• Deconvolution of bulk blood eQTL effects into immune cell subpopulations.

      Aguirre-Gamboa, Raúl; de Klein, Niek; di Tommaso, Jennifer; Claringbould, Annique; van der Wijst, Monique Gp; de Vries, Dylan; Brugge, Harm; Oelen, Roy; Võsa, Urmo; Zorro, Maria M; et al. (BMC, 2020-06-12)
      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.
    • Degradable magnesium implant-associated infections by bacterial biofilms induce robust localized and systemic inflammatory reactions in a mouse model.

      Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Babbar, Anshu; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Pils, Marina; Rohde, M; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-06-01)
      Biomaterial-associated Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm infections constitute cascade of host immune reactions ultimately leading towards implant failure. Due to lack of relevant in vivo biofilm models, majority of the studies report host immune responses against free living or planktonic bacteria while bacteria in clinical situations live more frequently as biofilm communities than as single cells. Present study investigated host immune responses against biomaterial-associated P. aeruginosa biofilms in a clinically relevant mouse model. Previously, we reported metallic magnesium, a prospective biodegradable implant, to be permissive for bacterial biofilms in vivo even though it exhibits antibacterial properties in vitro. Therefore, magnesium was employed as biomaterial to investigate in vivo biofilm formation and associated host immune responses by using two P. aeruginosa strains and two mouse strains. P. aeruginosa formed biofilms on subcutaneously implanted magnesium discs. Non-invasive in vivo imaging indicated transient inflammatory responses at control sites whereas robust prolonged interferon-β (IFN-β) expression was observed from biofilms in a transgenic animal reporter. Further, immunohistology and electron microscopic results showed that bacterial biofilms were located in two dimensions immediately on the implant surface and at a short distance in the adjacent tissue. These biofilms were surrounded by inflammatory cells (mainly polymorphonuclear cells) as compared to controls. Interestingly, even though the number of live bacteria in various organs remained below detectable levels, splenomegaly indicated systemic inflammatory processes. Overall, these findings confirmed the resistance of biofilm infections in vivo to potentially antibacterial properties of magnesium degradation products. In vivo imaging and histology indicated the induction of both, local and systemic host inflammatory responses against P. aeruginosa biofilms. Even though the innate host immune defenses could not eliminate the local infection for up to two weeks, there was no apparent systemic bacteremia and all animals investigated survived the infection.
    • Dengue-specific subviral nanoparticles: design, creation and characterization.

      Khetarpal, Niyati; Poddar, Ankur; Nemani, Satish K; Dhar, Nisha; Patil, Aravind; Negi, Priyanka; Perween, Ashiya; Viswanathan, Ramaswamy; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Tyagi, Poornima; et al. (2013)
      Dengue is today the most significant of arboviral diseases. Novel tools are necessary to effectively address the problem of dengue. Virus-like particles (VLP) offer a versatile nanoscale platform for developing tools with potential biomedical applications. From the perspective of a potentially useful dengue-specific tool, the dengue virus envelope protein domain III (EDIII), endowed with serotype-specificity, host receptor recognition and the capacity to elicit virus-neutralizing antibodies, is an attractive candidate.
    • Designation of type strains for seven species of the order Myxococcales and proposal for neotype strains of Cystobacter ferrugineus, Cystobacter minus and Polyangium fumosum.

      Lang, Elke; Reichenbach, Hans; Leibniz-Institut DSMZ - Deutsche Sammlung von Mikroorganismen und Zellkulturen GmbH, Inhoffenstrasse 7B, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany (2013-11)
      Ten species of the order Myxococcales with validly published names are devoid of living type strains. Four species of the genus Chondromyces are represented by dead herbarium samples as the type material. For a species of the genus Melittangium and two species of the genus Polyangium, no physical type material was assigned at the time of validation of the names or later on. In accordance with rule 18f of the International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria the following type strains are designated for these species: strain Cm a14(T) ( = DSM 14605(T) = JCM 12615(T)) as the type strain of Chondromyces apiculatus, strain Cm c5(T) ( = DSM 14714(T) = JCM 12616(T)) as the type strain of Chondromyces crocatus, strain Sy t2(T) ( = DSM 14631(T) = JCM 12617(T)) as the type strain of Chondromyces lanuginosus, strain Cm p51(T) ( = DSM 14607(T) = JCM 12618(T)) as the type strain of Chondromyces pediculatus, strain Me b8(T) ( = DSM 14713(T) = JCM 12633(T)) as the type strain of Melittangium boletus, strain Pl s12(T) ( = DSM 14670(T) = JCM 12637(T)) as the type strain of Polyangium sorediatum and strain Pl sm5(T) ( = DSM 14734(T) = JCM 12638(T)) as the type strain of Polyangium spumosum. Furthermore, the type strains given for three species of the genera Cystobacter and Polyangium had been kept at one university institute and have been lost according to our investigations. In accordance with Rule 18c of the Bacteriological Code, we propose the following neotype strains: strain Cb fe18 ( = DSM 14716  = JCM 12624) as the neotype strain of Cystobacter ferrugineus, strain Cb m2 ( = DSM 14751 = JCM 12627) as the neotype strain of Cystobacter minus and strain Pl fu5 ( = DSM 14668 = JCM 12636) as the neotype strain of Polyangium fumosum. The proposals of the strains are based on the descriptions and strain proposals given in the respective chapters of Bergey's Manual of Systematic Bacteriology (2005).
    • The Deubiquitinating Enzyme Cylindromatosis Dampens CD8(+) T Cell Responses and Is a Critical Factor for Experimental Cerebral Malaria and Blood-Brain Barrier Damage.

      Schmid, Ursula; Stenzel, Werner; Koschel, Josephin; Raptaki, Maria; Wang, Xu; Naumann, Michael; Matuschewski, Kai; Schlüter, Dirk; Nishanth, Gopala; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017)
      Cerebral malaria is a severe complication of human malaria and may lead to death of Plasmodium falciparum-infected individuals. Cerebral malaria is associated with sequestration of parasitized red blood cells within the cerebral microvasculature resulting in damage of the blood-brain barrier and brain pathology. Although CD8(+) T cells have been implicated in the development of murine experimental cerebral malaria (ECM), several other studies have shown that CD8(+) T cells confer protection against blood-stage infections. Since the role of host deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) in malaria is yet unknown, we investigated how the DUB cylindromatosis (CYLD), an important inhibitor of several cellular signaling pathways, influences the outcome of ECM. Upon infection with Plasmodium berghei ANKA (PbA) sporozoites or PbA-infected red blood cells, at least 90% of Cyld(-/-) mice survived the infection, whereas all congenic C57BL/6 mice displayed signatures of ECM, impaired parasite control, and disruption of the blood-brain barrier integrity. Cyld deficiency prevented brain pathology, including hemorrhagic lesions, enhanced activation of astrocytes and microglia, infiltration of CD8(+) T cells, and apoptosis of endothelial cells. Furthermore, PbA-specific CD8(+) T cell responses were augmented in the blood of Cyld(-/-) mice with increased production of interferon-γ and granzyme B and elevated activation of protein kinase C-θ and nuclear factor "kappa light-chain enhancer" of activated B cells. Importantly, accumulation of CD8(+) T cells in the brain of Cyld(-/-) mice was significantly reduced compared to C57BL/6 mice. Bone marrow chimera experiments showed that the absence of ECM signatures in infected Cyld(-/-) mice could be attributed to hematopoietic and radioresistant parenchymal cells, most likely endothelial cells that did not undergo apoptosis. Together, we were able to show that host deubiqutinating enzymes play an important role in ECM and that CYLD promotes ECM supporting it as a potential therapeutic target for adjunct therapy to prevent cerebral complications of severe malaria.
    • Development and application of a real-time PCR approach for quantification of uncultured bacteria in the central Baltic Sea.

      Labrenz, Matthias; Brettar, Ingrid; Christen, Richard; Flavier, Sebastien; Bötel, Julia; Höfle, Manfred G; Department of Environmental Microbiology, GBF-German Research Centre for Biotechnology, Mascheroder Weg 1, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2004-08)
      We have developed a highly sensitive approach to assess the abundance of uncultured bacteria in water samples from the central Baltic Sea by using a noncultured member of the "Epsilonproteobacteria" related to Thiomicrospira denitrificans as an example. Environmental seawater samples and samples enriched for the target taxon provided a unique opportunity to test the approach over a broad range of abundances. The approach is based on a combination of taxon- and domain-specific real-time PCR measurements determining the relative T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA gene and 16S rRNA abundances, as well as the determination of total cell counts and environmental RNA content. It allowed quantification of T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA molecules or 16S rRNA genes as well as calculation of the number of ribosomes per T. denitrificans-like cell. Every real-time measurement and its specific primer system were calibrated using environmental nucleic acids obtained from the original habitat for external standardization. These standards, as well as the respective samples to be measured, were prepared from the same DNA or RNA extract. Enrichment samples could be analyzed directly, whereas environmental templates had to be preamplified with general bacterial primers before quantification. Preamplification increased the sensitivity of the assay by more than 4 orders of magnitude. Quantification of enrichments with or without a preamplification step yielded comparable results. T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA molecules ranged from 7.1 x 10(3) to 4.4 x 10(9) copies ml(-1) or 0.002 to 49.7% relative abundance. T. denitrificans-like 16S rRNA genes ranged from 9.0 x 10(1) to 2.2 x10(6) copies ml(-1) or 0.01 to 49.7% relative abundance. Detection limits of this real-time-PCR approach were 20 16S rRNA molecules or 0.2 16S rRNA gene ml(-1). The number of ribosomes per T. denitrificans-like cell was estimated to range from 20 to 200 in seawater and reached up to 2,000 in the enrichments. The results indicate that our real-time PCR approach can be used to determine cellular and relative abundances of uncultured marine bacterial taxa and to provide information about their levels of activity in their natural environment.
    • Developmental induction of human T-cell responses against Candida albicans and Aspergillus fumigatus.

      Vogel, Katrin; Pierau, Mandy; Arra, Aditya; Lampe, Karen; Schlueter, Dirk; Arens, Christoph; Brunner-Weinzierl, Monika C; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Nature publishing group, 2018-11-15)
      The origin of human T-cell responses against fungal pathogens early in life is not clearly understood. Here, we show that antifungal T-cell responses are vigorously initiated within the first years of life against lysates and peptides of Candida albicans or Aspergillus fumigatus, presented by autologous monocytes. The neonatal responding T-cell pool consists of 20 different TCR-V
    • Die nicht-alkoholische Fettlebererkrankung : Die Rolle der Leber im metabolischen Syndrom

      Jupa, K.L.; Manns, M.P.; Jäckel, E; DZIF,Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung; HZI, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektiondforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig.
      Epidemiologie Die nicht-alkoholische Fettlebererkrankung (»non-alcoholic fatty liver disease«, NAFLD) ist mittlerweile eine der häufigsten Lebererkrankung weltweit mit einer mittleren Prävalenz von 20% weltweit und bis zu 30% in Europa [1]. Als Hauptrisikofaktoren gelten einerseits verschiedene Umweltfaktoren, insbesondere Bewegungsmangel und falsche Ernährung sowie andererseits die verschiedenen Aspekte des metabolischen Syndroms: Adipositas, Fettstoffwechselstörungen sowie Insulinresistenz und Diabetes mellitus Typ 2. Aus diesem Grund wird die Fettleber mittlerweile auch als hepatische Komponente des metabolischen Syndroms bezeichnet. Neben den Umweltfaktoren konnte auch gezeigt werden, dass eine genetische Prädisposition im Sinne von einem Adiponutrin Polymorphismus (»patatin-like phospholipase domain containing 3«, PNPLA3 [2, 3] zu einem gehäuften Auftreten einer Fettlebererkrankung führen kann.
    • Differential magnesium implant corrosion coat formation and contribution to bone bonding.

      Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Weizbauer, Andreas; Evertz, Florian; Hoffmann, Andrea; Rohde, M; Glasmacher, Birgit; Windhagen, Henning; Gross, Gerhard; Seitz, Jan-Marten; Mueller, Peter P; et al. (2017)
      Magnesium alloys are presently under investigation as promising biodegradable implant materials with osteoconductive properties. To study the molecular mechanisms involved, the potential contribution of soluble magnesium corrosion products to the stimulation of osteoblastic cell differentiation was examined. However, no evidence for the stimulation of osteoblast differentiation could be obtained when cultured mesenchymal precursor cells were differentiated in the presence of metallic magnesium or in cell culture medium containing elevated magnesium ion levels. Similarly, in soft tissue no bone induction by metallic magnesium or by the corrosion product magnesium hydroxide could be observed in a mouse model. Motivated by the comparatively rapid accumulation solid corrosion products physicochemical processes were examined as an alternative mechanism to explain the stimulation of bone growth by magnesium-based implants. During exposure to physiological solutions a structured corrosion coat formed on magnesium whereby the elements calcium and phosphate were enriched in the outermost layer which could play a role in the established biocompatible behavior of magnesium implants. When magnesium pins were inserted into avital bones, corrosion lead to increases in the pull out force, suggesting that the expanding corrosion layer was interlocking with the surrounding bone. Since mechanical stress is a well-established inducer of bone growth, volume increases caused by the rapid accumulation of corrosion products and the resulting force development could be a key mechanism and provide an explanation for the observed stimulatory effects of magnesium-based implants in hard tissue. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 105A: 697-709, 2017.
    • Direct recognition of hepatocyte-expressed MHC class I alloantigens is required for tolerance induction.

      Paul-Heng, Moumita; Leong, Mario; Cunningham, Eithne; Bunker, Daniel L J; Bremner, Katherine; Wang, Zane; Wang, Chuanmin; Tay, Szun Szun; McGuffog, Claire; Logan, Grant J; et al. (NLM (Medline), 2018-08-09)
      Adeno-associated viral vector–mediated (AAV-mediated) expression of allogeneic major histocompatibility complex class I (MHC class I) in recipient liver induces donor-specific tolerance in mouse skin transplant models in which a class I allele (H-2Kb or H-2Kd) is mismatched between donor and recipient. Tolerance can be induced in mice primed by prior rejection of a donor-strain skin graft, as well as in naive recipients. Allogeneic MHC class I may be recognized by recipient T cells as an intact molecule (direct recognition) or may be processed and presented as an allogeneic peptide in the context of self-MHC (indirect recognition). The relative contributions of direct and indirect allorecognition to tolerance induction in this setting are unknown. Using hepatocyte-specific AAV vectors encoding WT allogeneic MHC class I molecules, or class I molecules containing a point mutation (D227K) that impedes direct recognition of intact allogeneic MHC class I by CD8+ T cells without hampering the presentation of processed peptides derived from allogeneic MHC class I, we show here that tolerance induction depends upon recognition of intact MHC class I. Indirect recognition alone yielded a modest prolongation of subsequent skin graft survival, attributable to the generation of CD4+ Tregs, but it was not sufficient to induce tolerance.
    • Divergent co-transcriptomes of different host cells infected with Toxoplasma gondii reveal cell type-specific host-parasite interactions.

      Swierzy, Izabela J; Händel, Ulrike; Kaever, Alexander; Jarek, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Schlüter, Dirk; Lüder, Carsten G K; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-08-03)
      The apicomplexan parasite Toxoplasma gondii infects various cell types in avian and mammalian hosts including humans. Infection of immunocompetent hosts is mostly asymptomatic or benign, but leads to development of largely dormant bradyzoites that persist predominantly within neurons and muscle cells. Here we have analyzed the impact of the host cell type on the co-transcriptomes of host and parasite using high-throughput RNA sequencing. Murine cortical neurons and astrocytes, skeletal muscle cells (SkMCs) and fibroblasts differed by more than 16,200 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) before and after infection with T. gondii. However, only a few hundred of them were regulated by infection and these largely diverged in neurons, SkMCs, astrocytes and fibroblasts indicating host cell type-specific transcriptional responses after infection. The heterogeneous transcriptomes of host cells before and during infection coincided with ~5,400 DEGs in T. gondii residing in different cell types. Finally, we identified gene clusters in both T. gondii and its host, which correlated with the predominant parasite persistence in neurons or SkMCs as compared to astrocytes or fibroblasts. Thus, heterogeneous expression profiles of different host cell types and the parasites' ability to adapting to them may govern the parasite-host cell interaction during toxoplasmosis.
    • Diversity of Bacillus-like organisms isolated from deep-sea hypersaline anoxic sediments.

      Sass, Andrea M; McKew, Boyd A; Sass, Henrik; Fichtel, Jörg; Timmis, Kenneth N; McGenity, Terry J; Department of Biological Sciences, University of Essex, Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, UK. sassam@Cardiff.ac.uk (2008)
      The deep-sea, hypersaline anoxic brine lakes in the Mediterranean are among the most extreme environments on earth, and in one of them, the MgCl2-rich Discovery basin, the presence of active microbes is equivocal. However, thriving microbial communities have been detected especially in the chemocline between deep seawater and three NaCl-rich brine lakes, l'Atalante, Bannock and Urania. By contrast, the microbiota of these brine-lake sediments remains largely unexplored.
    • DNA methylation and body mass index from birth to adolescence: meta-analyses of epigenome-wide association studies.

      Vehmeijer, Florianne O L; Küpers, Leanne K; Sharp, Gemma C; Salas, Lucas A; Lent, Samantha; Jima, Dereje D; Tindula, Gwen; Reese, Sarah; Qi, Cancan; Gruzieva, Olena; et al. (BMC, 2020-11-25)
      DNA methylation at three CpGs (cg05937453, cg25212453, and cg10040131), each in a different age range, was associated with BMI at Bonferroni significance, P < 1.06 × 10-7, with a 0.96 standard deviation score (SDS) (standard error (SE) 0.17), 0.32 SDS (SE 0.06), and 0.32 BMI SDS (SE 0.06) higher BMI per 10% increase in methylation, respectively. DNA methylation at nine additional CpGs in the cross-sectional childhood model was associated with BMI at false discovery rate significance. The strength of the associations of DNA methylation at the 187 CpGs previously identified to be associated with adult BMI, increased with advancing age across childhood and adolescence in our analyses. In addition, correlation coefficients between effect estimates for those CpGs in adults and in children and adolescents also increased. Among the top findings for each age range, we observed increasing enrichment for the CpGs that were previously identified in adults (birth Penrichment = 1; childhood Penrichment = 2.00 × 10-4; adolescence Penrichment = 2.10 × 10-7).
    • DSA are associated with more graft injury, more fibrosis and upregulation of rejection associated transcripts in subclinical rejection.

      Höfer, Anne; Jonigk, Danny; Hartleben, Björn; Verboom, Murielle; Hallensleben, Michael; Hübscher, Stefan G; Manns, Michael P; Jaeckel, Elmar; Taubert, Richard; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins , 2019-10-23)
      Background: Subclinical T cell-mediated rejection (subTCMR) is commonly found after liver transplantation and has a good short-term prognosis, even when it is left untreated. Donor-specific antibodies (DSA) are putatively associated with a worse prognosis for recipient and graft after liver transplantation. Methods: To assess the immune regulation in subTCMR grafts, gene expression of 93 transcripts for graft injury, tolerance and immune regulation was analyzed in 77 biopsies with “no histological rejection” (NHR; n=25), “clinical TCMR” (cTMCR; n=16) and subTCMR (n=36). In addition, all available subTCMR biopsies (n=71) were tested for DSA with bead assays. Results: SubTCMR showed heterogeneous and intermediate expression profiles of transcripts that were upregulated in cTCMR. Graft gene expression suggested a lower activation of effector lymphocytes and a higher activation of regulatory T cells in grafts with subTCMR compared to cTCMR.DSA positivity in subTCMR was associated with histological evidence of more severe graft inflammation and fibrosis. This more severe DSA+ associated graft injury in subTCMR was converged with an upregulation of cTCMR associated transcripts. In nonsupervised analysis DSA positive subTCMR mostly clustered together with cTCMR, while DSA negative subTCMR clustered together with NHR. Conclusion: T cell-mediated rejection seem to form a continuum of alloimmune activation. Although subTCMR exhibited less expression of TCMR associated transcript, DSA positivity in subTCMR was associated with an upregulation of rejection associated transcripts. The identification of DSA positive subclinical rejection might help to define patients with more inflammation in the graft and development of fibrosis.
    • The Dynamics of Interleukin-10-Afforded Protection during Dextran Sulfate Sodium-Induced Colitis.

      Cardoso, Ana; Gil Castro, Antonio; Martins, Ana Catarina; Carriche, Guilhermina M; Murigneux, Valentine; Castro, Isabel; Cumano, Ana; Vieira, Paulo; Saraiva, Margarida; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Frontiers, 2018-03-01)
      Inflammatory bowel disease encompasses a group of chronic-inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine. These conditions are characterized by exacerbated inflammation of the organ that greatly affects the quality of life of patients. Molecular mechanisms counteracting this hyperinflammatory status of the gut offer strategies for therapeutic intervention. Among these regulatory molecules is the anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin (IL)-10, as shown in mice and humans. Indeed, IL-10 signaling, particularly in macrophages, is essential for intestinal homeostasis. We sought to investigate the temporal profile of IL-10-mediated protection during chemical colitis and which were the underlying mechanisms. Using a novel mouse model of inducible IL-10 overexpression (pMT-10), described here, we show that mice preconditioned with IL-10 for 8 days before dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) administration developed a milder colitic phenotype. In IL-10-induced colitic mice, Ly6C cells isolated from the lamina propria showed a decreased inflammatory profile. Because our mouse model leads to transcription of the IL-10 transgene in the bone marrow and elevated seric IL-10 concentration, we investigated whether IL-10 could imprint immune cells in a long-lasting way, thus conferring sustained protection to colitis. We show that this was not the case, as IL-10-afforded protection was only observed if IL-10 induction immediately preceded DSS-mediated colitis. Thus, despite the protection afforded by IL-10 in colitis, novel strategies are required, specifically to achieve long-lasting protection.
    • Dynamics of reductive genome evolution in mitochondria and obligate intracellular microbes.

      Khachane, Amit N; Timmis, Kenneth N; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A P; Department of Environmental Microbiology, Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-02)
      Reductive evolution in mitochondria and obligate intracellular microbes has led to a significant reduction in their genome size and guanine plus cytosine content (GC). We show that genome shrinkage during reductive evolution in prokaryotes follows an exponential decay pattern and provide a method to predict the extent of this decay on an evolutionary timescale. We validated predictions by comparison with estimated extents of genome reduction known to have occurred in mitochondria and Buchnera aphidicola, through comparative genomics and by drawing on available fossil evidences. The model shows how the mitochondrial ancestor would have quickly shed most of its genome, shortly after its incorporation into the protoeukaryotic cell and prior to codivergence subsequent to the split of eukaryotic lineages. It also predicts that the primary rickettsial parasitic event would have occurred between 180 and 425 million years ago (MYA), an event of relatively recent evolutionary origin considering the fact that Rickettsia and mitochondria evolved from a common alphaproteobacterial ancestor. This suggests that the symbiotic events of Rickettsia and mitochondria originated at different time points. Moreover, our model results predict that the ancestor of Wigglesworthia glossinidia brevipalpis, dated around the time of origin of its symbiotic association with the tsetse fly (50-100 MYA), was likely to have been an endosymbiont itself, thus supporting an earlier proposition that Wigglesworthia, which is currently a maternally inherited primary endosymbiont, evolved from a secondary endosymbiont.
    • Efficacy of rituximab in difficult-to-manage autoimmune hepatitis: Results from the International Autoimmune Hepatitis Group.

      Than, Nwe Ni; Hodson, James; Schmidt-Martin, Daniel; Taubert, Richard; Wawman, Rebecca E; Botter, Meemee; Gautam, Nishant; Bock, Kilian; Jones, Rebecca; Appanna, Gautham D; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-12-01)
      Twenty-two patients with type-1 AIH were included, with a median age of 40 years at diagnosis (range 19-79); 15/22 (68%) were female and 18/22 (82%) were Caucasian. The median period from diagnosis to the end of follow-up in these patients was 11 years (range 3-28). Values of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase and albumin improved significantly following rituximab therapy, and were sustained for up to 2 years (all p ≪0.001). Prednisolone doses were significantly reduced by 12 months post-treatment (p = 0.003), with 13/21 (62%) patients having a dose reduction. Over a median post-treatment follow-up period of 6 years (range 1-10), 5 patients developed AIH flares at a median of 22 months post-treatment, giving an estimated 71% freedom from AIH flare at 2 years. Four of these patients received a second course of treatment, of whom 2 had subsequent further flares. No serious adverse events attributable to rituximab were recorded.
    • Efficient oral vaccination by bioengineering virus-like particles with protozoan surface proteins.

      Serradell, Marianela C; Rupil, Lucía L; Martino, Román A; Prucca, César G; Carranza, Pedro G; Saura, Alicia; Fernández, Elmer A; Gargantini, Pablo R; Tenaglia, Albano H; Petiti, Juan P; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-01-21)
      Intestinal and free-living protozoa, such as Giardia lamblia, express a dense coat of variant-specific surface proteins (VSPs) on trophozoites that protects the parasite inside the host's intestine. Here we show that VSPs not only are resistant to proteolytic digestion and extreme pH and temperatures but also stimulate host innate immune responses in a TLR-4 dependent manner. We show that these properties can be exploited to both protect and adjuvant vaccine antigens for oral administration. Chimeric Virus-like Particles (VLPs) decorated with VSPs and expressing model surface antigens, such as influenza virus hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), are protected from degradation and activate antigen presenting cells in vitro. Orally administered VSP-pseudotyped VLPs, but not plain VLPs, generate robust immune responses that protect mice from influenza infection and HA-expressing tumors. This versatile vaccine platform has the attributes to meet the ultimate challenge of generating safe, stable and efficient oral vaccines.
    • Efficient production of soluble recombinant single chain Fv fragments by a Pseudomonas putida strain KT2440 cell factory.

      Dammeyer, Thorben; Steinwand, Miriam; Krüger, Sarah-C; Dübel, Stefan; Hust, Michael; Timmis, Kenneth N; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      Recombinant antibody fragments have a wide range of applications in research, diagnostics and therapy. For many of these, small fragments like single chain fragment variables (scFv) function well and can be produced inexpensively in bacterial expression systems. Although Escherichia coli K-12 production systems are convenient, yields of different fragments, even those produced from codon-optimized expression systems, vary significantly. Where yields are inadequate, alternative production systems are needed. Pseudomonas putida strain KT2440 is a versatile biosafety strain known for good expression of heterologous genes, so we have explored its utility as a cell factory for production of scFvs.
    • An endothelial cell line infected by Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpes virus (KSHV) allows the investigation of Kaposi's sarcoma and the validation of novel viral inhibitors in vitro and in vivo.

      Dubich, Tatyana; Lieske, Anna; Santag, Susann; Beauclair, Guillaume; Rückert, Jessica; Herrmann, Jennifer; Gorges, Jan; Büsche, Guntram; Kazmaier, Uli; Hauser, Hansjörg; et al. (2019-01-04)
      Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) is the etiological agent of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS), a tumor of endothelial origin predominantly affecting immunosuppressed individuals. Up to date, vaccines and targeted therapies are not available. Screening and identification of anti-viral compounds are compromised by the lack of scalable cell culture systems reflecting properties of virus-transformed cells in patients. Further, the strict specificity of the virus for humans limits the development of in vivo models. In this study, we exploited a conditionally immortalized human endothelial cell line for establishment of in vitro 2D and 3D KSHV latency models and the generation of KS-like xenograft tumors in mice. Importantly, the invasive properties and tumor formation could be completely reverted by purging KSHV from the cells, confirming that tumor formation is dependent on the continued presence of KSHV, rather than being a consequence of irreversible transformation of the infected cells. Upon testing a library of 260 natural metabolites, we selected the compounds that induced viral loss or reduced the invasiveness of infected cells in 2D and 3D endothelial cell culture systems. The efficacy of selected compounds against KSHV-induced tumor formation was verified in the xenograft model. Together, this study shows that the combined use of anti-viral and anti-tumor assays based on the same cell line is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo and therefore allows faithful selection of novel drug candidates against Kaposi's sarcoma. KEY MESSAGES: Novel 2D, 3D, and xenograft mouse models mimic the consequences of KSHV infection. KSHV-induced tumorigenesis can be reverted upon purging the cells from the virus. A 3D invasiveness assay is predictive for tumor reduction in vivo. Chondramid B, epothilone B, and pretubulysin D diminish KS-like lesions in vivo.