• Biofilm formation by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium colonizing solid tumours.

      Crull, Katja; Rohde, Manfred; Westphal, Kathrin; Loessner, Holger; Wolf, Kathrin; Felipe-López, Alfonso; Hensel, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried (2011-08)
      Systemic administration of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium to tumour bearing mice results in preferential colonization of the tumours and retardation of tumour growth. Although the bacteria are able to invade the tumour cells in vitro, in tumours they were never detected intracellularly. Ultrastructural analysis of Salmonella-colonized tumours revealed that the bacteria had formed biofilms. Interestingly, depletion of neutrophilic granulocytes drastically reduced biofilm formation. Obviously, bacteria form biofilms in response to the immune reactions of the host. Importantly, we tested Salmonella mutants that were no longer able to form biofilms by deleting central regulators of biofilm formation. Such bacteria could be observed intracellularly in immune cells of the host or in tumour cells. Thus, tumour colonizing S. typhimurium might form biofilms as protection against phagocytosis. Since other bacteria are behaving similarly, solid murine tumours might represent a unique model to study biofilm formation in vivo.
    • Cooperative plasminogen recruitment to the surface of Streptococcus canis via M protein and enolase enhances bacterial survival.

      Fulde, Marcus; Rohde, Manfred; Polok, Andy; Preissner, Klaus T; Chhatwal, Gursharan Singh; Bergmann, Simone; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Department of Medical Microbiology, Braunschweig, Germany. marcus.fulde@web.de (2013)
      Streptococcus canis is a zoonotic pathogen capable of causing serious invasive diseases in domestic animals and humans. Surface-exposed M proteins and metabolic enzymes have been characterized as major virulence determinants in various streptococcal species. Recently, we have identified SCM, the M-like protein of S. canis, as the major receptor for miniplasminogen localized on the bacterial surface. The present study now characterizes the glycolytic enzyme enolase as an additional surface-exposed plasminogen-binding protein. According to its zoonotic properties, purified S. canis enolase binds to both human and canine plasminogen and facilitates degradation of aggregated fibrin matrices after activation with host-derived urokinase-type plasminogen activator (uPA). Unlike SCM, which binds to the C terminus of human plasminogen, the S. canis enolase interacts N terminally with the first four kringle domains of plasminogen, representing angiostatin. Radioactive binding analyses confirmed cooperative plasminogen recruitment to both surface-exposed enolase and SCM. Furthermore, despite the lack of surface protease activity via SpeB in S. canis, SCM is released and reassociated homophilically to surface-anchored SCM and heterophilically to surface-bound plasminogen. In addition to plasminogen-mediated antiphagocytic activity, reassociation of SCM to the bacterial surface significantly enhanced bacterial survival in phagocytosis analyses using human neutrophils.
    • CRISPR-Cas9: how research on a bacterial RNA-guided mechanism opened new perspectives in biotechnology and biomedicine.

      Charpentier, Emmanuelle; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2015-04)
    • The CXC chemokine-degrading protease SpyCep of Streptococcus pyogenes promotes its uptake into endothelial cells.

      Kaur, Simran Jeet; Nerlich, Andreas; Bergmann, Simone; Rohde, Manfred; Fulde, Marcus; Zähner, Dorothea; Hanski, Emanuel; Zinkernagel, Annelies; Nizet, Victor; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; et al. (2010-09-03)
      Streptococcus pyogenes expresses the LPXTG motif-containing cell envelope serine protease SpyCep (also called ScpC, PrtS) that degrades and inactivates the major chemoattractant interleukin 8 (IL-8), thereby impairing host neutrophil recruitment. In this study, we identified a novel function of SpyCep: the ability to mediate uptake into primary human endothelial cells. SpyCep triggered its uptake into endothelial cells but not into human epithelial cells originating from pharynx or lung, indicating an endothelial cell-specific uptake mechanism. SpyCep mediated cellular invasion by an endosomal/lysosomal pathway distinct from the caveolae-mediated invasion pathway of S. pyogenes. Recombinant expression and purification of proteolytically active SpyCep and a series of subfragments allowed functional dissection of the domains responsible for endothelial cell invasion and IL-8 degradation. The N-terminal PR domain was sufficient to mediate endothelial cell invasion, whereas for IL-8-degrading activity, the protease domain and the flanking A domain were required. A polyclonal rabbit serum raised against the recombinant protease efficiently blocked the invasion-mediating activity of SpyCep but not its proteolytic function, further indicating that SpyCep-mediated internalization is independent from its enzymatic activity. SpyCep may thus specifically mediate its own uptake as secreted protein into human endothelial cells.
    • Digitoxin metabolism by rat liver microsomes.

      Schmoldt, A; Benthe, H F; Haberland, G; Poser, W; Poser, S; Eickhoff, K; Piggott, S M; Kerkut, G A; Walker, R J (1975-09-01)
    • DNase Sda1 provides selection pressure for a switch to invasive group A streptococcal infection.

      Walker, Mark J; Hollands, Andrew; Sanderson-Smith, Martina L; Cole, Jason N; Kirk, Joshua K; Henningham, Anna; McArthur, Jason D; Dinkla, Katrin; Aziz, Ramy K; Kansal, Rita G; et al. (2007-08)
      Most invasive bacterial infections are caused by species that more commonly colonize the human host with minimal symptoms. Although phenotypic or genetic correlates underlying a bacterium's shift to enhanced virulence have been studied, the in vivo selection pressures governing such shifts are poorly understood. The globally disseminated M1T1 clone of group A Streptococcus (GAS) is linked with the rare but life-threatening syndromes of necrotizing fasciitis and toxic shock syndrome. Mutations in the GAS control of virulence regulatory sensor kinase (covRS) operon are associated with severe invasive disease, abolishing expression of a broad-spectrum cysteine protease (SpeB) and allowing the recruitment and activation of host plasminogen on the bacterial surface. Here we describe how bacteriophage-encoded GAS DNase (Sda1), which facilitates the pathogen's escape from neutrophil extracellular traps, serves as a selective force for covRS mutation. The results provide a paradigm whereby natural selection exerted by the innate immune system generates hypervirulent bacterial variants with increased risk of systemic dissemination.
    • Exocytotic process as a novel model for mineralization by osteoblasts in vitro and in vivo determined by electron microscopic analysis.

      Rohde, Manfred; Mayer, H; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. manfred.rohde@helmholtz-hzi.de (2007-05)
      The process of biomineralization has been examined during osteoblastic differentiation of bone marrow stroma cells (BMSCs) from embryonic chick in culture and in periosteum itself by a number of different techniques including transmission and scanning electron microscopy. In cell culture of BMSCs at days 20-25, crystals were accumulated extracellularly in the collagen matrix, resulting in large plate-like crystallites and noncollagen associated on the culture disk surface. In contrast, up to days 10-18, mainly intracellular mineralization was visible by numerous needle-like crystal structures in the cell cytoplasm and in vacuoles. After 20-30 days, the crystal content of these vacuoles is released, most probably by membrane fusion to the outside of the cells. Energy-dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX), electron spectroscopic imaging, and electron energy loss spectroscopy demonstrated that Ca, O, and P are located in the intra- and extracellular needle-like crystals. From EDX spectra a Ca/P ratio of 1.3 was estimated for the intracellular structures and a Ca/P ratio of 1.5, for the extracellular material (for comparison, the Ca/P ratio in tibiae is 1.6). X-ray diffraction and quantitative infrared spectral analyses also demonstrated an increase of crystalline bone apatite along the mineralization process. In addition to the finding in vitro, the presence of intracellular needle-like crystals in vacuoles could be demonstrated in vivo in osteoblastic cells of the periosteum in tibia of day 11. The results are in favor of a novel model for mineralization by osteoblasts, in which amorphous Ca/P material is directly secreted via an exocytotic process from vacuoles of the osteoblast, deposited extracellularly, propagated into the collagen fibril matrix, and matured to hydroxyapatite.
    • Host-pathogen interactions in streptococcal immune sequelae.

      Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. Patric.Nitsche@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013)
      Otherwise uncomplicated infections with Streptococcus pyogenes can cause two insidious immune sequelae known as post-streptococcal glomerulonephritis (PSGN) and acute rheumatic fever (ARF). These diseases follow with a latency of a few weeks or months after primary infection and are responsible for high mortality and morbidity. PSGN has also been linked to infections with group C streptococci of the species S. equi ssp. zooepidemicus (SESZ). Moreover, there are some indications that infection with group C and G streptococci (GCGS) of the subspecies Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis (SDSE) leads to ARF. Despite decades of research, the picture of the molecular pathogenesis of streptococcal immune sequelae resembles a jigsaw puzzle. Herein we try to put some of the puzzle bits together that have been collected till date.
    • Identification of a streptococcal octapeptide motif involved in acute rheumatic fever.

      Dinkla, Katrin; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Barroso, Vanessa; Reissmann, Silvana; Johansson, Helena M; Frick, Inga-Maria; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-06-29)
      Acute rheumatic fever is a serious autoimmune sequela of pharyngitis caused by certain group A streptococci. One mechanism applied by streptococcal strains capable of causing acute rheumatic fever is formation of an autoantigenic complex with human collagen IV. In some geographic regions with a high incidence of acute rheumatic fever pharyngeal carriage of group C and group G streptococci prevails. Examination of such strains revealed the presence of M-like surface proteins that bind human collagen. Using a peptide array and recombinant proteins with targeted amino acid substitutions, we could demonstrate that formation of collagen complexes during streptococcal infections depends on an octapeptide motif, which is present in collagen binding M and M-like proteins of different beta-hemolytic streptococcal species. Mice immunized with streptococcal proteins that contain the collagen binding octapeptide motif developed high serum titers of anti-collagen antibodies. In sera of rheumatic fever patients such a collagen autoimmune response was accompanied by specific reactivity against the collagen-binding proteins, linking the observed effect to clinical cases. Taken together, the data demonstrate that the identified octapeptide motif through its action on collagen plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of rheumatic fever. Eradication of streptococci that express proteins with the collagen binding motif appears advisable for controlling rheumatic fever.
    • Impact of glutamine transporters on pneumococcal fitness under infection-related conditions.

      Härtel, Tobias; Klein, Matthias; Koedel, Uwe; Rohde, Manfred; Petruschka, Lothar; Hammerschmidt, Sven; Department of Genetics of Microorganisms, Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, Ernst Moritz Arndt Universität Greifswald, Friedrich-Ludwig-Jahn-Str. 15a, D-17487 Greifswald, Germany. (2011-01)
      The genomic analysis of Streptococcus pneumoniae predicted six putative glutamine uptake systems, which are expressed under in vitro conditions, as shown here by reverse transcription-PCR. Four of these operons consist of glnHPQ, while two lack glnH, which encodes a soluble glutamine-binding protein. Here, we studied the impact of two of these glutamine ATP-binding cassette transporters on S. pneumoniae D39 virulence and phagocytosis, which consist of GlnQ and a translationally fused protein of GlnH and GlnP. Mice infected intranasally with D39Δgln0411/0412 showed significantly increased survival times and a significant delay in the development of pneumococcal pneumonia compared to those infected with D39, as observed in real time using bioluminescent pneumococci. In a mouse sepsis model, the mutant D39Δgln0411/0412 showed only moderate but significant attenuation. In contrast, the D39Δgln1098/1099 knockout strain was massively attenuated in the pneumonia and septicemia mouse infection model. To cause pneumonia or sepsis with D39Δgln1098/1099, infection doses 100- to 10,000-fold higher than those used for wild-type strain D39 were required. In an experimental mouse meningitis model, D39Δgln1098/1099 produced decreased levels of white blood cells in cerebrospinal fluid and showed decreased numbers of bacteria in the bloodstream compared to D39 and D39Δgln0411/0412. Phagocytosis experiments revealed significantly decreased intracellular survival rates of mutants D39Δgln1098/1099 and D39Δgln0411/0412 compared to wild-type D39, suggesting that the deficiency of Gln uptake systems impairs resistance to oxidative stress. Taken together, our results demonstrate that both glutamine uptake systems are required for full virulence of pneumococci but exhibit different impacts on the pathogenesis of pneumococci under in vivo conditions.
    • Invasion mechanisms of Gram-positive pathogenic cocci.

      Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Microbial Pathogenesis, Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-09)
      Gram-positive cocci are important human pathogens. Streptococci and staphylococci in particular are a major threat to human health, since they cause a variety of serious invasive infections. Their invasion into normally sterile sites of the host depends on elaborated bacterial mechanisms that involve adhesion to the host tissue, its degradation, internalisation by host cells, and passage through epithelia and endothelia. Interactions of bacterial surface proteins with proteins of the host's extracellular matrix as well as with cell surface receptors are crucial factors in these processes, and some of the key mechanisms are similar in many pathogenic Gram-positive cocci. Therapies that interfere with these mechanisms may become efficient alternatives to today's antibiotic treatments.
    • Localization of the C3-Like ADP-ribosyltransferase from Staphylococcus aureus during bacterial invasion of mammalian cells.

      Molinari, Gabriella; Rohde, Manfred; Wilde, Christian; Just, Ingo; Aktories, Klaus; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, GBF-German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2006-06)
      The C3stau2 exoenzyme from Staphylococcus aureus is a C3-like ADP-ribosyltransferase which possesses no specific receptor-binding domain or translocation unit required for entry in target cells where its substrate is located. Here we show that C3stau2 can reach its target after invasion of staphylococci in eukaryotic cells without needing translocation.
    • M protein-mediated plasminogen binding is essential for the virulence of an invasive Streptococcus pyogenes isolate.

      Dinkla, K; Cole, J N; Cork, A J; Maamary, P G; McArthur, J D; Chhatwal, G S; Walker, M J; School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, 2522, Australia. (2008-08)
      The human protease plasmin plays a crucial role in the capacity of the group A streptococcus (GAS; Streptococcus pyogenes) to initiate invasive disease. The GAS strain NS88.2 was isolated from a case of bacteremia from the Northern Territory of Australia, a region with high rates of GAS invasive disease. Mutagenesis of the NS88.2 plasminogen binding M protein Prp was undertaken to examine the contribution of plasminogen binding and cell surface plasmin acquisition to virulence. The isogenic mutant NS88.2prp was engineered whereby four amino acid residues critical for plasminogen binding were converted to alanine codons in the GAS genome sequence. The mutated residues were reverse complemented to the wild-type sequence to construct GAS strain NS88.2prpRC. In comparison to NS88.2 and NS88.2prpRC, the NS88.2prp mutant exhibited significantly reduced ability to bind human plasminogen and accumulate cell surface plasmin activity during growth in human plasma. Utilizing a humanized plasminogen mouse model of invasive infection, we demonstrate that the capacity to bind plasminogen and accumulate surface plasmin activity plays an essential role in GAS virulence.
    • 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.
    • Pretubulysin: from hypothetical biosynthetic intermediate to potential lead in tumor therapy.

      Herrmann, Jennifer; Elnakady, Yasser A; Wiedmann, Romina M; Ullrich, Angelika; Rohde, Manfred; Kazmaier, Uli; Vollmar, Angelika M; Müller, Rolf; Helmholtz Institute for Pharmaceutical Research Saarland, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research and Department of Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Saarland University, Saarbrücken, Germany. (2012)
      Pretubulysin is a natural product that is found in strains of myxobacteria in only minute amounts. It represents the first enzyme-free intermediate in the biosynthesis of tubulysins and undergoes post-assembly acylation and oxidation reactions. Pretubulysin inhibits the growth of cultured mammalian cells, as do tubulysins, which are already in advanced preclinical development as anticancer and antiangiogenic agents. The mechanism of action of this highly potent compound class involves the depolymerization of microtubules, thereby inducing mitotic arrest. Supply issues with naturally occurring derivatives can now be circumvented by the total synthesis of pretubulysin, which, in contrast to tubulysin, is synthetically accessible in gram-scale quantities. We show that the simplified precursor is nearly equally potent to the parent compound. Pretubulysin induces apoptosis and inhibits cancer cell migration and tubulin assembly in vitro. Consequently, pretubulysin appears to be an ideal candidate for future development in preclinical trials and is a very promising early lead structure in cancer therapy.
    • 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.
    • SCM, a novel M-like protein from Streptococcus canis, binds (mini)-plasminogen with high affinity and facilitates bacterial transmigration.

      Fulde, Marcus; Rohde, Manfred; Hitzmann, Angela; Preissner, Klaus T; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Nerlich, Andreas; Chhatwal, Gursharan Singh; Bergmann, Simone; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI), Braunschweig, Germany. Marcus.Fulde@helmholtz-hzi.de (2011-02-24)
      Streptococcus canis is an important zoonotic pathogen capable of causing serious invasive diseases in domestic animals and humans. In the present paper we report the binding of human plasminogen to S. canis and the recruitment of proteolytically active plasmin on its surface. The binding receptor for plasminogen was identified as a novel M-like protein designated SCM (S. canis M-like protein). SPR (surface plasmon resonance) analyses, radioactive dot-blot analyses and heterologous expression on the surface of Streptococcus gordonii confirmed the plasminogen-binding capability of SCM. The binding domain was located within the N-terminus of SCM, which specifically bound to the C-terminal part of plasminogen (mini-plasminogen) comprising kringle domain 5 and the catalytic domain. In the presence of urokinase, SCM mediated plasminogen activation on the bacterial surface that was inhibited by serine protease inhibitors and lysine amino acid analogues. Surface-bound plasmin effectively degraded purified fibrinogen as well as fibrin clots, resulting in the dissolution of fibrin thrombi. Electron microscopic illustration and time-lapse imaging demonstrated bacterial transmigration through fibrinous thrombi. The present study has led, for the first time, to the identification of SCM as a novel receptor for (mini)-plasminogen mediating the fibrinolytic activity of S. canis.
    • Virulence gene pool detected in bovine group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae isolates by use of a group A S. pyogenes virulence microarray.

      Rato, Márcia G; Nerlich, Andreas; Bergmann, René; Bexiga, Ricardo; Nunes, Sandro F; Vilela, Cristina L; Santos-Sanches, Ilda; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Centro de Recursos Microbiológicos, Departamento de Ciências da Vida, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Campus de Caparica, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal. (2011-07)
      A custom-designed microarray containing 220 virulence genes of Streptococcus pyogenes (group A Streptococcus [GAS]) was used to test group C Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. dysgalactiae (GCS) field strains causing bovine mastitis and group C or group G Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (GCS/GGS) isolates from human infections, with the latter being used for comparative purposes, for the presence of virulence genes. All bovine and all human isolates carried a fraction of the 220 genes (23% and 39%, respectively). The virulence genes encoding streptolysin S, glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase, the plasminogen-binding M-like protein PAM, and the collagen-like protein SclB were detected in the majority of both bovine and human isolates (94 to 100%). Virulence factors, usually carried by human beta-hemolytic streptococcal pathogens, such as streptokinase, laminin-binding protein, and the C5a peptidase precursor, were detected in all human isolates but not in bovine isolates. Additionally, GAS bacteriophage-associated virulence genes encoding superantigens, DNase, and/or streptodornase were detected in bovine isolates (72%) but not in the human isolates. Determinants located in non-bacteriophage-related mobile elements, such as the gene encoding R28, were detected in all bovine and human isolates. Several virulence genes, including genes of bacteriophage origin, were shown to be expressed by reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). Phylogenetic analysis of superantigen gene sequences revealed a high level (>98%) of identity among genes of bovine GCS, of the horse pathogen Streptococcus equi subsp. equi, and of the human pathogen GAS. Our findings indicate that alpha-hemolytic bovine GCS, an important mastitis pathogen and considered to be a nonhuman pathogen, carries important virulence factors responsible for virulence and pathogenesis in humans.