• 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.
    • Metabolic Rearrangements Causing Elevated Proline and Polyhydroxybutyrate Accumulation During the Osmotic Adaptation Response of .

      Godard, Thibault; Zühlke, Daniela; Richter, Georg; Wall, Melanie; Rohde, Manfred; Riedel, Katharina; Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; Krull, Rainer; Biedendieck, Rebekka; HZI,Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-21)
      For many years now, Bacillus megaterium serves as a microbial workhorse for the high-level production of recombinant proteins in the g/L-scale. However, efficient and stable production processes require the knowledge of the molecular adaptation strategies of the host organism to establish optimal environmental conditions. Here, we interrogated the osmotic stress response of B. megaterium using transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, and fluxome analyses. An initial transient adaptation consisted of potassium import and glutamate counterion synthesis. The massive synthesis of the compatible solute proline constituted the second longterm adaptation process. Several stress response enzymes involved in iron scavenging and reactive oxygen species (ROS) fighting proteins showed higher levels under prolonged osmotic stress induced by 1.8 M NaCl. At the same time, the downregulation of the expression of genes of the upper part of glycolysis resulted in the activation of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), generating an oversupply of NADPH. The increased production of lactate accompanied by the reduction of acetate secretion partially compensate for the unbalanced (NADH/NAD+) ratio. Besides, the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) mainly supplies the produced NADH, as indicated by the higher mRNA and protein levels of involved enzymes, and further confirmed by 13C flux analyses. As a consequence of the metabolic flux toward acetyl-CoA and the generation of an excess of NADPH, B. megaterium redirected the produced acetyl-CoA toward the polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) biosynthetic pathway accumulating around 30% of the cell dry weight (CDW) as PHB. This direct relation between osmotic stress and intracellular PHB content has been evidenced for the first time, thus opening new avenues for synthesizing this valuable biopolymer using varying salt concentrations under non-limiting nutrient conditions.
    • 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.
    • Microbiome Yarns: human biome reproduction, evolution and visual acuity,,.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Molinari, Gabriella; Rohde, Manfred; Lahti, Leo; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-01)
    • Microbiome yarns: microbiome basis of memory,,.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Molinari, Gabriella; Rohde, M; Timmis, James Kenneth; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-01-01)
    • Microbiome Yarns: microbiome of the built environment, paranormal microbiology, and the power of single cell genomics1,2,3,4.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Rohde, Manfred; Molinari, Gabriella; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-05-16)
    • 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)
    • Microbiome yarns: The Global Phenotype-Genotype Survey: Episode I: all my worldly goods, including my microbiome, I thee endow.

      Timmis, Kenneth; Jebok, Franziska; Rohde, M; Molinari, Gabriella; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley and Sons, 2019-01-01)
    • 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)
    • 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.
    • Molecular typing of Streptococcus suis strains isolated from diseased and healthy pigs between 1996-2016.

      Prüfer, T Louise; Rohde, Judith; Verspohl, Jutta; Rohde, M; de Greeff, Astrid; Willenborg, Jörg; Valentin-Weigand, Peter; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (PLOS, 2019-01-01)
      Streptococcus suis is an economically important pathogen of pigs as well as a zoonotic cause of human disease. Serotyping is used for further characterization of isolates; some serotypes seem to be more virulent and more widely spread than others. This study characterizes a collection of German field isolates of Streptococcus suis from pigs dating from 1996 to 2016 with respect to capsular genes (cps) specific for individual serotypes and pathotype by multiplex PCR and relates results to the clinical background of these isolates. The most prominent finding was the reduction in prevalence of serotype-2/serotype-1/2 among invasive isolates during this sampling period, which might be attributed to widely implemented autogenous vaccination programs in swine against serotype 2 in Germany. In diseased pigs (systemically ill; respiratory disease) isolates of serotype-1/serotype-14, serotype-2/serotype-1/2, serotype 3 to 5 and 7 to 9 were most frequent while in carrier isolates a greater variety of cps types was found. Serotype-1/serotype-14 seemed to be preferentially located in joints, serotype 4 and serotype 3 in the central nervous system, respectively. The virulence associated extracellular protein factor was almost exclusively associated with invasive serotype-1/serotype-14 and serotype-2/serotype-1/2 isolates. In contrast, lung isolates of serotype-2/serotype-1/2 mainly harbored the gene for muramidase-released protein. Serotype 4 and serotype 9 isolates from clinically diseased pigs most frequently carried the muramidase-released protein gene and the suilysin gene. When examined by transmission electron microscopy all but one of the isolates which were non-typable by molecular and serological methods showed various amounts of capsular material indicating potentially new serotypes among these isolates. Given the variety of cps types/serotypes detected in pigs, not only veterinarians but also medical doctors should consider other serotypes than just serotype 2 when investigating potential human cases of Streptococcus suis infection.
    • Multiple mechanisms mediate resistance to sorafenib in urothelial cancer.

      Knievel, Judith; Schulz, Wolfgang A; Greife, Annemarie; Hader, Christiane; Lübke, Tobias; Schmitz, Ingo; Albers, Peter; Niegisch, Günter (2014)
      Genetic and epigenetic changes in the mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling render urothelial cancer a potential target for tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) treatment. However, clinical trials of several TKIs failed to prove efficacy. In this context, we investigated changes in MAPK signaling activity, downstream apoptotic regulators and changes in cell cycle distribution in different urothelial cancer cell lines (UCCs) upon treatment with the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib. None of the classical sorafenib targets (vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 1/-receptor 2, VEGFR1/-R2; platelet-derived growth factor receptor α/-receptor β, PDGFR-α/-β; c-KIT) was expressed at significant levels leaving RAF proteins as its likely molecular target. Low sorafenib concentrations paradoxically increased cell viability, whereas higher concentrations induced G1 arrest and eventually apoptosis. MAPK signaling remained partly active after sorafenib treatment, especially in T24 cells with an oncogenic HRAS mutation. AKT phosphorylation was increased, suggesting compensatory activation of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Sorafenib regularly down regulated the anti-apoptotic myeloid cell leukemia 1 (Mcl-1) protein, but combinatorial treatment with ABT-737 targeting other B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family proteins did not result in synergistic effects. In summary, efficacy of sorafenib in urothelial cancer cell lines appears hampered by limited effects on MAPK signaling, crosstalk with further cancer pathways and an anti-apoptotic state of UCCs. These observations may account for the lack of efficacy of sorafenib in clinical trials and should be considered more broadly in the development of signaling pathway inhibitors for drug therapy in urothelial carcinoma.
    • Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae resides intracellularly within porcine epithelial cells.

      Raymond, B B A; Turnbull, L; Jenkins, C; Madhkoor, R; Schleicher, I; Uphoff, C C; Whitchurch, C B; Rohde, M; Djordjevic, S P; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2018-12-06)
      Enzootic pneumonia incurs major economic losses to pork production globally. The primary pathogen and causative agent, Mycoplasma hyopneumoniae, colonises ciliated epithelium and disrupts mucociliary function predisposing the upper respiratory tract to secondary pathogens. Alleviation of disease is reliant on antibiotics, vaccination, and sound animal husbandry, but none are effective at eliminating M. hyopneumoniae from large production systems. Sustainable pork production systems strive to lower reliance on antibiotics but lack of a detailed understanding of the pathobiology of M. hyopneumoniae has curtailed efforts to develop effective mitigation strategies. M. hyopneumoniae is considered an extracellular pathogen. Here we show that M. hyopneumoniae associates with integrin β1 on the surface of epithelial cells via interactions with surface-bound fibronectin and initiates signalling events that stimulate pathogen uptake into clathrin-coated vesicles (CCVs) and caveosomes. These early events allow M. hyopneumoniae to exploit an intracellular lifestyle by commandeering the endosomal pathway. Specifically, we show: (i) using a modified gentamicin protection assay that approximately 8% of M. hyopneumoniae cells reside intracellularly; (ii) integrin β1 expression specifically co-localises with the deposition of fibronectin precisely where M. hyopneumoniae cells assemble extracellularly; (iii) anti-integrin β1 antibodies block entry of M. hyopneumoniae into porcine cells; and (iv) M. hyopneumoniae survives phagolysosomal fusion, and resides within recycling endosomes that are trafficked to the cell membrane. Our data creates a paradigm shift by challenging the long-held view that M. hyopneumoniae is a strict extracellular pathogen and calls for in vivo studies to determine if M. hyopneumoniae can traffic to extrapulmonary sites in commercially-reared pigs.
    • A network of trans-cortical capillaries as mainstay for blood circulation in long bones.

      Grüneboom, Anika; Hawwari, Ibrahim; Weidner, Daniela; Culemann, Stephan; Müller, Sylvia; Henneberg, Sophie; Brenzel, Alexandra; Merz, Simon; Bornemann, Lea; Zec, Kristina; et al. (Nature publishing group(NPG), 2019-01-21)
      Closed circulatory systems (CCS) underlie the function of vertebrate organs, but in long bones their structure is unclear, although they constitute the exit route for bone marrow (BM) leukocytes. To understand neutrophil emigration from BM, we studied the vascular system of murine long bones. Here we show that hundreds of capillaries originate in BM, cross murine cortical bone perpendicularly along the shaft and connect to the periosteal circulation. Structures similar to these trans-cortical-vessels (TCVs) also exist in human limb bones. TCVs express arterial or venous markers and transport neutrophils. Furthermore, over 80% arterial and 59% venous blood passes through TCVs. Genetic and drug-mediated modulation of osteoclast count and activity leads to substantial changes in TCV numbers. In a murine model of chronic arthritic bone inflammation, new TCVs develop within weeks. Our data indicate that TCVs are a central component of the CCS in long bones and may represent an important route for immune cell export from the BM.
    • New insights into the antimicrobial effect of mast cells against Enterococcus faecalis.

      Scheb-Wetzel, Matthias; Rohde, Manfred; Bravo, Alicia; Goldmann, Oliver; Helmholtz Centre for infection reseach,Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-11)
      Enterococcus faecalis has emerged as an important cause of life-threatening multidrug-resistant bacterial infections in the hospital setting. The pathogenesis of enterococcal infections has remained a relatively neglected field despite their obvious clinical relevance. The objective of this study was to characterize the interactions between mast cells (MCs), an innate immune cell population abundant in the intestinal lamina propria, and E. faecalis. This study was conducted with primary bone marrow-derived murine MCs. The results demonstrated that MCs exerted an antimicrobial effect against E. faecalis that was mediated both by degranulation, with the concomitant discharge of the antimicrobial effectors contained in the granules, and by the release of extracellular traps, in which E. faecalis was snared and killed. In particular, the cathelicidin LL-37 released by the MCs had potent antimicrobial effect against E. faecalis. We also investigated the specific receptors involved in the recognition of E. faecalis by MCs. We found that Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are critically involved in the MC recognition of E. faecalis, since MCs deficient in the expression of MyD88, an adaptor molecule required for signaling by most TLRs, were significantly impaired in their capacity to degranulate, to reduce E. faecalis growth as well as to release tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin 6 (IL-6) after encountering this pathogen. Furthermore, TLR2 was identified as the most prominent TLR involved in the recognition of E. faecalis by MCs. The results of this study indicate that MCs may be important contributors to the host innate immune defenses against E. faecalis.
    • Nocardiopsis mwathae sp. nov., isolated from the haloalkaline Lake Elmenteita in the African Rift Valley.

      Akhwale, Juliah Khayeli; Göker, Markus; Rohde, Manfred; Schumann, Peter; Boga, Hamadi Iddi; Klenk, Hans-Peter; German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Inhoffenstraße 7B, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-01-18)
      During a screening for novel and biotechnologically useful bacteria in haloalkaline lakes, strain No.156(T) was isolated from a sediment sample from lake Elmenteita in the African Rift Valley and studied by a polyphasic taxonomic approach. The strain was observed to form yellow aerial and substrate mycelia; optimal growth was found to be at 30-35 °C in salt concentrations of 6-9 % (w/v) and at pH 7-9. The DNA G+C content of the novel strain was 71 mol%. Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences indicated that the isolate belongs to the genus Nocardiopsis with sequence similarities below 98 % to the type strains of all other representatives of the genus. Mycolic acids were not detected in whole cell methanolysates. The peptidoglycan was found to contain meso-diaminopimelic acid as the diamino acid with no diagnostic sugars. The main polar lipids were identified as phosphatidylmethylethanolamine, phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylglycerol and phosphatidylinositol but no diphosphatidylglycerol. The predominant menaquinones were MK-11(H8), MK-11(H6), MK-10(H8) and MK-10(H6). Cellular fatty acids were found to consist of saturated and monounsaturated iso- and anteiso-branched acids with 16-18 C-length, tuberculostearic acid (Me18:0), and straight-chain saturated (16:0, 18:0) acids. These characteristics match those of the genus Nocardiopsis. Based on 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis and phenotypic characteristics, a novel species with the name Nocardiopsis mwathae is proposed. The type strain is No.156(T) (=DSM 46659(T) = CECT 8552(T)). The INSDC accession number for the 16S rRNA gene sequence of strain No.156(T) is KF976731.
    • 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.
    • Novel drug targets in cell wall biosynthesis exploited by gene disruption in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

      Elamin, Ayssar A; Steinicke, Susanne; Oehlmann, Wulf; Braun, Yvonne; Wanas, Hanaa; Shuralev, Eduard A; Huck, Carmen; Maringer, Marko; Rohde, M; Singh, Mahavir; et al. (2017)
      For clinicians, Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a nightmare pathogen that is one of the top three causes of opportunistic human infections. Therapy of P. aeruginosa infections is complicated due to its natural high intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. Active efflux and decreased uptake of drugs due to cell wall/membrane permeability appear to be important issues in the acquired antibiotic tolerance mechanisms. Bacterial cell wall biosynthesis enzymes have been shown to be essential for pathogenicity of Gram-negative bacteria. However, the role of these targets in virulence has not been identified in P. aeruginosa. Here, we report knockout (k.o) mutants of six cell wall biosynthesis targets (murA, PA4450; murD, PA4414; murF, PA4416; ppiB, PA1793; rmlA, PA5163; waaA, PA4988) in P. aeruginosa PAO1, and characterized these in order to find out whether these genes and their products contribute to pathogenicity and virulence of P. aeruginosa. Except waaA k.o, deletion of cell wall biosynthesis targets significantly reduced growth rate in minimal medium compared to the parent strain. The k.o mutants showed exciting changes in cell morphology and colonial architectures. Remarkably, ΔmurF cells became grossly enlarged. Moreover, the mutants were also attenuated in vivo in a mouse infection model except ΔmurF and ΔwaaA and proved to be more sensitive to macrophage-mediated killing than the wild-type strain. Interestingly, the deletion of the murA gene resulted in loss of virulence activity in mice, and the virulence was restored in a plant model by unknown mechanism. This study demonstrates that cell wall targets contribute significantly to intracellular survival, in vivo growth, and pathogenesis of P. aeruginosa. In conclusion, these findings establish a link between cell wall targets and virulence of P. aeruginosa and thus may lead to development of novel drugs for the treatment of P. aeruginosa infection.