• 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.
    • Non-Invasive Approach for Evaluation of Pulmonary Hypertension Using Extracellular Vesicle-Associated Small Non-Coding RNA.

      Lipps, Christoph; Northe, Philipp; Figueiredo, Ricardo; Rohde, Manfred; Brahmer, Alexandra; Krämer-Albers, Eva-Maria; Liebetrau, Christoph; Wiedenroth, Christoph B; Mayer, Eckhard; Kriechbaum, Steffen D; et al. (MDPI, 2019-10-29)
      Extracellular vesicles are released by numerous cell types of the human body under physiological but also under pathophysiological conditions. They are important for cell-cell communication and carry specific signatures of peptides and RNAs. In this study, we aimed to determine whether extracellular vesicles isolated from patients with pulmonary hypertension show a disease specific signature of small non-coding RNAs and thus have the potential to serve as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers. Extracellular vesicles were isolated from the serum of 23 patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH) and 23 controls using two individual methods: a column-based method or by precipitation. Extracellular vesicle- associated RNAs were analyzed by next-generation sequencing applying molecular barcoding, and differentially expressed small non-coding RNAs were validated by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). We identified 18 microRNAs and 21 P-element induced wimpy testis (PIWI)-interacting RNAs (piRNAs) or piRNA clusters that were differentially expressed in CTEPH patients compared with controls. Bioinformatic analysis predicted a contribution of these piRNAs to the progression of cardiac and vascular remodeling. Expression levels of DQ593039 correlated with clinically meaningful parameters such as mean pulmonary arterial pressure, pulmonary vascular resistance, right ventricular systolic pressure, and levels of N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide. Thus, we identified the extracellular vesicle- derived piRNA, DQ593039, as a potential biomarker for pulmonary hypertension and right heart disease.
    • R18C is a new viable P2-like bacteriophage of rabbit origin infecting Citrobacter rodentium and Shigella sonnei strains.

      Sváb, Domonkos; Horváth, Balázs; Rohde, Manfred; Maróti, Gergely; Tóth, István; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-10-23)
      Here, we report a novel virulent P2-like bacteriophage, R18C, isolated from rabbit faeces, which, in addition to Escherichia coli K-12 strains, was able to be propagated on Citrobacter rodentium strain ICC169 and a range of Shigella sonnei strains with high efficiency of plating (EOP). It represents the first lytic bacteriophage originating from rabbit and the first infectious P2-like phage of animal origin. In the three characteristic moron-containing regions of P2-like phages, R18C contains genes with unknown function that have so far only been found in cryptic P2-like prophages.
    • The secRNome of Listeria monocytogenes Harbors Small Noncoding RNAs That Are Potent Inducers of Beta Interferon.

      Frantz, Renate; Teubner, Lisa; Schultze, Tilman; La Pietra, Luigi; Müller, Christin; Gwozdzinski, Konrad; Pillich, Helena; Hain, Torsten; Weber-Gerlach, Michaela; Panagiotidis, Georgios-Dimitrios; et al. (ASM, 2019-10-08)
      Cellular sensing of bacterial RNA is increasingly recognized as a determinant of host-pathogen interactions. The intracellular pathogen Listeria monocytogenes induces high levels of type I interferons (alpha/beta interferons [IFN-α/β]) to create a growth-permissive microenvironment during infection. We previously demonstrated that RNAs secreted by L. monocytogenes (comprising the secRNome) are potent inducers of IFN-β. We determined the composition and diversity of the members of the secRNome and found that they are uniquely enriched for noncoding small RNAs (sRNAs). Testing of individual sRNAs for their ability to induce IFN revealed several sRNAs with this property. We examined ril32, an intracellularly expressed sRNA that is highly conserved for the species L. monocytogenes and that was the most potent inducer of IFN-β expression of all the sRNAs tested in this study, in more detail. The rli32-induced IFN-β response is RIG-I (retinoic acid inducible gene I) dependent, and cells primed with rli32 inhibit influenza virus replication. We determined the rli32 motif required for IFN induction. rli32 overproduction promotes intracellular bacterial growth, and a mutant lacking rli32 is restricted for intracellular growth in macrophages. rli32-overproducing bacteria are resistant to H2O2 and exhibit both increased catalase activity and changes in the cell envelope. Comparative transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis indicated that ril32 regulates expression of the lhrC locus, previously shown to be involved in cell envelope stress. Inhibition of IFN-β signaling by ruxolitinib reduced rli32-dependent intracellular bacterial growth, indicating a link between induction of the interferon system and bacterial physiology. rli32 is, to the best of our knowledge, the first secreted individual bacterial sRNA known to trigger the induction of the type I IFN response.IMPORTANCE Interferons are potent and broadly acting cytokines that stimulate cellular responses to nucleic acids of unusual structures or locations. While protective when induced following viral infections, the induction of interferons is detrimental to the host during L. monocytogenes infection. Here, we identify specific sRNAs, secreted by the bacterium, with the capacity to induce type I IFN. Further analysis of the most potent sRNA, rli32, links the ability to induce RIG-I-dependent induction of the type I IFN response to the intracellular growth properties of the bacterium. Our findings emphasize the significance of released RNA for Listeria infection and shed light on a compartmental strategy used by an intracellular pathogen to modulate host responses to its advantage.
    • The Gram-Positive Bacterial Cell Wall

      Rohde, Manfred; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society for Microbiology, 2019-05-24)
      The chapter about the Gram-positive bacterial cell wall gives a brief historical background on the discovery of Gram-positive cell walls and their constituents and microscopic methods applied for studying the Gram-positive cell envelope. Followed by the description of the different chemical building blocks of peptidoglycan and the biosynthesis of the peptidoglycan layers and high turnover of peptidoglycan during bacterial growth. Lipoteichoic acids and wall teichoic acids are highlighted as major components of the cell wall. Characterization of capsules and the formation of extracellular vesicles by Gram-positive bacteria close the section on cell envelopes which have a high impact on bacterial pathogenesis. In addition, the specialized complex and unusual cell wall of mycobacteria is introduced thereafter. Next a short back view is given on the development of electron microscopic examinations for studying bacterial cell walls. Different electron microscopic techniques and methods applied to examine bacterial cell envelopes are discussed in the view that most of the illustrated methods should be available in a well-equipped life sciences orientated electron microscopic laboratory. In addition, newly developed and mostly well-established cryo-methods like high-pressure freezing and freeze-substitution (HPF-FS) and cryo-sections of hydrated vitrified bacteria (CEMOVIS, Cryo-electron microscopy of vitreous sections) are described. At last, modern cryo-methods like cryo-electron tomography (CET) and cryo-FIB-SEM milling (focus ion beamscanning electron microscopy) are introduced which are available only in specialized institutions, but at present represent the best available methods and techniques to study Gram-positive cell walls under close-to-nature conditions in great detail and at high resolution.
    • Mitochondria Are a Subset of Extracellular Vesicles Released by Activated Monocytes and Induce Type I IFN and TNF Responses in Endothelial Cells.

      Puhm, Florian; Afonyushkin, Taras; Resch, Ulrike; Obermayer, Georg; Rohde, Manfred; Penz, Thomas; Schuster, Michael; Wagner, Gabriel; Rendeiro, Andre F; Melki, Imene; et al. (Lippincott,Williams & Wilkins, 2019-06-21)
      Extracellular vesicles, including microvesicles, are increasingly recognized as important mediators in cardiovascular disease. The cargo and surface proteins they carry are considered to define their biological activity, including their inflammatory properties. Monocyte to endothelial cell signaling is a prerequisite for the propagation of inflammatory responses. However, the contribution of microvesicles in this process is poorly understood. OBJECTIVE: To elucidate the mechanisms by which microvesicles derived from activated monocytic cells exert inflammatory effects on endothelial cells. METHODS AND RESULTS: LPS (lipopolysaccharide)-stimulated monocytic cells release free mitochondria and microvesicles with mitochondrial content as demonstrated by flow cytometry, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Western Blot, and transmission electron microscopy. Using RNAseq analysis and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, we demonstrated that both mitochondria directly isolated from and microvesicles released by LPS-activated monocytic cells, as well as circulating microvesicles isolated from volunteers receiving low-dose LPS-injections, induce type I IFN (interferon), and TNF (tumor necrosis factor) responses in endothelial cells. Depletion of free mitochondria significantly reduced the ability of these microvesicles to induce type I IFN and TNF-dependent genes. We identified mitochondria-associated TNFα and RNA from stressed mitochondria as major inducers of these responses. Finally, we demonstrated that the proinflammatory potential of microvesicles and directly isolated mitochondria were drastically reduced when they were derived from monocytic cells with nonrespiring mitochondria or monocytic cells cultured in the presence of pyruvate or the mitochondrial reactive oxygen species scavenger MitoTEMPO. CONCLUSIONS: Mitochondria and mitochondria embedded in microvesicles constitute a major subset of extracellular vesicles released by activated monocytes, and their proinflammatory activity on endothelial cells is determined by the activation status of their parental cells. Thus, mitochondria may represent critical intercellular mediators in cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory settings associated with type I IFN and TNF signaling.
    • Corrigendum: gen. nov., sp. nov., an Unusual Member of the Phylum Planctomycetes From the German Wadden Sea.

      Kohn, Timo; Heuer, Anja; Jogler, Mareike; Vollmers, John; Boedeker, Christian; Bunk, Boyke; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Glöckner, Ines; Freese, Heike M; et al. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    • gen. nov., sp. nov., an Unusual Member of the Phylum Planctomycetes from the German Wadden Sea.

      Kohn, Timo; Heuer, Anja; Jogler, Mareike; Vollmers, John; Boedeker, Christian; Bunk, Boyke; Rast, Patrick; Borchert, Daniela; Glöckner, Ines; Freese, Heike M; et al. (Frontiers, 2016-01-01)
      Members of the phylum Planctomycetes are ubiquitous bacteria that dwell in aquatic and terrestrial habitats. While planctomycetal species are important players in the global carbon and nitrogen cycle, this phylum is still undersampled and only few genome sequences are available. Here we describe strain NH11T, a novel planctomycete obtained from a crustacean shell (Wadden Sea, Germany). The phylogenetically closest related cultivated species is Gimesia maris, sharing only 87% 16S rRNA sequence identity. Previous isolation attempts have mostly yielded members of the genus Rhodopirellula from water of the German North Sea. On the other hand, only one axenic culture of the genus Pirellula was obtained from a crustacean thus far. However, the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain NH11T shares only 80% sequence identity with the closest relative of both genera, Rhodopirellula and Pirellula. Thus, strain NH11T is unique in terms of origin and phylogeny. While the pear to ovoid shaped cells of strain NH11T are typical planctomycetal, light-, and electron microscopic observations point toward an unusual variation of cell division through budding: during the division process daughter- and mother cells are connected by an unseen thin tubular-like structure. Furthermore, the periplasmic space of strain NH11T was unusually enlarged and differed from previously known planctomycetes. The complete genome of strain NH11T, with almost 9 Mb in size, is among the largest planctomycetal genomes sequenced thus far, but harbors only 6645 protein-coding genes. The acquisition of genomic components by horizontal gene transfer is indicated by the presence of numerous putative genomic islands. Strikingly, 45 "giant genes" were found within the genome of NH11T. Subsequent analysis of all available planctomycetal genomes revealed that Planctomycetes as such are especially rich in "giant genes". Furthermore, Multilocus Sequence Analysis (MLSA) tree reconstruction support the phylogenetic distance of strain NH11T from other cultivated Planctomycetes of the same phylogenetic cluster. Thus, based on our findings, we propose to classify strain NH11T as Fuerstia marisgermanicae gen. nov., sp. nov., with the type strain NH11T, within the phylum Planctomycetes.
    • IL-1β Promotes Biofilms on Implants .

      Gutierrez Jauregui, Rodrigo; Fleige, Henrike; Bubke, Anja; Rohde, Manfred; Weiss, Siegfried; Förster, Reinhold; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      Implant associated infections represent a serious health burden in clinics since some microorganisms are able to colonize biological surfaces or surfaces of indwelling medical devices and form biofilms. Biofilms represent communities of microorganisms attached to hydrated surfaces and enclosed in self-produced extracellular matrix. This renders them resistant to exogenous assaults like antibiotics or immune effector mechanisms. Little is known regarding the role of the immune system in the formation of biofilms during implant associated infections, largely due to the lack of suitable mouse models. Here we use colonized osmotic pumps in mice to study the interaction of an activated immune system with biofilm-forming Staphylococcus aureus encoding Gaussia luciferase. This approach permits biofilm formation on the osmotic pumps in living animals. It also allows the continuous supply of soluble immune cell activating agents, such as cytokines to study their effect on biofilm formation in vivo. Using non-invasive imaging of the bioluminescent signal emitted by the lux expressing bacteria for quantification of bacterial load in conjunction with light and electron microscopy, we observed that pump-supplied pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1β strongly increased biofilm formation along with a massive influx of neutrophils adjacent to the biofilm-coated pumps. Thus, our data demonstrate that immune defense mechanisms can augment biofilm formation.
    • Still Something to Discover: Novel Insights into Phage Diversity and Taxonomy.

      Korf, Imke H E; Meier-Kolthoff, Jan P; Adriaenssens, Evelien M; Kropinski, Andrew M; Nimtz, Manfred; Rohde, Manfred; van Raaij, Mark J; Wittmann, Johannes; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2019-05-17)
      The aim of this study was to gain further insight into the diversity of Escherichia coli phagesfollowed by enhanced work on taxonomic issues in that field. Therefore, we present the genomiccharacterization and taxonomic classification of 50 bacteriophages against E. coli isolated fromvarious sources, such as manure or sewage. All phages were examined for their host range on a setof different E. coli strains, originating, e.g., from human diagnostic laboratories or poultry farms.Transmission electron microscopy revealed a diversity of morphotypes (70% Myo-, 22% Sipho-, and8% Podoviruses), and genome sequencing resulted in genomes sizes from ~44 to ~370 kb.Annotation and comparison with databases showed similarities in particular to T4- and T5-likephages, but also to less-known groups. Though various phages against E. coli are already describedin literature and databases, we still isolated phages that showed no or only few similarities to otherphages, namely phages Goslar, PTXU04, and KWBSE43-6. Genome-based phylogeny andclassification of the newly isolated phages using VICTOR resulted in the proposal of new generaand led to an enhanced taxonomic classification of E. coli phages.
    • Three glycosylated serine-rich repeat proteins play a pivotal role in adhesion and colonization of the pioneer commensal bacterium, Streptococcus salivarius.

      Couvigny, Benoit; Lapaque, Nicolas; Rigottier-Gois, Lionel; Guillot, Alain; Chat, Sophie; Meylheuc, Thierry; Kulakauskas, Saulius; Rohde, M; Mistou, Michel-Yves; Renault, Pierre; et al. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017-01-01)
      Bacterial adhesion is a critical step for colonization of the host. The pioneer colonizer and commensal bacterium of the human gastrointestinal tract, Streptococcus salivarius, has strong adhesive properties but the molecular determinants of this adhesion remain uncharacterized. Serine‐rich repeat (SRR) glycoproteins are a family of adhesins that fulfil an important role in adhesion. In general, Gram‐positive bacterial genomes have a unique SRR glycoprotein‐encoding gene. We demonstrate that S. salivarius expresses three large and glycosylated surface‐exposed proteins – SrpA, SrpB and SrpC – that show characteristics of SRR glycoproteins and are secreted through the accessory SecA2/Y2 system. Two glycosyltransferases – GtfE/F – encoded outside of the secA2/Y2 locus, unusually, perform the first step of the sequential glycosylation process, which is crucial for SRR activity. We show that SrpB and SrpC play complementary adhesive roles involved in several steps of the colonization process: auto‐aggregation, biofilm formation and adhesion to a variety of host epithelial cells and components. We also show that at least one of the S. salivarius SRR glycoproteins is important for colonization in mice. SrpA, SrpB and SrpC are the main factors underlying the multifaceted adhesion of S. salivarius and, therefore, play a major role in host colonization.
    • Sulfate-Reducing Bacteria That Produce Exopolymers Thrive in the Calcifying Zone of a Hypersaline Cyanobacterial Mat.

      Spring, Stefan; Sorokin, Dimitry Y; Verbarg, Susanne; Rohde, M; Woyke, Tanja; Kyrpides, Nikos C; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      Calcifying microbial mats in hypersaline environments are important model systems for the study of the earliest ecosystems on Earth that started to appear more than three billion years ago and have been preserved in the fossil record as laminated lithified structures known as stromatolites. It is believed that sulfate-reducing bacteria play a pivotal role in the lithification process by increasing the saturation index of calcium minerals within the mat. Strain L21-Syr-ABT was isolated from anoxic samples of a several centimeters-thick microbialite-forming cyanobacterial mat of a hypersaline lake on the Kiritimati Atoll (Kiribati, Central Pacific). The novel isolate was assigned to the family Desulfovibrionaceae within the Deltaproteobacteria. Available 16S rRNA-based population surveys obtained from discrete layers of the mat indicate that the occurrence of a species-level clade represented by strain L21-Syr-ABT is restricted to a specific layer of the suboxic zone, which is characterized by the presence of aragonitic spherulites. To elucidate a possible function of this sulfate-reducing bacterium in the mineral formation within the mat a comprehensive phenotypic characterization was combined with the results of a comparative genome analysis. Among the determined traits of strain L21-Syr-ABT, several features were identified that could play a role in the precipitation of calcium carbonate: (i) the potential deacetylation of polysaccharides and consumption of substrates such as lactate and sulfate could mobilize free calcium; (ii) under conditions that favor the utilization of formate and hydrogen, the alkalinity engine within the mat is stimulated, thereby increasing the availability of carbonate; (iii) the production of extracellular polysaccharides could provide nucleation sites for calcium mineralization. In addition, our data suggest the proposal of the novel species and genus Desulfohalovibrio reitneri represented by the type strain L21-Syr-ABT (=DSM 26903T = JCM 18662T).
    • Isolation, characterization and analysis of bacteriophages from the haloalkaline lake Elmenteita, Kenya.

      Akhwale, Juliah Khayeli; Rohde, M; Rohde, Christine; Bunk, Boyke; Spröer, Cathrin; Boga, Hamadi Iddi; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Wittmann, Johannes; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
      As a step towards better understanding of diversity and biology of phages and their hosts in haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita, phages were isolated from sediment samples and overlying water using indigenous bacteria as hosts. 17 seemingly different phages of diverse morphotypes with different dimensions and partly exhibiting remarkably unusual ultrastructures were revealed by transmission electron microscopy. 12 clonal phage isolates were further characterized. Infection capability of the phages was optimum at 30–35°C and in alkali condition with optimum at pH 10–12. Structural protein profiles and restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses patterns were distinct for each of the phage type. Complete nucleotide sequences of phages vB-VmeM-32, vB_EauS-123 and vB_BhaS-171 genomes varied in size from 30,926–199,912 bp and G + C content of between 36.25–47.73%. A range of 56–260 potential open reading frames were identified and annotated. The results showed that the 12 phages were distinct from each other and confirmed the presence and diversity of phages in extreme environment of haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita. The phages were deposited at the German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures and three of their genomes uploaded to NCBI GenBank.
    • Microbiome yarns: The Global Phenotype-Genotype Survey. Episode III: importance of microbiota diversification for microbiome function and biome health.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Rohde, M; Lahti, Leo; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-01-01)
    • Bacterial microcompartment-directed polyphosphate kinase promotes stable polyphosphate accumulation in E. coli.

      Liang, Mingzhi; Frank, Stefanie; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Warren, Martin J; Prentice, Michael B; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2017-03-01)
      Processes for the biological removal of phosphate from wastewater rely on temporary manipulation of bacterial polyphosphate levels by phased environmental stimuli. In E. coli polyphosphate levels are controlled via the polyphosphate-synthesizing enzyme polyphosphate kinase (PPK1) and exopolyphosphatases (PPX and GPPA), and are temporarily enhanced by PPK1 overexpression and reduced by PPX overexpression. We hypothesised that partitioning PPK1 from cytoplasmic exopolyphosphatases would increase and stabilise E. coli polyphosphate levels. Partitioning was achieved by co-expression of E. coli PPK1 fused with a microcompartment-targeting sequence and an artificial operon of Citrobacter freundii bacterial microcompartment genes. Encapsulation of targeted PPK1 resulted in persistent phosphate uptake and stably increased cellular polyphosphate levels throughout cell growth and into the stationary phase, while PPK1 overexpression alone produced temporary polyphosphate increase and phosphate uptake. Targeted PPK1 increased polyphosphate in microcompartments 8-fold compared with non-targeted PPK1. Co-expression of PPX polyphosphatase with targeted PPK1 had little effect on elevated cellular polyphosphate levels because microcompartments retained polyphosphate. Co-expression of PPX with non-targeted PPK1 reduced cellular polyphosphate levels. Thus, subcellular compartmentalisation of a polymerising enzyme sequesters metabolic products from competing catabolism by preventing catabolic enzyme access. Specific application of this process to polyphosphate is of potential application for biological phosphate removal.
    • Homophilic protein interactions facilitate bacterial aggregation and IgG-dependent complex formation by the Streptococcus canis M protein SCM.

      Nerlich, Andreas; Lapschies, Antje-Maria; Kohler, Thomas P; Cornax, Ingrid; Eichhorn, Inga; Goldmann, Oliver; Krienke, Petra; Bergmann, Simone; Nizet, Victor; Hammerschmidt, Sven; et al. (Taylor & Francis, 2019-01-01)
      Streptococcus canis is a zoonotic agent that causes serious invasive diseases in domestic animals and humans, but knowledge about its pathogenic potential and underlying virulence mechanisms is limited. Here, we report on the ability of certain S. canis isolates to form large bacterial aggregates when grown in liquid broth. Bacterial aggregation was attributed to the presence and the self-binding activity of SCM, the M protein of S. canis, as evaluated by bacterial sedimentation assays, immunofluorescence- and electron microscopic approaches. Using a variety of truncated recombinant SCM fragments, we demonstrated that homophilic SCM interactions occur via the N-terminal, but not the C-terminal part, of the mature M protein. Interestingly, when incubated in human plasma, SCM forms soluble protein complexes comprising its known ligands, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and plasminogen (Plg). Co-incubation studies with purified host proteins revealed that SCM-mediated complex formation is based on the interaction of SCM with itself and with IgG, but not with Plg or fibrinogen (Fbg), well-established constituents of M protein-mediated protein complexes in human-associated streptococci. Notably, these soluble, SCM-mediated plasma complexes harbored complement factor C1q, which can induce complement breakdown in the periphery and therefore represent another immune evasion mechanism of SCM.
    • 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.
    • Microbiome yarns: the Global Phenotype-Genotype Survey: Episode II: laryngeal microbiota and vocal phenotypes (or diction and addiction).

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Rohde, M; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (Wiley-Blackwell, 2019-03-01)
    • Comparative genomic analysis of eight novel haloalkaliphilic bacteriophages from Lake Elmenteita, Kenya.

      Akhwale, Juliah Khayeli; Rohde, M; Rohde, Christine; Bunk, Boyke; Spröer, Cathrin; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Boga, Hamadi Iddi; Wittmann, Johannes; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
      We report complete genome sequences of eight bacteriophages isolated from Haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita found on the floor of Kenyan Rift Valley. The bacteriophages were sequenced, annotated and a comparative genomic analysis using various Bioinformatics tools carried out to determine relatedness of the bacteriophages to each other, and to those in public databases. Basic genome properties like genome size, percentage coding density, number of open reading frames, percentage GC content and gene organizations revealed the bacteriophages had no relationship to each other. Comparison to other nucleotide sequences in GenBank database showed no significant similarities hence novel. At the amino acid level, phages of our study revealed mosaicism to genes with conserved domains to already described phages. Phylogenetic analyses of large terminase gene responsible for DNA packaging and DNA polymerase gene for replication further showed diversity among the bacteriophages. Our results give insight into diversity of bacteriophages in Lake Elmenteita and provide information on their evolution. By providing primary sequence information, this study not only provides novel sequences for biotechnological exploitation, but also sets stage for future studies aimed at better understanding of virus diversity and genomes from haloalkaline lakes in the Rift Valley.
    • Intracellular Streptococcal Uptake and Persistence: A Potential Cause of Erysipelas Recurrence.

      Jendoubi, Fatma; Rohde, M; Prinz, Jörg Christoph; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      Erysipelas is a severe streptococcal infection of the skin primarily spreading through the lymphatic vessels. Penicillin is the treatment of choice. The most common complication consists in relapses which occur in up to 40% or more of patients despite appropriate antibiotic treatment. They cause lymphatic damage resulting in irreversible lymphedema and ultimately elephantiasis nostras and lead to major health restrictions and high socio-medical costs. Prevention of relapses is an unmet need, because even long-term prophylactic penicillin application does eventually not reduce the risk of recurrence. In this article we assess risk factors and causes of erysipelas recurrence. A systematic literature search for clinical studies addressing potential causes and measures for prevention of erysipelas recurrence was combined with a review of experimental and clinical data assessing the ability and clinical relevance of streptococci for intracellular uptake and persistence. The literature review found that venous insufficiency, lymphedema, and intertrigo from fungal infections are considered to be major risk factors for recurrence of erysipelas but cannot adequately explain the high recurrence rate. As hitherto unrecognized likely cause of erysipelas relapses we identify the ability of streptococci for intracellular uptake into and persistence within epithelial and endothelial cells and macrophages. This creates intracellular streptococcal reservoirs out of reach of penicillins which do not reach sufficient bactericidal intracellular concentrations. Incomplete streptococcal elimination due to intracellular streptococcal persistence has been observed in various deep tissue infections and is considered as cause of relapsing streptococcal pharyngitis despite proper antibiotic treatment. It may also serves as endogenous infectious source of erysipelas relapses. We conclude that the current antibiotic treatment strategies and elimination of conventional risk factors employed in erysipelas management are insufficient to prevent erysipelas recurrence. The reactivation of streptococcal infection from intracellular reservoirs represents a plausible explanation for the frequent occurrence erysipelas relapses. Prevention of erysipelas relapses therefore demands for novel antibiotic strategies capable of eradicating intracellular streptococcal persistence.