• SARS-CoV-2 outbreak investigation in a German meat processing plant.

      Günther, Thomas; Czech-Sioli, Manja; Indenbirken, Daniela; Robitaille, Alexis; Tenhaken, Peter; Exner, Martin; Ottinger, Matthias; Fischer, Nicole; Grundhoff, Adam; Brinkmann, Melanie M; et al. (EMBO Press, 2020-10-04)
      We describe a multifactorial investigation of a SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in a large meat processing complex in Germany. Infection event timing, spatial, climate and ventilation conditions in the processing plant, sharing of living quarters and transport, and viral genome sequences were analyzed. Our results suggest that a single index case transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to co-workers over distances of more than 8 meters, within a confined work area in which air is constantly recirculated and cooled. Viral genome sequencing shows that all cases share a set of mutations representing a novel sub-branch in the SARS-CoV-2 C20 clade. We identified the same set of mutations in samples collected in the time period between this initial infection cluster and a subsequent outbreak within the same factory, with the largest number of confirmed SARS-CoV-2 cases in a German meat processing facility reported so far. Our results indicate climate conditions, fresh air exchange rates, and airflow as factors that can promote efficient spread of SARS-CoV-2 via long distances and provide insights into possible requirements for pandemic mitigation strategies in industrial workplace settings.
    • 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.