• 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)
    • External quality assessment schemes for glucose measurements in Germany: factors for successful participation, analytical performance and medical impact.

      Bietenbeck, Andreas; Geilenkeuser, Wolf J; Klawonn, Frank; Spannagl, Michael; Nauck, Matthias; Petersmann, Astrid; Thaler, Markus A; Winter, Christof; Luppa, Peter B; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-07-26)
      Determination of blood glucose concentration is one of the most important measurements in clinical chemistry worldwide. Analyzers in central laboratories (CL) and point-of-care tests (POCT) are both frequently used. In Germany, regular participation in external quality assessment (EQA) schemes is mandatory for laboratories performing glucose testing. Glucose testing data from the two German EQAs "Reference Institute for Bioanalytics" (RfB) and "INSTAND - Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Qualitätssicherung in medizinischen Laboratorien" (Instand) were analyzed from 2012 to 2016. Multivariable odds ratios (OR) for the probability to reach a "good" result were calculated. Imprecision and bias were determined and clinical risk of measurement errors estimated. The device employed was the most important variable required for a "good" performance in all EQAs. Additional participation in an EQA for CL automated analyzers improved performance in POCT EQAs. The reciprocal effect was less pronounced. New participants performed worse than experienced participants especially in CL EQAs. Imprecision was generally smaller for CL, but some POCT devices reached a comparable performance. Large lot-to-lot differences occurred in over 10% of analyzed cases. We propose the "bias budget" as a new metric to express the maximum allowable bias that still carries acceptable medical risk. Bias budgets were smallest and clinical risks of errors greatest in the low range of measurement 60-115 mg/dL (3.3-6.4 mmol/L) for most devices. EQAs help to maintain high analytical performances. They generate important data that serve as the foundation for learning and improvement in the laboratory healthcare system.
    • Fate of the UPR marker protein Kar2/Bip and autophagic processes in fed-batch cultures of secretory insulin precursor producing Pichia pastoris.

      Roth, Gustavo; Vanz, Ana Letícia; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Nimtz, Manfred; Rinas, Ursula; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-08-09)
      Secretory recombinant protein production with Pichia (syn. Komagataella) pastoris is commonly associated with the induction of an unfolded protein response (UPR) usually apparent through increased intracellular levels of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) resident chaperones such as Kar2/Bip. During methanol-induced secretory production of an insulin precursor (IP) under industrially relevant fed-batch conditions the initially high level of intracellular Kar2/Bip after batch growth on glycerol unexpectedly declined in the following methanol fed-batch phase misleadingly suggesting that IP production had a low impact on UPR activation. Analysis of the protein production independent level of Kar2/Bip revealed that high Kar2/Bip levels were reached in the exponential growth phase of glycerol batch cultures followed by a strong decline of Kar2/Bip during entry into stationary phase. Ultra-structural cell morphology studies revealed autophagic processes (e.g. ER phagy) at the end of the glycerol batch phase most likely responsible for the degradation of ER resident chaperones such as Kar2/Bip. The pre-induction level of Kar2/Bip did not affect the IP secretion efficiency in the subsequent methanol-induced IP production phase. During growth on methanol intracellular Kar2/Bip levels declined in IP producing and non-producing host cells. However, extracellular accumulation of Kar2/Bip was observed in IP-producing cultures but not in non-producing controls. Most importantly, the majority of the extracellular Kar2/Bip accumulated in the culture supernatant of IP producing cells as truncated protein (approx. 35 kDa). Rapid growth leads to higher basal levels of the major UPR marker protein Kar2/Bip independent of recombinant protein production. Entry into stationary phase or slower growth on poorer substrate, e.g. methanol, leads to a lower basal Kar2/Bip level. Methanol-induced secretory IP production elicits a strong UPR activation which counteracts the reduced UPR during slow growth on methanol. The major ER chaperone Kar2/Bip is found together with recombinant IP in the culture medium where full-length Kar2/Bip accumulates in addition to large amounts of truncated Kar2/Bip. Thus, for judging UPR activating properties of the produced protein it is important to additionally analyze the medium not only for intact Kar2/Bip but also for truncated versions of this UPR reporter protein.
    • Fatty Acid Biosynthesis in Mitochondria of Grasses: Malonyl-Coenzyme A Is Generated by a MitochondrialLocalized Acetyl-Coenzyme A Carboxylase1

      Focke, Manfred; Gieringer, Ellen; Schwan, Sabine; Jänsch, Lothar; Binder, Stefan; Braun, Hans-Peter (The American Society for Plant Biologists, 2003-10)
    • First insight into the kinome of human regulatory T cells.

      König, Sebastian; Probst-Kepper, Michael; Reinl, Tobias; Jeron, Andreas; Huehn, Jochen; Schraven, Burkhart; Jänsch, Lothar; Department of Molecular Structural Biology, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012)
      Regulatory T cells (Tregs) are essential for controlling peripheral tolerance by the active suppression of various immune cells including conventional T effector cells (Teffs). Downstream of the T cell receptor (TCR), more than 500 protein kinases encoded by the human genome have to be considered in signaling cascades regulating the activation of Tregs and Teffs, respectively. Following TCR engagement, Tregs posses a number of unique attributes, such as constitutive expression of Foxp3, hyporesponsiveness and poor cytokine production. Furthermore, recent studies showed that altered regulation of protein kinases is important for Treg function. These data indicate that signaling pathways in Tregs are distinctly organized and alterations at the level of protein kinases contribute to the unique Treg phenotype. However, kinase-based signaling networks in Tregs are poorly understood and necessitate further systematic characterization. In this study, we analyzed the differential expression of kinases in Tregs and Teffs by using a kinase-selective proteome strategy. In total, we revealed quantitative information on 185 kinases expressed in the human CD4(+) T cell subsets. The majority of kinases was equally abundant in both T cell subsets, but 11 kinases were differentially expressed in Tregs. Most strikingly, Tregs showed an altered expression of cell cycle kinases including CDK6. Quantitative proteomics generates first comparative insight into the kinase complements of the CD4(+) Teff and Treg subset. Treg-specific expression pattern of 11 protein kinases substantiate the current opinion that TCR-mediated signaling cascades are altered in Tregs and further suggests that Tregs exhibit significant specificities in cell-cycle control and progression.
    • Fluvastatin mitigates SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung cells.

      Zapatero-Belinchón, Francisco J; Moeller, Rebecca; Lasswitz, Lisa; van Ham, Marco; Becker, Miriam; Brogden, Graham; Rosendal, Ebba; Bi, Wenjie; Carriquí-Madroñal, Belén; Islam, Koushikul; et al. (Cell Press, 2021-11-18)
      Clinical data of patients suffering from COVID-19 indicates that statin therapy, used to treat hypercholesterolemia, is associated with a better disease outcome. Whether statins directly affect virus replication or influence the clinical outcome through modulation of immune responses is unknown. We therefore investigated the effect of statins on SARS-CoV-2 infection in human lung cells and found that only fluvastatin inhibited low and high pathogenic coronaviruses in vitro and ex vivo in a dose-dependent manner. Quantitative proteomics revealed that fluvastatin and other tested statins modulated the cholesterol synthesis pathway without altering innate antiviral immune responses in infected lung epithelial cells. However, fluvastatin treatment specifically downregulated proteins that modulate protein translation and viral replication. Collectively, these results support the notion that statin therapy poses no additional risk to individuals exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and that fluvastatin has a moderate beneficial effect on SARS-CoV-2 infection of human lung cells.
    • Functional antibodies targeting IsaA of Staphylococcus aureus augment host immune response and open new perspectives for antibacterial therapy.

      Lorenz, Udo; Lorenz, Birgit; Schmitter, Tim; Streker, Karin; Erck, Christian; Wehland, Jürgen; Nickel, Joachim; Zimmermann, Bastian; Ohlsen, Knut; Department of General, Visceral, Vascular and Paediatric Surgery, University Clinic of Würzburg, Wuerzburg, Germany. u.lorenz@mail.uni-wuerzburg.de (2011-01)
      Staphylococcus aureus is the most common cause of nosocomial infections. Multiple antibiotic resistance and severe clinical outcomes provide a strong rationale for development of immunoglobulin-based strategies. Traditionally, novel immunological approaches against bacterial pathogens involve antibodies directed against cell surface-exposed virulence-associated epitopes or toxins. In this study, we generated a monoclonal antibody targeting the housekeeping protein IsaA, a suggested soluble lytic transglycosylase of S. aureus, and tested its therapeutic efficacy in two experimental mouse infection models. A murine anti-IsaA antibody of the IgG1 subclass (UK-66P) showed the highest binding affinity in Biacore analysis. This antibody recognized all S. aureus strains tested, including hospital-acquired and community-acquired methicillin-resistant S. aureus strains. Therapeutic efficacy in vivo in mice was analyzed using a central venous catheter-related infection model and a sepsis survival model. In both models, anti-IsaA IgG1 conferred protection against staphylococcal infection. Ex vivo, UK-66P activates professional phagocytes and induces highly microbicidal reactive oxygen metabolites in a dose-dependent manner, resulting in bacterial killing. The study provides proof of concept that monoclonal IgG1 antibodies with high affinity to the ubiquitously expressed, single-epitope-targeting IsaA are effective in the treatment of staphylococcal infection in different mouse models. Anti-IsaA antibodies might be a useful component in an antibody-based therapeutic for prophylaxis or adjunctive treatment of human cases of S. aureus infections.
    • Fuzzy clustering: More than just fuzzification

      Klawonn, Frank; Kruse, Rudolf; Winkler, Roland; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-12)
    • GeneReporter--sequence-based document retrieval and annotation.

      Bartsch, Annekathrin; Bunk, Boyke; Haddad, Isam; Klein, Johannes; Münch, Richard; Johl, Thorsten; Kärst, Uwe; Jänsch, Lothar; Jahn, Dieter; Retter, Ida; et al. (2011-04-01)
      GeneReporter is a web tool that reports functional information and relevant literature on a protein-coding sequence of interest. Its purpose is to support both manual genome annotation and document retrieval. PubMed references corresponding to a sequence are detected by the extraction of query words from UniProt entries of homologous sequences. Data on protein families, domains, potential cofactors, structure, function, cellular localization, metabolic contribution and corresponding DNA binding sites complement the information on a given gene product of interest.
    • Global proteome response of Escherichia coli BL21 to production of human basic fibroblast growth factor in complex and defined medium

      Li, Zhaopeng; Nimtz, Manfred; Rinas, Ursula; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; Technical Chemistry - Life Science; Leibniz University of Hannover; Hannover Germany; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research; Braunschweig Germany; Technical Chemistry - Life Science; Leibniz University of Hannover; Hannover Germany (2017-06-20)
    • Hematological parameters in the early phase of influenza A virus infection in differentially susceptible inbred mouse strains.

      Preusse, Matthias; Schughart, Klaus; Wilk, Esther; Klawonn, Frank; Pessler, Frank; Helmholz Centre for Infection Research (2015)
      Hematological parameters have not received much attention in small animal models of infection, particularly at very early time points. We therefore studied changes in leukocyte and thrombocyte numbers in a mouse model of influenza A virus (IAV) infection, including measurements within the first 24 h after infection, and also assessing effects, if any, of the infection/anesthesia procedure on these parameters.
    • Heterologous expression of the msp2 gene from Marasmius scorodonius.

      Zelena, Kateryna; Zorn, Holger; Nimtz, Manfred; Berger, Ralf Günter; Institut für Lebensmittelchemie, Leibniz Universität Hannover, Callinstrasse 5, Hannover, Germany. (2009-05)
      For the heterologous expression of the msp2 gene from the edible mushroom Marasmius scorodonius in Escherichia coli the cDNA encoding the extracellular Msp2 peroxidase was cloned into the pBAD III expression plasmid. Expression of the protein with or without signal peptide was investigated in E. coli strains TOP10 and LMG194. Different PCR products were amplified for expression of the native target protein or a protein with a signal peptide. Omitting the native stop codon and adding six His-residues resulted in a fusion protein amenable to immune detection and purification by immobilised metal affinity chromatography. In E. coli the recombinant protein was produced in high yield as insoluble inclusion bodies. The influence of different parameters on MsP2 refolding was investigated. Active enzyme was obtained by glutathione-mediated oxidation in a medium containing urea, Ca(2+), and hemin.
    • A Highly Polymorphic Receptor Governs Many Distinct Self-Recognition Types within the Myxococcales Order.

      Cao, Pengbo; Wei, Xueming; Awal, Ram Prasad; Müller, Rolf; Wall, Daniel; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society of Microbiology, 2019-02-12)
      Self-recognition underlies sociality in many group-living organisms. In bacteria, cells use various strategies to recognize kin to form social groups and, in some cases, to transition into multicellular life. One strategy relies on a single genetic locus that encodes a variable phenotypic tag (“greenbeard”) for recognizing other tag bearers. Previously, we discovered a polymorphic cell surface receptor called TraA that directs self-identification through homotypic interactions in the social bacterium Myxococcus xanthus. Recognition by TraA leads to cellular resource sharing in a process called outer membrane exchange (OME). A second gene in the traA operon, traB, is also required for OME but is not involved in recognition. Our prior studies of TraA identified only six recognition groups among closely related M. xanthus isolates. Here we hypothesize that the number of traA polymorphisms and, consequently, the diversity of recognition in wild isolates are much greater. To test this hypothesis, we expand the scope of TraA characterization to the order Myxococcales. From genomic sequences within the three suborders of Myxococcales, we identified 90 traA orthologs. Sequence analyses and functional characterization of traAB loci suggest that OME is well maintained among diverse myxobacterial taxonomic groups. Importantly, TraA orthologs are highly polymorphic within their variable domain, the region that confers selectivity in self-recognition. We experimentally defined 10 distinct recognition groups and, based on phylogenetic and experimental analyses, predicted >60 recognition groups among the 90 traA alleles. Taken together, our findings revealed a widespread greenbeard locus that mediates the diversity of self-recognition across the order Myxococcales.
    • 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.