• ATP inhibits the generation and function of regulatory T cells through the activation of purinergic P2X receptors.

      Schenk, Ursula; Frascoli, Michela; Proietti, Michele; Geffers, Robert; Traggiai, Elisabetta; Buer, Jan; Ricordi, Camillo; Westendorf, Astrid M; Grassi, Fabio; Institute for Research in Biomedicine, Bellinzona, Switzerland. (2011)
      Extracellular nucleotides are pleiotropic regulators of mammalian cell function. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) released from CD4(+) helper T cells upon stimulation of the T cell receptor (TCR) contributes in an autocrine manner to the activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling through purinergic P2X receptors. Increased expression of p2rx7, which encodes the purinergic receptor P2X7, is part of the transcriptional signature of immunosuppressive CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (T(regs)). Here, we show that the activation of P2X7 by ATP inhibits the suppressive potential and stability of T(regs). The inflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) increased ATP synthesis and P2X7-mediated signaling in T(regs), which induced their conversion to IL-17-secreting T helper 17 (T(H)17) effector cells in vivo. Moreover, pharmacological antagonism of P2X receptors promoted the cell-autonomous conversion of naïve CD4(+) T cells into T(regs) after TCR stimulation. Thus, ATP acts as an autocrine factor that integrates stimuli from the microenvironment and cellular energetics to tune the developmental and immunosuppressive program of the T cell in adaptive immune responses.
    • Constitutive production of c-di-GMP is associated with mutations in a variant of Pseudomonas aeruginosa with altered membrane composition.

      Blanka, Andrea; Düvel, Juliane; Dötsch, Andreas; Klinkert, Birgit; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Kaever, Volkhard; Ritter, Christiane; Narberhaus, Franz; Häussler, Susanne; Institute for Molecular Bacteriology, TWINCORE,30625 Hannover, Germany. (2015)
      Most bacteria can form multicellular communities called biofilms on biotic and abiotic surfaces. This multicellular response to surface contact correlates with an increased resistance to various adverse environmental conditions, including those encountered during infections of the human host and exposure to antimicrobial compounds. Biofilm formation occurs when freely swimming (planktonic) cells encounter a surface, which stimulates the chemosensory-like, surface-sensing system Wsp and leads to generation of the intracellular second messenger 3',5'-cyclic-di-guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP). We identified adaptive mutations in a clinical small colony variant (SCV) of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and correlated their presence with self-aggregating growth behavior and an enhanced capacity to form biofilms. We present evidence that a point mutation in the 5' untranslated region of the accBC gene cluster, which encodes components of an enzyme responsible for fatty acid biosynthesis, was responsible for a stabilized mRNA structure that resulted in reduced translational efficiency and an increase in the proportion of short-chain fatty acids in the plasma membrane. We propose a model in which these changes in P. aeruginosa serve as a signal for the Wsp system to constitutively produce increased amounts of c-di-GMP and thus play a role in the regulation of adhesion-stimulated bacterial responses.