• Filamentous fungi in good shape: Microparticles for tailor-made fungal morphology and enhanced enzyme production.

      Driouch, Habib; Roth, Andreas; Dersch, Petra; Wittmann, Christoph; Institute of Biochemical Engineering, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-03-01)
      Filamentous fungi such as Aspergillus niger are important biocatalysts for industrial production of various enzymes as well as organic acids or antibiotics. In suspended culture these microorganisms exhibit a complex morphology which typically has a strong influence on their production properties. In this regard, we have recently shown that the addition of inorganic micro particles to the culture medium is a straightforward and elegant approach to precisely tame fungal morphology. For A. niger a full range of morphological forms from pellets with different diameters to free mycelium could be adjusted by supplementation with talc powder. Aluminium oxide particles similarly affected morphology, showing that this effect is largely independent of the chemical particle composition. Exemplified for different recombinant A. niger strains enzyme production could be strongly enhanced by the addition of microparticles. This was demonstrated for the production of fructofuranosidase, an important high-value biocatalyst for pre-biotic fructo-oligosaccharides, by recombinant A. niger. In a microparticle enhanced fed-batch process, a highly productive mycelium could be achieved. The enzyme titre of 2800 U/mL finally reached was more then tenfold higher then that of any other process reported so far. Here we provide additional insights into the novel production process. This includes the confirmation of the highly selective production of the target enzyme fructofuranosidase using MALDI-TOF MS analysis. Moreover, we show that the obtained enzyme suspension can be efficiently used with minimal pre-treatment for the biosynthesis of short chain fructooligosaccharides of the inulin type, such as 1-kestose and 1-nystose, prebiotics with substantial commercial interest. In particular, these compounds are highly attractive for human consumption, since they have been shown to reduce the risk of colon cancer. In summary, the use of microparticles opens a new avenue of engineering fungal morphology into the desired form for specific production processes.
    • [How to assess the elimination of viral hepatitis B, C, and D in Germany? Outcomes of an interdisciplinary workshop]. / Wie lässt sich die Eliminierung von Hepatitis B, C und D in Deutschland messen? Ergebnisse eines interdisziplinären Arbeitstreffens

      Zimmermann, Ruth; Külper-Schiek, Wiebe; Steffen, Gyde; Gillesberg Lassen, Sofie; Bremer, Viviane; Dudareva, Sandra; die Hepatitis-Monitoring-Arbeitsgruppe; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-12-16)
      Background: In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a strategy to eliminate hepatitis B, C, and D and defined indicators to monitor the progress. The Robert Koch Institute organized an interdisciplinary working meeting in 2019 to identify data sources and gaps. Objectives: The objectives were to network, to create an overview of the data sources available in Germany on hepatitis B and C, and to discuss how to construct indicators. Materials and methods: We extracted the WHO indicators relevant for Germany and determined how they can be constructed on the basis of available data. Stakeholders from public health services, clinics, laboratories, health insurance companies, research institutes, data holders, and registries attended a workshop and discussed methods of constructing the indicators for which data are lacking. Data sources and data were evaluated and prioritized with regard to their quality and completeness. Results: Indicators on prevalence, incidence, prevention, testing and diagnosis, treatment, cure, burden of sequelae, and mortality for the general population can be constructed using secondary data such as diagnosis, health service, and registry data, data from laboratories and hospitals as well as population-based studies. Data sources for vulnerable groups are limited to studies among drug users, men who have sex with men, and about HIV coinfected patients. Data for migrants, prisoners, and sex workers are largely lacking as well as data on burden of disease from chronic viral hepatitis in the general population. Conclusions: We identified data sources, their limitations, and methods for construction for all selected indicators. The next step is to convert the ideas developed into concrete projects with individual stakeholders.
    • Human and animal isolates of Yersinia enterocolitica show significant serotype-specific colonization and host-specific immune defense properties.

      Schaake, Julia; Kronshage, Malte; Uliczka, Frank; Rohde, Manfred; Knuuti, Tobias; Strauch, Eckhard; Fruth, Angelika; Wos-Oxley, Melissa; Dersch, Petra; Dept. of molecular infection biology, Helmholtz Centre for infection biology, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-11)
      Yersinia enterocolitica is a human pathogen that is ubiquitous in livestock, especially pigs. The bacteria are able to colonize the intestinal tract of a variety of mammalian hosts, but the severity of induced gut-associated diseases (yersiniosis) differs significantly between hosts. To gain more information about the individual virulence determinants that contribute to colonization and induction of immune responses in different hosts, we analyzed and compared the interactions of different human- and animal-derived isolates of serotypes O:3, O:5,27, O:8, and O:9 with murine, porcine, and human intestinal cells and macrophages. The examined strains exhibited significant serotype-specific cell binding and entry characteristics, but adhesion and uptake into different host cells were not host specific and were independent of the source of the isolate. In contrast, survival and replication within macrophages and the induced proinflammatory response differed between murine, porcine, and human macrophages, suggesting a host-specific immune response. In fact, similar levels of the proinflammatory cytokine macrophage inflammatory protein 2 (MIP-2) were secreted by murine bone marrow-derived macrophages with all tested isolates, but the equivalent interleukin-8 (IL-8) response of porcine bone marrow-derived macrophages was strongly serotype specific and considerably lower in O:3 than in O:8 strains. In addition, all tested Y. enterocolitica strains caused a considerably higher level of secretion of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 by porcine than by murine macrophages. This could contribute to limiting the severity of the infection (in particular of serotype O:3 strains) in pigs, which are the primary reservoir of Y. enterocolitica strains pathogenic to humans.
    • Hypoxia Decreases Invasin-Mediated Yersinia enterocolitica Internalization into Caco-2 Cells.

      Zeitouni, Nathalie E; Dersch, Petra; Naim, Hassan Y; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Yersinia enterocolitica is a major cause of human yersiniosis, with enterocolitis being a typical manifestation. These bacteria can cross the intestinal mucosa, and invade eukaryotic cells by binding to host β1 integrins, a process mediated by the bacterial effector protein invasin. This study examines the role of hypoxia on the internalization of Y. enterocolitica into intestinal epithelial cells, since the gastrointestinal tract has been shown to be physiologically deficient in oxygen levels (hypoxic), especially in cases of infection and inflammation. We show that hypoxic pre-incubation of Caco-2 cells resulted in significantly decreased bacterial internalization compared to cells grown under normoxia. This phenotype was absent after functionally blocking host β1 integrins as well as upon infection with an invasin-deficient Y. enterocolitica strain. Furthermore, downstream phosphorylation of the focal adhesion kinase was also reduced under hypoxia after infection. In good correlation to these data, cells grown under hypoxia showed decreased protein levels of β1 integrins at the apical cell surface whereas the total protein level of the hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1) alpha was elevated. Furthermore, treatment of cells with the HIF-1 α stabilizer dimethyloxalylglycine (DMOG) also reduced invasion and decreased β1 integrin protein levels compared to control cells, indicating a potential role for HIF-1α in this process. These results suggest that hypoxia decreases invasin-integrin-mediated internalization of Y. enterocolitica into intestinal epithelial cells by reducing cell surface localization of host β1 integrins.
    • Identification of a Distinct Substrate-binding Domain in the Bacterial Cysteine Methyltransferase Effectors NleE and OspZ.

      Zhang, Ying; Mühlen, Sabrina; Oates, Clare V; Pearson, Jaclyn S; Hartland, Elizabeth L; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      The type III secretion system effector protein NleE from enteropathogenic Escherichia coli plays a key role in the inhibition of NF-κB activation during infection. NleE inactivates the ubiquitin chain binding activity of host proteins TAK1-binding proteins 2 and 3 (TAB2 and TAB3) by modifying the Npl4 zinc finger domain through S-adenosyl methionine-dependent cysteine methylation. Using yeast two-hybrid protein interaction studies, we found that a conserved region between amino acids 34 and 52 of NleE, in particular the motif (49)GITR(52), was critical for TAB2 and TAB3 binding. NleE mutants lacking (49)GITR(52) were unable to methylate TAB3, and wild type NleE but not NleE(49AAAA52) where each of GITR was replaced with alanine restored the ability of an nleE mutant to inhibit IL-8 production during infection. Another NleE target, ZRANB3, also associated with NleE through the (49)GITR(52) motif. Ectopic expression of an N-terminal fragment of NleE (NleE(34-52)) in HeLa cells showed competitive inhibition of wild type NleE in the suppression of IL-8 secretion during enteropathogenic E. coli infection. Similar results were observed for the NleE homologue OspZ from Shigella flexneri 6 that also bound TAB3 through the (49)GITR(52) motif and decreased IL-8 transcription through modification of TAB3. In summary, we have identified a unique substrate-binding motif in NleE and OspZ that is required for the ability to inhibit the host inflammatory response.
    • Identification of antibiotics that diminish disease in a murine model of enterohemorrhagic infection.

      Mühlen, Sabrina; Ramming, Isabell; Pils, Marina C; Koeppel, Martin; Glaser, Jana; Leong, John; Flieger, Antje; Stecher, Bärbel; Dersch, Petra; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American society for microbiology, 2020-02-03)
      Infections with enterohemorrhagic Escherichia coli (EHEC) cause disease ranging from mild diarrhea to hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and are the most common cause of renal failure in children in high income countries. The severity of the disease derives from the release of Shiga toxins (Stx). The use of antibiotics to treat EHEC infections is generally avoided as it can result in increased stx expression. Here, we systematically tested different classes of antibiotics and found that their influence on stx expression and release varies significantly. We assessed a selection of these antibiotics in vivo using the Citrobacter rodentium φstx2dact mouse model and show that stx2d-inducing antibiotics resulted in weight loss and kidney damage despite clearing the infection. However, several non-Stx-inducing antibiotics cleared bacterial infection without causing Stx-mediated pathology. Our results suggest that these antibiotics could be useful in the treatment of EHEC-infected human patients and decrease the risk of HUS development.
    • Impact of CCR7 on T-Cell Response and Susceptibility to Yersinia pseudotuberculosis Infection.

      Pezoldt, Joern; Pisano, Fabio; Heine, Wiebke; Pasztoi, Maria; Rosenheinrich, Maik; Nuss, Aaron M; Pils, Marina C; Prinz, Immo; Förster, Reinhold; Huehn, Jochen; et al. (2017-09-15)
      To successfully limit pathogen dissemination, an immunological link between the entry tissue of the pathogen and the underlying secondary lymphoid organs (SLOs) needs to be established to prime adaptive immune responses. Here, the prerequisite of CCR7 to mount host immune responses within SLOs during gastrointestinal Yersinia pseudotuberculosis infection to limit pathogen spread was investigated.
    • Increased plasmid copy number is essential for Yersinia T3SS function and virulence.

      Wang, He; Avican, Kemal; Fahlgren, Anna; Erttmann, Saskia F; Nuss, Aaron M; Dersch, Petra; Fallman, Maria; Edgren, Tomas; Wolf-Watz, Hans; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsfoschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-07-29)
      Pathogenic bacteria have evolved numerous virulence mechanisms that are essential for establishing infections. The enterobacterium Yersinia uses a type III secretion system (T3SS) encoded by a 70-kilobase, low-copy, IncFII-class virulence plasmid. We report a novel virulence strategy in Y. pseudotuberculosis in which this pathogen up-regulates the plasmid copy number during infection. We found that an increased dose of plasmid-encoded genes is indispensable for virulence and substantially elevates the expression and function of the T3SS. Remarkably, we observed direct, tight coupling between plasmid replication and T3SS function. This regulatory pathway provides a framework for further exploration of the environmental sensing mechanisms of pathogenic bacteria.
    • Influence of PhoP and intra-species variations on virulence of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis during the natural oral infection route.

      Pisano, Fabio; Heine, Wiebke; Rosenheinrich, Maik; Schweer, Janina; Nuss, Aaron M; Dersch, Petra (2014)
      The two-component regulatory system PhoP/PhoQ has been shown to (i) control expression of virulence-associated traits, (ii) confer survival and growth within macrophages and (iii) play a role in Yersinia infections. However, the influence of PhoP on virulence varied greatly between different murine models of infection and its role in natural oral infections with frequently used representative isolates of Y. pseudotuberculosis was unknown. To address this issue, we constructed an isogenic set of phoP+ and phoP- variants of strain IP32953 and YPIII and analyzed the impact of PhoP using in vitro functionality experiments and a murine oral infection model, whereby we tested for bacterial dissemination and influence on the host immune response. Our results revealed that PhoP has a low impact on virulence, lymphatic and systemic organ colonization, and on immune response modulation by IP32953 and YPIII, indicating that PhoP is not absolutely essential for oral infections but may be involved in fine-tuning the outcome. Our work further revealed certain strain-specific differences in virulence properties, which do not strongly rely on the function of PhoP, but affect tissue colonization, dissemination and/or persistence of the bacteria. Highlighted intra-species variations may provide a potential means to rapidly adjust to environmental changes inside and outside of the host.
    • Intrinsic thermal sensing controls proteolysis of Yersinia virulence regulator RovA.

      Herbst, Katharina; Bujara, Matthias; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Opitz, Wiebke; Weichert, Martin; Zimmermann, Ariane; Dersch, Petra; Institut für Mikrobiologie, Technische Universität Braunschweig, Germany. (2009-05)
      Pathogens, which alternate between environmental reservoirs and a mammalian host, frequently use thermal sensing devices to adjust virulence gene expression. Here, we identify the Yersinia virulence regulator RovA as a protein thermometer. Thermal shifts encountered upon host entry lead to a reversible conformational change of the autoactivator, which reduces its DNA-binding functions and renders it more susceptible for proteolysis. Cooperative binding of RovA to its target promoters is significantly reduced at 37 degrees C, indicating that temperature control of rovA transcription is primarily based on the autoregulatory loop. Thermally induced reduction of DNA-binding is accompanied by an enhanced degradation of RovA, primarily by the Lon protease. This process is also subject to growth phase control. Studies with modified/chimeric RovA proteins indicate that amino acid residues in the vicinity of the central DNA-binding domain are important for proteolytic susceptibility. Our results establish RovA as an intrinsic temperature-sensing protein in which thermally induced conformational changes interfere with DNA-binding capacity, and secondarily render RovA susceptible to proteolytic degradation.
    • The invasin D protein fromYersinia pseudotuberculosisselectively binds the Fab region of host antibodies and affects colonization of the intestine.

      Sadana, Pooja; Geyer, Rebecca; Pezoldt, Joern; Helmsing, Saskia; Huehn, Jochen; Hust, Michael; Dersch, Petra; Scrima, Andrea; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-03-13)
      Yersinia pseudotuberculosis is a Gram-negative bacterium and zoonotic pathogen responsible for a wide range of diseases, ranging from mild diarrhea, enterocolitis, lymphatic adenitis to persistent local inflammation. TheY. pseudotuberculosisinvasin D (InvD) molecule belongs to the invasin (InvA)-type autotransporter proteins, but its structure and function remain unknown. In this study, we present the first crystal structure of InvD, analyzed its expression and function in a murine infection model, and identified its target molecule in the host. We found that InvD is induced at 37°C and expressed in vivo2-4 days after infection, indicating that InvD is a virulence factor. During infection, InvD was expressed in all parts of the intestinal tract, but not in deeper lymphoid tissues. The crystal structure of the C-terminal adhesion domain of InvD revealed a distinct Ig-related fold, that, apart from the canonical β-sheets, comprises various modifications of and insertions into the Ig-core structure. We identified the Fab fragment of host-derived IgG/IgA antibodies as the target of the adhesion domain. Phage display panning and flow cytometry data further revealed that InvD exhibits a preferential binding specificity toward antibodies with VH3/VK1 variable domains and that it is specifically recruited to a subset of B cells. This finding suggests that InvD modulates Ig functions in the intestine and affects direct interactions with a subset of cell surface-exposed B-cell receptors. In summary, our results provide extensive insights into the structure of InvD and its specific interaction with the target molecule in the host.
    • Lead-seq: transcriptome-wide structure probing in vivo using lead(II) ions.

      Twittenhoff, Christian; Brandenburg, Vivian B; Righetti, Francesco; Nuss, Aaron M; Mosig, Axel; Dersch, Petra; Narberhaus, Franz; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxfford University Press, 2020-05-28)
      The dynamic conformation of RNA molecules within living cells is key to their function. Recent advances in probing the RNA structurome in vivo, including the use of SHAPE (Selective 2'-Hydroxyl Acylation analyzed by Primer Extension) or kethoxal reagents or DMS (dimethyl sulfate), provided unprecedented insights into the architecture of RNA molecules in the living cell. Here, we report the establishment of lead probing in a global RNA structuromics approach. In order to elucidate the transcriptome-wide RNA landscape in the enteric pathogen Yersinia pseudotuberculosis, we combined lead(II) acetate-mediated cleavage of single-stranded RNA regions with high-throughput sequencing. This new approach, termed 'Lead-seq', provides structural information independent of base identity. We show that the method recapitulates secondary structures of tRNAs, RNase P RNA, tmRNA, 16S rRNA and the rpsT 5'-untranslated region, and that it reveals global structural features of mRNAs. The application of Lead-seq to Y. pseudotuberculosis cells grown at two different temperatures unveiled the first temperature-responsive in vivo RNA structurome of a bacterial pathogen. The translation of candidate genes derived from this approach was confirmed to be temperature regulated. Overall, this study establishes Lead-seq as complementary approach to interrogate intracellular RNA structures on a global scale.
    • Local application of bacteria improves safety of Salmonella-mediated tumor therapy and retains advantages of systemic infection.

      Kocijancic, Dino; Felgner, Sebastian; Schauer, Tim; Frahm, Michael; Heise, Ulrike; Zimmermann, Kurt; Erhardt, Marc; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-07)
      Cancer is a devastating disease and a large socio-economic burden. Novel therapeutic solutions are on the rise, although a cure remains elusive. Application of microorganisms represents an ancient therapeutic strategy, lately revoked and refined via simultaneous attenuation and amelioration of pathogenic properties. Salmonella Typhimurium has prevailed in preclinical development. Yet, using virulent strains for systemic treatment might cause severe side effects. In the present study, we highlight a modified strain based on Salmonella Typhimurium UK-1 expressing hexa-acylated Lipid A. We corroborate improved anti-tumor properties of this strain and investigate to which extent an intra-tumoral (i.t.) route of infection could help improve safety and retain advantages of systemic intravenous (i.v.) application. Our results show that i.t. infection exhibits therapeutic efficacy against CT26 and F1.A11 tumors similar to a systemic route of inoculation. Moreover, i.t. application allows extensive dose titration without compromising tumor colonization. Adverse colonization of healthy organs was generally reduced via i.t. infection and accompanied by less body weight loss of the murine host. Despite local application, adjuvanticity remained, and a CT26-specific CD8+ T cell response was effectively stimulated. Most interestingly, also secondary tumors could be targeted with this strategy, thereby extending the unique tumor targeting ability of Salmonella. The i.t. route of inoculation may reap the benefits of systemic infection and aid in safety assurance while directing potency of an oncolytic vector to where it is most needed, namely the primary tumor.
    • Loss of CNFY toxin-induced inflammation drives Yersinia pseudotuberculosis into persistency.

      Heine, Wiebke; Beckstette, Michael; Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Thiemann, Sophie; Heise, Ulrike; Nuss, Aaron Mischa; Pisano, Fabio; Strowig, Till; Dersch, Petra; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-02)
      Gastrointestinal infections caused by enteric yersiniae can become persistent and complicated by relapsing enteritis and severe autoimmune disorders. To establish a persistent infection, the bacteria have to cope with hostile surroundings when they transmigrate through the intestinal epithelium and colonize underlying gut-associated lymphatic tissues. How the bacteria gain a foothold in the face of host immune responses is poorly understood. Here, we show that the CNFY toxin, which enhances translocation of the antiphagocytic Yop effectors, induces inflammatory responses. This results in extensive tissue destruction, alteration of the intestinal microbiota and bacterial clearance. Suppression of CNFY function, however, increases interferon-γ-mediated responses, comprising non-inflammatory antimicrobial activities and tolerogenesis. This process is accompanied by a preterm reprogramming of the pathogen's transcriptional response towards persistence, which gives the bacteria a fitness edge against host responses and facilitates establishment of a commensal-type life style.
    • Management of a cluster of Clostridium difficile infections among patients with osteoarticular infections.

      Färber, Jacqueline; Illiger, Sebastian; Berger, Fabian; Gärtner, Barbara; von Müller, Lutz; Lohmann, Christoph H; Bauer, Katja; Grabau, Christina; Zibolka, Stefanie; Schlüter, Dirk; et al. (2017)
      Here we describe a cluster of hospital-acquired Clostridium difficile infections (CDI) among 26 patients with osteoarticular infections. The aim of the study was to define the source of C. difficile and to evaluate the impact of general infection control measures and antibiotic stewardship on the incidence of CDI.
    • Metabolome and transcriptome-wide effects of the carbon storage regulator A in enteropathogenic Escherichia coli.

      Berndt, Volker; Beckstette, Michael; Volk, Marcel; Dersch, Petra; Brönstrup, Mark; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-01-15)
      The carbon storage regulator A (CsrA) is a conserved global regulatory system known to control central carbon pathways, biofilm formation, motility, and pathogenicity. The aim of this study was to characterize changes in major metabolic pathways induced by CsrA in human enteropathogenic Escherichia coli (EPEC) grown under virulence factor-inducing conditions. For this purpose, the metabolomes and transcriptomes of EPEC and an isogenic ∆csrA mutant derivative were analyzed by untargeted mass spectrometry and RNA sequencing, respectively. Of the 159 metabolites identified from untargeted GC/MS and LC/MS data, 97 were significantly (fold change ≥ 1.5; corrected p-value ≤ 0.05) regulated between the knockout and the wildtype strain. A lack of csrA led to an accumulation of fructose-6-phosphate (F6P) and glycogen synthesis pathway products, whereas metabolites in lower glycolysis and the citric acid cycle were downregulated. Associated pathways from the citric acid cycle like aromatic amino acid and siderophore biosynthesis were also negatively influenced. The nucleoside salvage pathways were featured by an accumulation of nucleosides and nucleobases, and a downregulation of nucleotides. In addition, a pronounced downregulation of lyso-lipid metabolites was observed. A drastic change in the morphology in the form of vesicle-like structures of the ∆csrA knockout strain was visible by electron microscopy. Colanic acid synthesis genes were strongly (up to 50 fold) upregulated, and the abundance of colanic acid was 3 fold increased according to a colorimetric assay. The findings expand the scope of pathways affected by the csrA regulon and emphasize its importance as a global regulator.
    • Molekulare Thermometer zur Steuerung der Virulenz von Yersinia

      Heroven, Ann Kathrin; Dersch, Petra; Dept. of molecular infectionbiology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-09-23)
    • Monitoring of gene expression in bacteria during infections using an adaptable set of bioluminescent, fluorescent and colorigenic fusion vectors.

      Uliczka, Frank; Pisano, Fabio; Kochut, Annika; Opitz, Wiebke; Herbst, Katharina; Stolz, Tatjana; Dersch, Petra; Department of Molecular Infection Biology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Lower Saxony, Germany. (2011)
      A family of versatile promoter-probe plasmids for gene expression analysis was developed based on a modular expression plasmid system (pZ). The vectors contain different replicons with exchangeable antibiotic cassettes to allow compatibility and expression analysis on a low-, midi- and high-copy number basis. Suicide vector variants also permit chromosomal integration of the reporter fusion and stable vector derivatives can be used for in vivo or in situ expression studies under non-selective conditions. Transcriptional and translational fusions to the reporter genes gfp(mut3.1), amCyan, dsRed2, luxCDABE, phoA or lacZ can be constructed, and presence of identical multiple cloning sites in the vector system facilitates the interchange of promoters or reporter genes between the plasmids of the series. The promoter of the constitutively expressed gapA gene of Escherichia coli was included to obtain fluorescent and bioluminescent expression constructs. A combination of the plasmids allows simultaneous detection and gene expression analysis in individual bacteria, e.g. in bacterial communities or during mouse infections. To test our vector system, we analyzed and quantified expression of Yersinia pseudotuberculosis virulence genes under laboratory conditions, in association with cells and during the infection process.
    • Natural Killer Cells Mediate Protection against Yersinia pseudotuberculosis in the Mesenteric Lymph Nodes.

      Rosenheinrich, Maik; Heine, Wiebke; Schmühl, Carina M; Pisano, Fabio; Dersch, Petra; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Natural killer cells play a crucial role in the initial defense against bacterial pathogens. The crosstalk between host cells infected with intracellular pathogens and NK cells has been studied intensively, but not much attention has been given to characterize the role of NK cells in the response to extracellular bacterial pathogens such as yersiniae. In this study we used antibody-mediated NK cell depletion to address the importance of this immune cell type in controlling a Y. pseudotuberculosis infection. Analysis of the bacterial counts was used to follow the infection and flow cytometry was performed to characterize the composition and dynamic of immune cells. Depletion of NK cells led to higher bacterial loads within the mesenteric lymph nodes. We further show that in particular CD11b+ CD27+ NK cells which express higher levels of the activation marker CD69 increase within the mesenteric lymph nodes during a Y. pseudotuberculosis infection. Moreover, in response to the activation NK cells secrete higher levels of IFNy, which in turn triggers the production of the proinflammatory cytokine TNFα. These results suggest, that NK cells aid in the clearance of Y. pseudotuberculosis infections mainly by triggering the expression of proinflammatory cytokines manipulating the host immune response.
    • A novel expression system for intracellular production and purification of recombinant affinity-tagged proteins in Aspergillus niger.

      Roth, Andreas H F J; Dersch, Petra; Institute of Microbiology, Technical University Braunschweig, Spielmannstrasse 7, 38106, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-03)
      A set of different integrative expression vectors for the intracellular production of recombinant proteins with or without affinity tag in Aspergillus niger was developed. Target genes can be expressed under the control of the highly efficient, constitutive pkiA promoter or the novel sucrose-inducible promoter of the beta-fructofuranosidase (sucA) gene of A. niger in the presence or absence of alternative carbon sources. All expression plasmids contain an identical multiple cloning sequence that allows parallel construction of N- or C-terminally His6- and StrepII-tagged versions of the target proteins. Production of two heterologous model proteins, the green fluorescence protein and the Thermobifida fusca hydrolase, proved the functionality of the vector system. Efficient production and easy detection of the target proteins as well as their fast purification by a one-step affinity chromatography, using the His6- or StrepII-tag sequence, was demonstrated.