Recent Submissions

  • Actin-binding protein cortactin promotes pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by supporting leukocyte infiltration into the central nervous system.

    Samus, Maryna; Li, Yu-Tung; Sorokin, Lydia; Rottner, Klemens; Vestweber, Dietmar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society for Neuroscience, 2020-01-06)
    Leukocyte entry into the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for immune surveillance, but is also the basis for the development of pathologic inflammatory conditions within the CNS such as multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The actin-binding protein, cortactin, in endothelial cells is an important player in regulating the interaction of immune cells with the vascular endothelium. Cortactin has been shown to control the integrity of the endothelial barrier and to support neutrophil transendothelial migration in vitro and in vivo in the skin. Here we employ cortactin gene inactivated (cortactin--/--) male and female mice to study the role of this protein in EAE. Inducing EAE by immunization with a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55) revealed an ameliorated disease course in cortactin--/-- female mice compared to WT mice. However, proliferation capacity and expression of IL-17A and IFNγ by cortactin-deficient and wildtype splenocytes did not differ, suggesting that the lack of cortactin does not affect induction of the immune response. Rather, cortactin deficiency caused decreased vascular permeability and reduced leukocyte infiltration into the brains and spinal cords of EAE mice. Accordingly, cortactin gene-deficient mice had smaller numbers of proinflammatory cuffs, less extensive demyelination and reduced expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines within the neural tissue compared to wildtype littermates. Thus, cortactin contributes to the development of neural inflammation by supporting leukocyte transmigration through the blood-brain barrier and, therefore, represents a potential candidate for targeting CNS autoimmunity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTMultiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neuroinflammatory disorder, based on the entry of inflammatory leukocytes into the central nervous system (CNS) where these cells cause demyelination and neurodegeneration. Here, we use a mouse model for MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and show that gene inactivation of cortactin, an actin binding protein that modulates actin dynamics and branching, protects against neuroinflammation in EAE. Leukocyte infiltration into the CNS was inhibited in cortactin deficient mice and lack of cortactin in cultured primary brain endothelial cells inhibited leukocyte transmigration. Expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the CNS and induction of vascular permeability were reduced. We conclude that cortactin represents a novel potential target for the treatment of MS.
  • Actin-binding protein cortactin promotes pathogenesis of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by supporting leukocyte infiltration into the central nervous system.

    Samus, Maryna; Li, Yu-Tung; Sorokin, Lydia; Rottner, Klemens; Vestweber, Dietmar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Society for Neuroscience, 2020-01-06)
    Leukocyte entry into the central nervous system (CNS) is essential for immune surveillance, but is also the basis for the development of pathologic inflammatory conditions within the CNS such as multiple sclerosis and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). The actin-binding protein, cortactin, in endothelial cells is an important player in regulating the interaction of immune cells with the vascular endothelium. Cortactin has been shown to control the integrity of the endothelial barrier and to support neutrophil transendothelial migration in vitro and in vivo in the skin. Here we employ cortactin gene inactivated (cortactin--/--) male and female mice to study the role of this protein in EAE. Inducing EAE by immunization with a myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein peptide (MOG35-55) revealed an ameliorated disease course in cortactin--/-- female mice compared to WT mice. However, proliferation capacity and expression of IL-17A and IFNγ by cortactin-deficient and wildtype splenocytes did not differ, suggesting that the lack of cortactin does not affect induction of the immune response. Rather, cortactin deficiency caused decreased vascular permeability and reduced leukocyte infiltration into the brains and spinal cords of EAE mice. Accordingly, cortactin gene-deficient mice had smaller numbers of proinflammatory cuffs, less extensive demyelination and reduced expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines within the neural tissue compared to wildtype littermates. Thus, cortactin contributes to the development of neural inflammation by supporting leukocyte transmigration through the blood-brain barrier and, therefore, represents a potential candidate for targeting CNS autoimmunity.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTMultiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune neuroinflammatory disorder, based on the entry of inflammatory leukocytes into the central nervous system (CNS) where these cells cause demyelination and neurodegeneration. Here, we use a mouse model for MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and show that gene inactivation of cortactin, an actin binding protein that modulates actin dynamics and branching, protects against neuroinflammation in EAE. Leukocyte infiltration into the CNS was inhibited in cortactin deficient mice and lack of cortactin in cultured primary brain endothelial cells inhibited leukocyte transmigration. Expression levels of proinflammatory cytokines in the CNS and induction of vascular permeability were reduced. We conclude that cortactin represents a novel potential target for the treatment of MS.
  • The immunogenic potential of bacterial flagella for Salmonella-mediated tumor therapy.

    Felgner, Sebastian; Spöring, Imke; Pawar, Vinay; Kocijancic, Dino; Preusse, Matthias; Falk, Christine; Rohde, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Weiss, Siegfried; Erhardt, Marc; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-11-21)
    Genetically engineered Salmonella Typhimurium are potent vectors for prophylactic and therapeutic measures against pathogens as well as cancer. This is based on the potent adjuvanticity that supports strong immune responses. The physiology of Salmonella is well understood. It simplifies engineering of both enhanced immune‐stimulatory properties as well as safety features, thus, resulting in an appropriate balance between attenuation and efficacy for clinical applications. A major virulence factor of Salmonella is the flagellum. It is also a strong pathogen‐associated molecular pattern recognized by extra‐ and intracellular receptors of immune cells of the host. At the same time, it represents a serious metabolic burden. Accordingly, the bacteria evolved tight regulatory mechanisms that control flagella synthesis in vivo. Here, we systematically investigated the immunogenicity and adjuvant properties of various flagella mutants of Salmonella in vitro and in a mouse cancer model in vivo. We found that mutants lacking the flagellum‐specific ATPase FliHIJ or the inner membrane ring FliF displayed the greatest stimulatory capacity and strongest anti‐tumor effects, while remaining safe in vivo. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of outer membrane vesicles in the ΔfliF and ΔfliHIJ mutants. Finally, the combination of the ΔfliF and ΔfliHIJ mutations with our previously described attenuated and immunogenic background strain SF102 displayed strong efficacy against the highly resistant cancer cell line RenCa. We thus conclude that manipulating flagella biosynthesis has great potential for the construction of highly efficacious and versatile Salmonella vector strains.
  • Prothrombotic and Proinflammatory Activities of the β-Hemolytic Group B Streptococcal Pigment.

    Siemens, Nikolai; Oehmcke-Hecht, Sonja; Hoßmann, Jörn; Skorka, Sebastian B; Nijhuis, Roel H T; Ruppen, Corinne; Skrede, Steinar; Rohde, Manfred; Schultz, Daniel; Lalk, Michael; et al. (Karger, 2019-11-19)
    A prominent feature of severe streptococcal infections is the profound inflammatory response that contributes to systemic toxicity. In sepsis the dysregulated host response involves both immunological and nonimmunological pathways. Here, we report a fatal case of an immunocompetent healthy female presenting with toxic shock and purpura fulminans caused by group B streptococcus (GBS; serotype III, CC19). The strain (LUMC16) was pigmented and hyperhemolytic. Stimulation of human primary cells with hyperhemolytic LUMC16 and STSS/NF-HH strains and pigment toxin resulted in a release of proinflammatory mediators, including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. In addition, LUMC16 induced blood clotting and showed factor XII activity on its surface, which was linked to the presence of the pigment. The expression of pigment was not linked to a mutation within the CovR/S region. In conclusion, our study shows that the hemolytic lipid toxin contributes to the ability of GBS to cause systemic hyperinflammation and interferes with the coagulation system.
  • Rubinisphaera italica sp. nov. isolated from a hydrothermal area in the Tyrrhenian Sea close to the volcanic island Panarea.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Peeters, Stijn H; Heuer, Anja; Boedeker, Christian; Jetten, Mike S M; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian (Springer, 2019-11-26)
    Planctomycetes is a fascinating phylum of mostly aquatic bacteria, not only due to the environmental importance in global carbon and nitrogen cycles, but also because of a unique cell biology. Their lifestyle and metabolic capabilities are not well explored, which motivated us to study the role of Planctomycetes in biofilms on marine biotic surfaces. Here, we describe the novel strain Pan54T which was isolated from algae in a hydrothermal area close to the volcanic island Panarea in the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of Sicily in Italy. The strain grew best at pH 9.0 and 26 °C and showed typical characteristics of planctomycetal bacteria, e.g. division by polar budding, formation of aggregates and presence of stalks and crateriform structures. Phylogenetically, the strain belongs to the genus Rubinisphaera. Our analysis suggests that Pan54T represents a novel species of this genus, for which we propose the name Rubinisphaera italica sp. nov. We suggest Pan54T (= DSM 29369 = LMG 29789) as the type strain of the novel species.
  • Non-Invasive Approach for Evaluation of Pulmonary Hypertension Using Extracellular Vesicle-Associated Small Non-Coding RNA.

    Lipps, Christoph; Northe, Philipp; Figueiredo, Ricardo; Rohde, Manfred; Brahmer, Alexandra; Krämer-Albers, Eva-Maria; Liebetrau, Christoph; Wiedenroth, Christoph B; Mayer, Eckhard; Kriechbaum, Steffen D; et al. (MDPI, 2019-10-29)
    Extracellular vesicles are released by numerous cell types of the human body under physiological but also under pathophysiological conditions. They are important for cell-cell communication and carry specific signatures of peptides and RNAs. In this study, we aimed to determine whether extracellular vesicles isolated from patients with pulmonary hypertension show a disease specific signature of small non-coding RNAs and thus have the potential to serve as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Extracellular vesicles were isolated from the serum of 23 patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and 23 controls using two individual methods: a column-based method or by precipitation. Extracellular vesicle- associated RNAs were analyzed by next-generation sequencing applying molecular barcoding, and differentially expressed small non-coding RNAs were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We identified 18 microRNAs and 21 P-element induced wimpy testis (PIWI)-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) or piRNA clusters that were differentially expressed in CTEPH patients compared with controls. Bioinformatic analysis predicted a contribution of these piRNAs to the progression of cardiac and vascular remodeling. Expression levels of DQ593039 correlated with clinically meaningful parameters such as mean pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, right ventricular systolic pressure, and levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide. Thus, we identified the extracellular vesicle- derived piRNA, DQ593039, as a potential biomarker for pulmonary hypertension and right heart disease.
  • N-WASP Guides Cancer Cells toward LPA.

    Rottner, Klemens; Schaks, Matthias; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-11-18)
    The actin remodeling factor N-WASP is best known as an Arp2/3 complex activator in processes like endocytosis, extracellular matrix degradation, and host-pathogen interaction. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Juin et al. establish a novel trafficking function for N-WASP in driving lysophosphatidic acid-dependent chemotaxis and metastasis of pancreatic cancer cells.
  • R18C is a new viable P2-like bacteriophage of rabbit origin infecting Citrobacter rodentium and Shigella sonnei strains.

    Sváb, Domonkos; Horváth, Balázs; Rohde, Manfred; Maróti, Gergely; Tóth, István; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-10-23)
    Here, we report a novel virulent P2-like bacteriophage, R18C, isolated from rabbit faeces, which, in addition to Escherichia coli K-12 strains, was able to be propagated on Citrobacter rodentium strain ICC169 and a range of Shigella sonnei strains with high efficiency of plating (EOP). It represents the first lytic bacteriophage originating from rabbit and the first infectious P2-like phage of animal origin. In the three characteristic moron-containing regions of P2-like phages, R18C contains genes with unknown function that have so far only been found in cryptic P2-like prophages.
  • EPLIN-α and -β Isoforms Modulate Endothelial Cell Dynamics through a Spatiotemporally Differentiated Interaction with Actin.

    Taha, Muna; Aldirawi, Mohammed; März, Sigrid; Seebach, Jochen; Odenthal-Schnittler, Maria; Bondareva, Olga; Bojovic, Vesna; Schmandra, Thomas; Wirth, Benedikt; Mietkowska, Magdalena; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-10-22)
    Actin-binding proteins are essential for linear and branched actin filament dynamics that control shape change, cell migration, and cell junction remodeling in vascular endothelium (endothelial cells [ECs]). The epithelial protein lost in neoplasm (EPLIN) is an actin-binding protein, expressed as EPLIN-α and EPLIN-β by alternative promoters; however, the isoform-specific functions are not yet understood. Aortic compared to cava vein ECs and shear stress-exposed cultured ECs express increased EPLIN-β levels that stabilize stress fibers. In contrast, EPLIN-α expression is increased in growing and migrating ECs, is targeted to membrane protrusions, and terminates their growth via interaction with the Arp2/3 complex. The data indicate that EPLIN-α controls protrusion dynamics while EPLIN-β has an actin filament stabilizing role, which is consistent with FRAP analyses demonstrating a lower EPLIN-β turnover rate compared to EPLIN-α. Together, EPLIN isoforms differentially control actin dynamics in ECs, essential in shear stress responses, cell migration, and barrier function.
  • The secRNome of Listeria monocytogenes Harbors Small Noncoding RNAs That Are Potent Inducers of Beta Interferon.

    Frantz, Renate; Teubner, Lisa; Schultze, Tilman; La Pietra, Luigi; Müller, Christin; Gwozdzinski, Konrad; Pillich, Helena; Hain, Torsten; Weber-Gerlach, Michaela; Panagiotidis, Georgios-Dimitrios; et al. (ASM, 2019-10-08)
    Cellular sensing of bacterial RNA is increasingly recognized as a determinant of host-pathogen interactions. The intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes induces high levels of type I interferons (alpha/beta interferons [IFN-α/β]) to create a growth-permissive microenvironment during infection. We previously demonstrated that RNAs secreted by L. monocytogenes (comprising the secRNome) are potent inducers of IFN-β. We determined the composition and diversity of the members of the secRNome and found that they are uniquely enriched for noncoding small RNAs (sRNAs). Testing of individual sRNAs for their ability to induce IFN revealed several sRNAs with this property. We examined ril32, an intracellularly expressed sRNA that is highly conserved for the species L. monocytogenes and that was the most potent inducer of IFN-β expression of all the sRNAs tested in this study, in more detail. The rli32-induced IFN-β response is RIG-I (retinoic acid inducible gene I) dependent, and cells primed with rli32 inhibit influenza virus replication. We determined the rli32 motif required for IFN induction. rli32 overproduction promotes intracellular bacterial growth, and a mutant lacking rli32 is restricted for intracellular growth in macrophages. rli32-overproducing bacteria are resistant to H2O2 and exhibit both increased catalase activity and changes in the cell envelope. Comparative transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis indicated that ril32 regulates expression of the lhrC locus, previously shown to be involved in cell envelope stress. Inhibition of IFN-β signaling by ruxolitinib reduced rli32-dependent intracellular bacterial growth, indicating a link between induction of the interferon system and bacterial physiology. rli32 is, to the best of our knowledge, the first secreted individual bacterial sRNA known to trigger the induction of the type I IFN response.IMPORTANCE Interferons are potent and broadly acting cytokines that stimulate cellular responses to nucleic acids of unusual structures or locations. While protective when induced following viral infections, the induction of interferons is detrimental to the host during L. monocytogenes infection. Here, we identify specific sRNAs, secreted by the bacterium, with the capacity to induce type I IFN. Further analysis of the most potent sRNA, rli32, links the ability to induce RIG-I-dependent induction of the type I IFN response to the intracellular growth properties of the bacterium. Our findings emphasize the significance of released RNA for Listeria infection and shed light on a compartmental strategy used by an intracellular pathogen to modulate host responses to its advantage.
  • Actin dynamics in cell migration

    Schaks, Matthias; Giannone, Grégory; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Portland Press Ltd., 2019-09-24)
    Cell migration is an essential process, both in unicellular organisms such as amoeba and as individual or collective motility in highly developed multicellular organisms like mammals. It is controlled by a variety of activities combining protrusive and contractile forces, normally generated by actin filaments. Here, we summarize actin filament assembly and turnover processes, and how respective biochemical activities translate into different protrusion types engaged in migration. These actin-based plasma membrane protrusions include actin-related protein 2/3 complex-dependent structures such as lamellipodia and membrane ruffles, filopodia as well as plasma membrane blebs. We also address observed antagonisms between these protrusion types, and propose a model – also inspired by previous literature – in which a complex balance between specific Rho GTPase signaling pathways dictates the protrusion mechanism employed by cells. Furthermore, we revisit published work regarding the fascinating antagonism between Rac and Rho GTPases, and how this intricate signaling network can define cell behavior and modes of migration. Finally, we discuss how the assembly of actin filament networks can feed back onto their regulators, as exemplified for the lamellipodial factor WAVE regulatory complex, tightly controlling accumulation of this complex at specific subcellular locations as well as its turnover.
  • The Gram-Positive Bacterial Cell Wall

    Rohde, Manfred; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-05-24)
    The chapter about the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall gives a brief historical background on the discovery of Gram-positive cell walls and their constituents and microscopic methods applied for studying the Gram-positive cell envelope. Followed by the description of the different chemical building blocks of peptidoglycan and the biosynthesis of the peptidoglycan layers and high turnover of peptidoglycan during bacterial growth. Lipoteichoic acids and wall teichoic acids are highlighted as major components of the cell wall. Characterization of capsules and the formation of extracellular vesicles by Gram-positive bacteria close the section on cell envelopes which have a high impact on bacterial pathogenesis. In addition, the specialized complex and unusual cell wall of mycobacteria is introduced thereafter. Next a short back view is given on the development of electron microscopic examinations for studying bacterial cell walls. Different electron microscopic techniques and methods applied to examine bacterial cell envelopes are discussed in the view that most of the illustrated methods should be available in a well-equipped life sciences orientated electron microscopic laboratory. In addition, newly developed and mostly well-established cryo-methods like high-pressure freezing and freeze-substitution (HPF-FS) and cryo-sections of hydrated vitrified bacteria (CEMOVIS, Cryo-electron microscopy of vitreous sections) are described. At last, modern cryo-methods like cryo-electron tomography (CET) and cryo-FIB-SEM milling (focus ion beamscanning electron microscopy) are introduced which are available only in specialized institutions, but at present represent the best available methods and techniques to study Gram-positive cell walls under close-to-nature conditions in great detail and at high resolution.
  • RhoG and Cdc42 can contribute to Rac-dependent lamellipodia formation through WAVE regulatory complex-binding.

    Schaks, Matthias; Döring, Hermann; Kage, Frieda; Steffen, Anika; Klünemann, Thomas; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Stradal, Theresia; Rottner, Klemens; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Taylor and Francis, 2019-08-26)
    Cell migration frequently involves the formation of lamellipodial protrusions, the initiation of which requires Rac GTPases signalling to heteropentameric WAVE regulatory complex (WRC). While Rac-related RhoG and Cdc42 can potently stimulate lamellipodium formation, so far presumed to occur by upstream signalling to Rac activation, we show here that the latter can be bypassed by RhoG and Cdc42 given that WRC has been artificially activated. This evidence arises from generation of B16-F1 cells simultaneously lacking both Rac GTPases and WRC, followed by reconstitution of lamellipodia formation with specific Rho-GTPase and differentially active WRC variant combinations. We conclude that formation of canonical lamellipodia requires WRC activation through Rac, but can possibly be tuned, in addition, by WRC interactions with RhoG and Cdc42.
  • Mitochondria Are a Subset of Extracellular Vesicles Released by Activated Monocytes and Induce Type I IFN and TNF Responses in Endothelial Cells.

    Puhm, Florian; Afonyushkin, Taras; Resch, Ulrike; Obermayer, Georg; Rohde, Manfred; Penz, Thomas; Schuster, Michael; Wagner, Gabriel; Rendeiro, Andre F; Melki, Imene; et al. (Lippincott,Williams & Wilkins, 2019-06-21)
    Extracellular vesicles, including microvesicles, are increasingly recognized as important mediators in cardiovascular disease. The cargo and surface proteins they carry are considered to define their biological activity, including their inflammatory properties. Monocyte to endothelial cell signaling is a prerequisite for the propagation of inflammatory responses. However, the contribution of microvesicles in this process is poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the mechanisms by which microvesicles derived from activated monocytic cells exert inflammatory effects on endothelial cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: LPS (lipopolysaccharide)-stimulated monocytic cells release free mitochondria and microvesicles with mitochondrial content as demonstrated by flow cytometry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Western Blot, and transmission electron microscopy. Using RNAseq analysis and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we demonstrated that both mitochondria directly isolated from and microvesicles released by LPS-activated monocytic cells, as well as circulating microvesicles isolated from volunteers receiving low-dose LPS-injections, induce type I IFN (interferon), and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) responses in endothelial cells. Depletion of free mitochondria significantly reduced the ability of these microvesicles to induce type I IFN and TNF-dependent genes. We identified mitochondria-associated TNFα and RNA from stressed mitochondria as major inducers of these responses. Finally, we demonstrated that the proinflammatory potential of microvesicles and directly isolated mitochondria were drastically reduced when they were derived from monocytic cells with nonrespiring mitochondria or monocytic cells cultured in the presence of pyruvate or the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species scavenger MitoTEMPO. CONCLUSIONS: Mitochondria and mitochondria embedded in microvesicles constitute a major subset of extracellular vesicles released by activated monocytes, and their proinflammatory activity on endothelial cells is determined by the activation status of their parental cells. Thus, mitochondria may represent critical intercellular mediators in cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory settings associated with type I IFN and TNF signaling.
  • IL-1β Promotes Biofilms on Implants .

    Gutierrez Jauregui, Rodrigo; Fleige, Henrike; Bubke, Anja; Rohde, Manfred; Weiss, Siegfried; Förster, Reinhold; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Implant associated infections represent a serious health burden in clinics since some microorganisms are able to colonize biological surfaces or surfaces of indwelling medical devices and form biofilms. Biofilms represent communities of microorganisms attached to hydrated surfaces and enclosed in self-produced extracellular matrix. This renders them resistant to exogenous assaults like antibiotics or immune effector mechanisms. Little is known regarding the role of the immune system in the formation of biofilms during implant associated infections, largely due to the lack of suitable mouse models. Here we use colonized osmotic pumps in mice to study the interaction of an activated immune system with biofilm-forming Staphylococcus aureus encoding Gaussia luciferase. This approach permits biofilm formation on the osmotic pumps in living animals. It also allows the continuous supply of soluble immune cell activating agents, such as cytokines to study their effect on biofilm formation in vivo. Using non-invasive imaging of the bioluminescent signal emitted by the lux expressing bacteria for quantification of bacterial load in conjunction with light and electron microscopy, we observed that pump-supplied pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β strongly increased biofilm formation along with a massive influx of neutrophils adjacent to the biofilm-coated pumps. Thus, our data demonstrate that immune defense mechanisms can augment biofilm formation.
  • Corrigendum: gen. nov., sp. nov., an Unusual Member of the Phylum Planctomycetes From the German Wadden Sea.

    Kohn, Timo; Heuer, Anja; Jogler, Mareike; Vollmers, John; Boedeker, Christian; Bunk, Boyke; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Glöckner, Ines; Freese, Heike M; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
  • gen. nov., sp. nov., an Unusual Member of the Phylum Planctomycetes from the German Wadden Sea.

    Kohn, Timo; Heuer, Anja; Jogler, Mareike; Vollmers, John; Boedeker, Christian; Bunk, Boyke; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Glöckner, Ines; Freese, Heike M; et al. (Frontiers, 2016-01-01)
    Members of the phylum Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria that dwell in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. While planctomycetal species are important players in the global carbon and nitrogen cycle, this phylum is still undersampled and only few genome sequences are available. Here we describe strain NH11T, a novel planctomycete obtained from a crustacean shell (Wadden Sea, Germany). The phylogenetically closest related cultivated species is Gimesia maris, sharing only 87% 16S rRNA sequence identity. Previous isolation attempts have mostly yielded members of the genus Rhodopirellula from water of the German North Sea. On the other hand, only one axenic culture of the genus Pirellula was obtained from a crustacean thus far. However, the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain NH11T shares only 80% sequence identity with the closest relative of both genera, Rhodopirellula and Pirellula. Thus, strain NH11T is unique in terms of origin and phylogeny. While the pear to ovoid shaped cells of strain NH11T are typical planctomycetal, light-, and electron microscopic observations point toward an unusual variation of cell division through budding: during the division process daughter- and mother cells are connected by an unseen thin tubular-like structure. Furthermore, the periplasmic space of strain NH11T was unusually enlarged and differed from previously known planctomycetes. The complete genome of strain NH11T, with almost 9 Mb in size, is among the largest planctomycetal genomes sequenced thus far, but harbors only 6645 protein-coding genes. The acquisition of genomic components by horizontal gene transfer is indicated by the presence of numerous putative genomic islands. Strikingly, 45 "giant genes" were found within the genome of NH11T. Subsequent analysis of all available planctomycetal genomes revealed that Planctomycetes as such are especially rich in "giant genes". Furthermore, Multilocus Sequence Analysis (MLSA) tree reconstruction support the phylogenetic distance of strain NH11T from other cultivated Planctomycetes of the same phylogenetic cluster. Thus, based on our findings, we propose to classify strain NH11T as Fuerstia marisgermanicae gen. nov., sp. nov., with the type strain NH11T, within the phylum Planctomycetes.
  • Still Something to Discover: Novel Insights into Phage Diversity and Taxonomy.

    Korf, Imke H E; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Adriaenssens, Evelien M; Kropinski, Andrew M; Nimtz, Manfred; Rohde, Manfred; van Raaij, Mark J; Wittmann, Johannes; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2019-05-17)
    The aim of this study was to gain further insight into the diversity of Escherichia coli phagesfollowed by enhanced work on taxonomic issues in that field. Therefore, we present the genomiccharacterization and taxonomic classification of 50 bacteriophages against E. coli isolated fromvarious sources, such as manure or sewage. All phages were examined for their host range on a setof different E. coli strains, originating, e.g., from human diagnostic laboratories or poultry farms.Transmission electron microscopy revealed a diversity of morphotypes (70% Myo-, 22% Sipho-, and8% Podoviruses), and genome sequencing resulted in genomes sizes from ~44 to ~370 kb.Annotation and comparison with databases showed similarities in particular to T4- and T5-likephages, but also to less-known groups. Though various phages against E. coli are already describedin literature and databases, we still isolated phages that showed no or only few similarities to otherphages, namely phages Goslar, PTXU04, and KWBSE43-6. Genome-based phylogeny andclassification of the newly isolated phages using VICTOR resulted in the proposal of new generaand led to an enhanced taxonomic classification of E. coli phages.
  • Three glycosylated serine-rich repeat proteins play a pivotal role in adhesion and colonization of the pioneer commensal bacterium, Streptococcus salivarius.

    Couvigny, Benoit; Lapaque, Nicolas; Rigottier-Gois, Lionel; Guillot, Alain; Chat, Sophie; Meylheuc, Thierry; Kulakauskas, Saulius; Rohde, M; Mistou, Michel-Yves; Renault, Pierre; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017-01-01)
    Bacterial adhesion is a critical step for colonization of the host. The pioneer colonizer and commensal bacterium of the human gastrointestinal tract, Streptococcus salivarius, has strong adhesive properties but the molecular determinants of this adhesion remain uncharacterized. Serine‐rich repeat (SRR) glycoproteins are a family of adhesins that fulfil an important role in adhesion. In general, Gram‐positive bacterial genomes have a unique SRR glycoprotein‐encoding gene. We demonstrate that S. salivarius expresses three large and glycosylated surface‐exposed proteins – SrpA, SrpB and SrpC – that show characteristics of SRR glycoproteins and are secreted through the accessory SecA2/Y2 system. Two glycosyltransferases – GtfE/F – encoded outside of the secA2/Y2 locus, unusually, perform the first step of the sequential glycosylation process, which is crucial for SRR activity. We show that SrpB and SrpC play complementary adhesive roles involved in several steps of the colonization process: auto‐aggregation, biofilm formation and adhesion to a variety of host epithelial cells and components. We also show that at least one of the S. salivarius SRR glycoproteins is important for colonization in mice. SrpA, SrpB and SrpC are the main factors underlying the multifaceted adhesion of S. salivarius and, therefore, play a major role in host colonization.
  • Role of Src and Cortactin in Pemphigus Skin Blistering.

    Kugelmann, Daniela; Rötzer, Vera; Walter, Elias; Egu, Desalegn Tadesse; Fuchs, Michael Tobias; Vielmuth, Franziska; Vargas-Robles, Hilda; Schnoor, Michael; Hertl, Michael; Eming, Rüdiger; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Autoantibodies against desmoglein (Dsg) 1 and Dsg3 primarily cause blister formation in the autoimmune disease pemphigus vulgaris (PV). Src was proposed to contribute to loss of keratinocyte cohesion. However, the role and underlying mechanisms are unclear and were studied here. In keratinocytes, cell cohesion in response to autoantibodies was reduced in Src-dependent manner by two patient-derived PV-IgG fractions as well as by AK23 but not by a third PV-IgG fraction, although Src was activated by all autoantibodies. Loss of cell cohesion was progredient in a timeframe of 24 h and AK23, similar to PV-IgG, interfered with reconstitution of cell cohesion after Ca2+-switch, indicating that the autoantibodies also interfered with desmosome assembly. Dsg3 co-localized along cell contacts and interacted with the Src substrate cortactin. In keratinocytes isolated from cortactin-deficient mice, cell adhesion was impaired and Src-mediated inhibition of AK23-induced loss of cell cohesion for 24 h was significantly reduced compared to wild-type (wt) cells. Similarly, AK23 impaired reconstitution of cell adhesion was Src-dependent only in the presence of cortactin. Likewise, Src inhibition significantly reduced AK23-induced skin blistering in wt but not cortactin-deficient mice. These data suggest that the Src-mediated long-term effects of AK23 on loss of cell cohesion and skin blistering are dependent on cortactin-mediated desmosome assembly. However, in human epidermis PV-IgG-induced skin blistering and ultrastructural alterations of desmosomes were not affected by Src inhibition, indicating that Src may not be critical for skin blistering in intact human skin, at least when high levels of autoantibodies targeting Dsg1 are present.

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