Recent Submissions

  • Extracellular Traps: An Ancient Weapon of Multiple Kingdoms.

    Neumann, Ariane; Brogden, Graham; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-18)
    The discovery, in 2004, of extracellular traps released by neutrophils has extended our understanding of the mode of action of various innate immune cells. This fascinating discovery demonstrated the extracellular trapping and killing of various pathogens by neutrophils. During the last decade, evidence has accumulated showing that extracellular traps play a crucial role in the defence mechanisms of various cell types present in vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. The aim of this review is to summarise the relevant literature on the evolutionary history of extracellular traps used as a weapon in various kingdoms of life.
  • The Antiviral Activity of the Cellular Glycoprotein LGALS3BP/90K Is Species Specific.

    Lodermeyer, Veronika; Ssebyatika, George; Passos, Vânia; Ponnurangam, Aparna; Malassa, Angelina; Ewald, Ellen; Stürzel, Christina M; Kirchhoff, Frank; Rotger, Margalida; Falk, Christine S; et al. (American Society for Microbiology (ASM), 2018-07-15)
    Cellular antiviral proteins interfere with distinct steps of replication cycles of viruses. The galectin 3 binding protein (LGALS3BP, also known as 90K) was previously shown to lower the infectivity of nascent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) virions when expressed in virus-producing cells. This antiviral effect was accompanied by impaired gp160Env processing and reduced viral incorporation of mature Env glycoproteins. Here, we examined the ability of 90K orthologs from primate species to reduce the particle infectivity of distinct lentiviruses. We show that 90K's ability to diminish the infectivity of lentiviral particles is conserved within primate species, with the notable exception of 90K from rhesus macaque. Comparison of active and inactive 90K orthologs and variants uncovered the fact that inhibition of processing of the HIV-1 Env precursor and reduction of cell surface expression of HIV-1 Env gp120 are required, but not sufficient, for 90K-mediated antiviral activity. Rather, 90K-mediated reduction of virion-associated gp120 coincided with antiviral activity, suggesting that 90K impairs the incorporation of HIV-1 Env into budding virions. We show that a single "humanizing" amino acid exchange in the BTB (broad-complex, tramtrack, and bric-à-brac)/POZ (poxvirus and zinc finger) domain is sufficient to fully rescue the antiviral activity of a shortened version of rhesus macaque 90K, but not that of the full-length protein. Comparison of the X-ray structures of the BTB/POZ domains of 90K from rhesus macaques and humans point toward a slightly larger hydrophobic patch at the surface of the rhesus macaque BTB domain that may modulate a direct interaction with either a second 90K domain or a different protein.IMPORTANCE The cellular 90K protein has been shown to diminish the infectivity of nascent HIV-1 particles. When produced in 90K-expressing cells, particles bear smaller amounts of the HIV-1 Env glycoprotein, which is essential for attaching to and entering new target cells in the subsequent infection round. However, whether the antiviral function of 90K is conserved across primates is unknown. Here, we found that 90K orthologs from most primate species, but, surprisingly, not from rhesus macaques, inhibit HIV-1. The introduction of a single amino acid exchange into a short version of the rhesus macaque 90K protein, consisting of the two intermediate domains of 90K, resulted in full restoration of antiviral activity. Structural elucidation of the respective domain suggests that the absence of antiviral activity in the rhesus macaque factor may be linked to a subtle change in protein-protein interaction.
  • Hepatitis E virus replication and interferon responses in human placental cells.

    Knegendorf, Leonard; Drave, Svenja A; Dao Thi, Viet Loan; Debing, Yannick; Brown, Richard J P; Vondran, Florian W R; Resner, Kathrin; Friesland, Martina; Khera, Tanvi; Engelmann, Michael; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2018-01-01)
    Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a member of the genus Orthohepevirus in the family Hepeviridae and the causative agent of hepatitis E in humans. HEV is a major health problem in developing countries, causing mortality rates up to 25% in pregnant women. However, these cases are mainly reported for HEV genotype (gt)1, while gt3 infections are usually associated with subclinical courses of disease. The pathogenic mechanisms of adverse maternal and fetal outcome during pregnancy in HEV-infected pregnant women remain elusive. In this study, we observed that HEV is capable of completing the full viral life cycle in placental-derived cells (JEG-3). Following transfection of JEG-3 cells, HEV replication of both HEV gts could be observed. Furthermore, determination of extracellular and intracellular viral capsid levels, infectivity, and biophysical properties revealed production of HEV infectious particles with similar characteristics as in liver-derived cells. Viral entry was analyzed by infection of target cells and detection of either viral RNA or staining for viral capsid protein by immunofluorescence. HEV gt1 and gt3 were efficiently inhibited by ribavirin in placental as well as in human hepatoma cells. In contrast, interferon-α sensitivity was lower in the placental cells compared to liver cells for gt1 but not gt3 HEV. Simultaneous determination of interferon-stimulated gene expression levels demonstrated an efficient HEV-dependent restriction in JEG-3. Conclusion: We showed differential tissue-specific host responses to HEV genotypes, adding to our understanding of the mechanisms contributing to fatal outcomes of HEV infections during pregnancy. Using this cell-culture system, new therapeutic options for HEV during pregnancy can be identified and evaluated. (Hepatology Communications 2018;2:173-187).
  • Robust hepatitis E virus infection and transcriptional response in human hepatocytes.

    Todt, Daniel; Friesland, Martina; Moeller, Nora; Praditya, Dimas; Kinast, Volker; Brüggemann, Yannick; Knegendorf, Leonard; Burkard, Thomas; Steinmann, Joerg; Burm, Rani; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-01-02)
    Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the causative agent of hepatitis E in humans and the leading cause for acute viral hepatitis worldwide. The virus is classified as a member of the genus Orthohepevirus A within the Hepeviridae family. Due to the absence of a robust cell culture model for HEV infection, the analysis of the viral life cycle, the development of effective antivirals and a vaccine is severely limited. In this study, we established a protocol based on the HEV genotype 3 p6 (Kernow C-1) and the human hepatoma cell lines HepG2 and HepG2/C3A with different media conditions to produce intracellular HEV cell culture-derived particles (HEVcc) with viral titers between 105 and 106 FFU/mL. Viral titers could be further enhanced by an HEV variant harboring a mutation in the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. These HEVcc particles were characterized in density gradients and allowed the trans-complementation of subgenomic reporter HEV replicons. In addition, in vitro produced intracellular-derived particles were infectious in liver-humanized mice with high RNA copy numbers detectable in serum and feces. Efficient infection of primary human and swine hepatocytes using the developed protocol could be observed and was inhibited by ribavirin. Finally, RNA sequencing studies of HEV-infected primary human hepatocytes demonstrated a temporally structured transcriptional defense response. In conclusion, this robust cell culture model of HEV infection provides a powerful tool for studying viral-host interactions that should facilitate the discovery of antiviral drugs for this important zoonotic pathogen.
  • Hepatitis C Virus Entry: Protein Interactions and Fusion Determinants Governing Productive Hepatocyte Invasion.

    Gerold, Gisa; Moeller, Rebecca; Pietschmann, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2019-08-19)
    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry is among the best-studied uptake processes for human pathogenic viruses. Uptake follows a spatially and temporally tightly controlled program. Numerous host factors including proteins, lipids, and glycans promote productive uptake of HCV particles into human liver cells. The virus initially attaches to surface proteoglycans, lipid receptors such as the scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI), and to the tetraspanin CD81. After lateral translocation of virions to tight junctions, claudin-1 (CLDN1) and occludin (OCLN) are essential for entry. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis engulfs HCV particles, which fuse with endosomal membranes after pH drop. Uncoating of the viral RNA genome in the cytoplasm completes the entry process. Here we systematically review and classify HCV entry factors by their mechanistic role, relevance, and level of evidence. Finally, we report on more recent knowledge on determinants of membrane fusion and close with an outlook on future implications of HCV entry research.
  • No Evidence of Mosquito Involvement in the Transmission of Equine Hepacivirus (Flaviviridae) in an Epidemiological Survey of Austrian Horses

    Badenhorst, Marcha; de Heus, Phebe; Auer, Angelika; Rümenapf, Till; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Kolodziejek, Jolanta; Nowotny, Norbert; Steinmann, Eike; Cavalleri, Jessika M.V.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-11-01)
    Prevalence studies have demonstrated a global distribution of equine hepacivirus (EqHV), a member of the family Flaviviridae. However, apart from a single case of vertical transmission, natural routes of EqHV transmission remain elusive. Many known flaviviruses are horizontally transmitted between hematophagous arthropods and vertebrate hosts. This study represents the first investigation of potential EqHV transmission by mosquitoes. More than 5000 mosquitoes were collected across Austria and analyzed for EqHV ribonucleic acid (RNA) by reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). Concurrently, 386 serum samples from horses in eastern Austria were analyzed for EqHV-specific antibodies by luciferase immunoprecipitation system (LIPS) and for EqHV RNA by RT-qPCR. Additionally, liver-specific biochemistry parameters were compared between EqHV RNA-positive horses and EqHV RNA-negative horses. Phylogenetic analysis was conducted in comparison to previously published sequences from various origins. No EqHV RNA was detected in mosquito pools. Serum samples yielded an EqHV antibody prevalence of 45.9% (177/386) and RNA prevalence of 4.15% (16/386). EqHV RNA-positive horses had significantly higher glutamate dehydrogenase (GLDH) levels (p = 0.013) than control horses. Phylogenetic analysis showed high similarity between nucleotide sequences of EqHV in Austrian horses and EqHV circulating in other regions. Despite frequently detected evidence of EqHV infection in Austrian horses, no viral RNA was found in mosquitoes. It is therefore unlikely that mosquitoes are vectors of this flavivirus.
  • 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.
  • Biotechnological Potential of Bacteria Isolated from the Sea Cucumber and from Lampung, Indonesia.

    Wibowo, Joko T; Kellermann, Matthias Y; Versluis, Dennis; Putra, Masteria Y; Murniasih, Tutik; Mohr, Kathrin I; Wink, Joachim; Engelmann, Michael; Praditya, Dimas F; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (MPDI, 2019-11-08)
    In order to minimize re-discovery of already known anti-infective compounds, we focused our screening approach on understudied, almost untapped marine environments including marine invertebrates and their associated bacteria. Therefore, two sea cucumber species, Holothuria leucospilota and Stichopus vastus, were collected from Lampung (Indonesia), and 127 bacterial strains were identified by partial 16S rRNA-gene sequencing analysis and compared with the NCBI database. In addition, the overall bacterial diversity from tissue samples of the sea cucumbers H. leucospilota and S. vastus was analyzed using the cultivation-independent Illumina MiSEQ analysis. Selected bacterial isolates were grown to high densities and the extracted biomass was tested against a selection of bacteria and fungi as well as the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Identification of putative bioactive bacterial-derived compounds were performed by analyzing the accurate mass of the precursor/parent ions (MS1) as well as product/daughter ions (MS2) using high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) analysis of all active fractions. With this attempt we were able to identify 23 putatively known and two previously unidentified precursor ions. Moreover, through 16S rRNA-gene sequencing we were able to identify putatively novel bacterial species from the phyla Actinobacteria, Proteobacteria and also Firmicutes. Our findings suggest that sea cucumbers like H. leucospilota and S. vastus are promising sources for the isolation of novel bacterial species that produce compounds with potentially high biotechnological potential.
  • Characterization of Endogenous SERINC5 Protein as anti-HIV-1 Factor.

    Passos, Vânia; Zillinger, Thomas; Casartelli, Nicoletta; Wachs, Amelie S; Xu, Shuting; Malassa, Angelina; Steppich, Katja; Schilling, Hildegard; Franz, Sergej; Todt, Daniel; et al. (American Society of Microbiology, 2019-10-09)
    When expressed in virus-producing cells, the cellular multipass-transmembrane protein SERINC5 reduces the infectivity of HIV-1 particles and is counteracted by HIV-1 Nef. Due to the unavailability of an antibody of sufficient specificity and sensitivity, investigation of SERINC5 protein expression and subcellular localization has been limited to heterologously expressed SERINC5. We generated, via CRISPR/Cas9-assisted gene editing, Jurkat T-cell clones expressing endogenous SERINC5 bearing an extracellularly exposed HA epitope (Jurkat SERINC5(iHA-knock-in) T-cells). This modification enabled quantification of endogenous SERINC5 protein levels and demonstrated a predominant localization in lipid rafts. IFN-α treatment enhanced cell surface levels of SERINC5 in a Ruxolitinib-sensitive manner in the absence of modulation of mRNA and protein quantities. Parental and SERINC5(iHA-knock-in) T-cells shared the ability to produce infectious wildtype HIV-1, but not HIV-1 Δnef SERINC5-imposed reduction of infectivity involved a modest reduction of virus fusogenicity. Association of endogenous SERINC5 protein with HIV-1 Δnef virions was consistently detectable as a 35 kDa species, as opposed to heterologous SERINC5 that presented as 51 kDa species. Nef-mediated functional counteraction did not correlate with virion exclusion of SERINC5, arguing for the existence of additional counteractive mechanisms of Nef that act on virus-associated SERINC5. In HIV-1-infected cells, Nef triggered internalization of SERINC5 in the absence of detectable changes of steady-state protein levels. These findings establish new properties of endogenous SERINC5 expression and subcellular localization, challenge existing concepts of HIV-1 Nef-mediated antagonism of SERINC5 and uncover an unprecedented role of IFN-α in modulating SERINC5 through accumulation at the cell surface.IMPORTANCE SERINC5 is the long-searched antiviral factor that is counteracted by the HIV-1 accessory gene product Nef. Here, we engineered, via CRISPR/Cas9 technology, T-cell lines that express endogenous SERINC5 alleles tagged with a knocked-in HA epitope. This genetic modification enabled us to study basic properties of endogenous SERINC5 and to verify proposed mechanisms of HIV-1 Nef-mediated counteraction of SERINC5. Using this unique resource, we identified the susceptibility of endogenous SERINC5 protein to posttranslational modulation by type I IFNs and suggest uncoupling of Nef-mediated functional antagonism from SERINC5 exclusion from virions.
  • Characterization of Equine Parvovirus in Thoroughbred Breeding Horses from Germany.

    Meister, Toni Luise; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Brüggemann, Yannick; Sieme, Harald; Feige, Karsten; Todt, Daniel; Stang, Alexander; Cavalleri, Jessika-M V; Steinmann, Eike; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-10-18)
  • Yellow Fever: Integrating Current Knowledge with Technological Innovations to Identify Strategies for Controlling a Re-Emerging Virus.

    Kleinert, Robin D V; Montoya-Diaz, Eduardo; Khera, Tanvi; Welsch, Kathrin; Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Hoehl, Sebastian; Ciesek, Sandra; Brown, Richard J P; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-10-17)
    Yellow fever virus (YFV) represents a re-emerging zoonotic pathogen, transmitted by mosquito vectors to humans from primate reservoirs. Sporadic outbreaks of YFV occur in endemic tropical regions, causing a viral hemorrhagic fever (VHF) associated with high mortality rates. Despite a highly effective vaccine, no antiviral treatments currently exist. Therefore, YFV represents a neglected tropical disease and is chronically understudied, with many aspects of YFV biology incompletely defined including host range, host-virus interactions and correlates of host immunity and pathogenicity. In this article, we review the current state of YFV research, focusing on the viral lifecycle, host responses to infection, species tropism and the success and associated limitations of the YFV-17D vaccine. In addition, we highlight the current lack of available treatments and use publicly available sequence and structural data to assess global patterns of YFV sequence diversity and identify potential drug targets. Finally, we discuss how technological advances, including real-time epidemiological monitoring of outbreaks using next-generation sequencing and CRISPR/Cas9 modification of vector species, could be utilized in future battles against this re-emerging pathogen which continues to cause devastating disease
  • Quantitative proteomics of Uukuniemi virus - host cell interactions reveals GBF1 as proviral host factor for phleboviruses.

    Uckeley, Zina M; Moeller, Rebecca; Kühn, Lars I; Nilsson, Emma; Robens, Claudia; Lasswitz, Lisa; Lindqvist, Richard; Lenman, Annasara; Passos, Vania; Voss, Yannik; et al. (American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2019-09-30)
    Novel tick-borne phleboviruses in the Phenuiviridae family, which are highly pathogenic in humans and all closely related to Uukuniemi virus (UUKV), have recently emerged on different continents. How phleboviruses assemble, bud, and exit cells remains largely elusive. Here, we performed high-resolution, label-free mass spectrometry analysis of UUKV immuno-precipitated from cell lysates and identified 39 cellular partners interacting with the viral envelope glycoproteins. The importance of these host factors for UUKV infection was validated by silencing each host factor by RNA interference. This revealed Golgi-specific brefeldin A-resistance guanine nucleotide exchange factor 1 (GBF1), a guanine nucleotide exchange factor resident in the Golgi, as a critical host factor required for the UUKV life cycle. An inhibitor of GBF1, Golgicide A, confirmed the role of the cellular factor in UUKV infection. We could pinpoint the GBF1 requirement to UUKV replication and particle assembly. When the investigation was extended to viruses from various positive and negative RNA viral families, we found that not only phleboviruses rely on GBF1 for infection, but also Flavi-, Corona-, Rhabdo-, and Togaviridae In contrast, silencing or blocking GBF1 did not abrogate infection by the human adenovirus serotype 5 and immunodeficiency retrovirus type 1, the replication of both occurs in the nucleus. Together our results indicate that UUKV relies on GBF1 for viral replication, assembly and egress. This study also highlights the proviral activity of GBF1 in the infection by a broad range of important zoonotic RNA viruses.
  • Synthesis of 4′/5′-Spirocyclopropanated Uridine and d -Xylouridine Derivatives and Their Activity against the Human Respiratory Syncytial Virus

    Köllmann, Christoph; Wiechert, Svenja M.; Jones, Peter G.; Pietschmann, Thomas; Werz, Daniel B.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-09-06)
  • Gamma secretase dependent release of the CD44 cytoplasmic tail upregulates IFI16 in cd44 <sup>-/-</sup> tumor cells, MEFs and macrophages

    Schultz, Kristin; Grieger, Christina; Li, Yong; Urbánek, Pavel; Ruschel, Anne; Minnich, Kerstin; Bruder, Dunja; Gereke, Marcus; Sechi, Antonio; Herrlich, Peter; et al. (PLOS, 2018-12-01)
  • Chronic Hepatitis E Virus Infection during Lymphoplasmacytic Lymphoma and Ibrutinib Treatment.

    Schlevogt, Bernhard; Kinast, Volker; Reusch, Julia; Kerkhoff, Andrea; Praditya, Dimas; Todt, Daniel; Schmidt, Hartmut H; Steinmann, Eike; Behrendt, Patrick; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-08-22)
    Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an increasingly recognised pathogen, affecting several hundred thousand individuals in western countries each year. Importantly, the majority of immunocompromised individuals are not able to clear HEV but develop a chronic course of infection. In the case of lymphoma, which is an inherent immunosuppressive disease per se, chemotherapy can even further exacerbate the immunosuppressive status. As the mechanism of HEV chronification is barely understood, it is important to gain knowledge about the influence of chemotherapeutic drugs on the HEV replication cycle to guide rational clinical management of HEV infection in such patients. In this case report, a 70 year old man was diagnosed with lymphoplasmacytic lymphoma. As we observed the occurrence of chronic HEV after treatment with the Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor ibrutinib in vivo, we investigated the influence of BTK signaling and ibrutinib treatment in the HEV replication cycle in vitro. First, we detected an HEV-induced mobilisation of BTK in human liver cells during HEV replication. A moderate antiviral effect against HEV replicating isolates including genotypes 1 and 3 was observed, suggesting that ibrutinib did not support HEV replication in a direct manner. Combinatory treatments of ibrutinib with ribavirin indicated that ibrutinib did not influence the antiviral effect of ribavirin. Taken together, chemotherapy targeting cellular factors for the treatment of lymphomas may be a neglected risk factor for the chronification of HEV. For ibrutinib, despite the upregulation of its target BTK during HEV replication, we observed neither a proviral effect on HEV replication nor an influence on the antiviral effect of ribavirin, suggesting that the chronification of HEV may be favoured by its immunosuppressive effect.
  • Chronic equine hepacivirus infection in an adult gelding with severe hepatopathy.

    Tegtmeyer, Birthe; Echelmeyer, Julia; Pfankuche, Vanessa M; Puff, Christina; Todt, Daniel; Fischer, Nicole; Durham, Andy; Feige, Karsten; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (Wiley Open Access, 2019-01-01)
    Background: Equine hepacivirus (EqHV) in equids represents the closest homologue to hepatitis C virus(HCV) infecting humans. A majority of HCV infected patients develop a chronic course of infection leading toliver fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver failure. However, in horses mostly transient mild subclinical infections arereported for EqHV to date. Objectives: EqHV can be involved in chronic liver diseases of horses. Methods:Biochemical parameters in serum samples were measured. Viral load was determined using qPCR. Next gener-ation sequencing (NGS) of serum was performed. Liver tissue was stained with haematoxylin and eosin andanalysed for viral RNA with fluorescentin situ-hybridization. Results: The horse showed symptoms of severehepatopathy and was chronically infected with EqHV. Viral RNA was detectable in the liver during disease.To rule out other infectious agents NGS was performed and showed the highest abundance for EqHV. Theidentified virus sequence was similar to other circulating equine hepaciviruses. Conclusions: EqHV can be asso-ciated with liver disease in horses. Whether it causes the disease or contributes in a multifactorial mannerneeds further investigation
  • In vivo Neutralization of Pro-inflammatory Cytokines During Secondary Streptococcus pneumoniae Infection Post Influenza A Virus Infection

    Sharma-Chawla, Niharika; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Christen, Henrike; Boehme, Julia D.; Kershaw, Olivia; Schreiber, Jens; Guzmán, Carlos A.; Bruder, Dunja; Hernandez-Vargas, Esteban A.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers Media SA, 2019-08-14)
    An overt pro-inflammatory immune response is a key factor contributing to lethal pneumococcal infection in an influenza pre-infected host and represents a potential target for therapeutic intervention. However, there is a paucity of knowledge about the level of contribution of individual cytokines. Based on the predictions of our previous mathematical modeling approach, the potential benefit of IFN-γ- and/or IL-6-specific antibody-mediated cytokine neutralization was explored in C57BL/6 mice infected with the influenza A/PR/8/34 strain, which were subsequently infected with the Streptococcus pneumoniae strain TIGR4 on day 7 post influenza. While single IL-6 neutralization had no effect on respiratory bacterial clearance, single IFN-γ neutralization enhanced local bacterial clearance in the lungs. Concomitant neutralization of IFN-γ and IL-6 significantly reduced the degree of pneumonia as well as bacteremia compared to the control group, indicating a positive effect for the host during secondary bacterial infection. The results of our model-driven experimental study reveal that the predicted therapeutic value of IFN-γ and IL-6 neutralization in secondary pneumococcal infection following influenza infection is tightly dependent on the experimental protocol while at the same time paving the way toward the development of effective immune therapies.
  • Blocking IL-10 receptor signaling ameliorates Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection during influenza-induced exacerbation

    Ring, Sarah; Eggers, Lars; Behrends, Jochen; Wutkowski, Adam; Schwudke, Dominik; Kröger, Andrea; Hierweger, Alexandra Maximiliane; Hölscher, Christoph; Gabriel, Gülsah; Schneider, Bianca E.; et al. (American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2019-01-01)
    Epidemiological findings indicate that coinfection with influenza viruses is associated with an increased risk of death in patients suffering from tuberculosis but the underlying pathomechanisms are not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that influenza A virus (IAV) coinfection rapidly impairs control of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) in C57BL/6 mice. IAV coinfection was associated with significantly increased bacterial loads, reduced survival and a substantial modulation of innate and adaptive immune defenses including an impaired onset and development of Mtb-specific CD4+ T cell responses and the accumulation of macrophages with increased arginase-1 production in the lungs. Our findings strongly indicate that IAV coinfection compromises the host's ability to control Mtb infection via the production of IL-10 which was rapidly induced upon viral infection. The blockade of IL-10 receptor signaling reduced the bacterial load in coinfected mice to a level comparable with that in Mtb-only-infected animals. Taken together, our data suggest that IL-10 signaling constitutes a major pathway that enhances susceptibility to Mtb during concurrent IAV infection
  • The STING activator c-di-AMP exerts superior adjuvant properties than the formulation poly(I:C)/CpG after subcutaneous vaccination with soluble protein antigen or DEC-205-mediated antigen targeting to dendritic cells.

    Volckmar, Julia; Knop, Laura; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Guzmán, Carlos A; Bruder, Dunja; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-08-14)
    Vaccination is the most efficient strategy to protect from infectious diseases and the induction of a protective immune response not only depends on the nature of the antigen, but is also influenced by the vaccination strategy and the co-administration of adjuvants. Therefore, the precise monitoring of adjuvant candidates and their immune modulatory properties is a crucial step in vaccine development. Here, one central aspect is the induction of appropriate humoral and cellular effector mechanisms. In our study we performed a direct comparison of two promising candidates in adjuvant development, the STING activator bis-(3,5)-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) and the Toll-like receptor ligand formulation poly(I:C)/CpG. These were evaluated in C57BL/6 mice using the model antigen ovalbumin (OVA) in subcutaneous vaccination with soluble protein as well as in a dendritic cell (DC) targeting approach (αDEC-OVA). Strikingly, c-di-AMP as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG resulted in significantly higher antigen-specific IgG antibody levels when used in immunization with soluble OVA as well as in antigen targeting to DC. In vaccination with soluble OVA, c-di-AMP induced a significantly stronger CTL, Th1 and IFNγ-producing CD8+ memory T cell response than poly(I:C)/CpG. The response was CTL and Th1 cell dominated, a profile shared by both adjuvants. In the context of targeting OVA to DC, c-di-AMP induced significantly increased Th1 and Th2 cell responses as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG. Interestingly, the Th1 response dominated the overall T cell response only when c-di-AMP was used, indicating a distinct modulatory property of c-di-AMP when the DC targeting immunization approach was exploited. Taken together, we describe superior properties of c-di-AMP as compared to poly(I:C)/CpG in subcutaneous vaccination with soluble antigen as well as antigen targeting to DC. This indicates exceptionally effective adjuvant properties for c-di-AMP and provides compelling evidence of its potential for further adjuvant development, especially also when using DC targeting approaches.
  • Anti-infective Properties of the Golden Spice Curcumin.

    Praditya, Dimas; Kirchhoff, Lisa; Brüning, Janina; Rachmawati, Heni; Steinmann, Joerg; Steinmann, Eike; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    The search for novel anti-infectives is one of the most important challenges in natural product research, as diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, and fungi are influencing the human society all over the world. Natural compounds are a continuing source of novel anti-infectives. Accordingly, curcumin, has been used for centuries in Asian traditional medicine to treat various disorders. Numerous studies have shown that curcumin possesses a wide spectrum of biological and pharmacological properties, acting, for example, as anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic and anti-neoplastic, while no toxicity is associated with the compound. Recently, curcumin's antiviral and antibacterial activity was investigated, and it was shown to act against various important human pathogens like the influenza virus, hepatitis C virus, HIV and strains of Staphylococcus, Streptococcus, and Pseudomonas. Despite the potency, curcumin has not yet been approved as a therapeutic antiviral agent. This review summarizes the current knowledge and future perspectives of the antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal effects of curcumin.

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