• Eosinophilic pulmonary vasculitis as a manifestation of the hyperinflammatory phase of COVID-19.

      Luecke, Eva; Jeron, Andreas; Kroeger, Andrea; Bruder, Dunja; Stegemann-Koniszewski, Sabine; Jechorek, Doerthe; Borucki, Katrin; Reinhold, Dirk; Reinhold, Annegret; Foellner, Sebastian; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-10-26)
      No abstract available
    • The envelope protein of tick-borne encephalitis virus influences neuron entry, pathogenicity, and vaccine protection.

      Lindqvist, Richard; Rosendal, Ebba; Weber, Elvira; Asghar, Naveed; Schreier, Sarah; Lenman, Annasara; Johansson, Magnus; Dobler, Gerhard; Bestehorn, Malena; Kröger, Andrea; et al. (BMC, 2020-09-28)
      Background: Tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is considered to be the medically most important arthropod-borne virus in Europe. The symptoms of an infection range from subclinical to mild flu-like disease to lethal encephalitis. The exact determinants of disease severity are not known; however, the virulence of the strain as well as the immune status of the host are thought to be important factors for the outcome of the infection. Here we investigated virulence determinants in TBEV infection. Method: Mice were infected with different TBEV strains, and high virulent and low virulent TBEV strains were chosen. Sequence alignment identified differences that were cloned to generate chimera virus. The infection rate of the parental and chimeric virus were evaluated in primary mouse neurons, astrocytes, mouse embryonic fibroblasts, and in vivo. Neutralizing capacity of serum from individuals vaccinated with the FSME-IMMUN® and Encepur® or combined were evaluated. Results: We identified a highly pathogenic and neurovirulent TBEV strain, 93/783. Using sequence analysis, we identified the envelope (E) protein of 93/783 as a potential virulence determinant and cloned it into the less pathogenic TBEV strain Torö. We found that the chimeric virus specifically infected primary neurons more efficiently compared to wild-type (WT) Torö and this correlated with enhanced pathogenicity and higher levels of viral RNA in vivo. The E protein is also the major target of neutralizing antibodies; thus, genetic variation in the E protein could influence the efficiency of the two available vaccines, FSME-IMMUN® and Encepur®. As TBEV vaccine breakthroughs have occurred in Europe, we chose to compare neutralizing capacity from individuals vaccinated with the two different vaccines or a combination of them. Our data suggest that the different vaccines do not perform equally well against the two Swedish strains. Conclusions: Our findings show that two amino acid substitutions of the E protein found in 93/783, A83T, and A463S enhanced Torö infection of neurons as well as pathogenesis and viral replication in vivo; furthermore, we found that genetic divergence from the vaccine strain resulted in lower neutralizing antibody titers in vaccinated individuals.
    • Langat virus infection affects hippocampal neuron morphology and function in mice without disease signs.

      Cornelius, Angela D A; Hosseini, Shirin; Schreier, Sarah; Fritzsch, David; Weichert, Loreen; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Fendt, Markus; Kröger, Andrea; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (BioMed Central, 2020-09-20)
      To compare the effect of low and high viral replication in the brain, wildtype and Irf-7-/- mice were infected with Langat virus (LGTV), which belongs to the TBEV-serogroup. The viral burden was analyzed in the olfactory bulb and the hippocampus. Open field, elevated plus maze, and Morris water maze experiments were performed to determine the impact on anxiety-like behavior, learning, and memory formation. Spine density of hippocampal neurons and activation of microglia and astrocytes were analyzed.
    • Add on the next level-the time point of the type I IFN response orchestrates the immune response.

      Wedekind, Angela; Fritzsch, David; Kröger, Andrea; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2020-04-28)
      [No abstract available]
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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
    • ER intrabody-mediated inhibition of interferon α secretion by mouse macrophages and dendritic cells.

      Büssow, Konrad; Themann, Philipp; Luu, Sabine; Pentrowski, Paul; Harting, Claudia; Majewski, Mira; Vollmer, Veith; Köster, Mario; Grashoff, Martina; Zawatzky, Rainer; et al. (Plos, 2019-01-01)
      Interferon α (IFNα) counteracts viral infections by activating various IFNα-stimulated genes (ISGs). These genes encode proteins that block viral transport into the host cell and inhibit viral replication, gene transcription and translation. Due to the existence of 14 different, highly homologous isoforms of mouse IFNα, an IFNα knockout mouse has not yet been established by genetic knockout strategies. An scFv intrabody for holding back IFNα isoforms in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and thus counteracting IFNα secretion is reported. The intrabody was constructed from the variable domains of the anti-mouse IFNα rat monoclonal antibody 4EA1 recognizing the 5 isoforms IFNα1, IFNα2, IFNα4, IFNα5, IFNα6. A soluble form of the intrabody had a KD of 39 nM to IFNα4. It could be demonstrated that the anti-IFNα intrabody inhibits clearly recombinant IFNα4 secretion by HEK293T cells. In addition, the secretion of IFNα4 was effectively inhibited in stably transfected intrabody expressing RAW 264.7 macrophages and dendritic D1 cells. Colocalization of the intrabody with IFNα4 and the ER marker calnexin in HEK293T cells indicated complex formation of intrabody and IFNα4 inside the ER. Intracellular binding of intrabody and antigen was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. Complexes of endogenous IFNα and intrabody could be visualized in the ER of Poly (I:C) stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophages and D1 dendritic cells. Infection of macrophages and dendritic cells with the vesicular stomatitis virus VSV-AV2 is attenuated by IFNα and IFNβ. The intrabody increased virus proliferation in RAW 264.7 macrophages and D1 dendritic cells under IFNβ-neutralizing conditions. To analyze if all IFNα isoforms are recognized by the intrabody was not in the focus of this study. Provided that binding of the intrabody to all isoforms was confirmed, the establishment of transgenic intrabody mice would be promising for studying the function of IFNα during viral infection and autoimmune diseases.
    • Correlation of Severity of Human Tick-Borne Encephalitis Virus Disease and Pathogenicity in Mice.

      Kurhade, Chaitanya; Schreier, Sarah; Lee, Yi-Ping; Zegenhagen, Loreen; Hjertqvist, Marika; Dobler, Gerhard; Kröger, Andrea; Överby, Anna K; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-01)
      We compared 2 tick-borne encephalitis virus strains isolated from 2 different foci that cause different symptoms in tick-borne encephalitis patients, from neurologic to mild gastrointestinal symptoms. We compared neuroinvasiveness, neurovirulence, and proinflammatory cytokine response in mice and found unique differences that contribute to our understanding of pathogenesis
    • Intrabodies against the Polysialyltransferases ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV inhibit Polysialylation of NCAM in rhabdomyosarcoma tumor cells.

      Somplatzki, Stefan; Mühlenhoff, Martina; Kröger, Andrea; Gerardy-Schahn, Rita; Böldicke, Thomas; Helmholtz Centr for infection research (2017-05-12)
      Polysialic acid (polySia) is a carbohydrate modification of the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM), which is implicated in neural differentiation and plays an important role in tumor development and metastasis. Polysialylation of NCAM is mediated by two Golgi-resident polysialyltransferases (polyST) ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV. Intracellular antibodies (intrabodies; IB) expressed inside the ER and retaining proteins passing the ER such as cell surface receptors or secretory proteins provide an efficient means of protein knockdown. To inhibit the function of ST8SiaII and ST8SiaIV specific ER IBs were generated starting from two corresponding hybridoma clones. Both IBs αST8SiaII-IB and αST8SiaIV-IB were constructed in the scFv format and their functions characterized in vitro and in vivo.
    • The role of the poly(A) tract in the replication and virulence of tick-borne encephalitis virus.

      Asghar, Naveed; Lee, Yi-Ping; Nilsson, Emma; Lindqvist, Richard; Melik, Wessam; Kröger, Andrea; Överby, Anna K; Johansson, Magnus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research. Inhoffenstr. 7. 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-16)
      The tick-borne encephalitis virus (TBEV) is a flavivirus transmitted to humans, usually via tick bites. The virus causes tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) in humans, and symptoms range from mild flu-like symptoms to severe and long-lasting sequelae, including permanent brain damage. It has been suggested that within the population of viruses transmitted to the mammalian host, quasispecies with neurotropic properties might become dominant in the host resulting in neurological symptoms. We previously demonstrated the existence of TBEV variants with variable poly(A) tracts within a single blood-fed tick. To characterize the role of the poly(A) tract in TBEV replication and virulence, we generated infectious clones of Torö-2003 with the wild-type (A)3C(A)6 sequence (Torö-6A) or with a modified (A)3C(A)38 sequence (Torö-38A). Torö-38A replicated poorly compared to Torö-6A in cell culture, but Torö-38A was more virulent than Torö-6A in a mouse model of TBE. Next-generation sequencing of TBEV genomes after passaging in cell culture and/or mouse brain revealed mutations in specific genomic regions and the presence of quasispecies that might contribute to the observed differences in virulence. These data suggest a role for quasispecies development within the poly(A) tract as a virulence determinant for TBEV in mice.
    • Growing tumors induce a local STING dependent Type I IFN response in dendritic cells.

      Andzinski, Lisa; Spanier, Julia; Kasnitz, Nadine; Kröger, Andrea; Jin, Lei; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Kalinke, Ulrich; Weiss, Siegfried; Jablonska, Jadwiga; Lienenklaus, Stefan; et al. (2016-09-15)
      The importance of endogenous Type I IFNs in cancer immune surveillance is well established by now. Their role in polarization of tumor-associated neutrophilic granulocytes into anti-tumor effector cells has been recently demonstrated. Yet, the cellular source of Type I IFNs as well as the mode of induction is not clearly defined. Here, we demonstrate that IFN-β is induced by growing murine tumors. Induction is mainly mediated via STING-dependent signaling pathways, suggesting tumor derived DNA as trigger. Transcription factors IRF3 and IRF5 were activated under these conditions which is consistent with tumor infiltrating dendritic cells (DCs) being the major cellular source of IFN-β at the tumor site. Besides DCs, tumor cells themselves are induced to contribute to the production of IFN-β. Taken together, our data provide further information on immune surveillance by Type I IFNs and suggest novel potent cellular targets for future cancer therapy.
    • Immune Protection against Virus Challenge in Aging Mice Is Not Affected by Latent Herpesviral Infections.

      Marandu, Thomas F; Oduro, Jennifer D; Borkner, Lisa; Dekhtiarenko, Iryna; Uhrlaub, Jennifer L; Drabig, Anja; Kröger, Andrea; Nikolich-Zugich, Janko; Cicin-Sain, Luka; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-11-15)
      Latent herpesvirus infections alter immune homeostasis. To understand if this results in aging-related loss of immune protection against emerging infections, we challenged old mice carrying latent mouse cytomegalovirus (CMV), herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1), and/or murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV-68) with influenza virus, West Nile virus (WNV), or vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). We observed no increase in mortality or weight loss compared to results seen with herpesvirus-negative counterparts and a relative but not absolute reduction in CD8 responses to acute infections. Therefore, the presence of herpesviruses does not appear to increase susceptibility to emerging infections in aging patients.
    • DNA Damage Primes the Type I Interferon System via the Cytosolic DNA Sensor STING to Promote Anti-Microbial Innate Immunity.

      Härtlova, Anetta; Erttmann, Saskia F; Raffi, Faizal Am; Schmalz, Anja M; Resch, Ulrike; Anugula, Sharath; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Nilsson, Lisa M; Kröger, Andrea; Nilsson, Jonas A; et al. (2015-02-17)
      Dysfunction in Ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM), a central component of the DNA repair machinery, results in Ataxia Telangiectasia (AT), a cancer-prone disease with a variety of inflammatory manifestations. By analyzing AT patient samples and Atm(-/-) mice, we found that unrepaired DNA lesions induce type I interferons (IFNs), resulting in enhanced anti-viral and anti-bacterial responses in Atm(-/-) mice. Priming of the type I interferon system by DNA damage involved release of DNA into the cytoplasm where it activated the cytosolic DNA sensing STING-mediated pathway, which in turn enhanced responses to innate stimuli by activating the expression of Toll-like receptors, RIG-I-like receptors, cytoplasmic DNA sensors, and their downstream signaling partners. This study provides a potential explanation for the inflammatory phenotype of AT patients and establishes damaged DNA as a cell intrinsic danger signal that primes the innate immune system for a rapid and amplified response to microbial and environmental threats.
    • Cell entry, efficient RNA replication, and production of infectious hepatitis C virus progeny in mouse liver-derived cells

      Frentzen, Anne; Anggakusuma; Gürlevik, Engin; Hueging, Kathrin; Knocke, Sarah; Ginkel, Corinne; Brown, Richard J.P.; Heim, Markus; Dill, Michael T.; Kröger, Andrea; et al. (2014-01-15)
    • Distinct modes of action applied by transcription factors STAT1 and IRF1 to initiate transcription of the IFN-gamma-inducible gbp2 gene.

      Ramsauer, Katrin; Farlik, Matthias; Zupkovitz, Gordin; Seiser, Christian; Kröger, Andrea; Hauser, Hansjörg; Decker, Thomas; Max F. Perutz Laboratories, Department of Microbiology and Immunobiology, University of Vienna, A1030 Vienna, Austria. (2007-02-20)
      A subgroup of genes induced by IFN-gamma requires both STAT1 and IRF1 for transcriptional activation. Using WT, stat1(-/-), or irf1(-/-) cells, we analyzed the changes induced by IFN-gamma in gbp2 promoter chromatin. STAT1 associated with the promoter independently of IRF1 and played an essential role in the ordered recruitment of the coactivator/histone acetyl transferase CREB-binding protein (CBP) and the histone deacetylase HDAC1. Hyperacetylation of histone 4 also required STAT1. Phosphorylation at S727 in the transactivating domain increased transcriptional activity of STAT1. In cells expressing a STAT1S727A-mutant CBP recruitment, histone 4 hyperacetylation and RNA polymerase II association with the gbp2 promoter were strongly reduced. IRF1 association with the gbp2 promoter followed that of STAT1, but STAT1 association with DNA or histone hyperacetylation were not necessary for IRF1 binding. RNA polymerase II association with the gbp2 promoter required both STAT1 and IRF1, suggesting that both proteins mediate essential steps in transcriptional activation. IRF1, but not STAT1, was found to coimmunoprecipitate with RNA polymerase II. Together, the data support the assumption that the main role of STAT1 in activating gbp2 transcription is to provide transcriptionally competent chromatin, whereas the function of IRF1 may lie in directly contacting RNA polymerase II-containing transcriptional complexes.
    • Composition and arrangement of genes define the strength of IRES-driven translation in bicistronic mRNAs

      Hennecke, Meike; Kwissa, Marcin; Metzger, Karin; Oumard, André; Kröger, Andrea; Schirmbeck, Reinhold; Reimann, Jörg; Hauser, Hansjörg (Oxford University Press, 2001-08-15)