• Preclinical Assessment of Bacteriophage Therapy against Experimental Lung Infection.

      Wienhold, Sandra-Maria; Brack, Markus C; Nouailles, Geraldine; Krishnamoorthy, Gopinath; Korf, Imke H E; Seitz, Claudius; Wienecke, Sarah; Dietert, Kristina; Gurtner, Corinne; Kershaw, Olivia; et al. (MDPI, 2021-12-24)
      Respiratory infections caused by multidrug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii are difficult to treat and associated with high mortality among critically ill hospitalized patients. Bacteriophages (phages) eliminate pathogens with high host specificity and efficacy. However, the lack of appropriate preclinical experimental models hampers the progress of clinical development of phages as therapeutic agents. Therefore, we tested the efficacy of a purified lytic phage, vB_AbaM_Acibel004, against multidrug-resistant A. baumannii clinical isolate RUH 2037 infection in immunocompetent mice and a human lung tissue model. Sham- and A. baumannii-infected mice received a single-dose of phage or buffer via intratracheal aerosolization. Group-specific differences in bacterial burden, immune and clinical responses were compared. Phage-treated mice not only recovered faster from infection-associated hypothermia but also had lower pulmonary bacterial burden, lower lung permeability, and cytokine release. Histopathological examination revealed less inflammation with unaffected inflammatory cellular recruitment. No phage-specific adverse events were noted. Additionally, the bactericidal effect of the purified phage on A. baumannii was confirmed after single-dose treatment in an ex vivo human lung infection model. Taken together, our data suggest that the investigated phage has significant potential to treat multidrug-resistant A. baumannii infections and further support the development of appropriate methods for preclinical evaluation of antibacterial efficacy of phages.
    • Congenital deficiency reveals critical role of ISG15 in skin homeostasis.

      Malik, Muhammad Nasir Hayat; Waqas, Syed F Hassnain; Zeitvogel, Jana; Cheng, Jingyuan; Geffers, Robert; Gouda, Zeinab Abu-Elbaha; Elsaman, Ahmed Mahrous; Radwan, Ahmed R; Schefzyk, Matthias; Braubach, Peter; et al. (Society of clinical investigation, 2021-11-30)
      Ulcerating skin lesions are manifestations of human ISG15 deficiency, a type I interferonopathy. However, chronic inflammation may not be their exclusive cause. We describe two siblings with recurrent skin ulcers that healed with scar formation upon corticosteroid treatment. Both had a homozygous nonsense mutation in the ISG15 gene, leading to unstable ISG15 protein lacking the functional domain. We characterized ISG15-/- dermal fibroblasts, HaCaT keratinocytes, and human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived vascular endothelial cells. ISG15-deficient cells exhibited the expected hyperinflammatory phenotype, but also dysregulated expression of molecules critical for connective tissue and epidermis integrity, including reduced collagens and adhesion molecules, but increased matrix metalloproteases. ISG15-/- fibroblasts exhibited elevated ROS levels and reduced ROS scavenger expression. As opposed to hyperinflammation, defective collagen and integrin synthesis was not rescued by conjugation-deficient ISG15. Cell migration was retarded in ISG15-/- fibroblasts and HaCaT keratinocytes, but normalized under ruxolitinib treatment. Desmosome density was reduced in an ISG15-/- 3D epidermis model. Additionally, there were loose architecture and reduced collagen and desmoglein expression, which could be reversed by treatment with ruxolitinib/doxycycline/TGF-β1. These results reveal critical roles of ISG15 in maintaining cell migration and epidermis and connective tissue homeostasis, whereby the latter likely requires its conjugation to yet unidentified targets.
    • Interaction of myxobacteria-derived outer membrane vesicles with biofilms: antiadhesive and antibacterial effects.

      Goes, Adriely; Vidakovic, Lucia; Drescher, Knut; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany.; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-08-02)
      Bacterial biofilms are widespread in nature and in medical settings and display a high tolerance to antibiotics and disinfectants. Extracellular vesicles have been increasingly studied to characterise their origins and assess their potential for use as a versatile drug delivery system; however, it remains unclear whether they also have antibiofilm effects. Outer membrane vesicles are lipid vesicles shed by Gram-negative bacteria and, in the case of myxobacteria, carry natural antimicrobial compounds produced by these microorganisms. In this study, we demonstrate that vesicles derived from the myxobacteria Cystobacter velatus Cbv34 and Cystobacter ferrugineus Cbfe23 are highly effective at inhibiting the formation and disrupting biofilms by different bacterial species.
    • Analysis of Bacterial Communities on North Sea Macroalgae and Characterization of the Isolated Planctomycetes gen. nov., sp. nov., sp. nov., sp. nov. and sp. nov.

      Wiegand, Sandra; Rast, Patrick; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Jogler, Mareike; Heuer, Anja; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Kohn, Timo; Vollmers, John; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; et al. (MDPI, 2021-07-13)
      Planctomycetes are bacteria that were long thought to be unculturable, of low abundance, and therefore neglectable in the environment. This view changed in recent years, after it was shown that members of the phylum Planctomycetes can be abundant in many aquatic environments, e.g., in the epiphytic communities on macroalgae surfaces. Here, we analyzed three different macroalgae from the North Sea and show that Planctomycetes is the most abundant bacterial phylum on the alga Fucus sp., while it represents a minor fraction of the surface-associated bacterial community of Ulva sp. and Laminaria sp. Especially dominant within the phylum Planctomycetes were Blastopirellula sp., followed by Rhodopirellula sp., Rubripirellula sp., as well as other Pirellulaceae and Lacipirellulaceae, but also members of the OM190 lineage. Motivated by the observed abundance, we isolated four novel planctomycetal strains to expand the collection of species available as axenic cultures since access to different strains is a prerequisite to investigate the success of planctomycetes in marine environments. The isolated strains constitute four novel species belonging to one novel and three previously described genera in the order Pirellulales, class Planctomycetia, phylum Planctomycetes.
    • Cortactin Is Required for Efficient FAK, Src and Abl Tyrosine Kinase Activation and Phosphorylation of CagA.

      Knorr, Jakob; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Fiedler, Florian; Soltan Esmaeili, Delara; Rohde, Manfred; Rottner, Klemens; Backert, Steffen; Tegtmeyer, Nicole; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-03)
      Cortactin is a well-known regulatory protein of the host actin cytoskeleton and represents an attractive target of microbial pathogens like Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori manipulates cortactin's phosphorylation status by type-IV secretion-dependent injection of its virulence protein CagA. Multiple host tyrosine kinases, like FAK, Src, and Abl, are activated during infection, but the pathway(s) involved is (are) not yet fully established. Among them, Src and Abl target CagA and stimulate tyrosine phosphorylation of the latter at its EPIYA-motifs. To investigate the role of cortactin in more detail, we generated a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of cortactin in AGS gastric epithelial cells. Surprisingly, we found that FAK, Src, and Abl kinase activities were dramatically downregulated associated with widely diminished CagA phosphorylation in cortactin knockout cells compared to the parental control. Together, we report here a yet unrecognized cortactin-dependent signaling pathway involving FAK, Src, and Abl activation, and controlling efficient phosphorylation of injected CagA during infection. Thus, the cortactin status could serve as a potential new biomarker of gastric cancer development.
    • Cortactin Is Required for Efficient FAK, Src and Abl Tyrosine Kinase Activation and Phosphorylation of CagA.

      Knorr, Jakob; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Fiedler, Florian; Soltan Esmaeili, Delara; Rohde, Manfred; Rottner, Klemens; Backert, Steffen; Tegtmeyer, Nicole; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-03)
      Cortactin is a well-known regulatory protein of the host actin cytoskeleton and represents an attractive target of microbial pathogens like Helicobacter pylori. H. pylori manipulates cortactin's phosphorylation status by type-IV secretion-dependent injection of its virulence protein CagA. Multiple host tyrosine kinases, like FAK, Src, and Abl, are activated during infection, but the pathway(s) involved is (are) not yet fully established. Among them, Src and Abl target CagA and stimulate tyrosine phosphorylation of the latter at its EPIYA-motifs. To investigate the role of cortactin in more detail, we generated a CRISPR/Cas9 knockout of cortactin in AGS gastric epithelial cells. Surprisingly, we found that FAK, Src, and Abl kinase activities were dramatically downregulated associated with widely diminished CagA phosphorylation in cortactin knockout cells compared to the parental control. Together, we report here a yet unrecognized cortactin-dependent signaling pathway involving FAK, Src, and Abl activation, and controlling efficient phosphorylation of injected CagA during infection. Thus, the cortactin status could serve as a potential new biomarker of gastric cancer development.
    • Fed-Batch - Polyhydroxyalkanoates Production in Pseudomonas putida KT2440 and Δ phaZ KT2440 and Δ Mutant on Biodiesel-Derived Crude Glycerol.

      Borrero-de Acuña, José Manuel; Rohde, Manfred; Saldias, Cesar; Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2021-03-16)
      Crude glycerol has emerged as a suitable feedstock for the biotechnological production of various industrial chemicals given its high surplus catalyzed by the biodiesel industry. Pseudomonas bacteria metabolize the polyol into several biopolymers, including alginate and medium-chain-length poly(3-hydroxyalkanoates) (mcl-PHAs). Although P. putida is a suited platform to derive these polyoxoesters from crude glycerol, the attained concentrations in batch and fed-batch cultures are still low. In this study, we employed P. putida KT2440 and the hyper-PHA producer ΔphaZ mutant in two different fed-batch modes to synthesize mcl-PHAs from raw glycerol. Initially, the cells grew in a batch phase (μ max 0.21 h-1) for 22 h followed by a carbon-limiting exponential feeding, where the specific growth rate was set at 0.1 (h-1), resulting in a cell dry weight (CDW) of nearly 50 (g L-1) at 40 h cultivation. During the PHA production stage, we supplied the substrate at a constant rate of 50 (g h-1), where the KT2440 and the ΔphaZ produced 9.7 and 12.7 gPHA L-1, respectively, after 60 h cultivation. We next evaluated the PHA production ability of the P. putida strains using a DO-stat approach under nitrogen depletion. Citric acid was the main by-product secreted by the cells, accumulating in the culture broth up to 48 (g L-1) under nitrogen limitation. The mutant ΔphaZ amassed 38.9% of the CDW as mcl-PHA and exhibited a specific PHA volumetric productivity of 0.34 (g L-1 h-1), 48% higher than the parental KT2440 under the same growth conditions. The biosynthesized mcl-PHAs had average molecular weights ranging from 460 to 505 KDa and a polydispersity index (PDI) of 2.4-2.6. Here, we demonstrated that the DO-stat feeding approach in high cell density cultures enables the high yield production of mcl-PHA in P. putida strains using the industrial crude glycerol, where the fed-batch process selection is essential to exploit the superior biopolymer production hallmarks of engineered bacterial strains.
    • Loss of Hem1 disrupts macrophage function and impacts migration, phagocytosis, and integrin-mediated adhesion.

      Stahnke, Stephanie; Döring, Hermann; Kusch, Charly; de Gorter, David J J; Dütting, Sebastian; Guledani, Aleks; Pleines, Irina; Schnoor, Michael; Sixt, Michael; Geffers, Robert; et al. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-03-11)
      Hematopoietic-specific protein 1 (Hem1) is an essential subunit of the WAVE regulatory complex (WRC) in immune cells. WRC is crucial for Arp2/3 complex activation and the protrusion of branched actin filament networks. Moreover, Hem1 loss of function in immune cells causes autoimmune diseases in humans. Here, we show that genetic removal of Hem1 in macrophages diminishes frequency and efficacy of phagocytosis as well as phagocytic cup formation in addition to defects in lamellipodial protrusion and migration. Moreover, Hem1-null macrophages displayed strong defects in cell adhesion despite unaltered podosome formation and concomitant extracellular matrix degradation. Specifically, dynamics of both adhesion and de-adhesion as well as concomitant phosphorylation of paxillin and focal adhesion kinase (FAK) were significantly compromised. Accordingly, disruption of WRC function in non-hematopoietic cells coincided with both defects in adhesion turnover and altered FAK and paxillin phosphorylation. Consistently, platelets exhibited reduced adhesion and diminished integrin αIIbβ3 activation upon WRC removal. Interestingly, adhesion phenotypes, but not lamellipodia formation, were partially rescued by small molecule activation of FAK. A full rescue of the phenotype, including lamellipodia formation, required not only the presence of WRCs but also their binding to and activation by Rac. Collectively, our results uncover that WRC impacts on integrin-dependent processes in a FAK-dependent manner, controlling formation and dismantling of adhesions, relevant for properly grabbing onto extracellular surfaces and particles during cell edge expansion, like in migration or phagocytosis.
    • Filling the Gaps in the Cyanobacterial Tree of Life-Metagenome Analysis of Stigonema ocellatum DSM 106950, SAG 13.99 and DSM 107014.

      Marter, Pia; Huang, Sixing; Brinkmann, Henner; Pradella, Silke; Jarek, Michael; Rohde, Manfred; Bunk, Boyke; Petersen, Jörn; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-03-09)
      Cyanobacteria represent one of the most important and diverse lineages of prokaryotes with an unparalleled morphological diversity ranging from unicellular cocci and characteristic colony-formers to multicellular filamentous strains with different cell types. Sequencing of more than 1200 available reference genomes was mainly driven by their ecological relevance (Prochlorococcus, Synechococcus), toxicity (Microcystis) and the availability of axenic strains. In the current study three slowly growing non-axenic cyanobacteria with a distant phylogenetic positioning were selected for metagenome sequencing in order to (i) investigate their genomes and to (ii) uncover the diversity of associated heterotrophs. High-throughput Illumina sequencing, metagenomic assembly and binning allowed us to establish nearly complete high-quality draft genomes of all three cyanobacteria and to determine their phylogenetic position. The cyanosphere of the limnic isolates comprises up to 40 heterotrophic bacteria that likely coexisted for several decades, and it is dominated by Alphaproteobacteria and Bacteriodetes. The diagnostic marker protein RpoB ensured in combination with our novel taxonomic assessment via BLASTN-dependent text-mining a reliable classification of the metagenome assembled genomes (MAGs). The detection of one new family and more than a dozen genera of uncultivated heterotrophic bacteria illustrates that non-axenic cyanobacteria are treasure troves of hidden microbial diversity.
    • The Two-Component System 09 Regulates Pneumococcal Carbohydrate Metabolism and Capsule Expression.

      Hirschmann, Stephanie; Gómez-Mejia, Alejandro; Mäder, Ulrike; Karsunke, Julia; Driesch, Dominik; Rohde, Manfred; Häussler, Susanne; Burchhardt, Gerhard; Hammerschmidt, Sven; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-02-24)
      Streptococcus pneumoniae two-component regulatory systems (TCSs) are important systems that perceive and respond to various host environmental stimuli. In this study, we have explored the role of TCS09 on gene expression and phenotypic alterations in S. pneumoniae D39. Our comparative transcriptomic analyses identified 67 differently expressed genes in total. Among those, agaR and the aga operon involved in galactose metabolism showed the highest changes. Intriguingly, the encapsulated and nonencapsulated hk09-mutants showed significant growth defects under nutrient-defined conditions, in particular with galactose as a carbon source. Phenotypic analyses revealed alterations in the morphology of the nonencapsulated hk09- and tcs09-mutants, whereas the encapsulated hk09- and tcs09-mutants produced higher amounts of capsule. Interestingly, the encapsulated D39∆hk09 showed only the opaque colony morphology, while the D39∆rr09- and D39∆tcs09-mutants had a higher proportion of transparent variants. The phenotypic variations of D39ΔcpsΔhk09 and D39ΔcpsΔtcs09 are in accordance with their higher numbers of outer membrane vesicles, higher sensitivity against Triton X-100 induced autolysis, and lower resistance against oxidative stress. In conclusion, these results indicate the importance of TCS09 for pneumococcal metabolic fitness and resistance against oxidative stress by regulating the carbohydrate metabolism and thereby, most likely indirectly, the cell wall integrity and amount of capsular polysaccharide.
    • Cell sheet technology: Influence of culture conditions on in vitro-cultivated corneal stromal tissue for regenerative therapies of the ocular surface.

      Hasenzahl, Meike; Müsken, Mathias; Mertsch, Sonja; Schrader, Stefan; Reichl, Stephan; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2021-02-03)
      The in vitro reconstruction of stromal tissue by long-term cultivation of corneal fibroblasts is a smart approach for regenerative therapies of ocular surface diseases. However, systematic investigations evaluating optimized cultivation protocols for the realization of a biomaterial are lacking. This study investigated the influence of supplements to the culture media of human corneal fibroblasts on the formation of a cell sheet consisting of cells and extracellular matrix. Among the supplements studied are vitamin C, fetal bovine serum, L-glutamine, components of collagen such as L-proline, L-4-hydroxyproline and glycine, and TGF-β1, bFGF, IGF-2, PDGF-BB and insulin. After long-term cultivation, the proliferation, collagen and glycosaminoglycan content and light transmission of the cell sheets were examined. Biomechanical properties were investigated by tensile tests and the ultrastructure was characterized by electron microscopy, small-angle X-ray scattering, antibody staining and ELISA. The synthesis of extracellular matrix was significantly increased by cultivation with insulin or TGF-β1, each with vitamin C. The sheets exhibited a high transparency and suitable material properties. The production of a transparent, scaffold-free, potentially autologous, in vitro-generated construct by culturing fibroblasts with extracellular matrix synthesis-stimulating supplements represents a promising approach for a biomaterial that can be used for ocular surface reconstruction in slowly progressing diseases.
    • Analysis of bacterial communities in a municipal duck pond during a phytoplankton bloom and isolation of Anatilimnocola aggregata gen. nov., sp. nov., Lacipirellula limnantheis sp. nov. and Urbifossiella limnaea gen. nov., sp. nov. belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes.

      Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Rast, Patrick; Jogler, Mareike; Wiegand, Sandra; Kohn, Timo; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Heuer, Anja; Quast, Christian; Glöckner, Frank Oliver; et al. (Wiley & Sond Ltd., 2021-01-12)
      Waterbodies such as lakes and ponds are fragile environments affected by human influences. Suitable conditions can result in massive growth of phototrophs, commonly referred to as phytoplankton blooms. Such events benefit heterotrophic bacteria able to use compounds secreted by phototrophs or their biomass as major nutrient source. One example of such bacteria are Planctomycetes, which are abundant on the surfaces of marine macroscopic phototrophs; however, less data are available on their ecological roles in limnic environments. In this study, we followed a cultivation-independent deep sequencing approach to study the bacterial community composition during a cyanobacterial bloom event in a municipal duck pond. In addition to cyanobacteria, which caused the bloom event, members of the phylum Planctomycetes were significantly enriched in the cyanobacteria-attached fraction compared to the free-living fraction. Separate datasets based on isolated DNA and RNA point towards considerable differences in the abundance and activity of planctomycetal families, indicating different activity peaks of these families during the cyanobacterial bloom. Motivated by the finding that the sampling location harbours untapped bacterial diversity, we included a complementary cultivation-dependent approach and isolated and characterized three novel limnic strains belonging to the phylum Planctomycetes.
    • Dinoroseobacter shibae Outer Membrane Vesicles Are Enriched for the Chromosome Dimer Resolution Site dif.

      Wang, Hui; Beier, Nicole; Boedeker, Christian; Sztajer, Helena; Henke, Petra; Neumann-Schaal, Meina; Mansky, Johannes; Rohde, Manfred; Overmann, Jörg; Petersen, Jörn; et al. (American Society for Microbiology, 2021-01-12)
      Outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) are universally produced by prokaryotes and play important roles in symbiotic and pathogenic interactions. They often contain DNA, but a mechanism for its incorporation is lacking. Here, we show that Dinoroseobacter shibae, a dinoflagellate symbiont, constitutively secretes OMVs containing DNA. Time-lapse microscopy captured instances of multiple OMV production at the septum during cell division. DNA from the vesicle lumen was up to 22-fold enriched for the region around the terminus of replication (ter). The peak of coverage was located at dif, a conserved 28-bp palindromic sequence required for binding of the site-specific tyrosine recombinases XerC/XerD. These enzymes are activated at the last stage of cell division immediately prior to septum formation when they are bound by the divisome protein FtsK. We suggest that overreplicated regions around the terminus have been repaired by the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery. The vesicle proteome was clearly dominated by outer membrane and periplasmic proteins. Some of the most abundant vesicle membrane proteins were predicted to be required for direct interaction with peptidoglycan during cell division (LysM, Tol-Pal, Spol, lytic murein transglycosylase). OMVs were 15-fold enriched for the saturated fatty acid 16:00. We hypothesize that constitutive OMV secretion in D. shibae is coupled to cell division. The footprint of the FtsK-dif-XerC/XerD molecular machinery suggests a novel potentially highly conserved route for incorporation of DNA into OMVs. Clearing the division site from small DNA fragments might be an important function of vesicles produced during exponential growth under optimal conditions.IMPORTANCE Gram-negative bacteria continually form vesicles from their outer membrane (outer membrane vesicles [OMVs]) during normal growth. OMVs frequently contain DNA, and it is unclear how DNA can be shuffled from the cytoplasm to the OMVs. We studied OMV cargo in Dinoroseobacter shibae, a symbiont of dinoflagellates, using microscopy and a multi-omics approach. We found that vesicles formed during undisturbed exponential growth contain DNA which is enriched for genes around the replication terminus, specifically, the binding site for an enzyme complex that is activated at the last stage of cell division. We suggest that the enriched genes are the result of overreplication which is repaired by their excision and excretion via membrane vesicles to clear the divisome from waste DNA.
    • Kibdelosporangium persicum sp. nov., a new member of the Actinomycetes from a hot desert in Iran.

      Safaei, Nasim; Nouioui, Imen; Mast, Yvonne; Zaburannyi, Nestor; Rohde, Manfred; Schumann, Peter; Müller, Rolf; Wink, Joachim; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.;HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Microbiology Society, 2021-01-11)
      Isolate 4NS15T was isolated from a neglected arid habitat in Kerman, Iran. The strain showed 16S rRNA gene sequence similarity values of 98.9 % to the type strains of Kibdelosporangium aridum subsp. aridum, Kibdelosporangium phytohabitans and Kibdelosporangium philippinense and 98.6 % to the type strain K. aridum subsp. largum, respectively. Genome-based phylogenetic analysis revealed that isolate 4NS15T is closely related to Kibdelosporangium aridum subsp. aridum DSM 43828T. The digital DNA-DNA hybridization value between the genome sequences of 4NS15T and strain DSM 43828T is 29.8 %. Strain 4NS15T produces long chains of spores without a sporangium-like structure which can be distinguished from other Kibdelosporangium species. Isolate 4NS15T has a genome size of 10.35 Mbp with a G+C content of 68.1 mol%. Whole-cell hydrolysates of isolate 4NS15T are rich in meso-diaminopimelic acid and cell-wall sugars such as arabinose, galactose, glucose and ribose. Major fatty acids (>10 %) are C16 : 0, iso-C16 : 0 and iso-C15 : 0. The phospholipid profile contains diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylhydroxyethanolamine, aminolipid and glycoaminolipid. The predominant menaquinone is MK-9(H4). Based on its phenotypic and genotypic characteristics, isolate 4NS15T (NCCB 100701=CIP 111705=DSM 110728) merits recognition as representing a novel species of the genus Kibdelosporangium, for which the name Kibdelosporangium persicum sp. nov. is proposed.
    • Bordetella bronchiseptica promotes adherence, colonization, and cytotoxicity of Streptococcus suis in a porcine precision-cut lung slice model.

      Vötsch, Désirée; Willenborg, Maren; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Rohde, M; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Taylor & Francis, 2020-12-29)
      Bordetella (B.) bronchiseptica and Streptococcus (S.) suis are major pathogens in pigs, which are frequently isolated from co-infections in the respiratory tract and contribute to the porcine respiratory disease complex (PRDC). Despite the high impact of co-infections on respiratory diseases of swine (and other hosts), very little is known about pathogen-pathogen-host interactions and the mechanisms of pathogenesis. In the present study, we established a porcine precision-cut lung slice (PCLS) model to analyze the effects of B. bronchiseptica infection on adherence, colonization, and cytotoxic effects of S. suis. We hypothesized that induction of ciliostasis by a clinical isolate of B. bronchiseptica may promote subsequent infection with a virulent S. suis serotype 2 strain. To investigate this theory, we monitored the ciliary activity by light microscopy, measured the release of lactate dehydrogenase, and calculated the number of PCLS-associated bacteria. To study the role of the pore-forming toxin suilysin (SLY) in S. suis-induced cytotoxicity, we included a SLY-negative isogenic mutant and the complemented mutant strain. Furthermore, we analyzed infected PCLS by histopathology, immunofluorescence microscopy, and field emission scanning electron microscopy. Our results showed that pre-infection with B. bronchiseptica promoted adherence, colonization, and, as a consequence of the increased colonization, the cytotoxic effects of S. suis, probably by reduction of the ciliary activity. Moreover, cytotoxicity induced by S. suis is strictly dependent on the presence of SLY. Though the underlying molecular mechanisms remain to be fully clarified, our results clearly support the hypothesis that B. bronchiseptica paves the way for S. suis infection.
    • Microbiome Yarns: bacterial predators, tissue tropism and molecular decoys.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Thieme Verlag, 2020-12-26)
      This Crystal Ball speculates on the potential of molecular decoys for prevention and therapy in infectious diseases. It is dedicated to the memory of Singh Chhatwal, who pioneered research on disguises and decoys produced by Streptococcus, and so much more.
    • Cultivation-Independent Analysis of the Bacterial Community Associated With the Calcareous Sponge and Isolation of Poriferisphaera corsica Gen. Nov., Sp. Nov., Belonging to the Barely Studied Class in the Phylum Planctomycetes.

      Kallscheuer, Nicolai; Wiegand, Sandra; Kohn, Timo; Boedeker, Christian; Jeske, Olga; Rast, Patrick; Müller, Ralph-Walter; Brümmer, Franz; Heuer, Anja; Jetten, Mike S M; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-12-22)
      Marine ecosystems serve as global carbon sinks and nutrient source or breeding ground for aquatic animals. Sponges are ancient parts of these important ecosystems and can be found in caves, the deep-sea, clear waters, or more turbid environments. Here, we studied the bacterial community composition of the calcareous sponge Clathrina clathrus sampled close to the island Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea with an emphasis on planctomycetes. We show that the phylum Planctomycetes accounts for 9% of the C. clathrus-associated bacterial community, a 5-fold enrichment compared to the surrounding seawater. Indeed, the use of C. clathrus as a yet untapped source of novel planctomycetal strains led to the isolation of strain KS4T. The strain represents a novel genus and species within the class Phycisphaerae in the phylum Planctomycetes and displays interesting cell biological features, such as formation of outer membrane vesicles and an unexpected mode of cell division.
    • Targeting bioenergetics is key to counteracting the drug-tolerant state of biofilm-grown bacteria.

      Donnert, Monique; Elsheikh, Sarah; Arce-Rodriguez, Alejandro; Pawar, Vinay; Braubach, Peter; Jonigk, Danny; Haverich, Axel; Weiss, Siegfried; Müsken, Mathias; Häussler, Susanne; et al. (PLOS, 2020-12-22)
      Embedded in an extracellular matrix, biofilm-residing bacteria are protected from diverse physicochemical insults. In accordance, in the human host the general recalcitrance of biofilm-grown bacteria hinders successful eradication of chronic, biofilm-associated infections. In this study, we demonstrate that upon addition of promethazine, an FDA approved drug, antibiotic tolerance of in vitro biofilm-grown bacteria can be abolished. We show that following the addition of promethazine, diverse antibiotics are capable of efficiently killing biofilm-residing cells at minimal inhibitory concentrations. Synergistic effects could also be observed in a murine in vivo model system. PMZ was shown to increase membrane potential and interfere with bacterial respiration. Of note, antibiotic killing activity was elevated when PMZ was added to cells grown under environmental conditions that induce low intracellular proton levels. Our results imply that biofilm-grown bacteria avoid antibiotic killing and become tolerant by counteracting intracellular alkalization through the adaptation of metabolic and transport functions. Abrogation of antibiotic tolerance by interfering with the cell's bioenergetics promises to pave the way for successful eradication of biofilm-associated infections. Repurposing promethazine as a biofilm-sensitizing drug has the potential to accelerate the introduction of new treatments for recalcitrant, biofilm-associated infections into the clinic.
    • Additions to the genus Gimesia: description of Gimesia alba sp. nov., Gimesia algae sp. nov., Gimesia aquarii sp. nov., Gimesia aquatilis sp. nov., Gimesia fumaroli sp. nov. and Gimesia panareensis sp. nov., isolated from aquatic habitats of the Northern Hemisphere.

      Wiegand, Sandra; Jogler, Mareike; Boedeker, Christian; Heuer, Anja; Rast, Patrick; Peeters, Stijn H; Jetten, Mike S M; Kaster, Anne-Kristin; Rohde, Manfred; Kallscheuer, Nicolai; et al. (Springer, 2020-11-24)
      Thirteen novel planctomycetal strains were isolated from five different aquatic sampling locations. These comprise the hydrothermal vent system close to Panarea Island (Italy), a biofilm on the surface of kelp at Monterey Bay (CA, USA), sediment and algae on Mallorca Island (Spain) and Helgoland Island (Germany), as well as a seawater aquarium in Braunschweig, Germany. All strains were shown to belong to the genus Gimesia. Their genomes cover a size range from 7.22 to 8.29 Mb and have a G+C content between 45.1 and 53.7%. All strains are mesophilic (Topt 26-33 °C) with generation times between 12 and 32 h. Analysis of fatty acids yielded palmitic acid (16:0) and a fatty acid with the equivalent chain length of 15.817 as major compounds. While five of the novel strains belong to the already described species Gimesia maris and Gimesia chilikensis, the other strains belong to novel species, for which we propose the names Gimesia alba (type strain Pan241wT = DSM 100744T = LMG 31345T = CECT 9841T = VKM B-3430T), Gimesia algae (type strain Pan161T = CECT 30192T = STH00943T = LMG 29130T), Gimesia aquarii (type strain V144T = DSM 101710T = VKM B-3433T), Gimesia fumaroli (type strain Enr17T = DSM 100710T = VKM B-3429T) and Gimesia panareensis (type strain Enr10T = DSM 100416T = LMG 29082T). STH numbers refer to the Jena Microbial Resource Collection (JMRC).
    • Toll-like Receptor 5 Activation by the CagY Repeat Domains of Helicobacter pylori.

      Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Neddermann, Matthias; Lind, Judith; Pachathundikandi, Suneesh Kumar; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Gutiérrez-Escobar, Andrés Julián; Brönstrup, Mark; Tegge, Werner; Hong, Minsun; Rohde, Manfred; et al. (Cell Press, 2020-11-15)
      Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is an important human pathogen associated with gastric inflammation and neoplasia. It is commonly believed that this bacterium avoids major immune recognition by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) because of low intrinsic activity of its flagellin and lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In particular, TLR5 specifically detects flagellins in various bacterial pathogens, while Hp evolved mutations in flagellin to evade detection through TLR5. Cancerogenic Hp strains encode a type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS core component and pilus-associated protein CagY, a large VirB10 ortholog, drives effector molecule translocation. Here, we identify CagY as a flagellin-independent TLR5 agonist. We detect five TLR5 interaction sites, promoting binding of CagY-positive Hp to TLR5-expressing cells, TLR5 stimulation, and intracellular signal transduction. Consequently, CagY constitutes a remarkable VirB10 member detected by TLR5, driving crucial innate immune responses by this human pathogen.