• An enzyme from Auricularia auricula-judae combining both benzoyl and cinnamoyl esterase activity

      Haase-Aschoff, Paul; Linke, Diana; Nimtz, Manfred; Popper, Lutz; Berger, Ralf G.; Dept. of structure and function of proteins, Helmhotz Centre for infection research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2014-01-14)
    • ER intrabody-mediated inhibition of interferon α secretion by mouse macrophages and dendritic cells.

      Büssow, Konrad; Themann, Philipp; Luu, Sabine; Pentrowski, Paul; Harting, Claudia; Majewski, Mira; Vollmer, Veith; Köster, Mario; Grashoff, Martina; Zawatzky, Rainer; et al. (Plos, 2019-01-01)
      Interferon α (IFNα) counteracts viral infections by activating various IFNα-stimulated genes (ISGs). These genes encode proteins that block viral transport into the host cell and inhibit viral replication, gene transcription and translation. Due to the existence of 14 different, highly homologous isoforms of mouse IFNα, an IFNα knockout mouse has not yet been established by genetic knockout strategies. An scFv intrabody for holding back IFNα isoforms in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and thus counteracting IFNα secretion is reported. The intrabody was constructed from the variable domains of the anti-mouse IFNα rat monoclonal antibody 4EA1 recognizing the 5 isoforms IFNα1, IFNα2, IFNα4, IFNα5, IFNα6. A soluble form of the intrabody had a KD of 39 nM to IFNα4. It could be demonstrated that the anti-IFNα intrabody inhibits clearly recombinant IFNα4 secretion by HEK293T cells. In addition, the secretion of IFNα4 was effectively inhibited in stably transfected intrabody expressing RAW 264.7 macrophages and dendritic D1 cells. Colocalization of the intrabody with IFNα4 and the ER marker calnexin in HEK293T cells indicated complex formation of intrabody and IFNα4 inside the ER. Intracellular binding of intrabody and antigen was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. Complexes of endogenous IFNα and intrabody could be visualized in the ER of Poly (I:C) stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages and D1 dendritic cells. Infection of macrophages and dendritic cells with the vesicular stomatitis virus VSV-AV2 is attenuated by IFNα and IFNβ. The intrabody increased virus proliferation in RAW 264.7 macrophages and D1 dendritic cells under IFNβ-neutralizing conditions. To analyze if all IFNα isoforms are recognized by the intrabody was not in the focus of this study. Provided that binding of the intrabody to all isoforms was confirmed, the establishment of transgenic intrabody mice would be promising for studying the function of IFNα during viral infection and autoimmune diseases.
    • 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.
    • Expression, purification and crystal structure determination of a ferredoxin reductase from the actinobacterium Thermobifida fusca.

      Rodriguez Buitrago, Jhon Alexander; Klünemann, Thomas; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Schallmey, Anett; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley & Sons, 2020-07-28)
      he ferredoxin reductase FdR9 from Thermobifida fusca, a member of the oxygenase-coupled NADH-dependent ferredoxin reductase (FNR) family, catalyses electron transfer from NADH to its physiological electron acceptor ferredoxin. It forms part of a putative three-component cytochrome P450 monooxygenase system in T. fusca comprising CYP222A1 and the [3Fe-4S]-cluster ferredoxin Fdx8 as well as FdR9. Here, FdR9 was overexpressed and purified and its crystal structure was determined at 1.9 Å resolution. The overall structure of FdR9 is similar to those of other members of the FNR family and is composed of an FAD-binding domain, an NAD-binding domain and a C-terminal domain. Activity measurements with FdR9 confirmed a strong preference for NADH as the cofactor. Comparison of the FAD- and NAD-binding domains of FdR9 with those of other ferredoxin reductases revealed the presence of conserved sequence motifs in the FAD-binding domain as well as several highly conserved residues involved in FAD and NAD cofactor binding. Moreover, the NAD-binding site of FdR9 contains a modified Rossmann-fold motif, GxSxxS, instead of the classical GxGxxG motif.
    • Flexible Fragment Growing Boosts Potency of Quorum Sensing Inhibitors against Pseudomonas aeruginosa Virulence.

      Zender, Michael; Witzgall, Florian; Kiefer, Alexander Felix; Kirsch, Benjamin; Maurer, Christine K; Kany, Andreas M; Xu, Ningna; Schmelz, Stefan; Börger, Carsten; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2019-11-11)
      Hit-to-lead optimization is a critical phase in drug discovery. Herein, we report on the fragment-based discovery and optimization of 2-amino pyridine derivatives as a novel lead-like structure for the treatment of the dangerous opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa . We pursue an innovative treatment strategy by interfering with the Pseudomonas Quinolone Signal (PQS) Quorum Sensing (QS) system leading to an abolishment of bacterial pathogenicity. Our compounds act on the PQS receptor (PqsR), a key transcription factor controlling the expression of various pathogenicity determinants. In this target-driven approach, we made use of biophysical screening via surface plasmon resonance (SPR) followed by isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC)-enabled enthalpic efficiency (EE) evaluation. Hit optimization then involved growth vector identification and exploitation. Astonishingly, the latter was successfully achieved by introducing flexible linkers rather than rigid motifs leading to a boost in activity on the target receptor and anti-virulence potency.
    • Gastrointestinal stress as innate defence against microbial attack.

      Panwar, H; Rokana, N; Aparna, S V; Kaur, J; Singh, A; Singh, J; Singh, K S; Chaudhary, V; Puniya, A K; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-08-31)
      A comparison of the metabolic response of Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) towards the production of human basic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF-2) or towards carbon overfeeding revealed similarities which point to constraints in anabolic pathways. Contrary to expectations, neither energy generation (e.g., ATP) nor provision of precursor molecules for nucleotides (e.g., uracil) and amino acids (e.g., pyruvate, glutamate) limit host cell and plasmid-encoded functions. Growth inhibition is assumed to occur when hampered anabolic capacities do not match with the ongoing and overwhelming carbon catabolism. Excessive carbon uptake leads to by-product secretion, for example, pyruvate, acetate, glutamate, and energy spillage, for example, accumulation and degradation of adenine nucleotides with concomitant accumulation of extracellular hypoxanthine. The cellular response towards compromised anabolic capacities involves downregulation of cAMP formation, presumably responsible for subsequently better-controlled glucose uptake and resultant accumulation of glucose in the culture medium. Growth inhibition is neglectable under conditions of reduced carbon availability when hampered anabolic capacities also match with catabolic carbon processing. The growth inhibitory effect with accompanying energy spillage, respectively, hypoxanthine secretion and cessation of cAMP formation is not unique to the production of hFGF-2 but observed during the production of other proteins and also during overexpression of genes without transcript translation.
    • High level transient production of recombinant antibodies and antibody fusion proteins in HEK293 cells

      Jäger, Volker; Büssow, Konrad; Wagner, Andreas; Weber, Susanne; Hust, Michael; Frenzel, André; Schirrmann, Thomas (2013-06-26)
      Abstract Background The demand of monospecific high affinity binding reagents, particularly monoclonal antibodies, has been steadily increasing over the last years. Enhanced throughput of antibody generation has been addressed by optimizing in vitro selection using phage display which moved the major bottleneck to the production and purification of recombinant antibodies in an end-user friendly format. Single chain (sc)Fv antibody fragments require additional tags for detection and are not as suitable as immunoglobulins (Ig)G in many immunoassays. In contrast, the bivalent scFv-Fc antibody format shares many properties with IgG and has a very high application compatibility. Results In this study transient expression of scFv-Fc antibodies in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells was optimized. Production levels of 10-20 mg/L scFv-Fc antibody were achieved in adherent HEK293T cells. Employment of HEK293-6E suspension cells expressing a truncated variant of the Epstein Barr virus (EBV) nuclear antigen (EBNA) 1 in combination with production under serum free conditions increased the volumetric yield up to 10-fold to more than 140 mg/L scFv-Fc antibody. After vector optimization and process optimization the yield of an scFv-Fc antibody and a cytotoxic antibody-RNase fusion protein further increased 3-4-fold to more than 450 mg/L. Finally, an entirely new mammalian expression vector was constructed for single step in frame cloning of scFv genes from antibody phage display libraries. Transient expression of more than 20 different scFv-Fc antibodies resulted in volumetric yields of up to 600 mg/L and 400 mg/L in average. Conclusion Transient production of recombinant scFv-Fc antibodies in HEK293-6E in combination with optimized vectors and fed batch shake flasks cultivation is efficient and robust, and integrates well into a high-throughput recombinant antibody generation pipeline.
    • The immunoglobulin M-degrading enzyme of Streptococcus suis, Ide Ssuis , is involved in complement evasion.

      Seele, Jana; Beineke, Andreas; Hillermann, Lena-Maria; Jaschok-Kentner, Beate; von Pawel-Rammingen, Ulrich; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Baums, Christoph Georg; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Streptococcus (S.) suis is one of the most important pathogens in pigs causing meningitis, arthritis, endocarditis and serositis. Furthermore, it is also an emerging zoonotic agent. In our previous work we identified a highly specific IgM protease in S. suis, designated Ide Ssuis . The objective of this study was to characterize the function of Ide Ssuis in the host-pathogen interaction. Edman-sequencing revealed that Ide Ssuis cleaves the heavy chain of the IgM molecule between constant domain 2 and 3. As the C1q binding motif is located in the C3 domain, we hypothesized that Ide Ssuis is involved in complement evasion. Complement-mediated hemolysis induced by porcine hyperimmune sera containing erythrocyte-specific IgM was abrogated by treatment of these sera with recombinant Ide Ssuis . Furthermore, expression of Ide Ssuis reduced IgM-triggered complement deposition on the bacterial surface. An infection experiment of prime-vaccinated growing piglets suggested attenuation in the virulence of the mutant 10Δide Ssuis . Bactericidal assays confirmed a positive effect of Ide Ssuis expression on bacterial survival in porcine blood in the presence of high titers of specific IgM. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that Ide Ssuis is a novel complement evasion factor, which is important for bacterial survival in porcine blood during the early adaptive (IgM-dominated) immune response.
    • Immunotherapy with antibodies: Tumor development, immune defense and therapeutic antibodies

      Böldicke, Thomas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), 2021-01-01)
      Tumor development is based on mutations of genes involved in cell growth (e.g. transcription factors, growth receptors or intracellular signal molecules) or in suppressor genes (e.g. p53). During tumor growth cell clones are selected, which contain driver genes, leading to uncontrolled growth of these cell clones. During all phases of tumor development (immunosurveillance, equilibrium phase, escape of the tumor from the immune system) the interaction between the immune system and the tumor cells and the development of a chronic inflammation in the tumor microenvironment play a crucial role. The aim of cancer immunotherapy is to activate the immune system. A promising immunotherapy is based on antibodies that activate immune cells, inhibit tumor growth or lead to destruction of tumor cells. Applied are recombinant IgG antibodies or genetically engineered antibody fragments against tumor-associated antigens (TAA’s). They are applied singularly or in combination with chemo- or radiotherapy. Promising are checkpoint antibodies, which abrogate blocking of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and CD4+ T cells by tumor cells and/or dendritic cells. Other successfully applied antibodies are bispecific antibodies (recognize T‑cell and tumor cell), chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) for T cell therapy, immunocytokines (cytokines fused to antibodies) and immunotoxins (toxins fused to antibodies). In addition intracellular antibodies successfully tested in xenograft tumor mouse models have promising therapeutic potential.
    • Insights into the Cnx1E catalyzed MPT-AMP hydrolysis.

      Hercher, Thomas W; Krausze, Joern; Hoffmeister, Sven; Zwerschke, Dagmar; Lindel, Thomas; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Mendel, Ralf R; Kruse, Tobias; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Portland Press, 2020-01-31)
      Molybdenum insertases (Mo-insertases) catalyze the final step of molybdenum cofactor (Moco) biosynthesis, an evolutionary old and highly conserved multi-step pathway. In the first step of the pathway, GTP serves as substrate for the formation of cyclic pyranopterin monophosphate, which is subsequently converted into molybdopterin (MPT) in the second pathway step. In the following synthesis steps, MPT is adenylated yielding MPT-AMP that is subsequently used as substrate for enzyme catalyzed molybdate insertion. Molybdate insertion and MPT-AMP hydrolysis are catalyzed by the Mo-insertase E-domain. Earlier work reported a highly conserved aspartate residue to be essential for Mo-insertase functionality. In this work, we confirmed the mechanistic relevance of this residue for the Arabidopsis thaliana Mo-insertase Cnx1E. We found that the conservative substitution of Cnx1E residue Asp274 by Glu (D274E) leads to an arrest of MPT-AMP hydrolysis and hence to the accumulation of MPT-AMP. We further showed that the MPT-AMP accumulation goes in hand with the accumulation of molybdate. By crystallization and structure determination of the Cnx1E variant D274E, we identified the potential reason for the missing hydrolysis activity in the disorder of the region spanning amino acids 269 to 274. We reasoned that this is caused by the inability of a glutamate in position 274 to coordinate the octahedral Mg2+-water complex in the Cnx1E active site.
    • Intrabodies against the Polysialyltransferases ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV inhibit Polysialylation of NCAM in rhabdomyosarcoma tumor cells.

      Somplatzki, Stefan; Mühlenhoff, Martina; Kröger, Andrea; Gerardy-Schahn, Rita; Böldicke, Thomas; Helmholtz Centr for infection research (2017-05-12)
      Polysialic acid (polySia) is a carbohydrate modification of the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), which is implicated in neural differentiation and plays an important role in tumor development and metastasis. Polysialylation of NCAM is mediated by two Golgi-resident polysialyltransferases (polyST) ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV. Intracellular antibodies (intrabodies; IB) expressed inside the ER and retaining proteins passing the ER such as cell surface receptors or secretory proteins provide an efficient means of protein knockdown. To inhibit the function of ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV specific ER IBs were generated starting from two corresponding hybridoma clones. Both IBs αST8SiaII-IB and αST8SiaIV-IB were constructed in the scFv format and their functions characterized in vitro and in vivo.
    • Investigations on the mode of action of gephyronic acid, an inhibitor of eukaryotic protein translation from myxobacteria.

      Muthukumar, Yazh; Münkemer, Johanna; Mathieu, Daniel; Richter, Christian; Schwalbe, Harald; Steinmetz, Heinrich; Kessler, Wolfgang; Reichelt, Joachim; Beutling, Ulrike; Frank, Ronald; et al. (PLOS, 2018-01-01)
      The identification of inhibitors of eukaryotic protein biosynthesis, which are targeting single translation factors, is highly demanded. Here we report on a small molecule inhibitor, gephyronic acid, isolated from the myxobacterium Archangium gephyra that inhibits growth of transformed mammalian cell lines in the nM range. In direct comparison, primary human fibroblasts were shown to be less sensitive to toxic effects of gephyronic acid than cancer-derived cells. Gephyronic acid is targeting the protein translation system. Experiments with IRES dual luciferase reporter assays identified it as an inhibitor of the translation initiation. DARTs approaches, co-localization studies and pull-down assays indicate that the binding partner could be the eukaryotic initiation factor 2 subunit alpha (eIF2α). Gephyronic acid seems to have a different mode of action than the structurally related polyketides tedanolide, myriaporone, and pederin and is a valuable tool for investigating the eukaryotic translation system. Because cancer derived cells were found to be especially sensitive, gephyronic acid could potentially find use as a drug candidate.
    • Mechanisms and Specificity of Phenazine Biosynthesis Protein PhzF.

      Diederich, Christina; Leypold, Mario; Culka, Martin; Weber, Hansjörg; Breinbauer, Rolf; Ullmann, G Matthias; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-07-24)
      Phenazines are bacterial virulence and survival factors with important roles in infectious disease. PhzF catalyzes a key reaction in their biosynthesis by isomerizing (2 S,3 S)-2,3-dihydro-3-hydroxy anthranilate (DHHA) in two steps, a [1,5]-hydrogen shift followed by tautomerization to an aminoketone. While the [1,5]-hydrogen shift requires the conserved glutamate E45, suggesting acid/base catalysis, it also shows hallmarks of a sigmatropic rearrangement, namely the suprafacial migration of a non-acidic proton. To discriminate these mechanistic alternatives, we employed enzyme kinetic measurements and computational methods. Quantum mechanics/molecular mechanics (QM/MM) calculations revealed that the activation barrier of a proton shuttle mechanism involving E45 is significantly lower than that of a sigmatropic [1,5]-hydrogen shift. QM/MM also predicted a large kinetic isotope effect, which was indeed observed with deuterated substrate. For the tautomerization, QM/MM calculations suggested involvement of E45 and an active site water molecule, explaining the observed stereochemistry. Because these findings imply that PhzF can act only on a limited substrate spectrum, we also investigated the turnover of DHHA derivatives, of which only O-methyl and O-ethyl DHHA were converted. Together, these data reveal how PhzF orchestrates a water-free with a water-dependent step. Its unique mechanism, specificity and essential role in phenazine biosynthesis may offer opportunities for inhibitor development.
    • Molecular Mechanisms of Vaspin Action - From Adipose Tissue to Skin and Bone, from Blood Vessels to the Brain.

      Weiner, Juliane; Zieger, Konstanze; Pippel, Jan; Heiker, John T; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2019-01-01)
      Visceral adipose tissue-derived serine protease inhibitor (vaspin) or SERPINA12 according to the serpin nomenclature was identified together with other genes and gene products that were specifically expressed or overexpressed in the intra-abdominal or visceral adipose tissue (AT) of the Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rat. These rats spontaneously develop visceral obesity, insulin resistance, hyperinsulinemia and -glycemia, as well as hypertension and thus represent a well suited animal model of obesity and related metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes.The follow-up study reporting the cloning, expression and functional characterization of vaspin suggested the great and promising potential of this molecule to counteract obesity induced insulin resistance and inflammation and has since initiated over 300 publications, clinical and experimental, that have contributed to uncover the multifaceted functions and molecular mechanisms of vaspin action not only in the adipose, but in many different cells, tissues and organs. This review will give an update on mechanistic and structural aspects of vaspin with a focus on its serpin function, the physiology and regulation of vaspin expression, and will summarize the latest on vaspin function in various tissues such as the different adipose tissue depots as well as the vasculature, skin, bone and the brain.
    • NAD(H)-mediated tetramerization controls the activity of phospholipase PlaB.

      Diwo, Maurice; Michel, Wiebke; Aurass, Philipp; Kuhle-Keindorf, Katja; Pippel, Jan; Krausze, Joern; Wamp, Sabrina; Lang, Christina; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Flieger, Antje; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2021-06-01)
      The virulence factor PlaB promotes lung colonization, tissue destruction, and intracellular replication of Legionella pneumophila, the causative agent of Legionnaires' disease. It is a highly active phospholipase exposed at the bacterial surface and shows an extraordinary activation mechanism by tetramer deoligomerization. To unravel the molecular basis for enzyme activation and localization, we determined the crystal structure of PlaB in its tetrameric form. We found that the tetramer is a dimer of identical dimers, and a monomer consists of an N-terminal α/β-hydrolase domain expanded by two noncanonical two-stranded β-sheets, β-6/β-7 and β-9/β-10. The C-terminal domain reveals a fold displaying a bilobed β-sandwich with a hook structure required for dimer formation and structural complementation of the enzymatic domain in the neighboring monomer. This highlights the dimer as the active form. Δβ-9/β-10 mutants showed a decrease in the tetrameric fraction and altered activity profiles. The variant also revealed restricted binding to membranes resulting in mislocalization and bacterial lysis. Unexpectedly, we observed eight NAD(H) molecules at the dimer/dimer interface, suggesting that these molecules stabilize the tetramer and hence lead to enzyme inactivation. Indeed, addition of NAD(H) increased the fraction of the tetramer and concomitantly reduced activity. Together, these data reveal structural elements and an unprecedented NAD(H)-mediated tetramerization mechanism required for spatial and enzymatic control of a phospholipase virulence factor. The allosteric regulatory process identified here is suited to fine tune PlaB in a way that protects Legionella pneumophila from self-inflicted lysis while ensuring its activity at the pathogen-host interface.
    • A New PqsR Inverse Agonist Potentiates Tobramycin Efficacy to Eradicate Pseudomonas aeruginosa Biofilms

      Schütz, Christian; Ho, Duy‐Khiet; Hamed, Mostafa Mohamed; Abdelsamie, Ahmed Saad; Röhrig, Teresa; Herr, Christian; Kany, Andreas Martin; Rox, Katharina; Schmelz, Stefan; Siebenbürger, Lorenz; et al. (Wiley and Sons Inc., 2021-03-18)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa (PA) infections can be notoriously difficult to treat and are often accompanied by the development of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Quorum sensing inhibitors (QSI) acting on PqsR (MvfR) – a crucial transcriptional regulator serving major functions in PA virulence – can enhance antibiotic efficacy and eventually prevent the AMR. An integrated drug discovery campaign including design, medicinal chemistry‐driven hit‐to‐lead optimization and in‐depth biological profiling of a new QSI generation is reported. The QSI possess excellent activity in inhibiting pyocyanin production and PqsR reporter‐gene with IC50 values as low as 200 and 11 × 10−9 m, respectively. Drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics (DMPK) as well as safety pharmacology studies especially highlight the promising translational properties of the lead QSI for pulmonary applications. Moreover, target engagement of the lead QSI is shown in a PA mucoid lung infection mouse model. Beyond that, a significant synergistic effect of a QSI‐tobramycin (Tob) combination against PA biofilms using a tailor‐made squalene‐derived nanoparticle (NP) formulation, which enhance the minimum biofilm eradicating concentration (MBEC) of Tob more than 32‐fold is demonstrated. The novel lead QSI and the accompanying NP formulation highlight the potential of adjunctive pathoblocker‐mediated therapy against PA infections opening up avenues for preclinical development.
    • The N‐terminal peptide of the transglutaminase‐activating metalloprotease inhibitor from Streptomyces mobaraensis accommodates both inhibition and glutamine cross‐linking sites

      Juettner, Norbert E.; Schmelz, Stefan; Anderl, Anita; Colin, Felix; Classen, Moritz; Pfeifer, Felicitas; Scrima, Andrea; Fuchsbauer, Hans‐Lothar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2019-08-29)
      Streptomyces mobaraensis is a key player for the industrial production of the protein cross-linking enzyme microbial transglutaminase (MTG). Extra-cellular activation of MTG by the transglutaminase-activating metalloprotease (TAMP) is regulated by the TAMP inhibitory protein SSTI that belongs to the large Streptomyces subtilisin inhibitor (SSI) family. Despite decades of SSI research, the binding site for metalloproteases such as TAMP remained elusive in most of the SSI proteins. Moreover, SSTI is a MTG substrate, and the preferred glutamine residues for SSTI cross-linking are not determined. To address both issues, that is, determination of the TAMP and the MTG glutamine binding sites, SSTI was modified by distinct point mutations as well as elongation or truncation of the N-terminal peptide by six and three residues respectively. Structural integrity of the mutants was verified by the determination of protein melting points and supported by unimpaired subtilisin inhibitory activity. While exchange of single amino acids could not disrupt decisively the SSTI TAMP interaction, the N-terminally shortened variants clearly indicated the highly conserved Leu40-Tyr41 as binding motif for TAMP. Moreover, enzymatic biotinylation revealed that an adjacent glutamine pair, upstream from Leu40-Tyr41 in the SSTI precursor protein, is the preferred binding site of MTG. This extension peptide disturbs the interaction with TAMP. The structure of SSTI was furthermore determined by X-ray crystallography. While no structural data could be obtained for the N-terminal peptide due to flexibility, the core structure starting from Tyr41 could be determined and analysed, which superposes well with SSI-family proteins. ENZYMES: Chymotrypsin, EC3.4.21.1; griselysin (SGMPII, SgmA), EC3.4.24.27; snapalysin (ScNP), EC3.4.24.77; streptogrisin-A (SGPA), EC3.4.21.80; streptogrisin-B (SGPB), EC3.4.21.81; subtilisin BPN', EC3.4.21.62; transglutaminase, EC2.3.2.13; transglutaminase-activating metalloprotease (TAMP), EC3.4.-.-; tri-/tetrapeptidyl aminopeptidase, EC3.4.11.-; trypsin, EC3.4.21.4. DATABASES: The atomic coordinates and structure factors (PDB 6I0I) have been deposited in the Protein Data Bank (http://www.rcsb.org).
    • Oligomerization inhibits Legionella pneumophila PlaB phospholipase A activity.

      Kuhle, Katja; Krausze, Joern; Curth, Ute; Rössle, Manfred; Heuner, Klaus; Lang, Christina; Flieger, Antje (2014-07-04)
      The intracellularly replicating lung pathogen Legionella pneumophila consists of an extraordinary variety of phospholipases, including at least 15 different phospholipases A (PLA). Among them, PlaB, the first characterized member of a novel lipase family, is a hemolytic virulence factor that exhibits the most prominent PLA activity in L. pneumophila. We analyzed here protein oligomerization, the importance of oligomerization for activity, addressed further essential regions for activity within the PlaB C terminus, and the significance of PlaB-derived lipolytic activity for L. pneumophila intracellular replication. We determined by means of analytical ultracentrifugation and small angle x-ray scattering analysis that PlaB forms homodimers and homotetramers. The C-terminal 5, 10, or 15 amino acids, although the individual regions contributed to PLA activity, were not essential for protein tetramerization. Infection of mouse macrophages with L. pneumophila wild type, plaB knock-out mutant, and plaB complementing or various mutated plaB-harboring strains showed that catalytic activity of PlaB promotes intracellular replication. We observed that PlaB was most active in the lower nanomolar concentration range but not at or only at a low level at concentration above 0.1 μm where it exists in a dimer/tetramer equilibrium. We therefore conclude that PlaB is a virulence factor that, on the one hand, assembles in inactive tetramers at micromolar concentrations. On the other hand, oligomer dissociation at nanomolar concentrations activates PLA activity. Our data highlight the first example of concentration-dependent phospholipase inactivation by tetramerization, which may protect the bacterium from internal PLA activity, but enzyme dissociation may allow its activation after export.
    • Position 123 of halohydrin dehalogenase HheG plays an important role in stability, activity, and enantioselectivity.

      Solarczek, Jennifer; Klünemann, Thomas; Brandt, Felix; Schrepfer, Patrick; Wolter, Mario; Jacob, Christoph R; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Schallmey, Anett; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Nature publishing group, 2019-03-25)
      HheG from Ilumatobacter coccineus is a halohydrin dehalogenase with synthetically useful activity in the ring opening of cyclic epoxides with various small anionic nucleophiles. This enzyme provides access to chiral β-substituted alcohols that serve as building blocks in the pharmaceutical industry. Wild-type HheG suffers from low thermostability, which poses a significant drawback for potential applications. In an attempt to thermostabilize HheG by protein engineering, several single mutants at position 123 were identified which displayed up to 14 °C increased apparent melting temperatures and up to three-fold higher activity. Aromatic amino acids at position 123 resulted even in a slightly higher enantioselectivity. Crystal structures of variants T123W and T123G revealed a flexible loop opposite to amino acid 123. In variant T123G, this loop adopted two different positions resulting in an open or partially closed active site. Classical molecular dynamics simulations confirmed a high mobility of this loop. Moreover, in variant T123G this loop adopted a position much closer to residue 123 resulting in denser packing and increased buried surface area. Our results indicate an important role for position 123 in HheG and give first structural and mechanistic insight into the thermostabilizing effect of mutations T123W and T123G.