• Different implants have different biofilm communities-lessons for implant optimization

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Dept. of chemical microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for infection research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co. KG, 2014-12-09)
    • Dipeptide cis-cyclo(Leucyl-Tyrosyl) produced by sponge associated Penicillium sp. F37 inhibits biofilm formation of the pathogenic Staphylococcus epidermidis.

      Scopel, Marina; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Henriques, Amélia T; Macedo, Alexandre J; Faculdade de Farmácia, Departamento de Produção de Matéria-Prima, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Av. Ipiranga, 2752, 90610-000 Porto Alegre, Brazil. (2013-02-01)
      Infections associated to microbial biofilms are involved in 80% of human infections and became a challenge concerning public health. Infections related to Staphylococcus epidermidis biofilms are presently commonly associated to medical devices, increasing treatment costs for this type of infection. Alternatives to eliminate this kind of disease have been employed in screening programs using diverse marine-derived fungi source of bioactive compounds capable to combat biofilm formation. In this work was isolated the dipeptide cis-cyclo(Leucyl-Tyrosyl) from a sponge associated Penicillium sp. possessing a remarkable inhibition up to 85% of biofilm formation without interfering with bacterial growth, confirmed by scanning electron microscopy. This is the first demonstration that cis-cyclo(Leucyl-Tyrosyl) is able to specifically inhibit biofilm formation adding another aspect to the broad spectrum of bioactivities of cyclic dipeptides.
    • Diversity and Activity of Bacterial Biofilm Communities Growing on Hexachlorocyclohexane

      Gebreil, Ahmed Shawky; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-08-03)
    • Establishment of an induced memory response in Pseudomonas aeruginosa during infection of a eukaryotic host.

      Kordes, Adrian; Grahl, Nora; Koska, Michal; Preusse, Matthias; Arce-Rodriguez, Alejandro; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Kaever, Volkhard; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-08-01)
      In a given habitat, bacterial cells often experience recurrent exposures to the same environmental stimulus. The ability to memorize the past event and to adjust current behaviors can lead to efficient adaptation to the recurring stimulus. Here we demonstrate that the versatile bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa adopts a virulence phenotype after serial passage in the invertebrate model host Galleria mellonella. The virulence phenotype was not linked to the acquisition of genetic variations and was sustained for several generations, despite cultivation of the ex vivo virulence-adapted P. aeruginosa cells under rich medium conditions in vitro. Transcriptional reprogramming seemed to be induced by a host-specific food source, as reprogramming was also observed upon cultivation of P. aeruginosa in rich medium supplemented with polyunsaturated long-chain fatty acids. The establishment of induced memory responses adds a time dimension and seems to fill the gap between long-term evolutionary genotypic adaptation and short-term induced individual responses. Efforts to unravel the fundamental mechanisms that underlie the carry-over effect to induce such memory responses will continue to be of importance as hysteretic behavior can serve survival of bacterial populations in changing and challenging habitats.
    • Fumitremorgins and Relatives - from Tremorgenic Compounds to Valuable Anti-Cancer Drugs.

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Hemholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-07-24)
      Fumitremorgins are mycotoxins but can also inhibit cancer cells and reverse their drug resistance.
    • Fungal Metabolites for the Control of Biofilm Infections

      Estrela, Andréia; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-08-12)
    • Going beyond the Control of Quorum-Sensing to Combat Biofilm Infections.

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016)
      Most bacteria attach to surfaces where they form a biofilm, cells embedded in a complex matrix of polymers. Cells in biofilms are much better protected against noxious agents than free-living cells. As a consequence it is very difficult to control pathogens with antibiotics in biofilm infections and novel targets are urgently needed. One approach aims at the communication between cells to form and to maintain a biofilm, a process called quorum-sensing. Water soluble small-sized molecules mediate this process and a number of antagonists of these compounds have been found. In this review natural compounds and synthetic drugs which do not interfere with the classical quorum-sensing compounds are discussed. For some of these compounds the targets are still not known, but others interfere with the formation of exopolysaccharides, virulence factors, or cell wall synthesis or they start an internal program of biofilm dispersal. Some of their targets are more conserved among pathogens than the receptors for quorum sensing autoinducers mediating quorum-sensing, enabling a broader application of the drug. The broad spectrum of mechanisms, the diversity of bioactive compounds, their activity against several targets, and the conservation of some targets among bacterial pathogens are promising aspects for several clinical applications of this type of biofilm-controlling compound in the future.
    • Human β-Defensin 2 Induces Extracellular Accumulation of Adenosine in Escherichia coli.

      Estrela, Andreia Bergamo; Rohde, Manfred; Gutierrez, Maximiliano Gabriel; Molinari, Gabriella; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Chemical Microbiology. (2013-09)
      Human β-defensins are host defense peptides performing antimicrobial as well as immunomodulatory functions. The present study investigated whether treatment of Escherichia coli with human β-defensin 2 could generate extracellular molecules of relevance for immune regulation. Mass spectrometry analysis of bacterial supernatants detected the accumulation of purine nucleosides triggered by β-defensin 2 treatment. Other cationic antimicrobial peptides tested presented variable outcomes with regard to extracellular adenosine accumulation; human β-defensin 2 was the most efficient at inducing this response. Structural and biochemical evidence indicated that a mechanism other than plain lysis was involved in the observed phenomenon. By use of isotope ((13)C) labeling, extracellular adenosine was found to be derived from preexistent RNA, and a direct interaction between the peptide and bacterial nucleic acid was documented for the first time for β-defensin 2. Taken together, the data suggest that defensin activity on a bacterial target may alter local levels of adenosine, a well-known immunomodulator influencing inflammatory processes.
    • Kinetics of carbon sharing in a bacterial consortium revealed by combining stable isotope probing with fluorescence-activated cell sorting.

      Pawelczyk, S; Bumann, D; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Chemical Microbiology, Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02-07)
      Aims:  To determine the kinetics of substrate fluxes in a microbial community in order to elucidate the roles of the community members. Methods and Results:  The kinetics of substrate sharing in a bacterial consortium were measured by a new analytical approach combining immunostaining, stable isotope probing and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS). The bacterial consortium, consisting of four strains and growing on 4-chlorosalicylate (4-CS), was pulse-dosed with the degradation intermediate [U-(13) C]-4-chlorocatechol (4-CC). Cells were stained with strain-specific antibodies sorted by FACS and the (13) C-incorporation into fatty acids of the two most abundant members of the community was determined by isotope ratio mass spectrometry. From the two most abundant strains, the primary degrader Pseudomonas reinekei MT1 incorporated the labelled substrate faster than strain Achromobacter spanius MT3 but the maximal incorporation in strain MT3 was almost three times higher than in MT1. Conclusions:  It has been reported that strain MT1 produces 4-CC as an intermediate but has a lower LD(50) for it than strain MT3; therefore, MT3 still degrades 4-CC when the concentrations of 4-CC are already too toxic, even lethal, for MT1. By degrading 4-CC, produced by MT1, MT3 protects the entire community against this toxin. The higher affinity but lower tolerance of strain MT1 for 4-chlorocatechol compared to strain MT3 explains the complementary function these two strains have in the consortium adding exceptional stability to the entire community. Significance and Impact of the Study:  The novel approach can reveal carbon fluxes in microbial communities generating quantitative data for systems biology of the microbial community.
    • Megacities as sources for pathogenic bacteria in rivers and their fate downstream.

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Chemical Microbiology, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      Poor sanitation, poor treatments of waste water, as well as catastrophic floods introduce pathogenic bacteria into rivers, infecting and killing many people. The goal of clean water for everyone has to be achieved with a still growing human population and their rapid concentration in large cities, often megacities. How long introduced pathogens survive in rivers and what their niches are remain poorly known but essential to control water-borne diseases in megacities. Biofilms are often niches for various pathogens because they possess high resistances against environmental stress. They also facilitate gene transfers of antibiotic resistance genes which become an increasing health problem. Beside biofilms, amoebae are carriers of pathogenic bacteria and niches for their survival. An overview about our current understanding of the fate and niches of pathogens in rivers, the multitude of microbial community interactions, and the impact of severe flooding, a prerequisite to control pathogens in polluted rivers, is given.
    • Nanoparticles as A Tool for Broadening Antifungal Activities.

      Renzi, Daniele Fernanda; de Almeida Campos, Laís; Miranda, Eduardo Hösel; Mainardes, Rubiana Mara; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Grigoletto, Diana Fortkamp; Khalil, Najeh Maissar; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Bentham Science Publisher, 2020-03-30)
      The Fungal infections are diseases that are considered neglected although their infection rates have increased worldwide in the last decades. Thus, since the antifungal arsenal is restricted and many strains have shown resistance new therapeutic alternatives are necessary. Nanoparticles are considered important alternatives to promote drug delivery. In this sense, the objective of the present study was to evaluate the contributions of newly developed nanoparticles to the treatment of fungal infections. Studies have shown that nanoparticles generally improve the biopharmaceutical and pharmacokinetic characteristics of antifungals, which is reflected in a greater pharmacodynamic potential and lower toxicity, as well as the possibility of prolonged action. It also offers the proposition of new routes of administration. Nanotechnology is known to contribute to a new drug delivery system, not only for the control of infectious diseases, but for various other diseases as well. In recent years, several studies have emphasized its application in infectious diseases, presenting better alternatives for the treatment of fungal infections.
    • De Novo Fatty Acid Synthesis During Mycobacterial Infection Is a Prerequisite for the Function of Highly Proliferative T Cells, But Not for Dendritic Cells or Macrophages.

      Stüve, Philipp; Minarrieta, Lucía; Erdmann, Hanna; Arnold-Schrauf, Catharina; Swallow, Maxine; Guderian, Melanie; Krull, Freyja; Hölscher, Alexandra; Ghorbani, Peyman; Behrends, Jochen; et al. (Frontiers, 2018-01-01)
      Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the causative agent of human tuberculosis, is able to efficiently manipulate the host immune system establishing chronic infection, yet the underlying mechanisms of immune evasion are not fully understood. Evidence suggests that this pathogen interferes with host cell lipid metabolism to ensure its persistence. Fatty acid metabolism is regulated by acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) 1 and 2; both isoforms catalyze the conversion of acetyl-CoA into malonyl-CoA, but have distinct roles. ACC1 is located in the cytosol, where it regulates de novo fatty acid synthesis (FAS), while ACC2 is associated with the outer mitochondrial membrane, regulating fatty acid oxidation (FAO). In macrophages, mycobacteria induce metabolic changes that lead to the cytosolic accumulation of lipids. This reprogramming impairs macrophage activation and contributes to chronic infection. In dendritic cells (DCs), FAS has been suggested to underlie optimal cytokine production and antigen presentation, but little is known about the metabolic changes occurring in DCs upon mycobacterial infection and how they affect the outcome of the immune response. We therefore determined the role of fatty acid metabolism in myeloid cells and T cells during Mycobacterium bovis BCG or Mtb infection, using novel genetic mouse models that allow cell-specific deletion of ACC1 and ACC2 in DCs, macrophages, or T cells. Our results demonstrate that de novo FAS is induced in DCs and macrophages upon M. bovis BCG infection. However, ACC1 expression in DCs and macrophages is not required to control mycobacteria. Similarly, absence of ACC2 did not influence the ability of DCs and macrophages to cope with infection. Furthermore, deletion of ACC1 in DCs or macrophages had no effect on systemic pro-inflammatory cytokine production or T cell priming, suggesting that FAS is dispensable for an intact innate response against mycobacteria. In contrast, mice with a deletion of ACC1 specifically in T cells fail to generate efficient T helper 1 responses and succumb early to Mtb infection. In summary, our results reveal ACC1-dependent FAS as a crucial mechanism in T cells, but not DCs or macrophages, to fight against mycobacterial infection.
    • Occurence and resistance of pathogenic bacteria along the Tiete river downstream of Soa Paulo in Brazil

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Macedo, Alexandre Jose; Gomez, Luiz Humberto; Tavarez, Flavio C. A.; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research (2007-09-24)
    • Phylogeny by a polyphasic approach of the order Caulobacterales, proposal of Caulobacter mirabilis sp. nov., Phenylobacterium haematophilum sp. nov. and Phenylobacterium conjunctum sp. nov., and emendation of the genus Phenylobacterium.

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Macedo, Alexandre J; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Fischer, Roman; Pawelczyk, Sonja; Smit, John; Vancanneyt, Marc; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Chemical Microbiology, Inhoffenstrasse 7, Braunschweig, Germany. wab@gbf.de (2008-08)
      Three strains of Gram-negative, rod-shaped, non-spore-forming bacteria were isolated from fresh water and human blood. As determined by analyses of 16S rRNA gene sequences, the prosthecate strain FWC 38T was affiliated to the alphaproteobacterial genus Caulobacter, with Caulobacter henricii (96.8 %) and Caulobacter fusiformis (96.8 %) as its closest relatives. The non-prosthecate strain LMG 11050T and the prosthecate strain FWC 21T both belonged to the genus Phenylobacterium with Phenylobacterium koreense (96.9 %) and Phenylobacterium immobile (96.3 %) as the closest relatives. This affiliation was supported by chemotaxonomic data (polar lipids and cellular fatty acids). Physiological and biochemical tests allowed genotypic and phenotypic differentiation of the novel strains from all hitherto recognized species of the genera Caulobacter and Phenylobacterium. The strains therefore represent novel species, for which the names Caulobacter mirabilis sp. nov. (type strain FWC 38T=LMG 24261T=CCUG 55073T), Phenylobacterium conjunctum (type strain FWC 21T=LMG 24262T=CCUG 55074T), the first described prosthecate Phenylobacterium species, and Phenylobacterium haematophilum sp. nov. (type strain LMG 11050T=CCUG 26751T) are proposed. Marker nucleotides within the 16S rRNA genes were determined for the genera Asticcacaulis, Brevundimonas, Caulobacter and Phenylobacterium and the description of the genus Phenylobacterium is emended.
    • A rapid method for breath analysis in cystic fibrosis patients.

      Kramer, R; Sauer-Heilborn, A; Welte, T; Guzman, C A; Höfle, M G; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-04)
      For easy handling and speed of lung diseases diagnostics, approaches based on volatile organic compounds (VOCs), including those emitted by pathogenic microorganisms, are considered but currently require considerable sampling efforts. We tested whether easy-to-handle and fast detection of lung infections is possible using solid-phase microextraction (SPME) of 100 ml of exhaled breath. An analytical procedure for the detection of VOCs from the headspace of epithelial lung cells infected with four human pathogens was developed. The feasibility of this method was tested in a cystic fibrosis (CF) outpatient clinic in vivo. Exhaled breath was extracted by SPME and analyzed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The compositions of VOCs released in the infection model were characteristic for all individual pathogens tested. Exhaled breath of CF patients allowed clear distinction of CF patients and controls by their VOC compositions using multivariate analyses. Interestingly, the major specific VOCs detected in the exhaled breath of infected CF patients in vivo differed from those monitored during bacterial in vitro growth. SPME extraction of VOCs from 100 ml of human breath allowed the distinction between CF patients and healthy probands. Our results highlight the importance of assessing the entire pattern of VOCs instead of selected biomarkers for diagnostic purposes, as well as the need to use clinical samples to identify reliable biomarkers. This study provides the proof-of-concept for the approach using the composition of exhaled VOCs in human breath for the rapid identification of infectious agents in patients with lower respiratory tract infections.
    • Release of Periplasmic Nucleotidase Induced by Human Antimicrobial Peptide in E. coli Causes Accumulation of the Immunomodulator Adenosine.

      Estrela, Andreia Bergamo; Türck, Patrick; Stutz, Elaine; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Previous work by our group described that human β-defensin-2 induces accumulation of extracellular adenosine (Ado) in E. coli cultures through a non-lytic mechanism causing severe plasmolysis. Here, we investigate the presence of AMP as a direct precursor and the involvement of a bacterial enzyme in the generation of extracellular Ado by treated bacteria. Following hBD-2 treatment, metabolites were quantified in the supernatants using targeted HPLC-MS/MS analysis. Microbial growth was monitored by optical density and cell viability was determined by colony forming units counts. Phosphatase activity was measured using chromogenic substrate pNPP. The results demonstrate that defensin-treated E. coli strain W releases AMP in the extracellular space, where it is converted to Ado by a bacterial soluble factor. An increase in phosphatase activity in the supernatant was observed after peptide treatment, similar to the effect of sucrose-induced osmotic stress, suggesting that the periplasmic 5'nucleotidase (5'-NT) is released following the plasmolysis event triggered by the peptide. Ado accumulation was enhanced in the presence of Co2+ ion and inhibited by EDTA, further supporting the involvement of a metallo-phosphatase such as 5'-NT in extracellular AMP conversion into Ado. The comparative analysis of hBD-induced Ado accumulation in different E. coli strains and in Pseudomonas aeruginosa revealed that the response is not correlated to the peptide's effect on cell viability, but indicates it might be dependent on the subcellular distribution of the nucleotidase. Taken together, these data shed light on a yet undescribed mechanism of host-microbial interaction: a human antimicrobial peptide inducing selective release of a bacterial enzyme (E. coli 5'-NT), leading to the formation of a potent immunomodulator metabolite (Ado).
    • Secondary Metabolites Control the Associated Bacterial Communities of Saprophytic Basidiomycotina Fungi.

      de Carvalho, Maira Peres; Türck, Patrick; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Centre for infection research (HZI), Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Fungi grow under humid conditions and are, therefore, prone to biofilm infections. A 16S rRNA fingerprint analysis was performed on 49 sporocarps of Basidiomycotina in order to determine whether they are able to control these biofilms. Ninety-five bacterial phylotypes, comprising 4 phyla and 10 families, were identified. While ectomycorrhizal fungi harbored the highest bacterial diversity, saprophytic fungi showed little or no association with bacteria. Seven fungal species were screened for antimicrobial and antibiofilm activities. Biofilm formation and bacterial growth was inhibited by extracts obtained from saprophytic fungi, which confirmed the hypothesis that many fungi modulate biofilm colonization on their sporocarps.
    • Secondary metabolites produced by endophytic fungi: novel antifungal activity of fumiquinone B

      Grigoletto, Diana Fortkamp; Correia, Ana Maria Lima; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Rodrigues, Andre; Assis, Marco Antonio; Ferreira, Antonio Gilberto; Massaroli, Michelli; Lira, Simone Possedente de; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Universidade Estadual de Maringa, 2019-12-18)
      Fungi are present in the most diverse environments including the interior of plant tissues, living as endophytes without causing apparent damage. These endophytes are producers of secondary metabolites, also known as natural products, such as fungicides. Here, we evaluated the ethyl acetate fractions obtained from endophytic fungi isolated from plants in the genus Begonia. The fractions were submitted to inhibitory test against the plant pathogens Diaporthe phaseolorum and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. From the 88 ethyl acetate fractions evaluated, 14.7 % inhibited C. gloeosporioides and 11.3 % inhibited D. phaseolorum. One fungal isolate displaying an active fraction was selected for chemical investigation. The fungus identified as Neopestalotiopsis sp., produced a compound that was active against D. phaseolorum, with a MIC of 312 µg mL-1 (1,695.3 µM). The compound was identified by mass spectrometry and 1H NMR as the known compound fumiquinone B. The results highlight that the endophytes are capable of producing compounds that may be used to control plant pathogens. The compound fumiquinone B is reported for the first time as an antifungal agent against D. phaseolorum, a relevant plant pathogen worldwide. This is also the first report of the production of fumiquinone B by the genus Neopestalotiopsis.
    • Spatial variation of active microbiota in the rice rhizosphere revealed by in situ stable isotope probing of phospholipid fatty acids.

      Lu, Yahai; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Conrad, Ralf; College of Resources and Environmental Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100094, China. (2007-02)
      This report is part of a serial study applying stable isotope labelling to rice microcosms to track the utilization of recently photosynthesized carbon by active microbiota in the rhizosphere. The objective of the present study was to apply phospholipid fatty acid-based stable isotope probing (PLFA-SIP) to detect the spatial variation of active microorganisms associated with rhizosphere carbon flow. In total, 49 pulses of 13CO2 were applied to rice plants in a microcosm over a period of 7 days. Rhizosphere soil was separated from bulk soil by a root bag. Soil samples were taken from rhizosphere and bulk soil, and the bulk soil samples were further partitioned both vertically (up layer and down layer) and horizontally with increasing distance to the root bag. Incorporation of 13C into PLFAs sharply decreased with distance to the roots. The labelling of 16:1omega9, 18:1omega7, 18:1omega9, 18:2omega6,9 and i14:0 PLFAs was relatively stronger in the rhizosphere while that of i15:0 and i17:0 increased in the bulk soil. The microorganisms associated with 16:1omega9 were active in both up- and down-layer soils. The microorganisms represented by i14:0, 18:1omega7 and 18:2omega6,9 exhibited a relatively higher activity in up-layer soil, whereas those represented by i15:0 and i17:0 were more active in down-layer soil. These results suggest that in the rhizosphere Gram-negative and eukaryotic microorganisms were most actively assimilating root-derived C, whereas Gram-positive microorganisms became relatively more important in the bulk soil. The active populations apparently differed between up- and down-layer soil and in particular changed with distance to the roots, demonstrating systematic changes in the activity of the soil microbiota surrounding roots.
    • Sphingobium aromaticiconvertens sp. nov., a xenobiotic-compound-degrading bacterium from polluted river sediment.

      Wittich, Rolf-Michael; Busse, Hans-Jürgen; Kämpfer, Peter; Tiirola, Marja; Wieser, Monika; Macedo, Alexandre J; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (formerly GBF), Division Microbiology, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-02)
      A bacterial strain capable of degrading some monochlorinated dibenzofurans, designated RW16T, was isolated from aerobic River Elbe sediments. The strain was characterized based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, DNA G+C content, physiological characteristics, polyamines, ubiquinone and polar lipid pattern and fatty acid composition. This analysis revealed that strain RW16T represents a novel species of the genus Sphingobium. The DNA G+C content of strain RW16T, 60.7 mol%, is the lowest yet reported for the genus. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis placed strain RW16T as an outlier in the genus Sphingobium. The name Sphingobium aromaticiconvertens sp. nov. is proposed for this dibenzofuran-mineralizing organism, with type strain RW16T (=DSM 12677T=CIP 109198T).