• ABHD5/CGI-58, the Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome Protein, Mobilises Lipid Stores for Hepatitis C Virus Production.

      Vieyres, Gabrielle; Welsch, Kathrin; Gerold, Gisa; Gentzsch, Juliane; Kahl, Sina; Vondran, Florian W R; Kaderali, Lars; Pietschmann, Thomas; Twincore Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Hannover, Germany. (2016-04)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) particles closely mimic human very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) to evade humoral immunity and to facilitate cell entry. However, the principles that govern HCV association with VLDL components are poorly defined. Using an siRNA screen, we identified ABHD5 (α/β hydrolase domain containing protein 5, also known as CGI-58) as a new host factor promoting both virus assembly and release. ABHD5 associated with lipid droplets and triggered their hydrolysis. Importantly, ABHD5 Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome mutants responsible for a rare lipid storage disorder in humans were mislocalised, and unable to consume lipid droplets or support HCV production. Additional ABHD5 mutagenesis revealed a novel tribasic motif that does not influence subcellular localization but determines both ABHD5 lipolytic and proviral properties. These results indicate that HCV taps into the lipid droplet triglyceride reservoir usurping ABHD5 lipase cofactor function. They also suggest that the resulting lipid flux, normally devoted to VLDL synthesis, also participates in the assembly and release of the HCV lipo-viro-particle. Altogether, our study provides the first association between the Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome protein and an infectious disease and sheds light on the hepatic manifestations of this rare genetic disorder as well as on HCV morphogenesis.
    • Acute and chronic infections with nonprimate hepacivirus in young horses.

      Gather, Theresa; Walter, Stephanie; Pfaender, Stephanie; Todt, Daniel; Feige, Karsten; Steinmann, Eike; Cavalleri, Jessika M V; Twincore Centre of Experimental and Clinical Infection Research; a joint venture between the Hannover Medical School and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Hannover 30625, Germany. (2016-09-22)
      The recently discovered nonprimate hepacivirus (NPHV) naturally infects horses and is the closest known homolog of hepatitis C virus to date. Within a follow-up study acute field infections were monitored in four young Thoroughbred horses until the ages of 12-13 months. Serum samples were analyzed for the presence of NPHV RNA and anti-NPHV NS3 antibodies and liver specific parameters were evaluated. The four young horses were not able to clear infection, but remained chronically infected for the entire monitored time period despite the presence of NPHV specific antibodies.
    • Adaptation of hepatitis C virus to mouse CD81 permits infection of mouse cells in the absence of human entry factors.

      Bitzegeio, Julia; Bankwitz, Dorothea; Hueging, Kathrin; Haid, Sibylle; Brohm, Christiane; Zeisel, Mirjam B; Herrmann, Eva; Iken, Marcus; Ott, Michael; Baumert, Thomas F; et al. (2010)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) naturally infects only humans and chimpanzees. The determinants responsible for this narrow species tropism are not well defined. Virus cell entry involves human scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), CD81, claudin-1 and occludin. Among these, at least CD81 and occludin are utilized in a highly species-specific fashion, thus contributing to the narrow host range of HCV. We adapted HCV to mouse CD81 and identified three envelope glycoprotein mutations which together enhance infection of cells with mouse or other rodent receptors approximately 100-fold. These mutations enhanced interaction with human CD81 and increased exposure of the binding site for CD81 on the surface of virus particles. These changes were accompanied by augmented susceptibility of adapted HCV to neutralization by E2-specific antibodies indicative of major conformational changes of virus-resident E1/E2-complexes. Neutralization with CD81, SR-BI- and claudin-1-specific antibodies and knock down of occludin expression by siRNAs indicate that the adapted virus remains dependent on these host factors but apparently utilizes CD81, SR-BI and occludin with increased efficiency. Importantly, adapted E1/E2 complexes mediate HCV cell entry into mouse cells in the absence of human entry factors. These results further our knowledge of HCV receptor interactions and indicate that three glycoprotein mutations are sufficient to overcome the species-specific restriction of HCV cell entry into mouse cells. Moreover, these findings should contribute to the development of an immunocompetent small animal model fully permissive to HCV.
    • Adaptation of Stenotrophomonas maltophilia in cystic fibrosis: molecular diversity, mutation frequency and antibiotic resistance.

      Vidigal, P G; Dittmer, S; Steinmann, E; Buer, J; Rath, P-M; Steinmann, J (2014-07)
      Due to the continuous exposure to a challenging environment and repeated antibiotic treatment courses, bacterial populations in cystic fibrosis (CF) patients experience selective pressure causing the emergence of mutator phenotypes. In this study we investigated the genotypic diversity, mutation frequency and antibiotic resistance of S. maltophilia isolates chronically colonizing CF patients. S. maltophilia was isolated from a total of 90 sputum samples, collected sequentially from 19 CF patients admitted between January 2008 and March 2012 at the University Hospital Essen, Germany. DNA fingerprinting by repetitive-sequence-based PCR revealed that 68.4% (n=13) of CF patients harbored different S. maltophilia genotypes during the 4-year study course. Out of 90 S. maltophilia isolates obtained from chronically colonized CF patients, 17.8% (n=16) were hypomutators, 27.7% (n=25), normomutators, 23.3% (n=21), weak hypermutators and 31.2% (n=28) strong hypermutators. We also found that mutation rates of the most clonally related genotypes varied over time with the tendency to become less mutable. Mutator isolates were found to have no significant increase in resistance against eight different antibiotics versus nonmutators. Sequencing of the mismatch repair genes mutL, mutS and uvrD revealed alterations that resulted in amino acid changes in their corresponding proteins. Here, we could demonstrate that several different S. maltophilia genotypes are present in CF patients and as a sign of adaption their mutation status switches over time to a less mutator phenotype without increasing resistance. These results suggest that S. maltophilia attempts to sustain its biological fitness as mechanism for long-term persistence in the CF lung.
    • An alpaca nanobody inhibits hepatitis C virus entry and cell-to-cell transmission.

      Tarr, Alexander W; Lafaye, Pierre; Meredith, Luke; Damier-Piolle, Laurence; Urbanowicz, Richard A; Meola, Annalisa; Jestin, Jean-Luc; Brown, Richard J P; McKeating, Jane A; Rey, Felix A; et al. (2013-09)
      Severe liver disease caused by chronic hepatitis C virus is the major indication for liver transplantation. Despite recent advances in antiviral therapy, drug toxicity and unwanted side effects render effective treatment in liver-transplanted patients a challenging task. Virus-specific therapeutic antibodies are generally safe and well-tolerated, but their potential in preventing and treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has not yet been realized due to a variety of issues, not least high production costs and virus variability. Heavy-chain antibodies or nanobodies, produced by camelids, represent an exciting antiviral approach; they can target novel highly conserved epitopes that are inaccessible to normal antibodies, and they are also easy to manipulate and produce. We isolated four distinct nanobodies from a phage-display library generated from an alpaca immunized with HCV E2 glycoprotein. One of them, nanobody D03, recognized a novel epitope overlapping with the epitopes of several broadly neutralizing human monoclonal antibodies. Its crystal structure revealed a long complementarity determining region (CD3) folding over part of the framework that, in conventional antibodies, forms the interface between heavy and light chain. D03 neutralized a panel of retroviral particles pseudotyped with HCV glycoproteins from six genotypes and authentic cell culture-derived particles by interfering with the E2-CD81 interaction. In contrast to some of the most broadly neutralizing human anti-E2 monoclonal antibodies, D03 efficiently inhibited HCV cell-to-cell transmission. Conclusion: This is the first description of a potent and broadly neutralizing HCV-specific nanobody representing a significant advance that will lead to future development of novel entry inhibitors for the treatment and prevention of HCV infection and help our understanding of HCV cell-to-cell transmission.
    • Alveolar Type II Epithelial Cells Contribute to the Anti-Influenza A Virus Response in the Lung by Integrating Pathogen- and Microenvironment-Derived Signals

      Stegemann-Koniszewski, S.; Jeron, Andreas; Gereke, Marcus; Geffers, Robert; Kröger, Andrea; Gunzer, Matthias; Bruder, Dunja; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05-03)
      ABSTRACT Influenza A virus (IAV) periodically causes substantial morbidity and mortality in the human population. In the lower lung, the primary targets for IAV replication are type II alveolar epithelial cells (AECII), which are increasingly recognized for their immunological potential. So far, little is known about their reaction to IAV and their contribution to respiratory antiviral immunity in vivo . Therefore, we characterized the AECII response during early IAV infection by analyzing transcriptional regulation in cells sorted from the lungs of infected mice. We detected rapid and extensive regulation of gene expression in AECII following in vivo IAV infection. The comparison to transcriptional regulation in lung tissue revealed a strong contribution of AECII to the respiratory response. IAV infection triggered the expression of a plethora of antiviral factors and immune mediators in AECII with a high prevalence for interferon-stimulated genes. Functional pathway analyses revealed high activity in pathogen recognition, immune cell recruitment, and antigen presentation. Ultimately, our analyses of transcriptional regulation in AECII and lung tissue as well as interferon I/III levels and cell recruitment indicated AECII to integrate signals provided by direct pathogen recognition and surrounding cells. Ex vivo analysis of AECII proved a powerful tool to increase our understanding of their role in respiratory immune responses, and our results clearly show that AECII need to be considered a part of the surveillance and effector system of the lower respiratory tract. IMPORTANCE In order to confront the health hazard posed by IAV, we need to complete our understanding of its pathogenesis. AECII are primary targets for IAV replication in the lung, and while we are beginning to understand their importance for respiratory immunity, the in vivo AECII response during IAV infection has not been analyzed. In contrast to studies addressing the response of AECII infected with IAV ex vivo , we have performed detailed gene transcriptional profiling of AECII isolated from the lungs of infected mice. Thereby, we have identified an exceptionally rapid and versatile response to IAV infection that is shaped by pathogen-derived as well as microenvironment-derived signals and aims at the induction of antiviral measures and the recruitment and activation of immune cells. In conclusion, our study presents AECII as active players in antiviral defense in vivo that need to be considered part of the sentinel and effector immune system of the lung.
    • Anti-infective properties of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), a component of green tea.

      Steinmann, J; Buer, J; Pietschmann, T; Steinmann, E; Institute of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany. joerg.steinmann@uk-essen.de (2013-03)
      The consumption of green tea (Camellia sinensis) has been shown to have many physiological and pharmacological health benefits. In the past two decades several studies have reported that epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the main constituent of green tea, has anti-infective properties. Antiviral activities of EGCG with different modes of action have been demonstrated on diverse families of viruses, such as Retroviridae, Orthomyxoviridae and Flaviviridae and include important human pathogens like human immunodeficiency virus, influenza A virus and the hepatitis C virus. Furthermore, the molecule interferes with the replication cycle of DNA viruses like hepatitis B virus, herpes simplex virus and adenovirus. Most of these studies demonstrated antiviral properties within physiological concentrations of EGCG in vitro. In contrast, the minimum inhibitory concentrations against bacteria were 10-100-fold higher. Nevertheless, the antibacterial effects of EGCG alone and in combination with different antibiotics have been intensively analysed against a number of bacteria including multidrug-resistant strains such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. Furthermore, the catechin EGCG has antifungal activity against human-pathogenic yeasts like Candida albicans. Although the mechanistic effects of EGCG are not fully understood, there are results indicating that EGCG binds to lipid membranes and affects the folic acid metabolism of bacteria and fungi by inhibiting the cytoplasmic enzyme dihydrofolate reductase. This review summarizes the current knowledge and future perspectives on the antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral effects of the green tea constituent EGCG.
    • 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.
    • Antiviral Meroterpenoid Rhodatin and Sesquiterpenoids Rhodocoranes A-E from the Wrinkled Peach Mushroom, Rhodotus palmatus.

      Sandargo, Birthe; Michehl, Maira; Praditya, Dimas; Steinmann, Eike; Stadler, Marc; Surup, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2019-05-03)
      Rhodatin (1), a meroterpenoid featuring a unique pentacyclic scaffold with both spiro and spiroketal centers, and five unusual acorane-type sesquiterpenoids, named rhodocoranes A-E (2-6, respectively), are the first natural products isolated from the basidiomycete Rhodotus palmatus. Their structures were elucidated by two-dimensional NMR experiments and HRESIMS, while the absolute configuration of the substance family was determined by Mosher's method utilizing 2. Rhodatin strongly inhibited hepatitis C virus, whereas 4 displayed cytotoxicity and selective antifungal activity.
    • Apolipoprotein E polymorphisms and their protective effect on hepatitis E virus replication.

      Weller, Romy; Todt, Daniel; Engelmann, Michael; Friesland, Martina; Wedemeyer, Heiner; Pietschmann, Thomas; Steinmann, Eike; Twincore Centre of Experimental and Clinical Infection Research; a joint venture between the Hannover Medical School and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Hannover 30625, Germany. (2016-12)
    • Assessment of cross-species transmission of hepatitis C virus-related non-primate hepacivirus in a population of humans at high risk of exposure.

      Pfaender, Stephanie; Walter, Stephanie; Todt, Daniel; Behrendt, Patrick; Doerrbecker, Juliane; Wölk, Benno; Engelmann, Michael; Gravemann, Ute; Seltsam, Axel; Steinmann, Joerg; et al. (2015-09)
      The recent discovery of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related viruses in different animal species has raised new speculations regarding the origin of HCV and the possibility of a zoonotic source responsible for the endemic HCV transmission. As a consequence, these new findings prompt questions regarding the potential for cross-species transmissions of hepaciviruses. The closest relatives to HCV discovered to date are the non-primate hepaciviruses (NPHVs), which have been described to infect horses. To evaluate the risk of a potential zoonotic transmission, we analysed NPHV RNA and antibodies in humans with occupational exposure to horses in comparison with a low-risk group. Both groups were negative for NPHV RNA, even though low seroreactivities against various NPHV antigens could be detected irrespective of the group. In conclusion, we did not observe evidence of NPHV transmission between horses and humans.
    • Attenuation of immune-mediated influenza pneumonia by targeting the inducible co-stimulator (ICOS) molecule on T cells.

      Sakthivel, Priya; Gereke, Marcus; Breithaupt, Angele; Fuchs, Dietmar; Gigliotti, Luca; Gruber, Achim D; Dianzani, Umberto; Bruder, Dunja (2014)
      Inducible Co-stimulator (ICOS) plays a critical role in mediating T cell differentiation and function and is considered a key player in balancing T effector and T regulatory (Treg) cell responses. Here we show that activation of the ICOS signalling pathway during acute influenza A virus (IAV) infection by application of an agonistic ICOS antibody reduced the frequency of CD8+ T cells in the respiratory tract of IAV infected animals and delayed pathogen elimination. In line with this, immune-mediated influenza pneumonia was significantly ameliorated in mice that received ICOS agonist as indicated by significantly reduced alveolar infiltrations and bronchointerstitial pneumonia, while at the same time virus-related pathology remained unaffected. Importantly, ICOS agonist treatment resulted in expansion of CD4+Foxp3+ Tregs in IAV infected mice, which was associated with elevated levels of the immunosuppressive cytokine IL-10 in the alveolar space. Together, our findings suggest a prominent role of ICOS signaling during acute IAV infection by increasing the Treg/CD8+ T cell ratio with beneficial outcome on immune-mediated pneumonia and underline the suitability of ICOS as potential therapeutic target for immune intervention in those infectious conditions characterized by strong immunopathology rather than virus-mediated cytopathic effects.
    • Axl can serve as entry factor for Lassa virus depending on the functional glycosylation of dystroglycan.

      Fedeli, Chiara; Torriani, Giulia; Galan-Navarro, Clara; Moraz, Marie-Laurence; Moreno, Hector; Gerold, Gisa; Kunz, Stefan; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12-13)
      Fatal infection with the highly pathogenic Lassa virus (LASV) is characterized by extensive viral dissemination, indicating broad tissue tropism. The major cellular receptor for LASV is the highly conserved extracellular matrix receptor dystroglycan (DG). Binding of LASV depends on DG's tissue-specific post-translational modification with the unusual O-linked polysaccharide matriglycan. Interestingly, functional glycosylation of DG does not always correlate with viral tropism observed in vivo The broadly expressed phosphatidylserine (PS) receptors Axl and Tyro3 were recently identified as alternative LASV receptor candidates. However, their role in LASV entry is not entirely understood. Here we examined LASV receptor candidates in primary human cells and found co-expression of Axl with differentially glycosylated DG. To study LASV receptor use in the context of productive arenavirus infection, we employed recombinant lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus expressing LASV glycoprotein (rLCMV-LASVGP) as validated BSL2 model. We confirm and extend previous work, showing that Axl can contribute to LASV entry in absence of functional DG using "apoptotic mimicry", similar to other enveloped virus. We further show that Axl-dependent LASV entry requires receptor activation and involves a pathway resembling macropinocytosis. Axl-mediated LASV entry is facilitated by heparan sulfate and critically depends on the late endosomal protein LAMP-1 as intracellular entry factor. In endothelial cells expressing low levels of functional DG, both receptors are engaged by the virus and can contribute to productive entry. In sum, we characterize the role of Axl in LASV entry and provide a rationale to target Axl in anti-viral therapy.IMPORTANCEThe highly pathogenic arenavirus Lassa (LASV) represents a serious public health problem in Africa. Although the principal LASV receptor dystroglycan (DG) is ubiquitously expressed, virus binding critically depends on DG's post-translational modification, which does not always correlate with tissue tropism. The broadly expressed phosphatidylserine receptor Axl was recently identified as alternative LASV receptor candidate, but its role in LASV entry is unclear. Here we investigated the exact role of Axl in LASV entry as a function of DG's post-translational modification. We found that in absence of functional DG, Axl can mediate LASV entry via "apoptotic mimicry". Productive entry requires virus-induced receptor activation, involves macropinocytosis, and critically depends on LAMP-1. In endothelial cells that express low levels of glycosylated DG, both receptors can promote LASV entry. In sum, our study defines the roles of Axl in LASV entry and provides a rationale to target Axl in anti-viral therapy.
    • Bile Acids Specifically Increase Hepatitis C Virus RNA-Replication.

      Chhatwal, Patrick; Bankwitz, Dorothea; Gentzsch, Juliane; Frentzen, Anne; Schult, Philipp; Lohmann, Volker; Pietschmann, Thomas; Department of Experimental Virology, TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research; a joint venture between the Medical School Hannover and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Hannover, Germany. (2012)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients with high serum levels of bile acids (BAs) respond poorly to IFN therapy. BAs have been shown to increase RNA-replication of genotype 1 but not genotype 2a replicons. Since BAs modulate lipid metabolism including lipoprotein secretion and as HCV depends on lipids and lipoproteins during RNA-replication, virus production and cell entry, BAs may affect multiple steps of the HCV life cycle. Therefore, we analyzed the influence of BAs on individual steps of virus replication.
    • Biodegradable chitosan nanoparticle coatings on titanium for the delivery of BMP-2.

      Poth, Nils; Seiffart, Virginia; Gross, Gerhard; Menzel, Henning; Dempwolf, Wibke; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      A simple method for the functionalization of a common implant material (Ti6Al4V) with biodegradable, drug loaded chitosan-tripolyphosphate (CS-TPP) nanoparticles is developed in order to enhance the osseointegration of endoprostheses after revision operations. The chitosan used has a tailored degree of acetylation which allows for a fast biodegradation by lysozyme. The degradability of chitosan is proven via viscometry. Characteristics and degradation of nanoparticles formed with TPP are analyzed using dynamic light scattering. The particle degradation via lysozyme displays a decrease in particle diameter of 40% after 4 days. Drug loading and release is investigated for the nanoparticles with bone morphogenetic protein 2 (BMP-2), using ELISA and the BRE luciferase test for quantification and bioactivity evaluation. Furthermore, nanoparticle coatings on titanium substrates are created via spray-coating and analyzed by ellipsometry, scanning electron microscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Drug loaded nanoparticle coatings with biologically active BMP-2 are obtained in vitro within this work. Additionally, an in vivo study in mice indicates the dose dependent induction of ectopic bone growth through CS-TPP-BMP-2 nanoparticles. These results show that biodegradable CS-TPP coatings can be utilized to present biologically active BMP-2 on common implant materials like Ti6Al4V.
    • Biofilm formation of the black yeast-like fungus Exophiala dermatitidis and its susceptibility to antiinfective agents.

      Kirchhoff, Lisa; Olsowski, Maike; Zilmans, Katrin; Dittmer, Silke; Haase, Gerhard; Sedlacek, Ludwig; Steinmann, Eike; Buer, Jan; Rath, Peter-Michael; Steinmann, Joerg; et al. (2017-02-17)
      Various fungi have the ability to colonize surfaces and to form biofilms. Fungal biofilm-associated infections are frequently refractory to targeted treatment because of resistance to antifungal drugs. One fungus that frequently colonises the respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients is the opportunistic black yeast-like fungus Exophiala dermatitidis. We investigated the biofilm-forming ability of E. dermatitidis and its susceptibility to various antiinfective agents and natural compounds. We tested 58 E. dermatitidis isolates with a biofilm assay based on crystal violet staining. In addition, we used three isolates to examine the antibiofilm activity of voriconazole, micafungin, colistin, farnesol, and the plant derivatives 1,2,3,4,6-penta-O-galloyl-b-D-glucopyranose (PGG) and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) with an XTT reduction assay. We analysed the effect of the agents on cell to surface adhesion, biofilm formation, and the mature biofilm. The biofilms were also investigated by confocal laser scan microscopy. We found that E. dermatitidis builds biofilm in a strain-specific manner. Invasive E. dermatitidis isolates form most biomass in biofilm. The antiinfective agents and the natural compounds exhibited poor antibiofilm activity. The greatest impact of the compounds was detected when they were added prior cell adhesion. These findings suggest that prevention may be more effective than treatment of biofilm-associated E. dermatitidis 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.
    • 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 brain-immune cells axis controls tissue specific immunopathology.

      Heyner, Maxi; Schreier, Sarah; Kröger, Andrea; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Dpringer-Nature, 2019-02-01)
      During viral infections, cell death can be induced as a direct result of cytopathic virus replication in various cell types and tissues or as an immune response of the host to the infectious agent. This leads to an infiltration of inflammatory cells, causing subsequent tissue damage. The balance between effective elimination of the pathogen and prevention of fatal tissue damage is decisive for life. The host has developed various mechanisms to inhibit excessive immune responses. Glucocorticoids (GCs) are well known to inhibit the immune response. GCs are synthesized after activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis by various viral infections and systemic inflammation. Neurons in the hypothalamus express the corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH). CRH in turn induces a signaling cascade, which ends with an activation and release of GCs in the adrenal cortex.1 GCs can act as suppressors or inducers of the immune system by binding to the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) (Fig. 1). The HPA axis is activated in response to various viral infections or systemic inflammation, and is required to restore homeostasis by limiting inflammation and tissue damage. The underlying mechanisms remained unclear so far.
    • CD81 Receptor Regions outside the Large Extracellular Loop Determine Hepatitis C Virus Entry into Hepatoma Cells.

      Banse, Pia; Moeller, Rebecca; Bruening, Janina; Lasswitz, Lisa; Kahl, Sina; Khan, Abdul G; Marcotrigiano, Joseph; Pietschmann, Thomas; Gerold, Gisa; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018)
      Hepatitis C virus (HCV) enters human hepatocytes using four essential entry factors, one of which is human CD81 (hCD81). The tetraspanin hCD81 contains a large extracellular loop (LEL), which interacts with the E2 glycoprotein of HCV. The role of the non-LEL regions of hCD81 (intracellular tails, four transmembrane domains, small extracellular loop and intracellular loop) is poorly understood. Here, we studied the contribution of these domains to HCV susceptibility of hepatoma cells by generating chimeras of related tetraspanins with the hCD81 LEL. Our results show that non-LEL regions in addition to the LEL determine susceptibility of cells to HCV. While closely related tetraspanins (X. tropicalis CD81 and D. rerio CD81) functionally complement hCD81 non-LEL regions, distantly related tetraspanins (C. elegans TSP9 amd D. melanogaster TSP96F) do not and tetraspanins with intermediate homology (hCD9) show an intermediate phenotype. Tetraspanin homology and susceptibility to HCV correlate positively. For some chimeras, infectivity correlates with surface expression. In contrast, the hCD9 chimera is fully surface expressed, binds HCV E2 glycoprotein but is impaired in HCV receptor function. We demonstrate that a cholesterol-coordinating glutamate residue in CD81, which hCD9 lacks, promotes HCV infection. This work highlights the hCD81 non-LEL regions as additional HCV susceptibility-determining factors.