• 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).
    • Sphingomonas fennica sp. nov. and Sphingomonas haloaromaticamans sp. nov., outliers of the genus Sphingomonas.

      Wittich, Rolf-Michael; Busse, Hans-Jürgen; Kämpfer, Peter; Macedo, Alexandre J; Tiirola, Marja; Wieser, Monika; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Bereich Mikrobiologie, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (formerly GBF), D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-08)
      Bacterial isolates obtained from polychlorophenol-contaminated sites in Finland (strain K101(T)) and from a Dutch drinking water well (strain A175(T)) were characterized taxonomically. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis, determination of DNA G+C content, physiological characterization, estimation of the ubiquinone and polar lipid patterns and fatty acid content revealed that strains K101(T) and A175(T) were similar to Sphingomonas wittichii RW1(T) but also showed pronounced differences. The DNA G+C contents of the two novel strains were 63.6 and 66.1 mol%, respectively. On the basis of these results, two novel species of the genus Sphingomonas are described, for which the names Sphingomonas haloaromaticamans sp. nov. [type strain A175(T) (=DSM 13477(T)=CCUG 53463(T))] and Sphingomonas fennica sp. nov. [type strain K101(T) (=DSM 13665(T)=CCUG 53462(T))] are proposed.
    • Stabile Isotope erlauben Einblicke in Bakteriengemeinschaften

      Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Chemische Mikrobiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2013-09-25)
    • Three stages of a biofilm community developing at the liquid-liquid interface between polychlorinated biphenyls and water.

      Macedo, Alexandre José; Kuhlicke, Ute; Neu, Thomas R; Timmis, Kenneth N; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; GBF-National Research Center for Biotechnology, Environmental Microbiology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2005-11)
      Soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) was used as an inoculum to grow a complex biofilm community on PCB oil (Aroclor 1242) on a substratum (Permanox). The biofilm was monitored for 31 days by confocal laser scanning microscopy, community fingerprinting using single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP), amplicons of the 16S rRNA genes, and chemical analyses of the PCB congeners. SSCP analysis of the young biofilm revealed a rather diverse microbial community with species of the genera Herbaspirillum and Bradyrhizobium as dominant members. The biofilm developing on the PCB droplets displayed pronounced stages of PCB degradation and biofilm development not described before from pure-culture experiments. The first step was the colonization of the substratum while the PCB oil was hardly populated. When a certain density of bacteria was reached on the Permanox, the PCB was colonized, but soon the degradation of the congeners was markedly reduced and many cells were damaged, as seen by LIVE/DEAD staining. Finally, the biofilm formed aggregates and invaded the PCB oil, showing lower numbers of damaged cells than before and a dramatic increase in PCB degradation. This sequence of biofilm formation is understood as a maturation process prior to PCB oil colonization. This is followed by a thin biofilm on the PCB droplet, an aggregation process forming pockets in the PCB, and finally an invasion of the biofilm into the PCB oil. Only the mature biofilm showed degradation of pentachlorinated PCB congeners, which may be reductively dechlorinated and the resulting trichlorobiphenyls then aerobically metabolized.
    • Tree species affect atmospheric CH4 oxidation without altering community composition of soil methanotrophs

      Menyailo, Oleg V.; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Conrad, Ralf; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany (Elsevier, 2010-01-01)
    • Volatile sesquiterpenes from fungi: what are they good for?

      Kramer, Rolf; Abraham, Wolf-Rainer; Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Chemical Microbiology, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-03-05)