• Optimizing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium for bacteria-mediated tumor therapy.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Curtiss, Roy; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Bacteria-mediated tumor therapy using Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is a therapeutic option with great potential. Numerous studies explored the potential of Salmonella Typhimurium for therapeutic applications, however reconciling safety with vectorial efficacy remains a major issue. Recently we have described a conditionally attenuated Salmonella vector that is based on genetic lipopolysaccharide modification. This vector combines strong attenuation with appropriate anti-tumor properties by targeting various cancerous tissues in vivo. Therefore, it was promoted as an anti-tumor agent. In this addendum, we summarize these findings and demonstrate additional optimization steps that may further improve the therapeutic efficacy of our vector strain.
    • An oral multispecies biofilm model for high content screening applications.

      Kommerein, Nadine; Stumpp, Sascha N; Müsken, Mathias; Ehlert, Nina; Winkel, Andreas; Häussler, Susanne; Behrens, Peter; Buettner, Falk F R; Stiesch, Meike; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Peri-implantitis caused by multispecies biofilms is a major complication in dental implant treatment. The bacterial infection surrounding dental implants can lead to bone loss and, in turn, to implant failure. A promising strategy to prevent these common complications is the development of implant surfaces that inhibit biofilm development. A reproducible and easy-to-use biofilm model as a test system for large scale screening of new implant surfaces with putative antibacterial potency is therefore of major importance. In the present study, we developed a highly reproducible in vitro four-species biofilm model consisting of the highly relevant oral bacterial species Streptococcus oralis, Actinomyces naeslundii, Veillonella dispar and Porphyromonas gingivalis. The application of live/dead staining, quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and urea-NaCl fluorescence in situ hybridization (urea-NaCl-FISH) revealed that the four-species biofilm community is robust in terms of biovolume, live/dead distribution and individual species distribution over time. The biofilm community is dominated by S. oralis, followed by V. dispar, A. naeslundii and P. gingivalis. The percentage distribution in this model closely reflects the situation in early native plaques and is therefore well suited as an in vitro model test system. Furthermore, despite its nearly native composition, the multispecies model does not depend on nutrient additives, such as native human saliva or serum, and is an inexpensive, easy to handle and highly reproducible alternative to the available model systems. The 96-well plate format enables high content screening for optimized implant surfaces impeding biofilm formation or the testing of multiple antimicrobial treatment strategies to fight multispecies biofilm infections, both exemplary proven in the manuscript.
    • Packaging of Dinoroseobacter shibae DNA into Gene Transfer Agent Particles Is Not Random.

      Tomasch, Jürgen; Wang, Hui; Hall, April T K; Patzelt, Diana; Preusse, Matthias; Petersen, Jörn; Brinkmann, Henner; Bunk, Boyke; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; et al. (2018-01-01)
      Gene transfer agents (GTAs) are phage-like particles which contain a fragment of genomic DNA of the bacterial or archaeal producer and deliver this to a recipient cell. GTA gene clusters are present in the genomes of almost all marine Rhodobacteraceae (Roseobacters) and might be important contributors to horizontal gene transfer in the world's oceans. For all organisms studied so far, no obvious evidence of sequence specificity or other nonrandom process responsible for packaging genomic DNA into GTAs has been found. Here, we show that knock-out of an autoinducer synthase gene of Dinoroseobacter shibae resulted in overproduction and release of functional GTA particles (DsGTA). Next-generation sequencing of the 4.2-kb DNA fragments isolated from DsGTAs revealed that packaging was not random. DNA from low-GC conjugative plasmids but not from high-GC chromids was excluded from packaging. Seven chromosomal regions were strongly overrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTA. These packaging peaks lacked identifiable conserved sequence motifs that might represent recognition sites for the GTA terminase complex. Low-GC regions of the chromosome, including the origin and terminus of replication, were underrepresented in DNA isolated from DsGTAs. DNA methylation reduced packaging frequency while the level of gene expression had no influence. Chromosomal regions found to be over- and underrepresented in DsGTA-DNA were regularly spaced. We propose that a "headful" type of packaging is initiated at the sites of coverage peaks and, after linearization of the chromosomal DNA, proceeds in both directions from the initiation site. GC-content, DNA-modifications, and chromatin structure might influence at which sides GTA packaging can be initiated.
    • The peptide chain release factor methyltransferase PrmC is essential for pathogenicity and environmental adaptation of Pseudomonas aeruginosa PA14.

      Pustelny, Christian; Brouwer, Stephan; Müsken, Mathias; Bielecka, Agata; Dötsch, Andreas; Nimtz, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Department of Molecular Bacteriology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. Christian.pustelny@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013-02)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa pathogenicity and its capability to adapt to multiple environments are dependent on the production of diverse virulence factors, controlled by the sophisticated quorum sensing (QS) network of P. aeruginosa. To better understand the molecular mechanisms that underlie this adaptation we searched for novel key regulators of virulence factor production by screening a PA14 transposon mutant library for potential candidates acting downstream of the unique 2-alkyl-4-quinolone (AQ) QS system of P. aeruginosa. We focused the work on a protein named HemK with high homology to PrmC of Escherichia coli displaying a similar enzymatic activity (therefore also referred to as PrmC). In this study, we demonstrate that PrmC is an S-adenosyl-l-methionine (AdoMet)-dependent methyltransferase of peptide chain release factors (RFs) essential for the expression of several virulence factors, such as pyocyanin, rhamnolipids and the type III-secreted toxin ExoT. Furthermore, the PA14_prmC mutant strain is unable to grow under anoxic conditions and has a significantly reduced pathogenicity in the infection model Galleria mellonella. Along with transcriptomic and proteomic analyses, the presented data indicate that the methylation of RFs in P. aeruginosa seems to have a global effect on cellular processes related to the virulence of this nosocomial pathogen.
    • Peripheral T-cell lymphoma cell line T8ML-1 highlights conspicuous targeting of PVRL2 by t(14;19)(q11.2;q13.3).

      Ehrentraut, Stefan; Nagel, Stefan; Pommerenke, Claudia; Dirks, Wilhelm G; Quentmeier, Hilmar; Kaufmann, Maren; Meyer, Corinna; Zaborski, Margarete; Geffers, Robert; Fujiwara, Hiroshi; et al. (2017-01-01)
      Focal amplifications and chromosome translocations involving the long arm of chromosome 19 (19q13.3) are recurrent in T-cell lymphoma, where neighboring BCL3 and PVRL2 are competing target genes. Here we present the oncogenomic characterization of a peripheral T-cell lymphoma (PTCL) cell line T8ML-1 to reveal t(14;19)(q11.2;q13.3) juxtaposing TRA@ and PVRL2. Parallel mRNA and protein expression data for the 19q13.3 region of interest pinpointed PVRL2 as the sole conspicuous target therein. Collectively, our findings endorse T8ML-1 as the first proven cell line model for t(14;19)/PTCL.
    • pH-degradable imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels for lymph node-focused immune activation.

      Nuhn, Lutz; Vanparijs, Nane; De Beuckelaer, Ans; Lybaert, Lien; Verstraete, Glenn; Deswarte, Kim; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Shukla, Nikunj M; Salyer, Alex C D; Lambrecht, Bart N; et al. (2016-07-19)
      Agonists of Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are potent activators of the innate immune system and hold promise as vaccine adjuvant and for anticancer immunotherapy. Unfortunately, in soluble form they readily enter systemic circulation and cause systemic inflammatory toxicity. Here we demonstrate that by covalent ligation of a small-molecule imidazoquinoline-based TLR7/8 agonist to 50-nm-sized degradable polymeric nanogels the potency of the agonist to activate TLR7/8 in in vitro cultured dendritic cells is largely retained. Importantly, imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels focused the in vivo immune activation on the draining lymph nodes while dramatically reducing systemic inflammation. Mechanistic studies revealed a prevalent passive diffusion of the nanogels to the draining lymph node. Moreover, immunization studies in mice have shown that relative to soluble TLR7/8 agonist, imidazoquinoline-ligated nanogels induce superior antibody and T-cell responses against a tuberculosis antigen. This approach opens possibilities to enhance the therapeutic benefit of small-molecule TLR agonist for a variety of applications.
    • Phylotranscriptomic consolidation of the jawed vertebrate timetree.

      Irisarri, Iker; Baurain, Denis; Brinkmann, Henner; Delsuc, Frédéric; Sire, Jean-Yves; Kupfer, Alexander; Petersen, Jörn; Jarek, Michael; Meyer, Axel; Vences, Miguel; et al. (2017-09-01)
      Phylogenomics is extremely powerful but introduces new challenges as no agreement exists on "standards" for data selection, curation and tree inference. We use jawed vertebrates (Gnathostomata) as model to address these issues. Despite considerable efforts in resolving their evolutionary history and macroevolution, few studies have included a full phylogenetic diversity of gnathostomes and some relationships remain controversial. We tested a novel bioinformatic pipeline to assemble large and accurate phylogenomic datasets from RNA sequencing and find this phylotranscriptomic approach successful and highly cost-effective. Increased sequencing effort up to ca. 10Gbp allows recovering more genes, but shallower sequencing (1.5Gbp) is sufficient to obtain thousands of full-length orthologous transcripts. We reconstruct a robust and strongly supported timetree of jawed vertebrates using 7,189 nuclear genes from 100 taxa, including 23 new transcriptomes from previously unsampled key species. Gene jackknifing of genomic data corroborates the robustness of our tree and allows calculating genome-wide divergence times by overcoming gene sampling bias. Mitochondrial genomes prove insufficient to resolve the deepest relationships because of limited signal and among-lineage rate heterogeneity. Our analyses emphasize the importance of large curated nuclear datasets to increase the accuracy of phylogenomics and provide a reference framework for the evolutionary history of jawed vertebrates.
    • Planning the human variome project: the Spain report.

      Kaput, Jim; Cotton, Richard G H; Hardman, Lauren; Watson, Michael; Al Aqeel, Aida I; Al-Aama, Jumana Y; Al-Mulla, Fahd; Alonso, Santos; Aretz, Stefan; Auerbach, Arleen D; et al. (2009-04)
      The remarkable progress in characterizing the human genome sequence, exemplified by the Human Genome Project and the HapMap Consortium, has led to the perception that knowledge and the tools (e.g., microarrays) are sufficient for many if not most biomedical research efforts. A large amount of data from diverse studies proves this perception inaccurate at best, and at worst, an impediment for further efforts to characterize the variation in the human genome. Because variation in genotype and environment are the fundamental basis to understand phenotypic variability and heritability at the population level, identifying the range of human genetic variation is crucial to the development of personalized nutrition and medicine. The Human Variome Project (HVP; http://www.humanvariomeproject.org/) was proposed initially to systematically collect mutations that cause human disease and create a cyber infrastructure to link locus specific databases (LSDB). We report here the discussions and recommendations from the 2008 HVP planning meeting held in San Feliu de Guixols, Spain, in May 2008.
    • Posttranscriptional destabilization of the liver-specific long noncoding RNA HULC by the IGF2 mRNA-binding protein 1 (IGF2BP1).

      Hämmerle, Monika; Gutschner, Tony; Uckelmann, Hannah; Ozgur, Sevim; Fiskin, Evgenij; Gross, Matthias; Skawran, Britta; Geffers, Robert; Longerich, Thomas; Breuhahn, Kai; et al. (2013-05-31)
      Selected long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) have been shown to play important roles in carcinogenesis. Although the cellular functions of these transcripts can be diverse, many lncRNAs regulate gene expression. In contrast, factors that control the expression of lncRNAs remain largely unknown. Here we investigated the impact of RNA binding proteins on the expression of the liver cancer-associated lncRNA HULC (highly up-regulated in liver cancer). First, we validated the strong up-regulation of HULC in human hepatocellular carcinoma. To elucidate posttranscriptional regulatory mechanisms governing HULC expression, we applied an RNA affinity purification approach to identify specific protein interaction partners and potential regulators. This method identified the family of IGF2BPs (IGF2 mRNA-binding proteins) as specific binding partners of HULC. Depletion of IGF2BP1, also known as IMP1, but not of IGF2BP2 or IGF2BP3, led to an increased HULC half-life and higher steady-state expression levels, indicating a posttranscriptional regulatory mechanism. Importantly, HULC represents the first IGF2BP substrate that is destabilized. To elucidate the mechanism by which IGF2BP1 destabilizes HULC, the CNOT1 protein was identified as a novel interaction partner of IGF2BP1. CNOT1 is the scaffold of the human CCR4-NOT deadenylase complex, a major component of the cytoplasmic RNA decay machinery. Indeed, depletion of CNOT1 increased HULC half-life and expression. Thus, IGF2BP1 acts as an adaptor protein that recruits the CCR4-NOT complex and thereby initiates the degradation of the lncRNA HULC. Conclusion: Our findings provide important insights into the regulation of lncRNA expression and identify a novel function for IGF2BP1 in RNA metabolism. (Hepatology 2013).
    • Potentiation of epithelial innate host responses by intercellular communication.

      Dolowschiak, Tamas; Chassin, Cécilia; Ben Mkaddem, Sanae; Fuchs, Thilo M; Weiss, Siegfried; Vandewalle, Alain; Hornef, Mathias W; Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2010)
      The epithelium efficiently attracts immune cells upon infection despite the low number of pathogenic microbes and moderate levels of secreted chemokines per cell. Here we examined whether horizontal intercellular communication between cells may contribute to a coordinated response of the epithelium. Listeria monocytogenes infection, transfection, and microinjection of individual cells within a polarized intestinal epithelial cell layer were performed and activation was determined at the single cell level by fluorescence microscopy and flow cytometry. Surprisingly, chemokine production after L. monocytogenes infection was primarily observed in non-infected epithelial cells despite invasion-dependent cell activation. Whereas horizontal communication was independent of gap junction formation, cytokine secretion, ion fluxes, or nitric oxide synthesis, NADPH oxidase (Nox) 4-dependent oxygen radical formation was required and sufficient to induce indirect epithelial cell activation. This is the first report to describe epithelial cell-cell communication in response to innate immune activation. Epithelial communication facilitates a coordinated infectious host defence at the very early stage of microbial infection.
    • The PqsR and RhlR transcriptional regulators determine the level of Pseudomonas quinolone signal synthesis in Pseudomonas aeruginosa by producing two different pqsABCDE mRNA isoforms.

      Brouwer, Stephan; Pustelny, Christian; Ritter, Christiane; Klinkert, Birgit; Narberhaus, Franz; Häussler, Susanne (2014-12)
      Regulation of gene expression plays a key role in bacterial adaptability to changes in the environment. An integral part of this gene regulatory network is achieved via quorum sensing (QS) systems that coordinate bacterial responses under high cellular densities. In the nosocomial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa, the 2-alkyl-4-quinolone (pqs) signaling pathway is crucial for bacterial survival under stressful conditions. Biosynthesis of the Pseudomonas quinolone signal (PQS) is dependent on the pqsABCDE operon, which is positively regulated by the LysR family regulator PqsR and repressed by the transcriptional regulator protein RhlR. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this inhibition have remained elusive. Here, we demonstrate that not only PqsR but also RhlR activates transcription of pqsA. The latter uses an alternative transcriptional start site and induces expression of a longer transcript that forms a secondary structure in the 5' untranslated leader region. As a consequence, access of the ribosome to the Shine-Dalgarno sequence is restricted and translation efficiency reduced. We propose a model of a novel posttranscriptional regulation mechanism that fine-tunes PQS biosynthesis, thus highlighting the complexity of quorum sensing in P. aeruginosa.
    • Presence of Infected Gr-1CD11bCD11c Monocytic Myeloid Derived Suppressor Cells Subverts T Cell Response and Is Associated With Impaired Dendritic Cell Function in Mycobacterium avium-Infected Mice.

      Abdissa, Ketema; Nerlich, Andreas; Beineke, Andreas; Ruangkiattikul, Nanthapon; Pawar, Vinay; Heise, Ulrike; Janze, Nina; Falk, Christine; Bruder, Dunja; Schleicher, Ulrike; et al. (2018-01-01)
      Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are immature myeloid cells with immunomodulatory function. To study the mechanism by which MDSC affect antimicrobial immunity, we infected mice with two M. avium strains of differential virulence, highly virulent Mycobacterium avium subsp. avium strain 25291 (MAA) and low virulent Mycobacterium avium subsp. hominissuis strain 104 (MAH). Intraperitoneal infection with MAA, but not MAH, caused severe disease and massive splenic infiltration of monocytic MDSC (M-MDSC; Gr-1intCD11bhiCD11cint) expressing inducible NO synthase (Nos2) and bearing high numbers of mycobacteria. Depletion experiments demonstrated that M-MDSC were essential for disease progression. NO production by M-MDSC influenced antigen-uptake and processing by dendritic cells and proliferation of CD4+ T cells. M-MDSC were also induced in MAA-infected mice lacking Nos2. In these mice CD4+ T cell expansion and control of infection were restored. However, T cell inhibition was only partially relieved and arginase (Arg) 1-expressing M-MDSC were accumulated. Likewise, inhibition of Arg1 also partially rescued T cell proliferation. Thus, mycobacterial virulence results in the induction of M-MDSC that block the T cell response in a Nos2- and Arg1-dependent manner.
    • Priming of natural killer cells by nonmucosal mononuclear phagocytes requires instructive signals from commensal microbiota.

      Ganal, Stephanie C; Sanos, Stephanie L; Kallfass, Carsten; Oberle, Karin; Johner, Caroline; Kirschning, Carsten; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Staeheli, Peter; Aichele, Peter; et al. (2012-07-27)
      Mononuclear phagocytes are an important component of an innate immune system perceived as a system ready to react upon encounter of pathogens. Here, we show that in response to microbial stimulation, mononuclear phagocytes residing in nonmucosal lymphoid organs of germ-free mice failed to induce expression of a set of inflammatory response genes, including those encoding the various type I interferons (IFN-I). Consequently, NK cell priming and antiviral immunity were severely compromised. Whereas pattern recognition receptor signaling and nuclear translocation of the transcription factors NF-κB and IRF3 were normal in mononuclear phagocytes of germ-free mice, binding to their respective cytokine promoters was impaired, which correlated with the absence of activating histone marks. Our data reveal a previously unrecognized role for postnatally colonizing microbiota in the introduction of chromatin level changes in the mononuclear phagocyte system, thereby poising expression of central inflammatory genes to initiate a powerful systemic immune response during viral infection.
    • PRODORIC: prokaryotic database of gene regulation

      Münch, Richard; Hiller, Karsten; Barg, Heiko; Heldt, Dana; Linz, Simone; Wingender, Edgar; Jahn, Dieter (Oxford University Press, 2003-01-01)
    • Production of norspermidine contributes to aminoglycoside resistance in pmrAB mutants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Bolard, Arnaud; Schniederjans, Monika; Haussler, Susanne; Triponney, Pauline; Valot, Benoît; Plesiat, Patrick; Jeannot, Katy; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society of microbiology, 2019-08-05)
      Emergence of resistance to polymyxins in Pseudomonas aeruginosa is mainly due to mutations in two-components systems, that promote addition of 4-amino-4-deoxy-L-arabinose to the lipopolysaccharide (LPS) through upregulation of operon arnBCADTEF-ugd (arn) expression. Here, we demonstrate that mutations occurring in different domains of histidine kinase PmrB or in response regulator PmrA result in coresistance to aminoglycosides and colistin. All seventeen clinical strains tested exhibiting such a cross-resistance phenotype were found to be pmrAB mutants. As shown by gene deletion experiments, the decreased susceptibility of the mutants to aminoglycosides was independent from operon arn but required the efflux system MexXY(OprM) and the products of three genes, PA4773-PA4774-PA4775, that are cotranscribed and activated with genes pmrAB Gene PA4773 (annotated as speD2 in PAO1 genome) and PA4774 (speE2) are predicted to encode enzymes involved in biosynthesis of polyamines. Comparative analysis of cell surface extracts of an in vitro selected pmrAB mutant, called AB16.2, and derivatives lacking PA4773, PA4774 and PA4775, respectively revealed that these genes were needed for norspermidine production via a pathway that likely uses 1,3-diaminoprane, a precursor of polyamines. Altogether, our results suggest that norspermidine decreases the self-promoted uptake pathway of aminoglycosides across the outer membrane and thereby potentiates the activity of efflux pump MexXY(OprM).
    • Progressive Immunodeficiency with Gradual Depletion of B and CD4⁺ T Cells in Immunodeficiency, Centromeric Instability and Facial Anomalies Syndrome 2 (ICF2).

      Sogkas, Georgios; Dubrowinskaja, Natalia; Bergmann, Anke K; Lentes, Jana; Ripperger, Tim; Fedchenko, Mykola; Ernst, Diana; Jablonka, Alexandra; Geffers, Robert; Baumann, Ulrich; et al. (MPDI, 2019-04-04)
      Immunodeficiency, centromeric instability and facial anomalies syndrome 2 (ICF2) is a rare autosomal recessive primary immunodeficiency disorder. So far, 27 patients have been reported. Here, we present three siblings with ICF2 due to a homozygous ZBTB24 gene mutation (c.1222 T>G, p. (Cys408Gly)). Immune deficiency in these patients ranged from late-onset combined immunodeficiency (CID) with severe respiratory tract infections and recurrent shingles to asymptomatic selective antibody deficiency. Evident clinical heterogeneity manifested despite a common genetic background, suggesting the pathogenic relevance of epigenetic modification. Immunological follow-up reveals a previously unidentified gradual depletion of B and CD4+ T cells in all three presented patients with transition of a common variable immunodeficiency (CVID)-like disease to late-onset-CID in one of them. Considering all previously published cases with ICF2, we identify inadequate antibody responses to vaccines and reduction in CD27+ memory B cells as prevalent immunological traits. High mortality among ICF2 patients (20%) together with the progressive course of immunodeficiency suggest that hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) should be considered as a treatment option in due time.
    • 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.
    • Pseudomonas aeruginosa ceftolozane-tazobactam resistance development requires multiple mutations leading to overexpression and structural modification of AmpC.

      Cabot, Gabriel; Bruchmann, Sebastian; Mulet, Xavier; Zamorano, Laura; Moyà, Bartolomé; Juan, Carlos; Haussler, Susanne; Oliver, Antonio; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-06)
      We compared the dynamics and mechanisms of resistance development to ceftazidime, meropenem, ciprofloxacin, and ceftolozane-tazobactam in wild-type (PAO1) and mutator (PAOMS, ΔmutS) P. aeruginosa. The strains were incubated for 24 h with 0.5 to 64× MICs of each antibiotic in triplicate experiments. The tubes from the highest antibiotic concentration showing growth were reinoculated in fresh medium containing concentrations up to 64× MIC for 7 consecutive days. The susceptibility profiles and resistance mechanisms were assessed in two isolated colonies from each step, antibiotic, and strain. Ceftolozane-tazobactam-resistant mutants were further characterized by whole-genome analysis through RNA sequencing (RNA-seq). The development of high-level resistance was fastest for ceftazidime, followed by meropenem and ciprofloxacin. None of the mutants selected with these antibiotics showed cross-resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam. On the other hand, ceftolozane-tazobactam resistance development was much slower, and high-level resistance was observed for the mutator strain only. PAO1 derivatives that were moderately resistant (MICs, 4 to 8 μg/ml) to ceftolozane-tazobactam showed only 2 to 4 mutations, which determined global pleiotropic effects associated with a severe fitness cost. High-level-resistant (MICs, 32 to 128 μg/ml) PAOMS derivatives showed 45 to 53 mutations. Major changes in the global gene expression profiles were detected in all mutants, but only PAOMS mutants showed ampC overexpression, which was caused by dacB or ampR mutations. Moreover, all PAOMS mutants contained 1 to 4 mutations in the conserved residues of AmpC (F147L, Q157R, G183D, E247K, or V356I). Complementation studies revealed that these mutations greatly increased ceftolozane-tazobactam and ceftazidime MICs but reduced those of piperacillin-tazobactam and imipenem, compared to those in wild-type ampC. Therefore, the development of high-level resistance to ceftolozane-tazobactam appears to occur efficiently only in a P. aeruginosa mutator background, in which multiple mutations lead to overexpression and structural modifications of AmpC.
    • The Pseudomonas aeruginosa Transcriptional Landscape Is Shaped by Environmental Heterogeneity and Genetic Variation.

      Dötsch, Andreas; Schniederjans, Monika; Khaledi, Ariane; Hornischer, Klaus; Schulz, Sebastian; Bielecka, Agata; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Pohl, Sarah; Häussler, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Phenotypic variability among bacteria depends on gene expression in response to different environments, and it also reflects differences in genomic structure. In this study, we analyzed transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) profiles of 151 Pseudomonas aeruginosa clinical isolates under standard laboratory conditions and of one P. aeruginosa type strain under 14 different environmental conditions. Our approach allowed dissection of the impact of the genetic background versus environmental cues on P. aeruginosa gene expression profiles and revealed that phenotypic variation was larger in response to changing environments than between genomically different isolates. We demonstrate that mutations within the global regulator LasR affect more than one trait (pleiotropy) and that the interaction between mutations (epistasis) shapes the P. aeruginosa phenotypic plasticity landscape. Because of pleiotropic and epistatic effects, average genotype and phenotype measures appeared to be uncorrelated in P. aeruginosa.
    • The Pseudomonas aeruginosa transcriptome in planktonic cultures and static biofilms using RNA sequencing.

      Dötsch, Andreas; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Schniederjans, Monika; Zimmermann, Ariane; Jensen, Vanessa; Scharfe, Maren; Geffers, Robert; Häussler, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre of infection research; Inhoffenstr. 7; D-38124 Braunschweig; Germany. (2012)
      In this study, we evaluated how gene expression differs in mature Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms as opposed to planktonic cells by the use of RNA sequencing technology that gives rise to both quantitative and qualitative information on the transcriptome. Although a large proportion of genes were consistently regulated in both the stationary phase and biofilm cultures as opposed to the late exponential growth phase cultures, the global biofilm gene expression pattern was clearly distinct indicating that biofilms are not just surface attached cells in stationary phase. A large amount of the genes found to be biofilm specific were involved in adaptation to microaerophilic growth conditions, repression of type three secretion and production of extracellular matrix components. Additionally, we found many small RNAs to be differentially regulated most of them similarly in stationary phase cultures and biofilms. A qualitative analysis of the RNA-seq data revealed more than 3000 putative transcriptional start sites (TSS). By the use of rapid amplification of cDNA ends (5'-RACE) we confirmed the presence of three different TSS associated with the pqsABCDE operon, two in the promoter of pqsA and one upstream of the second gene, pqsB. Taken together, this study reports the first transcriptome study on P. aeruginosa that employs RNA sequencing technology and provides insights into the quantitative and qualitative transcriptome including the expression of small RNAs in P. aeruginosa biofilms.