Head of the department Prof Rhode

Recent Submissions

  • IgM cleavage by Streptococcus suis reduces IgM bound to the bacterial surface and is a novel complement evasion mechanism.

    Rungelrath, Viktoria; Weiße, Christine; Schütze, Nicole; Müller, Uwe; Meurer, Marita; Rohde, Manfred; Seele, Jana; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; Kirschfink, Michael; Beineke, Andreas; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2018-08-28)
    Streptococcus suis (S. suis) causes meningitis, arthritis and endocarditis in piglets. The aim of this study was to characterize the IgM degrading enzyme of S. suis (IdeSsuis) and to investigate the role of IgM cleavage in evasion of the classical complement pathway and pathogenesis. Targeted mutagenesis of a cysteine in the putative active center of IdeSsuis abrogated IgM cleavage completely. In contrast to wt rIdeSsuis, point mutated rIdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce complement-mediated hemolysis indicating that complement inhibition by rIdeSsuis depends on the IgM proteolytic activity. A S. suis mutant expressing IdeSsuis_C195S did not reduce IgM labeling, whereas the wt and complemented mutant showed less IgM F(ab')2 and IgM Fc antigen on the surface. IgM cleavage increased survival of S. suis in porcine blood ex vivo and mediated complement evasion as demonstrated by blood survival and C3 deposition assays including the comparative addition of rIdeSsuis and rIdeSsuis_C195S. However, experimental infection of piglets disclosed no significant differences in virulence between S. suis wt and isogenic mutants without IgM cleavage activity. This work revealed for the first time in vivo labeling of S. suis with IgM in the cerebrospinal fluid of piglets with meningitis. In conclusion, this study classifies IdeSsuis as a cysteine protease and emphasizes the role of IgM cleavage for bacterial survival in porcine blood and complement evasion though IgM cleavage is not crucial for the pathogenesis of serotype 2 meningitis.
  • A network of trans-cortical capillaries as mainstay for blood circulation in long bones.

    Grüneboom, Anika; Hawwari, Ibrahim; Weidner, Daniela; Culemann, Stephan; Müller, Sylvia; Henneberg, Sophie; Brenzel, Alexandra; Merz, Simon; Bornemann, Lea; Zec, Kristina; et al. (Nature publishing group(NPG), 2019-01-21)
    Closed circulatory systems (CCS) underlie the function of vertebrate organs, but in long bones their structure is unclear, although they constitute the exit route for bone marrow (BM) leukocytes. To understand neutrophil emigration from BM, we studied the vascular system of murine long bones. Here we show that hundreds of capillaries originate in BM, cross murine cortical bone perpendicularly along the shaft and connect to the periosteal circulation. Structures similar to these trans-cortical-vessels (TCVs) also exist in human limb bones. TCVs express arterial or venous markers and transport neutrophils. Furthermore, over 80% arterial and 59% venous blood passes through TCVs. Genetic and drug-mediated modulation of osteoclast count and activity leads to substantial changes in TCV numbers. In a murine model of chronic arthritic bone inflammation, new TCVs develop within weeks. Our data indicate that TCVs are a central component of the CCS in long bones and may represent an important route for immune cell export from the BM.
  • The planctomycete Stieleria maiorica Mal15 employs stieleriacines to alter the species composition in marine biofilms.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jeske, Olga; Sandargo, Birthe; Boedeker, Christian; Wiegand, Sandra; Bartling, Pascal; Jogler, Mareike; Rohde, Manfred; Petersen, Jörn; Medema, Marnix H; et al. (Nature publishing group(NPG), 2020-06-12)
    Bacterial strains of the phylum Planctomycetes occur ubiquitously, but are often found on surfaces of aquatic phototrophs, e.g. alga. Despite slower growth, planctomycetes are not outcompeted by faster-growing bacteria in biofilms on such surfaces; however, strategies allowing them to compensate for slower growth have not yet been investigated. Here, we identified stieleriacines, a class of N-acylated tyrosines produced by the novel planctomycete Stieleria maiorica Mal15T, and analysed their effects on growth of the producing strain and bacterial species likely co-occurring with strain Mal15T. Stieleriacines reduced the lag phase of Mal15T and either stimulated or inhibited biofilm formation of two bacterial competitors, indicating that Mal15T employs stieleriacines to specifically alter microbial biofilm composition. The genetic organisation of the putative stieleriacine biosynthetic cluster in strain Mal15T points towards a functional link of stieleriacine biosynthesis to exopolysaccharide-associated protein sorting and biofilm formation.
  • Rosistilla oblonga gen. nov., sp. nov. and Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov., isolated from biotic or abiotic surfaces in Northern Germany, Mallorca, Spain and California, USA.

    Waqqas, Muhammad; Salbreiter, Markus; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Heuer, Anja; Rast, Patrick; Peeters, Stijn H; Boedeker, Christian; Jetten, Mike S M; et al. (Springer, 2020-07-04)
    Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria with fascinating cell biological features. Strains available as axenic cultures in most cases have been isolated from aquatic environments and serve as a basis to study planctomycetal cell biology and interactions in further detail. As a contribution to the current collection of axenic cultures, here we characterise three closely related strains, Poly24T, CA51T and Mal33, which were isolated from the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively. The strains display cell biological features typical for related Planctomycetes, such as division by polar budding, presence of crateriform structures and formation of rosettes. Optimal growth was observed at temperatures of 30-33 °C and at pH 7.5, which led to maximal growth rates of 0.065-0.079 h-1, corresponding to generation times of 9-11 h. The genomes of the novel isolates have a size of 7.3-7.5 Mb and a G + C content of 57.7-58.2%. Phylogenetic analyses place the strains in the family Pirellulaceae and suggest that Roseimaritima ulvae and Roseimaritima sediminicola are the current closest relatives. Analysis of five different phylogenetic markers, however, supports the delineation of the strains from members of the genus Roseimaritima and other characterised genera in the family. Supported by morphological and physiological differences, we conclude that the strains belong to the novel genus Rosistilla gen. nov. and constitute two novel species, for which we propose the names Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov. and Rosistilla oblonga sp. nov. (the type species). The two novel species are represented by the type strains Poly24T (= DSM 102938T = VKM B-3434T = LMG 31347T = CECT 9848T) and CA51T (= DSM 104080T = LMG 29702T), respectively.
  • Rosistilla oblonga gen. nov., sp. nov. and Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov., isolated from biotic or abiotic surfaces in Northern Germany, Mallorca, Spain and California, USA.

    Waqqas, Muhammad; Salbreiter, Markus; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Heuer, Anja; Rast, Patrick; Peeters, Stijn H; Boedeker, Christian; Jetten, Mike S M; et al. (Springer, 2020-07-04)
    Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria with fascinating cell biological features. Strains available as axenic cultures in most cases have been isolated from aquatic environments and serve as a basis to study planctomycetal cell biology and interactions in further detail. As a contribution to the current collection of axenic cultures, here we characterise three closely related strains, Poly24T, CA51T and Mal33, which were isolated from the Baltic Sea, the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, respectively. The strains display cell biological features typical for related Planctomycetes, such as division by polar budding, presence of crateriform structures and formation of rosettes. Optimal growth was observed at temperatures of 30-33 °C and at pH 7.5, which led to maximal growth rates of 0.065-0.079 h-1, corresponding to generation times of 9-11 h. The genomes of the novel isolates have a size of 7.3-7.5 Mb and a G + C content of 57.7-58.2%. Phylogenetic analyses place the strains in the family Pirellulaceae and suggest that Roseimaritima ulvae and Roseimaritima sediminicola are the current closest relatives. Analysis of five different phylogenetic markers, however, supports the delineation of the strains from members of the genus Roseimaritima and other characterised genera in the family. Supported by morphological and physiological differences, we conclude that the strains belong to the novel genus Rosistilla gen. nov. and constitute two novel species, for which we propose the names Rosistilla carotiformis sp. nov. and Rosistilla oblonga sp. nov. (the type species). The two novel species are represented by the type strains Poly24T (= DSM 102938T = VKM B-3434T = LMG 31347T = CECT 9848T) and CA51T (= DSM 104080T = LMG 29702T), respectively.
  • Maioricimonas rarisocia gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel planctomycete isolated from marine sediments close to Mallorca Island.

    Rivas-Marin, Elena; Wiegand, Sandra; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Peeters, Stijn H; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Boedeker, Christian; Rohde, Manfred; Devos, Damien P; et al. (Springer, 2020-06-25)
    Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria with environmental and biotechnological relevance. Axenic cultures of planctomycetal strains are the basis to analyse their unusual biology and largely uncharacterised metabolism in more detail. Here, we describe strain Mal4T isolated from marine sediments close to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. Strain Mal4T displays common planctomycetal features, such as division by polar budding and the presence of fimbriae and crateriform structures on the cell surface. Cell growth was observed at ranges of 10-39 °C (optimum at 31 °C) and pH 6.5-9.0 (optimum at 7.5). The novel strain shows as pear-shaped cells of 2.0 ± 0.2 × 1.4 ± 0.1 µm and is one of the rare examples of orange colony-forming Planctomycetes. Its genome has a size of 7.7 Mb with a G+C content of 63.4%. Phylogenetically, we conclude that strain Mal4T (= DSM 100296T = LMG 29133T) is the type strain representing the type species of a novel genus, for which we propose the name Maioricimonas rarisocia gen. nov., sp. nov.
  • Thalassoglobus polymorphus sp. nov., a novel Planctomycete isolated close to a public beach of Mallorca Island.

    Rivas-Marin, Elena; Wiegand, Sandra; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Peeters, Stijn H; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Boedeker, Christian; Rohde, Manfred; Devos, Damien P; et al. (Springer, 2020-06-24)
    Access to axenic cultures is crucial to extend the knowledge of the biology, lifestyle or metabolic capabilities of bacteria from different phyla. The phylum Planctomycetes is an excellent example since its members display an unusual cell biology and complex lifestyles. As a contribution to the current collection of axenic planctomycete cultures, here we describe strain Mal48T isolated from phytoplankton material sampled at the coast of S'Arenal close to Palma de Mallorca (Spain). The isolated strain shows optimal growth at pH 7.0-7.5 and 30 °C and exhibits typical features of Planctomycetes. Cells of the strain are spherical to pear-shaped, divide by polar budding with daughter cells showing the same shape as the mother cell, tend to aggregate, display a stalk and produce matrix or fimbriae. Strain Mal48T showed 95.8% 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity with the recently described Thalassoglobus neptunius KOR42T. The genome sequence of the novel isolate has a size of 6,357,355 bp with a G+C content of 50.3%. A total of 4874 protein-coding genes, 41 tRNA genes and 2 copies of the 16S rRNA gene are encoded in the genome. Based on phylogenetic, morphological and physiological analyses, we conclude that strain Mal48T (= DSM 100737T = LMG 29019T) should be classified as the type strain of a new species in the genus Thalassoglobus, for which the name Thalassoglobus polymorphus sp. nov. is proposed.
  • Caulifigura coniformis gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel member of the family Planctomycetaceae isolated from a red biofilm sampled in a hydrothermal area.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Wiegand, Sandra; Boedeker, Christian; Peeters, Stijn H; Jogler, Mareike; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-06-24)
    Pan44T, a novel strain belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes, was isolated from a red biofilm in a hydrothermal area close to the island Panarea in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, Italy. The strain forms white colonies on solid medium and displays the following characteristics: cell division by budding, formation of rosettes, presence of matrix or fimbriae and long stalks. The cell surface has an interesting and characteristic texture made up of triangles and rectangles, which leads to a pine cone-like morphology of the strain. Strain Pan44T is mesophilic (temperature optimum 26 °C), slightly alkaliphilic (pH optimum 8.0), aerobic and heterotrophic. The strain has a genome size of 6.76 Mb with a G + C content of 63.2%. Phylogenetically, the strain is a member of the family Planctomycetaceae, order Planctomycetales, class Planctomycetia. Our analysis supports delineation of strain Pan44T from all known genera in this family, hence, we propose to assign it to a novel species within a novel genus, for which we propose the name Caulifigura coniformis gen. nov., sp. nov., represented by Pan44T (DSM 29405T = LMG 29788T) as the type strain.
  • Adenosine Triphosphate Neutralizes Pneumolysin-induced Neutrophil Activation.

    Cuypers, Fabian; Klabunde, Björn; Gesell Salazar, Manuela; Surabhi, Surabhi; Skorka, Sebastian B; Burchhardt, Gerhard; Michalik, Stephan; Thiele, Thomas; Rohde, Manfred; Völker, Uwe; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2020-05-23)
    Background: In tissue infections, adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is released into extracellular space and contributes to purinergic chemotaxis. Neutrophils are important players in bacterial clearance and recruited to the site of tissue infections. Pneumococcal infections can lead to uncontrolled hyper-inflammation of the tissue along with substantial tissue damage through excessive neutrophil activation and uncontrolled granule release. We aimed to investigate the role of ATP in neutrophil response to pneumococcal infections. Methods: Primary human neutrophils were exposed to the pneumococcal strain TIGR4 and its pneumolysin deficient mutant or directly to different concentrations of recombinant pneumolysin. Neutrophil activation was assessed by measurement of secreted azurophilic granule protein resistin and profiling of the secretome, using mass spectrometry. Results: Pneumococci are potent inducers of neutrophil degranulation. Pneumolysin was identified as a major trigger of neutrophil activation. This process is partially lysis independent and inhibited by ATP. Pneumolysin and ATP interact with each other in the extracellular space leading to reduced neutrophil activation. Proteome analyses of the neutrophil secretome confirmed that ATP inhibits pneumolysin-dependent neutrophil activation. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that despite its cytolytic activity, pneumolysin serves as a potent neutrophil activating factor. Extracellular ATP mitigates pneumolysin induced neutrophil activation.
  • Description of Polystyrenella longa gen. nov., sp. nov., isolated from polystyrene particles incubated in the Baltic Sea.

    Peeters, Stijn H; Wiegand, Sandra; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Boedeker, Christian; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; HZI,Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7 , 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-04-01)
    Planctomycetes occur in almost all aquatic ecosystems on earth. They have a remarkable cell biology, and members of the orders Planctomycetales and Pirellulales feature cell division by polar budding, perform a lifestyle switch from sessile to motile cells and have an enlarged periplasmic space. Here, we characterise a novel planctomycetal strain, Pla110T, isolated from the surface of polystyrene particles incubated in the Baltic Sea. After phylogenetic analysis, the strain could be placed in the family Planctomycetaceae. Strain Pla110T performs cell division by budding, has crateriform structures and grows in aggregates or rosettes. The strain is a chemoheterotroph, grows under mesophilic and neutrophilic conditions, and exhibited a doubling time of 21 h. Based on our phylogenetic and morphological characterisation, strain Pla110T (DSM 103387T = LMG 29693T) is concluded to represent a novel species belonging to a novel genus, for which we propose the name Polystyrenella longa gen. nov., sp. nov.
  • Lignipirellula cremea gen. nov., sp. nov., a planctomycete isolated from wood particles in a brackish river estuary.

    Peeters, Stijn H; Wiegand, Sandra; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Boedeker, Christian; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; HZI,Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer, 2020-04-01)
    A novel planctomycetal strain, designated Pla85_3_4T, was isolated from the surface of wood incubated at the discharge of a wastewater treatment plant in the Warnow river near Rostock, Germany. Cells of the novel strain have a cell envelope architecture resembling that of Gram-negative bacteria, are round to pear-shaped (length: 2.2 ± 0.4 µm, width: 1.2 ± 0.3 µm), form aggregates and divide by polar budding. Colonies have a cream colour. Strain Pla85_3_4T grows at ranges of 10-30 °C (optimum 26 °C) and at pH 6.5-10.0 (optimum 7.5), and has a doubling time of 26 h. Phylogenetically, strain Pla85_3_4T (DSM 103796T = LMG 29741T) is concluded to represent a novel species of a novel genus within the family Pirellulaceae, for which we propose the name Lignipirellula cremea gen. nov., sp. nov.
  • Aureliella helgolandensis gen. nov., sp. nov., a novel Planctomycete isolated from a jellyfish at the shore of the island Helgoland.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Wiegand, Sandra; Boedeker, Christian; Peeters, Stijn H; Jogler, Mareike; Rast, Patrick; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-27)
    A novel planctomycetal strain, designated Q31aT, was isolated from a jellyfish at the shore of the island Helgoland in the North Sea. The strain forms lucid white colonies on solid medium and displays typical characteristics of planctomycetal strains, such as division by budding, formation of rosettes, presence of crateriform structures, extracellular matrix or fibre and a holdfast structure. Q31aT is mesophilic (temperature optimum 27 °C), neutrophilic (pH optimum 7.5), aerobic and heterotrophic. A maximal growth rate of 0.017 h- 1 (generation time of 41 h) was observed. Q31aT has a genome size of 8.44 Mb and a G + C content of 55.3%. Phylogenetically, the strain represents a novel genus and species in the recently introduced family Pirellulaceae, order Pirellulales, class Planctomycetia. We propose the name Aureliella helgolandensis gen. nov., sp. nov. for the novel species, represented by Q31aT (= DSM 103537T = LMG 29700T) as the type strain.
  • Capsule and fimbriae modulate the invasion of Haemophilus influenzae in a human blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier model.

    Häuser, Svenja; Wegele, Christian; Stump-Guthier, Carolin; Borkowski, Julia; Weiss, Christel; Rohde, Manfred; Ishikawa, Hiroshi; Schroten, Horst; Schwerk, Christian; Adam, Rüdiger; et al. (Elsevier, 2018-07-17)
    The Gram-negative bacterium Haemophilus influenzae (H. influenzae) can commensally colonize the upper respiratory tract, but also cause life threatening disease including epiglottitis, sepsis and meningitis. The H. influenzae capsule protects the bacteria against both phagocytosis and opsonization. Encapsulated H. influenzae strains are classified into serotypes ranging from a to f dependent on their distinct polysaccharide capsule. Due to the implementation of vaccination the incidence of invasive H. influenzae type b (Hib) infections has strongly decreased and infections with other capsulated types, including H. influenzae type f (Hif), are emerging. The pathogenesis of H. influenzae meningitis is not clarified. To enter the central nervous system (CNS) the bacteria generally have to cross either the blood-brain barrier (BBB) or the blood-cerebrospinal fluid barrier (BSCFB). Using a cell culture model of the BCSFB based on human choroid plexus papilloma (HIBCPP) cells and different H. influenzae strains we investigated whether Hib and Hif invade the cells, and if invasion differs between encapsulated vs. capsular-deficient and fimbriated vs. non-fimbriated variants. We find that Hib can adhere to and invade into HIBCPP cells. Invasion occurs in a strongly polar fashion, since the bacteria enter the cells preferentially from the basolateral "blood "side. Fimbriae and capsule attenuate invasion into choroid plexus (CP) epithelial cells, and capsulation can influence the bacterial distribution pattern. Finally, analysis of clinical Hib and Hif isolates confirms the detected invasive properties of H. influenzae. Our data point to roles of capsule and fimbriae during invasion of CP epithelial cells.
  • Metabolic Rearrangements Causing Elevated Proline and Polyhydroxybutyrate Accumulation During the Osmotic Adaptation Response of .

    Godard, Thibault; Zühlke, Daniela; Richter, Georg; Wall, Melanie; Rohde, Manfred; Riedel, Katharina; Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; Krull, Rainer; Biedendieck, Rebekka; HZI,Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-21)
    For many years now, Bacillus megaterium serves as a microbial workhorse for the high-level production of recombinant proteins in the g/L-scale. However, efficient and stable production processes require the knowledge of the molecular adaptation strategies of the host organism to establish optimal environmental conditions. Here, we interrogated the osmotic stress response of B. megaterium using transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, and fluxome analyses. An initial transient adaptation consisted of potassium import and glutamate counterion synthesis. The massive synthesis of the compatible solute proline constituted the second longterm adaptation process. Several stress response enzymes involved in iron scavenging and reactive oxygen species (ROS) fighting proteins showed higher levels under prolonged osmotic stress induced by 1.8 M NaCl. At the same time, the downregulation of the expression of genes of the upper part of glycolysis resulted in the activation of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), generating an oversupply of NADPH. The increased production of lactate accompanied by the reduction of acetate secretion partially compensate for the unbalanced (NADH/NAD+) ratio. Besides, the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) mainly supplies the produced NADH, as indicated by the higher mRNA and protein levels of involved enzymes, and further confirmed by 13C flux analyses. As a consequence of the metabolic flux toward acetyl-CoA and the generation of an excess of NADPH, B. megaterium redirected the produced acetyl-CoA toward the polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) biosynthetic pathway accumulating around 30% of the cell dry weight (CDW) as PHB. This direct relation between osmotic stress and intracellular PHB content has been evidenced for the first time, thus opening new avenues for synthesizing this valuable biopolymer using varying salt concentrations under non-limiting nutrient conditions.
  • Proteomic Investigation Uncovers Potential Targets and Target Sites of Pneumococcal Serine-Threonine Kinase StkP and Phosphatase PhpP.

    Hirschfeld, Claudia; Gómez-Mejia, Alejandro; Bartel, Jürgen; Hentschker, Christian; Rohde, Manfred; Maaß, Sandra; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Becher, Dörte; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-04)
    Like eukaryotes, different bacterial species express one or more Ser/Thr kinases and phosphatases that operate in various signaling networks by catalyzing phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of proteins that can immediately regulate biochemical pathways by altering protein function. The human pathogen Streptococcus pneumoniae encodes a single Ser/Thr kinase-phosphatase couple known as StkP-PhpP, which has shown to be crucial in the regulation of cell wall synthesis and cell division. In this study, we applied proteomics to further understand the physiological role of pneumococcal PhpP and StkP with an emphasis on phosphorylation events on Ser and Thr residues. Therefore, the proteome of the non-encapsulated D39 strain (WT), a kinase (ΔstkP), and phosphatase mutant (ΔphpP) were compared in a mass spectrometry based label-free quantification experiment. Results show that a loss of function of PhpP causes an increased abundance of proteins in the phosphate uptake system Pst. Quantitative proteomic data demonstrated an effect of StkP and PhpP on the two-component systems ComDE, LiaRS, CiaRH, and VicRK. To obtain further information on the function, targets and target sites of PhpP and StkP we combined the advantages of phosphopeptide enrichment using titanium dioxide and spectral library based data evaluation for sensitive detection of changes in the phosphoproteome of the wild type and the mutant strains. According to the role of StkP in cell division we identified several proteins involved in cell wall synthesis and cell division that are apparently phosphorylated by StkP. Unlike StkP, the physiological function of the co-expressed PhpP is poorly understood. For the first time we were able to provide a list of previously unknown putative targets of PhpP. Under these new putative targets of PhpP are, among others, five proteins with direct involvement in cell division (DivIVA, GpsB) and peptidoglycan biosynthesis (MltG, MreC, MacP).
  • Discovery of Paenibacillus larvae ERIC V: Phenotypic and genomic comparison to genotypes ERIC I-IV reveal different inventories of virulence factors which correlate with epidemiological prevalences of American Foulbrood.

    Beims, Hannes; Bunk, Boyke; Erler, Silvio; Mohr, Kathrin I; Spröer, Cathrin; Pradella, Silke; Günther, Gabi; Rohde, Manfred; von der Ohe, Werner; Steinert, Michael; et al. (Elsevier, 2020-02-01)
    Paenibacillus larvae is the etiological agent of American Foulbrood (AFB), a highly contagious brood disease of honey bees (Apis mellifera). AFB requires mandatory reporting to the veterinary authority in many countries and until now four genotypes, P. larvae ERIC I-IV, have been identified. We isolated a new genotype, ERIC V, from a Spanish honey sample. After a detailed phenotypic comparison with the reference strains of the ERIC I-IV genotypes, including spore morphology, non-ribosomal peptide (NRP) profiling, and in vivo infections of A. mellifera larvae, we established a genomic DNA Macrorestriction Fragment Pattern Analysis (MRFPA) scheme for future epidemiologic discrimination. Whole genome comparison of the reference strains and the new ERIC V genotype (DSM 106052) revealed that the respective virulence gene inventories of the five genotypes corresponded with the time needed to kill 100 % of the infected bee larvae (LT100) in in vivo infection assays. The rarely isolated P. larvae genotypes ERIC II I-V with a fast-killing phenotype (LT100 3 days) harbor genes with high homology to virulence factors of other insect pathogens. These virulence genes are absent in the epidemiologically prevalent genotypes ERIC I (LT100 12 days) and ERIC II (LT100 7 days), which exhibit slower killing phenotypes. Since killing-retardation is known to reduce the success of hygienic cleaning by nurse bees, the identified absence of virulence factors might explain the epidemiological prevalences of ERIC genotypes. The discovery of the P. larvae ERIC V isolate suggests that more unknown ERIC genotypes exist in bee colonies. Since inactivation or loss of a few genes can transform a fast-killing phenotype into a more dangerous slow-killing phenotype, these rarely isolated genotypes may represent a hidden reservoir for future AFB outbreaks.
  • Hypericibacter terrae gen. nov., sp. nov. and sp. nov., two new members of the family isolated from the rhizosphere of Hypericum perforatum.

    Noviana, Zahra; Vieira, Selma; Pascual, Javier; Fobofou, Serge Alain Tanemossu; Rohde, Manfred; Spröer, Cathrin; Bunk, Boyke; Overmann, Jorg; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.; German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Inhoffenstraße 7B, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Microbiology Society, 2020-01-20)
    Two strains of the family Rhodospirillaceae were isolated from the rhizosphere of the medicinal plant Hypericum perforatum. Cells of both strains were Gram-stain-negative, motile by means of a single polar flagellum, non-spore-forming, non-capsulated, short rods that divided by binary fission. Colonies were small and white. Strains R5913T and R5959T were oxidase-positive, mesophilic, neutrophilic and grew optimally without NaCl. Both grew under aerobic and microaerophilic conditions and on a limited range of substrates with best results on yeast extract. Major fatty acids were C19 : 0 cyclo ω8c and C16 : 0; in addition, C18 : 1ω7c was also found as a predominant fatty acid in strain R5913T. The major respiratory quinone was ubiquinone 10 (Q-10). The DNA G+C contents of strains R5913T and R5959T were 66.0 and 67.4 mol%, respectively. 16S rRNA gene sequence comparison revealed that the closest relatives (<92 % similarity) of the strains are Oceanibaculum pacificum MCCC 1A02656T, Dongia mobilis CGMCC 1.7660T, Dongia soli D78T and Dongia rigui 04SU4-PT. The two novel strains shared 98.6 % sequence similarity and represent different species on the basis of low average nucleotide identity of their genomes (83.8 %). Based on the combined phenotypic, genomic and phylogenetic investigations, the two strains represent two novel species of a new genus in the family Rhodospirillaceae, for which the name Hypericibacter gen. nov. is proposed, comprising the type species Hypericibacter terrae sp. nov. (type strain R5913T=DSM 109816T=CECT 9472T) and Hypericibacter adhaerens sp. nov. (type strain R5959T=DSM 109817T=CECT 9620T).
  • The immunogenic potential of bacterial flagella for Salmonella-mediated tumor therapy.

    Felgner, Sebastian; Spöring, Imke; Pawar, Vinay; Kocijancic, Dino; Preusse, Matthias; Falk, Christine; Rohde, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Weiss, Siegfried; Erhardt, Marc; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-11-21)
    Genetically engineered Salmonella Typhimurium are potent vectors for prophylactic and therapeutic measures against pathogens as well as cancer. This is based on the potent adjuvanticity that supports strong immune responses. The physiology of Salmonella is well understood. It simplifies engineering of both enhanced immune‐stimulatory properties as well as safety features, thus, resulting in an appropriate balance between attenuation and efficacy for clinical applications. A major virulence factor of Salmonella is the flagellum. It is also a strong pathogen‐associated molecular pattern recognized by extra‐ and intracellular receptors of immune cells of the host. At the same time, it represents a serious metabolic burden. Accordingly, the bacteria evolved tight regulatory mechanisms that control flagella synthesis in vivo. Here, we systematically investigated the immunogenicity and adjuvant properties of various flagella mutants of Salmonella in vitro and in a mouse cancer model in vivo. We found that mutants lacking the flagellum‐specific ATPase FliHIJ or the inner membrane ring FliF displayed the greatest stimulatory capacity and strongest anti‐tumor effects, while remaining safe in vivo. Scanning electron microscopy revealed the presence of outer membrane vesicles in the ΔfliF and ΔfliHIJ mutants. Finally, the combination of the ΔfliF and ΔfliHIJ mutations with our previously described attenuated and immunogenic background strain SF102 displayed strong efficacy against the highly resistant cancer cell line RenCa. We thus conclude that manipulating flagella biosynthesis has great potential for the construction of highly efficacious and versatile Salmonella vector strains.
  • Prothrombotic and Proinflammatory Activities of the β-Hemolytic Group B Streptococcal Pigment.

    Siemens, Nikolai; Oehmcke-Hecht, Sonja; Hoßmann, Jörn; Skorka, Sebastian B; Nijhuis, Roel H T; Ruppen, Corinne; Skrede, Steinar; Rohde, Manfred; Schultz, Daniel; Lalk, Michael; et al. (Karger, 2019-11-19)
    A prominent feature of severe streptococcal infections is the profound inflammatory response that contributes to systemic toxicity. In sepsis the dysregulated host response involves both immunological and nonimmunological pathways. Here, we report a fatal case of an immunocompetent healthy female presenting with toxic shock and purpura fulminans caused by group B streptococcus (GBS; serotype III, CC19). The strain (LUMC16) was pigmented and hyperhemolytic. Stimulation of human primary cells with hyperhemolytic LUMC16 and STSS/NF-HH strains and pigment toxin resulted in a release of proinflammatory mediators, including tumor necrosis factor, interleukin (IL)-1β, and IL-6. In addition, LUMC16 induced blood clotting and showed factor XII activity on its surface, which was linked to the presence of the pigment. The expression of pigment was not linked to a mutation within the CovR/S region. In conclusion, our study shows that the hemolytic lipid toxin contributes to the ability of GBS to cause systemic hyperinflammation and interferes with the coagulation system.
  • Rubinisphaera italica sp. nov. isolated from a hydrothermal area in the Tyrrhenian Sea close to the volcanic island Panarea.

    Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Peeters, Stijn H; Heuer, Anja; Boedeker, Christian; Jetten, Mike S M; Rohde, Manfred; Jogler, Christian (Springer, 2019-11-26)
    Planctomycetes is a fascinating phylum of mostly aquatic bacteria, not only due to the environmental importance in global carbon and nitrogen cycles, but also because of a unique cell biology. Their lifestyle and metabolic capabilities are not well explored, which motivated us to study the role of Planctomycetes in biofilms on marine biotic surfaces. Here, we describe the novel strain Pan54T which was isolated from algae in a hydrothermal area close to the volcanic island Panarea in the Tyrrhenian Sea, north of Sicily in Italy. The strain grew best at pH 9.0 and 26 °C and showed typical characteristics of planctomycetal bacteria, e.g. division by polar budding, formation of aggregates and presence of stalks and crateriform structures. Phylogenetically, the strain belongs to the genus Rubinisphaera. Our analysis suggests that Pan54T represents a novel species of this genus, for which we propose the name Rubinisphaera italica sp. nov. We suggest Pan54T (= DSM 29369 = LMG 29789) as the type strain of the novel species.

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