• Biosynthesis of Violacein, Structure and Function of l-Tryptophan Oxidase VioA from Chromobacterium violaceum.

      Füller, Janis J; Röpke, René; Krausze, Joern; Rennhack, Kim E; Daniel, Nils P; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Schulz, Stefan; Jahn, Dieter; Moser, Jürgen; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Violacein is a natural purple pigment of Chromobacterium violaceum with potential medical applications as antimicrobial, antiviral, and anticancer drugs. The initial step of violacein biosynthesis is the oxidative conversion of l-tryptophan into the corresponding α-imine catalyzed by the flavoenzyme l-tryptophan oxidase (VioA). A substrate-related (3-(1H-indol-3-yl)-2-methylpropanoic acid) and a product-related (2-(1H-indol-3-ylmethyl)prop-2-enoic acid) competitive VioA inhibitor was synthesized for subsequent kinetic and x-ray crystallographic investigations. Structures of the binary VioA·FADH2 and of the ternary VioA·FADH2·2-(1H-indol-3-ylmethyl)prop-2-enoic acid complex were resolved. VioA forms a "loosely associated" homodimer as indicated by small-angle x-ray scattering experiments. VioA belongs to the glutathione reductase family 2 of FAD-dependent oxidoreductases according to the structurally conserved cofactor binding domain. The substrate-binding domain of VioA is mainly responsible for the specific recognition of l-tryptophan. Other canonical amino acids were efficiently discriminated with a minor conversion of l-phenylalanine. Furthermore, 7-aza-tryptophan, 1-methyl-tryptophan, 5-methyl-tryptophan, and 5-fluoro-tryptophan were efficient substrates of VioA. The ternary product-related VioA structure indicated involvement of protein domain movement during enzyme catalysis. Extensive structure-based mutagenesis in combination with enzyme kinetics (using l-tryptophan and substrate analogs) identified Arg(64), Lys(269), and Tyr(309) as key catalytic residues of VioA. An increased enzyme activity of protein variant H163A in the presence of l-phenylalanine indicated a functional role of His(163) in substrate binding. The combined structural and mutational analyses lead to the detailed understanding of VioA substrate recognition. Related strategies for the in vivo synthesis of novel violacein derivatives are discussed.
    • ER-targeted intrabodies mediating specific in vivo knockdown of transitory proteins in comparison to RNAi

      Backhaus, Oliver; Böldicke, Thomas; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-10-25)
      In animals and mammalian cells, protein function can be analyzed by nucleotide sequence-based methods such as gene knockout, targeted gene disruption, CRISPR/Cas, TALEN, zinc finger nucleases, or the RNAi technique. Alternatively, protein knockdown approaches are available based on direct interference of the target protein with the inhibitor.Among protein knockdown techniques, the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) intrabodies arepotent molecules for protein knockdown in vitro and in vivo. These molecules are increasingly used for protein knockdown in living cells and transgenic mice. ER intrabody knockdown technique is based on the retention of membrane proteins and secretory proteins inside the ER, mediated by recombinant antibody fragments. In contrast to nucleotide sequence-based methods, the intrabody-mediated knockdown actsonly on the posttranslational level. In this review, the ER intrabody technology has been compared with the RNAi technique on the molecular level. The generation of intrabodies and RNAi has also been discussed. Specificity and off-target effects (OTE) of these molecules as well as the therapeutic potential of ER intrabodies and RNAi have been compared.
    • Exchange of amino acids in the H1-haemagglutinin to H3 residues is required for efficient influenza A virus replication and pathology in Tmprss2 knock-out mice.

      Lambertz, Ruth L O; Pippel, Jan; Gerhauser, Ingo; Kollmus, Heike; Anhlan, Darisuren; Hrincius, Eike R; Krausze, Joern; Kühn, Nora; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-01)
      The haemagglutinin (HA) of H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A virus (IAV) subtypes has to be activated by host proteases. Previous studies showed that H1N1 virus cannot replicate efficiently in Tmprss2/ knock-out mice whereas H3N2 viruses are able to replicate to the same levels in Tmprss2/ as in wild type (WT) mice. Here, we investigated the sequence requirements for the HA molecule that allow IAV to replicate efficiently in the absence of TMPRSS2. We showed that replacement of the H3 for the H1-loop sequence (amino acids 320 to 329, at the C-terminus of HA1) was not sufficient for equal levels of virus replication or severe pathology in Tmprss2/ knock-out mice compared to WT mice. However, exchange of a distant amino acid from H1 to H3 sequence (E31D) in addition to the HA-loop substitution resulted in virus replication in Tmprss2/ knockout mice that was comparable to WT mice. The higher virus replication and lung damage was associated with increased epithelial damage and higher mortality. Our results provide further evidence and insights into host proteases as a promising target for therapeutic intervention of IAV infections.
    • Recent developments in the isolation, biological function, biosynthesis, and synthesis of phenazine natural products.

      Guttenberger, Nikolaus; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Breinbauer, Rolf; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-11-15)
      Phenazines are natural products which are produced by bacteria or by archaeal Methanosarcina species. The tricyclic ring system enables redox processes, which producing organisms use for oxidation of NADH or for the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), giving them advantages over other microorganisms. In this review we summarize the progress in the field since 2005 regarding the isolation of new phenazine natural products, new insights in their biological function, and particularly the now almost completely understood biosynthesis. The review is complemented by a description of new synthetic methods and total syntheses of phenazines.
    • Structural, mechanistic and functional insight into gliotoxin bis-thiomethylation in Aspergillus fumigatus.

      Dolan, Stephen K; Bock, Tobias; Hering, Vanessa; Owens, Rebecca A; Jones, Gary W; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Doyle, Sean; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02)
      Gliotoxin is an epipolythiodioxopiperazine (ETP) class toxin, contains a disulfide bridge that mediates its toxic effects via redox cycling and is produced by the opportunistic fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus Self-resistance against gliotoxin is effected by the gliotoxin oxidase GliT, and attenuation of gliotoxin biosynthesis is catalysed by gliotoxin S-methyltransferase GtmA. Here we describe the X-ray crystal structures of GtmA-apo (1.66 Å), GtmA complexed to S-adenosylhomocysteine (1.33 Å) and GtmA complexed to S-adenosylmethionine (2.28 Å), providing mechanistic insights into this important biotransformation. We further reveal that simultaneous elimination of the ability of A. fumigatus to dissipate highly reactive dithiol gliotoxin, via deletion of GliT and GtmA, results in the most significant hypersensitivity to exogenous gliotoxin observed to date. Indeed, quantitative proteomic analysis of ΔgliT::ΔgtmA reveals an uncontrolled over-activation of the gli-cluster upon gliotoxin exposure. The data presented herein reveal, for the first time, the extreme risk associated with intracellular dithiol gliotoxin biosynthesis-in the absence of an efficient dismutation capacity. Significantly, a previously concealed protective role for GtmA and functionality of ETP bis-thiomethylation as an ancestral protection strategy against dithiol compounds is now evident.
    • TMPRSS11A activates the influenza A virus hemagglutinin and the MERS coronavirus spike protein and is insensitive against blockade by HAI-1.

      Zmora, Pawel; Hoffmann, Markus; Kollmus, Heike; Moldenhauer, Anna-Sophie; Danov, Olga; Braun, Armin; Winkler, Michael; Schughart, Klaus; Pöhlmann, Stefan; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-07)
      The influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) facilitates viral entry into target cells. Cleavage of HA by host cell proteases is essential for viral infectivity, and the responsible enzymes are potential targets for antiviral intervention. The type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) TMPRSS2 has been identified as an HA activator in cell culture and in the infected host. However, it is less clear whether TMPRSS2-related enzymes can also activate HA for spread in target cells. Moreover, the activity of cellular serine protease inhibitors against HA-activating TTSPs is poorly understood. Here, we show that TMPRSS11A, another member of the TTSP family, cleaves and activates the influenza A virus (FLUAV) HA and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike protein (MERS-S). Moreover, we demonstrate that TMPRSS11A is expressed in murine tracheal epithelium, which is a target of FLUAV infection, and in human trachea, suggesting that the protease could support FLUAV spread in patients. Finally, we show that HA activation by the TMPRSS11A-related enzymes human airway tryptase and DESC1, but not TMPRSS11A itself, is blocked by the cellular serine protease inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type-1 (HAI-1). Our results suggest that TMPRSS11A could promote FLUAV spread in target cells and that HA-activating TTSPs exhibit differential sensitivity to blockade by cellular serine protease inhibitors.