• Biological functions of GCS3, a novel plasminogen-binding protein of Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis.

      Bergmann, René; Dinkla, Katrin; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Graham, Rikki M A; Lüttge, Melanie; Sanderson-Smith, Martina L; Nerlich, Andreas; Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Dept. of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-02)
      Increasing awareness of the relevance of Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis as a human pathogen motivates the analysis of its pathomechanisms. One of the mechanisms that increases infectivity and dissemination of several streptococcal species is the recruitment and subsequent activation of host plasminogen on the streptococcal surface. This study identified GCS3 as a novel plasminogen-binding M protein of S. dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis and revealed a difference in the mode of binding as compared to the plasminogen-binding protein PAM of S. pyogenes. In contrast to PAM, GCS3 did not bind to the kringle 1-3 region of plasminogen. Despite this difference, GCS3 exerts the same function of recruiting plasminogen to the streptococcal surface, which can be activated by streptokinase and host plasminogen activators to serve as a spreading factor. Moreover, we demonstrate a role of GCS3 in plasminogen-dependent streptococcal adherence to human pharyngeal cells (cell line Detroit 562) that indicates an additional function of the protein as an adhesin in the oral cavity.
    • 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.
    • Differences in the aromatic domain of homologous streptococcal fibronectin-binding proteins trigger different cell invasion mechanisms and survival rates.

      Rohde, Manfred; Graham, Rikki M; Branitzki-Heinemann, Katja; Borchers, Patricia; Preuss, Claudia; Schleicher, Ina; Zähner, Dorothea; Talay, Susanne R; Fulde, Marcus; Dinkla, Katrin; et al. (2011-03)
      Group A streptococci (GAS, Streptococcus pyogenes) and Group G streptococci (GGS, Streptococcus dysgalactiae ssp. equisimilis) adhere to and invade host cells by binding to fibronectin. The fibronectin-binding protein SfbI from GAS acts as an invasin by using a caveolae-mediated mechanism. In the present study we have identified a fibronectin-binding protein, GfbA, from GGS, which functions as an adhesin and invasin. Although there is a high degree of similarity in the C-terminal sequence of SfbI and GfbA, the invasion mechanisms are different. Unlike caveolae-mediated invasion by SfbI-expressing GAS, the GfbA-expressing GGS isolate trigger cytoskeleton rearrangements. Heterologous expression of GfbA on the surface of a commensal Streptococcus gordonii and purified recombinant protein also triggered actin rearrangements. Expression of a truncated GfbA (lacking the aromatic domain) and chimeric GfbA/SfbI protein (replacing the aromatic domain of SfbI with the GfbA aromatic domain) on S. gordonii or recombinant proteins alone showed that the aromatic domain of GfbA is responsible for different invasion mechanisms. This is the first evidence for a biological function of the aromatic domain of fibronectin-binding proteins. Furthermore, we show that streptococci invading via cytoskeleton rearrangements and intracellular trafficking along the classical endocytic pathway are less persistence than streptococci entering via caveolae.
    • 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.
    • 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.