• Lung dendritic cells facilitate extrapulmonary bacterial dissemination during pneumococcal pneumonia.

      Rosendahl, Alva; Bergmann, Simone; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Goldmann, Oliver; Medina, Eva; Infection Immunology Research Group, Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      Streptococcus pneumoniae is a leading cause of bacterial pneumonia worldwide. Given the critical role of dendritic cells (DCs) in regulating and modulating the immune response to pathogens, we investigated here the role of DCs in S. pneumoniae lung infections. Using a well-established transgenic mouse line which allows the conditional transient depletion of DCs, we showed that ablation of DCs resulted in enhanced resistance to intranasal challenge with S. pneumoniae. DCs-depleted mice exhibited delayed bacterial systemic dissemination, significantly reduced bacterial loads in the infected organs and lower levels of serum inflammatory mediators than non-depleted animals. The increased resistance of DCs-depleted mice to S. pneumoniae was associated with a better capacity to restrict pneumococci extrapulmonary dissemination. Furthermore, we demonstrated that S. pneumoniae disseminated from the lungs into the regional lymph nodes in a cell-independent manner and that this direct way of dissemination was much more efficient in the presence of DCs. We also provide evidence that S. pneumoniae induces expression and activation of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) in cultured bone marrow-derived DCs. MMP-9 is a protease involved in the breakdown of extracellular matrix proteins and is critical for DC trafficking across extracellular matrix and basement membranes during the migration from the periphery to the lymph nodes. MMP-9 was also significantly up-regulated in the lungs of mice after intranasal infection with S. pneumoniae. Notably, the expression levels of MMP-9 in the infected lungs were significantly decreased after depletion of DCs suggesting the involvement of DCs in MMP-9 production during pneumococcal pneumonia. Thus, we propose that S. pneumoniae can exploit the DC-derived proteolysis to open tissue barriers thereby facilitating its own dissemination from the local site of infection.
    • SCM, the M Protein of Streptococcus canis Binds Immunoglobulin G.

      Bergmann, Simone; Eichhorn, Inga; Kohler, Thomas P; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Goldmann, Oliver; Rohde, M; Fulde, Marcus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The M protein of Streptococcus canis (SCM) is a virulence factor and serves as a surface-associated receptor with a particular affinity for mini-plasminogen, a cleavage product of the broad-spectrum serine protease plasmin. Here, we report that SCM has an additional high-affinity immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding activity. The ability of a particular S. canis isolate to bind to IgG significantly correlates with a scm-positive phenotype, suggesting a dominant role of SCM as an IgG receptor. Subsequent heterologous expression of SCM in non-IgG binding S. gordonii and Western Blot analysis with purified recombinant SCM proteins confirmed its IgG receptor function. As expected for a zoonotic agent, the SCM-IgG interaction is species-unspecific, with a particular affinity of SCM for IgGs derived from human, cats, dogs, horses, mice, and rabbits, but not from cows and goats. Similar to other streptococcal IgG-binding proteins, the interaction between SCM and IgG occurs via the conserved Fc domain and is, therefore, non-opsonic. Interestingly, the interaction between SCM and IgG-Fc on the bacterial surface specifically prevents opsonization by C1q, which might constitute another anti-phagocytic mechanism of SCM. Extensive binding analyses with a variety of different truncated SCM fragments defined a region of 52 amino acids located in the central part of the mature SCM protein which is important for IgG binding. This binding region is highly conserved among SCM proteins derived from different S. canis isolates but differs significantly from IgG-Fc receptors of S. pyogenes and S. dysgalactiae sub. equisimilis, respectively. In summary, we present an additional role of SCM in the pathogen-host interaction of S. canis. The detailed analysis of the SCM-IgG interaction should contribute to a better understanding of the complex roles of M proteins in streptococcal pathogenesis.