• Pathway mapping of leukocyte transcriptome in influenza patients reveals distinct pathogenic mechanisms associated with progression to severe infection.

      Zerbib, Yoann; Jenkins, Emily K; Shojaei, Maryam; Meyers, Adrienne F A; Ho, John; Ball, T Blake; Keynan, Yoav; Pisipati, Amarnath; Kumar, Aseem; Kumar, Anand; et al. (BioMedCentral, 2020-02-17)
      BACKGROUND: Influenza infections produce a spectrum of disease severity, ranging from a mild respiratory illness to respiratory failure and death. The host-response pathways associated with the progression to severe influenza disease are not well understood. METHODS: To gain insight into the disease mechanisms associated with progression to severe infection, we analyzed the leukocyte transcriptome in severe and moderate influenza patients and healthy control subjects. Pathway analysis on differentially expressed genes was performed using a topology-based pathway analysis tool that takes into account the interaction between multiple cellular pathways. The pathway profiles between moderate and severe influenza were then compared to delineate the biological mechanisms underpinning the progression from moderate to severe influenza. RESULTS: 107 patients (44 severe and 63 moderate influenza patients) and 52 healthy control subjects were included in the study. Severe influenza was associated with upregulation in several neutrophil-related pathways, including pathways involved in neutrophil differentiation, migration, degranulation and neutrophil extracellular trap (NET) formation. The degree of upregulation in neutrophil-related pathways were significantly higher in severely infected patients compared to moderately infected patients. Severe influenza was also associated with downregulation in immune response pathways, including pathways involved in antigen presentation such as CD4+ T-cell co-stimulation, CD8+ T cell and Natural Killer (NK) cells effector functions. Apoptosis pathways were also downregulated in severe influenza patients compare to moderate and healthy controls. CONCLUSIONS: These findings showed that there are changes in gene expression profile that may highlight distinct pathogenic mechanisms associated with progression from moderate to severe influenza infection.
    • A comprehensive and comparative phenotypic analysis of the collaborative founder strains identifies new and known phenotypes.

      Kollmus, Heike; Fuchs, Helmut; Lengger, Christoph; Haselimashhadi, Hamed; Bogue, Molly A; Östereicher, Manuela A; Horsch, Marion; Adler, Thure; Aguilar-Pimentel, Juan Antonio; Amarie, Oana Veronica; et al. (Springer, 2020-02-14)
      Myxococcus xanthus DK1622 is known as a proficient producer of different kinds of secondary metabolites (SM) with various biological activities, including myxovirescin A, myxalamide A, myxochromide A and DKxanthene. Low production of SM in the wild type bacteria makes searching for production optimization methods highly desirable. Identification and induction of endogenous key molecular feature(s) regulating the production level of the metabolites remain promising, while heterologous expression of the biosynthetic genes is not always efficient because of various complicating factors including codon usage bias. This study established proteomic and molecular approaches to elucidate the regulatory roles of the ROK regulatory protein in the modification of secondary metabolite biosynthesis. Interestingly, the results revealed that rok inactivation significantly reduced the production of the SM and also changed the motility in the bacteria. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay using purified ROK protein indicated a direct enhancement of the promoters encoding transcription of the DKxanthene, myxochelin A, and myxalamide A biosynthesis machinery. Comparative proteomic analysis by two-dimensional fluorescence difference in-gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) was employed to identify the protein profiles of the wild type and rok mutant strains during early and late logarithmic growth phases of the bacterial culture. Resulting data demonstrated overall 130 differently altered proteins by the effect of the rok gene mutation, including putative proteins suspected to be involved in transcriptional regulation, carbohydrate metabolism, development, spore formation, and motility. Except for a slight induction seen in the production of myxovirescin A in a rok over-expression background, no changes were found in the formation of the other SM. From the outcome of our investigation, it is possible to conclude that ROK acts as a pleiotropic regulator of secondary metabolite formation and development in M. xanthus, while its direct effects still remain speculative. More experiments are required to elucidate in detail the variable regulation effects of the protein and to explore applicable approaches for generating valuable SM in this bacterium.
    • Multiplex profiling of inflammation-related bioactive lipid mediators in Toxocara canis- and Toxocara cati-induced neurotoxocarosis.

      Waindok, Patrick; Janecek-Erfurth, Elisabeth; Lindenwald, Dimitri; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Geffers, Robert; Balas, Laurence; Durand, Thierry; Rund, Katharina Maria; Schebb, Nils Helge; et al. (PLOS, 2019-09-01)
      BACKGROUND: Somatic migration of Toxocara canis- and T. cati-larvae in humans may cause neurotoxocarosis (NT) when larvae accumulate and persist in the central nervous system (CNS). Host- or parasite-induced immunoregulatory processes contribute to the pathogenesis; however, detailed data on involvement of bioactive lipid mediators, e.g. oxylipins or eico-/docosanoids, which are involved in the complex molecular signalling network during infection and inflammation, are lacking. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To elucidate if T. canis- and T. cati-induced NT affects the homeostasis of oxylipins during the course of infection, a comprehensive lipidomic profiling in brains (cerebra and cerebella) of experimentally infected C57BL/6J mice was conducted at six different time points post infection (pi) by liquid-chromatography coupled to electrospray tandem mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS/MS). Only minor changes were detected regarding pro-inflammatory prostaglandins (cyclooxygenase pathway). In contrast, a significant increase of metabolites resulting from lipoxygenase pathways was observed for both infection groups and brain regions, implicating a predominantly anti-inflammatory driven immune response. This observation was supported by a significantly increased 13-hydroxyoctadecadienoic acid (HODE)/9-HODE ratio during the subacute phase of infection, indicating an anti-inflammatory response to neuroinfection. Except for the specialised pro-resolving mediator (SPM) neuroprotectin D1 (NPD1), which was detected in mice infected with both pathogens during the subacute phase of infection, no other SPMs were detected. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The obtained results demonstrate the influence of Toxocara spp. on oxylipins as part of the immune response of the paratenic hosts. Furthermore, this study shows differences in the alteration of the oxylipin composition between T. canis- and T. cati-brain infection. Results contribute to a further understanding of the largely unknown pathogenesis and mechanisms of host-parasite interactions during NT.
    • Antiviral potential of human IFN-α subtypes against influenza A H3N2 infection in human lung explants reveals subtype-specific activities.

      Matos, Aline da Rocha; Wunderlich, Katharina; Schloer, Sebastian; Schughart, Klaus; Geffers, Robert; Seders, Martine; Witt, Marlous de; Christersson, Anmari; Wiewrodt, Rainer; Wiebe, Karsten; et al. (Taylor & Francis Open, 2019-01-01)
      Influenza is an acute respiratory infection causing high morbidity and mortality in annual outbreaks worldwide. Antiviral drugs are limited and pose the risk of resistance development, calling for new treatment options. IFN-α subtypes are immune-stimulatory cytokines with strong antiviral activities against IAV in vitro and in vivo. However, the clinical use of IFN-α2, the only licensed subtype of this multi-gene family, could not prevent or limit IAV infections in humans. However, the other subtypes were not investigated.Therefore, this study evaluated the induction and antiviral potential of all human IFN-α subtypes during H3N2 IAV infection in human lung explants. We found that subtypes with weak antiviral activities were preferentially induced during IAV infection in human lungs. Intriguingly, non-induced subtypes α16, α5 and α4 suppressed viral replication up to 230-fold more efficiently than α2. Furthermore, our results demonstrate that subtypes with stronger antiviral activities induce higher expression of IAV-specific restriction factors and that MxA expression is a determinant of the subtype-specific antiviral activity towards H3N2 IAV. These results corroborate that IFN-α subtypes exhibit differential antiviral activities and emphasize that subtypes α16, α5 and α4 should be further investigated for the prevention and treatment of severe infections with seasonal H3N2 IAV.
    • The endosomal Toll-like receptors 7 and 9 cooperate in detection of MHV68 infection.

      Bussey, Kendra A; Murthy, Sripriya; Reimer, Elisa; Chan, Baca; Hatesuer, Bastian; Schughart, Klaus; Glaunsinger, Britt; Adler, Heiko; Brinkmann, Melanie M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Amercan Society of Microbiology, 2018-11-14)
      Murine gammaherpesvirus 68 (MHV68) is an amenable small animal model for study of the human pathogens Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. Here, we have characterized the roles of the endosomal TLR escort protein UNC93B, endosomal TLR7, 9, and 13, and cell surface TLR2 in MHV68 detection. We found that the interferon α (IFNα) response of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) to MHV68 was reduced in Tlr9-/- cells compared to wildtype (WT), but not completely lost. Tlr7-/- pDC responded similarly to WT. However, we found that in Unc93b-/- pDC, as well as in Tlr7/Tlr9-/- double knockout pDC, the IFNα response to MHV68 was completely abolished. Thus, the only pattern recognition receptors contributing to the IFNα response to MHV68 in pDC are TLR7 and TLR9, but the contribution of TLR7 is masked by the presence of TLR9. To address the role of UNC93B and TLR for MHV68 infection in vivo, we infected mice with MHV68. Lytic replication of MHV68 after intravenous infection was enhanced in the lungs, spleen, and liver of UNC93B-deficient mice, in the spleen of TLR9-deficient mice, and in the liver and spleen of Tlr7/Tlr9-/- mice. The absence of TLR2 or TLR13 did not affect lytic viral titers. We then compared reactivation of MHV68 from latently infected WT, Unc93b-/-, Tlr7/Tlr9-/-, Tlr7-/-, and Tlr9-/- splenocytes. We observed enhanced reactivation and latent viral loads, particularly from Tlr7/Tlr9-/- splenocytes, compared to WT. Our data show that UNC93B- dependent TLR7 and TLR9 cooperate in and contribute to detection and control of MHV68 infection.
    • TMPRSS11A activates the influenza A virus hemagglutinin and the MERS coronavirus spike protein and is insensitive against blockade by HAI-1.

      Zmora, Pawel; Hoffmann, Markus; Kollmus, Heike; Moldenhauer, Anna-Sophie; Danov, Olga; Braun, Armin; Winkler, Michael; Schughart, Klaus; Pöhlmann, Stefan; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-07)
      The influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) facilitates viral entry into target cells. Cleavage of HA by host cell proteases is essential for viral infectivity, and the responsible enzymes are potential targets for antiviral intervention. The type II transmembrane serine protease (TTSP) TMPRSS2 has been identified as an HA activator in cell culture and in the infected host. However, it is less clear whether TMPRSS2-related enzymes can also activate HA for spread in target cells. Moreover, the activity of cellular serine protease inhibitors against HA-activating TTSPs is poorly understood. Here, we show that TMPRSS11A, another member of the TTSP family, cleaves and activates the influenza A virus (FLUAV) HA and the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus spike protein (MERS-S). Moreover, we demonstrate that TMPRSS11A is expressed in murine tracheal epithelium, which is a target of FLUAV infection, and in human trachea, suggesting that the protease could support FLUAV spread in patients. Finally, we show that HA activation by the TMPRSS11A-related enzymes human airway tryptase and DESC1, but not TMPRSS11A itself, is blocked by the cellular serine protease inhibitor hepatocyte growth factor activator inhibitor type-1 (HAI-1). Our results suggest that TMPRSS11A could promote FLUAV spread in target cells and that HA-activating TTSPs exhibit differential sensitivity to blockade by cellular serine protease inhibitors.
    • Exchange of amino acids in the H1-haemagglutinin to H3 residues is required for efficient influenza A virus replication and pathology in Tmprss2 knock-out mice.

      Lambertz, Ruth L O; Pippel, Jan; Gerhauser, Ingo; Kollmus, Heike; Anhlan, Darisuren; Hrincius, Eike R; Krausze, Joern; Kühn, Nora; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-09-01)
      The haemagglutinin (HA) of H1N1 and H3N2 influenza A virus (IAV) subtypes has to be activated by host proteases. Previous studies showed that H1N1 virus cannot replicate efficiently in Tmprss2/ knock-out mice whereas H3N2 viruses are able to replicate to the same levels in Tmprss2/ as in wild type (WT) mice. Here, we investigated the sequence requirements for the HA molecule that allow IAV to replicate efficiently in the absence of TMPRSS2. We showed that replacement of the H3 for the H1-loop sequence (amino acids 320 to 329, at the C-terminus of HA1) was not sufficient for equal levels of virus replication or severe pathology in Tmprss2/ knock-out mice compared to WT mice. However, exchange of a distant amino acid from H1 to H3 sequence (E31D) in addition to the HA-loop substitution resulted in virus replication in Tmprss2/ knockout mice that was comparable to WT mice. The higher virus replication and lung damage was associated with increased epithelial damage and higher mortality. Our results provide further evidence and insights into host proteases as a promising target for therapeutic intervention of IAV infections.
    • Of mice and men: the host response to influenza virus infection.

      Kollmus, Heike; Pilzner, Carolin; Leist, Sarah R; Heise, Mark; Geffers, Robert; Schughart, Klaus; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-01)
      Influenza virus (IV) infections represent a very serious public health problem. At present, no established biomarkers exist to support diagnosis for respiratory viral infections and more importantly for severe IV disease. Studies in animal models are extremely important to understand the biological, genetic, and environmental factors that contribute to severe IV disease and to validate biomarker candidates from human studies. However, mouse human cross-species comparisons are often compromised by the fact that animal studies concentrate on the infected lungs, whereas in humans almost all studies use peripheral blood from patients. In addition, human studies do not consider genetic background as variable although human populations are genetically very diverse. Therefore, in this study, we performed a cross-species gene expression study of the peripheral blood from human patients and from the highly genetically diverse Collaborative Cross (CC) mouse population after IV infection. Our results demonstrate that changes of gene expression in individual genes are highly similar in mice and humans. The top-regulated genes in humans were also differentially regulated in mice. We conclude that the mouse is a highly valuable in vivo model system to validate and to discover gene candidates which can be used as biomarkers in humans. Furthermore, mouse studies allow confirmation of findings in humans in a well-controlled experimental system adding enormous value to the understanding of expression and function of human candidate genes.
    • Absence of regulator of G-protein signaling 4 does not protect against dopamine neuron dysfunction and injury in the mouse 6-hydroxydopamine lesion model of Parkinson's disease.

      Ashrafi, Amer; Garcia, Pierre; Kollmus, Heike; Schughart, Klaus; Del Sol, Antonio; Buttini, Manuel; Glaab, Enrico; HelmholtzCentre of infetion research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-19)
      Regulator of G-protein signaling 4 (RGS4), a member of the RGS family of proteins that inactivate G-proteins, has gained interest as a potential drug target for neurological disorders, such as epilepsy and Parkinson's disease (PD). In the case of PD, the main current options for alleviating motor symptoms are dopamine replacement therapies, which have limitations because of side effects and reduced effectiveness over the long term. Research on new nondopaminergic PD drug targets has indicated that inhibition of RGS4 could be an effective adjuvant treatment option. The effectiveness of RGS4 inhibition for an array of PD-linked functional and structural neuroprotection end points has not yet been demonstrated. Here, we use the 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) lesioning model of the nigrostriatal pathway in mice to address this question. We observe, using a battery of behavioral and pathological measures, that mice deficient for RGS4 are not protected from 6-OHDA-induced injury and show enhanced susceptibility in some measures of motor function. Our results suggest that inhibition of RGS4 as a nondopaminergic target for PD should be approached with caution.
    • Mutations during the Adaptation of H9N2 Avian Influenza Virus to the Respiratory Epithelium of Pigs Enhance Sialic Acid Binding Activity and Virulence in Mice.

      Yang, W; Punyadarsaniya, D; Lambertz, R L O; Lee, D C C; Liang, C H; Höper, D; Leist, S R; Hernández-Cáceres, A; Stech, J; Beer, M; et al. (2017-04-15)
      The natural reservoir for influenza viruses is waterfowl, and from there they succeeded in crossing the barrier to different mammalian species. We analyzed the adaptation of avian influenza viruses to a mammalian host by passaging an H9N2 strain three times in differentiated swine airway epithelial cells. Using precision-cut slices from the porcine lung to passage the parental virus, isolates from each of the three passages (P1 to P3) were characterized by assessing growth curves and ciliostatic effects. The only difference noted was an increased growth kinetics of the P3 virus. Sequence analysis revealed four mutations: one each in the PB2 and NS1 proteins and two in the HA protein. The HA mutations, A190V and T212I, were characterized by generating recombinant viruses containing either one or both amino acid exchanges. Whereas the parental virus recognized α2,3-linked sialic acids preferentially, the HA190 mutant bound to a broad spectrum of glycans with α2,6/8/9-linked sialic acids. The HA212 mutant alone differed only slightly from the parental virus; however, the combination of both mutations (HA190+HA212) increased the binding affinity to those glycans recognized by the HA190 mutant. Remarkably, only the HA double mutant showed a significantly increased pathogenicity in mice. In contrast, none of those mutations affected the ciliary activity of the epithelial cells which is characteristic for virulent swine influenza viruses. Taken together, our results indicate that shifts in the HA receptor affinity are just an early adaptation step of avian H9N2 strains; further mutational changes may be required to become virulent for pigs.IMPORTANCESwine play an important role in the interspecies transmission of influenza viruses. Avian influenza A viruses (IAV) of the H9N2 subtype have successfully infected hosts from different species but have not established a stable lineage. We have analyzed the adaptation of IAV-H9N2 virus to target cells of a new host by passaging the virus three times in differentiated porcine respiratory epithelial cells. Among the four mutations detected, the two HA mutations were analyzed by generating recombinant viruses. Depending on the infection system used, the mutations differed in their phenotypic expression, e.g., sialic acid binding activity, replication kinetics, plaque size, and pathogenicity in inbred mice. However, none of the mutations affected the ciliary activity which serves as a virulence marker. Thus, early adaptive mutation enhances the replication kinetics, but more mutations are required for IAV of the H9N2 subtype to become virulent.
    • Deletion of Irf3 and Irf7 Genes in Mice Results in Altered Interferon Pathway Activation and Granulocyte-Dominated Inflammatory Responses to Influenza A Infection.

      Hatesuer, Bastian; Hoang, Hang Thi Thu; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Gerhauser, Ingo; Elbahesh, Husni; Geffers, Robert; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The interferon (IFN) pathway plays an essential role in the innate immune response following viral infections and subsequent shaping of adaptive immunity. Infections with influenza A viruses (IAV) activate the IFN pathway after the recognition of pathogen-specific molecular patterns by respective pattern recognition receptors. The IFN regulatory factors IRF3 and IRF7 are key players in the regulation of type I and III IFN genes. In this study, we analyzed the role of IRF3 and IRF7 for the host response to IAV infections in Irf3-/-, Irf7-/-, and Irf3-/-Irf7-/- knockout mice. While the absence of IRF3 had only a moderate impact on IFN expression, deletion of IRF7 completely abolished IFNα production after infection. In contrast, lack of both IRF3 and IRF7 resulted in the absence of both IFNα and IFNβ after IAV infection. In addition, IAV infection of double knockout mice resulted in a strong increase of mortality associated with a massive influx of granulocytes in the lung and reduced activation of the adaptive immune response.
    • Host Genetic Background Strongly Affects Pulmonary microRNA Expression before and during Influenza A Virus Infection.

      Preusse, Matthias; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank (2017)
      Expression of host microRNAs (miRNAs) changes markedly during influenza A virus (IAV) infection of natural and adaptive hosts, but their role in genetically determined host susceptibility to IAV infection has not been explored. We, therefore, compared pulmonary miRNA expression during IAV infection in two inbred mouse strains with differential susceptibility to IAV infection.
    • Genetically diverse CC-founder mouse strains replicate the human influenza gene expression signature.

      Elbahesh, Husni; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05-19)
      Influenza A viruses (IAV) are zoonotic pathogens that pose a major threat to human and animal health. Influenza virus disease severity is influenced by viral virulence factors as well as individual differences in host response. We analyzed gene expression changes in the blood of infected mice using a previously defined set of signature genes that was derived from changes in the blood transcriptome of IAV-infected human volunteers. We found that the human signature was reproduced well in the founder strains of the Collaborative Cross (CC) mice, thus demonstrating the relevance and importance of mouse experimental model systems for studying human influenza disease.
    • The proteolytic activation of A (H3N2) Influenza virus hemagglutinin is facilitated by different type II transmembrane serine proteases.

      Kühn, Nora; Bergmann, Silke; Kasnitz, Nadine; Lambertz, Ruth L O; Keppner, Anna; van den Brand, Judith M A; Pöhlmann, Stefan; Weiß, Siegfried; Hummler, Edith; Hatesuer, Bastian; et al. (2016-02-17)
      Cleavage of influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) by host cell proteases is necessary for viral activation and infectivity. In humans and mice, members of the type II transmembrane protease family (TTSP), e.g. TMPRSS2, TMPRSS4 and TMPRSS11d (HAT), have been shown to cleave influenza virus HA for viral activation and infectivity in vitro. Recently, we reported that inactivation of a single HA-activating protease gene, Tmprss2, in knock-out mice inhibits spread of H1N1 influenza viruses. However, after infection of Tmprss2 knock-out mice with H3N2 only a slight increase was observed in survival and mice still lost body weight. In this study, we investigated an additional trypsin-like protease, TMPRSS4. Both TMPRSS2 and TMPRSS4 are expressed in the same cell types of the mouse lung. Deletion of Tmprss4 alone in knock-out mice does not protect them from body weight loss and death upon infection with H3N2 influenza virus. In contrast, Tmprss2(-/-)Tmprss4(-/-) double knock-out mice showed a remarkably reduced virus spread and lung pathology in addition to reduced body weight loss and mortality. Thus, our results identified TMPRSS4 as a second host cell protease that, in addition to TMPRSS2, is able to activate the HA of H3N2 influenza virus HA in vivo.
    • TLR8 regulation of LILRA3 in monocytes is abrogated in human immunodeficiency virus infection and correlates to CD4 counts and virus loads.

      Low, Hui Zhi; Ahrenstorf, Gerrit; Pommerenke, Claudia; Habermann, Nadine; Schughart, Klaus; Ordóñez, David; Stripecke, Renata; Wilk, Esther; Witte, Torsten; Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, Hannover Medical School, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625, Hannover, Germany. (2016)
      LILRA3 is an immunostimulatory molecule which can conditionally induce the proliferation of cytotoxic cells. LILRA3 has a deletion genotype which is associated with multiple immune disorders. In this study, we wanted to analyze the regulation of LILRA3 and its significance in the context of HIV infection.
    • Lst1 deficiency has a minor impact on course and outcome of the host response to influenza A H1N1 infections in mice.

      Leist, Sarah R; Kollmus, Heike; Hatesuer, Bastian; Lambertz, Ruth L O; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Previously, we performed a quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping study in BXD recombinant inbred mice to identify host genetic factors that confer resistance to influenza A virus infection. We found Lst1 (leukocyte specific transcript 1) as one of the most promising candidate genes in the Qivr17-2 locus because it is non-functional in DBA/2 J mice. Several studies have proposed that LST1 plays a role in the immune response to inflammatory diseases in humans and has additional immune-regulatory functions. Here, we evaluated the relevance of LST1 for the host response to influenza A infection in B6-Lst1 (-/-) mutant mice.
    • Respiratory Mucosal Proteome Quantification in Human Influenza Infections.

      Marion, Tony; Elbahesh, Husni; Thomas, Paul G; DeVincenzo, John P; Webby, Richard; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Respiratory influenza virus infections represent a serious threat to human health. Underlying medical conditions and genetic make-up predispose some influenza patients to more severe forms of disease. To date, only a few studies have been performed in patients to correlate a selected group of cytokines and chemokines with influenza infection. Therefore, we evaluated the potential of a novel multiplex micro-proteomics technology, SOMAscan, to quantify proteins in the respiratory mucosa of influenza A and B infected individuals. The analysis included but was not limited to quantification of cytokines and chemokines detected in previous studies. SOMAscan quantified more than 1,000 secreted proteins in small nasal wash volumes from infected and healthy individuals. Our results illustrate the utility of micro-proteomic technology for analysis of proteins in small volumes of respiratory mucosal samples. Furthermore, when we compared nasal wash samples from influenza-infected patients with viral load ≥ 28 and increased IL-6 and CXCL10 to healthy controls, we identified 162 differentially-expressed proteins between the two groups. This number greatly exceeds the number of DEPs identified in previous studies in human influenza patients. Most of the identified proteins were associated with the host immune response to infection, and changes in protein levels of 151 of the DEPs were significantly correlated with viral load. Most important, SOMAscan identified differentially expressed proteins heretofore not associated with respiratory influenza infection in humans. Our study is the first report for the use of SOMAscan to screen nasal secretions. It establishes a precedent for micro-proteomic quantification of proteins that reflect ongoing response to respiratory infection.
    • Influenza H3N2 infection of the collaborative cross founder strains reveals highly divergent host responses and identifies a unique phenotype in CAST/EiJ mice.

      Leist, Sarah R; Pilzner, Carolin; van den Brand, Judith M A; Dengler, Leonie; Geffers, Robert; Kuiken, Thijs; Balling, Rudi; Kollmus, Heike; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research (HZI), Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Influenza A virus is a zoonotic pathogen that poses a major threat to human and animal health. The severe course of influenza infection is not only influenced by viral virulence factors but also by individual differences in the host response. To determine the extent to which the genetic background can modulate severity of an infection, we studied the host responses to influenza infections in the eight genetically highly diverse Collaborative Cross (CC) founder mouse strains.
    • Health trajectories reveal the dynamic contributions of host genetic resistance and tolerance to infection outcome.

      Lough, Graham; Kyriazakis, Ilias; Bergmann, Silke; Lengeling, Andreas; Doeschl-Wilson, Andrea B; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr.7, 28124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-11-22)
      Resistance and tolerance are two alternative strategies hosts can adopt to survive infections. Both strategies may be genetically controlled. To date, the relative contribution of resistance and tolerance to infection outcome is poorly understood. Here, we use a bioluminescent Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) infection challenge model to study the genetic determination and dynamic contributions of host resistance and tolerance to listeriosis in four genetically diverse mouse strains. Using conventional statistical analyses, we detect significant genetic variation in both resistance and tolerance, but cannot capture the time-dependent relative importance of either host strategy. We overcome these limitations through the development of novel statistical tools to analyse individual infection trajectories portraying simultaneous changes in infection severity and health. Based on these tools, early expression of resistance followed by expression of tolerance emerge as important hallmarks for surviving Lm infections. Our trajectory analysis further reveals that survivors and non-survivors follow distinct infection paths (which are also genetically determined) and provides new survival thresholds as objective endpoints in infection experiments. Future studies may use trajectories as novel traits for mapping and identifying genes that control infection dynamics and outcome. A Matlab script for user-friendly trajectory analysis is provided.
    • Protection from Severe Influenza Virus Infections in Mice Carrying the Mx1 Influenza Virus Resistance Gene Strongly Depends on Genetic Background.

      Shin, Dai-Lun; Hatesuer, Bastian; Bergmann, Silke; Nedelko, Tatiana; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-10)
      Influenza virus infections represent a serious threat to human health. Both extrinsic and intrinsic factors determine the severity of influenza. The MX dynamin-like GTPase 1 (Mx1) gene has been shown to confer strong resistance to influenza A virus infections in mice. Most laboratory mouse strains, including C57BL/6J, carry nonsense or deletion mutations in Mx1 and thus a nonfunctional allele, whereas wild-derived mouse strains carry a wild-type Mx1 allele. Congenic C57BL/6J (B6-Mx1(r/r)) mice expressing a wild-type allele from the A2G mouse strain are highly resistant to influenza A virus infections, to both mono- and polybasic subtypes. Furthermore, in genetic mapping studies, Mx1 was identified as the major locus of resistance to influenza virus infections. Here, we investigated whether the Mx1 protective function is influenced by the genetic background. For this, we generated a congenic mouse strain carrying the A2G wild-type Mx1 resistance allele on a DBA/2J background (D2-Mx1(r/r)). Most remarkably, congenic D2-Mx1(r/r) mice expressing a functional Mx1 wild-type allele are still highly susceptible to H1N1 virus. However, pretreatment of D2-Mx1(r/r) mice with alpha interferon protected them from lethal infections. Our results showed, for the first time, that the presence of an Mx1 wild-type allele from A2G as such does not fully protect mice from lethal influenza A virus infections. These observations are also highly relevant for susceptibility to influenza virus infections in humans.