreplication which is repaired by their excision and excretion via membrane vesicles to clear the divisome from waste DNA.
  • Bordetella bronchiseptica promotes adherence, colonization, and cytotoxicity of Streptococcus suis in a porcine precision-cut lung slice model.

    Vötsch, Désirée; Willenborg, Maren; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Rohde, Manfred; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Taylor & Francis, 2020-12-29)
    Bordetella (B.) bronchiseptica and Streptococcus (S.) suis are major pathogens in pigs, which are frequently isolated from co-infections in the respiratory tract and contribute to the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC). Despite the high impact of co-infections on respiratory diseases of swine (and other hosts), very little is known about pathogen-pathogen-host interactions and the mechanisms of pathogenesis. In the present study, we established a porcine precision-cut lung slice (PCLS) model to analyze the effects of B. bronchiseptica infection on adherence, colonization, and cytotoxic effects of S. suis. We hypothesized that induction of ciliostasis by a clinical isolate of B. bronchiseptica may promote subsequent infection with a virulent S. suis serotype 2 strain. To investigate this theory, we monitored the ciliary activity by light microscopy, measured the release of lactate dehydrogenase, and calculated the number of PCLS-associated bacteria. To study the role of the pore-forming toxin suilysin (SLY) in S. suis-induced cytotoxicity, we included a SLY-negative isogenic mutant and the complemented mutant strain. Furthermore, we analyzed infected PCLS by histopathology, immunofluorescence microscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscopy. Our results showed that pre-infection with B. bronchiseptica promoted adherence, colonization, and, as a consequence of the increased colonization, the cytotoxic effects of S. suis, probably by reduction of the ciliary activity. Moreover, cytotoxicity induced by S. suis is strictly dependent on the presence of SLY. Though the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be fully clarified, our results clearly support the hypothesis that B. bronchiseptica paves the way for S. suis infection.
  • Draft Genome Sequence of the Urinary Catheter Isolate Enterobacter ludwigii CEB04 with High Biofilm Forming Capacity.

    Shafeeq, Sulman; Wang, Xiaoda; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Brauner, Annelie; Römling, Ute; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-04-05)
    :Enterobacter ludwigii is a fermentative Gram-negative environmental species and accidental human pathogen that belongs to the Enterobacter cloacae complex with the general characteristics of the genus Enterobacter. The clinical isolate E. ludwigii CEB04 was derived from a urinary tract catheter of an individual not suffering from catheter-associated urinary tract infection. The draft genome sequence of the high biofilm forming E. ludwigii CEB04 was determined by PacBio sequencing. The chromosome of E. ludwigii CEB04 is comprised of one contig of 4,892,375 bps containing 4596 predicted protein-coding genes and 120 noncoding RNAs. E. ludwigii CEB04 harbors several antimicrobial resistance markers and has an extended cyclic-di-GMP signaling network compared to Escherichia coli K-12.
  • Cultivation-Independent Analysis of the Bacterial Community Associated With the Calcareous Sponge and Isolation of Poriferisphaera corsica Gen. Nov., Sp. Nov., Belonging to the Barely Studied Class in the Phylum Planctomycetes.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Wiegand, Sandra; Kohn, Timo; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Rast, Patrick; Müller, Ralph-Walter; Brümmer, Franz; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-12-22)
    Marine ecosystems serve as global carbon sinks and nutrient source or breeding ground for aquatic animals. Sponges are ancient parts of these important ecosystems and can be found in caves, the deep-sea, clear waters, or more turbid environments. Here, we studied the bacterial community composition of the calcareous sponge Clathrina clathrus sampled close to the island Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea with an emphasis on planctomycetes. We show that the phylum Planctomycetes accounts for 9% of the C. clathrus-associated bacterial community, a 5-fold enrichment compared to the surrounding seawater. Indeed, the use of C. clathrus as a yet untapped source of novel planctomycetal strains led to the isolation of strain KS4T. The strain represents a novel genus and species within the class Phycisphaerae in the phylum Planctomycetes and displays interesting cell biological features, such as formation of outer membrane vesicles and an unexpected mode of cell division.
  • Calling for pan-European commitment for rapid and sustained reduction in SARS-CoV-2 infections.

    Priesemann, Viola; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Ciesek, Sandra; Cuschieri, Sarah; Czypionka, Thomas; Giordano, Giulia; Gurdasani, Deepti; Hanson, Claudia; Hens, Niel; Iftekhar, Emil; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-12-18)
    [No abstract available]
  • Pneumolysin induces platelet destruction, not platelet activation, which can be prevented by immunoglobulin preparations in vitro.

    Jahn, Kristin; Handtke, Stefan; Palankar, Raghavendra; Weißmüller, Sabrina; Nouailles, Geraldine; Kohler, Thomas P; Wesche, Jan; Rohde, Manfred; Heinz, Corina; Aschenbrenner, Axel F; et al.
    Community-acquired pneumonia by primary or superinfections with Streptococcus pneumoniae can lead to acute respiratory distress requiring mechanical ventilation. The pore-forming toxin pneumolysin alters the alveolar-capillary barrier and causes extravasation of protein-rich fluid into the interstitial pulmonary tissue, which impairs gas exchange. Platelets usually prevent endothelial leakage in inflamed pulmonary tissue by sealing inflammation-induced endothelial gaps. We not only confirm that S pneumoniae induces CD62P expression in platelets, but we also show that, in the presence of pneumolysin, CD62P expression is not associated with platelet activation. Pneumolysin induces pores in the platelet membrane, which allow anti-CD62P antibodies to stain the intracellular CD62P without platelet activation. Pneumolysin treatment also results in calcium efflux, increase in light transmission by platelet lysis (not aggregation), loss of platelet thrombus formation in the flow chamber, and loss of pore-sealing capacity of platelets in the Boyden chamber. Specific anti-pneumolysin monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies inhibit these effects of pneumolysin on platelets as do polyvalent human immunoglobulins. In a post hoc analysis of the prospective randomized phase 2 CIGMA trial, we show that administration of a polyvalent immunoglobulin preparation was associated with a nominally higher platelet count and nominally improved survival in patients with severe S pneumoniae-related community-acquired pneumonia. Although, due to the low number of patients, no definitive conclusion can be made, our findings provide a rationale for investigation of pharmacologic immunoglobulin preparations to target pneumolysin by polyvalent immunoglobulin preparations in severe community-acquired pneumococcal pneumonia, to counteract the risk of these patients becoming ventilation dependent. This trial was registered at as #NCT01420744.
  • Microbiome Yarns: bacterial predators, tissue tropism and molecular decoys.

    Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Thieme Verlag, 2020-12-26)
    This Crystal Ball speculates on the potential of molecular decoys for prevention and therapy in infectious diseases. It is dedicated to the memory of Singh Chhatwal, who pioneered research on disguises and decoys produced by Streptococcus, and so much more.
  • Additions to the genus Gimesia: description of Gimesia alba sp. nov., Gimesia algae sp. nov., Gimesia aquarii sp. nov., Gimesia aquatilis sp. nov., Gimesia fumaroli sp. nov. and Gimesia panareensis sp. nov., isolated from aquatic habitats of the Northern Hemisphere.

    Wiegand, Sandra; Jogler, Mareike; Boedeker, Christian; Heuer, Anja; Rast, Patrick; Peeters, Stijn H; Jetten, Mike S M; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; Rohde, Manfred; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; et al. (Springer, 2020-11-24)
    Thirteen novel planctomycetal strains were isolated from five different aquatic sampling locations. These comprise the hydrothermal vent system close to Panarea Island (Italy), a biofilm on the surface of kelp at Monterey Bay (CA, USA), sediment and algae on Mallorca Island (Spain) and Helgoland Island (Germany), as well as a seawater aquarium in Braunschweig, Germany. All strains were shown to belong to the genus Gimesia. Their genomes cover a size range from 7.22 to 8.29 Mb and have a G+C content between 45.1 and 53.7%. All strains are mesophilic (Topt 26-33 °C) with generation times between 12 and 32 h. Analysis of fatty acids yielded palmitic acid (16:0) and a fatty acid with the equivalent chain length of 15.817 as major compounds. While five of the novel strains belong to the already described species Gimesia maris and Gimesia chilikensis, the other strains belong to novel species, for which we propose the names Gimesia alba (type strain Pan241wT = DSM 100744T = LMG 31345T = CECT 9841T = VKM B-3430T), Gimesia algae (type strain Pan161T = CECT 30192T = STH00943T = LMG 29130T), Gimesia aquarii (type strain V144T = DSM 101710T = VKM B-3433T), Gimesia fumaroli (type strain Enr17T = DSM 100710T = VKM B-3429T) and Gimesia panareensis (type strain Enr10T = DSM 100416T = LMG 29082T). STH numbers refer to the Jena Microbial Resource Collection (JMRC).
  • 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.

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