• Decreased plasma phospholipid concentrations and increased acid sphingomyelinase activity are accurate biomarkers for community-acquired pneumonia.

      Arshad, Haroon; Alfonso, Juan Carlos López; Franke, Raimo; Michaelis, Katina; Araujo, Leonardo; Habib, Aamna; Zboromyrska, Yuliya; Lücke, Eva; Strungaru, Emilia; Akmatov, Manas K; et al. (Wiley, 2019-11-11)
      BACKGROUND: There continues to be a great need for better biomarkers and host-directed treatment targets for community-acquired pneumonia (CAP). Alterations in phospholipid metabolism may constitute a source of small molecule biomarkers for acute infections including CAP. Evidence from animal models of pulmonary infections and sepsis suggests that inhibiting acid sphingomyelinase (which releases ceramides from sphingomyelins) may reduce end-organ damage. METHODS: We measured concentrations of 105 phospholipids, 40 acylcarnitines, and 4 ceramides, as well as acid sphingomyelinase activity, in plasma from patients with CAP (n = 29, sampled on admission and 4 subsequent time points), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease exacerbation with infection (COPD, n = 13) as a clinically important disease control, and 33 age- and sex-matched controls. RESULTS: Phospholipid concentrations were greatly decreased in CAP and normalized along clinical improvement. Greatest changes were seen in phosphatidylcholines, followed by lysophosphatidylcholines, sphingomyelins and ceramides (three of which were upregulated), and were least in acylcarnitines. Changes in COPD were less pronounced, but also differed qualitatively, e.g. by increases in selected sphingomyelins. We identified highly accurate biomarkers for CAP (AUC ≤ 0.97) and COPD (AUC ≤ 0.93) vs. Controls, and moderately accurate biomarkers for CAP vs. COPD (AUC ≤ 0.83), all of which were phospholipids. Phosphatidylcholines, lysophosphatidylcholines, and sphingomyelins were also markedly decreased in S. aureus-infected human A549 and differentiated THP1 cells. Correlations with C-reactive protein and procalcitonin were predominantly negative but only of mild-to-moderate extent, suggesting that these markers reflect more than merely inflammation. Consistent with the increased ceramide concentrations, increased acid sphingomyelinase activity accurately distinguished CAP (fold change = 2.8, AUC = 0.94) and COPD (1.75, 0.88) from Controls and normalized with clinical resolution. CONCLUSIONS: The results underscore the high potential of plasma phospholipids as biomarkers for CAP, begin to reveal differences in lipid dysregulation between CAP and infection-associated COPD exacerbation, and suggest that the decreases in plasma concentrations are at least partially determined by changes in host target cells. Furthermore, they provide validation in clinical blood samples of acid sphingomyelinase as a potential treatment target to improve clinical outcome of CAP
    • Crystal structure of -aconitate decarboxylase reveals the impact of naturally occurring human mutations on itaconate synthesis.

      Chen, Fangfang; Lukat, Peer; Iqbal, Azeem Ahmed; Saile, Kyrill; Kaever, Volkhard; van den Heuvel, Joop; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Büssow, Konrad; Pessler, 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. (National Academy of Sciences, 2019-09-23)
      cis-Aconitate decarboxylase (CAD, also known as ACOD1 or Irg1) converts cis-aconitate to itaconate and plays central roles in linking innate immunity with metabolism and in the biotechnological production of itaconic acid by Aspergillus terreus We have elucidated the crystal structures of human and murine CADs and compared their enzymological properties to CAD from A. terreus Recombinant CAD is fully active in vitro without a cofactor. Murine CAD has the highest catalytic activity, whereas Aspergillus CAD is best adapted to a more acidic pH. CAD is not homologous to any known decarboxylase and appears to have evolved from prokaryotic enzymes that bind negatively charged substrates. CADs are homodimers, the active center is located in the interface between 2 distinct subdomains, and structural modeling revealed conservation in zebrafish and Aspergillus We identified 8 active-site residues critical for CAD function and rare naturally occurring human mutations in the active site that abolished CAD activity, as well as a variant (Asn152Ser) that increased CAD activity and is common (allele frequency 20%) in African ethnicity. These results open the way for 1) assessing the potential impact of human CAD variants on disease risk at the population level, 2) developing therapeutic interventions to modify CAD activity, and 3) improving CAD efficiency for biotechnological production of itaconic acid.
    • OCTN2-mediated acetyl-l-carnitine transport in human pulmonary epithelial cells in vitro

      Salomon, Johanna J.; Gausterer, Julia C.; Selo, Mohammed Ali; Hosoya, Ken Ichi; Huwer, Hanno; Schneider-Daum, Nicole; Lehr, Claus Michael; Ehrhardt, Carsten; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-08-01)
      The carnitine transporter OCTN2 is associated with asthma and other inflammatory diseases. The aims of this work were (i) to determine carnitine uptake into freshly isolated human alveolar type I (ATI)-like epithelial cells in primary culture, (ii) to compare the kinetics of carnitine uptake between respiratory epithelial in vitro cell models, and (iii) to establish whether any cell line was a suitable model for studies of carnitine transport at the air-blood barrier. Levels of time-dependent [3H]-acetyl-l-carnitine uptake were similar in ATI-like, NCl-H441, and Calu-3 epithelial cells, whereas uptake into A549 cells was ~5 times higher. Uptake inhibition was more pronounced by OCTN2 modulators, such as l-Carnitine and verapamil, in ATI-like primary epithelial cells compared to NCl-H441 and Calu-3 epithelial cells. Our findings suggest that OCTN2 is involved in the cellular uptake of acetyl-l-carnitine at the alveolar epithelium and that none of the tested cell lines are optimal surrogates for primary cells.
    • Preferential uptake of chitosan-coated PLGA nanoparticles by primary human antigen presenting cells.

      Durán, Verónica; Yasar, Hanzey; Becker, Jennifer; Thiyagarajan, Durairaj; Loretz, Brigitta; Kalinke, Ulrich; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-07-31)
      Biodegradable polymeric nanoparticles (NP) made from poly (lactid-co-glycolide) acid (PLGA) and chitosan (CS) hold promise as innovative formulations for targeted delivery. Since interactions of such NP with primary human immune cells have not been characterized, yet, here we assessed the effect of PLGA or CS-PLGA NP treatment on human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), as well as on monocyte-derived DC (moDC). Amongst PBMC, antigen presenting cells (APC) showed higher uptake of both NP preparations than lymphocytes. Furthermore, moDC internalized CS-PLGA NP more efficiently than PLGA NP, presumably because of receptor-mediated endocytosis. Consequently, CS-PLGA NP were delivered mostly to endosomal compartments, whereas PLGA NP primarily ended up in lysosomes. Thus, CS-PLGA NP confer enhanced delivery to endosomal compartments of APC, offering new therapeutic options to either induce or modulate APC function and to inhibit pathogens that preferentially infect APC.
    • Self-reported diabetes and herpes zoster are associated with a weak humoral response to the seasonal influenza A H1N1 vaccine antigen among the elderly.

      Akmatov, Manas K; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; May, Marcus; Prokein, Jana; Illig, Thomas; Schindler, Christoph; Guzmán, Carlos A; Pessler, Frank; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (BioMedCentral, 2019-07-23)
      BACKGROUND: The immune response to seasonal influenza vaccines decreases with advancing age. Therefore, an adjuvanted inactivated trivalent influenza vaccine (Fluad®) exists for elderly individuals. Fluad® is more immunogenic and efficacious than conventional influenza vaccines. However, the immune response varies and may still result in high frequencies of poor responders. Therefore, we aimed to a) examine the prevalence of a weak response to Fluad® and b) identify potential risk factors. METHODS: A prospective population-based study among individuals 65-80 years old was conducted in 2015/2016 in Hannover, Germany (n = 200). Hemagglutination-inhibition titers 21 days after vaccination with Fluad® served as indicator of vaccine responsiveness. RESULTS: The percentage of vaccinees with an inadequate vaccine response varied depending on the influenza strain: it was lowest for H3N2 (13.5%; 95% CI, 9.4-18.9%), intermediate for B strain (37.0%; 30.6-43.9%), and highest for H1N1 (49.0%; 42.2-55.9%). The risk of a weak response to the influenza A H1N1 strain was independently associated with self-reported diabetes (AOR, 4.64; 95% CI, 1.16-18.54), a history of herpes zoster (2.27; 1.01-5.10) and, to a much lesser extent, increasing age (change per year, 1.08; 0.99-1.16). In addition, herpes zoster was the only risk factor for a weak response to the H3N2 antigen (AOR, 3.12; 1.18-8.23). We found no significant association between sex, Body Mass Index, cancer, hypertension, heart attack and CMV seropositivity and a weak response to these two influenza A antigens. Despite its occurence in over one third of vaccinees, none of the variables examined proved to be risk factors for a weak response to the B antigen. CONCLUSIONS: A considerable proportion of elderly individuals displayed a weak vaccine response to this adjuvanted seasonal influenza vaccine and further efforts are thus needed to improve immune responses to influenza vaccination among the elderly. Diabetes and herpes zoster were identified as potentially modifiable risk factors for a poor vaccine response against influenza A antigens, but the results also reveal the need for broader investigations to identify risk factors for inadequate responses to influenza B antigens.
    • STING induces early IFN-β in the liver and constrains myeloid cell-mediated dissemination of murine cytomegalovirus.

      Tegtmeyer, Pia-Katharina; Spanier, Julia; Borst, Katharina; Becker, Jennifer; Riedl, André; Hirche, Christoph; Ghita, Luca; Skerra, Jennifer; Baumann, Kira; Lienenklaus, Stefan; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-06-27)
      Cytomegalovirus is a DNA-encoded β-herpesvirus that induces STING-dependent type 1 interferon responses in macrophages and uses myeloid cells as a vehicle for dissemination. Here we report that STING knockout mice are as resistant to murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection as wild-type controls, whereas mice with a combined Toll-like receptor/RIG-I-like receptor/STING signaling deficiency do not mount type 1 interferon responses and succumb to the infection. Although STING alone is dispensable for survival, early IFN-β induction in Kupffer cells is STING-dependent and controls early hepatic virus propagation. Infection experiments with an inducible reporter MCMV show that STING constrains MCMV replication in myeloid cells and limits viral dissemination via these cells. By contrast, restriction of viral dissemination from hepatocytes to other organs is independent of STING. Thus, during MCMV infection STING is involved in early IFN-β induction in Kupffer cells and the restriction of viral dissemination via myeloid cells, whereas it is dispensable for survival.
    • Modulation of TAP-dependent antigen compartmentalization during human monocyte-to-DC differentiation.

      Döring, Marius; Blees, Hanna; Koller, Nicole; Tischer-Zimmermann, Sabine; Müsken, Mathias; Henrich, Frederik; Becker, Jennifer; Grabski, Elena; Wang, Junxi; Janssen, Hans; et al. (American Society of Hematology, 2019-03-26)
      Dendritic cells (DCs) take up antigen in the periphery, migrate to secondary lymphoid organs, and present processed antigen fragments to adaptive immune cells and thus prime antigen-specific immunity. During local inflammation, recirculating monocytes are recruited from blood to the inflamed tissue, where they differentiate to macrophages and DCs. In this study, we found that monocytes showed high transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP)–dependent peptide compartmentalization and that after antigen pulsing, they were not able to efficiently stimulate antigen-specific T lymphocytes. Nevertheless, upon in vitro differentiation to monocyte-derived DCs, TAP-dependent peptide compartmentalization as well as surface major histocompatibility complex I turnover decreased and the cells efficiently restimulated T lymphocytes. Although TAP-dependent peptide compartmentalization decreased during DC differentiation, TAP expression levels increased. Furthermore, TAP relocated from early endosomes in monocytes to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and lysosomal compartments in DCs. Collectively, these data are compatible with the model that during monocyte-to-DC differentiation, the subcellular relocation of TAP and the regulation of its activity assure spatiotemporal separation of local antigen uptake and processing by monocytes and efficient T-lymphocyte stimulation by DCs.
    • RIG-I activating immunostimulatory RNA boosts the efficacy of anticancer vaccines and synergizes with immune checkpoint blockade.

      Heidegger, Simon; Kreppel, Diana; Bscheider, Michael; Stritzke, Florian; Nedelko, Tatiana; Wintges, Alexander; Bek, Sarah; Fischer, Julius C; Graalmann, Theresa; Kalinke, Ulrich; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-03-06)
      Antibody-mediated targeting of regulatory T cell receptors such as CTLA-4 enhances antitumor immune responses against several cancer entities including malignant melanoma. Yet, therapeutic success in patients remains variable underscoring the need for novel combinatorial approaches. Here we established a vaccination strategy that combines engagement of the nucleic acid-sensing pattern recognition receptor RIG-I, antigen and CTLA-4 blockade. We used in vitro transcribed 5'-triphosphorylated RNA (3pRNA) to therapeutically target the RIG-I pathway. We performed in vitro functional analysis in bone-marrow derived dendritic cells and investigated RIG-I-enhanced vaccines in different murine melanoma models. We found that protein vaccination together with RIG-I ligation via 3pRNA strongly synergizes with CTLA-4 blockade to induce expansion and activation of antigen-specific CD8 Overall, our data demonstrate the potency of a novel combinatorial vaccination strategy combining RIG-I-driven immunization with CTLA-4 blockade to prevent and treat experimental melanoma. FUND: German Research Foundation (SFB 1335, SFB 1371), EMBO, Else Kröner-Fresenius-Foundation, German Cancer Aid, European Hematology Association, DKMS Foundation for Giving Life, Dres. Carl Maximilian and Carl Manfred Bayer-Foundation.
    • Myeloid Cells Restrict MCMV and Drive Stress-Induced Extramedullary Hematopoiesis through STAT1.

      Gawish, Riem; Bulat, Tanja; Biaggio, Mario; Lassnig, Caroline; Bago-Horvath, Zsuzsanna; Macho-Maschler, Sabine; Poelzl, Andrea; Simonović, Natalija; Prchal-Murphy, Michaela; Rom, Rita; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-02-26)
      Cytomegalovirus (CMV) has a high prevalence worldwide, is often fatal for immunocompromised patients, and causes bone marrow suppression. Deficiency of signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) results in severely impaired antiviral immunity. We have used cell-type restricted deletion of Stat1 to determine the importance of myeloid cell activity for the defense against murine CMV (MCMV). We show that myeloid STAT1 limits MCMV burden and infection-associated pathology in the spleen but does not affect ultimate clearance of infection. Unexpectedly, we found an essential role of myeloid STAT1 in the induction of extramedullary hematopoiesis (EMH). The EMH-promoting function of STAT1 was not restricted to MCMV infection but was also observed during CpG oligodeoxynucleotide-induced sterile inflammation. Collectively, we provide genetic evidence that signaling through STAT1 in myeloid cells is required to restrict MCMV at early time points post-infection and to induce compensatory hematopoiesis in the spleen.
    • Kynurenine is a cerebrospinal fluid biomarker for bacterial and viral CNS infections.

      Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Novoselova, Natalia; Kuhn, Maike; Seegers, Lena; Kaever, Volkhard; Müller-Vahl, Kirsten; Trebst, Corinna; Skripuletz, Thomas; Stangel, Martin; Pessler, Frank; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2019-02-05)
      The tryptophan-kynurenine-NAD+ pathway is closely associated with regulation of immune cells toward less inflammatory phenotypes and may exert neuroprotective effects. Investigating its regulation in CNS infections would improve our understanding of pathophysiology and end-organ damage, and, furthermore, open doors to its evaluation as a source of diagnostic and/or prognostic biomarkers. We measured concentrations of kynurenine (Kyn) and tryptophan (Trp) in 220 cerebrospinal fluid samples from patients with bacterial and viral (herpes simplex, varicella zoster, enteroviruses) meningitis/encephalitis, neuroborreliosis, autoimmune neuroinflammation (anti-NMDA-R encephalitis, multiple sclerosis), and noninflamed controls (Bell's palsy, normal pressure hydrocephalus, Tourette syndrome). Kyn concentrations correlated strongly with CSF markers of neuroinflammation (leukocyte count, lactate, and blood-CSF-barrier dysfunction) and were highly increased in bacterial and viral CNS infections, but were low or undetectable in anti-NMDA-R encephalitis, multiple sclerosis, and controls. Trp was decreased mostly in viral CNS infections and neuroborreliosis. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed combinations of Kyn, Trp and Kyn/Trp ratio with leukocyte count or lactate as accurate classifiers for the clinically important differentiation between neuroborreliosis, viral CNS infections, and autoimmune neuroinflammation. The Trp-Kyn-NAD+ pathway is activated in CNS infections and provides highly accurate CSF biomarkers, particularly when combined with standard CSF indices of neuroinflammation.
    • Identification of Cerebrospinal Fluid Metabolites as Biomarkers for Enterovirus Meningitis.

      Ratuszny, Dominica; Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Novoselova, Natalia; Kuhn, Maike; Kaever, Volkhard; Skripuletz, Thomas; Pessler, Frank; Stangel, Martin; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-01-15)
      Enteroviruses are among the most common causes of viral meningitis. Enteroviral meningitis continues to represent diagnostic challenges, as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) cell numbers (a well validated diagnostic screening tool) may be normal in up to 15% of patients. We aimed to identify potential CSF biomarkers for enteroviral meningitis, particularly for cases with normal CSF cell count. Using targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry, we determined metabolite profiles from patients with enteroviral meningitis (n = 10), and subdivided them into those with elevated (n = 5) and normal (n = 5) CSF leukocyte counts. Non-inflamed CSF samples from patients with Bell’s palsy and normal pressure hydrocephalus (n = 19) were used as controls. Analysis of 91 metabolites revealed considerable metabolic reprogramming in the meningitis samples. It identified phosphatidylcholine PC.ae.C36.3, asparagine, and glycine as an accurate (AUC, 0.92) combined classifier for enterovirus meningitis overall, and kynurenine as a perfect biomarker for enteroviral meningitis with an increased CSF cell count (AUC, 1.0). Remarkably, PC.ae.C36.3 alone emerged as a single accurate (AUC, 0.87) biomarker for enteroviral meningitis with normal cell count, and a combined classifier comprising PC.ae.C36.3, PC.ae.C36.5, and PC.ae.C38.5 achieved nearly perfect classification (AUC, 0.99). Taken together, this analysis reveals the potential of CSF metabolites as additional diagnostic tools for enteroviral meningitis, and likely other central nervous system (CNS) infections.
    • Helicobacter pylori seropositivity: Prevalence, Associations, and the Impact on Incident Metabolic Diseases/Risk Factors in the Population-Based KORA Study.

      Wawro, Nina; Amann, Ute; Butt, Julia; Meisinger, Christa; Akmatov, Manas K; Pessler, Frank; Peters, Annette; Rathmann, Wolfgang; Kääb, Stefan; Waterboer, Tim; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      Introduction:Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) is a common infection and known risk factor for gastric cancer. We assessed cross-sectional and longitudinal associations to study the impact of H. pylori seropositivity on metabolic diseases. Methods:Helicobacter pylori seropositivity in serum samples of the KORA study was analyzed by multiplex serology. We calculated sex-specific prevalence of H. pylori seropositivity for the year 2007 based on the first follow-up survey (termed F4) of the KORA study S4. We identified factors associated with H. pylori seropositivity in the F4 survey. Further, we assessed relative risks of incident metabolic diseases/risk factors at the time of the second follow-up survey of S4 (termed FF4) and H. pylori seropositivity at the F4 survey as a determinant. Models were adjusted for age, sex, overweight status, physical activity, smoking status, education level, alcohol intake, and other metabolic diseases. Results: Based on 3,037 persons aged 32 to 82 years, the H. pylori prevalence for 2007 was 30.2% in men (n = 1,465) and 28.1% in women (n = 1,572). Increasing age, current smoking, low education and no alcohol intake were significantly associated with H. pylori seropositivity in the F4 survey. However, no association between H. pylori seropositivity and BMI, metabolic diseases (type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, gout or increased uric acid) and gastrointestinal diseases (gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and gastric or duodenal ulcer) was observed. No significant associations between H. pylori seropositivity and one of the five investigated incident metabolic diseases/risk factors were detected in the longitudinal analysis. Conclusion: We identified associations between age, smoking, education and alcohol intake and H. pylori seropositivity but no impact of H. pylori seropositivity on incident metabolic diseases/risk factors.
    • Discovery of Leptospira spp. seroreactive peptides using ORFeome phage display.

      Ramli, Siti Roszilawati; Moreira, Gustavo M S G; Zantow, Jonas; Goris, Marga G A; Nguyen, Van Kinh; Novoselova, Natalia; Pessler, Frank; Hust, Michael; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
      Leptospirosis is the most common zoonotic disease worldwide. The diagnostic performance of a serological test for human leptospirosis is mainly influenced by the antigen used in the test assay. An ideal serological test should cover all serovars of pathogenic leptospires with high sensitivity and specificity and use reagents that are relatively inexpensive to produce and can be used in tropical climates. Peptide-based tests fulfil at least the latter two requirements, and ORFeome phage display has been successfully used to identify immunogenic peptides from other pathogens. Two ORFeome phage display libraries of the entire Leptospira spp. genomes from five local strains isolated in Malaysia and seven WHO reference strains were constructed. Subsequently, 18 unique Leptospira peptides were identified in a screen using a pool of sera from patients with acute leptospirosis. Five of these were validated by titration ELISA using different pools of patient or control sera. The diagnostic performance of these five peptides was then assessed against 16 individual sera from patients with acute leptospirosis and 16 healthy donors and was compared to that of two recombinant reference proteins from L. interrogans. This analysis revealed two peptides (SIR16-D1 and SIR16-H1) from the local isolates with good accuracy for the detection of acute leptospirosis (area under the ROC curve: 0.86 and 0.78, respectively; sensitivity: 0.88 and 0.94; specificity: 0.81 and 0.69), which was close to that of the reference proteins LipL32 and Loa22 (area under the ROC curve: 0.91 and 0.80; sensitivity: 0.94 and 0.81; specificity: 0.75 and 0.75). This analysis lends further support for using ORFeome phage display to identify pathogen-associated immunogenic peptides, and it suggests that this technique holds promise for the development of peptide-based diagnostics for leptospirosis and, possibly, of vaccines against this pathogen.
    • Interferon-γ Receptor Signaling in Dendritic Cells Restrains Spontaneous Proliferation of CD4 T Cells in Chronic Lymphopenic Mice.

      Knop, Laura; Frommer, Charlotte; Stoycheva, Diana; Deiser, Katrin; Kalinke, Ulrich; Blankenstein, Thomas; Kammertoens, Thomas; Dunay, Ildiko Rita; Schüler, Thomas; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str.7,30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      In lymphopenic mice, T cells become activated and undergo lymphopenia-induced proliferation (LIP). However, not all T cells are equally sensitive to lymphopenia. Several lymphopenia-insensitive T cell clones were described and their non-responsiveness was mainly attributed to clone-specific properties. Here, we provide evidence for an additional, host-dependent mechanism restraining LIP of lymphopenia-insensitive CD4+ T cells. We show that such cells undergo LIP in lymphopenic mice lacking IFN-γ receptor (IFN-γR) expression, a process, which is promoted by the autocrine action of T cell-derived IFN-γ. Additionally, LIP of lymphopenia-insensitive CD4+ T cells requires an intact microflora and is accompanied by the massive accumulation of IL-6 and dendritic cells (DCs). Consistent with these results, IL-6 neutralization and the DC-specific restoration of IFN-γR expression are both sufficient to restrict LIP. Hence, the insensitivity of CD4+ T cells to lymphopenia relies on cell-intrinsic properties and a complex interplay between the commensal microflora, IL-6, IFN-γR+ DCs, and T cell-derived IFN-γ.
    • Microglia have a protective role in viral encephalitis-induced seizure development and hippocampal damage.

      Waltl, Inken; Käufer, Christopher; Gerhauser, Ingo; Chhatbar, Chintan; Ghita, Luca; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-11-01)
      In the central nervous system (CNS), innate immune surveillance is mainly coordinated by microglia. These CNS resident myeloid cells are assumed to help orchestrate the immune response against infections of the brain. However, their specific role in this process and their interactions with CNS infiltrating immune cells, such as blood-borne monocytes and T cells are only incompletely understood. The recent development of PLX5622, a specific inhibitor of colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor that depletes microglia, allows studying the role of microglia in conditions of brain injury such as viral encephalitis, the most common form of brain infection. Here we used this inhibitor in a model of viral infection-induced epilepsy, in which C57BL/6 mice are infected by a picornavirus (Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus) and display seizures and hippocampal damage. Our results show that microglia are required early after infection to limit virus distribution and persistence, most likely by modulating T cell activation. Microglia depletion accelerated the occurrence of seizures, exacerbated hippocampal damage, and led to neurodegeneration in the spinal cord, which is normally not observed in this mouse strain. This study enhances our understanding of the role of microglia in viral encephalitis and adds to the concept of microglia-T cell crosstalk.
    • The olfactory epithelium as a port of entry in neonatal neurolisteriosis.

      Pägelow, Dennis; Chhatbar, Chintan; Beineke, Andreas; Liu, Xiaokun; Nerlich, Andreas; van Vorst, Kira; Rohde, M; Kalinke, Ulrich; Förster, Reinhold; Halle, Stephan; et al. (2018-10-15)
      Bacterial infections of the central nervous system (CNS) remain a major cause of mortality in the neonatal population. Commonly used parenteral infection models, however, do not reflect the early course of the disease leaving this critical step of the pathogenesis largely unexplored. Here, we analyzed nasal exposure of 1-day-old newborn mice to Listeria monocytogenes (Lm). We found that nasal, but not intragastric administration, led to early CNS infection in neonate mice. In particular, upon bacterial invasion of the olfactory epithelium, Lm subsequently spread along the sensory neurons entering the brain tissue at the cribriform plate and causing a significant influx of monocytes and neutrophils. CNS infection required listeriolysin for penetration of the olfactory epithelium and ActA, a mediator of intracellular mobility, for translocation into the brain tissue. Taken together, we propose an alternative port of entry and route of infection for neonatal neurolisteriosis and present a novel infection model to mimic the clinical features of late-onset disease in human neonates.
    • Type I Interferon Receptor Signaling of Neurons and Astrocytes Regulates Microglia Activation during Viral Encephalitis.

      Chhatbar, Chintan; Detje, Claudia N; Grabski, Elena; Borst, Katharina; Spanier, Julia; Ghita, Luca; Elliott, David A; Jordão, Marta Joana Costa; Mueller, Nora; Sutton, James; et al. (2018-10-02)
      In sterile neuroinflammation, a pathological role is proposed for microglia, whereas in viral encephalitis, their function is not entirely clear. Many viruses exploit the odorant system and enter the CNS via the olfactory bulb (OB). Upon intranasal vesicular stomatitis virus instillation, we show an accumulation of activated microglia and monocytes in the OB. Depletion of microglia during encephalitis results in enhanced virus spread and increased lethality. Activation, proliferation, and accumulation of microglia are regulated by type I IFN receptor signaling of neurons and astrocytes, but not of microglia. Morphological analysis of myeloid cells shows that type I IFN receptor signaling of neurons has a stronger impact on the activation of myeloid cells than of astrocytes. Thus, in the infected CNS, the cross talk among neurons, astrocytes, and microglia is critical for full microglia activation and protection from lethal encephalitis.
    • Chemokine receptors CCR2 and CX3CR1 regulate viral encephalitis-induced hippocampal damage but not seizures.

      Käufer, Christopher; Chhatbar, Chintan; Bröer, Sonja; Waltl, Inken; Ghita, Luca; Gerhauser, Ingo; Kalinke, Ulrich; Löscher, Wolfgang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinischeInfektionsforschung GmbH, Feodor-Lynen-Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2018-09-18)
      Viral encephalitis is a major risk factor for the development of seizures, epilepsy, and hippocampal damage with associated cognitive impairment, markedly reducing quality of life in survivors. The mechanisms underlying seizures and hippocampal neurodegeneration developing during and after viral encephalitis are only incompletely understood, hampering the development of preventive treatments. Recent findings suggest that brain invasion of blood-born monocytes may be critically involved in both seizures and brain damage in response to encephalitis, whereas the relative role of microglia, the brain's resident immune cells, in these processes is not clear. CCR2 and CX3CR1 are two chemokine receptors that regulate the responses of myeloid cells, such as monocytes and microglia, during inflammation. We used
    • Interferon-beta expression and type I interferon receptor signaling of hepatocytes prevent hepatic necrosis and virus dissemination in Coxsackievirus B3-infected mice.

      Koestner, Wolfgang; Spanier, Julia; Klause, Tanja; Tegtmeyer, Pia-K; Becker, Jennifer; Herder, Vanessa; Borst, Katharina; Todt, Daniel; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Gerhauser, Ingo; et al. (2018-08-01)
      During Coxsackievirus B3 (CVB3) infection hepatitis is a potentially life threatening complication, particularly in newborns. Studies with type I interferon (IFN-I) receptor (IFNAR)-deficient mice revealed a key role of the IFN-I axis in the protection against CVB3 infection, whereas the source of IFN-I and cell types that have to be IFNAR triggered in order to promote survival are still unknown. We found that CVB3 infected IFN-β reporter mice showed effective reporter induction, especially in hepatocytes and only to a minor extent in liver-resident macrophages. Accordingly, upon in vitro CVB3 infection of primary hepatocytes from murine or human origin abundant IFN-β responses were induced. To identify sites of IFNAR-triggering we performed experiments with Mx reporter mice, which upon CVB3 infection showed massive luciferase induction in the liver. Immunohistological studies revealed that during CVB3 infection MX1 expression of hepatocytes was induced primarily by IFNAR-, and not by IFN-III receptor (IFNLR)-triggering. CVB3 infection studies with primary human hepatocytes, in which either the IFN-I or the IFN-III axis was inhibited, also indicated that primarily IFNAR-, and to a lesser extent IFNLR-triggering was needed for ISG induction. Interestingly, CVB3 infected mice with a hepatocyte-specific IFNAR ablation showed severe liver cell necrosis and ubiquitous viral dissemination that resulted in lethal disease, as similarly detected in classical IFNAR-/- mice. In conclusion, we found that during CVB3 infection hepatocytes are major IFN-I producers and that the liver is also the organ that shows strong IFNAR-triggering. Importantly, hepatocytes need to be IFNAR-triggered in order to prevent virus dissemination and to assure survival. These data are compatible with the hypothesis that during CVB3 infection hepatocytes serve as important IFN-I producers and sensors not only in the murine, but also in the human system.
    • Electro-Microbiology as a Promising Approach Towards Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability

      Ali, Jafar; Sohail, Aaqib; Wang, Lei; Rizwan Haider, Muhammad; Mulk, Shahi; Pan, Gang; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI AG, 2018-07-12)
      Microbial electrochemical technologies provide sustainable wastewater treatment and energy production. Despite significant improvements in the power output of microbial fuel cells (MFCs), this technology is still far from practical applications. Extracting electrical energy and harvesting valuable products by electroactive bacteria (EAB) in bioelectrochemical systems (BESs) has emerged as an innovative approach to address energy and environmental challenges. Thus, maximizing power output and resource recovery is highly desirable for sustainable systems. Insights into the electrode-microbe interactions may help to optimize the performance of BESs for envisioned applications, and further validation by bioelectrochemical techniques is a prerequisite to completely understand the electro-microbiology. This review summarizes various extracellular electron transfer mechanisms involved in BESs. The significant role of characterization techniques in the advancement of the electro-microbiology field is discussed. Finally, diverse applications of BESs, such as resource recovery, and contributions to the pursuit of a more sustainable society are also highlighted.