Recent Submissions

  • 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.
  • Induced Arp2/3 Complex Depletion Increases FMNL2/3 Formin Expression and Filopodia Formation.

    Dimchev, Vanessa; Lahmann, Ines; Koestler, Stefan A; Kage, Frieda; Dimchev, Georgi; Steffen, Anika; Stradal, Theresia E B; Vauti, Franz; Arnold, Hans-Henning; Rottner, Klemens; et al. (Frontiers, 2021-02-01)
    The Arp2/3 complex generates branched actin filament networks operating in cell edge protrusion and vesicle trafficking. Here we employ a conditional knockout mouse model permitting tissue- or cell-type specific deletion of the murine Actr3 gene (encoding Arp3). A functional Actr3 gene appeared essential for fibroblast viability and growth. Thus, we developed cell lines for exploring the consequences of acute, tamoxifen-induced Actr3 deletion causing near-complete loss of functional Arp2/3 complex expression as well as abolished lamellipodia formation and membrane ruffling, as expected. Interestingly, Arp3-depleted cells displayed enhanced rather than reduced cell spreading, employing numerous filopodia, and showed little defects in the rates of random cell migration. However, both exploration of new space by individual cells and collective migration were clearly compromised by the incapability to efficiently maintain directionality of migration, while the principal ability to chemotax was only moderately affected. Examination of actin remodeling at the cell periphery revealed reduced actin turnover rates in Arp2/3-deficient cells, clearly deviating from previous sequestration approaches. Most surprisingly, induced removal of Arp2/3 complexes reproducibly increased FMNL formin expression, which correlated with the explosive induction of filopodia formation. Our results thus highlight both direct and indirect effects of acute Arp2/3 complex removal on actin cytoskeleton regulation.
  • Cell sheet technology: Influence of culture conditions on in vitro-cultivated corneal stromal tissue for regenerative therapies of the ocular surface.

    Hasenzahl, Meike; Müsken, Mathias; Mertsch, Sonja; Schrader, Stefan; Reichl, Stephan; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2021-02-03)
    The in vitro reconstruction of stromal tissue by long-term cultivation of corneal fibroblasts is a smart approach for regenerative therapies of ocular surface diseases. However, systematic investigations evaluating optimized cultivation protocols for the realization of a biomaterial are lacking. This study investigated the influence of supplements to the culture media of human corneal fibroblasts on the formation of a cell sheet consisting of cells and extracellular matrix. Among the supplements studied are vitamin C, fetal bovine serum, L-glutamine, components of collagen such as L-proline, L-4-hydroxyproline and glycine, and TGF-β1, bFGF, IGF-2, PDGF-BB and insulin. After long-term cultivation, the proliferation, collagen and glycosaminoglycan content and light transmission of the cell sheets were examined. Biomechanical properties were investigated by tensile tests and the ultrastructure was characterized by electron microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, antibody staining and ELISA. The synthesis of extracellular matrix was significantly increased by cultivation with insulin or TGF-β1, each with vitamin C. The sheets exhibited a high transparency and suitable material properties. The production of a transparent, scaffold-free, potentially autologous, in vitro-generated construct by culturing fibroblasts with extracellular matrix synthesis-stimulating supplements represents a promising approach for a biomaterial that can be used for ocular surface reconstruction in slowly progressing diseases.
  • 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).

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