• Identification and Characterization of T5-Like Bacteriophages Representing Two Novel Subgroups from Food Products.

      Sváb, Domonkos; Falgenhauer, Linda; Rohde, M; Szabó, Judit; Chakraborty, Trinad; Tóth, István; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018)
      During recent years, interest in the use of bacteriophages as biocontrol agents against foodborne pathogens has increased, particularly for members of the family Enterobacteriaceae, with pathogenic Escherichia coli, Shigella, and Salmonella strains among them. Here, we report the isolation and characterisation of 12 novel T5-like bacteriophages from confiscated food samples. All bacterophages effectively lysed E. coli K-12 strains and were able to infect pathogenic E. coli strains representing enterohaemorrhagic (EHEC), enteropathogenic (EPEC), enterotoxigenic (ETEC), and enteroinvasive (EIEC) pathotypes, Shigella dysenteriae, S. sonnei strains, as well as multidrug-resistant (MDR) E. coli and multiple strains representing different Salmonella enterica serovars. All the bacteriophages exhibited Siphoviridae morphology. Whole genome sequencing of the novel T5-like bacteriophages showed that they represent two distinct groups, with the genome-based grouping correlating to the different host spectra. As these bacteriophages are of food origin, their stability and lack of any virulence genes, as well as their broad and mutually complementary host spectrum makes these new T5-like bacteriophages valuable candidates for use as biocontrol agents against foodborne pathogenic enterobacteria.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • An internal thioester in a pathogen surface protein mediates covalent host binding.

      Walden, Miriam; Edwards, John M; Dziewulska, Aleksandra M; Bergmann, Rene; Saalbach, Gerhard; Kan, Su-Yin; Miller, Ona K; Weckener, Miriam; Jackson, Rosemary J; Shirran, Sally L; et al. (2015)
      To cause disease and persist in a host, pathogenic and commensal microbes must adhere to tissues. Colonization and infection depend on specific molecular interactions at the host-microbe interface that involve microbial surface proteins, or adhesins. To date, adhesins are only known to bind to host receptors non-covalently. Here we show that the streptococcal surface protein SfbI mediates covalent interaction with the host protein fibrinogen using an unusual internal thioester bond as a 'chemical harpoon'. This cross-linking reaction allows bacterial attachment to fibrin and SfbI binding to human cells in a model of inflammation. Thioester-containing domains are unexpectedly prevalent in Gram-positive bacteria, including many clinically relevant pathogens. Our findings support bacterial-encoded covalent binding as a new molecular principle in host-microbe interactions. This represents an as yet unexploited target to treat bacterial infection and may also offer novel opportunities for engineering beneficial interactions.
    • 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.
    • Iron Regulation in Clostridioides difficile.

      Berges, Mareike; Michel, Annika-Marisa; Lassek, Christian; Nuss, Aaron M; Beckstette, Michael; Dersch, Petra; Riedel, Katharina; Sievers, Susanne; Becher, Dörte; Otto, Andreas; et al. (2018-01-01)
      The response to iron limitation of several bacteria is regulated by the ferric uptake regulator (Fur). The Fur-regulated transcriptional, translational and metabolic networks of the Gram-positive, pathogen Clostridioides difficile were investigated by a combined RNA sequencing, proteomic, metabolomic and electron microscopy approach. At high iron conditions (15 μM) the C. difficile fur mutant displayed a growth deficiency compared to wild type C. difficile cells. Several iron and siderophore transporter genes were induced by Fur during low iron (0.2 μM) conditions. The major adaptation to low iron conditions was observed for the central energy metabolism. Most ferredoxin-dependent amino acid fermentations were significantly down regulated (had, etf, acd, grd, trx, bdc, hbd). The substrates of these pathways phenylalanine, leucine, glycine and some intermediates (phenylpyruvate, 2-oxo-isocaproate, 3-hydroxy-butyryl-CoA, crotonyl-CoA) accumulated, while end products like isocaproate and butyrate were found reduced. Flavodoxin (fldX) formation and riboflavin biosynthesis (rib) were enhanced, most likely to replace the missing ferredoxins. Proline reductase (prd), the corresponding ion pumping RNF complex (rnf) and the reaction product 5-aminovalerate were significantly enhanced. An ATP forming ATPase (atpCDGAHFEB) of the F0F1-type was induced while the formation of a ATP-consuming, proton-pumping V-type ATPase (atpDBAFCEKI) was decreased. The [Fe-S] enzyme-dependent pyruvate formate lyase (pfl), formate dehydrogenase (fdh) and hydrogenase (hyd) branch of glucose utilization and glycogen biosynthesis (glg) were significantly reduced, leading to an accumulation of glucose and pyruvate. The formation of [Fe-S] enzyme carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (coo) was inhibited. The fur mutant showed an increased sensitivity to vancomycin and polymyxin B. An intensive remodeling of the cell wall was observed, Polyamine biosynthesis (spe) was induced leading to an accumulation of spermine, spermidine, and putrescine. The fur mutant lost most of its flagella and motility. Finally, the CRISPR/Cas and a prophage encoding operon were downregulated. Fur binding sites were found upstream of around 20 of the regulated genes. Overall, adaptation to low iron conditions in C. difficile focused on an increase of iron import, a significant replacement of iron requiring metabolic pathways and the restructuring of the cell surface for protection during the complex adaptation phase and was only partly directly regulated by Fur.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Kindlin-2 recruits paxillin and Arp2/3 to promote membrane protrusions during initial cell spreading.

      Böttcher, Ralph T; Veelders, Maik; Rombaut, Pascaline; Faix, Jan; Theodosiou, Marina; Stradal, Theresia E B; Rottner, Klemens; Zent, Roy; Herzog, Franz; Fässler, Reinhard; et al. (2017-09-14)
      Cell spreading requires the coupling of actin-driven membrane protrusion and integrin-mediated adhesion to the extracellular matrix. The integrin-activating adaptor protein kindlin-2 plays a central role for cell adhesion and membrane protrusion by directly binding and recruiting paxillin to nascent adhesions. Here, we report that kindlin-2 has a dual role during initial cell spreading: it binds paxillin via the pleckstrin homology and F0 domains to activate Rac1, and it directly associates with the Arp2/3 complex to induce Rac1-mediated membrane protrusions. Consistently, abrogation of kindlin-2 binding to Arp2/3 impairs lamellipodia formation and cell spreading. Our findings identify kindlin-2 as a key protein that couples cell adhesion by activating integrins and the induction of membrane protrusions by activating Rac1 and supplying Rac1 with the Arp2/3 complex.
    • Labrenzia salina sp. nov., isolated from the rhizosphere of the halophyte Arthrocnemum macrostachyum.

      Camacho, Maria; Redondo-Gómez, Susana; Rodríguez-Llorente, Ignacio; Rohde, M; Spröer, Cathrin; Schumann, Peter; Klenk, Hans-Peter; Montero-Calasanz, Maria Del Carmen; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-12)
      A novel, halophilic, motile, rod-shaped, Gram-staining-negative and non-endospore forming bacterium, designated Cs25T, was isolated from the rhizosphere of the halophyte Arthrocnemum macrostachyum growing in a tidal flat. Strain Cs25T was observed to be catalase-negative and oxidase-positive, and to hydrolyse hypoxanthine. Growth occurred from 15 to 40 °C, at pH 7.0-10.0 and with 1-11 % (w/v) NaCl. Q-10 was identified as the dominant ubiquinone, and the major cellular fatty acids were C18 : 1ω7c, 11-methyl C18 : 1ω7c, C20 : 1ω7c and C18 : 0. The polar lipids comprised phosphatidylmonomethylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, sulphoquinovosyldiacylglyceride, diphosphatidylglycerol, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylethanolamine. The 16S rRNA gene showed 99.19, 98.6 and 98.59 % sequence identity with Labrenzia alba DSM 18320T, L. aggregata DSM 13394T and L. marina DSM 17023T, respectively. Based on the phenotypic and molecular features and DNA-DNA hybridization data, it is concluded that strain Cs25T represents a novel species for which the name Labrenzia salinasp. nov. is proposed. The type strain is Cs25T (=DSM 29163T=CECT 8816T).
    • 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.
    • Lipoteichoic acid deficiency permits normal growth but impairs virulence of Streptococcus pneumoniae.

      Heß, Nathalie; Waldow, Franziska; Kohler, Thomas P; Rohde, Manfred; Kreikemeyer, Bernd; Gómez-Mejia, Alejandro; Hain, Torsten; Schwudke, Dominik; Vollmer, Waldemar; Hammerschmidt, Sven; et al. (2017-12-12)
      Teichoic acid (TA), a crucial cell wall constituent of the pathobiont Streptococcus pneumoniae, is bound to peptidoglycan (wall teichoic acid, WTA) or to membrane glycolipids (lipoteichoic acid, LTA). Both TA polymers share a common precursor synthesis pathway, but differ in the final transfer of the TA chain to either peptidoglycan or a glycolipid. Here, we show that LTA exhibits a different linkage conformation compared to WTA, and identify TacL (previously known as RafX) as a putative lipoteichoic acid ligase required for LTA assembly. Pneumococcal mutants deficient in TacL lack LTA and show attenuated virulence in mouse models of acute pneumonia and systemic infections, although they grow normally in culture. Hence, LTA is important for S. pneumoniae to establish systemic infections, and TacL represents a potential target for antimicrobial drug development.
    • Localization of MLH3 at the centrosomes.

      Roesner, Lennart M; Mielke, Christian; Faehnrich, Silke; Merkhoffer, Yvonne; Dittmar, Kurt E J; Drexler, Hans G; Dirks, Wilhelm G (2014)
      Mutations in human DNA mismatch repair (MMR) genes are commonly associated with hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC). MLH1 protein heterodimerizes with PMS2, PMS1, and MLH3 to form MutLα, MutLβ, and MutLγ, respectively. We reported recently stable expression of GFP-linked MLH3 in human cell lines. Monitoring these cell lines during the cell cycle using live cell imaging combined with confocal microscopy, we detected accumulation of MLH3 at the centrosomes. Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching (FRAP) revealed high mobility and fast exchange rates at the centrosomes as it has been reported for other DNA repair proteins. MLH3 may have a role in combination with other repair proteins in the control of centrosome numbers.
    • 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.
    • Lysozyme and bilirubin bind to ACE and regulate its conformation and shedding.

      Danilov, Sergei M; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Akinbi, Henry T; Nesterovitch, Andrew B; Epshtein, Yuliya; Letsiou, Eleftheria; Kryukova, Olga V; Piegeler, Tobias; Golukhova, Elena Z; Schwartz, David E; et al. (2016-10-13)
      Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) hydrolyzes numerous peptides and is a critical participant in blood pressure regulation and vascular remodeling. Elevated tissue ACE levels are associated with increased risk for cardiovascular and respiratory disorders. Blood ACE concentrations are determined by proteolytic cleavage of ACE from the endothelial cell surface, a process that remains incompletely understood. In this study, we identified a novel ACE gene mutation (Arg532Trp substitution in the N domain of somatic ACE) that increases blood ACE activity 7-fold and interrogated the mechanism by which this mutation significantly increases blood ACE levels. We hypothesized that this ACE mutation disrupts the binding site for blood components which may stabilize ACE conformation and diminish ACE shedding. We identified the ACE-binding protein in the blood as lysozyme and also a Low Molecular Weight (LMW) ACE effector, bilirubin, which act in concert to regulate ACE conformation and thereby influence ACE shedding. These results provide mechanistic insight into the elevated blood level of ACE observed in patients on ACE inhibitor therapy and elevated blood lysozyme and ACE levels in sarcoidosis patients.
    • Macrophage entrapped silica coated superparamagnetic iron oxide particles for controlled drug release in a 3D cancer model.

      Ullah, Sami; Seidel, Katja; Türkkan, Sibel; Warwas, Dawid Peter; Dubich, Tatyana; Rohde, Manfred; Hauser, Hansjörg; Behrens, Peter; Kirschning, Andreas; Köster, Mario; et al. (2018-12-23)
      Targeted delivery of drugs is a major challenge in treatment of diverse diseases. Systemically administered drugs demand high doses and are accompanied by poor selectivity and side effects on non-target cells. Here, we introduce a new principle for targeted drug delivery. It is based on macrophages as transporters for nanoparticle-coupled drugs as well as controlled release of drugs by hyperthermia mediated disruption of the cargo cells and simultaneous deliberation of nanoparticle-linked drugs. Hyperthermia is induced by an alternating electromagnetic field (AMF) that induces heat from silica-coated superparamagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles (SPIONs). We show proof-of-principle of controlled release by the simultaneous disruption of the cargo cells and the controlled, AMF induced release of a toxin, which was covalently linked to silica-coated SPIONs via a thermo-sensitive linker. Cells that had not been loaded with SPIONs remain unaffected. Moreover, in a 3D co-culture model we demonstrate specific killing of associated tumour cells when employing a ratio as low as 1:40 (SPION-loaded macrophage: tumour cells). Overall, our results demonstrate that AMF induced drug release from macrophage-entrapped nanoparticles is tightly controlled and may be an attractive novel strategy for targeted drug release.
    • 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.
    • Mesenteric lymph node stromal cell-derived extracellular vesicles contribute to peripheral de novo induction of Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells.

      Pasztoi, Maria; Pezoldt, Joern; Beckstette, Michael; Lipps, Christoph; Wirth, Dagmar; Rohde, M; Paloczi, Krisztina; Buzas, Edit Iren; Huehn, Jochen; Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-18)
      Intestinal regulatory T cells (Tregs) are fundamental in peripheral tolerance toward commensals and food-borne antigens. Accordingly, gut-draining mesenteric lymph nodes (mLNs) represent a site of efficient peripheral de novo Treg induction when compared to skin-draining peripheral LNs (pLNs), and we had recently shown that LN stromal cells substantially contribute to this process. Here, we aimed to unravel the underlying molecular mechanisms and generated immortalized fibroblastic reticular cell lines (iFRCs) from mLNs and pLNs, allowing unlimited investigation of this rare stromal cell subset. In line with our previous findings, mLN-iFRCs showed a higher Treg-inducing capacity when compared to pLN-iFRCs. RNA-seq analysis focusing on secreted molecules revealed a more tolerogenic phenotype of mLN- as compared to pLN-iFRCs. Remarkably, mLN-iFRCs produced substantial numbers of microvesicles (MVs) that carried elevated levels of TGF-β when compared to pLN-iFRC-derived MVs, and these novel players of intercellular communication were shown to be responsible for the tolerogenic properties of mLN-iFRCs. Thus, stromal cells originating from mLNs contribute to peripheral tolerance by fostering de novo Treg induction using TGF-β-carrying MVs. This finding provides novel insights into the subcellular/molecular mechanisms of de novo Treg induction and might serve as promising tool for future therapeutic applications to treat inflammatory disorders.