• Extracellular Actin Is a Receptor for Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae.

      Raymond, Benjamin B A; Madhkoor, Ranya; Schleicher, Ina; Uphoff, Cord C; Turnbull, Lynne; Whitchurch, Cynthia B; Rohde, M; Padula, Matthew P; Djordjevic, Steven P; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018)
      Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, an agriculturally important porcine pathogen, disrupts the mucociliary escalator causing ciliostasis, loss of cilial function, and epithelial cell death within the porcine lung. Losses to swine production due to growth rate retardation and reduced feed conversion efficiency are severe, and antibiotics are used heavily to control mycoplasmal pneumonia. Notably, little is known about the repertoire of host receptors that M. hyopneumoniae targets to facilitate colonization. Here we show, for the first time, that actin exists extracellularly on porcine epithelial monolayers (PK-15) using surface biotinylation and 3D-Structured Illumination Microscopy (3D-SIM), and that M. hyopneumoniae binds to the extracellular β-actin exposed on the surface of these cells. Consistent with this hypothesis we show: (i) monoclonal antibodies that target β-actin significantly block the ability of M. hyopneumoniae to adhere and colonize PK-15 cells; (ii) microtiter plate binding assays show that M. hyopneumoniae cells bind to monomeric G-actin in a dose dependent manner; (iii) more than 100 M. hyopneumoniae proteins were recovered from affinity-chromatography experiments using immobilized actin as bait; and (iv) biotinylated monomeric actin binds directly to M. hyopneumoniae proteins in ligand blotting studies. Specifically, we show that the P97 cilium adhesin possesses at least two distinct actin-binding regions, and binds monomeric actin with nanomolar affinity. Taken together, these observations suggest that actin may be an important receptor for M. hyopneumoniae within the swine lung and will aid in the future development of intervention strategies against this devastating pathogen. Furthermore, our observations have wider implications for extracellular actin as an important bacterial receptor.
    • SCM, the M Protein of Streptococcus canis Binds Immunoglobulin G.

      Bergmann, Simone; Eichhorn, Inga; Kohler, Thomas P; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Goldmann, Oliver; Rohde, M; Fulde, Marcus; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      The M protein of Streptococcus canis (SCM) is a virulence factor and serves as a surface-associated receptor with a particular affinity for mini-plasminogen, a cleavage product of the broad-spectrum serine protease plasmin. Here, we report that SCM has an additional high-affinity immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding activity. The ability of a particular S. canis isolate to bind to IgG significantly correlates with a scm-positive phenotype, suggesting a dominant role of SCM as an IgG receptor. Subsequent heterologous expression of SCM in non-IgG binding S. gordonii and Western Blot analysis with purified recombinant SCM proteins confirmed its IgG receptor function. As expected for a zoonotic agent, the SCM-IgG interaction is species-unspecific, with a particular affinity of SCM for IgGs derived from human, cats, dogs, horses, mice, and rabbits, but not from cows and goats. Similar to other streptococcal IgG-binding proteins, the interaction between SCM and IgG occurs via the conserved Fc domain and is, therefore, non-opsonic. Interestingly, the interaction between SCM and IgG-Fc on the bacterial surface specifically prevents opsonization by C1q, which might constitute another anti-phagocytic mechanism of SCM. Extensive binding analyses with a variety of different truncated SCM fragments defined a region of 52 amino acids located in the central part of the mature SCM protein which is important for IgG binding. This binding region is highly conserved among SCM proteins derived from different S. canis isolates but differs significantly from IgG-Fc receptors of S. pyogenes and S. dysgalactiae sub. equisimilis, respectively. In summary, we present an additional role of SCM in the pathogen-host interaction of S. canis. The detailed analysis of the SCM-IgG interaction should contribute to a better understanding of the complex roles of M proteins in streptococcal pathogenesis.
    • Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus Invades and Survives in Epithelial Cells.

      Skive, Bolette; Rohde, M; Molinari, Gabriella; Braunstein, Thomas Hartig; Bojesen, Anders M; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Streptococcus equi subsp. zooepidemicus (S. zooepidemicus) is an opportunistic pathogen of several species including humans. S. zooepidemicus is found on mucus membranes of healthy horses, but can cause acute and chronic endometritis. Recently S. zooepidemicus was found able to reside in the endometrium for prolonged periods of time. Thus, we hypothesized that an intracellular phase may be part of the S. zooepidemicus pathogenesis and investigated if S. zooepidemicus was able to invade and survive inside epithelial cells. HEp-2 and HeLa cell lines were co-cultured with two S. zooepidemicus strains (1-4a and S31A1) both originating from the uterus of mares suffering from endometritis. Cells were fixed at different time points during the 23 h infection assay and field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) was used to characterize adhesion and invasion mechanisms. The FESEM images showed three morphologically different types of invasion for both bacterial strains. The main port of entry was through large invaginations in the epithelial cell membrane. Pili-like bacterial appendages were observed when the S. zooepidemicus cells were in close proximity to the epithelial cells indicating that attachment and invasion were active processes. Adherent and intracellular S. zooepidemicus, and bacteria in association with lysosomes was determined by immunofluorescence staining techniques and fluorescence microscopy. Quantification of intracellular bacteria was determined in penicillin protection assays. Both S. zooepidemicus strains investigated were able to invade epithelial cells although at different magnitudes. The immunofluorescence data showed significantly higher adhesion and invasion rates for strain 1-4a when compared to strain S31A1. S. zooepidemicus was able to survive intracellularly, but the survival rate decreased over time in the cell culture system. Phagosome-like compartments containing S. zooepidemicus at some stages fused with lysosomes to form a phagolysosome. The results indicate that an intracellular phase may be one way S. zooepidemicus survives in the host, and could in part explain how S. zooepidemicus can cause recurrent/persistent infections. Future studies should reveal the ability of S. zooepidemicus to internalize and survive in primary equine endometrial cells and during in vivo conditions.