Recent Submissions

  • Synchronous Germinal Center Onset Impacts the Efficiency of Antibody Responses.

    Arulraj, Theinmozhi; Binder, Sebastian C; Robert, Philippe A; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    The germinal center reaction is an important target for modulating antibody responses. Antibody production from germinal centers is regulated by a negative feedback mechanism termed antibody feedback. By imposing antibody feedback, germinal centers can interact and regulate the output of other germinal centers. Using an agent-based model of the germinal center reaction, we studied the impact of antibody feedback on kinetics and efficiency of a germinal center. Our simulations predict that high feedback of antibodies from germinal centers reduces the production of plasma cells and subsequently the efficiency of the germinal center reaction by promoting earlier termination. Affinity maturation is only weakly improved by increased antibody feedback and ultimately interrupted because of premature termination of the reaction. The model predicts that the asynchronous onset and changes in number of germinal centers could alter the efficiency of antibody response due to changes in feedback by soluble antibodies. Consequently, late initialized germinal centers have a compromised output due to higher antibody feedback from the germinal centers formed earlier. The results demonstrate potential effects of germinal center intercommunication and highlight the importance of understanding germinal center interactions for optimizing the antibody response, in particular, in the elderly and in the context of vaccination.
  • Image analysis of immune cell patterns in the human mammary gland during the menstrual cycle refines lymphocytic lobulitis.

    Schaadt, Nadine S; Alfonso, Juan Carlos López; Schönmeyer, Ralf; Grote, Anne; Forestier, Germain; Wemmert, Cédric; Krönke, Nicole; Stoeckelhuber, Mechthild; Kreipe, Hans H; Hatzikirou, Haralampos; et al. (Springer, 2017-07-01)
    Purpose: To improve microscopic evaluation of immune cells relevant in breast cancer oncoimmunology, we aim at distinguishing normal infiltration patterns from lymphocytic lobulitis by advanced image analysis. We consider potential immune cell variations due to the menstrual cycle and oral contraceptives in non-neoplastic mammary gland tissue. METHODS: Lymphocyte and macrophage distributions were analyzed in the anatomical context of the resting mammary gland in immunohistochemically stained digital whole slide images obtained from 53 reduction mammoplasty specimens. Our image analysis workflow included automated regions of interest detection, immune cell recognition, and co-registration of regions of interest. RESULTS: In normal lobular epithelium, seven CD8[Formula: see text] lymphocytes per 100 epithelial cells were present on average and about 70% of this T-lymphocyte population was lined up along the basal cell layer in close proximity to the epithelium. The density of CD8[Formula: see text] T-cell was 1.6 fold higher in the luteal than in the follicular phase in spontaneous menstrual cycles and 1.4 fold increased under the influence of oral contraceptives, and not co-localized with epithelial proliferation. CD4[Formula: see text] T-cells were infrequent. Abundant CD163[Formula: see text] macrophages were widely spread, including the interstitial compartment, with minor variation during the menstrual cycle. CONCLUSIONS: Spatial patterns of different immune cell subtypes determine the range of normal, as opposed to inflammatory conditions of the breast tissue microenvironment. Advanced image analysis enables quantification of hormonal effects, refines lymphocytic lobulitis, and shows potential for comprehensive biopsy evaluation in oncoimmunolog
  • Immunologic Consequences of Sequencing Cancer Radiotherapy and Surgery.

    López Alfonso, Juan Carlos; Poleszczuk, Jan; Walker, Rachel; Kim, Sungjune; Pilon-Thomas, Shari; Conejo-Garcia, Jose J; Soliman, Hatem; Czerniecki, Brian; Harrison, Louis B; Enderling, Heiko; et al. (American Society of Clinical Oncology, 2019-01-01)
    PURPOSE Early-stage cancers are routinely treated with surgery followed by radiotherapy (SR). Radiotherapy before surgery (RS) has been widely ignored for some cancers. We evaluate overall survival (OS) and diseasefree survival (DFS) with SR and RS for different cancer types and simulate the plausibility of RS- and SR-induced antitumor immunity contributing to outcomes. MATERIALS AND METHODS We analyzed a SEER data set of early-stage cancers treated with SR or RS. OS and DFS were calculated for cancers with sufficient numbers for statistical power (cancers of lung and bronchus, esophagus, rectum, cervix uteri, corpus uteri, and breast). We simulated the immunologic consequences of SR, RS, and radiotherapy alone in a mathematical model of tumor-immune interactions. RESULTS RS improved OS for cancers with low 20-year survival rates (lung: hazard ratio [HR], 0.88; P = .046) and improved DFS for cancers with higher survival (breast: HR = 0.64; P , .001). For rectal cancer, with intermediate 20-year survival, RS improved both OS (HR = 0.89; P = .006) and DFS (HR = 0.86; P = .04). Model simulations suggested that RS could increase OS by eliminating cancer for a broader range of model parameters and radiotherapy-induced antitumor immunity compared with SR for selected parameter combinations. This could create an immune memory that may explain increased DFS after RS for certain cancers. CONCLUSION Study results suggest plausibility that radiation to the bulk of the tumor could induce a more robust immune response and better harness the synergy of radiotherapy and antitumor immunity than postsurgical radiation to the tumor bed. This exploratory study provides motivation for prospective evaluation of immune activation of RS versus SR in controlled clinical studies
  • Integrating Mathematical Modeling into the Roadmap for Personalized Adaptive Radiation Therapy

    Enderling, Heiko; Alfonso, Juan Carlos López; Moros, Eduardo; Caudell, Jimmy J.; Harrison, Louis B.; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier(Cell Press), 2019-08-01)
    In current radiation oncology practice, treatment protocols are prescribed based on the average outcomes of large clinical trials, with limited personalization and without adaptations of dose or dose fractionation to individual patients based on their individual clinical responses. Predicting tumor responses to radiation and comparing predictions against observed responses offers an opportunity for novel treatment evaluation. These analyses can lead to protocol adaptation aimed at the improvement of patient outcomes with better therapeutic ratios. We foresee the integration of mathematical models into radiation oncology to simulate individual patient tumor growth and predict treatment response as dynamic biomarkers for personalized adaptive radiation therapy (RT).
  • Regulatory roles of IL-10-producing human follicular T cells.

    Cañete, Pablo F; Sweet, Rebecca A; Gonzalez-Figueroa, Paula; Papa, Ilenia; Ohkura, Naganari; Bolton, Holly; Roco, Jonathan A; Cuenca, Marta; Bassett, Katharine J; Sayin, Ismail; et al. (Rockefeller University Press, 2019-06-17)
    Mucosal lymphoid tissues such as human tonsil are colonized by bacteria and exposed to ingested and inhaled antigens, requiring tight regulation of immune responses. Antibody responses are regulated by follicular helper T (TFH) cells and FOXP3+ follicular regulatory T (TFR) cells. Here we describe a subset of human tonsillar follicular T cells identified by expression of TFH markers and CD25 that are the main source of follicular T (TF) cell-derived IL-10. Despite lack of FOXP3 expression, CD25+ TF cells resemble T reg cells in high CTLA4 expression, low IL-2 production, and their ability to repress T cell proliferation. CD25+ TF cell-derived IL-10 dampens induction of B cell class-switching to IgE. In children, circulating total IgE titers were inversely correlated with the frequencies of tonsil CD25+ TF cells and IL-10-producing TF cells but not with total T reg cells, TFR, or IL-10-producing T cells. Thus, CD25+ TF cells emerge as a subset with unique T and B cell regulatory activities that may help prevent atopy.
  • On the Impact of Chemo-Mechanically Induced Phenotypic Transitions in Gliomas.

    Mascheroni, Pietro; López Alfonso, Juan Carlos; Kalli, Maria; Stylianopoulos, Triantafyllos; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Hatzikirou, Haralampos; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MPDI, 2019-05-24)
    Tumor microenvironment is a critical player in glioma progression, and novel therapies for its targeting have been recently proposed. In particular, stress-alleviation strategies act on the tumor by reducing its stiffness, decreasing solid stresses and improving blood perfusion. However, these microenvironmental changes trigger chemo–mechanically induced cellular phenotypic transitions whose impact on therapy outcomes is not completely understood. In this work we analyze the effects of mechanical compression on migration and proliferation of glioma cells. We derive a mathematical model of glioma progression focusing on cellular phenotypic plasticity. Our results reveal a trade-off between tumor infiltration and cellular content as a consequence of stress-alleviation approaches. We discuss how these novel findings increase the current understanding of glioma/microenvironment interactions and can contribute to new strategies for improved therapeutic outcomes. View Full-Text
  • Modeling the effect of intratumoral heterogeneity of radiosensitivity on tumor response over the course of fractionated radiation therapy.

    Alfonso, J C L; Berk, L; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (BioMed Central (BMC), 2019-05-30)
    Standard radiobiology theory of radiation response assumes a uniform innate radiosensitivity of tumors. However, experimental data show that there is significant intratumoral heterogeneity of radiosensitivity. Therefore, a model with heterogeneity was developed and tested using existing experimental data to show the potential effects from the presence of an intratumoral distribution of radiosensitivity on radiation therapy response over a protracted radiation therapy treatment course.
  • Postprandial Metabolic Effects of Fiber Mixes Revealed by in vivo Stable Isotope Labeling in Humans.

    Schlicker, Lisa; Boers, Hanny M; Dudek, Christian-Alexander; Zhao, Gang; Barua, Arnab; Trezzi, Jean-Pierre; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Jacobs, Doris M; Hiller, Karsten; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2019-05-07)
    Food supplementation with a fiber mix of guar gum and chickpea flour represents a promising approach to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) by attenuating postprandial glycemia. To investigate the effects on postprandial metabolic fluxes of glucose-derived metabolites in response to this fiber mix, a randomized, cross-over study was designed. Twelve healthy, male subjects consumed three different flatbreads either supplemented with 2% guar gum or 4% guar gum and 15% chickpea flour or without supplementation (control). The flatbreads were enriched with ~2% of 13C-labeled wheat flour. Blood was collected at 16 intervals over a period of 360 min after bread intake and plasma samples were analyzed by GC-MS based metabolite profiling combined with stable isotope-assisted metabolomics. Although metabolite levels of the downstream metabolites of glucose, specifically lactate and alanine, were not altered in response to the fiber mix, supplementation of 4% guar gum was shown to significantly delay and reduce the exogenous formation of these metabolites. Metabolic modeling and computation of appearance rates revealed that the effects induced by the fiber mix were strongest for glucose and attenuated downstream of glucose. Further investigations to explore the potential of fiber mix supplementation to counteract the development of metabolic diseases are warranted.
  • High-resolution epidemic simulation using within-host infection and contact data.

    Nguyen, Van Kinh; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Hernandez-Vargas, Esteban Abelardo; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2018-07-17)
    BACKGROUND: Recent epidemics have entailed global discussions on revamping epidemic control and prevention approaches. A general consensus is that all sources of data should be embraced to improve epidemic preparedness. As a disease transmission is inherently governed by individual-level responses, pathogen dynamics within infected hosts posit high potentials to inform population-level phenomena. We propose a multiscale approach showing that individual dynamics were able to reproduce population-level observations. METHODS: Using experimental data, we formulated mathematical models of pathogen infection dynamics from which we simulated mechanistically its transmission parameters. The models were then embedded in our implementation of an age-specific contact network that allows to express individual differences relevant to the transmission processes. This approach is illustrated with an example of Ebola virus (EBOV). RESULTS: The results showed that a within-host infection model can reproduce EBOV's transmission parameters obtained from population data. At the same time, population age-structure, contact distribution and patterns can be expressed using network generating algorithm. This framework opens a vast opportunity to investigate individual roles of factors involved in the epidemic processes. Estimating EBOV's reproduction number revealed a heterogeneous pattern among age-groups, prompting cautions on estimates unadjusted for contact pattern. Assessments of mass vaccination strategies showed that vaccination conducted in a time window from five months before to one week after the start of an epidemic appeared to strongly reduce epidemic size. Noticeably, compared to a non-intervention scenario, a low critical vaccination coverage of 33% cannot ensure epidemic extinction but could reduce the number of cases by ten to hundred times as well as lessen the case-fatality rate. CONCLUSIONS: Experimental data on the within-host infection have been able to capture upfront key transmission parameters of a pathogen; the applications of this approach will give us more time to prepare for potential epidemics. The population of interest in epidemic assessments could be modelled with an age-specific contact network without exhaustive amount of data. Further assessments and adaptations for different pathogens and scenarios to explore multilevel aspects in infectious diseases epidemics are underway.
  • F-Actin-Driven CD28-CD80 Localization in the Immune Synapse.

    Siokis, Anastasios; Robert, Philippe A; Demetriou, Philippos; Dustin, Michael L; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2018-07-31)
    During immunological synapse (IS) formation, T cell receptor (TCR) signaling complexes, integrins, and costimulatory molecules exhibit a particular spatial localization. Here, we develop an agent-based model for the IS formation based on TCR peptide-bound major histocompatibility complex (pMHC) and leukocyte-function-associated antigen 1 (LFA-1) intracellular activation molecule 1 (ICAM-1) dynamics, including CD28 binding to a costimulatory ligand, coupling of molecules to the centripetal actin flow, and size-based segregation (SBS). A radial gradient of LFA-1 in the peripheral supramolecular activation cluster (pSMAC) toward the central supramolecular activation cluster (cSMAC) emerged as a combined consequence of actin binding and diffusion and modified the positioning of other molecules. The simulations predict a mechanism of CD28 movement, according to which CD28-CD80 complexes passively follow TCR-pMHC microclusters. However, the characteristic CD28-CD80 localization in a ring pattern around the cSMAC only emerges with a particular CD28-actin coupling strength that induces a centripetal motion. These results have implications for the understanding of T cell activation and fate decisions.
  • Signatures of T and B Cell Development, Functional Responses and PD-1 Upregulation After HCMV Latent Infections and Reactivations in Nod.Rag.Gamma Mice Humanized With Cord Blood CD34 Cells.

    Theobald, Sebastian J; Khailaie, Sahamoddin; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Volk, Valery; Olbrich, Henning; Danisch, Simon; Gerasch, Laura; Schneider, Andreas; Sinzger, Christian; Schaudien, Dirk; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
    uman cytomegalovirus (HCMV) latency is typically harmless but reactivation can be largely detrimental to immune compromised hosts. We modeled latency and reactivation using a traceable HCMV laboratory strain expressing the Gaussia luciferase reporter gene (HCMV/GLuc) in order to interrogate the viral modulatory effects on the human adaptive immunity. Humanized mice with long-term (more than 17 weeks) steady human T and B cell immune reconstitutions were infected with HCMV/GLuc and 7 weeks later were further treated with granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) to induce viral reactivations. Whole body bio-luminescence imaging analyses clearly differentiated mice with latent viral infections vs. reactivations. Foci of vigorous viral reactivations were detectable in liver, lymph nodes and salivary glands. The number of viral genome copies in various tissues increased upon reactivations and were detectable in sorted human CD14+, CD169+, and CD34+ cells. Compared with non-infected controls, mice after infections and reactivations showed higher thymopoiesis, systemic expansion of Th, CTL, Treg, and Tfh cells and functional antiviral T cell responses. Latent infections promoted vast development of memory CD4+ T cells while reactivations triggered a shift toward effector T cells expressing PD-1. Further, reactivations prompted a marked development of B cells, maturation of IgG+ plasma cells, and HCMV-specific antibody responses. Multivariate statistical methods were employed using T and B cell immune phenotypic profiles obtained with cells from several tissues of individual mice. The data was used to identify combinations of markers that could predict an HCMV infection vs. reactivation status. In spleen, but not in lymph nodes, higher frequencies of effector CD4+ T cells expressing PD-1 were among the factors most suited to distinguish HCMV reactivations from infections. These results suggest a shift from a T cell dominated immune response during latent infections toward an exhausted T cell phenotype and active humoral immune response upon reactivations. In sum, this novel in vivo humanized model combined with advanced analyses highlights a dynamic system clearly specifying the immunological spatial signatures of HCMV latency and reactivations. These signatures can be merged as predictive biomarker clusters that can be applied in the clinical translation of new therapies for the control of HCMV reactivation.
  • IFN-γ Producing Th1 Cells Induce Different Transcriptional Profiles in Microglia and Astrocytes.

    Prajeeth, Chittappen K; Dittrich-Breiholz, Oliver; Talbot, Steven R; Robert, Philippe A; Huehn, Jochen; Stangel, Martin; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    Autoreactive T cells that infiltrate into the central nervous system (CNS) are believed to have a significant role in mediating the pathology of neuroinflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis. Their interaction with microglia and astrocytes in the CNS is crucial for the regulation of neuroinflammatory processes. Our previous work demonstrated that effectors secreted by Th1 and Th17 cells have different capacities to influence the phenotype and function of glial cells. We have shown that Th1-derived effectors altered the phenotype and function of both microglia and astrocytes whereas Th17-derived effectors induced direct effects only on astrocytes but not on microglia. Here we investigated if effector molecules associated with IFN-γ producing Th1 cells induced different gene expression profiles in microglia and astrocytes. We performed a microarray analysis of RNA isolated from microglia and astrocytes treated with medium and Th-derived culture supernatants and compared the gene expression data. By using the criteria of 2-fold change and a false discovery rate of 0.01 (corrected
  • Computer Simulation of Multi-Color Brainbow Staining and Clonal Evolution of B Cells in Germinal Centers.

    Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Binder, Sebastian C; Mesin, Luka; Victora, Gabriel D; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01-01)
    Clonal evolution of B cells in germinal centers (GCs) is central to affinity maturation of antibodies in response to pathogens. Permanent or tamoxifen-induced multi-color recombination of B cells based on the brainbow allele allows monitoring the degree of color dominance in the course of the GC reaction. Here, we use computer simulations of GC reactions in order to replicate the evolution of color dominance
  • PK/PD-based adaptive tailoring of oseltamivir doses to treat within-host influenza viral infections.

    Montaseri, Ghazal; Boianelli, Alessandro; Hernandez-Vargas, Esteban A; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-19)
    Influenza A virus (IAV) is a latent global threat to human health. In view of the risk of pandemics, prophylactic and curative treatments are essential. Oseltamivir is a neuraminidase inhibitor efficiently supporting recovery from influenza infections. Current common clinical practice is a constant drug dose (75 or 150 mg) administered at regular time intervals twice a day. We aim to use quantitative systems pharmacology to propose an efficient adaptive drug scheduling. We combined the mathematical model for IAV infections validated by murine data, which captures the viral dynamics and the dynamics of the immune host response, with a pharmacokinetic (PK)/pharmacodynamic (PD) model of oseltamivir. Next, we applied an adaptive impulsive feedback control method to systematically calculate the adaptive dose of oseltamivir in dependence on the viral load and the number of immune effectors at the time of drug administration. Our in silico results revealed that the treatment with adaptive control-based drug scheduling is able to either increase the drug virological efficacy or reduce the drug dose while keeping the same virological efficacy. Thus, adaptive adjustment of the drug dose would reduce not only the potential side effects but also the amount of stored oseltamivir required for the prevention of outbreaks.
  • Estimation of the cancer risk induced by therapies targeting stem cell replication and treatment recommendations.

    Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-06)
    Rejuvenation of stem cell activity might increase life expectancy by prolonging functionality of organs. Higher stem cell replication rates also bear the risk of cancer. The extent of this risk is not known. While it is difficult to evaluate this cancer risk in experiments, it can be estimated using a mathematical model for tissue homeostasis by stem cell replication and associated cancer risk. The model recapitulates the observation that treatments targeting stem cell replication can induce a substantial delay of organ failure. The model predicts that the cancer risk is minor under particular conditions. It depends on the assumed implications for cell damage repair during treatment. The benefit of rejuvenation therapy and its impact on cancer risk depend on the biological age at the time of treatment and on the overall cell turnover rate of the organs. Different organs have to be considered separately in the planning of systemic treatments. In recent years, the transfer of blood from young to old individuals was shown to bear the potential of rejuvenation of stem cell activity. In this context, the model predicts that the treatment schedule is critical for success and that schedules successful in animal experiments are not transferable to humans. Guidelines for successful protocols are proposed. The model presented here may be used as a guidance for the development of stem cell rejuvenation treatment protocols and the identification of critical parameters for cancer risk.
  • Statistical mechanics of cell decision-making: the cell migration force distribution

    Hatzikirou, Haralampos; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany.
  • An Egyptian HPAI H5N1 isolate from clade 2.2.1.2 is highly pathogenic in an experimentally infected domestic duck breed (Sudani duck).

    Samir, M; Hamed, M; Abdallah, F; Kinh Nguyen, V; Hernandez-Vargas, E A; Seehusen, F; Baumgärtner, W; Hussein, A; Ali, A A H; Pessler,, F; et al. (2018-01-24)
    The highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 viruses continue to cause major problems in poultry and can, although rarely, cause human infection. Being enzootic in domestic poultry, Egyptian isolates are continuously evolving, and novel clades vary in their pathogenicity in avian hosts. Considering the importance of domestic ducks as natural hosts of HPAI H5N1 viruses and their likelihood of physical contact with other avian hosts and humans, it is of utmost importance to characterize the pathogenicity of newly emerged HPAI strains in the domestic duck. The most recently identified Egyptian clade 2.2.1.2 HPAI H5N1 viruses have been isolated from naturally infected pigeons, turkeys and humans. However, essentially nothing is known about their pathogenicity in domestic ducks. We therefore characterized the pathogenicity of an Egyptian HPAI H5N1 isolate A/chicken/Faquos/amn12/2011 (clade 2.2.1.2) in Sudani duck, a domestic duck breed commonly reared in Egypt. While viral transcription (HA mRNA) was highest in lung, heart and kidney peaking between 40 and 48 hpi, lower levels were detected in brain. Weight loss of infected ducks started at 16 hpi and persisted until 120 hpi. The first severe clinical signs were noted by 32 hpi and peaked in severity at 72 and 96 hpi. Haematological analyses showed a decline in total leucocytes, granulocytes, platelets and granulocyte/lymphocyte ratio, but lymphocytosis. Upon necropsy, lesions were obvious in heart, liver, spleen and pancreas and consisted mainly of necrosis and petechial haemorrhage. Histologically, lungs were the most severely affected organs, whereas brain only showed mild neuronal degeneration and gliosis at 48 hpi despite obvious neurological clinical signs. Taken together, our results provide first evidence that this HPAI H5N1 isolate (clade 2.2.1.2) is highly pathogenic to Sudani ducks and highlight the importance of this breed as potential reservoir and disseminator of HPAI strains from this clade.
  • Implications of Intravital Imaging of Murine Germinal Centers on the Control of B Cell Selection and Division.

    Binder, Sebastian C; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
    Intravital imaging of antibody optimization in germinal center (GC) reactions has set a new dimension in the understanding of the humoral immune response during the last decade. The inclusion of spatio-temporal cellular dynamics in the research on GCs required analysis using the agent-based mathematical models. In this study, we integrate the available intravital imaging data from various research groups and incorporate these into a quantitative mathematical model of GC reactions and antibody affinity maturation. Interestingly, the integration of data concerning the spatial organization of GCs and B cell motility allows to draw conclusions on the strength of the selection pressure and the control of B cell division by T follicular helper cells.
  • Inoculation density and nutrient level determine the formation of mushroom-shaped structures in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms.

    Ghanbari, Azadeh; Dehghany, Jaber; Schwebs, Timo; Müsken, Mathias; Häussler, Susanne; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-09-09)
    Pseudomonas aeruginosa often colonises immunocompromised patients and the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. It exhibits resistance to many antibiotics by forming biofilms, which makes it hard to eliminate. P. aeruginosa biofilms form mushroom-shaped structures under certain circumstances. Bacterial motility and the environment affect the eventual mushroom morphology. This study provides an agent-based model for the bacterial dynamics and interactions influencing bacterial biofilm shape. Cell motility in the model relies on recently published experimental data. Our simulations show colony formation by immotile cells. Motile cells escape from a single colony by nutrient chemotaxis and hence no mushroom shape develops. A high number density of non-motile colonies leads to migration of motile cells onto the top of the colonies and formation of mushroom-shaped structures. This model proposes that the formation of mushroom-shaped structures can be predicted by parameters at the time of bacteria inoculation. Depending on nutrient levels and the initial number density of stalks, mushroom-shaped structures only form in a restricted regime. This opens the possibility of early manipulation of spatial pattern formation in bacterial colonies, using environmental factors.
  • Multidimensional Analysis Integrating Human T-Cell Signatures in Lymphatic Tissues with Sex of Humanized Mice for Prediction of Responses after Dendritic Cell Immunization.

    Volk, Valery; Reppas, Andreas I; Robert, Philippe A; Spineli, Loukia M; Sundarasetty, Bala Sai; Theobald, Sebastian J; Schneider, Andreas; Gerasch, Laura; Deves Roth, Candida; Klöss, Stephan; et al. (2017)
    Mice transplanted with human cord blood-derived hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) became a powerful experimental tool for studying the heterogeneity of human immune reconstitution and immune responses in vivo. Yet, analyses of human T cell maturation in humanized models have been hampered by an overall low immune reactivity and lack of methods to define predictive markers of responsiveness. Long-lived human lentiviral induced dendritic cells expressing the cytomegalovirus pp65 protein (iDCpp65) promoted the development of pp65-specific human CD8+ T cell responses in NOD.Cg-Rag1 tm1Mom -Il2rγ tm1Wj humanized mice through the presentation of immune-dominant antigenic epitopes (signal 1), expression of co-stimulatory molecules (signal 2), and inflammatory cytokines (signal 3). We exploited this validated system to evaluate the effects of mouse sex in the dynamics of T cell homing and maturation status in thymus, blood, bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes. Statistical analyses of cell relative frequencies and absolute numbers demonstrated higher CD8+ memory T cell reactivity in spleen and lymph nodes of immunized female mice. In order to understand to which extent the multidimensional relation between organ-specific markers predicted the immunization status, the immunophenotypic profiles of individual mice were used to train an artificial neural network designed to discriminate immunized and non-immunized mice. The highest accuracy of immune reactivity prediction could be obtained from lymph node markers of female mice (77.3%). Principal component analyses further identified clusters of markers best suited to describe the heterogeneity of immunization responses in vivo. A correlation analysis of these markers reflected a tissue-specific impact of immunization. This allowed for an organ-resolved characterization of the immunization status of individual mice based on the identified set of markers. This new modality of multidimensional analyses can be used as a framework for defining minimal but predictive signatures of human immune responses in mice and suggests critical markers to characterize responses to immunization after HSC transplantation.

View more