• Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 regulates endothelial cell migration by shifting the phospholipid composition.

      Glatzel, Daniel K; Koeberle, Andreas; Pein, Helmut; Löser, Konstantin; Stark, Anna; Keksel, Nelli; Werz, Oliver; Müller, Rolf; Bischoff, Iris; Fürst, Robert; et al. (2018-02)
      The enzyme acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) plays a crucial role in fatty acid metabolism. In recent years, ACC has been recognized as a promising drug target for treating different diseases. However, the role of ACC in vascular endothelial cells (ECs) has been neglected so far. To characterize the role of ACC, we used the ACC inhibitor, soraphen A, as a chemical tool, and also a gene silencing approach. We found that ACC1 was the predominant isoform in human umbilical vein ECs as well as in human microvascular ECs and that soraphen A reduced the levels of malonyl-CoA. We revealed that ACC inhibition shifted the lipid composition of EC membranes. Accordingly, membrane fluidity, filopodia formation, and migratory capacity were reduced. The antimigratory action of soraphen A depended on an increase in the cellular proportion of PUFAs and, most importantly, on a decreased level of phosphatidylglycerol. Our study provides a causal link between ACC, membrane lipid composition, and cell migration in ECs. Soraphen A represents a useful chemical tool to investigate the role of fatty acid metabolism in ECs and ACC inhibition offers a new and valuable therapeutic perspective for the treatment of EC migration-related diseases.
    • Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1-dependent lipogenesis promotes autophagy downstream of AMPK.

      Gross, Angelina S; Zimmermann, Andreas; Pendl, Tobias; Schroeder, Sabrina; Schoenlechner, Hannes; Knittelfelder, Oskar; Lamplmayr, Laura; Santiso, Ana; Aufschnaiter, Andreas; Waltenstorfer, Daniel; et al. (American Society for biochemistry and molecular biology, 2019-08-09)
      Autophagy, a membrane-dependent catabolic process, ensures survival of aging cells and depends on the cellular energetic status. Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (Acc1) connects central energy metabolism to lipid biosynthesis and is rate-limiting for the de novo synthesis of lipids. However, it is unclear how de novo lipogenesis and its metabolic consequences affect autophagic activity. Here, we show that in aging yeast, autophagy levels highly depend on the activity of Acc1. Constitutively active Acc1 (acc1S/A ) or a deletion of the Acc1 negative regulator, Snf1 (yeast AMPK), shows elevated autophagy levels, which can be reversed by the Acc1 inhibitor soraphen A. Vice versa, pharmacological inhibition of Acc1 drastically reduces cell survival and results in the accumulation of Atg8-positive structures at the vacuolar membrane, suggesting late defects in the autophagic cascade. As expected, acc1S/A cells exhibit a reduction in acetate/acetyl-CoA availability along with elevated cellular lipid content. However, concomitant administration of acetate fails to fully revert the increase in autophagy exerted by acc1S/A Instead, administration of oleate, while mimicking constitutively active Acc1 in WT cells, alleviates the vacuolar fusion defects induced by Acc1 inhibition. Our results argue for a largely lipid-dependent process of autophagy regulation downstream of Acc1. We present a versatile genetic model to investigate the complex relationship between acetate metabolism, lipid homeostasis, and autophagy and propose Acc1-dependent lipogenesis as a fundamental metabolic path downstream of Snf1 to maintain autophagy and survival during cellular aging.
    • The actin targeting compound Chondramide inhibits breast cancer metastasis via reduction of cellular contractility.

      Menhofer, Magdalena H; Kubisch, Rebekka; Schreiner, Laura; Zorn, Matthias; Foerster, Florian; Mueller, Rolf; Raedler, Joachim O; Wagner, Ernst; Vollmar, Angelika M; Zahler, Stefan; et al. (2014)
      A major player in the process of metastasis is the actin cytoskeleton as it forms key structures in both invasion mechanisms, mesenchymal and amoeboid migration. We tested the actin binding compound Chondramide as potential anti-metastatic agent.
    • Activity-guided screening of bioactive natural compounds implementing a new glucocorticoid-receptor-translocation assay and detection of new anti-inflammatory steroids from bacteria.

      Kaufmann, Katrin; Simmons, Luke; Herrmann, Jennifer; Schwär, Gertrud; Luniak, Nora; Müller, Rolf; Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. kaufm@uni-trier.de (2013-01)
      Using an in vitro cell-based assay in a flow-design, we have applied activity-guided screening to search for new bioactive compounds isolated from microorganisms. A first assay employs the stable expression of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) while a second assay utilizes the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) coupled to green fluorescent protein. A specialized assay was implemented for both the translocation of NF-κB and to inhibit the translocation of cytokine-mediated NF-κB. In addition, we developed in a wide palette of cell lines used for a highly specialized GR-translocation assay to detect anti-inflammatory effects. This approach demonstrates the straight-forward combination of cell-based assays arranged with an automated fluorescence microscope. This allows for the direct sorting of extracts which are acting in a pharmaceutically interesting way. Initial results using this technique have led to the detection of new anti-inflammatory steroids from bacterial crude extracts.
    • The AibR-isovaleryl coenzyme A regulator and its DNA binding site - a model for the regulation of alternative de novo isovaleryl coenzyme A biosynthesis in Myxococcus xanthus.

      Bock, Tobias; Volz, Carsten; Hering, Vanessa; Scrima, Andrea; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12-09)
      Isovaleryl coenzyme A (IV-CoA) is an important building block of iso-fatty acids. In myxobacteria, IV-CoA is essential for the formation of signaling molecules involved in fruiting body formation. Leucine degradation is the common source of IV-CoA, but a second, de novo biosynthetic route to IV-CoA termed AIB (alternative IV-CoA biosynthesis) was recently discovered in M. xanthus The AIB-operon contains the TetR-like transcriptional regulator AibR, which we characterize in this study. We demonstrate that IV-CoA binds AibR with micromolar affinity and show by gelshift experiments that AibR interacts with the promoter region of the AIB-operon once IV-CoA is present. We identify an 18-bp near-perfect palindromic repeat as containing the AibR operator and provide evidence that AibR also controls an additional genomic locus coding for a putative acetyl-CoA acetyltransferase. To elucidate atomic details, we determined crystal structures of AibR in the apo, the IV-CoA- and the IV-CoA-DNA-bound state to 1.7 Å, 2.35 Å and 2.92 Å, respectively. IV-CoA induces partial unfolding of an α-helix, which allows sequence-specific interactions between AibR and its operator. This study provides insights into AibR-mediated regulation and shows that AibR functions in an unusual TetR-like manner by blocking transcription not in the ligand-free but in the effector-bound state.
    • The Alkylquinolone Repertoire of Pseudomonas aeruginosa is Linked to Structural Flexibility of the FabH-like 2-Heptyl-3-hydroxy-4(1H)-quinolone (PQS) Biosynthesis Enzyme PqsBC.

      Witzgall, Florian; Depke, Tobias; Hoffmann, Michael; Empting, Martin; Brönstrup, Mark; Müller, Rolf; Blankenfeldt, Wulf; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2018-07-16)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a bacterial pathogen that causes life-threatening infections in immunocompromised patients. It produces a large armory of saturated and mono-unsaturated 2-alkyl-4(1H)-quinolones (AQs) and AQ N-oxides (AQNOs) that serve as signaling molecules to control the production of virulence factors and that are involved in membrane vesicle formation and iron chelation; furthermore, they also have, for example, antibiotic properties. It has been shown that the β-ketoacyl-acyl-carrier protein synthase III (FabH)-like heterodimeric enzyme PqsBC catalyzes the last step in the biosynthesis of the most abundant AQ congener, 2-heptyl-4(1H)-quinolone (HHQ), by condensing octanoyl-coenzyme A (CoA) with 2-aminobenzoylacetate (2-ABA), but the basis for the large number of other AQs/AQNOs produced by P. aeruginosa is not known. Here, we demonstrate that PqsBC uses different medium-chain acyl-CoAs to produce various saturated AQs/AQNOs and that it also biosynthesizes mono-unsaturated congeners. Further, we determined the structures of PqsBC in four different crystal forms at 1.5 to 2.7 Å resolution. Together with a previous report, the data reveal that PqsBC adopts open, intermediate, and closed conformations that alter the shape of the acyl-binding cavity and explain the promiscuity of PqsBC. The different conformations also allow us to propose a model for structural transitions that accompany the catalytic cycle of PqsBC that might have broader implications for other FabH-enzymes, for which such structural transitions have been postulated but have never been observed.
    • An ambruticin-sensing complex modulates Myxococcus xanthus development and mediates myxobacterial interspecies communication.

      Marcos-Torres, Francisco Javier; Volz, Carsten; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Nature Pulishing Group, 2020-11-04)
      Starvation induces cell aggregation in the soil bacterium Myxococcus xanthus, followed by formation of fruiting bodies packed with myxospores. Sporulation in the absence of fruiting bodies can be artificially induced by high concentrations of glycerol through unclear mechanisms. Here, we show that a compound (ambruticin VS-3) produced by a different myxobacterium, Sorangium cellulosum, affects the development of M. xanthus in a similar manner. Both glycerol (at millimolar levels) and ambruticin VS-3 (at nanomolar concentrations) inhibit M. xanthus fruiting body formation under starvation, and induce sporulation in the presence of nutrients. The response is mediated in M. xanthus by three hybrid histidine kinases (AskA, AskB, AskC) that form complexes interacting with two major developmental regulators (MrpC, FruA). In addition, AskB binds directly to the mrpC promoter in vitro. Thus, our work indicates that the AskABC-dependent regulatory pathway mediates the responses to ambruticin VS-3 and glycerol. We hypothesize that production of ambruticin VS-3 may allow S. sorangium to outcompete M. xanthus under both starvation and growth conditions in soil.
    • Amidochelocardin Overcomes Resistance Mechanisms Exerted on Tetracyclines and Natural Chelocardin.

      Hennessen, Fabienne; Miethke, Marcus; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Loose, Maria; Lukežič, Tadeja; Bernecker, Steffen; Hüttel, Stephan; Jansen, Rolf; Schmiedel, Judith; Fritzenwanker, Moritz; et al. (MDPI, 2020-09-18)
      The reassessment of known but neglected natural compounds is a vital strategy for providing novel lead structures urgently needed to overcome antimicrobial resistance. Scaffolds with resistance-breaking properties represent the most promising candidates for a successful translation into future therapeutics. Our study focuses on chelocardin, a member of the atypical tetracyclines, and its bioengineered derivative amidochelocardin, both showing broad-spectrum antibacterial activity within the ESKAPE (Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species) panel. Further lead development of chelocardins requires extensive biological and chemical profiling to achieve favorable pharmaceutical properties and efficacy. This study shows that both molecules possess resistance-breaking properties enabling the escape from most common tetracycline resistance mechanisms. Further, we show that these compounds are potent candidates for treatment of urinary tract infections due to their in vitro activity against a large panel of multidrug-resistant uropathogenic clinical isolates. In addition, the mechanism of resistance to natural chelocardin was identified as relying on efflux processes, both in the chelocardin producer Amycolatopsis sulphurea and in the pathogen Klebsiella pneumoniae. Resistance development in Klebsiella led primarily to mutations in ramR, causing increased expression of the acrAB-tolC efflux pump. Most importantly, amidochelocardin overcomes this resistance mechanism, revealing not only the improved activity profile but also superior resistance-breaking properties of this novel antibacterial compound.
    • An Unprecedented Octahydro-3H-oxeto[2,3,4-ij]isochromene Ring System Formed by a Trichloromethyl-Anion-Induced Reaction Cascade

      Schmidt, Witali; Jones, Peter; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Schulz, Stefan; Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmaceutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.; Institute of Organic Chemistry, Technische Universität Braunschweig; Institute of Inorganic and Analytical Chemistry, Technische Universität Braunschweig; Department Microbial Natural Products, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Saarland University; Department Microbial Natural Products, Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Saarland University; et al. (2016-11-18)
    • Analytics of the therapeutic peptide aviptadil by sheathless CE-MS and comparison with nanoRP-HPLC-MS.

      Gross, Peter C; Burkart, Sonja C; Müller, Rolf; Biotech Processes and Analytics Department, PharmBioTec GmbH, D-66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. Electronic address: p.gross@pharmbiotec.de. (2014-01)
      Purification and quality control of therapeutic peptides is often performed by one single method, RP-HPLC. As usage of an orthogonal technique is highly advisable for quality assurance, capillary electrophoresis (CE) employing a coated capillary coupled via a sheathless interface to a mass spectrometer was applied in parallel. The basic therapeutic peptide aviptadil served as a model substance to study the impurity profiles revealing 15 detectable impurities using CE-MS, two were detected by an appropriate nanoRP-HPLC-MS method. None of the impurities detected by CE were observed in LC and vice versa. The LOD in CE-MS was determined in the base peak electropherogram at ∼1fmol, a value 2500 times smaller than the LOD found in nanoRP-HPLC-MS (3pmol). In nanoRP-HPLC-MS only 0.2% of the extrapolated CE-MS signal for a 25ng aviptadil load was observed. We conclude that both, the LOD as well as the impurity profile of aviptadil, as analyzed by nanoRP-HPLC are influenced by both, the ligand-derivatized silica matrix and the flow-rate. Peptides may disappear completely and their variable emergence may lead to the determination of incorrect ratios as present in the sample.
    • Anti-leukemic effects of the V-ATPase inhibitor Archazolid A.

      Zhang, Siwei; Schneider, Lina S; Vick, Binje; Grunert, Michaela; Jeremias, Irmela; Menche, Dirk; Müller, Rolf; Vollmar, Angelika M; Liebl, Johanna; Helmholtz-Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland (HIPS),Saarland 9 University, 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (2015-12-22)
      Prognosis for patients suffering from T-ALL is still very poor and new strategies for T-ALL treatment are urgently needed. Our study shows potent anti-leukemic effects of the myxobacterial V-ATPase inhibitor Archazolid A. Archazolid A reduced growth and potently induced death of leukemic cell lines and human leukemic samples. By inhibiting lysosomal acidification, Archazolid A blocked activation of the Notch pathway, however, this was not the mechanism of V-ATPase inhibition relevant for cell death induction. In fact, V-ATPase inhibition by Archazolid A decreased the anti-apoptotic protein survivin. As underlying mode of action, this work is in line with recent studies from our group demonstrating that Archazolid A induced S-phase cell cycle arrest by interfering with the iron metabolism in leukemic cells. Our study provides evidence for V-ATPase inhibition as a potential new therapeutic option for T-ALL.
    • The antibiotic sorangicin A inhibits promoter DNA unwinding in a rifampicin-resistant RNA polymerase.

      Lilic, Mirjana; Chen, James; Boyaci, Hande; Braffman, Nathaniel; Hubin, Elizabeth A; Herrmann, Jennifer; Müller, Rolf; Mooney, Rachel; Landick, Robert; Darst, Seth A; et al. (National Academy of Sciences, 2020-11-16)
      Rifampicin (Rif) is a first-line therapeutic used to treat the infectious disease tuberculosis (TB), which is caused by the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). The emergence of Rif-resistant (RifR) Mtb presents a need for new antibiotics. Rif targets the enzyme RNA polymerase (RNAP). Sorangicin A (Sor) is an unrelated inhibitor that binds in the Rif-binding pocket of RNAP. Sor inhibits a subset of RifR RNAPs, including the most prevalent clinical RifR RNAP substitution found in Mtb infected patients (S456>L of the β subunit). Here, we present structural and biochemical data demonstrating that Sor inhibits the wild-type Mtb RNAP by a similar mechanism as Rif: by preventing the translocation of very short RNAs. By contrast, Sor inhibits the RifR S456L enzyme at an earlier step, preventing the transition of a partially unwound promoter DNA intermediate to the fully opened DNA and blocking the template-strand DNA from reaching the active site in the RNAP catalytic center. By defining template-strand blocking as a mechanism for inhibition, we provide a mechanistic drug target in RNAP. Our finding that Sor inhibits the wild-type and mutant RNAPs through different mechanisms prompts future considerations for designing antibiotics against resistant targets. Also, we show that Sor has a better pharmacokinetic profile than Rif, making it a suitable starting molecule to design drugs to be used for the treatment of TB patients with comorbidities who require multiple medications.
    • Antimalarial activity of the myxobacterial macrolide chlorotonil a.

      Held, Jana; Gebru, Tamirat; Kalesse, Markus; Jansen, Rolf; Gerth, Klaus; Müller, Rolf; Mordmüller, Benjamin (2014-11)
      Myxobacteria are Gram-negative soil-dwelling bacteria belonging to the phylum Proteobacteria. They are a rich source of promising compounds for clinical application, such as epothilones for cancer therapy and several new antibiotics. In the course of a bioactivity screening program of secondary metabolites produced by Sorangium cellulosum strains, the macrolide chlorotonil A was found to exhibit promising antimalarial activity. Subsequently, we evaluated chlorotonil A against Plasmodium falciparum laboratory strains and clinical isolates from Gabon. Chlorotonil A was highly active, with a 50% inhibitory concentration between 4 and 32 nM; additionally, no correlations between the activities of chlorotonil A and artesunate (rho, 0.208) or chloroquine (rho, -0.046) were observed. Per os treatment of Plasmodium berghei-infected mice with four doses of as little as 36 mg of chlorotonil A per kg of body weight led to the suppression of parasitemia with no obvious signs of toxicity. Chlorotonil A acts against all stages of intraerythrocytic parasite development, including ring-stage parasites and stage IV to V gametocytes, and it requires only a very short exposure to the parasite to exert its antimalarial action. Conclusively, chlorotonil A has an exceptional and unprecedented profile of action and represents an urgently required novel antimalarial chemical scaffold. Therefore, we propose it as a lead structure for further development as an antimalarial chemotherapeutic.
    • antiSMASH 3.0-a comprehensive resource for the genome mining of biosynthetic gene clusters.

      Weber, Tilmann; Blin, Kai; Duddela, Srikanth; Krug, Daniel; Kim, Hyun Uk; Bruccoleri, Robert; Lee, Sang Yup; Fischbach, Michael A; Müller, Rolf; Wohlleben, Wolfgang; et al. (2015-05-06)
      Microbial secondary metabolism constitutes a rich source of antibiotics, chemotherapeutics, insecticides and other high-value chemicals. Genome mining of gene clusters that encode the biosynthetic pathways for these metabolites has become a key methodology for novel compound discovery. In 2011, we introduced antiSMASH, a web server and stand-alone tool for the automatic genomic identification and analysis of biosynthetic gene clusters, available at http://antismash.secondarymetabolites.org. Here, we present version 3.0 of antiSMASH, which has undergone major improvements. A full integration of the recently published ClusterFinder algorithm now allows using this probabilistic algorithm to detect putative gene clusters of unknown types. Also, a new dereplication variant of the ClusterBlast module now identifies similarities of identified clusters to any of 1172 clusters with known end products. At the enzyme level, active sites of key biosynthetic enzymes are now pinpointed through a curated pattern-matching procedure and Enzyme Commission numbers are assigned to functionally classify all enzyme-coding genes. Additionally, chemical structure prediction has been improved by incorporating polyketide reduction states. Finally, in order for users to be able to organize and analyze multiple antiSMASH outputs in a private setting, a new XML output module allows offline editing of antiSMASH annotations within the Geneious software.
    • Applying a Chemogeographic Strategy for Natural Product Discovery from the Marine Cyanobacterium .

      Leber, Christopher A; Naman, C Benjamin; Keller, Lena; Almaliti, Jehad; Caro-Diaz, Eduardo J E; Glukhov, Evgenia; Joseph, Valsamma; Sajeevan, T P; Reyes, Andres Joshua; Biggs, Jason S; et al. (MDPI, 2020-10-14)
      The tropical marine cyanobacterium Moorena bouillonii occupies a large geographic range across the Indian and Western Tropical Pacific Oceans and is a prolific producer of structurally unique and biologically active natural products. An ensemble of computational approaches, including the creation of the ORCA (Objective Relational Comparative Analysis) pipeline for flexible MS1 feature detection and multivariate analyses, were used to analyze various M. bouillonii samples. The observed chemogeographic patterns suggested the production of regionally specific natural products by M. bouillonii. Analyzing the drivers of these chemogeographic patterns allowed for the identification, targeted isolation, and structure elucidation of a regionally specific natural product, doscadenamide A (1). Analyses of MS2 fragmentation patterns further revealed this natural product to be part of an extensive family of herein annotated, proposed natural structural analogs (doscadenamides B-J, 2-10); the ensemble of structures reflect a combinatorial biosynthesis using nonribosomal peptide synthetase (NRPS) and polyketide synthase (PKS) components. Compound 1 displayed synergistic in vitro cancer cell cytotoxicity when administered with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). These discoveries illustrate the utility in leveraging chemogeographic patterns for prioritizing natural product discovery efforts.
    • -Aryl-3-mercaptosuccinimides as Antivirulence Agents Targeting Pseudomonas aeruginosa Elastase and Clostridium Collagenases.

      Konstantinović, Jelena; Yahiaoui, Samir; Alhayek, Alaa; Haupenthal, Jörg; Schönauer, Esther; Andreas, Anastasia; Kany, Andreas M; Müller, Rolf; Koehnke, Jesko; Berger, Fabian K; et al. (ACS, 2020-06-17)
      In light of the global antimicrobial-resistance crisis, there is an urgent need for novel bacterial targets and antibiotics with novel modes of action. It has been shown that Pseudomonas aeruginosa elastase (LasB) and Clostridium histolyticum (Hathewaya histolytica) collagenase (ColH) play a significant role in the infection process and thereby represent promising antivirulence targets. Here, we report novel N-aryl-3-mercaptosuccinimide inhibitors that target both LasB and ColH, displaying potent activities in vitro and high selectivity for the bacterial over human metalloproteases. Additionally, the inhibitors demonstrate no signs of cytotoxicity against selected human cell lines and in a zebrafish embryo toxicity model. Furthermore, the most active ColH inhibitor shows a significant reduction of collagen degradation in an ex vivo pig-skin model.
    • Aspherical and Spherical InvA497-Functionalized Nanocarriers for Intracellular Delivery of Anti-Infective Agents.

      Castoldi, Arianna; Empting, Martin; De Rossi, Chiara; Mayr, Karsten; Dersch, Petra; Hartmann, Rolf; Müller, Rolf; Gordon, Sarah; Lehr, Claus-Michael; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2018-12-05)
      The objective of this work was to evaluate the potential of polymeric spherical and aspherical invasive nanocarriers, loaded with antibiotic, to access and treat intracellular bacterial infections. Aspherical nanocarriers were prepared by stretching of spherical precursors, and both aspherical and spherical nanocarriers were surface-functionalized with the invasive protein InvA497. The relative uptake of nanocarriers into HEp-2 epithelial cells was then assessed. Nanocarriers were subsequently loaded with a preparation of the non-permeable antibiotic gentamicin, and tested for their ability to treat HEp-2 cells infected with the enteroinvasive bacterium Shigella flexneri. InvA497-functionalized nanocarriers of both spherical and aspherical shape showed a significantly improved rate and extent of uptake into HEp-2 cells in comparison to non-functionalized nanocarriers. Functionalized and antibiotic-loaded nanocarriers demonstrated a dose dependent killing of intracellular S. flexneri. A slight but significant enhancement of intracellular bacterial killing was also observed with aspherical as compared to spherical functionalized nanocarriers at the highest tested concentration. InvA497-functionalized, polymer-based nanocarriers were able to efficiently deliver a non-permeable antibiotic across host cell membranes to affect killing of intracellular bacteria. Functionalized nanocarriers with an aspherical shape showed an interesting future potential for intracellular infection therapy.
    • Aurantimycin resistance genes contribute to survival of Listeria monocytogenes during life in the environment.

      Hauf, Samuel; Herrmann, Jennifer; Miethke, Marcus; Gibhardt, Johannes; Commichau, Fabian M; Müller, Rolf; Fuchs, Stephan; Halbedel, Sven; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-01-15)
      Bacteria can cope with toxic compounds such as antibiotics by inducing genes for their detoxification. A common detoxification strategy is compound excretion by ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, which are synthesized upon compound contact. We previously identified the multi drug resistance ABC transporter LieAB in Listeria monocytogenes, a Gram-positive bacterium that occurs ubiquitously in the environment, but also causes severe infections in humans upon ingestion. Expression of the lieAB genes is strongly induced in cells lacking the PadR-type transcriptional repressor LftR, but compounds leading to relief of this repression in wild type cells were not known. Using RNA-Seq and promoter-lacZ fusions we demonstrate highly specific repression of the lieAB and lftRS promoters through LftR. Screening of a natural compound library yielded the depsipeptide aurantimycin A - synthesized by the soil-dwelling Streptomyces aurantiacus - as the first known naturally occurring inducer of lieAB expression. Genetic and phenotypic experiments concordantly show that aurantimycin A is a substrate of the LieAB transporter and thus, lftRS and lieAB represent the first known genetic module conferring and regulating aurantimycin A resistance. Collectively, these genes may support the survival of L. monocytogenes when it comes into contact with antibiotic-producing bacteria in the soil. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    • BAX/BAK-Induced Apoptosis Results in Caspase-8-Dependent IL-1β Maturation in Macrophages.

      Chauhan, Dhruv; Bartok, Eva; Gaidt, Moritz M; Bock, Florian J; Herrmann, Jennifer; Seeger, Jens M; Broz, Petr; Beckmann, Roland; Kashkar, Hamid; Tait, Stephen W G; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-11-27)
      IL-1β is a cytokine of pivotal importance to the orchestration of inflammatory responses. Synthesized as an inactive pro-cytokine, IL-1β requires proteolytic maturation to gain biological activity. Here, we identify intrinsic apoptosis as a non-canonical trigger of IL-1β maturation. Guided by the discovery of the immunomodulatory activity of vioprolides, cyclic peptides isolated from myxobacteria, we observe IL-1β maturation independent of canonical inflammasome pathways, yet dependent on intrinsic apoptosis. Mechanistically, vioprolides inhibit MCL-1 and BCL2, which in turn triggers BAX/BAK-dependent mitochondrial outer membrane permeabilization (MOMP). Induction of MOMP results in the release of pro-apoptotic factors initiating intrinsic apoptosis, as well as the depletion of IAPs (inhibitors of apoptosis proteins). IAP depletion, in turn, operates upstream of ripoptosome complex formation, subsequently resulting in caspase-8-dependent IL-1β maturation. These results establish the ripoptosome/caspase-8 complex as a pro-inflammatory checkpoint that senses the perturbation of mitochondrial integrity.
    • Biocompatible bacteria-derived vesicles show inherent antimicrobial activity.

      Schulz, Eilien; Goes, Adriely; Garcia, Ronald; Panter, Fabian; Koch, Marcus; Müller, Rolf; Fuhrmann, Kathrin; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-11-28)
      Up to 25,000 people die each year from resistant infections in Europe alone, with increasing incidence. It is estimated that a continued rise in bacterial resistance by 2050 would lead up to 10 million annual deaths worldwide, exceeding the incidence of cancer deaths. Although the design of new antibiotics is still one way to tackle the problem, pharmaceutical companies investigate far less into new drugs than 30 years ago. Incorporation of antibiotics into nanoparticle drug carriers ("nanoantibiotics") is currently investigated as a promising strategy to make existing antibiotics regain antimicrobial strength and overcome certain types of microbial drug resistance. Many of these synthetic systems enhance the antimicrobial effect of drugs by protecting antibiotics from degradation and reducing their side effects. Nevertheless, they often cannot selectively target pathogenic bacteria and - due to their synthetic origin - may induce side-effects themselves. In this work, we present the characterisation of naturally derived outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) as biocompatible and inherently antibiotic drug carriers. We isolated OMVs from two representative strains of myxobacteria, Cystobacter velatus Cbv34 and Sorangiineae species strain SBSr073, a bacterial order with the ability of lysing other bacterial strains and currently investigated as sources of new secondary metabolites. We investigated the myxobacterias' inherent antibacterial properties after isolation by differential centrifugation and purification by size-exclusion chromatography. OMVs have an average size range of 145-194 nm. We characterised their morphology by electron cryomicroscopy and found that OMVs are biocompatible with epithelial cells and differentiated macrophages. They showed a low endotoxin activity comparable to those of control samples, indicating a low acute inflammatory potential. In addition, OMVs showed inherent stability under different storage conditions, including 4 °C, -20 °C, -80 °C and freeze-drying. OMV uptake in Gram-negative model bacterium Escherichia coli (E. coli) showed similar to better incorporation than liposome controls, indicating the OMVs may interact with model bacteria via membrane fusion. Bacterial uptake correlated with antimicrobial activity of OMVs as measured by growth inhibition of E. coli. OMVs from Cbv34 inhibited growth of E. coli to a comparable extent as the clinically established antibiotic gentamicin. Liquid-chromatography coupled mass spectrometry analyses revealed the presence of cystobactamids in OMVs, inhibitors of bacterial topoisomerase currently studied to treat different Gram-negative and Gram-positive pathogens. This work, may serve as an important basis for further evaluation of OMVs derived from myxobacteria as novel therapeutic delivery systems against bacterial infections.