• The Hologenome of Haliclona fulva (Porifera, Demospongiae) Reveals an Abundant and Diverse Viral Community

      García-Bonilla, Erika; Chaves-Moreno, Diego; Riaño-Pachón, Diego; Terán, Wilson; Acosta, Alberto; Junca, Howard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers Media, 2021-11-02)
      Viruses are among the most abundant biological entities in the ocean, largely responsible of modulating nutrients fluxes and influencing microbial composition and functioning. In marine invertebrate holobionts like sponges and their associated microbiomes, little is known about virome composition. Here, we characterized the Haliclona fulva hologenome, an encrusting low-microbial abundance sponge found across the Western Mediterranean Sea (35–40 m of depth) producer of a large metabolic repertoire of bioactive compounds and harboring a distinct and stable associated microbiome. Assembled contigs from shotgun metagenome sequences obtained from H. fulva specimens were comprehensively analyzed regarding taxonomic and functional content revealing its remarkable and abundant viral community dominated by single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) virus. Viral families consistently detected in contigs are Circoviridae, Phycodnaviridae, Poxviridae, Herelleviridae, Mimiviridae, Microviridae, and notably the first reported encounter of Nanoviridae and Genomoviridae in Porifera, expanding their known host range. The relative abundance of inferred bacteriophages/prophages was low, suggesting that the prokaryotic community in this sponge has a limited host range and susceptibility. H. fulva showed a distinct viral composition supporting the general proposition of specific and coevolving viromes in marine holobionts.
    • A role for PchHI as the ABC transporter in iron acquisition by the siderophore pyochelin in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Roche, Béatrice; Garcia-Rivera, Mariel A; Normant, Vincent; Kuhn, Lauriane; Hammann, Philippe; Brönstrup, Mark; Mislin, Gaëtan L A; Schalk, Isabelle J; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (John Wiley & Sons LTD, 2021-10-18)
      Iron is an essential nutrient for bacterial growth but poorly bioavailable. Bacteria scavenge ferric iron by synthesizing and secreting siderophores, small compounds with a high affinity for iron. Pyochelin (PCH) is one of the two siderophores produced by the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. After capturing a ferric iron molecule, PCH-Fe is imported back into bacteria first by the outer membrane transporter FptA and then by the inner membrane permease FptX. Here, using molecular biology, 55 Fe uptake assays, and LC-MS/MS quantification, we first find a role for PchHI as the heterodimeric ABC transporter involved in the siderophore-free iron uptake into the bacterial cytoplasm. We also provide the first evidence that PCH is able to reach the bacterial periplasm and cytoplasm when both FptA and FptX are expressed. Finally, we detected an interaction between PchH and FptX, linking the ABC transporter PchHI with the inner permease FptX in the PCH-Fe uptake pathway. These results pave the way for a better understanding of the PCH siderophore pathway, giving future directions to tackle P. aeruginosa infections.
    • Complete Genome Sequencing of Isolates from Malaysia Reveals Massive Genome Rearrangement but High Conservation of Virulence-Associated Genes.

      Ramli, Siti Roszilawati; Bunk, Boyke; Spröer, Cathrin; Geffers, Robert; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Goris, Marga; Mustakim, Sahlawati; Pessler, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-09-15)
      The ability of Leptospirae to persist in environments and animal hosts but to cause clinically highly variable disease in humans has made leptospirosis the most common zoonotic disease. Considering the paucity of data on variation in complete genomes of human pathogenic Leptospirae, we have used a combination of Single Molecule Real-Time (SMRT) and Illumina sequencing to obtain complete genome sequences of six human clinical L. interrogans isolates from Malaysia. All six contained the larger (4.28-4.56 Mb) and smaller (0.34-0.395 Mb) chromosome typical of human pathogenic Leptospirae and 0-7 plasmids. Only 24% of the plasmid sequences could be matched to databases. We identified a chromosomal core genome of 3318 coding sequences and strain-specific accessory genomes of 49-179 coding sequences. These sequences enabled detailed genomic strain typing (Genome BLAST Distance Phylogeny, DNA-DNA hybridization, and multi locus sequence typing) and phylogenetic classification (whole-genome SNP genotyping). Even though there was some shared synteny and collinearity across the six genomes, there was evidence of major genome rearrangement, likely driven by horizontal gene transfer and homologous recombination. Mobile genetic elements were identified in all strains in highly varying numbers, including in the rfb locus, which defines serogroups and contributes to immune escape and pathogenesis. On the other hand, there was high conservation of virulence-associated genes including those relating to sialic acid, alginate, and lipid A biosynthesis. These findings suggest (i) that the antigenic variation, adaption to various host environments, and broad spectrum of virulence of L. interrogans are in part due to a high degree of genomic plasticity and (ii) that human pathogenic strains maintain a core set of genes required for virulence.
    • Oral Phenotype and Salivary Microbiome of Individuals With Papillon-Lefèvre Syndrome.

      Lettieri, Giulia Melo; Santiago, Luander Medrado; Lettieri, Giancarlo Crosara; Borges, Luiz Gustavo Dos Anjos; Marconatto, Letícia; de Oliveira, Laudimar Alves; Damé-Teixeira, Nailê; Salles, Loise Pedrosa; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-08-26)
      Papillon-Lefèvre syndrome (PLS) is an autosomal recessive rare disease, main characteristics of which include palmoplantar hyperkeratosis and premature edentulism due to advanced periodontitis (formerly aggressive periodontitis). This study aimed to characterize the oral phenotype, including salivary parameters, and the salivary microbiome of three PLS sisters, comparatively. Two sisters were toothless (PLSTL1 and PLSTL2), and one sister had most of the teeth in the oral cavity (PLST). Total DNA was extracted from the unstimulated saliva, and the amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene fragment was performed in an Ion PGM platform. The amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were obtained using the DADA2 pipeline, and the taxonomy was assigned using the SILVA v.138. The main phenotypic characteristics of PLS were bone loss and premature loss of primary and permanent dentition. The PLST sister presented advanced periodontitis with gingival bleeding and suppuration, corresponding to the advanced periodontitis as a manifestation of systemic disease, stage IV, grade C. All three PLS sisters presented hyposalivation as a possible secondary outcome of the syndrome. Interestingly, PLST salivary microbiota was dominated by the uncultured bacteria Bacterioidales (F0058), Fusobacterium, Treponema, and Sulfophobococcus (Archaea domain). Streptococcus, Haemophilus, and Caldivirga (Archaea) dominated the microbiome of the PLSTL1 sister, while the PLSTL2 had higher abundances of Lactobacillus and Porphyromonas. This study was the first to show a high abundance of organisms belonging to the Archaea domain comprising a core microbiome in human saliva. In conclusion, a PLST individual does have a microbiota different from that of the periodontitis' aggressiveness previously recognized. Due to an ineffective cathepsin C, the impairment of neutrophils probably provided a favorable environment for the PLS microbiome. The interactions of Bacteroidales F0058, Caldivirga, and Sulfophobococcus with the microbial consortium of PLS deserves future investigation. Traditional periodontal therapy is not efficient in PLS patients. Unraveling the PLS microbiome is essential in searching for appropriate treatment and avoiding early tooth loss.
    • Optimization of Artificial Siderophores as Ga-Complexed PET Tracers for In Vivo Imaging of Bacterial Infections.

      Peukert, Carsten; Langer, Laura N B; Wegener, Sophie M; Tutov, Anna; Bankstahl, Jens P; Karge, Bianka; Bengel, Frank M; Ross, Tobias L; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2021-08-09)
      The diagnosis of bacterial infections at deep body sites benefits from noninvasive imaging of molecular probes that can be traced by positron emission tomography (PET). We specifically labeled bacteria by targeting their iron transport system with artificial siderophores. The cyclen-based probes contain different binding sites for iron and the PET nuclide gallium-68. A panel of 11 siderophores with different iron coordination numbers and geometries was synthesized in up to 8 steps, and candidates with the best siderophore potential were selected by a growth recovery assay. The probes [68Ga]7 and [68Ga]15 were found to be suitable for PET imaging based on their radiochemical yield, radiochemical purity, and complex stability in vitro and in vivo. Both showed significant uptake in mice infected with Escherichia coli and were able to discern infection from lipopolysaccharide-triggered, sterile inflammation. The study qualifies cyclen-based artificial siderophores as readily accessible scaffolds for the in vivo imaging of bacteria.
    • The Small Protein YmoA Controls the Csr System and Adjusts Expression of Virulence-Relevant Traits of .

      Böhme, Katja; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Lobedann, Stephanie; Guo, Yuzhu; Stolle, Anne-Sophie; Dersch, Petra; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-08-03)
      Virulence gene expression of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis changes during the different stages of infection and this is tightly controlled by environmental cues. In this study, we show that the small protein YmoA, a member of the Hha family, is part of this process. It controls temperature- and nutrient-dependent early and later stage virulence genes in an opposing manner and co-regulates bacterial stress responses and metabolic functions. Our analysis further revealed that YmoA exerts this function by modulating the global post-transcriptional regulatory Csr system. YmoA pre-dominantly enhances the stability of the regulatory RNA CsrC. This involves a stabilizing stem-loop structure within the 5'-region of CsrC. YmoA-mediated CsrC stabilization depends on H-NS, but not on the RNA chaperone Hfq. YmoA-promoted reprogramming of the Csr system has severe consequences for the cell: we found that a mutant deficient of ymoA is strongly reduced in its ability to enter host cells and to disseminate to the Peyer's patches, mesenteric lymph nodes, liver and spleen in mice. We propose a model in which YmoA controls transition from the initial colonization phase in the intestine toward the host defense phase important for the long-term establishment of the infection in underlying tissues.
    • Targeting Bacterial Gyrase with Cystobactamid, Fluoroquinolone, and Aminocoumarin Antibiotics Induces Distinct Molecular Signatures in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Franke, Raimo; Overwin, Heike; Häussler, Susanne; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ASM, 2021-07-13)
      The design of novel antibiotics relies on a profound understanding of their mechanism of action. While it has been shown that cellular effects of antibiotics cluster according to their molecular targets, we investigated whether compounds binding to different sites of the same target can be differentiated by their transcriptome or metabolome signatures. The effects of three fluoroquinolones, two aminocoumarins, and two cystobactamids, all inhibiting bacterial gyrase, on Pseudomonas aeruginosa at subinhibitory concentrations could be distinguished clearly by RNA sequencing as well as metabolomics. We observed a strong (2.8- to 212-fold) induction of autolysis-triggering pyocins in all gyrase inhibitors, which correlated with extracellular DNA (eDNA) release. Gyrase B-binding aminocoumarins induced the most pronounced changes, including a strong downregulation of phenazine and rhamnolipid virulence factors. Cystobactamids led to a downregulation of a glucose catabolism pathway. The study implies that clustering cellular mechanisms of action according to the primary target needs to take class-dependent variances into account. IMPORTANCE Novel antibiotics are urgently needed to tackle the growing worldwide problem of antimicrobial resistance. Bacterial pathogens possess few privileged targets for a successful therapy: the majority of existing antibiotics as well as current candidates in development target the complex bacterial machinery for cell wall synthesis, protein synthesis, or DNA replication. An important mechanistic question addressed by this study is whether inhibiting such a complex target at different sites with different compounds has similar or differentiated cellular consequences. Using transcriptomics and metabolomics, we demonstrate that three different classes of gyrase inhibitors can be distinguished by their molecular signatures in P. aeruginosa. We describe the cellular effects of a promising, recently identified gyrase inhibitor class, the cystobactamids, in comparison to those of the established gyrase A-binding fluoroquinolones and the gyrase B-binding aminocoumarins. The study results have implications for mode-of-action discovery approaches based on target-specific reference compounds, as they highlight the intraclass variability of cellular compound effects.
    • Selective Bacterial Targeting and Infection-Triggered Release of Antibiotic Colistin Conjugates.

      Tegge, Werner; Guerra, Giulia; Höltke, Alexander; Schiller, Lauritz; Beutling, Ulrike; Harmrolfs, Kirsten; Gröbe, Lothar; Wullenkord, Hannah; Xu, Chunfa; Weich, Herbert; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-07-05)
      In order to render potent, but toxic antibiotics more selective, we have explored a novel conjugation strategy that includes drug accumulation followed by infection-triggered release of the drug. Bacterial targeting was achieved using a modified fragment of the human antimicrobial peptide ubiquicidin, as demonstrated by fluorophore-tagged variants. To limit the release of the effector colistin only to infection-related situations, we introduced a linker that was cleaved by neutrophil elastase (NE), an enzyme secreted by neutrophil granulocytes at infection sites. The linker carried an optimized sequence of amino acids that was required to assure sufficient cleavage efficiency. The antibacterial activity of five regioisomeric conjugates prepared by total synthesis was masked, but was released upon exposure to recombinant NE when the linker was attached to amino acids at the 1- or the 3-position of colistin. A proof-of-concept was achieved in co-cultures of primary human neutrophils and Escherichia coli that induced the secretion of NE, the release of free colistin, and an antibacterial efficacy that was equal to that of free colistin.
    • Free human DNA attenuates the activity of antimicrobial peptides in atopic dermatitis.

      Kopfnagel, Verena; Dreyer, Sylvia; Zeitvogel, Jana; Pieper, Dietmar H; Buch, Anna; Sodeik, Beate; Rademacher, Franziska; Harder, Jürgen; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (John Wiley & Sons LTD., 2021-06-27)
      Background: The high susceptibility of AD patients to microbial skin infections has been attributed to a deficient antimicrobial peptide (AMP) expression, which is contradicted by a growing amount of recent studies clearly demonstrating that AMP expression is not impaired in lesional skin of AD patients. The reasons for the high susceptibility of AD patients to microbial infections are still unknown. Methods: The influence of self-DNA on the antimicrobial activity of RNase 7, LL-37, and hBD2 has been investigated using antibacterial and antiviral assays. The amount of self-DNA on skin has been analyzed by skin rinsings and subsequent quantification using dsDNA assays. DNA source was identified by qPCR. Results: Complex formation of the AMPs with self-DNA significantly impaired their antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus and their antiviral activity against HSV-1. The inhibition of the antibacterial activity was dependent on the DNA concentration but not on the length of the DNA molecules. Of note, we detected significant higher amounts of cell-free self-DNA in skin rinses taken from lesional AD skin compared to skin rinses from non-lesional skin and from normal skin of healthy donors. Consequently, rinse solution from AD lesional skin prevented antibacterial activity of LL-37. Conclusion: Our study indicates that extracellular self-DNA is released in considerable amounts in AD skin lesions and AMP-self-DNA-complex formation leads to a significant loss of antibacterial and antiviral activity in atopic dermatitis. Studies on strategies to reduce the amount of extracellular DNA in AD are needed to identify possible methods relevant in clinical settings.
    • Discovery of Staphylococcus aureus Adhesion Inhibitors by Automated Imaging and Their Characterization in a Mouse Model of Persistent Nasal Colonization.

      Fernandes de Oliveira, Liliane Maria; Steindorff, Marina; Darisipudi, Murthy N; Mrochen, Daniel M; Trübe, Patricia; Bröker, Barbara M; Brönstrup, Mark; Tegge, Werner; Holtfreter, Silva; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-18)
      Due to increasing mupirocin resistance, alternatives for Staphylococcus aureus nasal decolonization are urgently needed. Adhesion inhibitors are promising new preventive agents that may be less prone to induce resistance, as they do not interfere with the viability of S. aureus and therefore exert less selection pressure. We identified promising adhesion inhibitors by screening a library of 4208 compounds for their capacity to inhibit S. aureus adhesion to A-549 epithelial cells in vitro in a novel automated, imaging-based assay. The assay quantified DAPI-stained nuclei of the host cell; attached bacteria were stained with an anti-teichoic acid antibody. The most promising candidate, aurintricarboxylic acid (ATA), was evaluated in a novel persistent S. aureus nasal colonization model using a mouse-adapted S. aureus strain. Colonized mice were treated intranasally over 7 days with ATA using a wide dose range (0.5-10%). Mupirocin completely eliminated the bacteria from the nose within three days of treatment. In contrast, even high concentrations of ATA failed to eradicate the bacteria. To conclude, our imaging-based assay and the persistent colonization model provide excellent tools to identify and validate new drug candidates against S. aureus nasal colonization. However, our first tested candidate ATA failed to induce S. aureus decolonization.
    • 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.
    • A simplified LC-MS/MS method for the quantification of the cardiovascular disease biomarker trimethylamine-N-oxide and its precursors

      Rox, Katharina; Rath, Silke; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Vital, Marius; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier BV, 2021-03)
      Trimethylamine-N-oxide (TMAO) has emerged as a potential biomarker for atherosclerosis and the development of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). Although several clinical studies have shown striking associations of TMAO levels with atherosclerosis and CVDs, TMAO determinations are not clinical routine yet. The current methodology relies on isotope-labeled internal standards, which adds to pre-analytical complexity and costs for the quantification of TMAO and its precursors carnitine, betaine or choline. Here, we report a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry based method that is fast (throughput up to 240 samples/day), consumes low sample volumes (e.g., from a finger prick), and does not require isotope-labeled standards. We circumvented the analytical problem posed by the presence of endogenous TMAO and its precursors in human plasma by using an artificial plasma matrix for calibration. We cross-validated the results obtained using an artificial matrix with those using mouse plasma matrix and demonstrated that TMAO, carnitine, betaine and choline were accurately quantified in ‘real-life’ human plasma samples from healthy volunteers, obtained either from a finger prick or from venous puncture. Additionally, we assessed the stability of samples stored at −20 °C and room temperature. Whereas all metabolites were stable at −20 °C, increasing concentrations of choline were determined when stored at room temperature. Our method will facilitate the establishment of TMAO as a routine clinical biomarker in hematology in order to assess the risk for CVDs development, or to monitor disease progression and intervention effects.
    • Broad Spectrum Antibiotic Xanthocillin X Effectively Kills Acinetobacter baumannii via Dysregulation of Heme Biosynthesis

      Hübner, Ines; Shapiro, Justin A.; Hoßmann, Jörn; Drechsel, Jonas; Hacker, Stephan M.; Rather, Philip N.; Pieper, Dietmar H.; Wuest, William M.; Sieber, Stephan A.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Chemical Society (ACS), 2021-01-20)
      Isonitrile natural products exhibit promising antibacterial activities. However, their mechanism of action (MoA) remains largely unknown. Based on the nanomolar potency of xanthocillin X (Xan) against diverse difficult-to-treat Gram-negative bacteria, including the critical priority pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii, we performed in-depth studies to decipher its MoA. While neither metal binding nor cellular protein targets were detected as relevant for Xan’s antibiotic effects, sequencing of resistant strains revealed a conserved mutation in the heme biosynthesis enzyme porphobilinogen synthase (PbgS). This mutation caused impaired enzymatic efficiency indicative of reduced heme production. This discovery led to the validation of an untapped mechanism, by which direct heme sequestration of Xan prevents its binding into cognate enzyme pockets resulting in uncontrolled cofactor biosynthesis, accumulation of porphyrins, and corresponding stress with deleterious effects for bacterial viability. Thus, Xan represents a promising antibiotic displaying activity even against multidrug resistant strains, while exhibiting low toxicity to human cells.
    • Eradication of chronic HCV infection: improvement of dysbiosis only in patients without liver cirrhosis.

      Wellhöner, Freya; Döscher, Nico; Woelfl, Franziska; Vital, Marius; Plumeier, Iris; Kahl, Silke; Potthoff, Andrej; Manns, Michael Peter; Pieper, Dietmar Helmut; Cornberg, Markus; et al. (Wiley, 2021-01-07)
      It is well accepted that liver diseases and their outcomes are associated with intestinal microbiota but causality is difficult to establish. The intestinal microbiota is altered in patients with hepatitis C. As chronic HCV infection can now be cured in almost all patients, it is an ideal model to study the influence of liver disease on the microbiota. We aimed to analyze prospectively the changes in the gut microbiome in patients who received direct acting antivirals (DAA) and achieved sustained virological response (SVR). Amplicon sequencing of the V1-V2 region in the 16S rRNA gene was performed in stool samples of patients with chronic hepatitis C. Patients in the treatment group received direct acting antivirals (n=65) whereas in the control group no DAA were given (n=33). Only patients achieving SVR were included. The alpha diversity increased numerical but not significantly from baseline to SVR24/48 (2.784±0.248 vs. 2.846±0.224; p= 0.057). When stratifying for the presence of liver cirrhosis, a significant increase in diversity was only seen in patients without cirrhosis. Differences in the microbial community structure induced by the achievement of SVR were only observed in patients without liver cirrhosis. In patients with liver cirrhosis and in the control group, no significant differences were observed. In conclusion, the achievement of SVR24/48 in patients with chronic HCV was associated with changes in the intestinal microbiota. However, these changes were only seen in patients without liver cirrhosis. A major role of liver remodeling on the intestinal microbiota is indicated by the dynamics of the intestinal microbial community structure depending on the stage of fibrosis in patients resolving chronic hepatitis C.
    • Antibacterial activity of xylose-derived LpxC inhibitors - Synthesis, biological evaluation and molecular docking studies.

      Dreger, Alexander; Hoff, Katharina; Agoglitta, Oriana; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Brönstrup, Mark; Heisig, Peter; Kirchmair, Johannes; Holl, Ralph; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-12-31)
      LpxC inhibitors represent a promising class of novel antibiotics selectively combating Gram-negative bacteria. In chiral pool syntheses starting from D- and L-xylose, a series of four 2r,3c,4t-configured C-furanosidic LpxC inhibitors was obtained. The synthesized hydroxamic acids were tested for antibacterial and LpxC inhibitory activity, the acquired biological data were compared with those of previously synthesized C-furanosides, and molecular docking studies were performed to rationalize the observed structure-activity relationships. Additionally, bacterial uptake and susceptibility to efflux pump systems were investigated for the most promising stereoisomers.
    • Lethal Neonatal Respiratory Failure by Perinatal Transmission of Ureaplasma Parvum after Maternal PPROM.

      Zöllkau, Janine; Pieper, Dietmar H; Pastuschek, Jana; Makarewicz, Oliwia; Mentzel, Hans-Joachim; Dawczynski, Kristin; Schleußner, Ekkehard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Thieme Verlag, 2020-12-18)
      A primiparous pregnant woman was admitted due to preterm premature rupture of membranes (PPROM) at 27+0 week of gestational age (WGA). Conventional vaginal microbiological analysis had no pathological finding. Management decisions based on national guidelines included antenatal corticoids, tocolytics and antibiotics. Unstoppable efforts of preterm labor in 28+0 WGA and supposed amniotic infection syndrome necessitated emergency cesarean section. The preterm infant underwent NICU therapy, developed an early-onset neonatal sepsis and therapy-refractory pulmonary insufficiency with consecutive right heart failure, resulting in death on the 36th day of life. Microbiota analyses by 16Sr DNA sequencing was performed from maternal vaginal swabs and from neonatal pharyngeal swabs. Maternal antibiotic treatment resulted in depletion of physiological vaginal colonization with Lactobacillus crispatus. Ureaplasma parvum became the dominant vaginal microorganism at delivery and was detected in high relative abundance in the neonatal specimen. Progressive radiological air-space changes and interstitial pathologies associated with Ureaplasma infection (bronchopulmonary dysplasia type III) were seen early at the 3rd and distinctly from 14th day of life. This clearly demonstrates the need of vaginal colonization diagnostics in PPROM patients and awareness of the consecutive risks in the preterm. Vaginal microbiome analysis may allow individualized and targeted maternal and fetal diagnostic, prophylactic and therapeutic strategies to identify, protect and treat the high-risk neonates after PPROM.
    • Tailored Cofactor Traps for the Detection of Hemithioacetal-Forming Pyridoxal Kinases.

      Hübner, Ines; Dienemann, Jan-Niklas; Friederich, Julia; Schneider, Sabine; Sieber, Stephan A; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society for Chemistry (ACS), 2020-12-03)
      Pyridoxal kinases (PLK) are crucial enzymes for the biosynthesis of pyridoxal phosphate, an important cofactor in a plethora of enzymatic reactions. The evolution of these enzymes resulted in different catalytic designs. In addition to the active site, the importance of a cysteine, embedded within a distant flexible lid region, was recently demonstrated. This cysteine forms a hemithioacetal with the pyridoxal aldehyde and is essential for catalysis. Despite the prevalence of these enzymes in various organisms, no tools were yet available to study the relevance of this lid residue. Here, we introduce pyridoxal probes, each equipped with an electrophilic trapping group in place of the aldehyde to target PLK reactive lid cysteines as a mimic of hemithioacetal formation. The addition of alkyne handles placed at two different positions within the pyridoxal structure facilitates enrichment of PLKs from living cells. Interestingly, depending on the position, the probes displayed a preference for either Gram-positive or Gram-negative PLK enrichment. By applying the cofactor traps, we were able to validate not only previously investigated Staphylococcus aureus and Enterococcus faecalis PLKs but also Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa PLKs, unravelling a crucial role of the lid cysteine for catalysis. Overall, our tailored probes facilitated a reliable readout of lid cysteine containing PLKs, qualifying them as chemical tools for mining further diverse proteomes for this important enzyme class.
    • Toll-like Receptor 5 Activation by the CagY Repeat Domains of Helicobacter pylori.

      Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Neddermann, Matthias; Lind, Judith; Pachathundikandi, Suneesh Kumar; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Gutiérrez-Escobar, Andrés Julián; Brönstrup, Mark; Tegge, Werner; Hong, Minsun; Rohde, Manfred; et al. (Cell Press, 2020-11-15)
      Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is an important human pathogen associated with gastric inflammation and neoplasia. It is commonly believed that this bacterium avoids major immune recognition by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) because of low intrinsic activity of its flagellin and lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In particular, TLR5 specifically detects flagellins in various bacterial pathogens, while Hp evolved mutations in flagellin to evade detection through TLR5. Cancerogenic Hp strains encode a type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS core component and pilus-associated protein CagY, a large VirB10 ortholog, drives effector molecule translocation. Here, we identify CagY as a flagellin-independent TLR5 agonist. We detect five TLR5 interaction sites, promoting binding of CagY-positive Hp to TLR5-expressing cells, TLR5 stimulation, and intracellular signal transduction. Consequently, CagY constitutes a remarkable VirB10 member detected by TLR5, driving crucial innate immune responses by this human pathogen.
    • SAR Studies of the Leupyrrins: Design and Total Synthesis of Highly Potent Simplified Leupylogs.

      Wosniok, Paul R; Knopf, Christopher; Dreisigacker, Sandra; Orozco-Rodriguez, J Manuel; Hinkelmann, Bettina; Mueller, Peter P; Brönstrup, Mark; Menche, Dirk; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-11-11)
      Invited for the cover of this issue is the group of Dirk Menche at the University of Bonn. The image depicts the natural product leupyrrin A1 and a synthetic leupylog in balance on an IC50 weighing scale. Read the full text of the article at 10.1002/chem.202002622.
    • Non-Invasive Luciferase Imaging of Type I Interferon Induction in a Transgenic Mouse Model of Biomaterial Associated Bacterial Infections: Microbial Specificity and Inter-Bacterial Species Interactions.

      Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Winkel, Andreas; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Stumpp, Nico S; Szafrański, Szymon P; Kommerein, Nadine; Willbold, Elmar; Reifenrath, Janin; Mueller, Peter P; Eisenburger, Michael; et al. (MDPI, 2020-10-21)
      The performance of biomaterials is often compromised by bacterial infections and subsequent inflammation. So far, the conventional analysis of inflammatory processes in vivo involves time-consuming histology and biochemical assays. The present study employed a mouse model where interferon beta (IFN-β) is monitored as a marker for non-invasive rapid detection of inflammation in implant-related infections. The mouse model comprises subcutaneous implantation of morphologically modified titanium, followed by experimental infections with four taxonomically diverse oral bacteria: Streptococcus oralis, Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola (as mono culture or selected mixed-culture). IFN-β expression increased upon infections depending on the type of pathogen and was prolonged by the presence of the implant. IFN-β expression kinetics reduced with two mixed species infections when compared with the single species. Histological and confocal microscopy confirmed pathogen-specific infiltration of inflammatory cells at the implant-tissue interface. This was observed mainly in the vicinity of infected implants and was, in contrast to interferon expression, higher in infections with dual species. In summary, this non-invasive mouse model can be used to quantify longitudinally host inflammation in real time and suggests that the polymicrobial character of infection, highly relevant to clinical situations, has complex effects on host immunity.