• 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.
    • 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.
    • HuR Small-Molecule Inhibitor Elicits Differential Effects in Adenomatosis Polyposis and Colorectal Carcinogenesis.

      Lang, Michaela; Berry, David; Passecker, Katharina; Mesteri, Ildiko; Bhuju, Sabin; Ebner, Florian; Sedlyarov, Vitaly; Evstatiev, Rayko; Dammann, Kyle; Loy, Alexander; et al. (American Association for Cancer Research, 2017-05-01)
      HuR is an RNA-binding protein implicated in immune homeostasis and various cancers, including colorectal cancer. HuR binding to AU-rich elements within the 3' untranslated region of mRNAs encoding oncogenes, growth factors, and various cytokines leads message stability and translation. In this study, we evaluated HuR as a small-molecule target for preventing colorectal cancer in high-risk groups such as those with familial adenomatosis polyposis (FAP) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). In human specimens, levels of cytoplasmic HuR were increased in colonic epithelial cells from patients with IBD, IBD-cancer, FAP-adenoma, and colorectal cancer, but not in patients with IBD-dysplasia. Intraperitoneal injection of the HuR small-molecule inhibitor MS-444 in AOM/DSS mice, a model of IBD and inflammatory colon cancer, augmented DSS-induced weight loss and increased tumor multiplicity, size, and invasiveness. MS-444 treatment also abrogated tumor cell apoptosis and depleted tumor-associated eosinophils, accompanied by a decrease in IL18 and eotaxin-1. In contrast, HuR inhibition in APCMin mice, a model of FAP and colon cancer, diminished the number of small intestinal tumors generated. In this setting, fecal microbiota, evaluated by 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing, shifted to a state of reduced bacterial diversity, with an increased representation of Prevotella, Akkermansia, and Lachnospiraceae Taken together, our results indicate that HuR activation is an early event in FAP-adenoma but is not present in IBD-dysplasia. Furthermore, our results offer a preclinical proof of concept for HuR inhibition as an effective means of FAP chemoprevention, with caution advised in the setting of IBD. Cancer Res; 77(9); 2424-38. ©2017 AACR.
    • Quorum sensing of Streptococcus mutans is activated by Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans and by the periodontal microbiome.

      Szafrański, Szymon P; Deng, Zhi-Luo; Tomasch, Jürgen; Jarek, Michael; Bhuju, Sabin; Rohde, Manfred; Sztajer, Helena; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03-20)
      The oral cavity is inhabited by complex microbial communities forming biofilms that can cause caries and periodontitis. Cell-cell communication might play an important role in modulating the physiologies of individual species, but evidence so far is limited.
    • 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.
    • Tracking HCV protease population diversity during transmission and susceptibility of founder populations to antiviral therapy.

      Khera, Tanvi; Todt, Daniel; Vercauteren, Koen; McClure, C Patrick; Verhoye, Lieven; Farhoudi, Ali; Bhuju, Sabin; Geffers, Robert; Baumert, Thomas F; Steinmann, Eike; et al. (2017-03)
      Due to the highly restricted species-tropism of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) a limited number of animal models exist for pre-clinical evaluation of vaccines and antiviral compounds. The human-liver chimeric mouse model allows heterologous challenge with clinically relevant strains derived from patients. However, to date, the transmission and longitudinal evolution of founder viral populations in this model have not been characterized in-depth using state-of-the-art sequencing technologies. Focusing on NS3 protease encoding region of the viral genome, mutant spectra in a donor inoculum and individual recipient mice were determined via Illumina sequencing and compared, to determine the effects of transmission on founder viral population complexity. In all transmissions, a genetic bottleneck was observed, although diverse viral populations were transmitted in each case. A low frequency cloud of mutations (<1%) was detectable in the donor inoculum and recipient mice, with single nucleotide variants (SNVs) > 1% restricted to a subset of nucleotides. The population of SNVs >1% was reduced upon transmission while the low frequency SNV cloud remained stable. Fixation of multiple identical synonymous substitutions was apparent in independent transmissions, and no evidence for reversion of T-cell epitopes was observed. In addition, susceptibility of founder populations to antiviral therapy was assessed. Animals were treated with protease inhibitor (PI) monotherapy to track resistance associated substitution (RAS) emergence. Longitudinal analyses revealed a decline in population diversity under therapy, with no detectable RAS >1% prior to therapy commencement. Despite inoculation from a common source and identical therapeutic regimens, unique RAS emergence profiles were identified in different hosts prior to and during therapeutic failure, with complex mutational signatures at protease residues 155, 156 and 168 detected. Together these analyses track viral population complexity at high-resolution in the human-liver chimeric mouse model post-transmission and under therapeutic intervention, revealing novel insights into the evolutionary processes which shape viral protease population composition at various critical stages of the viral life-cycle.
    • The NF-κB-dependent and -independent transcriptome and chromatin landscapes of human coronavirus 229E-infected cells.

      Poppe, Michael; Wittig, Sascha; Jurida, Liane; Bartkuhn, Marek; Wilhelm, Jochen; Müller, Helmut; Beuerlein, Knut; Karl, Nadja; Bhuju, Sabin; Ziebuhr, John; et al. (2017-03)
      Coronavirus replication takes place in the host cell cytoplasm and triggers inflammatory gene expression by poorly characterized mechanisms. To obtain more insight into the signals and molecular events that coordinate global host responses in the nucleus of coronavirus-infected cells, first, transcriptome dynamics was studied in human coronavirus 229E (HCoV-229E)-infected A549 and HuH7 cells, respectively, revealing a core signature of upregulated genes in these cells. Compared to treatment with the prototypical inflammatory cytokine interleukin(IL)-1, HCoV-229E replication was found to attenuate the inducible activity of the transcription factor (TF) NF-κB and to restrict the nuclear concentration of NF-κB subunits by (i) an unusual mechanism involving partial degradation of IKKβ, NEMO and IκBα and (ii) upregulation of TNFAIP3 (A20), although constitutive IKK activity and basal TNFAIP3 expression levels were shown to be required for efficient virus replication. Second, we characterized actively transcribed genomic regions and enhancers in HCoV-229E-infected cells and systematically correlated the genome-wide gene expression changes with the recruitment of Ser5-phosphorylated RNA polymerase II and prototypical histone modifications (H3K9ac, H3K36ac, H4K5ac, H3K27ac, H3K4me1). The data revealed that, in HCoV-infected (but not IL-1-treated) cells, an extensive set of genes was activated without inducible p65 NF-κB being recruited. Furthermore, both HCoV-229E replication and IL-1 were shown to upregulate a small set of genes encoding immunomodulatory factors that bind p65 at promoters and require IKKβ activity and p65 for expression. Also, HCoV-229E and IL-1 activated a common set of 440 p65-bound enhancers that differed from another 992 HCoV-229E-specific enhancer regions by distinct TF-binding motif combinations. Taken together, the study shows that cytoplasmic RNA viruses fine-tune NF-κB signaling at multiple levels and profoundly reprogram the host cellular chromatin landscape, thereby orchestrating the timely coordinated expression of genes involved in multiple signaling, immunoregulatory and metabolic processes.
    • Dealing with salinity extremes and nitrogen limitation - an unexpected strategy of the marine bacterium Dinoroseobacter shibae.

      Kleist, Sarah; Ulbrich, Marcus; Bill, Nelli; Schmidt-Hohagen, Kerstin; Geffers, Robert; Schomburg, Dietmar; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-03)
      Having the right coping strategy for changes in osmolarity or desiccation is essential for the survival of every cell. So far, nothing is known about compatible solutes and the salt adaptation of the marine Rhodobacteraceae. The family member Dinoroseobacter shibae DFL12(T) is shown here to form the compatible solutes α-glucosylglycerol (GG) and α-glucosylglycerate (GGA). To our knowledge, this is the first experimental evidence for GGA formation within the α-proteobacteria. Together with glutamate and putrescine, these substances enable good growth in salinity ranging from 0.3% to 5%. A salinity of 5% leads to a biomass share of 7.6% of compatible solutes and the very low salt level of 0.3% results in an 18-fold increased putrescine concentration compared with environmental conditions. Additionally, the substitution of glutamate by GGA has been shown during exposure to nitrogen limitation and in the stationary growth phase of the organism. Salt shock transcriptome analysis of D. shibae has revealed the essential role of its 153 kb chromid, which carries the genes for GG biosynthesis and several transport and exchange systems. Within the family of Rhodobacteraceae, the genomic capability of forming GG and GGA is strictly restricted to marine family members.
    • Complete Genome Sequences of Three Multidrug-Resistant Clinical Isolates of Streptococcus pneumoniae Serotype 19A with Different Susceptibilities to the Myxobacterial Metabolite Carolacton.

      Donner, Jannik; Bunk, Boyke; Schober, Isabel; Spröer, Cathrin; Bergmann, Simone; Jarek, Michael; Overmann, Jörg; Wagner-Döbler, Irene; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-16)
      The full-genome sequences of three drug- and multidrug-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae clinical isolates of serotype 19A were determined by PacBio single-molecule real-time sequencing, in combination with Illumina MiSeq sequencing. A comparison to the genomes of other pneumococci indicates a high nucleotide sequence identity to strains Hungary19A-6 and TCH8431/19A.
    • Transcriptomic Analysis Reveals Selective Metabolic Adaptation of Streptococcus suis to Porcine Blood and Cerebrospinal Fluid.

      Koczula, Anna; Jarek, Michael; Visscher, Christian; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Goethe, Ralph; Willenborg, Jörg; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02-15)
      Streptococcus suis is a zoonotic pathogen that can cause severe pathologies such as septicemia and meningitis in its natural porcine host as well as in humans. Establishment of disease requires not only virulence of the infecting strain but also an appropriate metabolic activity of the pathogen in its host environment. However, it is yet largely unknown how the streptococcal metabolism adapts to the different host niches encountered during infection. Our previous isotopologue profiling studies on S. suis grown in porcine blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) revealed conserved activities of central carbon metabolism in both body fluids. On the other hand, they suggested differences in the de novo amino acid biosynthesis. This prompted us to further dissect S. suis adaptation to porcine blood and CSF by RNA deep sequencing (RNA-seq). In blood, the majority of differentially expressed genes were associated with transport of alternative carbohydrate sources and the carbohydrate metabolism (pentose phosphate pathway, glycogen metabolism). In CSF, predominantly genes involved in the biosynthesis of branched-chain and aromatic amino acids were differentially expressed. Especially, isoleucine biosynthesis seems to be of major importance for S. suis in CSF because several related biosynthetic genes were more highly expressed. In conclusion, our data revealed niche-specific metabolic gene activity which emphasizes a selective adaptation of S. suis to host environments.
    • 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.
    • Assessment of an APOBEC3B truncating mutation, c.783delG, in patients with breast cancer.

      Radmanesh, Hoda; Spethmann, Tessa; Enßen, Julia; Schürmann, Peter; Bhuju, Sabin; Geffers, Robert; Antonenkova, Natalia; Khusnutdinova, Elza; Sadr-Nabavi, Ariane; Shandiz, Fatemeh Homaei; et al. (2017-02)
      APOBEC3B belongs to the family of DNA-editing enzymes. A copy number variant targeting the genomic APOBEC3A-APOBEC3B locus has a significant impact on breast cancer risk, but the relative contribution of APOBEC3B is uncertain. In this study, we investigate a loss-of-function mutation that selectively targets APOBEC3B, for its association with breast cancer risk.
    • 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.
    • Deletion of Irf3 and Irf7 Genes in Mice Results in Altered Interferon Pathway Activation and Granulocyte-Dominated Inflammatory Responses to Influenza A Infection.

      Hatesuer, Bastian; Hoang, Hang Thi Thu; Riese, Peggy; Trittel, Stephanie; Gerhauser, Ingo; Elbahesh, Husni; Geffers, Robert; Wilk, Esther; Schughart, Klaus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The interferon (IFN) pathway plays an essential role in the innate immune response following viral infections and subsequent shaping of adaptive immunity. Infections with influenza A viruses (IAV) activate the IFN pathway after the recognition of pathogen-specific molecular patterns by respective pattern recognition receptors. The IFN regulatory factors IRF3 and IRF7 are key players in the regulation of type I and III IFN genes. In this study, we analyzed the role of IRF3 and IRF7 for the host response to IAV infections in Irf3-/-, Irf7-/-, and Irf3-/-Irf7-/- knockout mice. While the absence of IRF3 had only a moderate impact on IFN expression, deletion of IRF7 completely abolished IFNα production after infection. In contrast, lack of both IRF3 and IRF7 resulted in the absence of both IFNα and IFNβ after IAV infection. In addition, IAV infection of double knockout mice resulted in a strong increase of mortality associated with a massive influx of granulocytes in the lung and reduced activation of the adaptive immune response.
    • Hypoxia Enhances Immunosuppression by Inhibiting CD4+ Effector T Cell Function and Promoting Treg Activity.

      Westendorf, Astrid M; Skibbe, Kathrin; Adamczyk, Alexandra; Buer, Jan; Geffers, Robert; Hansen, Wiebke; Pastille, Eva; Jendrossek, Verena; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Hypoxia occurs in many pathological conditions, including inflammation and cancer. Within this context, hypoxia was shown to inhibit but also to promote T cell responses. Due to this controversial function, we aimed to explore whether an insufficient anti-tumour response during colitis-associated colon cancer could be ascribed to a hypoxic microenvironment.
    • Clinical and Biological Manifestation of RNF168 Deficiency in Two Polish Siblings.

      Pietrucha, Barbara; Heropolitańska-Pliszka, Edyta; Geffers, Robert; Enßen, Julia; Wieland, Britta; Bogdanova, Natalia Valerijevna; Dörk, Thilo; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Germline mutations in the RING finger protein gene RNF168 have been identified in a combined immunodeficiency disorder called RIDDLE syndrome. Since only two patients have been described with somewhat different phenotypes, there is need to identify further patients. Here, we report on two Polish siblings with RNF168 deficiency due to homozygosity for a novel frameshift mutation, c.295delG, that was identified through exome sequencing. Both patients presented with immunoglobulin deficiency, telangiectasia, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) levels. The younger sibling had a more pronounced neurological and morphological phenotype, and she also carried an ATM gene mutation in the heterozygous state. Immunoblot analyses showed absence of RNF168 protein, whereas ATM levels and function were proficient in lymphoblastoid cells from both patients. Consistent with the absence of RNF168 protein, 53BP1 recruitment to DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) after irradiation was undetectable in lymphoblasts or primary fibroblasts from either of the two patients. γH2AX foci accumulated normally but they disappeared with significant delay, indicating a severe defect in DSB repair. A comparison with the two previously identified patients indicates immunoglobulin deficiency, cellular radiosensitivity, and increased AFP levels as hallmarks of RNF168 deficiency. The variability in its clinical expression despite similar cellular phenotypes suggests that some manifestations of RNF168 deficiency may be modified by additional genetic or epidemiological factors.
    • Alloantigen-Induced Regulatory T Cells Generated in Presence of Vitamin C Display Enhanced Stability of Foxp3 Expression and Promote Skin Allograft Acceptance.

      Nikolouli, Eirini; Hardtke-Wolenski, Matthias; Hapke, Martin; Beckstette, Michael; Geffers, Robert; Floess, Stefan; Jaeckel, Elmar; Huehn, Jochen; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are critical for the maintenance of immune homeostasis and self-tolerance and can be therapeutically used for prevention of unwanted immune responses such as allotransplant rejection. Tregs are characterized by expression of the transcription factor Foxp3, and recent work suggests that epigenetic imprinting of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes is crucial for the stabilization of both Foxp3 expression and immunosuppressive properties within Tregs. Lately, vitamin C was reported to enhance the activity of enzymes of the ten-eleven translocation family, thereby fostering the demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes in developing Tregs. Here, we in vitro generated alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs (allo-iTregs) in presence of vitamin C. Although vitamin C hardly influenced the transcriptome of allo-iTregs as revealed by RNA-seq, those vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a more pronounced demethylation of Foxp3 and other Treg-specific epigenetic signatures genes accompanied with an enhanced stability of Foxp3 expression. Accordingly, when being tested in vivo in an allogeneic skin transplantation model, vitamin C-treated allo-iTregs showed a superior suppressive capacity. Together, our results pave the way for the establishment of novel protocols for the in vitro generation of alloantigen-induced Foxp3(+) Tregs for therapeutic use in transplantation medicine.
    • The transcriptional regulator LysG (Rv1985c) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis activates lysE (Rv1986) in a lysine-dependent manner.

      Schneefeld, Marie; Busche, Tobias; Geffers, Robert; Kalinowski, Jörn; Bange, Franz-Christoph; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein encoded by the Rv1986 gene is a target for memory T cells in patients with tuberculosis, and shows strong similarities to a lysine exporter LysE of Corynebacterium glutamicum. During infection, the pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis adapts its metabolism to environmental changes. In this study, we found that the expression of Rv1986 is controlled by Rv1985c. Rv1985c is located directly upstream of Rv1986 with an overlapping promoter region between both genes. Semiquantitative reverse transcription PCR using an isogenic mutant of Mycobacterium tuberculosis lacking Rv1985c showed that in the presence of lysine, Rv1985c protein positively upregulated the expression of Rv1986. RNA sequencing revealed the transcription start points for both transcripts and overlapping promoters. An inverted repeat in the center of the intergenic region was identified, and binding of Rv1985c protein to the intergenic region was confirmed by electrophoretic mobility shift assays. Whole transcriptome expression analysis and RNAsequencing showed downregulated transcription of ppsBCD in the Rv1985c-mutant compared to the wild type strain. Taken together, our findings characterize the regulatory network of Rv1985c in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Due to their similarity of an orthologous gene pair in Corynebacterium glutamicum, we suggest to rename Rv1985c to lysG(Mt), and Rv1986 to lysE(Mt).
    • Amphibian gut microbiota shifts differentially in community structure but converges on habitat-specific predicted functions.

      Bletz, Molly C; Goedbloed, Daniel J; Sanchez, Eugenia; Reinhardt, Timm; Tebbe, Christoph C; Bhuju, Sabin; Geffers, Robert; Jarek, Michael; Vences, Miguel; Steinfartz, Sebastian; et al. (2016-12-15)
      Complex microbial communities inhabit vertebrate digestive systems but thorough understanding of the ecological dynamics and functions of host-associated microbiota within natural habitats is limited. We investigate the role of environmental conditions in shaping gut and skin microbiota under natural conditions by performing a field survey and reciprocal transfer experiments with salamander larvae inhabiting two distinct habitats (ponds and streams). We show that gut and skin microbiota are habitat-specific, demonstrating environmental factors mediate community structure. Reciprocal transfer reveals that gut microbiota, but not skin microbiota, responds differentially to environmental change. Stream-to-pond larvae shift their gut microbiota to that of pond-to-pond larvae, whereas pond-to-stream larvae change to a community structure distinct from both habitat controls. Predicted functions, however, match that of larvae from the destination habitats in both cases. Thus, microbial function can be matched without taxonomic coherence and gut microbiota appears to exhibit metagenomic plasticity.
    • Chromatin binding of Gcn5 in Drosophila is largely mediated by CP190.

      Ali, Tamer; Krüger, Marcus; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; Bartkuhn, Marek; Renkawitz, Rainer; Hel,holtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-11-29)
      Centrosomal 190 kDa protein (CP190) is a promoter binding factor, mediates long-range interactions in the context of enhancer-promoter contacts and in chromosomal domain formation. All Drosophila insulator proteins bind CP190 suggesting a crucial role in insulator function. CP190 has major effects on chromatin, such as depletion of nucleosomes, high nucleosomal turnover and prevention of heterochromatin expansion. Here, we searched for enzymes, which might be involved in CP190 mediated chromatin changes. Eighty percent of the genomic binding sites of the histone acetyltransferase Gcn5 are colocalizing with CP190 binding. Depletion of CP190 reduces Gcn5 binding to chromatin. Binding dependency was further supported by Gcn5 mediated co-precipitation of CP190. Gcn5 is known to activate transcription by histone acetylation. We used the dCas9 system to target CP190 or Gcn5 to a Polycomb repressed and H3K27me3 marked gene locus. Both, CP190 as well as Gcn5, activate this locus, thus supporting the model that CP190 recruits Gcn5 and thereby activates chromatin.