• 14-3-3 proteins are constituents of the insoluble glycoprotein framework of the chlamydomonas cell wall.

      Voigt, Jürgen; Frank, Ronald; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2003-06)
      The cell wall of the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii consists predominantly of Hyp-rich glycoproteins, which also occur in the extracellular matrix of multicellular green algae and higher plants. In addition to the Hyp-rich polypeptides, the insoluble glycoprotein framework of the Chlamydomonas cell wall contains minor amounts of 14-3-3 proteins, as revealed by immunochemical studies and mass spectroscopic analysis of tryptic peptides. Polypeptides immunologically related to the 14-3-3 proteins also were found in the culture medium of Chlamydomonas. The levels of two of these 14-3-3-related polypeptides were decreased in the culture medium of the wall-deficient mutant cw-15. These findings indicate that 14-3-3 proteins are involved in the cross-linking of Hyp-rich glycoproteins in the Chlamydomonas cell wall.
    • Allogeneic gene-modified tumor cells (RCC-26/IL-7/CD80) as a vaccine in patients with metastatic renal cell cancer: a clinical phase-I study.

      Westermann, J; Flörcken, A; Willimsky, G; van Lessen, A; Kopp, J; Takvorian, A; Jöhrens, K; Lukowsky, A; Schönemann, C; Sawitzki, B; et al. (2011-04)
      Despite novel targeted agents, prognosis of metastatic renal cell cancer (RCC) remains poor, and experimental therapeutic strategies are warranted. Transfection of tumor cells with co-stimulatory molecules and/or cytokines is able to increase immunogenicity. Therefore, in our clinical study, 10 human leukocyte antigen (HLA)-A(*)0201(+) patients with histologically-confirmed progressive metastatic clear cell RCC were immunized repetitively over 22 weeks with 2.5-40 × 10(6) interleukin (IL)-7/CD80 cotransfected allogeneic HLA-A(*)0201(+) tumor cells (RCC26/IL-7/CD80). Endpoints of the study were feasibility, safety, immunological and clinical responses. Vaccination was feasible and safe. In all, 50% of the patients showed stable disease throughout the study; the median time to progression was 18 weeks. However, vaccination with allogeneic RCC26/IL-7/CD80 tumor cells was not able to induce TH1-polarized immune responses. A TH2 cytokine profile with increasing amounts of antigen-specific IL-10 secretion was observed in most of the responding patients. Interferon-γ secretion by patient lymphocytes upon antigen-specific and non-specific stimulation was substantially impaired, both before and during vaccination, as compared with healthy controls. This is possibly due to profound tumor-induced immunosuppression, which may prevent induction of antitumor immune responses by the gene-modified vaccine. Vaccination in minimal residual disease with concurrent depletion of regulatory cells might be one strategy to overcome this limitation.
    • Biochemical and NMR analyses of an SF3b155-p14-U2AF-RNA interaction network involved in branch point definition during pre-mRNA splicing.

      Spadaccini, Roberta; Reidt, Ulrich; Dybkov, Olexandr; Will, Cindy; Frank, Ronald; Stier, Gunter; Corsini, Lorenzo; Wahl, Markus C; Lührmann, Reinhard; Sattler, Michael; et al. (2006-03)
      The p14 subunit of the essential splicing factor 3b (SF3b) can be cross-linked to the branch-point adenosine of pre-mRNA introns within the spliceosome. p14 stably interacts with the SF3b subunit SF3b155, which also binds the 65-kDa subunit of U2 auxiliary splicing factor (U2AF65). We combined biochemical and NMR techniques to study the conformation of p14 either alone or complexed with SF3b155 fragments, as well as an interaction network involving p14, SF3b155, U2AF65, and U2 snRNA/pre-mRNA. p14 comprises a canonical RNA recognition motif (RRM) with an additional C-terminal helix (alphaC) and a beta hairpin insertion. SF3b155 binds to the beta-sheet surface of p14, thereby occupying the canonical RNA-binding site of the p14 RRM. The minimal region of SF3b155 interacting with p14 (i.e., residues 381-424) consists of four alpha-helices, which are partially preformed in isolation. Helices alpha2 and alpha3 (residues 401-415) constitute the core p14-binding epitope. Regions of SF3b155 binding to p14 and U2AF65 are nonoverlapping. This allows for a simultaneous interaction of SF3b155 with both proteins, which may support the stable association of U2 snRNP with the pre-mRNA. p14-RNA interactions are modulated by SF3b155 and the RNA-binding site of the p14-SF3b155 complex involves the noncanonical beta hairpin insertion of the p14 RRM, consistent with the beta-sheet surface being occupied by the helical SF3b155 peptide and p14 helix alphaC. Our data suggest that p14 lacks inherent specificity for recognizing the branch point, but that some specificity may be achieved by scaffolding interactions involving other components of SF3b.
    • Diagnosing Zika virus infection against a background of other flaviviruses: Studies in high resolution serological analysis.

      Hansen, Sören; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Faye, Oumar; Ndiaye, Oumar; Böhlken-Fascher, Susanne; Pessôa, Rodrigo; Hufert, Frank; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Frank, Ronald; Czerny, Claus-Peter; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-03-06)
      BACKGROUND: Antibody-mediated targeting of regulatory T cell receptors such as CTLA-4 enhances antitumor immune responses against several cancer entities including malignant melanoma. Yet, therapeutic success in patients remains variable underscoring the need for novel combinatorial approaches. METHODS: Here we established a vaccination strategy that combines engagement of the nucleic acid-sensing pattern recognition receptor RIG-I, antigen and CTLA-4 blockade. We used in vitro transcribed 5'-triphosphorylated RNA (3pRNA) to therapeutically target the RIG-I pathway. We performed in vitro functional analysis in bone-marrow derived dendritic cells and investigated RIG-I-enhanced vaccines in different murine melanoma models. FINDINGS: We found that protein vaccination together with RIG-I ligation via 3pRNA strongly synergizes with CTLA-4 blockade to induce expansion and activation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells that translates into potent antitumor immunity. RIG-I-induced cross-priming of cytotoxic T cells as well as antitumor immunity were dependent on the host adapter protein MAVS and type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling and were mediated by dendritic cells. INTERPRETATION: Overall, our data demonstrate the potency of a novel combinatorial vaccination strategy combining RIG-I-driven immunization with CTLA-4 blockade to prevent and treat experimental melanoma. FUND: German Research Foundation (SFB 1335, SFB 1371), EMBO, Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, German Cancer Aid, European Hematology Association, DKMS Foundation for Giving Life, Dres. Carl Maximilian and Carl Manfred Bayer-Foundation.
    • EU-OPENSCREEN-chemical tools for the study of plant biology and resistance mechanisms.

      Meiners, Torsten; Stechmann, Bahne; Frank, Ronald; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-10)
      EU-OPENSCREEN is an academic research infrastructure initiative in Europe for enabling researchers in all life sciences to take advantage of chemical biology approaches to their projects. In a collaborative effort of national networks in 16 European countries, EU-OPENSCREEN will develop novel chemical compounds with external users to address questions in, among other fields, systems and network biology (directed and selective perturbation of signalling pathways), structural biology (compound-target interactions at atomic resolution), pharmacology (early drug discovery and toxicology) and plant biology (response of wild or crop plants to environmental and agricultural substances). EU-OPENSCREEN supports all stages of a tool development project, including assay adaptation, high-throughput screening and chemical optimisation of the 'hit' compounds. All tool compounds and data will be made available to the scientific community. EU-OPENSCREEN integrates high-capacity screening platforms throughout Europe, which share a rationally selected compound collection comprising up to 300,000 (commercial and proprietary compounds collected from European chemists). By testing systematically this chemical collection in hundreds of assays originating from very different biological themes, the screening process generates enormous amounts of information about the biological activities of the substances and thereby steadily enriches our understanding of how and where they act.
    • High immune response rates and decreased frequencies of regulatory T cells in metastatic renal cell carcinoma patients after tumor cell vaccination.

      Pohla, Heike; Buchner, Alexander; Stadlbauer, Birgit; Frankenberger, Bernhard; Stevanovic, Stefan; Walter, Steffen; Frank, Ronald; Schwachula, Tim; Olek, Sven; Kopp, Joachim; et al. (2013-02-08)
      Our previously reported phase I clinical trial with the allogeneic gene-modified tumor cell line RCC-26/CD80/IL-2 showed that vaccination was well tolerated and feasible in metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC) patients. Substantial disease stabilization was observed in most patients despite a high tumor burden at study entry. To investigate alterations in immune responses that might contribute to this effect, we performed an extended immune monitoring that included analysis of reactivity against multiple antigens, cytokine/chemokine changes in serum and determination of the frequencies of immune suppressor cell populations, including natural regulatory T cells (nTregs) and myeloid-derived suppressor cell subsets (MDSCs). An overall immune response capacity to virus-derived control peptides was present in 100% of patients before vaccination. Vaccine-induced immune responses to tumor-associated antigens occurred in 75% of patients, demonstrating the potent immune stimulatory capacity of this generic vaccine. Furthermore, some patients reacted to peptide epitopes of antigens not expressed by the vaccine, showing that epitope-spreading occurred in vivo. Frequencies of nTregs and MDSCs were comparable to healthy donors at the beginning of study. A significant decrease of nTregs was detected after vaccination (p = 0.012). High immune response rates, decreased frequencies of nTregs and a mixed T helper 1/T helper 2 (T(H)1/T(H)2)-like cytokine pattern support the applicability of this RCC generic vaccine for use in combination therapies.
    • Identification of a PA-binding peptide with inhibitory activity against influenza A and B virus replication.

      Wunderlich, Kerstin; Mayer, Daniel; Ranadheera, Charlene; Holler, Anne-Sophie; Mänz, Benjamin; Martin, Arnold; Chase, Geoffrey; Tegge, Werner; Frank, Ronald; Kessler, Ulrich; et al. (2009-10-20)
      There is an urgent need for new drugs against influenza type A and B viruses due to incomplete protection by vaccines and the emergence of resistance to current antivirals. The influenza virus polymerase complex, consisting of the PB1, PB2 and PA subunits, represents a promising target for the development of new drugs. We have previously demonstrated the feasibility of targeting the protein-protein interaction domain between the PB1 and PA subunits of the polymerase complex of influenza A virus using a small peptide derived from the PA-binding domain of PB1. However, this influenza A virus-derived peptide did not affect influenza B virus polymerase activity. Here we report that the PA-binding domain of the polymerase subunit PB1 of influenza A and B viruses is highly conserved and that mutual amino acid exchange shows that they cannot be functionally exchanged with each other. Based on phylogenetic analysis and a novel biochemical ELISA-based screening approach, we were able to identify an influenza A-derived peptide with a single influenza B-specific amino acid substitution which efficiently binds to PA of both virus types. This dual-binding peptide blocked the viral polymerase activity and growth of both virus types. Our findings provide proof of principle that protein-protein interaction inhibitors can be generated against influenza A and B viruses. Furthermore, this dual-binding peptide, combined with our novel screening method, is a promising platform to identify new antiviral lead compounds.
    • Identification of high-affinity PB1-derived peptides with enhanced affinity to the PA protein of influenza A virus polymerase.

      Wunderlich, Kerstin; Juozapaitis, Mindaugas; Ranadheera, Charlene; Kessler, Ulrich; Martin, Arnold; Eisel, Jessica; Beutling, Ulrike; Frank, Ronald; Schwemmle, Martin; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02)
      The influenza A virus polymerase complex, consisting of the subunits PB1, PB2, and PA, represents a promising target for the development of new antiviral drugs. We have previously demonstrated the feasibility of targeting the protein-protein interaction domain between PA and PB1 using peptides derived from the extreme N terminus of PB1 (amino acids [aa] 1 to 15), comprising the PA-binding domain of PB1. To increase the binding affinity of these peptides, we performed a systematic structure-affinity relationship analysis. Alanine and aspartic acid scans revealed that almost all amino acids in the core binding region (aa 5 to 11) are indispensable for PA binding. Using a library of immobilized peptides representing all possible single amino acid substitutions, we were able to identify amino acid positions outside the core PA-binding region (aa 1, 3, 12, 14, and 15) that are variable and can be replaced by affinity-enhancing residues. Surface plasmon resonance binding studies revealed that combination of several affinity-enhancing mutations led to an additive effect. Thus, the feasibility to enhance the PA-binding affinity presents an intriguing possibility to increase antiviral activity of the PB1-derived peptide and one step forward in the development of an antiviral drug against influenza A viruses.
    • Identification of myxobacteria-derived HIV inhibitors by a high-throughput two-step infectivity assay

      Martinez, Javier P; Hinkelmann, Bettina; Fleta-Soriano, Eric; Steinmetz, Heinrich; Jansen, Rolf; Diez, Juana; Frank, Ronald; Sasse, Florenz; Meyerhans, Andreas (2013-09-24)
      Abstract Background Drug-resistance and therapy failure due to drug-drug interactions are the main challenges in current treatment against Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. As such, there is a continuous need for the development of new and more potent anti-HIV drugs. Here we established a high-throughput screen based on the highly permissive TZM-bl cell line to identify novel HIV inhibitors. The assay allows discriminating compounds acting on early and/or late steps of the HIV replication cycle. Results The platform was used to screen a unique library of secondary metabolites derived from myxobacteria. Several hits with good anti-HIV profiles were identified. Five of the initial hits were tested for their antiviral potency. Four myxobacterial compounds, sulfangolid C, soraphen F, epothilon D and spirangien B, showed EC50 values in the nM range with SI > 15. Interestingly, we found a high amount of overlapping hits compared with a previous screen for Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) using the same library. Conclusion The unique structures and mode-of-actions of these natural compounds make myxobacteria an attractive source of chemicals for the development of broad-spectrum antivirals. Further biological and structural studies of our initial hits might help recognize smaller drug-like derivatives that in turn could be synthesized and further optimized.
    • Immunization of pigs to prevent disease in humans: construction and protective efficacy of a Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium live negative-marker vaccine.

      Selke, Martin; Meens, Jochen; Springer, Sven; Frank, Ronald; Gerlach, Gerald-F; nstitute for Microbiology, Department of Infectious Diseases, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover, Germany. (2007-05)
      Zoonotic infections caused by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium pose a constant threat to consumer health, with the pig being a particularly major source of multidrug-resistant isolates. Vaccination, as a promising approach to reduce colonization and shedding, has been scarcely used, as it interferes with current control programs relying on serology as a means of herd classification. In order to overcome this problem, we set out to develop a negative-marker vaccine allowing the differentiation of infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). Applying an immunoproteomic approach with two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, Western blot, and quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry, we identified the OmpD protein as a suitable negative marker. Using allelic exchange, we generated an isogenic mutant of the licensed live vaccine strain Salmoporc and showed that virulence of Salmoporc and that of the mutant strain, SalmoporcDeltaompD, were indistinguishable in BALB/c mice. In a pig infection experiment including two oral immunizations with SalmoporcDeltaompD and challenge with a multiresistant S. enterica serovar Typhimurium DT104 clinical isolate, we confirmed the protective efficacy of SalmoporcDeltaompD in pigs, showing a significant reduction of both clinical symptoms and colonization of lymph nodes and intestinal tract. OmpD immunogenic epitopes were determined by peptide spot array analyses. Upon testing of several 9-mer peptides, each including an immunogenic epitope, one peptide (positions F(100) to Y(108)) that facilitated the detection of infected animals independent of their vaccination status (DIVA function) was identified. The approach described overcomes the problems currently limiting the use of bacterial live vaccines and holds considerable potential for future developments in the field.
    • The interaction of the gammaherpesvirus 68 orf73 protein with cellular BET proteins affects the activation of cell cycle promoters.

      Ottinger, Matthias; Pliquet, Daniel; Christalla, Thomas; Frank, Ronald; Stewart, James P; Schulz, Thomas F; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2009-05)
      Infection of mice with murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) provides a valuable animal model for gamma-2 herpesvirus (rhadinovirus) infection and pathogenesis. The MHV-68 orf73 protein has been shown to be required for the establishment of viral latency in vivo. This study describes a novel transcriptional activation function of the MHV-68 orf73 protein and identifies the cellular bromodomain containing BET proteins Brd2/RING3, Brd3/ORFX, and BRD4 as interaction partners for the MHV-68 orf73 protein. BET protein members are known to interact with acetylated histones, and Brd2 and Brd4 have been implicated in fundamental cellular processes, including cell cycle regulation and transcriptional regulation. Using MHV-68 orf73 peptide array assays, we identified Brd2 and Brd4 interaction sites in the orf73 protein. Mutation of one binding site led to a loss of the interaction with Brd2/4 but not the retinoblastoma protein Rb, to impaired chromatin association, and to a decreased ability to activate the BET-responsive cyclin D1, D2, and E promoters. The results therefore pinpoint the binding site for Brd2/4 in a rhadinoviral orf73 protein and suggest that the recruitment of a member of the BET protein family allows the MHV-68 orf73 protein to activate the promoters of G(1)/S cyclins. These findings point to parallels between the transcriptional activator functions of rhadinoviral orf73 proteins and papillomavirus E2 proteins.
    • 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.
    • JKTBP1 is involved in stabilization and IRES-dependent translation of NRF mRNAs by binding to 5' and 3' untranslated regions.

      Omnus, Deike Johanne; Mehrtens, Sarah; Ritter, Birgit; Resch, Klaus; Yamada, Michiyuki; Frank, Ronald; Nourbakhsh, Mahtab; Reboll, Marc René; Helmholtz Centre for infection research. Inhoffenstr. 7. 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-04-08)
      Heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein D-like protein (JKTBP) 1 was implicated in cap-independent translation by binding to the internal ribosome entry site in the 5' untranslated region (UTR) of NF-κB-repressing factor (NRF). Two different NRF mRNAs have been identified so far, both sharing the common 5' internal ribosome entry site but having different length of 3' UTRs. Here, we used a series of DNA and RNA luciferase reporter constructs comprising 5', 3' or both NRF UTRs to study the effect of JKTBP1 on translation of NRF mRNA variants. The results indicate that JKTBP1 regulates the level of NRF protein expression by binding to both NRF 5' and 3' UTRs. Using successive deletion and point mutations as well as RNA binding studies, we define two distinct JKTBP1 binding elements in NRF 5' and 3' UTRs. Furthermore, JKTBP1 requires two distinct RNA binding domains to interact with NRF UTRs and a short C-terminal region for its effect on NRF expression. Together, our study shows that JKTBP1 contributes to NRF protein expression via two disparate mechanisms: mRNA stabilization and cap-independent translation. By binding to 5' UTR, JKTBP1 increases the internal translation initiation in both NRF mRNA variants, whereas its binding to 3' UTR elevated primarily the stability of the major NRF mRNA. Thus, JKTBP1 is a key regulatory factor linking two pivotal control mechanisms of NRF gene expression: the cap-independent translation initiation and mRNA stabilization.
    • Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus viral interferon regulatory factor 4 (vIRF4/K10) is a novel interaction partner of CSL/CBF1, the major downstream effector of Notch signaling.

      Heinzelmann, Katharina; Scholz, Barbara A; Nowak, Agnes; Fossum, Even; Kremmer, Elisabeth; Haas, Juergen; Frank, Ronald; Kempkes, Bettina; Helmholtz Centre for infection research. Inhoffenstr. 7. 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-12)
      In cells infected with the Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV), CSL/CBF1 signaling is essential for viral replication and promotes the survival of KSHV-infected cells. CSL/CBF1 is a DNA adaptor molecule which recruits coactivator and corepressor complexes to regulate viral and cellular gene transcription and which is a major downstream effector molecule of activated Notch. The interaction of KSHV RTA and LANA with CSL/CBF1 has been shown to balance the lytic and latent viral life cycle. Here we report that a third KSHV protein, viral interferon regulatory factor 4 (vIRF4/K10), but none of the three other KSHV-encoded vIRFs, interacts with CSL/CBF1. Two regions of vIRF4 with dissimilar affinities contribute to CSL/CBF1 binding. Similar to Notch, vIRF4 targets the hydrophobic pocket in the beta trefoil domain of CSL/CBF1 through a short peptide motif which closely resembles a motif found in Notch but does not strictly follow the ΦWΦP consensus conserved in human and mouse Notch proteins. Our results suggest that vIRF4 might compete with Notch for CSL/CBF1 binding and signaling.
    • Mapping of NRF binding motifs of NF-kappaB p65 subunit.

      Reboll, Marc R; Schweda, Aike T; Bartels, Myriam; Franke, Raimo; Frank, Ronald; Nourbakhsh, Mahtab; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-11)
      NF-kappaB repressing factor (NRF) is a nuclear transcription factor that binds to a specific DNA sequence in NF-kappaB target promoters. Previous reports suggested that NRF interferes with the transcriptional activity of NF-kappaB binding sites through a direct interaction with NF-kappaB subunits. The aim of this study was to map specific NRF binding domains in the NF-kappaB proteins, p65 and p50. Our data demonstrate that NRF is able to interact with the p65 subunit and inhibit its transcription enhancing activity in reporter gene experiments. Using tandem affinity purifications (TAP), we show that NRF protein significantly binds to the endogenous p65, subunit but not to the p50 subunit. The selective binding activity of the NRF protein is consistently mediated by the N-terminal domain of NRF (Amino acids 1-380). Moreover, the Rel homology domain (RHD) of p65 is sufficient for binding to the N-terminal domain of NRF. Using detailed peptide mapping studies, we finally identify three peptide motifs in p65 RHD showing distinctive binding specificities for the NRF protein. According to the predicted structure of p65, all three peptide motifs align within an exposed region of p65 and might hint at promising targets for inhibitors.
    • Minimum information about a protein affinity reagent (MIAPAR).

      Bourbeillon, Julie; Orchard, Sandra; Benhar, Itai; Borrebaeck, Carl; de Daruvar, Antoine; Dübel, Stefan; Frank, Ronald; Gibson, Frank; Gloriam, David; Haslam, Niall; et al. (2010-07)
    • Multiple antibody targets on herpes B glycoproteins B and D identified by screening sera of infected rhesus macaques with peptide microarrays.

      Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Abd El Wahed, Ahmed; Beutling, Ulrike; Jentsch, Dieter; Motzkus, Dirk; Frank, Ronald; Hunsmann, Gerhard; Stahl-Hennig, Christiane; Fritz, Hans-Joachim; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      Herpes B virus (or Herpesvirus simiae or Macacine herpesvirus 1) is endemic in many populations of macaques, both in the wild and in captivity. The virus elicits only mild clinical symptoms (if any) in monkeys, but can be transmitted by various routes, most commonly via bites, to humans where it causes viral encephalitis with a high mortality rate. Hence, herpes B constitutes a considerable occupational hazard for animal caretakers, veterinarians and laboratory personnel. Efforts are therefore being made to reduce the risk of zoonotic infection and to improve prognosis after accidental exposure. Among the measures envisaged are serological surveillance of monkey colonies and specific diagnosis of herpes B zoonosis against a background of antibodies recognizing the closely related human herpes simplex virus (HSV). 422 pentadecapeptides covering, in an overlapping fashion, the entire amino acid sequences of herpes B proteins gB and gD were synthesized and immobilized on glass slides. Antibodies present in monkey sera that bind to subsets of the peptide collection were detected by microserological techniques. With 42 different rhesus macaque sera, 114 individual responses to 18 different antibody target regions (ATRs) were recorded, 17 of which had not been described earlier. This finding may pave the way for a peptide-based, herpes B specific serological diagnostic test.
    • Myxobacteria: natural pharmaceutical factories.

      Diez, Juana; Martinez, Javier P; Mestres, Jordi; Sasse, Florenz; Frank, Ronald; Meyerhans, Andreas; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      Myxobacteria are amongst the top producers of natural products. The diversity and unique structural properties of their secondary metabolites is what make these social microbes highly attractive for drug discovery. Screening of products derived from these bacteria has revealed a puzzling amount of hits against infectious and non-infectious human diseases. Preying mainly on other bacteria and fungi, why would these ancient hunters manufacture compounds beneficial for us? The answer may be the targeting of shared processes and structural features conserved throughout evolution.
    • The myxobacterial metabolite ratjadone A inhibits HIV infection by blocking the Rev/CRM1-mediated nuclear export pathway

      Fleta-Soriano, Eric; Martinez, Javier P; Hinkelmann, Bettina; Gerth, Klaus; Washausen, Peter; Diez, Juana; Frank, Ronald; Sasse, Florenz; Meyerhans, Andreas (2014-01-29)
      Abstract Background The nuclear export of unspliced and partially spliced HIV-1 mRNA is mediated by the recognition of a leucine-rich nuclear export signal (NES) in the HIV Rev protein by the host protein CRM1/Exportin1. This makes the CRM1-Rev complex an attractive target for the development of new antiviral drugs. Here we tested the anti-HIV efficacy of ratjadone A, a CRM1 inhibitor derived from myxobacteria. Results Ratjadone A inhibits HIV infection in vitro in a dose-dependent manner with EC50 values at the nanomolar range. The inhibitory effect of ratjadone A occurs around 12 hours post-infection and is specific for the Rev/CRM1-mediated nuclear export pathway. By using a drug affinity responsive target stability (DARTS) assay we could demonstrate that ratjadone A interferes with the formation of the CRM1-Rev-NES complex by binding to CRM1 but not to Rev. Conclusion Ratjadone A exhibits strong anti-HIV activity but low selectivity due to toxic effects. Although this limits its potential use as a therapeutic drug, further studies with derivatives of ratjadones might help to overcome these difficulties in the future.
    • Peptide-mediated interference with influenza A virus polymerase.

      Ghanem, Alexander; Mayer, Daniel; Chase, Geoffrey; Tegge, Werner; Frank, Ronald; Kochs, Georg; García-Sastre, Adolfo; Schwemmle, Martin; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-07)
      The assembly of the polymerase complex of influenza A virus from the three viral polymerase subunits PB1, PB2, and PA is required for viral RNA synthesis. We show that peptides which specifically bind to the protein-protein interaction domains in the subunits responsible for complex formation interfere with polymerase complex assembly and inhibit viral replication. Specifically, we provide evidence that a 25-amino-acid peptide corresponding to the PA-binding domain of PB1 blocks the polymerase activity of influenza A virus and inhibits viral spread. Targeting polymerase subunit interactions therefore provides a novel strategy to develop antiviral compounds against influenza A virus or other viruses.