• Adherence and invasion of streptococci to eukaryotic cells and their role in disease pathogenesis.

      Rohde, Manfred; Chhatwal, G Singh; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. manfred.rohde@helmholtz-hzi.de (2013)
      Streptococcal adhesion, invasion, intracellular trafficking, dissemination, and persistence in eukaryotic cells have a variety of implications in the infection pathogenesis. While cell adhesion establishes the initial host contact, adhering bacteria exploit the host cell for their own benefit. Internalization into the host cell is an essential step for bacterial survival and subsequent dissemination and persistence, thus playing a key role in the course of infection. This chapter summarizes the current knowledge about the diverse mechanisms of streptococcal adhesion to and invasion into different eukaryotic cells and the impact on dissemination and persistence which is reflected by consequences for the pathogenesis of streptococcal infections.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • Characterization of JG024, a pseudomonas aeruginosa PB1-like broad host range phage under simulated infection conditions.

      Garbe, Julia; Wesche, Andrea; Bunk, Boyke; Kazmierczak, Marlon; Selezska, Katherina; Rohde, Christine; Sikorski, Johannes; Rohde, Manfred; Jahn, Dieter; Schobert, Max (2010)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa causes lung infections in patients suffering from the genetic disorder Cystic Fibrosis (CF). Once a chronic lung infection is established, P. aeruginosa cannot be eradicated by antibiotic treatment. Phage therapy is an alternative to treat these chronic P. aeruginosa infections. However, little is known about the factors which influence phage infection of P. aeruginosa under infection conditions and suitable broad host range phages.
    • Clinical and microbiologic characteristics of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in north and south India.

      Haggar, Axana; Nerlich, Andreas; Kumar, Rajesh; Abraham, Vinod J; Brahmadathan, Kootallur N; Ray, Pallab; Dhanda, Vanita; Joshua, John Melbin Jose; Mehra, Narinder; Bergmann, Rene; et al. (2012-05)
      The lack of epidemiologic data on invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in many developing countries is concerning, as S. pyogenes infections are commonly endemic in these areas. Here we present the results of the first prospective surveillance study of invasive Streptococcus pyogenes infections in India. Fifty-four patients with invasive S. pyogenes infections were prospectively enrolled at two study sites, one in the north and one in the south of India. Sterile-site isolates were collected, and clinical information was documented using a standardized questionnaire. Available acute-phase sera were tested for their ability to inhibit superantigens produced by the patient's own isolate using a cell-based neutralizing assay. The most common clinical presentations were bacteremia without focus (30%), pneumonia (28%), and cellulitis (17%). Only two cases of streptococcal toxic shock syndrome and no cases of necrotizing fasciitis were identified. Characterization of the isolates revealed great heterogeneity, with 32 different emm subtypes and 29 different superantigen gene profiles being represented among the 49 sterile-site isolates. Analyses of acute-phase sera showed that only 20% of the cases in the north cohort had superantigen-neutralizing activity in their sera, whereas 50% of the cases from the south site had neutralizing activity. The results demonstrate that there are important differences in both clinical presentation and strain characteristics between invasive S. pyogenes infections in India and invasive S. pyogenes infections in Western countries. The findings underscore the importance of epidemiologic studies on streptococcal infections in India and have direct implications for current vaccine developments.
    • Contribution of plasminogen activation towards the pathogenic potential of oral streptococci.

      Itzek, Andreas; Gillen, Christine M; Fulde, Marcus; Friedrichs, Claudia; Rodloff, Arne C; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Nitsche-Schmitz, Daniel Patric; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010)
      Oral streptococci are a heterogeneous group of human commensals, with a potential to cause serious infections. Activation of plasminogen has been shown to increase the virulence of typical human pathogenic streptococci such as S. pneumoniae. One important factor for plasminogen activation is the streptococcal α-enolase. Here we report that plasminogen activation is also common in oral streptococci species involved in clinical infection and that it depends on the action of human plasminogen activators. The ability to activate plasminogen did not require full conservation of the internal plasminogen binding sequence motif FYDKERKVY of α-enolase that was previously described as crucial for increased plasminogen binding, activation and virulence. Instead, experiments with recombinant α-enolase variants indicate that the naturally occurring variations do not impair plasminogen binding. In spite of these variations in the internal plasminogen binding motif oral streptococci showed similar activation of plasminogen. We conclude that the pathomechanism of plasminogen activation is conserved in oral streptococci that cause infections in human. This may contribute to their opportunistic pathogenic character that is unfurled in certain niches.
    • Contribution of Streptococcus anginosus to infections caused by groups C and G streptococci, southern India.

      Reissmann, Silvana; Friedrichs, Claudia; Rajkumari, Reena; Itzek, Andreas; Fulde, Marcus; Rodloff, Arne C; Brahmadathan, Kootallur N; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Nitsche-Schmitz, D Patric; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2010-04)
      Vellore, a region in southern India, has a high incidence of severe human infections with Beta-hemolytic group C and G streptococci (GCGS). To determine the causative species in these infections, we conducted 16S rRNA gene sequencing: Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis (81%) and S. anginosus (19%) were the causative organisms in the 2-year study period (2006-2007). We used PCR to detect the virulence-related emm gene; results showed that it was restricted to S. dysgalactieae subsp. equisimilis isolates of 99.2% tested positive. Due to a novel marker, S. anginosus and S. constellatus can be quickly and accurately distinguished from other members of the genus. The notable contribution of the anginosus group to human infections suggests that this group of obligate pathogens deserves more attention in healthcare and research.
    • Cooperative binding and activation of fibronectin by a bacterial surface protein.

      Marjenberg, Zoe R; Ellis, Ian R; Hagan, Robert M; Prabhakaran, Sabitha; Höök, Magnus; Talay, Susanne R; Potts, Jennifer R; Staunton, David; Schwarz-Linek, Ulrich; Biomedical Sciences Research Complex, University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews KY16 9ST, Scotland, United Kingdom. (2011-01-21)
      Integrin-dependent cell invasion of some pathogenic bacteria is mediated by surface proteins targeting the extracellular matrix protein fibronectin (FN). Although the structural basis for bacterial FN recognition is well understood, it has been unclear why proteins such as streptococcal SfbI contain several FN-binding sites. We used microcalorimetry to reveal cooperative binding of FN fragments to arrays of binding sites in SfbI. In combination with thermodynamic analyses, functional cell-based assays show that SfbI induces conformational changes in the N-terminal 100-kDa region of FN (FN100kDa), most likely by competition with intramolecular interactions defining an inactive state of FN100kDa. This study provides insights into how long range conformational changes resulting in FN activation may be triggered by bacterial pathogens.
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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)
    • 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.
    • 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.
    • The FbaB-type fibronectin-binding protein of Streptococcus pyogenes promotes specific invasion into endothelial cells.

      Amelung, Silva; Nerlich, Andreas; Rohde, Manfred; Spellerberg, Barbara; Cole, Jason N; Nizet, Victor; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Talay, Susanne R; Department of Medical Microbiology, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011-08)
      Invasive serotype M3 Streptococcus pyogenes are among the most frequently isolated organisms from patients suffering from invasive streptococcal disease and have the potential to invade primary human endothelial cells (EC) via a rapid and efficient mechanism. FbaB protein, the fibronectin-binding protein expressed by M3 S. pyogenes, was herein identified as a potent invasin for EC. By combining heterologous gene expression with allelic replacement, we demonstrate that FbaB is essential and sufficient to trigger EC invasion via a Rac1-dependent phagocytosis-like uptake. FbaB-mediated uptake follows the classical endocytic pathway with lysosomal destination. FbaB is demonstrated to be a streptococcal invasin exhibiting EC tropism. FbaB thus initiates a process that may contribute to the deep tissue tropism and spread of invasive S. pyogenes isolates into the vascular EC lining.
    • Genetic variation in group A streptococci.

      McMillan, David J; Sriprakash, Kadaba S; Chhatwal, Gursharan S; Department of Microbial Pathogenesis, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstrasse 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2007-11)
      Group A streptococcus (GAS) is responsible for a range of human diseases that vary in their clinical manifestations and severity. While numerous virulence factors have been described, the way these factors interact to promote different streptococcal diseases is less clear. In order to identify multifactorial relationships between GAS and the human host, novel high-throughput techniques such as microarrays are necessary. We have performed comparative studies using custom-designed virulence arrays to enhance our understanding of the high degree of genotypic variation that occurs in streptococci. This study has pointed to mobile genetic elements as the major agents that promote variation. Our results show that multiple combinations of genes might bring about similar clinical pictures. This adds further complexity to the intricate relationship between pathogen and host.
    • 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.
    • Increased neutrophil extracellular trap-mediated Staphylococcus aureus clearance through inhibition of nuclease activity by clindamycin and immunoglobulin.

      Schilcher, Katrin; Andreoni, Federica; Uchiyama, Satoshi; Ogawa, Taiji; Schuepbach, Reto A; Zinkernagel, Annelies S; Helmholtz Centre for infection reseach, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2014-08-01)
      The Gram-positive human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus causes a variety of human diseases such as skin infections, pneumonia, and endocarditis. The micrococcal nuclease Nuc1 is one of the major S. aureus virulence factors and allows the bacterium to avoid neutrophil extracellular trap (NET)-mediated killing. We found that addition of the protein synthesis inhibitor clindamycin to S. aureus LAC cultures decreased nuc1 transcription and subsequently blunted nuclease activity in a molecular beacon-based fluorescence assay. We also observed reduced NET degradation through Nuc1 inhibition translating into increased NET-mediated clearance. Similarly, pooled human immunoglobulin specifically inhibited nuclease activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Inhibition of nuclease activity by clindamycin and immunoglobulin enhanced S. aureus clearance and should be considered in the treatment of S. aureus infections.
    • 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.