• Identification and quantification of (t)RNA modifications in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

      Grobe, Svenja; Doberenz, Sebastian; Ferreira, Kevin; Krueger, Jonas; Brönstrup, Mark; Kaever, Volkhard; Häußler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-01-15)
      Transfer RNA (tRNA) modifications impact the structure and function of tRNAs thus affecting the efficiency and fidelity of translation. In the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa translational regulation plays an important but less defined role in the adaptation to changing environments. In this study, we explored tRNA modifications in P. aeruginosa using LC-MS/MS based approaches. Neutral Loss Scan (NLS) demonstrated the potential to identify previously unknown modifications, while Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) can detect modifications with high specificity and sensitivity. In this study, the MRM-based external calibration method allowed for quantification of the 4 canonical and 32 modified ribonucleosides, of which 21 tRNA modifications were quantified in the total tRNA pool of P. aeruginosa PA14. We also purified the single tRNA isoacceptors tRNA-ArgUCU, tRNA-LeuCAA and tRNA-TrpCCA and determined, both qualitatively and quantitatively, their specific modification pattern. Deeper insights into the nature and dynamics of tRNA modifications in P. aeruginosa will pave the way for further studies on posttranscriptional gene regulation as a relatively unexplored molecular mechanism of controlling bacterial pathogenicity and life style.
    • 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.
    • Influence of fenofibrate treatment on triacylglycerides, diacylglycerides and fatty acids in fructose fed rats.

      Kopf, Thomas; Schaefer, Hans-Ludwig; Troetzmueller, Martin; Koefeler, Harald; Broenstrup, Mark; Konovalova, Tatiana; Schmitz, Gerd (2014)
      Fenofibrate (FF) lowers plasma triglycerides via PPARα activation. Here, we analyzed lipidomic changes upon FF treatment of fructose fed rats. Three groups with 6 animals each were defined as control, fructose-fed and fructose-fed/FF treated. Male Wistar Unilever Rats were subjected to 10% fructose-feeding for 20 days. On day 14, fenofibrate treatment (100 mg/kg p.o.) was initiated and maintained for 7 days. Lipid species in serum were analyzed using mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS; LC-FT-MS, GC-MS) on days 0, 14 and 20 in all three groups. In addition, lipid levels in liver and intestine were determined. Short-chain TAGs increased in serum and liver upon fructose-feeding, while almost all TAG-species decreased under FF treatment. Long-chain unsaturated DAG-levels (36:1, 36:2, 36:4, 38:3, 38:4, 38:5) increased upon FF treatment in rat liver and decreased in rat serum. FAs, especially short-chain FAs (12:0, 14:0, 16:0) increased during fructose-challenge. VLDL secretion increased upon fructose-feeding and together with FA-levels decreased to control levels during FF treatment. Fructose challenge of de novo fatty acid synthesis through fatty acid synthase (FAS) may enhance the release of FAs ≤ 16:0 chain length, a process reversed by FF-mediated PPARα-activation.
    • Integration of CD45-positive leukocytes into newly forming lymphatics of adult mice.

      Buttler, K; Lohrberg, M; Gross, G; Weich, H A; Wilting, J; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-01-09)
      The embryonic origin of lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) has been a matter of controversy since more than a century. However, recent studies in mice have supported the concept that embryonic lymphangiogenesis is a complex process consisting of growth of lymphatics from specific venous segments as well as the integration of lymphangioblasts into the lymphatic networks. Similarly, the mechanisms of adult lymphangiogenesis are poorly understood and have rarely been studied. We have recently shown that endothelial progenitor cells isolated from the lung of adult mice have the capacity to form both blood vessels and lymphatics when grafted with Matrigel plugs into the skin of syngeneic mice. Here, we followed up on these experiments and studied the behavior of host leukocytes during lymphangiogenesis in the Matrigel plugs. We observed a striking co-localization of CD45(+) leukocytes with the developing lymphatics. Numerous CD45(+) cells expressed the LEC marker podoplanin and were obviously integrated into the lining of lymphatic capillaries. This indicates that, similar to inflammation-induced lymphangiogenesis in man, circulating CD45(+) cells of adult mice are capable of initiating lymphangiogenesis and of adopting a lymphvasculogenic cellular differentiation program. The data are discussed in the context of embryonic and inflammation-induced lymphangiogenesis.
    • 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.
    • The intriguing chemistry and biology of soraphens.

      Naini, Arun; Sasse, Florenz; Brönstrup, Mark (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019-04-05)
      Covering: up to the end of 2018Soraphens are a class of polyketide natural products discovered from the myxobacterial strain Sorangium cellulosum. The review is intended to provide an overview on the biosynthesis, chemistry and biological properties of soraphens, that represent a prime example to showcase the value of natural products as tools to decipher cell biology, but also to open novel therapeutic options. The prototype soraphen A is an inhibitor of acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC1/2), an enzyme that converts acetyl-CoA to malonyl-CoA and thereby controls essential cellular metabolic processes like lipogenesis and fatty acid oxidation. Soraphens illustrate how the inhibition of a single target (ACC1/2) may be explored to treat various pathological conditions: initially developed as a fungicide, efforts in the past decade were directed towards human diseases, including diabetes/obesity, cancer, hepatitis C, HIV, and autoimmune disease - and led to a synthetic molecule, discovered by virtual screening of the allosteric binding site of soraphen in ACC, that is currently in phase 2 clinical trials. We will summarize how structural analogs of soraphen A have been generated through extensive isolation efforts, genetic engineering of the biosynthetic gene cluster, semisynthesis as well as partial and total synthesis.
    • 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.
    • Isolation and characterisation of irinans, androstane-type withanolides from L.

      Stein, Annika; Compera, Dave; Karge, Bianka; Brönstrup, Mark; Franke, Jakob; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Beilstein Institut, 2019-01-01)
      Withanolides are steroidal lactones widespread in Nightshade plants with often potent antiproliferative activities. Additionally, the structural diversity of this compound class holds much potential for the discovery of novel biological activity. Here, we report two newly characterised withanolides, named irinans, from Physalis peruviana with highly unusual truncated backbones that resemble mammalian androstane sex hormones. Based on biomimetic chemical reactions, we propose a model that links these compounds to withanolide biosynthesis. Irinans have potent antiproliferative activities, that are however lower than those of 4ß-hydroxywithanolide E. Our work establishes androwithanolides as a new subclass of withanolides.
    • Isolation, Co-Crystallization and Structure-Based Characterization of Anabaenopeptins as Highly Potent Inhibitors of Activated Thrombin Activatable Fibrinolysis Inhibitor (TAFIa).

      Schreuder, Herman; Liesum, Alexander; Lönze, Petra; Stump, Heike; Hoffmann, Holger; Schiell, Matthias; Kurz, Michael; Toti, Luigi; Bauer, Armin; Kallus, Christopher; et al. (2016-09-08)
      Mature thrombin activatable fibrinolysis inhibitor (TAFIa) is a carboxypeptidase that stabilizes fibrin clots by removing C-terminal arginines and lysines from partially degraded fibrin. Inhibition of TAFIa stimulates the degradation of fibrin clots and may help to prevent thrombosis. Applying a lead finding approach based on literature-mining, we discovered that anabaenopeptins, cyclic peptides produced by cyanobacteria, were potent inhibitors of TAFIa with IC50 values as low as 1.5 nM. We describe the isolation and structure elucidation of 20 anabaenopeptins, including 13 novel congeners, as well as their pronounced structure-activity relationships (SAR) with respect to inhibition of TAFIa. Crystal structures of the anabaenopeptins B, C and F bound to the surrogate protease carboxypeptidase B revealed the binding modes of these large (~850 Da) compounds in detail and explained the observed SAR, i.e. the strong dependence of the potency on a basic (Arg, Lys) exocyclic residue that addressed the S1' binding pocket, and a broad tolerance towards substitutions in the pentacyclic ring that acted as a plug of the active site.
    • 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.
    • The Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) non-structural membrane protein K15 is required for viral lytic replication and may represent a therapeutic target.

      Abere, Bizunesh; Mamo, Tamrat M; Hartmann, Silke; Samarina, Naira; Hage, Elias; Rückert, Jessica; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Büsche, Guntram; Schulz, Thomas F; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09)
      Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the infectious cause of the highly vascularized tumor Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), which is characterized by proliferating spindle cells of endothelial origin, extensive neo-angiogenesis and inflammatory infiltrates. The KSHV K15 protein contributes to the angiogenic and invasive properties of KSHV-infected endothelial cells. Here, we asked whether K15 could also play a role in KSHV lytic replication. Deletion of the K15 gene from the viral genome or its depletion by siRNA lead to reduced virus reactivation, as evidenced by the decreased expression levels of KSHV lytic proteins RTA, K-bZIP, ORF 45 and K8.1 as well as reduced release of infectious virus. Similar results were found for a K1 deletion virus. Deleting either K15 or K1 from the viral genome also compromised the ability of KSHV to activate PLCγ1, Erk1/2 and Akt1. In infected primary lymphatic endothelial (LEC-rKSHV) cells, which have previously been shown to spontaneously display a viral lytic transcription pattern, transfection of siRNA against K15, but not K1, abolished viral lytic replication as well as KSHV-induced spindle cell formation. Using a newly generated monoclonal antibody to K15, we found an abundant K15 protein expression in KS tumor biopsies obtained from HIV positive patients, emphasizing the physiological relevance of our findings. Finally, we used a dominant negative inhibitor of the K15-PLCγ1 interaction to establish proof of principle that pharmacological intervention with K15-dependent pathways may represent a novel approach to block KSHV reactivation and thereby its pathogenesis.
    • 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.
    • Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus vIRF2 protein utilizes an IFN-dependent pathway to regulate viral early gene expression.

      Koch, Sandra; Damas, Modester; Freise, Anika; Hage, Elias; Dhingra, Akshay; Rückert, Jessica; Gallo, Antonio; Kremmer, Elisabeth; Tegge, Werner; Brönstrup, Mark; et al. (PLOS, 2019-05-01)
      Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV; human herpesvirus 8) belongs to the subfamily of Gammaherpesvirinae and is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma as well as of two lymphoproliferative diseases: primary effusion lymphoma and multicentric Castleman disease. The KSHV life cycle is divided into a latent and a lytic phase and is highly regulated by viral immunomodulatory proteins which control the host antiviral immune response. Among them is a group of proteins with homology to cellular interferon regulatory factors, the viral interferon regulatory factors 1-4. The KSHV vIRFs are known as inhibitors of cellular interferon signaling and are involved in different oncogenic pathways. Here we characterized the role of the second vIRF protein, vIRF2, during the KSHV life cycle. We found the vIRF2 protein to be expressed in different KSHV positive cells with early lytic kinetics. Importantly, we observed that vIRF2 suppresses the expression of viral early lytic genes in both newly infected and reactivated persistently infected endothelial cells. This vIRF2-dependent regulation of the KSHV life cycle might involve the increased expression of cellular interferon-induced genes such as the IFIT proteins 1, 2 and 3, which antagonize the expression of early KSHV lytic proteins. Our findings suggest a model in which the viral protein vIRF2 allows KSHV to harness an IFN-dependent pathway to regulate KSHV early gene expression.
    • Labyrinthopeptins as virolytic inhibitors of respiratory syncytial virus cell entry.

      Blockus, Sebastian; Sake, Svenja M; Wetzke, Martin; Grethe, Christina; Graalmann, Theresa; Pils, Marina; Le Goffic, Ronan; Galloux, Marie; Prochnow, Hans; Rox, Katharina; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-03-18)
      Acute lower respiratory tract infections (ALRI) caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) are associated with a severe disease burden among infants and elderly patients. Treatment options are limited. While numerous drug candidates with different viral targets are under development, the utility of RSV entry inhibitors is challenged by a low resistance barrier and by single mutations causing cross-resistance against a wide spectrum of fusion inhibitor chemotypes. We developed a cell-based screening assay for discovery of compounds inhibiting infection with primary RSV isolates. Using this system, we identified labyrinthopeptin A1 and A2 (Laby A1/A2), lantibiotics isolated from Actinomadura namibiensis, as effective RSV cell entry inhibitors with IC50s of 0.39 μM and 4.97 μM, respectively, and with favourable therapeutic index (>200 and > 20, respectively). Both molecules were active against multiple RSV strains including primary isolates and their antiviral activity against RSV was confirmed in primary human airway cells ex vivo and a murine model in vivo. Laby A1/A2 were antiviral in prophylactic and therapeutic treatment regimens and displayed synergistic activity when applied in combination with each other. Mechanistic studies showed that Laby A1/A2 exert virolytic activity likely by binding to phosphatidylethanolamine moieties within the viral membrane and by disrupting virus particle membrane integrity. Probably due to its specific mode of action, Laby A1/A2 antiviral activity was not affected by common resistance mutations to known RSV entry inhibitors. Taken together, Laby A1/A2 represent promising candidates for development as RSV inhibitors. Moreover, the cell-based screening system with primary RSV isolates described here should be useful to identify further antiviral agents.
    • Labyrinthopeptins exert broad-spectrum antiviral activity through lipid-binding-mediated virolysis.

      Prochnow, Hans; Rox, Katharina; Birudukota, N V Suryanarayana; Weichert, Loreen; Hotop, Sven-Kevin; Klahn, Philipp; Mohr, Kathrin; Franz, Sergej; Banda, Dominic H; Blockus, Sebastian; et al. (ASM, 2019-10-30)
      To counteract the serious health threat posed by known and novel viral pathogens, drugs that target a variety of viruses through a common mechanism have attracted recent attention due to their potential in treating (re-)emerging infections, for which direct acting antivirals are not available. We found that labyrinthopeptins A1 and A2, the prototype congeners of carbacyclic lanthipeptides, inhibit the proliferation of diverse enveloped viruses, including Dengue virus, Zika virus, West Nile virus, Hepatitis C virus, Chikungunya virus, Karposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes virus, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes Simplex virus, in the low μM to nM range. Mechanistic studies on viral particles revealed that labyrinthopeptins induce a virolytic effect through binding to the viral membrane lipid phosphatidylethanolamine (PE). These effects are enhanced by a combined equimolar application of both labyrinthopeptins, and a clear synergism was observed across a concentration range corresponding to IC10-IC90 values of the compounds. Time-resolved experiments with large unilamellar vesicles (LUVs) reveal that membrane lipid raft compositions (PC/PE/Chol/SM (17:10:33:40)) are particularly sensitive to labyrinthopeptins compared to PC/PE (90:10) LUVs, even though the overall PE-amount remains constant. Labyrinthopeptins exhibited low cytotoxicity and had favorable pharmacokinetic properties in mice (t1/2= 10.0 h), which designates them as promising antiviral compounds acting by an unusual viral lipid targeting mechanism.Importance For many viral infections, current treatment options are insufficient. Because the development of each antiviral drug is time-consuming and expensive, the prospect of finding broad-spectrum antivirals that can fight multiple, diverse viruses - well-known as well as (re-)emerging species - has gained attention, especially for the treatment of viral co-infections. While most known broad spectrum agents address processes in the host cell, we found that targeting lipids of the free virus outside the host cell with the natural products labyrinthopeptin A1 and A2 is a viable strategy to inhibit the proliferation of a broad range of viruses from different families, including Chikungunya virus, Dengue virus, Zika virus, Karposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpes virus, or Cytomegalovirus. Labyrinthopeptins bind to viral phosphatidylethanolamine and induce virolysis without exerting cytotoxicity to host cells. This represents a novel and unusual mechanism to tackle medically relevant viral infections.
    • 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.
    • Metabolome and transcriptome-wide effects of the carbon storage regulator A in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.

      Berndt, Volker; Beckstette, Michael; Volk, Marcel; Dersch, Petra; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-01-15)
      The carbon storage regulator A (CsrA) is a conserved global regulatory system known to control central carbon pathways, biofilm formation, motility, and pathogenicity. The aim of this study was to characterize changes in major metabolic pathways induced by CsrA in human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) grown under virulence factor-inducing conditions. For this purpose, the metabolomes and transcriptomes of EPEC and an isogenic ∆csrA mutant derivative were analyzed by untargeted mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing, respectively. Of the 159 metabolites identified from untargeted GC/MS and LC/MS data, 97 were significantly (fold change ≥ 1.5; corrected p-value ≤ 0.05) regulated between the knockout and the wildtype strain. A lack of csrA led to an accumulation of fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and glycogen synthesis pathway products, whereas metabolites in lower glycolysis and the citric acid cycle were downregulated. Associated pathways from the citric acid cycle like aromatic amino acid and siderophore biosynthesis were also negatively influenced. The nucleoside salvage pathways were featured by an accumulation of nucleosides and nucleobases, and a downregulation of nucleotides. In addition, a pronounced downregulation of lyso-lipid metabolites was observed. A drastic change in the morphology in the form of vesicle-like structures of the ∆csrA knockout strain was visible by electron microscopy. Colanic acid synthesis genes were strongly (up to 50 fold) upregulated, and the abundance of colanic acid was 3 fold increased according to a colorimetric assay. The findings expand the scope of pathways affected by the csrA regulon and emphasize its importance as a global regulator.