• Drug-inducible remote control of gene expression by probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 in intestine, tumor and gall bladder of mice.

      Loessner, Holger; Leschner, Sara; Endmann, Anne; Westphal, Kathrin; Wolf, Kathrin; Kochruebe, Katja; Miloud, Tewfik; Altenbuchner, Josef; Weiss, Siegfried; Molecular Immunology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, HZI, Inhoffenstrasse 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. loeho@pei.de (2009-12)
      The probiotic bacterium Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) constitutes a prospective vector for delivering heterologous therapeutic molecules to treat several human disorders. To add versatility to this carrier system, bacteria should be equipped with expression modules that can be regulated deliberately in a temporal and quantitative manner. This approach is called in vivo remote control (IVRC) of bacterial vectors. Here, we have evaluated promoters P(araBAD), P(rhaBAD) and P(tet), which can be induced with L-arabinose, L-rhamnose or anhydrotetracycline, respectively. EcN harboring promoter constructs with luciferase as reporter gene were administered either orally to healthy mice or intravenously to tumor bearing animals. Subsequent to bacterial colonization of tissues, inducer substances were administered via the oral or systemic route. By use of in vivo bioluminescence imaging, the time course of reporter gene expression was analyzed. Each promoter displayed a specific in vivo induction profile depending on the niche of bacterial residence and the route of inducer administration. Importantly, we also observed colonization of gall bladders of mice when EcN was administered systemically at high doses. Bacteria in this anatomical compartment remained accessible to remote control of bacterial gene expression.
    • Hypermetabolic syndrome as a consequence of repeated psychological stress in mice.

      Depke, Maren; Fusch, Gerhard; Domanska, Grazyna; Geffers, Robert; Völker, Uwe; Schuett, Christine; Kiank, Cornelia; Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-University, Interfaculty Institute of Genetics and Functional Genomics, 17487 Greifswald, Germany. (2008-06)
      Stress is a powerful modulator of neuroendocrine, behavioral, and immunological functions. After 4.5-d repeated combined acoustic and restraint stress as a murine model of chronic psychological stress, severe metabolic dysregulations became detectable in female BALB/c mice. Stress-induced alterations of metabolic processes that were found in a hepatic mRNA expression profiling were verified by in vivo analyses. Repeatedly stressed mice developed a hypermetabolic syndrome with the severe loss of lean body mass, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia, increased amino acid turnover, and acidosis. This was associated with hypercortisolism, hyperleptinemia, insulin resistance, and hypothyroidism. In contrast, after a single acute stress exposure, changes in expression of metabolic genes were much less pronounced and predominantly confined to gluconeogenesis, probably indicating that metabolic disturbances might be initiated already early but will only manifest in repeatedly stressed mice. Thus, in our murine model, repeated stress caused severe metabolic dysregulations, leading to a drastic reduction of the individual's energy reserves. Under such circumstances stress may further reduce the ability to cope with new stressors such as infection or cancer.
    • Lack of interferon-beta leads to accelerated remyelination in a toxic model of central nervous system demyelination.

      Trebst, Corinna; Heine, Sandra; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Lindner, Maren; Baumgärtner, Wolfgang; Weiss, Siegfried; Stangel, Martin; Department of Neurology, Medical School Hannover, Carl-Neuberg-Str. 1, 30625, Hannover, Germany. (2007-12)
      Interferon-beta (IFN-beta) is a pleiotropic cytokine that is known to modulate the immune response in multiple sclerosis (MS), an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Spontaneous remyelination and repair mechanisms in MS are mostly insufficient and contribute to clinical disability. Here, we investigated whether IFN-beta has a potential in modifying the extent of de- and remyelination in a toxic model of CNS demyelination induced by the copper chelator cuprizone. IFN-beta deficient (k/o) mice showed an accelerated spontaneous remyelination. However, the amount of remyelination after 6 weeks did not differ between the two groups. Demyelination in IFN-beta k/o mice was paralleled by a diminished astrocytic and microglia response as compared with wildtype controls, whereas the accelerated remyelination was paralleled by an increased number of oligodendrocyte precursor cells (OPC) within the demyelinated lesion at the beginning of the remyelination phase. We hypothesize that the absence of IFN-beta leads to more efficient recruitment and proliferation of OPC already during demyelination, thus allowing early remyelination. These results demonstrate that IFN-beta is able to alter remyelination in the absence of an immune-mediated demyelination.
    • Probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 inhibits leaky gut by enhancing mucosal integrity.

      Ukena, Sya N; Singh, Anurag; Dringenberg, Ulrike; Engelhardt, Regina; Seidler, Ursula; Hansen, Wiebke; Bleich, André; Bruder, Dunja; Franzke, Anke; Rogler, Gerhard; et al. (2007)
      BACKGROUND: Probiotics are proposed to positively modulate the intestinal epithelial barrier formed by intestinal epithelial cells (IECs) and intercellular junctions. Disruption of this border alters paracellular permeability and is a key mechanism for the development of enteric infections and inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs). METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: To study the in vivo effect of probiotic Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) on the stabilization of the intestinal barrier under healthy conditions, germfree mice were colonized with EcN or K12 E. coli strain MG1655. IECs were isolated and analyzed for gene and protein expression of the tight junction molecules ZO-1 and ZO-2. Then, in order to analyze beneficial effects of EcN under inflammatory conditions, the probiotic was orally administered to BALB/c mice with acute dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) induced colitis. Colonization of gnotobiotic mice with EcN resulted in an up-regulation of ZO-1 in IECs at both mRNA and protein levels. EcN administration to DSS-treated mice reduced the loss of body weight and colon shortening. In addition, infiltration of the colon with leukocytes was ameliorated in EcN inoculated mice. Acute DSS colitis did not result in an anion secretory defect, but abrogated the sodium absorptive function of the mucosa. Additionally, intestinal barrier function was severely affected as evidenced by a strong increase in the mucosal uptake of Evans blue in vivo. Concomitant administration of EcN to DSS treated animals resulted in a significant protection against intestinal barrier dysfunction and IECs isolated from these mice exhibited a more pronounced expression of ZO-1. CONCLUSION AND SIGNIFICANCE: This study convincingly demonstrates that probiotic EcN is able to mediate up-regulation of ZO-1 expression in murine IECs and confer protection from the DSS colitis-associated increase in mucosal permeability to luminal substances.
    • Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium exploits inflammation to compete with the intestinal microbiota.

      Stecher, Bärbel; Robbiani, Riccardo; Walker, Alan W; Westendorf, Astrid M; Barthel, Manja; Kremer, Marcus; Chaffron, Samuel; Macpherson, Andrew J; Buer, Jan; Parkhill, Julian; et al. (2007-10)
      Most mucosal surfaces of the mammalian body are colonized by microbial communities ("microbiota"). A high density of commensal microbiota inhabits the intestine and shields from infection ("colonization resistance"). The virulence strategies allowing enteropathogenic bacteria to successfully compete with the microbiota and overcome colonization resistance are poorly understood. Here, we investigated manipulation of the intestinal microbiota by the enteropathogenic bacterium Salmonella enterica subspecies 1 serovar Typhimurium (S. Tm) in a mouse colitis model: we found that inflammatory host responses induced by S. Tm changed microbiota composition and suppressed its growth. In contrast to wild-type S. Tm, an avirulent invGsseD mutant failing to trigger colitis was outcompeted by the microbiota. This competitive defect was reverted if inflammation was provided concomitantly by mixed infection with wild-type S. Tm or in mice (IL10(-/-), VILLIN-HA(CL4-CD8)) with inflammatory bowel disease. Thus, inflammation is necessary and sufficient for overcoming colonization resistance. This reveals a new concept in infectious disease: in contrast to current thinking, inflammation is not always detrimental for the pathogen. Triggering the host's immune defence can shift the balance between the protective microbiota and the pathogen in favour of the pathogen.
    • Sensitivity to Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 in mice is dependent on environment and genetic background.

      Bleich, Andre; Sundberg, John P; Smoczek, Anna; von Wasielewski, Reinhard; de Buhr, Maike F; Janus, Lydia M; Julga, Gwen; Ukena, Sya N; Hedrich, Hans-J; Gunzer, Florian; et al. (2008-02)
      Escherichia coli Nissle 1917 (EcN) is a well-characterized probiotic bacterium. Although genomic comparisons of EcN with the uropathogenic E. coli strain CFT073 revealed high degrees of similarity, EcN is generally considered a non-pathogenic organism. However, as recent evidence suggests that EcN is capable of inducing inflammatory responses in host intestinal epithelial cells, we aimed to investigate potential pathogenic properties of EcN in an in vivo model using various germ-free (GF) mouse strains. With the exception of C3H/HeJZtm mice, which carry a defective toll-like receptor (TLR)4-allele, no lesions were obvious in mice of different strains orally inoculated with EcN for 1 week, although organ cultures (blood, lung, mesenteric lymph node, pancreas, spleen, liver and kidney) tested positive to various degrees. C3H/HeJZtm mice inoculated with EcN became clinically ill and the majority died or had to be euthanized. Organs of all gnotobiotic C3H/HeJZtm mice were positive for EcN by culture; major histological findings were moderate to severe pyogranulomatous serositis, typhlitis and pancreatitis. Histological findings were corroborated by highly elevated tumour necrosis factor (TNF) serum levels. Lesions were not detected in specified pathogen free maintained C3H/HeJZtm mice, GF C3H/HeJ mice lacking the interleukin-10 gene, or GF C3H/HeJZtm mice that were inoculated with E. coli K12 strain MG1655 as a control. In addition, mild histological lesions were detected in Ztm:NMRI mice 3 months after oral inoculation with EcN. This study shows that EcN is capable of displaying a virulent phenotype in GF C3H/HeJZtm mice. Whether this phenotype is linked to the bacterium's probiotic nature should be the focus of further studies.
    • Testing the importance of p27 degradation by the SCFskp2 pathway in murine models of lung and colon cancer.

      Timmerbeul, Inke; Garrett-Engele, Carrie M; Kossatz, Uta; Chen, Xueyan; Firpo, Eduardo; Grünwald, Viktor; Kamino, Kenji; Wilkens, Ludwig; Lehmann, Ulrich; Buer, Jan; et al. (2006-09-19)
      Decreased expression of the CDK inhibitor p27kip1 in human tumors directly correlates with increased resistance to chemotherapies, increased rates of metastasis, and an overall increased rate of patient mortality. It is thought that decreased p27 expression in tumors is caused by increased proteasomal turnover, in particular activation of the pathway governed by the SCFskp2 E3 ubiquitin protein ligase. We have directly tested the importance of the SCFskp-mediated degradation of p27 in tumorigenesis by analyzing the tumor susceptibility of mice that express a form of p27 that cannot be ubiquitinated and degraded by this pathway (p27T187A). In mouse models of both lung and colon cancer down-regulation of p27 promotes tumorigenesis. However, we found that preventing p27 degradation by the SCFskp2 pathway had no impact on tumor incidence or overall survival in either tumor model. Our study unveiled a previously unrecognized role for the control of p27 mRNA abundance in the development of non-small cell lung cancers. In the colon cancer model, the frequency of intestinal adenomas was similarly unaffected by the p27T187A mutation, but, unexpectedly, we found that it inhibited progression of intestinal adenomas to carcinomas. These studies may guide the choice of clinical settings in which pharmacologic inhibitors of the Skp2 pathway might be of therapeutic value.
    • Type I interferon drives tumor necrosis factor-induced lethal shock.

      Huys, Liesbeth; Van Hauwermeiren, Filip; Dejager, Lien; Dejonckheere, Eline; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Leclercq, Georges; Libert, Claude; Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, VIB, Ghent B9052, Belgium. (2009-08-31)
      Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is reputed to have very powerful antitumor effects, but it is also a strong proinflammatory cytokine. Injection of TNF in humans and mice leads to a systemic inflammatory response syndrome with major effects on liver and bowels. TNF is also a central mediator in several inflammatory diseases. We report that type I interferons (IFNs) are essential mediators of the lethal response to TNF. Mice deficient in the IFN-alpha receptor 1 (IFNAR-1) or in IFN-beta are remarkably resistant to TNF-induced hypothermia and death. After TNF injection, IFNAR-1(-/-) mice produced less IL-6, had less bowel damage, and had less apoptosis of enterocytes and hepatocytes compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Extensive gene expression analysis in livers of WT and IFNAR-1(-/-) mice revealed a large deficiency in the response to TNF in the knockout mice, especially of IFN-stimulated response element-dependent genes, many of which encode chemokines. In livers of IFNAR-1(-/-) mice, fewer infiltrating white blood cells (WBCs) were detected by immunohistochemistry. Deficiency of type I IFN signaling provided sufficient protection for potentially safer therapeutic use of TNF in tumor-bearing mice. Our data illustrate that type I IFNs act as essential mediators in TNF-induced lethal inflammatory shock, possibly by enhancing cell death and inducing chemokines and WBC infiltration in tissues.