• Production of infectious genotype 1b virus particles in cell culture and impairment by replication enhancing mutations.

      Pietschmann, Thomas; Zayas, Margarita; Meuleman, Philip; Long, Gang; Appel, Nicole; Koutsoudakis, George; Kallis, Stephanie; Leroux-Roels, Geert; Lohmann, Volker; Bartenschlager, Ralf (2009-06)
      With the advent of subgenomic hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicons, studies of the intracellular steps of the viral replication cycle became possible. These RNAs are capable of self-amplification in cultured human hepatoma cells, but save for the genotype 2a isolate JFH-1, efficient replication of these HCV RNAs requires replication enhancing mutations (REMs), previously also called cell culture adaptive mutations. These mutations cluster primarily in the central region of non-structural protein 5A (NS5A), but may also reside in the NS3 helicase domain or at a distinct position in NS4B. Most efficient replication has been achieved by combining REMs residing in NS3 with distinct REMs located in NS4B or NS5A. However, in spite of efficient replication of HCV genomes containing such mutations, they do not support production of infectious virus particles. By using the genotype 1b isolate Con1, in this study we show that REMs interfere with HCV assembly. Strongest impairment of virus formation was found with REMs located in the NS3 helicase (E1202G and T1280I) as well as NS5A (S2204R), whereas a highly adaptive REM in NS4B still allowed virus production although relative levels of core release were also reduced. We also show that cells transfected with the Con1 wild type genome or the genome containing the REM in NS4B release HCV particles that are infectious both in cell culture and in vivo. Our data provide an explanation for the in vitro and in vivo attenuation of cell culture adapted HCV genomes and may open new avenues for the development of fully competent culture systems covering the therapeutically most relevant HCV genotypes.
    • Salmonella Typhimurium discreet-invasion of the murine gut absorptive epithelium.

      Fattinger, Stefan A; Böck, Desirée; Di Martino, Maria Letizia; Deuring, Sabrina; Samperio Ventayol, Pilar; Ek, Viktor; Furter, Markus; Kreibich, Saskia; Bosia, Francesco; Müller-Hauser, Anna A; et al. (PLOS, 2020-05-04)
      Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S.Tm) infections of cultured cell lines have given rise to the ruffle model for epithelial cell invasion. According to this model, the Type-Three-Secretion-System-1 (TTSS-1) effectors SopB, SopE and SopE2 drive an explosive actin nucleation cascade, resulting in large lamellipodia- and filopodia-containing ruffles and cooperative S.Tm uptake. However, cell line experiments poorly recapitulate many of the cell and tissue features encountered in the host's gut mucosa. Here, we employed bacterial genetics and multiple imaging modalities to compare S.Tm invasion of cultured epithelial cell lines and the gut absorptive epithelium in vivo in mice. In contrast to the prevailing ruffle-model, we find that absorptive epithelial cell entry in the mouse gut occurs through "discreet-invasion". This distinct entry mode requires the conserved TTSS-1 effector SipA, involves modest elongation of local microvilli in the absence of expansive ruffles, and does not favor cooperative invasion. Discreet-invasion preferentially targets apicolateral hot spots at cell-cell junctions and shows strong dependence on local cell neighborhood. This proof-of-principle evidence challenges the current model for how S.Tm can enter gut absorptive epithelial cells in their intact in vivo context.
    • 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.