• Data Analysis Strategies for Microbiome Studies in Human Populations-a Systematic Review of Current Practice.

      Kleine Bardenhorst, Sven; Berger, Tom; Klawonn, Frank; Vital, Marius; Karch, André; Rübsamen, Nicole; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ASM, 2021-02-23)
      Reproducibility is a major issue in microbiome studies, which is partly caused by missing consensus about data analysis strategies. The complex nature of microbiome data, which are high-dimensional, zero-inflated, and compositional, makes them challenging to analyze, as they often violate assumptions of classic statistical methods. With advances in human microbiome research, research questions and study designs increase in complexity so that more sophisticated data analysis concepts are applied. To improve current practice of the analysis of microbiome studies, it is important to understand what kind of research questions are asked and which tools are used to answer these questions. We conducted a systematic literature review considering all publications focusing on the analysis of human microbiome data from June 2018 to June 2019. Of 1,444 studies screened, 419 fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Information about research questions, study designs, and analysis strategies were extracted. The results confirmed the expected shift to more advanced research questions, as one-third of the studies analyzed clustered data. Although heterogeneity in the methods used was found at any stage of the analysis process, it was largest for differential abundance testing. Especially if the underlying data structure was clustered, we identified a lack of use of methods that appropriately addressed the underlying data structure while taking into account additional dependencies in the data. Our results confirm considerable heterogeneity in analysis strategies among microbiome studies; increasingly complex research questions require better guidance for analysis strategies.IMPORTANCE The human microbiome has emerged as an important factor in the development of health and disease. Growing interest in this topic has led to an increasing number of studies investigating the human microbiome using high-throughput sequencing methods. However, the development of suitable analytical methods for analyzing microbiome data has not kept pace with the rapid progression in the field. It is crucial to understand current practice to identify the scope for development. Our results highlight the need for an extensive evaluation of the strengths and shortcomings of existing methods in order to guide the choice of proper analysis strategies. We have identified where new methods could be designed to address more advanced research questions while taking into account the complex structure of the data.
    • Degradable magnesium implant-associated infections by bacterial biofilms induce robust localized and systemic inflammatory reactions in a mouse model.

      Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Babbar, Anshu; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Pils, Marina; Rohde, M; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-01)
      Biomaterial-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections constitute cascade of host immune reactions ultimately leading towards implant failure. Due to lack of relevant in vivo biofilm models, majority of the studies report host immune responses against free living or planktonic bacteria while bacteria in clinical situations live more frequently as biofilm communities than as single cells. Present study investigated host immune responses against biomaterial-associated P. aeruginosa biofilms in a clinically relevant mouse model. Previously, we reported metallic magnesium, a prospective biodegradable implant, to be permissive for bacterial biofilms in vivo even though it exhibits antibacterial properties in vitro. Therefore, magnesium was employed as biomaterial to investigate in vivo biofilm formation and associated host immune responses by using two P. aeruginosa strains and two mouse strains. P. aeruginosa formed biofilms on subcutaneously implanted magnesium discs. Non-invasive in vivo imaging indicated transient inflammatory responses at control sites whereas robust prolonged interferon-β (IFN-β) expression was observed from biofilms in a transgenic animal reporter. Further, immunohistology and electron microscopic results showed that bacterial biofilms were located in two dimensions immediately on the implant surface and at a short distance in the adjacent tissue. These biofilms were surrounded by inflammatory cells (mainly polymorphonuclear cells) as compared to controls. Interestingly, even though the number of live bacteria in various organs remained below detectable levels, splenomegaly indicated systemic inflammatory processes. Overall, these findings confirmed the resistance of biofilm infections in vivo to potentially antibacterial properties of magnesium degradation products. In vivo imaging and histology indicated the induction of both, local and systemic host inflammatory responses against P. aeruginosa biofilms. Even though the innate host immune defenses could not eliminate the local infection for up to two weeks, there was no apparent systemic bacteremia and all animals investigated survived the infection.
    • Der zlog-Wert als Basis für die Standardisierung von Laborwerten

      Hoffmann, Georg; Klawonn, Frank; Lichtinghagen, Ralf; Orth, Matthias; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforshung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-01)
      Zusammenfassung Hintergrund Im Zuge des deutschen E-Health-Gesetzes von 2016 wurde die DGKL aufgefordert, Vorschläge für die standardisierte Speicherung und Übermittlung von Labordaten zu erarbeiten. Wir schlagen dafür die in der Statistik weit verbreitete z-Transformation vor. Methoden Man erhält mit diesem Verfahren einen Relativwert, der angibt, um wie viele Standardabweichungen ein Messwert vom Mittelwert des Referenzkollektivs abweicht. Anhand realer Daten belegen wir die Annahme, dass die Werte gesunder Referenzpersonen durch logarithmische Transformation einer Normalverteilung angenähert werden können. Ergebnisse Kennt man somit die Unter- und Obergrenze UG und OG des Referenzintervalls, so kann man jedes Laborergebnis mit folgender Gleichung transformieren: Der zlog-Wert ist leicht interpretierbar: Sein Referenzintervall liegt methodenunabhängig stets zwischen –1,96 und +1,96; stark erniedrigte oder erhöhte Laborergebnisse führen zu zlog-Werten um –5 bzw. +5. Für eine intuitive Befunddarstellung kann man zlog-Werte auch in eine kontinuierliche Farbskala, z. B. von Blau über Weiß bis Orange umrechnen. Mithilfe der Umkehrfunktion lässt sich aus dem zlog-Wert auch das theoretische Resultat einer Messmethode mit einem anderen Referenzintervall berechnen: Schlussfolgerung Unser Standardisierungsvorschlag ist ein leicht realisierbarer und effektiver Beitrag zur Verbesserung der Datenqualität und Patientensicherheit im Rahmen des E-Health-Gesetzes. Es wird gefordert, dass alle Labore künftig zusätzlich zum Originalwert den zlog-Wert zur Verfügung stellen und dass in die Protokolle für die elektronische Labordatenübertragung (HL7, LDT) ein eigenes Feld für diesen zusätzlichen Wert eingefügt wird.
    • Design and characterization of dietary assessment in the German National Cohort.

      Knüppel, Sven; Clemens, Matthias; Conrad, Johanna; Gastell, Sylvia; Michels, Karin B; Leitzmann, Michael; Krist, Lilian; Pischon, Tobias; Krause, Gerard; Ahrens, Wolfgang; et al. (Springer Nature, 2019-01-15)
      BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study was to describe a novel dietary assessment strategy based on two instruments complemented by information from an external population applied to estimate usual food intake in the large-scale multicenter German National Cohort (GNC). As proof of concept, we applied the assessment strategy to data from a pretest study (2012-2013) to assess the feasibility of the novel assessment strategy. SUBJECTS/METHODS: First, the consumption probability for each individual was modeled using three 24 h food lists (24h-FLs) and frequencies from one food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Second, daily consumed food amounts were estimated from the representative German National Nutrition Survey II (NVS II) taking the characteristics of the participants into account. Usual food intake was estimated using the product of consumption probability and amounts. RESULTS: We estimated usual intake of 41 food groups in 318 men and 377 women. The participation proportion was 100, 84.4, and 68.5% for the first, second, and third 24h-FL, respectively. We observed no associations between the probability of participating and lifestyle factors. The estimated distributions of usual food intakes were plausible and total energy was estimated to be 2707 kcal/day for men and 2103 kcal/day for women. The estimated consumption frequencies did not differ substantially between men and women with only few exceptions. The differences in energy intake between men and women were mostly due to differences in estimated daily amounts. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of repeated 24h-FLs, a FFQ, and consumption-day amounts from a reference population represents a user-friendly dietary assessment approach having generated plausible, but not yet validated, food intake values in the pretest study
    • Development of a data generator for multivariate numerical data with arbitrary correlations and distributions

      Vahldiek, Kai; Zhou, Libing; Zhu, Wenfeng; Klawonn, Frank; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (IOS Press, 2021-01-01)
      Artificial or simulated data are particularly relevant in tests and benchmarks for machine learning methods, in teaching for exercises and for setting up analysis workflows. They are relevant when real data may not be used for reasons of data protection, or when special distributions or effects should be present in the data to test certain machine learning methods. In this paper a generator for multivariate numerical data with arbitrary marginal distributions and – as far as possible – arbitrary correlations is presented. The data generator is implemented in the open source statistics software R. It can also be used for categorical variables, if data are generated separately for the corresponding characteristics of a categorical variable. Additionally, outliers can be integrated. The use of the data generator is demonstrated with a concrete example.
    • Development of a Social Network for People Without a Diagnosis (RarePairs): Evaluation Study.

      Kühnle, Lara; Mücke, Urs; Lechner, Werner M; Klawonn, Frank; Grigull, Lorenz; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (JMIR publications, 2020-09-29)
      Background: Diagnostic delay in rare disease (RD) is common, occasionally lasting up to more than 20 years. In attempting to reduce it, diagnostic support tools have been studied extensively. However, social platforms have not yet been used for systematic diagnostic support. This paper illustrates the development and prototypic application of a social network using scientifically developed questions to match individuals without a diagnosis. Objective: The study aimed to outline, create, and evaluate a prototype tool (a social network platform named RarePairs), helping patients with undiagnosed RDs to find individuals with similar symptoms. The prototype includes a matching algorithm, bringing together individuals with similar disease burden in the lead-up to diagnosis. Methods: We divided our project into 4 phases. In phase 1, we used known data and findings in the literature to understand and specify the context of use. In phase 2, we specified the user requirements. In phase 3, we designed a prototype based on the results of phases 1 and 2, as well as incorporating a state-of-the-art questionnaire with 53 items for recognizing an RD. Lastly, we evaluated this prototype with a data set of 973 questionnaires from individuals suffering from different RDs using 24 distance calculating methods. Results: Based on a step-by-step construction process, the digital patient platform prototype, RarePairs, was developed. In order to match individuals with similar experiences, it uses answer patterns generated by a specifically designed questionnaire (Q53). A total of 973 questionnaires answered by patients with RDs were used to construct and test an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm like the k-nearest neighbor search. With this, we found matches for every single one of the 973 records. The cross-validation of those matches showed that the algorithm outperforms random matching significantly. Statistically, for every data set the algorithm found at least one other record (match) with the same diagnosis. Conclusions: Diagnostic delay is torturous for patients without a diagnosis. Shortening the delay is important for both doctors and patients. Diagnostic support using AI can be promoted differently. The prototype of the social media platform RarePairs might be a low-threshold patient platform, and proved suitable to match and connect different individuals with comparable symptoms. This exchange promoted through RarePairs might be used to speed up the diagnostic process. Further studies include its evaluation in a prospective setting and implementation of RarePairs as a mobile phone app.
    • Diacylglycerol Kinase from Suspension Cultured Plant Cells 1

      Wissing, Josef B.; Wagner, Karl G. (1992-03)
    • Diacylglycerol Kinase from Suspension Cultured Plant Cells 1

      Wissing, Josef; Heim, Sabina; Wagner, Karl G. (1989-08)
    • Diagnostic needs for rare diseases and shared prediagnostic phenomena: Results of a German-wide expert Delphi survey.

      Blöß, Susanne; Klemann, Christian; Rother, Ann-Katrin; Mehmecke, Sandra; Schumacher, Ulrike; Mücke, Urs; Mücke, Martin; Stieber, Christiane; Klawonn, Frank; Kortum, Xiaowei; et al. (2017)
      Worldwide approximately 7,000 rare diseases have been identified. Accordingly, 4 million individuals live with a rare disease in Germany. The mean time to diagnosis is about 6 years and patients receive several incorrect diagnoses during this time. A multiplicity of factors renders diagnosing a rare disease extremely difficult. Detection of shared phenomena among individuals with different rare diseases could assist the diagnostic process. In order to explore the demand for diagnostic support and to obtain the commonalities among patients, a nationwide Delphi survey of centers for rare diseases and patient groups was conducted.
    • Diagnostic support for selected neuromuscular diseases using answer-pattern recognition and data mining techniques: a proof of concept multicenter prospective trial.

      Grigull, Lorenz; Lechner, Werner; Petri, Susanne; Kollewe, Katja; Dengler, Reinhard; Mehmecke, Sandra; Schumacher, Ulrike; Lücke, Thomas; Schneider-Gold, Christiane; Köhler, Cornelia; et al. (2016)
      Diagnosis of neuromuscular diseases in primary care is often challenging. Rare diseases such as Pompe disease are easily overlooked by the general practitioner. We therefore aimed to develop a diagnostic support tool using patient-oriented questions and combined data mining algorithms recognizing answer patterns in individuals with selected neuromuscular diseases. A multicenter prospective study for the proof of concept was conducted thereafter.
    • Diagnostic Support for Selected Paediatric Pulmonary Diseases Using Answer-Pattern Recognition in Questionnaires Based on Combined Data Mining Applications--A Monocentric Observational Pilot Study.

      Rother, Ann-Katrin; Schwerk, Nicolaus; Brinkmann, Folke; Klawonn, Frank; Lechner, Werner; Grigull, Lorenz; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015)
      Clinical symptoms in children with pulmonary diseases are frequently non-specific. Rare diseases such as primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), cystic fibrosis (CF) or protracted bacterial bronchitis (PBB) can be easily missed at the general practitioner (GP).
    • Dinoroseobacter shibae Outer Membrane Vesicles Are Enriched for the Chromosome Dimer Resolution Site dif.

      Wang, Hui; Beier, Nicole; Boedeker, Christian; Sztajer, Helena; Henke, Petra; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Mansky, Johannes; Rohde, Manfred; Overmann, Jörg; Petersen, Jörn; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-01-12)
      Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are universally produced by prokaryotes and play important roles in symbiotic and pathogenic interactions. They often contain DNA, but a mechanism for its incorporation is lacking. Here, we show that Dinoroseobacter shibae, a dinoflagellate symbiont, constitutively secretes OMVs containing DNA. Time-lapse microscopy captured instances of multiple OMV production at the septum during cell division. DNA from the vesicle lumen was up to 22-fold enriched for the region around the terminus of replication (ter). The peak of coverage was located at dif, a conserved 28-bp palindromic sequence required for binding of the site-specific tyrosine recombinases XerC/XerD. These enzymes are activated at the last stage of cell division immediately prior to septum formation when they are bound by the divisome protein FtsK. We suggest that overreplicated regions around the terminus have been repaired by the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery. The vesicle proteome was clearly dominated by outer membrane and periplasmic proteins. Some of the most abundant vesicle membrane proteins were predicted to be required for direct interaction with peptidoglycan during cell division (LysM, Tol-Pal, Spol, lytic murein transglycosylase). OMVs were 15-fold enriched for the saturated fatty acid 16:00. We hypothesize that constitutive OMV secretion in D. shibae is coupled to cell division. The footprint of the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery suggests a novel potentially highly conserved route for incorporation of DNA into OMVs. Clearing the division site from small DNA fragments might be an important function of vesicles produced during exponential growth under optimal conditions.IMPORTANCE Gram-negative bacteria continually form vesicles from their outer membrane (outer membrane vesicles [OMVs]) during normal growth. OMVs frequently contain DNA, and it is unclear how DNA can be shuffled from the cytoplasm to the OMVs. We studied OMV cargo in Dinoroseobacter shibae, a symbiont of dinoflagellates, using microscopy and a multi-omics approach. We found that vesicles formed during undisturbed exponential growth contain DNA which is enriched for genes around the replication terminus, specifically, the binding site for an enzyme complex that is activated at the last stage of cell division. We suggest that the enriched genes are the result of overreplication which is repaired by their excision and excretion via membrane vesicles to clear the divisome from waste DNA.
    • DncV Synthesizes Cyclic GMP-AMP and Regulates Biofilm Formation and Motility in ECOR31.

      Li, Fengyang; Cimdins, Annika; Rohde, Manfred; Jänsch, Lothar; Kaever, Volkhard; Nimtz, Manfred; Römling, Ute; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (ASM, 2019-03-05)
      Cyclic dinucleotides (cDNs) act as intracellular second messengers, modulating bacterial physiology to regulate the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility commonly known as biofilm formation. Cyclic GMP-AMP (cGAMP), synthesized by the dinucleotide cyclase DncV, is a newly discovered cDN second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in Vibrio cholerae O1 biovar El Tor. Here we report a novel role for horizontally transferred DncV in cGAMP production and regulation of biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal strain Escherichia coli ECOR31. ECOR31 expresses a semiconstitutive temperature-independent rdar (red, dry, and rough) morphotype on Congo red agar plates characterized by the extracellular matrix components cellulose and curli fimbriae which requires activation by the major biofilm regulator CsgD and cyclic di-GMP signaling. In contrast, C-terminal His-tagged DncV negatively regulates the rdar biofilm morphotype and cell aggregation via downregulation of csgD mRNA steady-state level. Furthermore, DncV sequentially promotes and inhibits adhesion to the abiotic surface after 24 h and 48 h of growth, respectively. DncV also suppresses swimming and swarming motility posttranscriptional of the class 1 flagellum regulon gene flhD Purified DncV produced different cDNs, cyclic di-GMP, cyclic di-AMP, an unknown product(s), and the dominant species 3'3'-cGAMP. In vivo, only the 3'3'-cGAMP concentration was elevated upon short-term overexpression of dncV, making this work a first report on cGAMP production in E. coli Regulation of rdar biofilm formation and motility upon overexpression of untagged DncV in combination with three adjacent cotransferred gene products suggests a novel temperature-dependent cGAMP signaling module in E. coli ECOR31.IMPORTANCE The ability of bacteria to sense and respond to environmental signals is critical for survival. Bacteria use cyclic dinucleotides as second messengers to regulate a number of physiological processes, such as the fundamental life style transition between motility and sessility (biofilm formation). cGAMP, which is synthesized by a dinucleotide cyclase called DncV, is a newly discovered second messenger involved in virulence and chemotaxis in the Vibrio cholerae biovar El Tor causing the current 7th cholera pandemic. However, to what extent cGAMP exists and participates in physiological processes in other bacteria is still unknown. In this study, we found an elevated cGAMP level to possibly regulate biofilm formation and motility in the animal commensal E. coli strain ECOR31. Thus, we detected a novel role for cGAMP signaling in regulation of physiological processes other than those previously reported in proteobacterial species.
    • Effect of a strict hygiene bundle for the prevention of nosocomial transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the hospital: a practical approach from the field.

      Ambrosch, Andreas; Rockmann, Felix; Klawonn, Frank; Lampl, Benedikt; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-10-20)
      Background: During the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic it is crucial for hospitals to implement infection prevention strategies to reduce nosocomial transmission to the lowest possible number. This is all the more important because molecular tests for identifying SARS-CoV-2 infected patients are uncertain, and the resources available for them are limited. In this view, a monocentric, retrospective study with an interventional character was conducted to investigate the extent to which the introduction of a strict hygiene bundle including a general mask requirement and daily screening for suspicious patients has an impact on the SARS-CoV-2 nosocomial rate in the pandemic environment. Methods: All inpatients from a maximum care hospital in Regensburg (Bavaria) between March 1st and June 10th 2020 were included. Patient with respiratory symptoms were tested for SARS-CoV-2 at admission, patients were managed according to a standard hygiene protocol. At the end of March a strict hygiene bundle was introduced including a general mask obligation and a daily clinical screening of inpatients for respiratory symptoms. Nosocomial infection rate for COVID-19 and the risk for infection transmission estimated by the nosocomial incidence density before and after introduction the hygiene bundle were compared. The infection pressure for the hospital during the entire observational period was characterized by the infection reports in the region in relation to the number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients and the number of infected employees. Results: In fact, after the introduction of a strict hygiene bundle including a general mouth and nose protection obligation and a daily clinical screening of suspicious patients, a significant reduction of the nosocomial rate from 0.28 to 0.06 (p = 0.026) was observed. Furthermore, the risk of spreading hospital-acquired infections also decreased dramatically from 0.0007 to 0.00018 (p = 0.031; rate ratio after/before 0.25 (95%CI 0.06, 1.07) despite a slow decrease of the hospital COVID 19-prevalence and an increase of infected employees. Conclusion: The available data underline that a strict hygiene bundle seem to be associated with a decrease of nosocomial SARS-CoV-2 transmission in the pandemic situation.
    • Effects of drift and noise on the optimal sliding window size for data stream regression models

      Tschumitschew, Katharina; Klawonn, Frank; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-05-27)
    • Effects of pathogen dependency in a multi-pathogen infectious disease system including population level heterogeneity - a simulation study.

      Bakuli, Abhishek; Klawonn, Frank; Karch, André; Mikolajczyk, Rafael T; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-12-13)
      Increased computational resources have made individual based models popular for modelling epidemics. They have the advantage of incorporating heterogeneous features, including realistic population structures (like e.g. households). Existing stochastic simulation studies of epidemics, however, have been developed mainly for incorporating single pathogen scenarios although the effect of different pathogens might directly or indirectly (e.g. via contact reductions) effect the spread of each pathogen. The goal of this work was to simulate a stochastic agent based system incorporating the effect of multiple pathogens, accounting for the household based transmission process and the dependency among pathogens.
    • Elevated Free Phosphatidylcholine Levels in Cerebrospinal Fluid Distinguish Bacterial from Viral CNS Infections.

      Al-Mekhlafi, Amani; Sühs, Kurt-Wolfram; Schuchardt, Sven; Kuhn, Maike; Müller-Vahl, Kirsten; Trebst, Corinna; Skripuletz, Thomas; Klawonn, Frank; Stangel, Martin; Pessler, Frank; et al. (MDPI, 2021-05-06)
      The identification of CSF biomarkers for bacterial meningitis can potentially improve diagnosis and understanding of pathogenesis, and the differentiation from viral CNS infections is of particular clinical importance. Considering that substantial changes in CSF metabolites in CNS infections have recently been demonstrated, we compared concentrations of 188 metabolites in CSF samples from patients with bacterial meningitis (n = 32), viral meningitis/encephalitis (n = 34), and noninflamed controls (n = 66). Metabolite reprogramming in bacterial meningitis was greatest among phosphatidylcholines, and concentrations of all 54 phosphatidylcholines were significantly (p = 1.2 × 10-25-1.5 × 10-4) higher than in controls. Indeed, all biomarkers for bacterial meningitis vs. viral meningitis/encephalitis with an AUC ≥ 0.86 (ROC curve analysis) were phosphatidylcholines. Four of the five most accurate (AUC ≥ 0.9) phosphatidylcholine biomarkers had higher sensitivity and negative predictive values than CSF lactate or cell count. Concentrations of the 10 most accurate phosphatidylcholine biomarkers were lower in meningitis due to opportunistic pathogens than in meningitis due to typical meningitis pathogens, and they correlated most strongly with parameters reflecting blood-CSF barrier dysfunction and CSF lactate (r = 0.73-0.82), less so with CSF cell count, and not with blood CRP. In contrast to the elevated phosphatidylcholine concentrations in CSF, serum concentrations remained relatively unchanged. Taken together, these results suggest that increased free CSF phosphatidylcholines are sensitive biomarkers for bacterial meningitis and do not merely reflect inflammation but are associated with local disease and a shift in CNS metabolism.
    • Elucidation of the dual role of Mycobacterial MoeZR in molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis and cysteine biosynthesis.

      Voss, Martin; Nimtz, Manfred; Leimkühler, Silke; Institute of Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Potsdam, Germany. (2011)
      The pathway of molybdenum cofactor biosynthesis has been studied in detail by using proteins from Mycobacterium species, which contain several homologs associated with the first steps of Moco biosynthesis. While all Mycobacteria species contain a MoeZR, only some strains have acquired an additional homolog, MoeBR, by horizontal gene transfer. The role of MoeBR and MoeZR was studied in detail for the interaction with the two MoaD-homologs involved in Moco biosynthesis, MoaD1 and MoaD2, in addition to the CysO protein involved in cysteine biosynthesis. We show that both proteins have a role in Moco biosynthesis, while only MoeZR, but not MoeBR, has an additional role in cysteine biosynthesis. MoeZR and MoeBR were able to complement an E. coli moeB mutant strain, but only in conjunction with the Mycobacterial MoaD1 or MoaD2 proteins. Both proteins were able to sulfurate MoaD1 and MoaD2 in vivo, while only MoeZR additionally transferred the sulfur to CysO. Our in vivo studies show that Mycobacteria have acquired several homologs to maintain Moco biosynthesis. MoeZR has a dual role in Moco- and cysteine biosynthesis and is involved in the sulfuration of MoaD and CysO, whereas MoeBR only has a role in Moco biosynthesis, which is not an essential function for Mycobacteria.
    • 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.
    • 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 Ralph; Pessler, Frank; Department of Infection Genetics, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstr, 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. frank.pessler@helmholtz-hzi.de. (2011)