• Measurement of mouse cytomegalovirus-induced interferon-β with immortalized luciferase reporter cells.

      Scheibe, Evgenia; Lienenklaus, Stefan; May, Tobias; Magalhães, Vladimir Gonçalves; Weiss, Siegfried; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      The production of cytokines is a crucial element of the host response to viral and bacterial infections. To follow these events in vivo, transgenic mice have become a valuable tool to study cytokine production through induction of reporter genes. We describe here the generation and immortalization of cells derived from transgenic reporter mice for development of a high-throughput assay system for virus- or bacteria-induced cytokine induction. As an example we describe mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) infection of immortalized fibroblasts derived from mice expressing the firefly luciferase reporter downstream of the IFN-β promoter. Common methods to determine IFN-β production, including ELISA, quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR), and transient reporter assays using plasmid-based reporter constructs, have disadvantages and limitations. Transient transfections influence type I IFN responses in most cell types, and IFN-β ELISA as well as qPCR are both laborious and expensive. The method presented here is highly sensitive as well as cost-effective, and allows monitoring of a robust and dose-dependent induction of IFN-β upon virus infection in cell lysates as well as living cells.
    • The Mouse Cytomegalovirus Gene m42 Targets Surface Expression of the Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase CD45 in Infected Macrophages.

      Thiel, Nadine; Keyser, Kirsten A; Lemmermann, Niels A W; Oduro, Jennifer D; Wagner, Karen; Elsner, Carina; Halenius, Anne; Lenac Roviš, Tihana; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Jonjić, Stipan; et al. (2016-12)
      The receptor-like protein tyrosine phosphatase CD45 is expressed on the surface of cells of hematopoietic origin and has a pivotal role for the function of these cells in the immune response. Here we report that following infection of macrophages with mouse cytomegalovirus (MCMV) the cell surface expression of CD45 is drastically diminished. Screening of a set of MCMV deletion mutants allowed us to identify the viral gene m42 of being responsible for CD45 down-modulation. Moreover, expression of m42 independent of viral infection upon retroviral transduction of the RAW264.7 macrophage cell line led to comparable regulation of CD45 expression. In immunocompetent mice infected with an m42 deletion mutant lower viral titers were observed in all tissues examined when compared to wildtype MCMV, indicating an important role of m42 for viral replication in vivo. The m42 gene product was identified as an 18 kDa protein expressed with early kinetics and is predicted to be a tail-anchored membrane protein. Tracking of surface-resident CD45 molecules revealed that m42 induces internalization and degradation of CD45. The observation that the amounts of the E3 ubiquitin ligases Itch and Nedd4 were diminished in cells expressing m42 and that disruption of a PY motif in the N-terminal part of m42 resulted in loss of function, suggest that m42 acts as an activator or adaptor for these Nedd4-like ubiquitin ligases, which mark CD45 for lysosomal degradation. In conclusion, the down-modulation of CD45 expression in MCMV-infected myeloid cells represents a novel pathway of virus-host interaction.
    • The murine cytomegalovirus M35 protein antagonizes type I IFN induction downstream of pattern recognition receptors by targeting NF-κB mediated transcription.

      Chan, Baca; Gonçalves Magalhães, Vladimir; Lemmermann, Niels A W; Juranić Lisnić, Vanda; Stempel, Markus; Bussey, Kendra A; Reimer, Elisa; Podlech, Jürgen; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Reddehase, Matthias J; et al. (2017-05)
      The type I interferon (IFN) response is imperative for the establishment of the early antiviral immune response. Here we report the identification of the first type I IFN antagonist encoded by murine cytomegalovirus (MCMV) that shuts down signaling following pattern recognition receptor (PRR) sensing. Screening of an MCMV open reading frame (ORF) library identified M35 as a novel and strong negative modulator of IFNβ promoter induction following activation of both RNA and DNA cytoplasmic PRR. Additionally, M35 inhibits the proinflammatory cytokine response downstream of Toll-like receptors (TLR). Using a series of luciferase-based reporters with specific transcription factor binding sites, we determined that M35 targets NF-κB-, but not IRF-mediated, transcription. Expression of M35 upon retroviral transduction of immortalized bone marrow-derived macrophages (iBMDM) led to reduced IFNβ transcription and secretion upon activation of stimulator of IFN genes (STING)-dependent signaling. On the other hand, M35 does not antagonize interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) 56 promoter induction or ISG transcription upon exogenous stimulation of the type I IFN receptor (IFNAR). M35 is present in the viral particle and, upon MCMV infection of fibroblasts, is immediately shuttled to the nucleus where it exerts its immunomodulatory effects. Deletion of M35 from the MCMV genome and hence from the viral particle resulted in elevated type I IFN transcription and secretion in vitro and in vivo. In the absence of M35, lower viral titers are observed during acute infection of the host, and productive infection in the salivary glands was not detected. In conclusion, the M35 protein is released by MCMV immediately upon infection in order to deftly inhibit the antiviral type I IFN response by targeting NF-κB-mediated transcription. The identification of this novel viral protein reinforces the importance of timely countermeasures in the complex relationship between virus and host.
    • Noncanonical autophagy is required for type I interferon secretion in response to DNA-immune complexes.

      Henault, Jill; Martinez, Jennifer; Riggs, Jeffrey M; Tian, Jane; Mehta, Payal; Clarke, Lorraine; Sasai, Miwa; Latz, Eicke; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Iwasaki, Akiko; et al. (2012-12-14)
      Toll-like receptor-9 (TLR9) is largely responsible for discriminating self from pathogenic DNA. However, association of host DNA with autoantibodies activates TLR9, inducing the pathogenic secretion of type I interferons (IFNs) from plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Here, we found that in response to DNA-containing immune complexes (DNA-IC), but not to soluble ligands, IFN-α production depended upon the convergence of the phagocytic and autophagic pathways, a process called microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3)-associated phagocytosis (LAP). LAP was required for TLR9 trafficking into a specialized interferon signaling compartment by a mechanism that involved autophagy-related proteins, but not the conventional autophagic preinitiation complex, or adaptor protein-3 (AP-3). Our findings unveil a new role for nonconventional autophagy in inflammation and provide one mechanism by which anti-DNA autoantibodies, such as those found in several autoimmune disorders, bypass the controls that normally restrict the apportionment of pathogenic DNA and TLR9 to the interferon signaling compartment.
    • Of Keeping and Tipping the Balance: Host Regulation and Viral Modulation of IRF3-Dependent Expression.

      Schwanke, Hella; Stempel, Markus; Brinkmann, Melanie M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-07-07)
      The type I interferon (IFN) response is a principal component of our immune system that allows to counter a viral attack immediately upon viral entry into host cells. Upon engagement of aberrantly localised nucleic acids, germline-encoded pattern recognition receptors convey their find via a signalling cascade to prompt kinase-mediated activation of a specific set of five transcription factors. Within the nucleus, the coordinated interaction of these dimeric transcription factors with coactivators and the basal RNA transcription machinery is required to access the gene encoding the type I IFN IFNβ (IFNB1). Virus-induced release of IFNβ then induces the antiviral state of the system and mediates further mechanisms for defence. Due to its key role during the induction of the initial IFN response, the activity of the transcription factor interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF3) is tightly regulated by the host and fiercely targeted by viral proteins at all conceivable levels. In this review, we will revisit the steps enabling the trans-activating potential of IRF3 after its activation and the subsequent assembly of the multi-protein complex at the IFNβ enhancer that controls gene expression. Further, we will inspect the regulatory mechanisms of these steps imposed by the host cell and present the manifold strategies viruses have evolved to intervene with IFNβ transcription downstream of IRF3 activation in order to secure establishment of a productive infection.
    • One Step Ahead: Herpesviruses Light the Way to Understanding Interferon-Stimulated Genes (ISGs).

      Gonzalez-Perez, A Cristina; Stempel, Markus; Chan, Baca; Brinkmann, Melanie M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-07)
      The host immune system is engaged in a constant battle with microorganisms, with the immediate detection of pathogenic invasion and subsequent signalling acting as crucial deterrents against the establishment of a successful infection. For this purpose, cells are equipped with a variety of sensors called pattern recognition receptors (PRR), which rapidly detect intruders leading to the expression of antiviral type I interferons (IFN). Type I IFN are crucial cytokines which exert their biological effects through the induction of hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). The expression profile of these ISGs varies depending on the virus. For a small subset of ISGs, their anti- or even proviral effects have been revealed, however, the vast majority are uncharacterised. The spotlight is now on herpesviruses, with their large coding capacity and long co-evolution with their hosts, as a key to understanding the impact of ISGs during viral infection. Studies are emerging which have identified multiple herpesviral antagonists specifically targeting ISGs, hinting at the significant role these proteins must play in host defence against viral infection, with the promise of more to come. In this review, we will discuss the current knowledge of the complex interplay between ISGs and human herpesviruses: the antiviral role of selected ISGs during herpesviral infections, how herpesviruses antagonise these ISGs and, in some cases, even exploit them to benefit viral infection.
    • Superior induction and maintenance of protective CD8 T cells in mice infected with mouse cytomegalovirus vector expressing RAE-1γ.

      Trsan, Tihana; Busche, Andreas; Abram, Maja; Wensveen, Felix M; Lemmermann, Niels A; Arapovic, Maja; Babic, Marina; Tomic, Adriana; Golemac, Mijo; Brinkmann, Melanie M; et al. (2013-10-08)
      Due to a unique pattern of CD8 T-cell response induced by cytomegaloviruses (CMVs), live attenuated CMVs are attractive candidates for vaccine vectors for a number of clinically relevant infections and tumors. NKG2D is one of the most important activating NK cell receptors that plays a role in costimulation of CD8 T cells. Here we demonstrate that the expression of CD8 T-cell epitope of Listeria monocytogenes by a recombinant mouse CMV (MCMV) expressing the NKG2D ligand retinoic acid early-inducible protein 1-gamma (RAE-1γ) dramatically enhanced the effectiveness and longevity of epitope-specific CD8 T-cell response and conferred protection against a subsequent challenge infection with Listeria monocytogenes. Unexpectedly, the attenuated growth in vivo of the CMV vector expressing RAE-1γ and its capacity to enhance specific CD8 T-cell response were preserved even in mice lacking NKG2D, implying additional immune function for RAE-1γ beyond engagement of NKG2D. Thus, vectors expressing RAE-1γ represent a promising approach in the development of CD8 T-cell-based vaccines.
    • Viral mediated redirection of NEMO/IKKγ to autophagosomes curtails the inflammatory cascade.

      Fliss, Patricia M; Jowers, Tali Pechenick; Brinkmann, Melanie M; Holstermann, Barbara; Mack, Claudia; Dickinson, Paul; Hohenberg, Heinrich; Ghazal, Peter; Brune, Wolfram; Heinrich Pette Institute, Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology, Hamburg, Germany. (2012-02)
      The early host response to viral infections involves transient activation of pattern recognition receptors leading to an induction of inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα). Subsequent activation of cytokine receptors in an autocrine and paracrine manner results in an inflammatory cascade. The precise mechanisms by which viruses avert an inflammatory cascade are incompletely understood. Nuclear factor (NF)-κB is a central regulator of the inflammatory signaling cascade that is controlled by inhibitor of NF-κB (IκB) proteins and the IκB kinase (IKK) complex. In this study we show that murine cytomegalovirus inhibits the inflammatory cascade by blocking Toll-like receptor (TLR) and IL-1 receptor-dependent NF-κB activation. Inhibition occurs through an interaction of the viral M45 protein with the NF-κB essential modulator (NEMO), the regulatory subunit of the IKK complex. M45 induces proteasome-independent degradation of NEMO by targeting NEMO to autophagosomes for subsequent degradation in lysosomes. We propose that the selective and irreversible degradation of a central regulatory protein by autophagy represents a new viral strategy to dampen the inflammatory response.