• RNAseq expression analysis of resistant and susceptible mice after influenza A virus infection identifies novel genes associated with virus replication and important for host resistance to infection.

      Wilk, Esther; Pandey, Ashutosh K; Leist, Sarah Rebecca; Hatesuer, Bastian; Preusse, Matthias; Pommerenke, Claudia; Wang, Junxi; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz Centre for Infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      The host response to influenza A infections is strongly influenced by host genetic factors. Animal models of genetically diverse mouse strains are well suited to identify host genes involved in severe pathology, viral replication and immune responses. Here, we have utilized a dual RNAseq approach that allowed us to investigate both viral and host gene expression in the same individual mouse after H1N1 infection.
    • Hematological parameters in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in differentially susceptible inbred mouse strains.

      Preusse, Matthias; Schughart, Klaus; Wilk, Esther; Klawonn, Frank; Pessler, Frank; Helmholz Centre for Infection Research (2015)
      Hematological parameters have not received much attention in small animal models of infection, particularly at very early time points. We therefore studied changes in leukocyte and thrombocyte numbers in a mouse model of influenza A virus (IAV) infection, including measurements within the first 24 h after infection, and also assessing effects, if any, of the infection/anesthesia procedure on these parameters.
    • Cellular changes in blood indicate severe respiratory disease during influenza infections in mice.

      Dengler, Leonie; Kühn, Nora; Shin, Dai-Lun; Hatesuer, Bastian; Schughart, Klaus; Wilk, Esther (2014)
      Influenza A infection is a serious threat to human and animal health. Many of the biological mechanisms of the host-pathogen-interactions are still not well understood and reliable biomarkers indicating the course of the disease are missing. The mouse is a valuable model system enabling us to study the local inflammatory host response and the influence on blood parameters under controlled circumstances. Here, we compared the lung and peripheral changes after PR8 (H1N1) influenza A virus infection in C57BL/6J and DBA/2J mice using virus variants of different pathogenicity resulting in non-lethal and lethal disease. We monitored hematological and immunological parameters revealing that the granulocyte to lymphocyte ratio in the blood represents an early indicator of severe disease progression already two days after influenza A infection in mice. These findings might be relevant to optimize early diagnostic options of severe influenza disease and to monitor successful therapeutic treatment in humans.
    • Systems genetics of liver fibrosis: identification of fibrogenic and expression quantitative trait loci in the BXD murine reference population.

      Hall, Rabea A; Liebe, Roman; Hochrath, Katrin; Kazakov, Andrey; Alberts, Rudi; Laufs, Ulrich; Böhm, Michael; Fischer, Hans-Peter; Williams, Robert W; Schughart, Klaus; et al. (2014)
      The progression of liver fibrosis in response to chronic injury varies considerably among individual patients. The underlying genetics is highly complex due to large numbers of potential genes, environmental factors and cell types involved. Here, we provide the first toxicogenomic analysis of liver fibrosis induced by carbon tetrachloride in the murine 'genetic reference panel' of recombinant inbred BXD lines. Our aim was to define the core of risk genes and gene interaction networks that control fibrosis progression. Liver fibrosis phenotypes and gene expression profiles were determined in 35 BXD lines. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis identified seven genomic loci influencing fibrosis phenotypes (pQTLs) with genome-wide significance on chromosomes 4, 5, 7, 12, and 17. Stepwise refinement was based on expression QTL mapping with stringent selection criteria, reducing the number of 1,351 candidate genes located in the pQTLs to a final list of 11 cis-regulated genes. Our findings demonstrate that the BXD reference population represents a powerful experimental resource for shortlisting the genes within a regulatory network that determine the liver's vulnerability to chronic injury.
    • In vivo knockdown of Piccolino disrupts presynaptic ribbon morphology in mouse photoreceptor synapses.

      Regus-Leidig, Hanna; Fuchs, Michaela; Löhner, Martina; Leist, Sarah R; Leal-Ortiz, Sergio; Chiodo, Vince A; Hauswirth, William W; Garner, Craig C; Brandstätter, Johann H (2014)
      Piccolo is the largest known cytomatrix protein at active zones of chemical synapses. A growing number of studies on conventional chemical synapses assign Piccolo a role in the recruitment and integration of molecules relevant for both endo- and exocytosis of synaptic vesicles, the dynamic assembly of presynaptic F-actin, as well as the proteostasis of presynaptic proteins, yet a direct function in the structural organization of the active zone has not been uncovered in part due to the expression of multiple alternatively spliced isoforms. We recently identified Piccolino, a Piccolo splice variant specifically expressed in sensory ribbon synapses of the eye and ear. Here we down regulated Piccolino in vivo via an adeno-associated virus-based RNA interference approach and explored the impact on the presynaptic structure of mouse photoreceptor ribbon synapses. Detailed immunocytochemical light and electron microscopical analysis of Piccolino knockdown in photoreceptors revealed a hitherto undescribed photoreceptor ribbon synaptic phenotype with striking morphological changes of synaptic ribbon ultrastructure.
    • Infection- and procedure-dependent effects on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in mice

      Preusse, Matthias; Tantawy, Mohamed A; Klawonn, Frank; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank (2013-12-17)
      Abstract Background Investigating the host response in the early stage of influenza A virus (IAV) infection is of considerable interest. However, it is conceivable that effects due to the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure might introduce artifacts. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of anesthesia and/or intranasal infection on transcription of selected pulmonary mRNAs in two inbred mouse strains with differential susceptibility to IAV infection. Results DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice were evaluated in a time course experiment in which lung tissue was sampled after 6, 12, 18, 24, 48 and 120 h. After anesthesia with ketamine and xylazine, a suspension of mouse-adapted IAV strain PR8_Mun in 20 μl sterile buffer, or 20 μl sterile buffer only, was instilled intranasally. The mice receiving anesthesia and PBS only were designated the “mock treatment” group. Pulmonary expression of 10 host mRNAs (Fos, Retnla, Irg1, Il6, Il1b, Cxcl10, Stat1, Ifng, Ifnl2, and Mx1) and viral hemagglutinin (HA) mRNA were determined at the designated time points. As expected, weight loss and viral replication were greater in the DBA/2J strain (which is more susceptible to IAV infection). Four mRNAs (Retnla, Irg1, Il6, and Cxcl10) were procedure-dependently regulated in DBA/2J mice between 6 and 24 h, and two (Retnla and Il6) in C57BL/6J mice, although to a lesser extent. All 10 mRNAs rose after infection, but one (Fos) only in DBA/2J mice. These infection-dependent effects could be separated from procedure-dependent effects beginning around 12 h in DBA/2J and 18 h in C57BL/6J mice. The interferon-related mRNAs Stat1, Ifng, Infl2, and Mx1 were unaffected by mock treatment in either mouse strain. Mx1 and Infl2 correlated best with HA mRNA expression (r = 0.97 and 0.93, respectively, in DBA/2J). Conclusions These results demonstrate effects of the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure on pulmonary gene expression, which are detectable between approximately 6 and 24 h post procedure and vary in intensity and temporal evolution depending on the mouse strain used. Mock infection controls should be included in all studies on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of infection with IAV and, likely, other respiratory pathogens.
    • Tmprss2 Is Essential for Influenza H1N1 Virus Pathogenesis in Mice

      Hatesuer, Bastian; Bertram, Stephanie; Mehnert, Nora; Bahgat, Mahmoud M.; Nelson, Peter S.; Pöhlman, Stefan; Schughart, Klaus; Basler, Christopher F.; Infectiongenetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2013-12-10)
    • Eine innovative Mauspopulation als genetisches Modell für den Menschen

      Leist, Sarah; Kollmus, Heike; Pilzner, Carolin; Schughart, Klaus; Infektionsgenetic, Hemholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38125Braunschweig (2013-11-21)
    • OLYMPUS: An automated hybrid clustering method in time series gene expression. Case study: Host response after Influenza A (H1N1) infection

      Dimitrakopoulou, Konstantina; Vrahatis, Aristidis G.; Wilk, Esther; Tsakalidis, Athanasios K.; Bezerianos, Anastasios (2013-10-31)
    • A comparative phenotypic and genomic analysis of C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N mouse strains

      Simon, Michelle M; Greenaway, Simon; White, Jacqueline K; Fuchs, Helmut; Gailus-Durner, Valérie; Wells, Sara; Sorg, Tania; Wong, Kim; Bedu, Elodie; Cartwright, Elizabeth J; et al. (2013-07-31)
      Abstract Background The mouse inbred line C57BL/6J is widely used in mouse genetics and its genome has been incorporated into many genetic reference populations. More recently large initiatives such as the International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC) are using the C57BL/6N mouse strain to generate null alleles for all mouse genes. Hence both strains are now widely used in mouse genetics studies. Here we perform a comprehensive genomic and phenotypic analysis of the two strains to identify differences that may influence their underlying genetic mechanisms. Results We undertake genome sequence comparisons of C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N to identify SNPs, indels and structural variants, with a focus on identifying all coding variants. We annotate 34 SNPs and 2 indels that distinguish C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N coding sequences, as well as 15 structural variants that overlap a gene. In parallel we assess the comparative phenotypes of the two inbred lines utilizing the EMPReSSslim phenotyping pipeline, a broad based assessment encompassing diverse biological systems. We perform additional secondary phenotyping assessments to explore other phenotype domains and to elaborate phenotype differences identified in the primary assessment. We uncover significant phenotypic differences between the two lines, replicated across multiple centers, in a number of physiological, biochemical and behavioral systems. Conclusions Comparison of C57BL/6J and C57BL/6N demonstrates a range of phenotypic differences that have the potential to impact upon penetrance and expressivity of mutational effects in these strains. Moreover, the sequence variants we identify provide a set of candidate genes for the phenotypic differences observed between the two strains.
    • The bioluminescent Listeria monocytogenes strain Xen32 is defective in flagella expression and highly attenuated in orally infected BALB/cJ mice

      Bergmann, Silke; Rohde, Manfred; Schughart, Klaus; Lengeling, Andreas (2013-07-15)
      Abstract Background In vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a powerful method for the analysis of host-pathogen interactions in small animal models. The commercially available bioluminescent Listeria monocytogenes strain Xen32 is commonly used to analyse immune functions in knockout mice and pathomechanisms of listeriosis. Findings To analyse and image listerial dissemination after oral infection we have generated a murinised Xen32 strain (Xen32-mur) which expresses a previously described mouse-adapted internalin A. This strain was used alongside the Xen32 wild type strain and the bioluminescent L. monocytogenes strains EGDe-lux and murinised EGDe-mur-lux to characterise bacterial dissemination in orally inoculated BALB/cJ mice. After four days of infection, Xen32 and Xen32-mur infected mice displayed consistently higher rates of bioluminescence compared to EGDe-lux and EGDe-mur-lux infected animals. However, surprisingly both Xen32 strains showed attenuated virulence in orally infected BALB/c mice that correlated with lower bacterial burden in internal organs at day 5 post infection, smaller losses in body weights and increased survival compared to EGDe-lux or EGDe-mur-lux inoculated animals. The Xen32 strain was made bioluminescent by integration of a lux-kan transposon cassette into the listerial flaA locus. We show here that this integration results in Xen32 in a flaA frameshift mutation which makes this strain flagella deficient. Conclusions The bioluminescent L. monocytogenes strain Xen32 is deficient in flagella expression and highly attenuated in orally infected BALB/c mice. As this listerial strain has been used in many BLI studies of murine listeriosis, it is important that the scientific community is aware of its reduced virulence in vivo.
    • ATR-FTIR spectroscopy reveals genomic loci regulating the tissue response in high fat diet fed BXD recombinant inbred mouse strains

      Dogan, Ayca; Lasch, Peter; Neuschl, Christina; Millrose, Marion K; Alberts, Rudi; Schughart, Klaus; Naumann, Dieter; Brockmann, Gudrun A (2013-06-10)
      Abstract Background Obesity-associated organ-specific pathological states can be ensued from the dysregulation of the functions of the adipose tissues, liver and muscle. However, the influence of genetic differences underlying gross-compositional differences in these tissues is largely unknown. In the present study, the analytical method of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy has been combined with a genetic approach to identify genetic differences responsible for phenotypic alterations in adipose, liver and muscle tissues. Results Mice from 29 BXD recombinant inbred mouse strains were put on high fat diet and gross-compositional changes in adipose, liver and muscle tissues were measured by ATR-FTIR spectroscopy. The analysis of genotype-phenotype correlations revealed significant quantitative trait loci (QTL) on chromosome 12 for the content of fat and collagen, collagen integrity, and the lipid to protein ratio in adipose tissue and on chromosome 17 for lipid to protein ratio in liver. Using gene expression and sequence information, we suggest Rsad2 (viperin) and Colec11 (collectin-11) on chromosome 12 as potential quantitative trait candidate genes. Rsad2 may act as a modulator of lipid droplet contents and lipid biosynthesis; Colec11 might play a role in apoptopic cell clearance and maintenance of adipose tissue. An increased level of Rsad2 transcripts in adipose tissue of DBA/2J compared to C57BL/6J mice suggests a cis-acting genetic variant leading to differential gene activation. Conclusion The results demonstrate that the analytical method of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy effectively contributed to decompose the macromolecular composition of tissues that accumulate fat and to link this information with genetic determinants. The candidate genes in the QTL regions may contribute to obesity-related diseases in humans, in particular if the results can be verified in a bigger BXD cohort.
    • Influence of internalin a murinisation on host resistance to orally acquired listeriosis in mice

      Bergmann, Silke; Beard, Philippa M; Pasche, Bastian; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Gahan, Cormac G M; Schughart, Klaus; Lengeling, Andreas (2013-04-23)
      Abstract Background The bacterial surface protein internalin (InlA) is a major virulence factor of the food-born pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. It plays a critical role in the bacteria crossing the host intestinal barrier by a species-specific interaction with the cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. In mice, the interaction of InlA with murine E-cadherin is impaired due to sequence-specific binding incompatibilities. We have previously used the approach of ‘murinisation’ to establish an oral listeriosis infection model in mice by exchanging two amino acid residues in InlA. This dramatically increases binding to mouse E-cadherin. In the present study, we have used bioluminescent murinised and non-murinised Listeria strains to examine the spatiotemporal dissemination of Listeria in four diverse mouse genetic backgrounds after oral inoculation. Results The murinised Listeria monocytogenes strain showed enhanced invasiveness and induced more severe infections in all four investigated mouse inbred strains compared to the non-murinised Listeria strain. We identified C57BL/6J mice as being most resistant to orally acquired listeriosis whereas C3HeB/FeJ, A/J and BALB/cJ mice were found to be most susceptible to infection. This was reflected in faster kinetics of Listeria dissemination, higher bacterial loads in internal organs, and elevated serum levels of IL-6, IFN-γ, TNF-α and CCL2 in the susceptible strains as compared to the resistant C57BL/6J strain. Importantly, murinisation of InlA did not cause enhanced invasion of Listeria monocytogenes into the brain. Conclusion Murinised Listeria are able to efficiently cross the intestinal barrier in mice from diverse genetic backgrounds. However, expression of murinized InlA does not enhance listerial brain invasion suggesting that crossing of the blood brain barrier and crossing of the intestinal epithelium are achieved by Listeria monocytogenes through different molecular mechanisms.
    • ATR-FTIR spectroscopy reveals genomic loci regulating the tissue response in high fat diet fed BXD recombinant inbred mouse strains.

      Lasch, Peter; Neuschl, Christina; Millrose, Marion K; Alberts, Rudi; Schughart, Klaus; Naumann, Dieter; Brockmann, Gudrun A; Department for Crop and Animal Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstraße 42, 10115, Berlin, Germany. (2013)
      Obesity-associated organ-specific pathological states can be ensued from the dysregulation of the functions of the adipose tissues, liver and muscle. However, the influence of genetic differences underlying gross-compositional differences in these tissues is largely unknown. In the present study, the analytical method of ATR-FTIR spectroscopy has been combined with a genetic approach to identify genetic differences responsible for phenotypic alterations in adipose, liver and muscle tissues.
    • The bioluminescent Listeria monocytogenes strain Xen32 is defective in flagella expression and highly attenuated in orally infected BALB/cJ mice.

      Bergmann, Silke; Rohde, Manfred; Schughart, Klaus; Lengeling, Andreas; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      In vivo bioluminescence imaging (BLI) is a powerful method for the analysis of host-pathogen interactions in small animal models. The commercially available bioluminescent Listeria monocytogenes strain Xen32 is commonly used to analyse immune functions in knockout mice and pathomechanisms of listeriosis.
    • PLAU inferred from a correlation network is critical for suppressor function of regulatory T cells.

      He, Feng; Chen, Hairong; Probst-Kepper, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Eifes, Serge; Del Sol, Antonio; Schughart, Klaus; Zeng, An-Ping; Balling, Rudi; 1] Department of Infection Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Braunschweig, Germany [2] Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine (LCSB), University of Luxembourg, Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg. (2012-11-20)
      Human FOXP3(+)CD25(+)CD4(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential to the maintenance of immune homeostasis. Several genes are known to be important for murine Tregs, but for human Tregs the genes and underlying molecular networks controlling the suppressor function still largely remain unclear. Here, we describe a strategy to identify the key genes directly from an undirected correlation network which we reconstruct from a very high time-resolution (HTR) transcriptome during the activation of human Tregs/CD4(+) T-effector cells. We show that a predicted top-ranked new key gene PLAU (the plasminogen activator urokinase) is important for the suppressor function of both human and murine Tregs. Further analysis unveils that PLAU is particularly important for memory Tregs and that PLAU mediates Treg suppressor function via STAT5 and ERK signaling pathways. Our study demonstrates the potential for identifying novel key genes for complex dynamic biological processes using a network strategy based on HTR data, and reveals a critical role for PLAU in Treg suppressor function.
    • Genome sequence of the homoacetogenic bacterium Holophaga foetida type strain (TMBS4(T)).

      Anderson, Iain; Held, Brittany; Lapidus, Alla; Nolan, Matt; Lucas, Susan; Tice, Hope; Del Rio, Tijana Glavina; Cheng, Jan-Fang; Han, Cliff; Tapia, Roxanne; et al. (2012-05-25)
      Holophaga foetida Liesack et al. 1995 is a member of the phylum Acidobacteria and is of interest for its ability to anaerobically degrade aromatic compounds and for its production of volatile sulfur compounds through a unique pathway. The genome of H. foetida strain TMBS4(T) is the first to be sequenced for a representative of the class Holophagae. Here we describe the features of this organism, together with the complete genome sequence (improved high quality draft), and annotation. The 4,127,237 bp long chromosome with its 3,615 protein-coding and 57 RNA genes is a part of the Genomic Encyclopedia of Bacteria and Archaea project.
    • Bioinformatics tools and database resources for systems genetics analysis in mice--a short review and an evaluation of future needs.

      Durrant, Caroline; Swertz, Morris A; Alberts, Rudi; Arends, Danny; Möller, Steffen; Mott, Richard; Prins, Pjotr; van der Velde, K Joeri; Jansen, Ritsert C; Schughart, Klaus; et al. (2012-03)
      During a meeting of the SYSGENET working group 'Bioinformatics', currently available software tools and databases for systems genetics in mice were reviewed and the needs for future developments discussed. The group evaluated interoperability and performed initial feasibility studies. To aid future compatibility of software and exchange of already developed software modules, a strong recommendation was made by the group to integrate HAPPY and R/qtl analysis toolboxes, GeneNetwork and XGAP database platforms, and TIQS and xQTL processing platforms. R should be used as the principal computer language for QTL data analysis in all platforms and a 'cloud' should be used for software dissemination to the community. Furthermore, the working group recommended that all data models and software source code should be made visible in public repositories to allow a coordinated effort on the use of common data structures and file formats.
    • The genome architecture of the Collaborative Cross mouse genetic reference population.

      The Collaborative Cross Consortium reports here on the development of a unique genetic resource population. The Collaborative Cross (CC) is a multiparental recombinant inbred panel derived from eight laboratory mouse inbred strains. Breeding of the CC lines was initiated at multiple international sites using mice from The Jackson Laboratory. Currently, this innovative project is breeding independent CC lines at the University of North Carolina (UNC), at Tel Aviv University (TAU), and at Geniad in Western Australia (GND). These institutions aim to make publicly available the completed CC lines and their genotypes and sequence information. We genotyped, and report here, results from 458 extant lines from UNC, TAU, and GND using a custom genotyping array with 7500 SNPs designed to be maximally informative in the CC and used a novel algorithm to infer inherited haplotypes directly from hybridization intensity patterns. We identified lines with breeding errors and cousin lines generated by splitting incipient lines into two or more cousin lines at early generations of inbreeding. We then characterized the genome architecture of 350 genetically independent CC lines. Results showed that founder haplotypes are inherited at the expected frequency, although we also consistently observed highly significant transmission ratio distortion at specific loci across all three populations. On chromosome 2, there is significant overrepresentation of WSB/EiJ alleles, and on chromosome X, there is a large deficit of CC lines with CAST/EiJ alleles. Linkage disequilibrium decays as expected and we saw no evidence of gametic disequilibrium in the CC population as a whole or in random subsets of the population. Gametic equilibrium in the CC population is in marked contrast to the gametic disequilibrium present in a large panel of classical inbred strains. Finally, we discuss access to the CC population and to the associated raw data describing the genetic structure of individual lines. Integration of rich phenotypic and genomic data over time and across a wide variety of fields will be vital to delivering on one of the key attributes of the CC, a common genetic reference platform for identifying causative variants and genetic networks determining traits in mammals.
    • Equivalence of self- and staff-collected nasal swabs for the detection of viral respiratory pathogens.

      Akmatov, Manas K; Gatzemeier, Anja; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank; Department of Epidemiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      The need for the timely collection of diagnostic biosamples during symptomatic episodes represents a major obstacle to large-scale studies on acute respiratory infection (ARI) epidemiology. This may be circumvented by having the participants collect their own nasal swabs. We compared self- and staff-collected swabs in terms of swabbing quality and detection of viral respiratory pathogens.