• Contribution of Veillonella parvula to Pseudomonas aeruginosa-mediated pathogenicity in a murine tumor model system.

      Pustelny, Christian; Komor, Uliana; Pawar, Vinay; Lorenz, Anne; Bielecka, Agata; Moter, Annette; Gocht, Benjamin; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Müsken, Mathias; Grothe, Claudia; et al. (2015-01)
      The recent finding that high numbers of strict anaerobes are present in the respiratory tract of cystic fibrosis (CF) patients has drawn attention to the pathogenic contribution of the CF microbiome to airway disease. In this study, we investigated the specific interactions of the most dominant bacterial CF pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, with the anaerobic bacterium Veillonella parvula, which has been recovered at comparable cell numbers from the respiratory tract of CF patients. In addition to growth competition experiments, transcriptional profiling, and analyses of biofilm formation by in vitro studies, we used our recently established in vivo murine tumor model to investigate mutual influences of the two pathogens during a biofilm-associated infection process. We found that P. aeruginosa and V. parvula colonized distinct niches within the tumor. Interestingly, significantly higher cell numbers of P. aeruginosa could be recovered from the tumor tissue when mice were coinfected with both bacterial species than when mice were monoinfected with P. aeruginosa. Concordantly, the results of in vivo transcriptional profiling implied that the presence of V. parvula supports P. aeruginosa growth at the site of infection in the host, and the higher P. aeruginosa load correlated with clinical deterioration of the host. Although many challenges must be overcome to dissect the specific interactions of coinfecting bacteria during an infection process, our findings exemplarily demonstrate that the complex interrelations between coinfecting microorganisms and the immune responses determine clinical outcome to a much greater extent than previously anticipated.
    • Listeria monocytogenes desensitizes immune cells to subsequent Ca2+ signaling via listeriolysin O-induced depletion of intracellular Ca2+ stores.

      Gekara, Nelson O; Groebe, Lothar; Viegas, Nuno; Weiss, Siegfried; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. nelson.gekara@helmholtz-hzi.de (2008-02)
      Listeriolysin O (LLO), the pore-forming toxin of Listeria monocytogenes, is a prototype of the cholesterol-dependent cytolysins (CDCs) secreted by several pathogenic and nonpathogenic gram-positive bacteria. In addition to mediating the escape of the bacterium into the cytosol, this toxin is generally believed to be a central player in host-pathogen interactions during L. monocytogenes infection. LLO triggers the influx of Ca(2+) into host cells as well as the release of Ca(2+) from intracellular stores. Thus, many of the cellular responses induced by LLO are related to calcium signaling. Interestingly, in this study, we report that prolonged exposure to LLO desensitizes cells to Ca(2+) mobilization upon subsequent stimulations with LLO. Cells preexposed to LLO-positive L. monocytogenes but not to the LLO-deficient Deltahly mutant were found to be highly refractory to Ca(2+) induction in response to receptor-mediated stimulation. Such cells also exhibited diminished Ca(2+) signals in response to stimulation with LLO and thapsigargin. The presented results suggest that this phenomenon is due to the depletion of intracellular Ca(2+) stores. The ability of LLO to desensitize immune cells provides a significant hint about the possible role played by CDCs in the evasion of the immune system by bacterial pathogens.