• Differential roles for MBD2 and MBD3 at methylated CpG islands, active promoters and binding to exon sequences.

      Günther, Katharina; Rust, Mareike; Leers, Joerg; Boettger, Thomas; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Bartkuhn, Marek; Renkawitz, Rainer; Institute for Genetics, Justus-Liebig-University, D35392 Giessen, Germany. (2013-03-01)
      The heterogeneous collection of nucleosome remodelling and deacetylation (NuRD) complexes can be grouped into the MBD2- or MBD3-containing complexes MBD2-NuRD and MBD3-NuRD. MBD2 is known to bind to methylated CpG sequences in vitro in contrast to MBD3. Although functional differences have been described, a direct comparison of MBD2 and MBD3 in respect to genome-wide binding and function has been lacking. Here, we show that MBD2-NuRD, in contrast to MBD3-NuRD, converts open chromatin with euchromatic histone modifications into tightly compacted chromatin with repressive histone marks. Genome-wide, a strong enrichment for MBD2 at methylated CpG sequences is found, whereas CpGs bound by MBD3 are devoid of methylation. MBD2-bound genes are generally lower expressed as compared with MBD3-bound genes. When depleting cells for MBD2, the MBD2-bound genes increase their activity, whereas MBD2 plus MBD3-bound genes reduce their activity. Most strikingly, MBD3 is enriched at active promoters, whereas MBD2 is bound at methylated promoters and enriched at exon sequences of active genes.
    • Distribution and Evolution of Peroxisomes in Alveolates (Apicomplexa, Dinoflagellates, Ciliates).

      Ludewig-Klingner, Ann-Kathrin; Michael, Victoria; Jarek, Michael; Brinkmann, Henner; Petersen, Jörn; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
      The peroxisome was the last organelle to be discovered and five decades later it is still the Cinderella of eukaryotic compartments. Peroxisomes have a crucial role in the detoxification of reactive oxygen species, the beta-oxidation of fatty acids, and the biosynthesis of etherphospholipids, and they are assumed to be present in virtually all aerobic eukaryotes. Apicomplexan parasites including the malaria and toxoplasmosis agents were described as the first group of mitochondriate protists devoid of peroxisomes. This study was initiated to reassess the distribution and evolution of peroxisomes in the superensemble Alveolata (apicomplexans, dinoflagellates, ciliates). We established transcriptome data from two chromerid algae (Chromera velia, Vitrella brassicaformis), and two dinoflagellates (Prorocentrum minimum, Perkinsus olseni) and identified the complete set of essential peroxins in all four reference species. Our comparative genome analysis provides unequivocal evidence for the presence of peroxisomes in Toxoplasma gondii and related genera. Our working hypothesis of a common peroxisomal origin of all alveolates is supported by phylogenetic analyses of essential markers such as the import receptor Pex5. Vitrella harbors the most comprehensive set of peroxisomal proteins including the catalase and the glyoxylate cycle and it is thus a promising model organism to investigate the functional role of this organelle in Apicomplexa.
    • Divergent co-transcriptomes of different host cells infected with Toxoplasma gondii reveal cell type-specific host-parasite interactions.

      Swierzy, Izabela J; Händel, Ulrike; Kaever, Alexander; Jarek, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Schlüter, Dirk; Lüder, Carsten G K; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-03)
      The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects various cell types in avian and mammalian hosts including humans. Infection of immunocompetent hosts is mostly asymptomatic or benign, but leads to development of largely dormant bradyzoites that persist predominantly within neurons and muscle cells. Here we have analyzed the impact of the host cell type on the co-transcriptomes of host and parasite using high-throughput RNA sequencing. Murine cortical neurons and astrocytes, skeletal muscle cells (SkMCs) and fibroblasts differed by more than 16,200 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) before and after infection with T. gondii. However, only a few hundred of them were regulated by infection and these largely diverged in neurons, SkMCs, astrocytes and fibroblasts indicating host cell type-specific transcriptional responses after infection. The heterogeneous transcriptomes of host cells before and during infection coincided with ~5,400 DEGs in T. gondii residing in different cell types. Finally, we identified gene clusters in both T. gondii and its host, which correlated with the predominant parasite persistence in neurons or SkMCs as compared to astrocytes or fibroblasts. Thus, heterogeneous expression profiles of different host cell types and the parasites' ability to adapting to them may govern the parasite-host cell interaction during toxoplasmosis.
    • Donor-derived IL-17A and IL-17F deficiency triggers Th1 allo-responses and increases gut leakage during acute GVHD.

      Odak, Ivan; Depkat-Jakob, Alina; Beck, Maleen; Jarek, Michael; Yu, Yan; Seidler, Ursula; David, Sascha; Ganser, Arnold; Förster, Reinhold; Prinz, Immo; et al. (PLOS, 2020-04-06)
      s Metrics Comments Media Coverage Abstract Introduction Material and methods Results Discussion Supporting information Acknowledgments References Reader Comments (0) Media Coverage (0) Figures Abstract IL-17A and IL-17F cytokines are important regulators of acute graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). However, contrary effects of these cytokines in inflammatory diseases have been reported. To investigate the effects of donor-derived IL-17A and IL-17F on GVHD, we made use of single (Il17a-/- or Il17f-/-) and double deficient (Il17af-/-) allogeneic donor CD4+ T cells. We could demonstrate that transplantation of Il17af-/- CD4+ donor T cells led to aggravated GVHD. However, this phenotype was not observed after transplantation of single, Il17a-/- or Il17f-/-, deficient CD4+ T cells, suggesting redundant effects of IL-17A and IL-17F. Moreover, Il17af-/- cell recipients showed an increase of systemic IFNγ, indicating a heightened pro-inflammatory state, as well as infiltration of IFNγ-secreting CD4+ T cells in the recipients’ intestinal tract. These recipients exhibited significant gut leakage, and markedly macrophage infiltration in the gastrointestinal epithelial layer. Moreover, we saw evidence of impaired recovery of gut epithelial cells in recipients of Il17af-/- CD4+ T cells. In this study, we show that IL-17A/F double deficiency of donor CD4+ T cells leads to accelerated GVHD and therefore highlight the importance of these cytokines. Together, IL-17 cytokines might serve as a brake to an intensified Th1 response, leading to the exacerbated gut damage in acute GVHD.
    • Draft Genome Sequence of the Gammaproteobacterial Strain MOLA455, a Representative of a Ubiquitous Proteorhodopsin-Producing Group in the Ocean.

      Courties, Alicia; Riedel, Thomas; Jarek, Michael; Papadatou, Maria; Intertaglia, Laurent; Lebaron, Philippe; Suzuki, Marcelino T (2014-01-30)
      Strain MOLA455 is a marine gammaproteobacterium isolated from the bay of Banyuls-sur-Mer, France. Here, we present its genome sequence and annotation. Genome analysis revealed the presence of genes associated with a possibly photoheterotrophic lifestyle that uses a proteorhodopsin protein.
    • Draft Genome Sequence of Zoonotic Streptococcus canis Isolate G361.

      Eichhorn, Inga; van der Linden, Mark; Jarek, Michael; Fulde, Marcus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-09-21)
      Here, we report the draft genome sequence of an SCM-positive Streptococcus canis strain, G361, isolated from a vaginal swab of a 40-year-old woman. The draft genome comprises 2,045,931 bp in 62 contigs.
    • Dual Role of the Adaptive Immune System in Liver Injury and Hepatocellular Carcinoma Development.

      Endig, Jessica; Buitrago-Molina, Laura Elisa; Marhenke, Silke; Reisinger, Florian; Saborowski, Anna; Schütt, Jutta; Limbourg, Florian; Könecke, Christian; Schreder, Alina; Michael, Alina; et al. (2016-08-08)
      Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) represents a classic example of inflammation-linked cancer. To characterize the role of the immune system in hepatic injury and tumor development, we comparatively studied the extent of liver disease and hepatocarcinogenesis in immunocompromised versus immunocompetent Fah-deficient mice. Strikingly, chronic liver injury and tumor development were markedly suppressed in alymphoid Fah(-/-) mice despite an overall increased mortality. Mechanistically, we show that CD8(+) T cells and lymphotoxin β are central mediators of HCC formation. Antibody-mediated depletion of CD8(+) T cells as well as pharmacological inhibition of the lymphotoxin-β receptor markedly delays tumor development in mice with chronic liver injury. Thus, our study unveils distinct functions of the immune system, which are required for liver regeneration, survival, and hepatocarcinogenesis.
    • Dysbiosis in chronic periodontitis: Key microbial players and interactions with the human host.

      Deng, Zhi-Luo; Szafrański, Szymon P; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7., 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-16)
      Periodontitis is an extremely prevalent disease worldwide and is driven by complex dysbiotic microbiota. Here we analyzed the transcriptional activity of the periodontal pocket microbiota from all domains of life as well as the human host in health and chronic periodontitis. Bacteria showed strong enrichment of 18 KEGG functional modules in chronic periodontitis, including bacterial chemotaxis, flagellar assembly, type III secretion system, type III CRISPR-Cas system, and two component system proteins. Upregulation of these functions was driven by the red-complex pathogens and candidate pathogens, e.g. Filifactor alocis, Prevotella intermedia, Fretibacterium fastidiosum and Selenomonas sputigena. Nine virulence factors were strongly up-regulated, among them the arginine deiminase arcA from Porphyromonas gingivalis and Mycoplasma arginini. Viruses and archaea accounted for about 0.1% and 0.22% of total putative mRNA reads, respectively, and a protozoan, Entamoeba gingivalis, was highly enriched in periodontitis. Fourteen human transcripts were enriched in periodontitis, including a gene for a ferric iron binding protein, indicating competition with the microbiota for iron, and genes associated with cancer, namely nucleolar phosphoprotein B23, ankyrin-repeat domain 30B-like protein and beta-enolase. The data provide evidence on the level of gene expression in vivo for the potentially severe impact of the dysbiotic microbiota on human health.
    • Dysregulated serum response factor triggers formation of hepatocellular carcinoma.

      Ohrnberger, Stefan; Thavamani, Abhishek; Braeuning, Albert; Lipka, Daniel B; Kirilov, Milen; Geffers, Robert; Authenrieth, Stella E; Römer, Michael; Zell, Andreas; Bonin, Michael; et al. (2015-03)
      The ubiquitously expressed transcriptional regulator serum response factor (SRF) is controlled by both Ras/MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) and Rho/actin signaling pathways, which are frequently activated in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We generated SRF-VP16(iHep) mice, which conditionally express constitutively active SRF-VP16 in hepatocytes, thereby controlling subsets of both Ras/MAPK- and Rho/actin-stimulated target genes. All SRF-VP16(iHep) mice develop hyperproliferative liver nodules that progresses to lethal HCC. Some murine (m)HCCs acquire Ctnnb1 mutations equivalent to those in human (h)HCC. The resulting transcript signatures mirror those of a distinct subgroup of hHCCs, with shared activation of oncofetal genes including Igf2, correlating with CpG hypomethylation at the imprinted Igf2/H19 locus.
    • Effects of green tea compound epigallocatechin-3-gallate against Stenotrophomonas maltophilia infection and biofilm.

      Vidigal, Pedrina G; Müsken, Mathias; Becker, Katrin A; Häussler, Susanne; Wingender, Jost; Steinmann, Eike; Kehrmann, Jan; Gulbins, Erich; Buer, Jan; Rath, Peter Michael; et al. (2014)
      We investigated the in vitro and in vivo activities of epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCg), a green tea component, against Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (Sm) isolates from cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. In vitro effects of EGCg and the antibiotic colistin (COL) on growth inhibition, survival, and also against young and mature biofilms of S. maltophilia were determined. Qualitative and quantitative changes on the biofilms were assessed by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM). Further, in vivo effects of nebulized EGCg in C57BL/6 and Cftr mutant mice during acute Sm lung infection were evaluated. Subinhibitory concentrations of EGCg significantly reduced not only biofilm formation, but also the quantity of viable cells in young and mature biofilms. CLSM showed that EGCg-exposed biofilms exhibited either a change in total biofilm biovolume or an increase of the fraction of dead cells contained within the biofilm in a dose depended manner. Sm infected wild-type and Cftr mutant mice treated with 1,024 mg/L EGCg by inhalation exhibited significantly lower bacterial counts than those undergoing no treatment or treated with COL. EGCg displayed promising inhibitory and anti-biofilm properties against CF Sm isolates in vitro and significantly reduced Sm bacterial counts in an acute infection model with wild type and CF mice. This natural compound may represent a novel therapeutic agent against Sm infection in CF.
    • Effects of Type I Interferons on Friend Retrovirus Infection

      Gerlach, Nicole; Schimmer, Simone; Weiss, Siegfried; Kalinke, Ulrich; Dittmer, Ulf (American Society for Microbiology, 2006-04)
    • Efficiency of Conditionally Attenuated Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium in Bacterium-Mediated Tumor Therapy.

      Frahm, Michael; Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Rohde, M; Hensel, Michael; Curtiss, Roy; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Increasing numbers of cancer cases generate a great urge for new treatment options. Applying bacteria like Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium for cancer therapy represents an intensively explored option. These bacteria have been shown not only to colonize solid tumors but also to exhibit an intrinsic antitumor effect. In addition, they could serve as tumor-targeting vectors for therapeutic molecules. However, the pathogenic S. Typhimurium strains used for tumor therapy need to be attenuated for safe application. Here, lipopolysaccharide (LPS) deletion mutants (ΔrfaL, ΔrfaG, ΔrfaH, ΔrfaD, ΔrfaP, and ΔmsbB mutants) of Salmonella were investigated for efficiency in tumor therapy. Of such variants, the ΔrfaD and ΔrfaG deep rough mutants exhibited the best tumor specificity and lowest pathogenicity. However, the intrinsic antitumor effect was found to be weak. To overcome this limitation, conditional attenuation was tested by complementing the mutants with an inducible arabinose promoter. The chromosomal integration of the respective LPS biosynthesis genes into the araBAD locus exhibited the best balance of attenuation and therapeutic benefit. Thus, the present study establishes a basis for the development of an applicably cancer therapeutic bacterium.
    • Efficient Replication of the Novel Human Betacoronavirus EMC on Primary Human Epithelium Highlights Its Zoonotic Potential.

      Kindler, Eveline; Jónsdóttir, Hulda R; Muth, Doreen; Hamming, Ole J; Hartmann, Rune; Rodriguez, Regulo; Geffers, Robert; Fouchier, Ron A M; Drosten, Christian; Müller, Marcel A; et al. (2013)
      ABSTRACT The recent emergence of a novel human coronavirus (HCoV-EMC) in the Middle East raised considerable concerns, as it is associated with severe acute pneumonia, renal failure, and fatal outcome and thus resembles the clinical presentation of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) observed in 2002 and 2003. Like SARS-CoV, HCoV-EMC is of zoonotic origin and closely related to bat coronaviruses. The human airway epithelium (HAE) represents the entry point and primary target tissue for respiratory viruses and is highly relevant for assessing the zoonotic potential of emerging respiratory viruses, such as HCoV-EMC. Here, we show that pseudostratified HAE cultures derived from different donors are highly permissive to HCoV-EMC infection, and by using reverse transcription (RT)-PCR and RNAseq data, we experimentally determined the identity of seven HCoV-EMC subgenomic mRNAs. Although the HAE cells were readily responsive to type I and type III interferon (IFN), we observed neither a pronounced inflammatory cytokine nor any detectable IFN responses following HCoV-EMC, SARS-CoV, or HCoV-229E infection, suggesting that innate immune evasion mechanisms and putative IFN antagonists of HCoV-EMC are operational in the new host. Importantly, however, we demonstrate that both type I and type III IFN can efficiently reduce HCoV-EMC replication in HAE cultures, providing a possible treatment option in cases of suspected HCoV-EMC infection. IMPORTANCE A novel human coronavirus, HCoV-EMC, has recently been described to be associated with severe respiratory tract infection and fatalities, similar to severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) observed during the 2002-2003 epidemic. Closely related coronaviruses replicate in bats, suggesting that, like SARS-CoV, HCoV-EMC is of zoonotic origin. Since the animal reservoir and circumstances of zoonotic transmission are yet elusive, it is critically important to assess potential species barriers of HCoV-EMC infection. An important first barrier against invading respiratory pathogens is the epithelium, representing the entry point and primary target tissue of respiratory viruses. We show that human bronchial epithelia are highly susceptible to HCoV-EMC infection. Furthermore, HCoV-EMC, like other coronaviruses, evades innate immune recognition, reflected by the lack of interferon and minimal inflammatory cytokine expression following infection. Importantly, type I and type III interferon treatment can efficiently reduce HCoV-EMC replication in the human airway epithelium, providing a possible avenue for treatment of emerging virus infections.
    • Elucidation of Sigma Factor-Associated Networks in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Reveals a Modular Architecture with Limited and Function-Specific Crosstalk.

      Schulz, Sebastian; Eckweiler, Denitsa; Bielecka, Agata; Nicolai, Tanja; Franke, Raimo; Dötsch, Andreas; Hornischer, Klaus; Bruchmann, Sebastian; Düvel, Juliane; Häussler, Susanne; et al. (2015-03)
      Sigma factors are essential global regulators of transcription initiation in bacteria which confer promoter recognition specificity to the RNA polymerase core enzyme. They provide effective mechanisms for simultaneously regulating expression of large numbers of genes in response to challenging conditions, and their presence has been linked to bacterial virulence and pathogenicity. In this study, we constructed nine his-tagged sigma factor expressing and/or deletion mutant strains in the opportunistic pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. To uncover the direct and indirect sigma factor regulons, we performed mRNA profiling, as well as chromatin immunoprecipitation coupled to high-throughput sequencing. We furthermore elucidated the de novo binding motif of each sigma factor, and validated the RNA- and ChIP-seq results by global motif searches in the proximity of transcriptional start sites (TSS). Our integrated approach revealed a highly modular network architecture which is composed of insulated functional sigma factor modules. Analysis of the interconnectivity of the various sigma factor networks uncovered a limited, but highly function-specific, crosstalk which orchestrates complex cellular processes. Our data indicate that the modular structure of sigma factor networks enables P. aeruginosa to function adequately in its environment and at the same time is exploited to build up higher-level functions by specific interconnections that are dominated by a participation of RpoN.
    • Enantiomer-specific and paracrine leukemogenicity of mutant IDH metabolite 2-hydroxyglutarate.

      Chaturvedi, A; Araujo Cruz, M M; Jyotsana, N; Sharma, A; Goparaju, R; Schwarzer, A; Görlich, K; Schottmann, R; Struys, E A; Jansen, E E; et al. (2016-08)
      Canonical mutations in IDH1 and IDH2 produce high levels of the R-enantiomer of 2-hydroxyglutarate (R-2HG), which is a competitive inhibitor of α-ketoglutarate (αKG)-dependent enzymes and a putative oncometabolite. Mutant IDH1 collaborates with HoxA9 to induce monocytic leukemia in vivo. We used two mouse models and a patient-derived acute myeloid leukemia xenotransplantation (PDX) model to evaluate the in vivo transforming potential of R-2HG, S-2HG and αKG independent of the mutant IDH1 protein. We show that R-2HG, but not S-2HG or αKG, is an oncometabolite in vivo that does not require the mutant IDH1 protein to induce hyperleukocytosis and to accelerate the onset of murine and human leukemia. Thus, circulating R-2HG acts in a paracrine manner and can drive the expansion of many different leukemic and preleukemic clones that may express wild-type IDH1, and therefore can be a driver of clonal evolution and diversity. In addition, we show that the mutant IDH1 protein is a stronger oncogene than R-2HG alone when comparable intracellular R-2HG levels are achieved. We therefore propose R-2HG-independent oncogenic functions of mutant IDH1 that may need to be targeted in addition to R-2HG production to exploit the full therapeutic potential of IDH1 inhibition.
    • Engineered Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium overcomes limitations of anti-bacterial immunity in bacteria-mediated tumor therapy

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Heise, Ulrike; Rohde, Manfred; Zimmermann, Kurt; Falk, Christine; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; et al. (2017-09-29)
    • Establishment of an induced memory response in Pseudomonas aeruginosa during infection of a eukaryotic host.

      Kordes, Adrian; Grahl, Nora; Koska, Michal; Preusse, Matthias; Arce-Rodriguez, Alejandro; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Kaever, Volkhard; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-08-01)
      In a given habitat, bacterial cells often experience recurrent exposures to the same environmental stimulus. The ability to memorize the past event and to adjust current behaviors can lead to efficient adaptation to the recurring stimulus. Here we demonstrate that the versatile bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa adopts a virulence phenotype after serial passage in the invertebrate model host Galleria mellonella. The virulence phenotype was not linked to the acquisition of genetic variations and was sustained for several generations, despite cultivation of the ex vivo virulence-adapted P. aeruginosa cells under rich medium conditions in vitro. Transcriptional reprogramming seemed to be induced by a host-specific food source, as reprogramming was also observed upon cultivation of P. aeruginosa in rich medium supplemented with polyunsaturated long-chain fatty acids. The establishment of induced memory responses adds a time dimension and seems to fill the gap between long-term evolutionary genotypic adaptation and short-term induced individual responses. Efforts to unravel the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the carry-over effect to induce such memory responses will continue to be of importance as hysteretic behavior can serve survival of bacterial populations in changing and challenging habitats.
    • Evaluation of a microarray-hybridization based method applicable for discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the Pseudomonas aeruginosa genome

      Dötsch, Andreas; Pommerenke, Claudia; Bredenbruch, Florian; Geffers, Robert; Häussler, Susanne (2009-01-19)
      Abstract Background Whole genome sequencing techniques have added a new dimension to studies on bacterial adaptation, evolution and diversity in chronic infections. By using this powerful approach it was demonstrated that Pseudomonas aeruginosa undergoes intense genetic adaptation processes, crucial in the development of persistent disease. The challenge ahead is to identify universal infection relevant adaptive bacterial traits as potential targets for the development of alternative treatment strategies. Results We developed a microarray-based method applicable for discovery of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in P. aeruginosa as an easy and economical alternative to whole genome sequencing. About 50% of all SNPs theoretically covered by the array could be detected in a comparative hybridization of PAO1 and PA14 genomes at high specificity (> 0.996). Variations larger than SNPs were detected at much higher sensitivities, reaching nearly 100% for genetic differences affecting multiple consecutive probe oligonucleotides. The detailed comparison of the in silico alignment with experimental hybridization data lead to the identification of various factors influencing sensitivity and specificity in SNP detection and to the identification of strain specific features such as a large deletion within the PA4684 and PA4685 genes in the Washington Genome Center PAO1. Conclusion The application of the genome array as a tool to identify adaptive mutations, to depict genome organizations, and to identify global regulons by the "ChIP-on-chip" technique will expand our knowledge on P. aeruginosa adaptation, evolution and regulatory mechanisms of persistence on a global scale and thus advance the development of effective therapies to overcome persistent disease.
    • 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.
    • Evolutionary conservation of essential and highly expressed genes in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Dötsch, Andreas; Klawonn, Frank; Jarek, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Blöcker, Helmut; Häussler, Susanne; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      The constant increase in development and spread of bacterial resistance to antibiotics poses a serious threat to human health. New sequencing technologies are now on the horizon that will yield massive increases in our capacity for DNA sequencing and will revolutionize the drug discovery process. Since essential genes are promising novel antibiotic targets, the prediction of gene essentiality based on genomic information has become a major focus.