• Antibiotic control of tumor-colonizing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Weiss, Siegfried (2011-11)
      Systemic administration of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) into tumor-bearing mice results in preferential colonization of tumors and causes shrinkage and sometimes complete tumor clearance. However, in spite of these beneficial antitumor effects, the systemic administration of a bacterial pathogen raises serious safety concerns as well. Addressing those concerns, here, we demonstrate that tumor-colonizing Salmonella can be readily controlled by systemic administration of the antibiotic - ciprofloxacin. Treatment was most effective when started early postinfection. This was achieved at the expense of the efficacy of tumor therapy. In many of the mice treated in such a way, tumors re-grew again. Nevertheless, some mice were able to clear the tumor despite the start of antibiotic treatment only 24 h after the start of infection. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that such mice had elicited a specific antitumor immune response. Thus, S. typhimurium-mediated tumor therapy might be applied safely when combined with early antibiotic treatment. However, the therapeutic power of the bacteria needs to be enhanced in order to provide a more effective therapeutic tool.
    • Evaluation of latent tuberculosis infection in patients with inflammatory arthropathies before treatment with TNF-alpha blocking drugs using a novel flow-cytometric interferon-gamma release assay.

      Dinser, R; Fousse, M; Sester, U; Albrecht, K; Singh, M; Köhler, H; Müller-Ladner, U; Sester, M; Department of Internal Medicine and Rheumatology, Justus-Liebig University of Giessen, Kerckhoff Clinic, Benekestrasse 2-8, D-61231 Bad Nauheim, Germany. r.dinser@kerckhoff-klinik.de (2008-02)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the efficacy of the conventional skin test and a novel flow cytometric whole blood assay in the diagnosis of latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) in patients with rheumatological diseases evaluated for treatment with TNF-alpha-blocking agents. METHODS: Prospective study of 97 consecutively enrolled patients, who were assessed for the presence of LTBI through clinical history, Mendel-Mantoux skin testing and chest X-ray. In addition, T-cell reactivity towards tuberculin (PPD, purified protein derivative) and the Mycobacterium tuberculosis-specific proteins ESAT-6 and CFP-10 was determined ex vivo using a flow cytometric whole blood assay. RESULTS: After standard screening, 15% of patients receiving TNF-alpha-blocking therapy were pretreated with isoniazide (INH), another 5% of patients did not receive TNF-alpha-blocking therapy because of LTBI. PPD-reactivity in the skin was observed in 14% of patients compared with 39% with the whole blood test. Analysis of the M. tuberculosis-specific response to ESAT-6 and CFP-10 revealed positive results in 16% of patients. Using a decision tree incorporating history, chest X-ray and either skin-test or ESAT-6/CFP-10 results, 18 or 22% of the patients, respectively, were classified as latently infected with M. tuberculosis. Four patients treated with INH because of a positive skin reaction did not show reactivity to ESAT-6/CFP-10 in the whole blood assays. Another six patients not pretreated with INH because of negative skin tests would have received INH, had the results of the whole blood assay been taken into account. CONCLUSION: The Mendel-Mantoux skin test has a low sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of LTBI in this cohort of patients, potentially resulting in both over- and under-treatment with prophylactic INH when compared with the flow cytometric analysis of whole blood T-cell reactivity to proteins specific to M. tuberculosis. Use of T-cell based in vitro tests may help to refine diagnostic testing for LTBI.
    • Genome-Wide Sequencing Reveals MicroRNAs Downregulated in Cerebral Cavernous Malformations.

      Kar, Souvik; Bali, Kiran Kumar; Baisantry, Arpita; Geffers, Robert; Samii, Amir; Bertalanffy, Helmut; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02)
      Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are vascular lesions associated with loss-of-function mutations in one of the three genes encoding KRIT1 (CCM1), CCM2, and PDCD10. Recent understanding of the molecular mechanisms that lead to CCM development is limited. The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been demonstrated in vascular pathologies resulting in loss of tight junction proteins, increased vascular permeability and endothelial cell dysfunction. Since the relevance of miRNAs in CCM pathophysiology has not been elucidated, the primary aim of the study was to identify the miRNA-mRNA expression network associated with CCM. Using small RNA sequencing, we identified a total of 764 matured miRNAs expressed in CCM patients compared to the healthy brains. The expression of the selected miRNAs was validated by qRT-PCR, and the results were found to be consistent with the sequencing data. Upon application of additional statistical stringency, five miRNAs (let-7b-5p, miR-361-5p, miR-370-3p, miR-181a-2-3p, and miR-95-3p) were prioritized to be top CCM-relevant miRNAs. Further in silico analyses revealed that the prioritized miRNAs have a direct functional relation with mRNAs, such as MIB1, HIF1A, PDCD10, TJP1, OCLN, HES1, MAPK1, VEGFA, EGFL7, NF1, and ENG, which are previously characterized as key regulators of CCM pathology. To date, this is the first study to investigate the role of miRNAs in CCM pathology. By employing cutting edge molecular and in silico analyses on clinical samples, the current study reports global miRNA expression changes in CCM patients and provides a rich source of data set to understand detailed molecular machinery involved in CCM pathophysiology.
    • Identification of tumor-specific Salmonella Typhimurium promoters and their regulatory logic.

      Leschner, Sara; Deyneko, Igor V; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Wolf, Kathrin; Bloecker, Helmut; Bumann, Dirk; Loessner, Holger; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. sara.leschner@helmholtz-hzi.de (2012-04)
      Conventional cancer therapies are often limited in effectiveness and exhibit strong side effects. Therefore, alternative therapeutic strategies are demanded. The employment of tumor-colonizing bacteria that exert anticancer effects is such a novel approach that attracts increasing attention. For instance, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium has been used in many animal tumor models as well as in first clinical studies. These bacteria exhibit inherent tumoricidal effects. In addition, they can be used to deliver therapeutic agents. However, bacterial expression has to be restricted to the tumor to prevent toxic substances from harming healthy tissue. Therefore, we screened an S. Typhimurium promoter-trap library to identify promoters that exclusively drive gene expression in the cancerous tissue. Twelve elements could be detected that show reporter gene expression in tumors but not in spleen and liver. In addition, a DNA motif was identified that appears to be necessary for tumor specificity. Now, such tumor-specific promoters can be used to safely express therapeutic proteins by tumor-colonizing S. Typhimurium directly in the neoplasia.
    • Immunoglobulins drive terminal maturation of splenic dendritic cells.

      Zietara, Natalia; Łyszkiewicz, Marcin; Puchałka, Jacek; Pei, Gang; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Hobeika, Elias; Reth, Michael; Martins dos Santos, Vitor A P; Krueger, Andreas; et al. (2013-02-05)
      Nature and physiological status of antigen-presenting cells, such as dendritic cells DCs, are decisive for the immune reactions elicited. Multiple factors and cell interactions have been described that affect maturation of DCs. Here, we show that DCs arising in the absence of immunoglobulins (Ig) in vivo are impaired in cross-presentation of soluble antigen. This deficiency was due to aberrant cellular targeting of antigen to lysosomes and its rapid degradation. Function of DCs could be restored by transfer of Ig irrespective of antigen specificity and isotype. Modulation of cross-presentation by Ig was inhibited by coapplication of mannan and, thus, likely to be mediated by C-type lectin receptors. This unexpected dependency of splenic DCs on Ig to cross-present antigen provides insights into the interplay between cellular and humoral immunity and the immunomodulatory capacity of Ig.
    • Influence of infection route and virulence factors on colonization of solid tumors by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Bumann, Dirk; Weiss, Siegfried; Dept. Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-06)
      Administration of facultative anaerobic bacteria such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium as anticancer treatment holds a great therapeutic potential. Here, we tested different routes of application of S. typhimurium with regard to tumor colonization and therapeutic efficacy. No differences between intravenous and intraperitoneal infection were observed, often leading to a complete tumor clearance. In contrast, after oral application, tumor colonization was inefficient and delayed. No therapeutic effect was observed under such conditions. We also showed that tumor invasion and colonization were independent of functional Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI) 1 and SPI 2. Furthermore, tumor invasion and colonization did not require bacterial motility or chemotactic responsiveness. The distribution of the bacteria within the tumor was independent of such functions.
    • Interleukin-2 improves amyloid pathology, synaptic failure and memory in Alzheimer's disease mice.

      Alves, Sandro; Churlaud, Guillaume; Audrain, Mickael; Michaelsen-Preusse, Kristin; Fol, Romain; Souchet, Benoit; Braudeau, Jérôme; Korte, Martin; Klatzmann, David; Cartier, Nathalie; et al. (2017-03-01)
      Interleukin-2 (IL-2)-deficient mice have cytoarchitectural hippocampal modifications and impaired learning and memory ability reminiscent of Alzheimer's disease. IL-2 stimulates regulatory T cells whose role is to control inflammation. As neuroinflammation contributes to neurodegeneration, we investigated IL-2 in Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, we investigated IL-2 levels in hippocampal biopsies of patients with Alzheimer's disease relative to age-matched control individuals. We then treated APP/PS1ΔE9 mice having established Alzheimer's disease with IL-2 for 5 months using single administration of an AAV-IL-2 vector. We first found decreased IL-2 levels in hippocampal biopsies of patients with Alzheimer's disease. In mice, IL-2-induced systemic and brain regulatory T cells expansion and activation. In the hippocampus, IL-2 induced astrocytic activation and recruitment of astrocytes around amyloid plaques, decreased amyloid-β42/40 ratio and amyloid plaque load, improved synaptic plasticity and significantly rescued spine density. Of note, this tissue remodelling was associated with recovery of memory deficits, as assessed in the Morris water maze task. Altogether, our data strongly suggest that IL-2 can alleviate Alzheimer's disease hallmarks in APP/PS1ΔE9 mice with established pathology. Therefore, this should prompt the investigation of low-dose IL-2 in Alzheimer's disease and other neuroinflammatory/neurodegenerative disorders.
    • Methylome analysis and integrative profiling of human HCCs identify novel protumorigenic factors.

      Neumann, Olaf; Kesselmeier, Miriam; Geffers, Robert; Pellegrino, Rossella; Radlwimmer, Bernhard; Hoffmann, Katrin; Ehemann, Volker; Schemmer, Peter; Schirmacher, Peter; Lorenzo Bermejo, Justo; et al. (2012-11)
      To identify new tumor-suppressor gene candidates relevant for human hepatocarcinogenesis, we performed genome-wide methylation profiling and vertical integration with array-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH), as well as expression data from a cohort of well-characterized human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs). Bisulfite-converted DNAs from 63 HCCs and 10 healthy control livers were analyzed for the methylation status of more than 14,000 genes. After defining the differentially methylated genes in HCCs, we integrated their DNA copy-number alterations as determined by aCGH data and correlated them with gene expression to identify genes potentially silenced by promoter hypermethylation. Aberrant methylation of candidates was further confirmed by pyrosequencing, and methylation dependency of silencing was determined by 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5-aza-dC) treatment. Methylation profiling revealed 2,226 CpG sites that showed methylation differences between healthy control livers and HCCs. Of these, 537 CpG sites were hypermethylated in the tumor DNA, whereas 1,689 sites showed promoter hypomethylation. The hypermethylated set was enriched for genes known to be inactivated by the polycomb repressive complex 2, whereas the group of hypomethylated genes was enriched for imprinted genes. We identified three genes matching all of our selection criteria for a tumor-suppressor gene (period homolog 3 [PER3], insulin-like growth-factor-binding protein, acid labile subunit [IGFALS], and protein Z). PER3 was down-regulated in human HCCs, compared to peritumorous and healthy liver tissues. 5-aza-dC treatment restored PER3 expression in HCC cell lines, indicating that promoter hypermethylation was indeed responsible for gene silencing. Additionally, functional analysis supported a tumor-suppressive function for PER3 and IGFALS in vitro. CONCLUSION: The present study illustrates that vertical integration of methylation data with high-resolution genomic and transcriptomic data facilitates the identification of new tumor-suppressor gene candidates in human HCC.
    • Neutrophils responsive to endogenous IFN-beta regulate tumor angiogenesis and growth in a mouse tumor model.

      Jablonska, Jadwiga; Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. jja@gbf.de (2010-04)
      Angiogenesis is a hallmark of malignant neoplasias, as the formation of new blood vessels is required for tumors to acquire oxygen and nutrients essential for their continued growth and metastasis. However, the signaling pathways leading to tumor vascularization are not fully understood. Here, using a transplantable mouse tumor model, we have demonstrated that endogenous IFN-beta inhibits tumor angiogenesis through repression of genes encoding proangiogenic and homing factors in tumor-infiltrating neutrophils. We determined that IFN-beta-deficient mice injected with B16F10 melanoma or MCA205 fibrosarcoma cells developed faster-growing tumors with better-developed blood vessels than did syngeneic control mice. These tumors displayed enhanced infiltration by CD11b+Gr1+ neutrophils expressing elevated levels of the genes encoding the proangiogenic factors VEGF and MMP9 and the homing receptor CXCR4. They also expressed higher levels of the transcription factors c-myc and STAT3, known regulators of VEGF, MMP9, and CXCR4. In vitro, treatment of these tumor-infiltrating neutrophils with low levels of IFN-beta restored expression of proangiogenic factors to control levels. Moreover, depletion of these neutrophils inhibited tumor growth in both control and IFN-beta-deficient mice. We therefore suggest that constitutively produced endogenous IFN-beta is an important mediator of innate tumor surveillance. Further, we believe our data help to explain the therapeutic effect of IFN treatment during the early stages of cancer development.
    • NK cell activation in visceral leishmaniasis requires TLR9, myeloid DCs, and IL-12, but is independent of plasmacytoid DCs.

      Schleicher, Ulrike; Liese, Jan; Knippertz, Ilka; Kurzmann, Claudia; Hesse, Andrea; Heit, Antje; Fischer, Jens A A; Weiss, Siegfried; Kalinke, Ulrich; Kunz, Stefanie; et al. (2007-04-16)
      Natural killer (NK) cells are sentinel components of the innate response to pathogens, but the cell types, pathogen recognition receptors, and cytokines required for their activation in vivo are poorly defined. Here, we investigated the role of plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs), myeloid DCs (mDCs), Toll-like receptors (TLRs), and of NK cell stimulatory cytokines for the induction of an NK cell response to the protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. In vitro, pDCs did not endocytose Leishmania promastigotes but nevertheless released interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta and interleukin (IL)-12 in a TLR9-dependent manner. mDCs rapidly internalized Leishmania and, in the presence of TLR9, produced IL-12, but not IFN-alpha/beta. Depletion of pDCs did not impair the activation of NK cells in L. infantum-infected mice. In contrast, L. infantum-induced NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma production were abolished in mDC-depleted mice. The same phenotype was observed in TLR9(-/-) mice, which lacked IL-12 expression by mDCs, and in IL-12(-/-) mice, whereas IFN-alpha/beta receptor(-/-) mice showed only a minor reduction of NK cell IFN-gamma expression. This study provides the first direct evidence that mDCs are essential for eliciting NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-gamma release in vivo and demonstrates that TLR9, mDCs, and IL-12 are functionally linked to the activation of NK cells in visceral leishmaniasis.
    • Protumorigenic role of Timeless in hepatocellular carcinoma.

      Elgohary, Nahla; Pellegrino, Rossella; Neumann, Olaf; Elzawahry, Heba M; Saber, Magdy M; Zeeneldin, Ahmed A; Geffers, Robert; Ehemann, Volker; Schemmer, Peter; Schirmacher, Peter; et al. (2015-02)
      The mammalian timeless (TIM) protein interacts with proteins of the endogenous clock and essentially contributes to the circadian rhythm. In addition, TIM is involved in maintenance of chromosome integrity, growth control and development. Thus, we hypothesized that TIM may exert a potential protumorigenic function in human hepatocarcinogenesis. TIM was overexpressed in a subset of human HCCs both at the mRNA and the protein level. siRNA-mediated knockdown of TIM reduced cell viability due to the induction of apoptosis and G2 arrest. The latter was mediated via CHEK2 phosphorylation. In addition, siRNA-treated cells showed a significantly reduced migratory capacity and reduced expression levels of various proteins. Mechanistically, TIM directly interacts with the eukaryotic elongation factor 1A2 (EEF1A2), which binds to actin filaments to promote tumor cell migration. siRNA-mediated knockdown of TIM reduced EEF1A2 protein levels thereby affecting ribosomal protein biosynthesis. Thus, overexpression of TIM exerts oncogenic function in human HCCs, which is mediated via CHEK2 and EEF1A2.
    • Tumor invasion of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is accompanied by strong hemorrhage promoted by TNF-alpha.

      Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Dietrich, Nicole; Viegas, Nuno; Jablonska, Jadwiga; Lyszkiewicz, Marcin; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Falk, Werner; Gekara, Nelson; Loessner, Holger; et al. (2009)
      Several facultative anaerobic bacteria with potential therapeutic abilities are known to preferentially colonize solid tumors after systemic administration. How they efficiently find and invade the tumors is still unclear. However, this is an important issue to be clarified when bacteria should be tailored for application in cancer therapy.
    • Type I IFNs induce anti-tumor polarization of tumor associated neutrophils in mice and human.

      Andzinski, Lisa; Kasnitz, Nadine; Stahnke, Stephanie; Wu, Ching-Fang; Gereke, Marcus; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; Schilling, Bastian; Brandau, Sven; Weiss, Siegfried; Jablonska, Jadwiga; et al. (2016-04-15)
      The importance of tumor associated neutrophils (TANs) in cancer development is in the meantime well established. Numerous of clinical data document the adverse prognostic effects of neutrophil infiltration in solid tumors. However, certain tumor therapies need functional neutrophils to be effective, suggesting altered neutrophil polarization associated with different outcomes for cancer patients. Therefore, modulation of neutrophilic phenotypes represents a potent therapeutic option, but factors mediating neutrophil polarization are still poorly defined. In this manuscript we provide evidence that type I IFNs alter neutrophilic phenotype into anti-tumor, both in mice and human. In the absence of IFN-β, pro-tumor properties, such as reduced tumor cytotoxicity with low neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) expression, low ICAM1 and TNF-α expression, dominated neutrophil phenotypes in primary lesion and premetastatic lung. Interestingly, such neutrophils have significantly prolonged life-span. Notably, interferon therapy in mice altered TAN polarization towards anti-tumor N1. Similar changes in neutrophil activation could be observed in melanoma patients undergoing type I IFN therapy. Altogether, these data highlight the therapeutic potential of interferons, suggesting optimization of its clinical use as potent anti-tumor agent.