• Comparative genomics and transcriptomics of lineages I, II, and III strains of Listeria monocytogenes

      Hain, Torsten; Ghai, Rohit; Billion, André; Kuenne, Carsten T; Steinweg, Christiane; Izar, Benjamin; Mohamed, Walid; Mraheil, Mobarak A; Domann, Eugen; Schaffrath, Silke; et al. (2012-04-24)
      Abstract Background Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen that causes infections with a high-mortality rate and has served as an invaluable model for intracellular parasitism. Here, we report complete genome sequences for two L. monocytogenes strains belonging to serotype 4a (L99) and 4b (CLIP80459), and transcriptomes of representative strains from lineages I, II, and III, thereby permitting in-depth comparison of genome- and transcriptome -based data from three lineages of L. monocytogenes. Lineage III, represented by the 4a L99 genome is known to contain strains less virulent for humans. Results The genome analysis of the weakly pathogenic L99 serotype 4a provides extensive evidence of virulence gene decay, including loss of several important surface proteins. The 4b CLIP80459 genome, unlike the previously sequenced 4b F2365 genome harbours an intact inlB invasion gene. These lineage I strains are characterized by the lack of prophage genes, as they share only a single prophage locus with other L. monocytogenes genomes 1/2a EGD-e and 4a L99. Comparative transcriptome analysis during intracellular growth uncovered adaptive expression level differences in lineages I, II and III of Listeria, notable amongst which was a strong intracellular induction of flagellar genes in strain 4a L99 compared to the other lineages. Furthermore, extensive differences between strains are manifest at levels of metabolic flux control and phosphorylated sugar uptake. Intriguingly, prophage gene expression was found to be a hallmark of intracellular gene expression. Deletion mutants in the single shared prophage locus of lineage II strain EGD-e 1/2a, the lma operon, revealed severe attenuation of virulence in a murine infection model. Conclusion Comparative genomics and transcriptome analysis of L. monocytogenes strains from three lineages implicate prophage genes in intracellular adaptation and indicate that gene loss and decay may have led to the emergence of attenuated lineages.
    • Evaluation of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate, prolylpeptidyl isomerase A, and a set of stably expressed genes as reference mRNAs in urate crystal inflammation

      Della Beffa, Cristina; Klawonn, Frank; Menetski, Joseph P; Schumacher, H R; Pessler, Frank (2011-10-25)
      Abstract Background The murine air pouch membrane represents an easily accessible tissue for studies on gene regulation in acute inflammation. Considering that acute inflammation may affect expression of molecular reference genes, we evaluated the expression of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and prolylpeptidyl isomerase A (PPIA) in the air pouch membrane during a complete time course of urate crystal inflammation and correlated the results with expression of interleukin (IL)-1β and hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α. In addition, we aimed to identify alternate potential reference genes. Methods Using custom microfluidic real-time PCR arrays, the expression of 96 genes including GAPDH, PPIA, IL-1β, and HIF-1α was determined in dissected air pouch membranes 1, 4, 9, 18, 27, and 50 hours (h) after injecting monosodium urate (MSU) crystals into the pouch. One-way ANOVA was used to detect differential gene expression throughout the time course. Using the genes on these arrays as a convenience sample, alternate candidate reference genes were sought (1) with a biostatistical approach and (2) using the geNorm software tool. Results Pouch leukocytes peaked at t = 9h and declined toward t = 50h. PPIA expression was not differentially regulated (p = 0.52, ANOVA). In contrast, GAPDH mRNA increased steadily after crystal injection, reaching a maximal 2.8-fold increase at t = 18h (p = 0.0006, t test), which followed a marked induction of IL-1β (max., 208-fold at t = 4h, p = 8.4 × 10-5, t test) and HIF-1α (max., 6.6-fold at t = 4h, p = 0.00025, t test). Fifteen genes were artifactually identified as "significantly regulated" when Ct values were normalized against GAPDH expression. The biostatistical approach and the geNorm analysis identified overlapping sets of candidate reference genes. Both ranked PPIA as the best candidate, followed by defender against cell death 1 (DAD1) and high-mobility group B1 (HMGB1). Conclusions GAPDH mRNA expression is up-regulated in urate crystal inflammation, possibly due to inflammation-associated hypoxia. Using GAPDH mRNA for molecular normalization resulted in significant artifacts in the calculated expression of the target mRNAs. PPIA and other stably expressed genes promise to be more appropriate reference genes in this model.
    • The Host-Pathogen interaction of human cyclophilin A and HIV-1 Vpr requires specific N-terminal and novel C-terminal domains

      Solbak, Sara M; Wray, Victor; Horvli, Ole; Raae, Arnt J; Flydal, Marte I; Henklein, Petra; Henklein, Peter; Nimtz, Manfred; Schubert, Ulrich; Fossen, Torgils (2011-12-20)
      Abstract Background Cyclophilin A (CypA) represents a potential key molecule in future antiretroviral therapy since inhibition of CypA suppresses human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) replication. CypA interacts with the virus proteins Capsid (CA) and Vpr, however, the mechanism through which CypA influences HIV-1 infectivity still remains unclear. Results Here the interaction of full-length HIV-1 Vpr with the host cellular factor CypA has been characterized and quantified by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. A C-terminal region of Vpr, comprising the 16 residues 75GCRHSRIGVTRQRRAR90, with high binding affinity for CypA has been identified. This region of Vpr does not contain any proline residues but binds much more strongly to CypA than the previously characterized N-terminal binding domain of Vpr, and is thus the first protein binding domain to CypA described involving no proline residues. The fact that the mutant peptide Vpr75-90 R80A binds more weakly to CypA than the wild-type peptide confirms that Arg-80 is a key residue in the C-terminal binding domain. The N- and C-terminal binding regions of full-length Vpr bind cooperatively to CypA and have allowed a model of the complex to be created. The dissociation constant of full-length Vpr to CypA was determined to be approximately 320 nM, indicating that the binding may be stronger than that of the well characterized interaction of HIV-1 CA with CypA. Conclusions For the first time the interaction of full-length Vpr and CypA has been characterized and quantified. A non-proline-containing 16-residue region of C-terminal Vpr which binds specifically to CypA with similar high affinity as full-length Vpr has been identified. The fact that this is the first non-proline containing binding motif of any protein found to bind to CypA, changes the view on how CypA is able to interact with other proteins. It is interesting to note that several previously reported key functions of HIV-1 Vpr are associated with the identified N- and C-terminal binding domains of the protein to CypA.
    • Impact of the rpoS genotype for acid resistance patterns of pathogenic and probiotic Escherichia coli

      Coldewey, Sina M; Hartmann, Maike; Schmidt, Dorothea S; Engelking, Uta; Ukena, Sya N; Gunzer, Florian (2007-03-26)
      Abstract Background Enterohemorrhagic E. coli (EHEC), a subgroup of Shiga toxin (Stx) producing E. coli (STEC), may cause severe enteritis and hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and is transmitted orally via contaminated foods or from person to person. The infectious dose is known to be very low, which requires most of the bacteria to survive the gastric acid barrier. Acid resistance therefore is an important mechanism of EHEC virulence. It should also be a relevant characteristic of E. coli strains used for therapeutic purposes such as the probiotic E. coli Nissle 1917 (EcN). In E. coli and related enteric bacteria it has been extensively demonstrated, that the alternative sigma factor σS, encoded by the rpoS gene, acts as a master regulator mediating resistance to various environmental stress factors. Methods Using rpoS deletion mutants of a highly virulent EHEC O26:H11 patient isolate and the sequenced prototype EHEC EDL933 (ATCC 700927) of serotype O157:H7 we investigated the impact of a functional rpoS gene for orchestrating a satisfactory response to acid stress in these strains. We then functionally characterized rpoS of probiotic EcN and five rpoS genes selected from STEC isolates pre-investigated for acid resistance. Results First, we found out that ATCC isolate 700927 of EHEC EDL933 has a point mutation in rpoS, not present in the published sequence, leading to a premature stop codon. Moreover, to our surprise, one STEC strain as well as EcN was acid sensitive in our test environment, although their cloned rpoS genes could effectively complement acid sensitivity of an rpoS deletion mutant. Conclusion The attenuation of sequenced EHEC EDL933 might be of importance for anyone planning to do either in vitro or in vivo studies with this prototype strain. Furthermore our data supports recently published observations, that individual E. coli isolates are able to significantly modulate their acid resistance phenotype independent of their rpoS genotype.
    • Infection- and procedure-dependent effects on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in mice

      Preusse, Matthias; Tantawy, Mohamed A; Klawonn, Frank; Schughart, Klaus; Pessler, Frank (2013-12-17)
      Abstract Background Investigating the host response in the early stage of influenza A virus (IAV) infection is of considerable interest. However, it is conceivable that effects due to the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure might introduce artifacts. We therefore aimed to evaluate the effects of anesthesia and/or intranasal infection on transcription of selected pulmonary mRNAs in two inbred mouse strains with differential susceptibility to IAV infection. Results DBA/2J and C57BL/6J mice were evaluated in a time course experiment in which lung tissue was sampled after 6, 12, 18, 24, 48 and 120 h. After anesthesia with ketamine and xylazine, a suspension of mouse-adapted IAV strain PR8_Mun in 20 μl sterile buffer, or 20 μl sterile buffer only, was instilled intranasally. The mice receiving anesthesia and PBS only were designated the “mock treatment” group. Pulmonary expression of 10 host mRNAs (Fos, Retnla, Irg1, Il6, Il1b, Cxcl10, Stat1, Ifng, Ifnl2, and Mx1) and viral hemagglutinin (HA) mRNA were determined at the designated time points. As expected, weight loss and viral replication were greater in the DBA/2J strain (which is more susceptible to IAV infection). Four mRNAs (Retnla, Irg1, Il6, and Cxcl10) were procedure-dependently regulated in DBA/2J mice between 6 and 24 h, and two (Retnla and Il6) in C57BL/6J mice, although to a lesser extent. All 10 mRNAs rose after infection, but one (Fos) only in DBA/2J mice. These infection-dependent effects could be separated from procedure-dependent effects beginning around 12 h in DBA/2J and 18 h in C57BL/6J mice. The interferon-related mRNAs Stat1, Ifng, Infl2, and Mx1 were unaffected by mock treatment in either mouse strain. Mx1 and Infl2 correlated best with HA mRNA expression (r = 0.97 and 0.93, respectively, in DBA/2J). Conclusions These results demonstrate effects of the anesthesia and/or intranasal infection procedure on pulmonary gene expression, which are detectable between approximately 6 and 24 h post procedure and vary in intensity and temporal evolution depending on the mouse strain used. Mock infection controls should be included in all studies on pulmonary gene expression in the early phase of infection with IAV and, likely, other respiratory pathogens.
    • Physiological response of Pichia pastoris GS115 to methanol-induced high level production of the Hepatitis B surface antigen: catabolic adaptation, stress responses, and autophagic processes

      Vanz, Ana L; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Adnan, Ahmad; Nimtz, Manfred; Gurramkonda, Chandrasekhar; Khanna, Navin; Rinas, Ursula (2012-08-08)
      Abstract Background Pichia pastoris is an established eukaryotic host for the production of recombinant proteins. Most often, protein production is under the control of the strong methanol-inducible aox1 promoter. However, detailed information about the physiological alterations in P. pastoris accompanying the shift from growth on glycerol to methanol-induced protein production under industrial relevant conditions is missing. Here, we provide an analysis of the physiological response of P. pastoris GS115 to methanol-induced high-level production of the Hepatitis B virus surface antigen (HBsAg). High product titers and the retention of the protein in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) are supposedly of major impact on the host physiology. For a more detailed understanding of the cellular response to methanol-induced HBsAg production, the time-dependent changes in the yeast proteome and ultrastructural cell morphology were analyzed during the production process. Results The shift from growth on glycerol to growth and HBsAg production on methanol was accompanied by a drastic change in the yeast proteome. In particular, enzymes from the methanol dissimilation pathway started to dominate the proteome while enzymes from the methanol assimilation pathway, e.g. the transketolase DAS1, increased only moderately. The majority of methanol was metabolized via the energy generating dissimilatory pathway leading to a corresponding increase in mitochondrial size and numbers. The methanol-metabolism related generation of reactive oxygen species induced a pronounced oxidative stress response (e.g. strong increase of the peroxiredoxin PMP20). Moreover, the accumulation of HBsAg in the ER resulted in the induction of the unfolded protein response (e.g. strong increase of the ER-resident disulfide isomerase, PDI) and the ER associated degradation (ERAD) pathway (e.g. increase of two cytosolic chaperones and members of the AAA ATPase superfamily) indicating that potential degradation of HBsAg could proceed via the ERAD pathway and through the proteasome. However, the amount of HBsAg did not show any significant decline during the cultivation revealing its general protection from proteolytic degradation. During the methanol fed-batch phase, induction of vacuolar proteases (e.g. strong increase of APR1) and constitutive autophagic processes were observed. Vacuolar enclosures were mainly found around peroxisomes and not close to HBsAg deposits and, thus, were most likely provoked by peroxisomal components damaged by reactive oxygen species generated by methanol oxidation. Conclusions In the methanol fed-batch phase P. pastoris is exposed to dual stress; stress resulting from methanol degradation and stress resulting from the production of the recombinant protein leading to the induction of oxidative stress and unfolded protein response pathways, respectively. Finally, the modest increase of methanol assimilatory enzymes compared to the strong increase of methanol dissimilatory enzymes suggests here a potential to increase methanol incorporation into biomass/product through metabolic enhancement of the methanol assimilatory pathway.