• Bifidobacterial enolase, a cell surface receptor for human plasminogen involved in the interaction with the host.

      Candela, Marco; Biagi, Elena; Centanni, Manuela; Turroni, Silvia; Vici, Manuela; Musiani, Francesco; Vitali, Beatrice; Bergmann, Simone; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Brigidi, Patrizia; et al. (2009-10)
      The interaction with the host plasminogen/plasmin system represents a novel component in the molecular cross-talk between bifidobacteria and human host. Here, we demonstrated that the plasminogen-binding bifidobacterial species B. longum, B. bifidum, B. breve and B. lactis share the key glycolytic enzyme enolase as a surface receptor for human plasminogen. Enolase was visualized on the cell surface of the model strain B. lactis BI07. The His-tagged recombinant protein showed a high affinity for human plasminogen, with an equilibrium dissociation constant in the nanomolar range. By site-directed mutagenesis we demonstrated that the interaction between the B. lactis BI07 enolase and human plasminogen involves an internal plasminogen-binding site homologous to that of pneumococcal enolase. According to our data, the positively charged residues Lys-251 and Lys-255, as well as the negatively charged Glu-252, of the B. lactis BI07 enolase are crucial for plasminogen binding. Acting as a human plasminogen receptor, the bifidobacterial surface enolase is suggested to play an important role in the interaction process with the host.
    • DnaK from Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis is a surface-exposed human plasminogen receptor upregulated in response to bile salts.

      Candela, Marco; Centanni, Manuela; Fiori, Jessica; Biagi, Elena; Turroni, Silvia; Orrico, Catia; Bergmann, Simone; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Brigidi, Patrizia; Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Bologna, Italy. (2010-06)
      Bifidobacterium animalis subsp. lactis lives in the gastrointestinal tract of most mammals, including humans. Recently, for the probiotic strain B. animalis subsp. lactis BI07, a dose-dependent plasminogen-binding activity was demonstrated and five putative plasminogen-binding proteins were identified. Here we investigated the role of surface DnaK as a B. animalis subsp. lactis BI07 plasminogen receptor. DnaK was visualized on the bacterial cell surface by transmission electron microscopy. The His-tagged recombinant DnaK protein showed a high affinity for human plasminogen, with an equilibrium dissociation constant in the nanomolar range. The capability to tolerate physiological concentrations of bile salts is a crucial feature for an intestinal symbiont micro-organism. By proteome analysis we demonstrated that the long-term exposure of B. animalis subsp. lactis BI07 to bile salts results in the upregulation of important surface plasminogen receptors such as DnaK and enolase. Moreover, adaptation of B. animalis subsp. lactis BI07 to physiological concentrations of bile salts significantly increased its capacity to interact with the host plasminogen system. By enhancing the bacterial capacity to interact with the host plasminogen, the gut bile environment may facilitate the colonization of the human host by B. animalis subsp. lactis BI07.
    • An optimized in vitro blood-brain barrier model reveals bidirectional transmigration of African trypanosome strains.

      Untucht, Christopher; Rasch, Janine; Fuchs, Elena; Rohde, Manfred; Bergmann, Simone; Steinert, Michael (2011-10)
      The transmigration of African trypanosomes across the human blood-brain barrier (BBB) is the critical step during the course of human African trypanosomiasis. The parasites Trypanosoma brucei gambiense and T. b. rhodesiense are transmitted to humans during the bite of tsetse flies. Trypanosomes multiply within the bloodstream and finally invade the central nervous system (CNS), which leads to the death of untreated patients. This project focused on the mechanisms of trypanosomal traversal across the BBB. In order to establish a suitable in vitro BBB model for parasite transmigration, different human cell lines were used, including ECV304, HBMEC and HUVEC, as well as C6 rat astrocytes. Validation of the BBB models with Escherichia coli HB101 and E. coli K1 revealed that a combination of ECV304 cells seeded on Matrigel as a semi-synthetic basement membrane and C6 astrocytes resulted in an optimal BBB model system. The BBB model showed selective permeability for the pathogenic E. coli K1 strain, and African trypanosomes were able to traverse the optimized ECV304-C6 BBB efficiently. Furthermore, coincubation indicated that paracellular macrophage transmigration does not facilitate trypanosomal BBB traversal. An inverse assembly of the BBB model demonstrated that trypanosomes were also able to transmigrate the optimized ECV304-C6 BBB backwards, indicating the relevance of the CNS as a possible reservoir of a relapsing parasitaemia.
    • Role of glucose and CcpA in capsule expression and virulence of Streptococcus suis.

      Willenborg, J; Fulde, M; de Greeff, A; Rohde, Manfred; Smith, H E; Valentin-Weigand, P; Goethe, R; Institute for Microbiology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Hannover, Germany. (2011-06)
      Streptococcus suis is one of the most important pathogens in pigs and is also an emerging zoonotic agent. After crossing the epithelial barrier, S. suis causes bacteraemia, resulting in meningitis, endocarditis and bronchopneumonia. Since the host environment seems to be an important regulatory component for virulence, we related expression of virulence determinants of S. suis to glucose availability during growth and to the sugar metabolism regulator catabolite control protein A (CcpA). We found that expression of the virulence-associated genes arcB, representing arcABC operon expression, cps2A, representing capsular locus expression, as well as sly, ofs, sao and epf, differed significantly between exponential and early stationary growth of a highly virulent serotype 2 strain. Deletion of ccpA altered the expression of the surface-associated virulence factors arcB, sao and eno, as well as the two currently proven virulence factors in pigs, ofs and cps2A, in early exponential growth. Global expression analysis using a cDNA expression array revealed 259 differentially expressed genes in early exponential growth, of which 141 were more highly expressed in the CcpA mutant strain 10ΔccpA and 118 were expressed to a lower extent. Interestingly, among the latter genes, 18 could be related to capsule and cell wall synthesis. Correspondingly, electron microscopy characterization of strain 10ΔccpA revealed a markedly reduced thickness of the capsule. This phenotype correlated with enhanced binding to porcine plasma proteins and a reduced resistance to killing by porcine neutrophils. Taken together, our data demonstrate that CcpA has a significant effect on the capsule synthesis and virulence properties of S. suis.