• Lactobacillus reuteri DSM 20016 produces cobalamin-dependent diol dehydratase in metabolosomes and metabolizes 1,2-propanediol by disproportionation.

      Sriramulu, Dinesh Diraviam; Liang, Mingzhi; Hernandez-Romero, Diana; Raux-Deery, Evelyne; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Parsons, Joshua B; Warren, Martin J; Prentice, Michael B; Department of Microbiology, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland. (2008-07)
      A Lactobacillus reuteri strain isolated from sourdough is known to produce the vitamin cobalamin. The organism requires this for glycerol cofermentation by a cobalamin-dependent enzyme, usually termed glycerol dehydratase, in the synthesis of the antimicrobial substance reuterin. We show that the cobalamin-synthesizing capacity of another L. reuteri strain (20016, the type strain, isolated from the human gut and recently sequenced as F275) is genetically and phenotypically linked, as in the Enterobacteriaceae, to the production of a cobalamin-dependent enzyme which is associated with a bacterial microcompartment (metabolosome) and known as diol dehydratase. We show that this enzyme allows L. reuteri to carry out a disproportionation reaction converting 1,2-propanediol to propionate and propanol. The wide distribution of this operon suggests that it is adapted to horizontal transmission between bacteria. However, there are significant genetic and phenotypic differences between the Lactobacillus background and the Enterobacteriaceae. Electron microscopy reveals that the bacterial microcompartment in L. reuteri occupies a smaller percentage of the cytoplasm than in gram-negative bacteria. DNA sequence data show evidence of a regulatory control mechanism different from that in gram-negative bacteria, with the presence of a catabolite-responsive element (CRE) sequence immediately upstream of the pdu operon encoding diol dehydratase and metabolosome structural genes in L. reuteri. The metabolosome-associated diol dehydratase we describe is the only candidate glycerol dehydratase present on inspection of the L. reuteri F275 genome sequence.
    • Large-scale production of megakaryocytes in microcarrier-supported stirred suspension bioreactors.

      Eicke, Dorothee; Baigger, Anja; Schulze, Kai; Latham, Sharissa L; Halloin, Caroline; Zweigerdt, Robert; Guzman, Carlos A; Blasczyk, Rainer; Figueiredo, Constança; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-05)
      Megakaryocytes (MKs) are the precursors of platelets (PLTs) and may be used for PLT production in vivo or in vitro, as well as a source for PLT-derived growth factors. Induced pluripotent stem cells represent an unlimited cell source for the in vitro production of MKs. This study aimed at developing an effective, xeno-free and scalable system to produce high numbers of MKs. In particular, microcarrier beads-assisted stirred bioreactors were evaluated as a means of improving MK yields. This method resulted in the production of 18.7 × 10
    • Local treatment with BPPcysMPEG reduces allergic airway inflammation in sensitized mice.

      Knothe, S; Mutschler, V; Rochlitzer, S; Winkler, C; Ebensen, T; Guzman, C A; Hohlfeld, J; Braun, A; Muller, M; Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM), Department of Immunology, Allergology and Immunotoxicology, Hannover, Germany. (2011-07-07)
      According to the hygiene hypothesis, triggering the immune system with microbial components during childhood balances the inherent Th2 bias. In contrast, specific immunotherapy involves exposure of the patient to the allergen in order to achieve desensitization to subsequent contact. In a human in vitro allergy model the potential of the TLR2/6 agonist BPPcysMPEG to modulate antigen presenting cells and allergen-specific immune responses was evaluated. Specific immunomodulation via co-administration of the allergen and BPPcysMPEG enhanced expression of co-stimulatory molecules on DC and increased secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α. Acting as an adjuvant, BPPcysMPEG elevated allergen-specific immune responses in co-culture with autologous lymphocytes. Although administration of BPPcysMPEG alone enhanced expression of co-stimulatory molecules on DC, proliferation of autologous lymphocytes was not induced. Based on this finding, the potential of BPPcysMPEG to reduce allergic airway inflammation by preventive modulation of the innate immune system via TLR2/6 agonization was investigated in mice. Local administration of BPPcysMPEG altered cellular influx and cell composition in BAL fluid. Furthermore, the Th2-associated cytokines IL-4 and IL-5 were diminished. Allergen-specific restimulation of cells from mediastinal lymph nodes and splenocytes suggested an alteration of immune responses. The treatment with BPPcysMPEG induced a Th1-dominated cytokine milieu in mediastinal lymph nodes, while allergen-specific immune responses in splenocytes were diminished. The co-administration of allergen and BPPcysMPEG reduced cytokine secretion upon restimulation in mediastinal lymph nodes and splenocytes. From these data we conclude that BPPcysMPEG was able to influence the immune system with regard to subsequent allergen contact by TLR2/6 agonization.
    • Long-term effects of ocean warming on the prokaryotic community: evidence from the vibrios.

      Vezzulli, Luigi; Brettar, Ingrid; Pezzati, Elisabetta; Reid, Philip C; Colwell, Rita R; Höfle, Manfred G; Pruzzo, Carla; Department for the Study of Territory and its Resources, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy. luigi.vezzulli@unige.it (2012-01)
      The long-term effects of ocean warming on prokaryotic communities are unknown because of lack of historical data. We overcame this gap by applying a retrospective molecular analysis to the bacterial community on formalin-fixed samples from the historical Continuous Plankton Recorder archive, which is one of the longest and most geographically extensive collections of marine biological samples in the world. We showed that during the last half century, ubiquitous marine bacteria of the Vibrio genus, including Vibrio cholerae, increased in dominance within the plankton-associated bacterial community of the North Sea, where an unprecedented increase in bathing infections related to these bacteria was recently reported. Among environmental variables, increased sea surface temperature explained 45% of the variance in Vibrio data, supporting the view that ocean warming is favouring the spread of vibrios and may be the cause of the globally increasing trend in their associated diseases.
    • Microevolution of pandemic Vibrio parahaemolyticus assessed by the number of repeat units in short sequence tandem repeat regions.

      García, Katherine; Gavilán, Ronnie G; Höfle, Manfred G; Martínez-Urtaza, Jaime; Espejo, Romilio T; Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Santiago, Chile. (2012)
      The emergence of the pandemic strain Vibrio parahaemolyticus O3:K6 in 1996 caused a large increase of diarrhea outbreaks related to seafood consumption in Southeast Asia, and later worldwide. Isolates of this strain constitutes a clonal complex, and their effectual differentiation is possible by comparison of their variable number tandem repeats (VNTRs). The differentiation of the isolates by the differences in VNTRs will allow inferring the population dynamics and microevolution of this strain but this requires knowing the rate and mechanism of VNTRs' variation. Our study of mutants obtained after serial cultivation of clones showed that mutation rates of the six VNTRs examined are on the order of 10(-4) mutant per generation and that difference increases by stepwise addition of single mutations. The single stepwise mutation (SSM) was deduced because mutants with 1, 2, 3, or more repeat unit deletions or insertions follow a geometric distribution. Plausible phylogenetic trees are obtained when, according to SSM, the genetic distance between clusters with different number of repeats is assessed by the absolute differences in repeats. Using this approach, mutants originated from different isolates of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus after serial cultivation are clustered with their parental isolates. Additionally, isolates of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus from Southeast Asia, Tokyo, and northern and southern Chile are clustered according their geographical origin. The deepest split in these four populations is observed between the Tokyo and southern Chile populations. We conclude that proper phylogenetic relations and successful tracing of pandemic V. parahaemolyticus requires measuring the differences between isolates by the absolute number of repeats in the VNTRs considered.
    • The missing link: Bordetella petrii is endowed with both the metabolic versatility of environmental bacteria and virulence traits of pathogenic Bordetellae.

      Gross, Roy; Guzman, Carlos A; Sebaihia, Mohammed; dos Santos, Vítor A P Martins; Pieper, Dietmar H; Koebnik, Ralf; Lechner, Melanie; Bartels, Daniela; Buhrmester, Jens; Choudhuri, Jomuna V; et al. (2008)
      BACKGROUND: Bordetella petrii is the only environmental species hitherto found among the otherwise host-restricted and pathogenic members of the genus Bordetella. Phylogenetically, it connects the pathogenic Bordetellae and environmental bacteria of the genera Achromobacter and Alcaligenes, which are opportunistic pathogens. B. petrii strains have been isolated from very different environmental niches, including river sediment, polluted soil, marine sponges and a grass root. Recently, clinical isolates associated with bone degenerative disease or cystic fibrosis have also been described. RESULTS: In this manuscript we present the results of the analysis of the completely annotated genome sequence of the B. petrii strain DSMZ12804. B. petrii has a mosaic genome of 5,287,950 bp harboring numerous mobile genetic elements, including seven large genomic islands. Four of them are highly related to the clc element of Pseudomonas knackmussii B13, which encodes genes involved in the degradation of aromatics. Though being an environmental isolate, the sequenced B. petrii strain also encodes proteins related to virulence factors of the pathogenic Bordetellae, including the filamentous hemagglutinin, which is a major colonization factor of B. pertussis, and the master virulence regulator BvgAS. However, it lacks all known toxins of the pathogenic Bordetellae. CONCLUSION: The genomic analysis suggests that B. petrii represents an evolutionary link between free-living environmental bacteria and the host-restricted obligate pathogenic Bordetellae. Its remarkable metabolic versatility may enable B. petrii to thrive in very different ecological niches.
    • Mitochondrial Ca²⁺ and membrane potential, an alternative pathway for Interleukin 6 to regulate CD4 cell effector function.

      Yang, Rui; Lirussi, Dario; Thornton, Tina M; Jelley-Gibbs, Dawn M; Diehl, Sean A; Case, Laure K; Madesh, Muniswamy; Taatjes, Douglas J; Teuscher, Cory; Haynes, Laura; et al. (2015)
      IL-6 plays an important role in determining the fate of effector CD4 cells and the cytokines that these cells produce. Here we identify a novel molecular mechanism by which IL-6 regulates CD4 cell effector function. We show that IL-6-dependent signal facilitates the formation of mitochondrial respiratory chain supercomplexes to sustain high mitochondrial membrane potential late during activation of CD4 cells. Mitochondrial hyperpolarization caused by IL-6 is uncoupled from the production of ATP by oxidative phosphorylation. However, it is a mechanism to raise the levels of mitochondrial Ca(2+) late during activation of CD4 cells. Increased levels of mitochondrial Ca(2+) in the presence of IL-6 are used to prolong Il4 and Il21 expression in effector CD4 cells. Thus, the effect of IL-6 on mitochondrial membrane potential and mitochondrial Ca(2+) is an alternative pathway by which IL-6 regulates effector function of CD4 cells and it could contribute to the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases.
    • Modified vaccinia virus Ankara exerts potent immune modulatory activities in a murine model.

      Nörder, Miriam; Becker, Pablo D; Drexler, Ingo; Link, Claudia; Erfle, Volker; Guzmán, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      BACKGROUND: Modified vaccinia virus Ankara (MVA), a highly attenuated strain of vaccinia virus, has been used as vaccine delivery vector in preclinical and clinical studies against infectious diseases and malignancies. Here, we investigated whether an MVA which does not encode any antigen (Ag) could be exploited as adjuvant per se. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We showed that dendritic cells infected in vitro with non-recombinant (nr) MVA expressed maturation and activation markers and were able to efficiently present exogenously pulsed Ag to T cells. In contrast to the dominant T helper (Th) 1 biased responses elicited against Ags produced by recombinant MVA vectors, the use of nrMVA as adjuvant for the co-administered soluble Ags resulted in a long lasting mixed Th1/Th2 responses. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: These findings open new ways to potentiate and modulate the immune responses to vaccine Ags depending on whether they are co-administered with MVA or encoded by recombinant viruses.
    • Modulation of chemokine gene expression by Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli belonging to various origins and serotypes.

      Gobert, Alain P; Coste, Alix; Guzman, Carlos A; Vareille, Marjolaine; Hindré, Thomas; de Sablet, Thibaut; Girardeau, Jean-Pierre; Martin, Christine; Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), UR454 Unité de Microbiologie, Centre de Theix, 63122 Saint-Genès-Champanelle, France. (2008-02)
      Infection with Shiga-toxin producing Escherichia coli (STEC) may result in the development of the haemolytic-uremic syndrome (HUS), the main cause of acute renal failure in children. While O157:H7 STEC are associated with large outbreaks of HUS, it is difficult to predict whether a non-O157:H7 isolate can be pathogenic for humans. The mucosal innate immune response plays a central role in the pathogenesis of HUS; therefore, we compared the induction of IL-8 and CCL20 in human colon epithelial cells infected with strains belonging to different serotypes, isolated from cattle or from HUS patients. No correlation was observed between strain virulence and chemokine gene expression. Rather, the genetic background of the strains seems to determine the chemokine gene expression profile. Investigating the contribution of different bacterial factors in this process, we show that the type III secretion system of O157:H7 bacteria, but not the intimate adhesion, is required to stimulate the cells. In addition, H7, H10, and H21 flagellins are potent inducers of chemokine gene expression when synthesized in large amount.
    • Monte Carlo Simulation of SARS-CoV-2 Radiation-Induced Inactivation for Vaccine Development.

      Francis, Ziad; Incerti, Sebastien; Zein, Sara A; Lampe, Nathanael; Guzman, Carlos A; Durante, Marco; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Radiation Research Society, 2021-01-07)
      Immunization with an inactivated virus is one of the strategies currently being tested towards developing a SARS-CoV-2 vaccine. One of the methods used to inactivate viruses is exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation to damage their nucleic acids. While gamma (γ) rays effectively induce lesions in the RNA, envelope proteins are also highly damaged in the process. This in turn may alter their antigenic properties, affecting their capacity to induce an adaptive immune response able to confer effective protection. Here, we modeled the effect of sparsely and densely ionizing radiation on SARS-CoV-2 using the Monte Carlo toolkit Geant4-DNA. With a realistic 3D target virus model, we calculated the expected number of lesions in the spike and membrane proteins, as well as in the viral RNA. Our findings showed that γ rays produced significant spike protein damage, but densely ionizing charged particles induced less membrane damage for the same level of RNA lesions, because a single ion traversal through the nuclear envelope was sufficient to inactivate the virus. We propose that accelerated charged particles produce inactivated viruses with little structural damage to envelope proteins, thereby representing a new and effective tool for developing vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 and other enveloped viruses.
    • The Mucosal Adjuvant Cyclic di-AMP Exerts Immune Stimulatory Effects on Dendritic Cells and Macrophages.

      Skrnjug, Ivana; Rueckert, Christine; Libanova, Rimma; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Guzmán, Carlos A (2014)
      The cyclic di-nucleotide bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) is a candidate mucosal adjuvant with proven efficacy in preclinical models. It was shown to promote specific humoral and cellular immune responses following mucosal administration. To date, there is only fragmentary knowledge on the cellular and molecular mode of action of c-di-AMP. Here, we report on the identification of dendritic cells and macrophages as target cells of c-di-AMP. We show that c-di-AMP induces the cell surface up-regulation of T cell co-stimulatory molecules as well as the production of interferon-β. Those responses were characterized by in vitro experiments with murine and human immune cells and in vivo studies in mice. Analyses of dendritic cell subsets revealed conventional dendritic cells as principal responders to stimulation by c-di-AMP. We discuss the impact of the reported antigen presenting cell activation on the previously observed adjuvant effects of c-di-AMP in mouse immunization studies.
    • Mucosal Administration of Cycle-Di-Nucleotide-Adjuvanted Virosomes Efficiently Induces Protection against Influenza H5N1 in Mice.

      Ebensen, Thomas; Debarry, Jennifer; Pedersen, Gabriel K; Blazejewska, Paulina; Weissmann, Sebastian; Schulze, Kai; McCullough, Kenneth C; Cox, Rebecca J; Guzmán, Carlos A; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The need for more effective influenza vaccines is highlighted by the emergence of novel influenza strains, which can lead to new pandemics. There is a growing population of susceptible subjects at risk for severe complications of influenza, such as the elderly who are only in part protected by current licensed seasonal vaccines. One strategy for improving seasonal and pandemic vaccines takes advantage of adjuvants to boost and modulate evoked immune responses. In this study, we examined the capacity of the recently described adjuvant cyclic di-adenosine monophosphate (c-di-AMP) to serve as an adjuvant for improved mucosal influenza vaccines, and induce effective protection against influenza H5N1. In detail, c-di-AMP promoted (i) effective local and systemic humoral immune responses, including protective hemagglutination inhibition titers, (ii) effective cellular responses, including multifunctional T cell activity, (iii) induction of long-lasting immunity, and (iv) protection against viral challenge. Furthermore, we demonstrated the dose-sparing capacity of the adjuvant as well as the ability to evoke cross-clade protective immune responses. Overall, our results suggest that c-di-AMP contributes to the generation of a protective cell-mediated immune response required for efficacious vaccination against influenza, which supports the further development of c-di-AMP as an adjuvant for seasonal and pandemic influenza mucosal vaccines.
    • Mucosal CD8+ T cell responses induced by an MCMV based vaccine vector confer protection against influenza challenge.

      Zheng, Xiaoyan; Oduro, Jennifer D; Boehme, Julia D; Borkner, Lisa; Ebensen, Thomas; Heise, Ulrike; Gereke, Marcus; Pils, Marina C; Krmpotic, Astrid; Guzmán, Carlos A; et al. (PLOS, 2019-09-01)
      Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a ubiquitous β-herpesvirus that establishes life-long latent infection in a high percentage of the population worldwide. CMV induces the strongest and most durable CD8+ T cell response known in human clinical medicine. Due to its unique properties, the virus represents a promising candidate vaccine vector for the induction of persistent cellular immunity. To take advantage of this, we constructed a recombinant murine CMV (MCMV) expressing an MHC-I restricted epitope from influenza A virus (IAV) H1N1 within the immediate early 2 (ie2) gene. Only mice that were immunized intranasally (i.n.) were capable of controlling IAV infection, despite the greater potency of the intraperitoneally (i.p.) vaccination in inducing a systemic IAV-specific CD8+ T cell response. The protective capacity of the i.n. immunization was associated with its ability to induce IAV-specific tissue-resident memory CD8+ T (CD8TRM) cells in the lungs. Our data demonstrate that the protective effect exerted by the i.n. immunization was critically mediated by antigen-specific CD8+ T cells. CD8TRM cells promoted the induction of IFNγ and chemokines that facilitate the recruitment of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells to the lungs. Overall, our results showed that locally applied MCMV vectors could induce mucosal immunity at sites of entry, providing superior immune protection against respiratory infections.
    • Mucosal Heterologous Prime/Boost Vaccination Induces Polyfunctional Systemic Immunity, Improving Protection Against .

      Sanchez Alberti, Andrés; Bivona, Augusto E; Matos, Marina N; Cerny, Natacha; Schulze, Kai; Weißmann, Sebastian; Ebensen, Thomas; González, Germán; Morales, Celina; Cardoso, Alejandro C; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-02-21)
      There are several unmet needs in modern immunology. Among them, vaccines against parasitic diseases and chronic infections lead. Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, is an excellent example of a silent parasitic invasion that affects millions of people worldwide due to its progression into the symptomatic chronic phase of infection. In search for novel vaccine candidates, we have previously introduced Traspain, an engineered trivalent immunogen that was designed to address some of the known mechanisms of T. cruzi immune evasion. Here, we analyzed its performance in different DNA prime/protein boost protocols and characterized the systemic immune response associated with diverse levels of protection. Formulations that include a STING agonist, like c-di-AMP in the boost doses, were able to prime a Th1/Th17 immune response. Moreover, comparison between them showed that vaccines that were able to prime polyfunctional cell-mediated immunity at the CD4 and CD8 compartment enhanced protection levels in the murine model. These findings contribute to a better knowledge of the desired vaccine-elicited immunity against T. cruzi and promote the definition of a vaccine correlate of protection against the infection.
    • Neutral Lipopolyplexes for In Vivo Delivery of Conventional and Replicative RNA Vaccine.

      Perche, Federico; Clemençon, Rudy; Schulze, Kai; Ebensen, Thomas; Guzmán, Carlos A; Pichon, Chantal; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier (Cell Press), 2019-09-06)
      Nucleic acid vaccination relies on injecting DNA or RNA coding antigen(s) to induce a protective immune response. RNA vaccination is being increasingly used in preclinical and clinical studies. However, few delivery systems have been reported for in vivo delivery of RNA of different sizes. Using a tripartite formulation with RNA, cationic polymer, and anionic liposomes, we were able to encapsulate RNA into neutral lipopolyplexes (LPPs). LPPs were stable in vitro and successfully delivered conventional RNA and replicative RNA to dendritic cells in cellulo. Their injection led to reporter gene expression in mice. Finally, administration of LPP-Replicon RNA (RepRNA) led to an adaptive immune response against the antigen coded by the RepRNA. Accordingly, LPPs may represent a universal formulation for RNA delivery.
    • A new adjuvanted nanoparticle-based H1N1 influenza vaccine induced antigen-specific local mucosal and systemic immune responses after administration into the lung.

      Neuhaus, Vanessa; Chichester, Jessica A; Ebensen, Thomas; Schwarz, Katharina; Hartman, Caitlin E; Shoji, Yoko; Guzmán, Carlos A; Yusibov, Vidadi; Sewald, Katherina; Braun, Armin (2014-05-30)
      Annually influenza virus infections are responsible for hospitalization and mortality, especially in high risk groups. Constant antigenic changes in seasonal influenza viruses resulted from antigenic shifts and antigenic drifts, enable emerging of novel virus subtypes that may reduce current vaccine efficacy and impose the continuous revision of vaccine component. Currently available vaccines are usually limited by their production processes in terms of rapid adaptation to new circulating subtypes in high quantities meeting the global demand. Thus, new approaches to rapidly manufacture high yields of influenza vaccines are required. New technologies to reach maximal protection with minimal vaccine doses also need to be developed. In this study, we evaluated the systemic and local immunogenicity of a new double-adjuvanted influenza vaccine administered at the site of infection, the respiratory tract. This vaccine combines a plant-produced H1N1 influenza hemagglutinin antigen (HAC1), a silica nanoparticle-based (SiO₂) drug delivery system and the mucosal adjuvant candidate bis-(3',5')-cyclic dimeric guanosine monophosphate (c-di-GMP). Mice were vaccinated by intratracheal route with HAC1/SiO₂ or HAC1/c-di-GMP (single-adjuvanted vaccine) or HAC1/SiO₂/c-di-GMP (double-adjuvanted vaccine) and evaluated for target-specific immune responses, such as hemagglutination inhibition and hemagglutinin-specific IgG titers, as well as local antibody (IgG and IgA) titers in the bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL). Furthermore, the HAC1-specific T-cell re-stimulation potential was assessed using precision-cut lung slices (PCLS) of vaccinated mice. The double-adjuvanted vaccine induced high systemic antibody responses comparable to the systemic vaccination control. In addition, it induced local IgG and IgA responses in the BAL. Furthermore, HAC1 induced a local T-cell response demonstrated by elevated IL-2 and IFN-γ levels in PCLS of c-di-GMP-vaccinated mice upon re-stimulation. Overall, the present study showed the potential of the double-adjuvanted vaccine to induce systemic humoral immune responses in intratracheally vaccinated mice. Furthermore, it induced a strong mucosal immune response, with evidence of antigen-primed T-cells in the lung.
    • Next Generation Influenza Vaccines: Looking into the Crystal Ball.

      Guzmán, Carlos Alberto; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-08-21)
      Influenza infections are responsible for significant number of deaths and overwhelming costs worldwide every year. Vaccination represents the only cost-efficient alternative to address this major problem in human health. However, current vaccines are fraught by many limitations, being far from optimal. Among them, the need to upgrade vaccines every year through a time-consuming process open to different caveats, and the critical fact that they exhibit poorer efficacy in individuals who are at high risk for severe infections. Where are we? How can knowledge and technologies contribute towards removing current roadblocks? What does the future offer in terms of next generation vaccines?
    • The NKT cell ligand αgalactosylceramide suppresses allergic airway inflammation by induction of a Th1 response.

      Knothe, S; Mutschler, V; Rochlitzer, S; Winkler, C; Ebensen, T; Guzman, C A; Hohlfeld, J; Braun, A; Muller, M; Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, Department of Immunology, Allergology and Immunotoxicology, Nikolai-Fuchs-Str. 1, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (2011-06-06)
      One experimental approach for the treatment of allergic reactions is the stimulation of immunoregulatory NKT cells with the synthetic glycolipid αgalactosylceramide. For a first evaluation of the immunomodulatory potential of αGalCerMPEG a human in vitro allergy model was exploited. Acting as an adjuvant, the glycolipid induced an enhanced Th1-biased allergen-specific immune response of autologous lymphocytes. In a mouse model of allergic airway inflammation, αGalCerMPEG-activated NKT cells promoted a cytokine environment in the spleen, leading to priming of Th1 cells. The shift towards a Th1-dominated allergen-specific immune response thus might mediate the abrogation of allergic airway inflammation and thereby might provide a valid option for therapeutic intervention.
    • NKT cell stimulation with α-galactosylceramide results in a block of Th17 differentiation after intranasal immunization in mice.

      Zygmunt, Beata M; Weissmann, Sebastian F; Guzman, Carlos A; Department of Vaccinology and Applied Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. beata.zygmunt@bbsrc.ac.uk (2012)
      In a previous study we demonstrated that intranasal (i.n.) vaccination promotes a Th17 biased immune response. Here, we show that co-administration of a pegylated derivative of α-galactosylceramide (αGCPEG) with an antigen, even in the presence of Th17-polarizing compounds, results in a strong blocking of Th17 differentiation. Additional studies demonstrated that this phenomenon is specifically dependent on soluble factors, like IL-4 and IFNγ, which are produced by NKT cells. Even NK1.1 negative NKT cells, which by themselves produce IL-17A, are able to block Th17 differentiation. It follows that the use of αGCPEG as adjuvant would enable to tailor Th17 responses, according to the specific clinical needs. This knowledge expands our understanding of the role played by NKT cells in overall control of the cytokine microenvironment, as well as in the overall shaping of adaptive immune responses.