• Topical imiquimod yields systemic effects due to unintended oral uptake.

      Grine, Lynda; Steeland, Sophie; Van Ryckeghem, Sara; Ballegeer, Marlies; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Sanders, Niek N; Vandenbroucke, Roosmarijn E; Libert, Claude; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Repetitive application of topical imiquimod is used as an experimental model for the induction of psoriasiform skin lesions in mice. The model is characterized by several inflammatory processes, including cytokine production both locally and systemically, cellular infiltration, and splenomegaly. To investigate the production of type I interferons in response to imiquimod-containing Aldara cream, IFNβ-luciferase reporter mice were imaged in vivo and ex vivo. Type I interferons were found to be produced in the skin, but also in the intestinal system caused by unintended ingestion of imiquimod by the mice. Through the use of Elizabethan collars to prevent ingestion, these effects, including psoriasiform lesions were nearly completely prevented. Our findings reveal that topical treatment with Aldara induces a psoriasiform skin inflammation, but that its mode of action depends on ingestion of the chemical, which leads to systemic responses and affects local inflammation. Therefore, potential ingestion of topical treatments during experimental procedures should be taken into account during assessment of cutaneous inflammatory parameters in skin disease models.
    • Induction of endogenous Type I interferon within the central nervous system plays a protective role in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

      Khorooshi, Reza; Mørch, Marlene Thorsen; Holm, Thomas Hellesøe; Berg, Carsten Tue; Dieu, Ruthe Truong; Dræby, Dina; Issazadeh-Navikas, Shohreh; Weiß, Siegfried; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Owens, Trevor; et al. (2015-07)
      The Type I interferons (IFN), beta (IFN-β) and the alpha family (IFN-α), act through a common receptor and have anti-inflammatory effects. IFN-β is used to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) and is effective against experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model for MS. Mice with EAE show elevated levels of Type I IFNs in the central nervous system (CNS), suggesting a role for endogenous Type I IFN during inflammation. However, the therapeutic benefit of Type I IFN produced in the CNS remains to be established. The aim of this study was to examine whether experimentally induced CNS-endogenous Type I IFN influences EAE. Using IFN-β reporter mice, we showed that direct administration of polyinosinic-polycytidylic acid (poly I:C), a potent inducer of IFN-β, into the cerebrospinal fluid induced increased leukocyte numbers and transient upregulation of IFN-β in CD45/CD11b-positive cells located in the meninges and choroid plexus, as well as enhanced IFN-β expression by parenchymal microglial cells. Intrathecal injection of poly I:C to mice showing first symptoms of EAE substantially increased the normal disease-associated expression of IFN-α, IFN-β, interferon regulatory factor-7 and IL-10 in CNS, and disease worsening was prevented for as long as IFN-α/β was expressed. In contrast, there was no therapeutic effect on EAE in poly I:C-treated IFN receptor-deficient mice. IFN-dependent microglial and astrocyte response included production of the chemokine CXCL10. These results show that Type I IFN induced within the CNS can play a protective role in EAE and highlight the role of endogenous type I IFN in mediating neuroprotection.
    • A clonotypic Vγ4Jγ1/Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 innate γδ T-cell population restricted to the CCR6⁺CD27⁻ subset.

      Kashani, Elham; Föhse, Lisa; Raha, Solaiman; Sandrock, Inga; Oberdörfer, Linda; Koenecke, Christian; Suerbaum, Sebastian; Weiss, Siegfried; Prinz, Immo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Here we investigate the TCR repertoire of mouse Vγ4(+) γδ T cells in correlation with their developmental origin and homeostasis. By deep sequencing we identify a high frequency of straight Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 germline rearrangements without P- and N-nucleotides within the otherwise highly diverse Trd repertoire of Vγ4(+) cells. This sequence is infrequent in CCR6(-)CD27(+) cells, but abundant among CCR6(+)CD27(-) γδ T cells. Using an inducible Rag1 knock-in mouse model, we show that γδ T cells generated in the adult thymus rarely contain this germline-rearranged Vδ5Dδ2Jδ1 sequence, confirming its fetal origin. Single-cell analysis and deep sequencing of the Trg locus reveal a dominant CDR3 junctional motif that completes the TCR repertoire of invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) cells. In conclusion, this study identifies an innate subset of fetal thymus-derived γδ T cells with an invariant Vγ4(+)Vδ5(+) TCR that is restricted to the CCR6(+)CD27(-) subset of γδ T cells.
    • Composing a Tumor Specific Bacterial Promoter.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Kasnitz, Nadine; Leschner, Sara; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Systemically applied Salmonella enterica spp. have been shown to invade and colonize neoplastic tissues where it retards the growth of many tumors. This offers the possibility to use the bacteria as a vehicle for the tumor specific delivery of therapeutic molecules. Specificity of such delivery is solely depending on promoter sequences that control the production of a target molecule. We have established the functional structure of bacterial promoters that are transcriptionally active exclusively in tumor tissues after systemic application. We observed that the specific transcriptional activation is accomplished by a combination of a weak basal promoter and a strong FNR binding site. This represents a minimal set of control elements required for such activation. In natural promoters, additional DNA remodeling elements are found that alter the level of transcription quantitatively. Inefficiency of the basal promoter ensures the absence of transcription outside tumors. As a proof of concept, we compiled an artificial promoter sequence from individual motifs representing FNR and basal promoter and showed specific activation in a tumor microenvironment. Our results open possibilities for the generation of promoters with an adjusted level of expression of target proteins in particular for applications in bacterial tumor therapy.
    • Bacteria in Cancer Therapy: Renaissance of an Old Concept.

      Felgner, Sebastian; Kocijancic, Dino; Frahm, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      The rising incidence of cancer cases worldwide generates an urgent need of novel treatment options. Applying bacteria may represent a valuable therapeutic variant that is intensively investigated nowadays. Interestingly, the idea to apply bacteria wittingly or unwittingly dates back to ancient times and was revived in the 19th century mainly by the pioneer William Coley. This review summarizes and compares the results of the past 150 years in bacteria mediated tumor therapy from preclinical to clinical studies. Lessons we have learned from the past provide a solid foundation on which to base future efforts. In this regard, several perspectives are discussed by which bacteria in addition to their intrinsic antitumor effect can be used as vector systems that shuttle therapeutic compounds into the tumor. Strategic solutions like these provide a sound and more apt exploitation of bacteria that may overcome limitations of conventional therapies.
    • FurA contributes to the oxidative stress response regulation of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

      Eckelt, Elke; Meißner, Thorsten; Meens, Jochen; Laarmann, Kristin; Nerlich, Andreas; Jarek, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried; Gerlach, Gerald-F; Goethe, Ralph; HZI-Helmholzzentrum für Infektionsforschung (2015)
      The ferric uptake regulator A (FurA) is known to be involved in iron homeostasis and stress response in many bacteria. In mycobacteria the precise role of FurA is still unclear. In the presented study, we addressed the functional role of FurA in the ruminant pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) by construction of a furA deletion strain (MAPΔfurA). RNA deep sequencing revealed that the FurA regulon consists of repressed and activated genes associated to stress response or intracellular survival. Not a single gene related to metal homeostasis was affected by furA deletion. A decisive role of FurA during intracellular survival in macrophages was shown by significantly enhanced survival of MAPΔfurA compared to the wildtype, indicating that a principal task of mycobacterial FurA is oxidative stress response regulation in macrophages. This resistance was not associated with altered survival of mice after long term infection with MAP. Our results demonstrate for the first time, that mycobacterial FurA is not involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis. However, they provide strong evidence that FurA contributes to intracellular survival as an oxidative stress sensing regulator.
    • Efficiency of Conditionally Attenuated Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium in Bacterium-Mediated Tumor Therapy.

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

      Pawar, V; Crull, K; Komor, U; Kasnitz, N; Frahm, M; Kocijancic, D; Westphal, K; Leschner, S; Wolf, K; Loessner, H; et al. (2014-08)
      Bacteria of many species are able to invade and colonize solid tumours in mice. We have focused on Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. Detailed analysis revealed that such tumour-invading Salmonella form biofilms, thus providing a versatile in vivo test system for studying bacterial phenotypes and host-pathogen interactions. It appears that biofilm formation by S. typhimurium is induced as a defence against the immune system of the host, and in particular against neutrophils. Further, we extended our work to the clinically more relevant biofilm infection by Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The induction of P. aeruginosa biofilms in neoplastic tissue appears to be elicited as a reaction against the immune system. Reconstitution experiments reveal that T cells are responsible for biofilm induction. Isogenic mutants that are no longer able to form biofilms can be used for comparison studies to determine antimicrobial resistance, especially therapeutic efficacy against P. aeruginosa located in biofilms.
    • Antibiotic control of tumor-colonizing Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Weiss, Siegfried (2011-11)
      Systemic administration of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. typhimurium) into tumor-bearing mice results in preferential colonization of tumors and causes shrinkage and sometimes complete tumor clearance. However, in spite of these beneficial antitumor effects, the systemic administration of a bacterial pathogen raises serious safety concerns as well. Addressing those concerns, here, we demonstrate that tumor-colonizing Salmonella can be readily controlled by systemic administration of the antibiotic - ciprofloxacin. Treatment was most effective when started early postinfection. This was achieved at the expense of the efficacy of tumor therapy. In many of the mice treated in such a way, tumors re-grew again. Nevertheless, some mice were able to clear the tumor despite the start of antibiotic treatment only 24 h after the start of infection. Furthermore, we could demonstrate that such mice had elicited a specific antitumor immune response. Thus, S. typhimurium-mediated tumor therapy might be applied safely when combined with early antibiotic treatment. However, the therapeutic power of the bacteria needs to be enhanced in order to provide a more effective therapeutic tool.
    • The Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis specific mptD gene is required for maintenance of the metabolic homeostasis necessary for full virulence in mouse infections.

      Meißner, Thorsten; Eckelt, Elke; Basler, Tina; Meens, Jochen; Heinzmann, Julia; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Oelemann, Walter M R; Trenkamp, Sandra; Holst, Otto; Weiss, Siegfried; et al. (2014)
      Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) causes Johne's disease, a chronic granulomatous enteritis in ruminants. Furthermore, infections of humans with MAP have been reported and a possible association with Crohn's disease and diabetes type I is currently discussed. MAP owns large sequence polymorphisms (LSPs) that were exclusively found in this mycobacteria species. The relevance of these LSPs in the pathobiology of MAP is still unclear. The mptD gene (MAP3733c) of MAP belongs to a small group of functionally uncharacterized genes, which are not present in any other sequenced mycobacteria species. mptD is part of a predicted operon (mptABCDEF), encoding a putative ATP binding cassette-transporter, located on the MAP-specific LSP14. In the present study, we generated an mptD knockout strain (MAPΔmptD) by specialized transduction. In order to investigate the potential role of mptD in the host, we performed infection experiments with macrophages. By this, we observed a significantly reduced cell number of MAPΔmptD early after infection, indicating that the mutant was hampered with respect to adaptation to the early macrophage environment. This important role of mptD was supported in mouse infection experiments where MAPΔmptD was significantly attenuated after peritoneal challenge. Metabolic profiling was performed to determine the cause for the reduced virulence and identified profound metabolic disorders especially in the lipid metabolism of MAPΔmptD. Overall our data revealed the mptD gene to be an important factor for the metabolic adaptation of MAP required for persistence in the host.
    • The arginine-ornithine antiporter ArcD contributes to biological fitness of Streptococcus suis.

      Fulde, Marcus; Willenborg, Joerg; Huber, Claudia; Hitzmann, Angela; Willms, Daniela; Seitz, Maren; Eisenreich, Wolfgang; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Goethe, Ralph; Department of Infectious Diseases, Institute for Microbiology, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Germany ; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI) Braunschweig, Germany. (2014)
      The arginine-ornithine antiporter (ArcD) is part of the Arginine Deiminase System (ADS), a catabolic, energy-providing pathway found in a variety of different bacterial species, including the porcine zoonotic pathogen Streptococcus suis. The ADS has recently been shown to play a role in the pathogenicity of S. suis, in particular in its survival in host cells. The contribution of arginine and arginine transport mediated by ArcD, however, has yet to be clarified. In the present study, we showed by experiments using [U-(13)C6]arginine as a tracer molecule that S. suis is auxotrophic for arginine and that bacterial growth depends on the uptake of extracellular arginine. To further study the role of ArcD in arginine metabolism, we generated an arcD-specific mutant strain and characterized its growth compared to the wild-type (WT) strain, a virulent serotype 2 strain. The mutant strain showed a markedly reduced growth in chemically defined media supplemented with arginine when compared to the WT strain, suggesting that ArcD promotes arginine uptake. To further evaluate the in vivo relevance of ArcD, we studied the intracellular bacterial survival of the arcD mutant strain in an epithelial cell culture infection model. The mutant strain was substantially attenuated, and its reduced intracellular survival rate correlated with a lower ability to neutralize the acidified environment. Based on these results, we propose that ArcD, by its function as an arginine-ornithine antiporter, is important for supplying arginine as substrate of the ADS and, thereby, contributes to biological fitness and virulence of S. suis in the host.
    • Tumor invasion of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium is accompanied by strong hemorrhage promoted by TNF-alpha.

      Leschner, Sara; Westphal, Kathrin; Dietrich, Nicole; Viegas, Nuno; Jablonska, Jadwiga; Lyszkiewicz, Marcin; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Falk, Werner; Gekara, Nelson; Loessner, Holger; et al. (2009)
      Several facultative anaerobic bacteria with potential therapeutic abilities are known to preferentially colonize solid tumors after systemic administration. How they efficiently find and invade the tumors is still unclear. However, this is an important issue to be clarified when bacteria should be tailored for application in cancer therapy.
    • Influence of infection route and virulence factors on colonization of solid tumors by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium.

      Crull, Katja; Bumann, Dirk; Weiss, Siegfried; Dept. Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-06)
      Administration of facultative anaerobic bacteria such as Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium as anticancer treatment holds a great therapeutic potential. Here, we tested different routes of application of S. typhimurium with regard to tumor colonization and therapeutic efficacy. No differences between intravenous and intraperitoneal infection were observed, often leading to a complete tumor clearance. In contrast, after oral application, tumor colonization was inefficient and delayed. No therapeutic effect was observed under such conditions. We also showed that tumor invasion and colonization were independent of functional Salmonella pathogenicity island (SPI) 1 and SPI 2. Furthermore, tumor invasion and colonization did not require bacterial motility or chemotactic responsiveness. The distribution of the bacteria within the tumor was independent of such functions.
    • Systemic and Mucosal Immune Reactivity upon Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis Infection in Mice.

      Koc, Arzu; Bargen, Imke; Suwandi, Abdulhadi; Roderfeld, Martin; Tschuschner, Annette; Rath, Timo; Gerlach, Gerald F; Hornef, Mathias; Goethe, Ralph; Weiss, Siegfried; et al. (2014)
      Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the cause of Johne's disease, an inflammatory bowel disorder of ruminants. Due to the similar pathology, MAP was also suggested to cause Crohn's disease (CD). Despite of intensive research, this question is still not settled, possibly due to the lack of versatile mouse models. The aim of this study was to identify basic immunologic mechanisms in response to MAP infection. Immune compromised C57BL/6 Rag2-/- mice were infected with MAP intraperitoneally. Such chronically infected mice were then reconstituted with CD4+ and CD8+ T cells 28 days after infection. A systemic inflammatory response, detected as enlargement of the spleen and granuloma formation in the liver, was observed in mice infected and reconstituted with CD4+ T cells. Whereby inflammation in infected and CD4+CD45RBhi T cell reconstituted animals was always higher than in the other groups. Reconstitution of infected animals with CD8+ T cells did not result in any inflammatory signs. Interestingly, various markers of inflammation were strongly up-regulated in the colon of infected mice reconstituted with CD4+CD45RBlo/int T cells. We propose, the usual non-colitogenic CD4+CD45RBlo/int T cells were converted into inflammatory T cells by the interaction with MAP. However, the power of such cells might be not sufficient for a fully established inflammatory response in the colon. Nevertheless, our model system appears to mirror aspects of an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) like CD and Johne's diseases. Thus, it will provide an experimental platform on which further knowledge on IBD and the involvement of MAP in the induction of CD could be acquired.
    • An Intrinsic Propensity of Murine Peritoneal B1b Cells to Switch to IgA in Presence of TGF-β and Retinoic Acid.

      Roy, Bishnudeo; Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Agarwal, Shiwani; Krey, Martina; Düber, Sandra; Weiss, Siegfried (2013)
      In the present study we have investigated the comparative switching propensity of murine peritoneal and splenic B cell subpopulations to IgA in presence of retinoic acid (RA) and TGF-β.
    • Mouse SAMHD1 Has Antiretroviral Activity and Suppresses a Spontaneous Cell-Intrinsic Antiviral Response.

      Behrendt, Rayk; Schumann, Tina; Gerbaulet, Alexander; Nguyen, Laura A; Schubert, Nadja; Alexopoulou, Dimitra; Berka, Ursula; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Peschke, Katrin; Gibbert, Kathrin; et al. (2013-08-29)
      Aicardi-Goutières syndrome (AGS), a hereditary autoimmune disease, clinically and biochemically overlaps with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and, like SLE, is characterized by spontaneous type I interferon (IFN) production. The finding that defects of intracellular nucleases cause AGS led to the concept that intracellular accumulation of nucleic acids triggers inappropriate production of type I IFN and autoimmunity. AGS can also be caused by defects of SAMHD1, a 3' exonuclease and deoxynucleotide (dNTP) triphosphohydrolase. Human SAMHD1 is an HIV-1 restriction factor that hydrolyzes dNTPs and decreases their concentration below the levels required for retroviral reverse transcription. We show in gene-targeted mice that also mouse SAMHD1 reduces cellular dNTP concentrations and restricts retroviral replication in lymphocytes, macrophages, and dendritic cells. Importantly, the absence of SAMHD1 triggered IFN-β-dependent transcriptional upregulation of type I IFN-inducible genes in various cell types indicative of spontaneous IFN production. SAMHD1-deficient mice may be instrumental for elucidating the mechanisms that trigger pathogenic type I IFN responses in AGS and SLE.
    • MatrixCatch--a novel tool for the recognition of composite regulatory elements in promoters.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Kel, Alexander E; Kel-Margoulis, Olga V; Deineko, Elena V; Wingender, Edgar; Weiss, Siegfried; Department of Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. Igor.Deyneko@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013)
      Accurate recognition of regulatory elements in promoters is an essential prerequisite for understanding the mechanisms of gene regulation at the level of transcription. Composite regulatory elements represent a particular type of such transcriptional regulatory elements consisting of pairs of individual DNA motifs. In contrast to the present approach, most available recognition techniques are based purely on statistical evaluation of the occurrence of single motifs. Such methods are limited in application, since the accuracy of recognition is greatly dependent on the size and quality of the sequence dataset. Methods that exploit available knowledge and have broad applicability are evidently needed.
    • B-1-cell subpopulations contribute differently to gut immunity.

      Roy, Bishnudeo; Agarwal, Shiwani; Brennecke, Anne-Margarete; Krey, Martina; Pabst, Oliver; Düber, Sandra; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-08)
      In mice, B-1 (B1a/B1b) cells are mainly located in the peritoneal cavity. B-1 cells are well known for their role in the early stages of Ab-mediated immune responses against pathogenic invasion as well as for the production of natural IgM antibodies. Although such B cells have been claimed to give rise to intestinal plasma cells producing IgA, a clear role of B-1 cells in IgA production in the gut-associated tissues is still not defined. Here, we employed the transgenic L2 mouse model characterized by the lack of B-2 cells and presence of B-1 cells as major B-cell subpopulation. The oligoclonality of the Ab repertoire in this mouse allowed us to take typical B1a cell VH sequences as indicators of the presence of IgM-producing B-1a cells in Peyer's patches as well as in lamina propria. However, amongst the IgAVH sequences recovered from the same tissues, none of the sequences showed B1a-cell specificity. Interestingly, all IgAVH sequences derived from the lamina propria of L2 mice displayed extensive numbers of nucleotide exchanges, indicating somatic hypermutation, and affinity maturation. This suggests that the contribution of natural unmutated IgA by B-1a cells to intestinal immunity is negligible.
    • Immune-responsive gene 1 protein links metabolism to immunity by catalyzing itaconic acid production.

      Michelucci, Alessandro; Cordes, Thekla; Ghelfi, Jenny; Pailot, Arnaud; Reiling, Norbert; Goldmann, Oliver; Binz, Tina; Wegner, André; Tallam, Aravind; Rausell, Antonio; et al. (2013-05-07)
      Immunoresponsive gene 1 (Irg1) is highly expressed in mammalian macrophages during inflammation, but its biological function has not yet been elucidated. Here, we identify Irg1 as the gene coding for an enzyme producing itaconic acid (also known as methylenesuccinic acid) through the decarboxylation of cis-aconitate, a tricarboxylic acid cycle intermediate. Using a gain-and-loss-of-function approach in both mouse and human immune cells, we found Irg1 expression levels correlating with the amounts of itaconic acid, a metabolite previously proposed to have an antimicrobial effect. We purified IRG1 protein and identified its cis-aconitate decarboxylating activity in an enzymatic assay. Itaconic acid is an organic compound that inhibits isocitrate lyase, the key enzyme of the glyoxylate shunt, a pathway essential for bacterial growth under specific conditions. Here we show that itaconic acid inhibits the growth of bacteria expressing isocitrate lyase, such as Salmonella enterica and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Furthermore, Irg1 gene silencing in macrophages resulted in significantly decreased intracellular itaconic acid levels as well as significantly reduced antimicrobial activity during bacterial infections. Taken together, our results demonstrate that IRG1 links cellular metabolism with immune defense by catalyzing itaconic acid production.
    • An integrative computational approach to effectively guide experimental identification of regulatory elements in promoters.

      Deyneko, Igor V; Weiss, Siegfried; Leschner, Sara; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr, 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Igor.Deyneko@helmholtz-hzi.de (2012)
      Transcriptional activity of genes depends on many factors like DNA motifs, conformational characteristics of DNA, melting etc. and there are computational approaches for their identification. However, in real applications, the number of predicted, for example, DNA motifs may be considerably large. In cases when various computational programs are applied, systematic experimental knock out of each of the potential elements obviously becomes nonproductive. Hence, one needs an approach that is able to integrate many heterogeneous computational methods and upon that suggest selected regulatory elements for experimental verification.