Now showing items 1-20 of 3127

    • Advances in cytomegalovirus (CMV) biology and its relationship to health, diseases, and aging.

      Nikolich-Žugich, Janko; Čicin-Šain, Luka; Collins-McMillen, Donna; Jackson, Sarah; Oxenius, Annette; Sinclair, John; Snyder, Christopher; Wills, Mark; Lemmermann, Niels (Springer, 2020-03-11)
      The complexity of host-associated microbial ecosystems requires host-specific reference catalogs to survey the functions and diversity of these communities. We generate a comprehensive resource, the integrated mouse gut metagenome catalog (iMGMC), comprising 4.6 million unique genes and 660 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), many (485 MAGs, 73%) of which are linked to reconstructed full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences. iMGMC enables unprecedented coverage and taxonomic resolution of the mouse gut microbiota; i.e., more than 92% of MAGs lack species-level representatives in public repositories (<95% ANI match). The integration of MAGs and 16S rRNA gene data allows more accurate prediction of functional profiles of communities than predictions based on 16S rRNA amplicons alone. Accompanying iMGMC, we provide a set of MAGs representing 1,296 gut bacteria obtained through complementary assembly strategies. We envision that integrated resources such as iMGMC, together with MAG collections, will enhance the resolution of numerous existing and future sequencing-based studies.
    • Mucosal Heterologous Prime/Boost Vaccination Induces Polyfunctional Systemic Immunity, Improving Protection Against .

      Sanchez Alberti, Andrés; Bivona, Augusto E; Matos, Marina N; Cerny, Natacha; Schulze, Kai; Weißmann, Sebastian; Ebensen, Thomas; González, Germán; Morales, Celina; Cardoso, Alejandro C; et al. (Frontiers, 2020-02-21)
      There are several unmet needs in modern immunology. Among them, vaccines against parasitic diseases and chronic infections lead. Trypanosoma cruzi, the causative agent of Chagas disease, is an excellent example of a silent parasitic invasion that affects millions of people worldwide due to its progression into the symptomatic chronic phase of infection. In search for novel vaccine candidates, we have previously introduced Traspain, an engineered trivalent immunogen that was designed to address some of the known mechanisms of T. cruzi immune evasion. Here, we analyzed its performance in different DNA prime/protein boost protocols and characterized the systemic immune response associated with diverse levels of protection. Formulations that include a STING agonist, like c-di-AMP in the boost doses, were able to prime a Th1/Th17 immune response. Moreover, comparison between them showed that vaccines that were able to prime polyfunctional cell-mediated immunity at the CD4 and CD8 compartment enhanced protection levels in the murine model. These findings contribute to a better knowledge of the desired vaccine-elicited immunity against T. cruzi and promote the definition of a vaccine correlate of protection against the infection.
    • [Occurrence of bronchial asthma and age at initial asthma diagnosis-first results of the German National Cohort].

      Langer, Susan; Horn, Johannes; Kluttig, Alexander; Mikolajczyk, Rafael; Karrasch, Stefan; Schulz, Holger; Wichmann, Heinz-Erich; Linseisen, Jakob; Jaeschke, Lina; Pischon, Tobias; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-03)
      BACKGROUND: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in both children and adults. Asthma first occurring in adulthood (adult-onset asthma, AOA) is associated with poorer prognosis compared to childhood-onset asthma (COA), which urgently calls for more research in this area. The aim of this work was to analyze the data on asthma collected in the German National Cohort and compare it with the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS), in particular regarding AOA. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Our analysis was based on the dataset of the main questionnaire at mid-term of the German National Cohort baseline examination, comprising 101,723 participants. Variables considered in the analyses were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, age at first diagnosis, asthma treatment in the past 12 months, age, and sex. RESULTS: In the midterm dataset, 8.7% of women and 7.0% of men in the German National Cohort reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Approximately one third of participants with asthma received their initial diagnosis before their 18th birthday. COA affected 2.2% of women and 2.8% of men, whereas AOA affected 6.5% of women and 4.2% of men. During the previous 12 months, 33% of COA cases and 60% of AOA cases were medically treated. CONCLUSION: The proportion of persons affected by asthma in the German National Cohort, as well as observed patterns regarding age and gender, corresponds to other data sources such as DEGS. However, in our analysis, the proportion of individuals with AOA was higher than described in the literature. The increase in cumulative asthma diagnoses with age is markedly steeper in younger participants, indicating a rising trend over time.
    • Metabolic Rearrangements Causing Elevated Proline and Polyhydroxybutyrate Accumulation During the Osmotic Adaptation Response of .

      Godard, Thibault; Zühlke, Daniela; Richter, Georg; Wall, Melanie; Rohde, Manfred; Riedel, Katharina; Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; Krull, Rainer; Biedendieck, Rebekka; HZI,Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-21)
      For many years now, Bacillus megaterium serves as a microbial workhorse for the high-level production of recombinant proteins in the g/L-scale. However, efficient and stable production processes require the knowledge of the molecular adaptation strategies of the host organism to establish optimal environmental conditions. Here, we interrogated the osmotic stress response of B. megaterium using transcriptome, proteome, metabolome, and fluxome analyses. An initial transient adaptation consisted of potassium import and glutamate counterion synthesis. The massive synthesis of the compatible solute proline constituted the second longterm adaptation process. Several stress response enzymes involved in iron scavenging and reactive oxygen species (ROS) fighting proteins showed higher levels under prolonged osmotic stress induced by 1.8 M NaCl. At the same time, the downregulation of the expression of genes of the upper part of glycolysis resulted in the activation of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP), generating an oversupply of NADPH. The increased production of lactate accompanied by the reduction of acetate secretion partially compensate for the unbalanced (NADH/NAD+) ratio. Besides, the tricarboxylic acid cycle (TCA) mainly supplies the produced NADH, as indicated by the higher mRNA and protein levels of involved enzymes, and further confirmed by 13C flux analyses. As a consequence of the metabolic flux toward acetyl-CoA and the generation of an excess of NADPH, B. megaterium redirected the produced acetyl-CoA toward the polyhydroxybutyrate (PHB) biosynthetic pathway accumulating around 30% of the cell dry weight (CDW) as PHB. This direct relation between osmotic stress and intracellular PHB content has been evidenced for the first time, thus opening new avenues for synthesizing this valuable biopolymer using varying salt concentrations under non-limiting nutrient conditions.
    • An Integrated Metagenome Catalog Reveals New Insights into the Murine Gut Microbiome.

      Lesker, Till R; Durairaj, Abilash C; Gálvez, Eric J C; Lagkouvardos, Ilias; Baines, John F; Clavel, Thomas; Sczyrba, Alexander; McHardy, Alice C; Strowig, Till; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      The complexity of host-associated microbial ecosystems requires host-specific reference catalogs to survey the functions and diversity of these communities. We generate a comprehensive resource, the integrated mouse gut metagenome catalog (iMGMC), comprising 4.6 million unique genes and 660 metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs), many (485 MAGs, 73%) of which are linked to reconstructed full-length 16S rRNA gene sequences. iMGMC enables unprecedented coverage and taxonomic resolution of the mouse gut microbiota; i.e., more than 92% of MAGs lack species-level representatives in public repositories (<95% ANI match). The integration of MAGs and 16S rRNA gene data allows more accurate prediction of functional profiles of communities than predictions based on 16S rRNA amplicons alone. Accompanying iMGMC, we provide a set of MAGs representing 1,296 gut bacteria obtained through complementary assembly strategies. We envision that integrated resources such as iMGMC, together with MAG collections, will enhance the resolution of numerous existing and future sequencing-based studies.
    • [Assessment of self-reported cardiovascular and metabolic diseases in the German National Cohort (GNC, NAKO Gesundheitsstudie): methods and initial results].

      Jaeschke, Lina; Steinbrecher, Astrid; Greiser, Karin Halina; Dörr, Marcus; Buck, Thomas; Linseisen, Jakob; Meisinger, Christa; Ahrens, Wolfgang; Becher, Heiko; Berger, Klaus; et al. (Springer, 2020-03-10)
      BACKGROUND: Asthma is one of the most common chronic diseases in both children and adults. Asthma first occurring in adulthood (adult-onset asthma, AOA) is associated with poorer prognosis compared to childhood-onset asthma (COA), which urgently calls for more research in this area. The aim of this work was to analyze the data on asthma collected in the German National Cohort and compare it with the German Health Interview and Examination Survey for Adults (DEGS), in particular regarding AOA. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Our analysis was based on the dataset of the main questionnaire at mid-term of the German National Cohort baseline examination, comprising 101,723 participants. Variables considered in the analyses were self-reported diagnosis of asthma, age at first diagnosis, asthma treatment in the past 12 months, age, and sex. RESULTS: In the midterm dataset, 8.7% of women and 7.0% of men in the German National Cohort reported that they had ever been diagnosed with asthma. Approximately one third of participants with asthma received their initial diagnosis before their 18th birthday. COA affected 2.2% of women and 2.8% of men, whereas AOA affected 6.5% of women and 4.2% of men. During the previous 12 months, 33% of COA cases and 60% of AOA cases were medically treated. CONCLUSION: The proportion of persons affected by asthma in the German National Cohort, as well as observed patterns regarding age and gender, corresponds to other data sources such as DEGS. However, in our analysis, the proportion of individuals with AOA was higher than described in the literature. The increase in cumulative asthma diagnoses with age is markedly steeper in younger participants, indicating a rising trend over time.
    • Haprolid Inhibits Tumor Growth of Hepatocellular Carcinoma through Rb/E2F and Akt/mTOR Inhibition.

      Xing, Jun; Bhuria, Vikas; Bui, Khac Cuong; Nguyen, Mai Ly Thi; Hu, Zexi; Hsieh, Chih-Jen; Wittstein, Kathrin; Stadler, Marc; Wilkens, Ludwig; Li, Jun; et al. (MDPI, 2020-03-06)
      The efficacy of haprolid was evaluated in human HCC cell lines (Huh-7, Hep3B and HepG2) and xenograft tumors (NMRI-Foxn1nu mice with injection of Hep3B cells). Cytotoxic activity of haprolid was determined by the WST-1 and crystal violet assay. Wound healing, transwell and tumorsphere assays were performed to investigate migration and invasion of HCC cells. Apoptosis and cell-cycle distribution were measured by flow cytometry. The effects of haprolid on the Rb/E2F and Akt/mTOR pathway were examined by immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.
    • Streptococcal Extracellular Membrane Vesicles Are Rapidly Internalized by Immune Cells and Alter Their Cytokine Release.

      Mehanny, Mina; Koch, Marcus; Lehr, Claus-Michael; Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-14)
      Extracellular vesicles are membranous structures shed by almost every living cell. Bacterial gram-negative outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) and gram-positive membrane vesicles (MVs) play important roles in adaptation to the surrounding environment, cellular components' exchange, transfer of antigens and virulence factors, and infection propagation. Streptococcus pneumoniae is considered one of the priority pathogens, with a global health impact due to the increase in infection burden and growing antibiotic resistance. We isolated MVs produced from the S. pneumoniae reference strain (R6) and purified them via size exclusion chromatography (SEC) to remove soluble protein impurities. We characterized the isolated MVs by nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA) and measured their particle size distribution and concentration. Isolated MVs showed a mean particle size range of 130-160 nm and a particle yield of around 1012 particles per milliliter. Cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM) images revealed a very heterogeneous nature of isolated MVs with a broad size range and various morphologies, arrangements, and contents. We incubated streptococcal MVs with several mammalian somatic cells, namely, human lung epithelial A549 and human keratinocytes HaCaT cell lines, and immune cells including differentiated macrophage-like dTHP-1 and murine dendritic DC2.4 cell lines. All cell lines displayed excellent viability profile and negligible cytotoxicity after 24-h incubation with MVs at concentrations reaching 106 MVs per cell (somatic cells) and 105 MVs per cell (immune cells). We evaluated the uptake of fluorescently labeled MVs into these four cell lines, using flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Dendritic cells demonstrated prompt uptake after 30-min incubation, whereas other cell lines showed increasing uptake after 2-h incubation and almost complete colocalization/internalization of MVs after only 4-h incubation. We assessed the influence of streptococcal MVs on antigen-presenting cells, e.g., dendritic cells, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and observed enhanced release of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, a slight increase of interleukin (IL)-10 secretion, and no detectable effect on IL-12. Our study provides a better understanding of gram-positive streptococcal MVs and shows their potential to elicit a protective immune response. Therefore, they could offer an innovative avenue for safe and effective cell-free vaccination against pneumococcal infections.
    • One Step Ahead: Herpesviruses Light the Way to Understanding Interferon-Stimulated Genes (ISGs).

      Gonzalez-Perez, A Cristina; Stempel, Markus; Chan, Baca; Brinkmann, Melanie M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-02-07)
      The host immune system is engaged in a constant battle with microorganisms, with the immediate detection of pathogenic invasion and subsequent signalling acting as crucial deterrents against the establishment of a successful infection. For this purpose, cells are equipped with a variety of sensors called pattern recognition receptors (PRR), which rapidly detect intruders leading to the expression of antiviral type I interferons (IFN). Type I IFN are crucial cytokines which exert their biological effects through the induction of hundreds of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs). The expression profile of these ISGs varies depending on the virus. For a small subset of ISGs, their anti- or even proviral effects have been revealed, however, the vast majority are uncharacterised. The spotlight is now on herpesviruses, with their large coding capacity and long co-evolution with their hosts, as a key to understanding the impact of ISGs during viral infection. Studies are emerging which have identified multiple herpesviral antagonists specifically targeting ISGs, hinting at the significant role these proteins must play in host defence against viral infection, with the promise of more to come. In this review, we will discuss the current knowledge of the complex interplay between ISGs and human herpesviruses: the antiviral role of selected ISGs during herpesviral infections, how herpesviruses antagonise these ISGs and, in some cases, even exploit them to benefit viral infection.
    • Extracellular Traps: An Ancient Weapon of Multiple Kingdoms.

      Neumann, Ariane; Brogden, Graham; von Köckritz-Blickwede, Maren; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-18)
      The discovery, in 2004, of extracellular traps released by neutrophils has extended our understanding of the mode of action of various innate immune cells. This fascinating discovery demonstrated the extracellular trapping and killing of various pathogens by neutrophils. During the last decade, evidence has accumulated showing that extracellular traps play a crucial role in the defence mechanisms of various cell types present in vertebrates, invertebrates, and plants. The aim of this review is to summarise the relevant literature on the evolutionary history of extracellular traps used as a weapon in various kingdoms of life.
    • Identification of species as producers of cyclodepsipeptide PF1022 A and resurrection of the genus as inferred from polythetic taxonomy.

      Wittstein, K; Cordsmeier, A; Lambert, C; Wendt, L; Sir, E B; Weber, J; Wurzler, N; Petrini, L E; Stadler, M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-01-26)
      Rosellinia (Xylariaceae) is a large, cosmopolitan genus comprising over 130 species that have been defined based mainly on the morphology of their sexual morphs. The genus comprises both lignicolous and saprotrophic species that are frequently isolated as endophytes from healthy host plants, and important plant pathogens. In order to evaluate the utility of molecular phylogeny and secondary metabolite profiling to achieve a better basis for their classification, a set of strains was selected for a multi-locus phylogeny inferred from a combination of the sequences of the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the large subunit (LSU) of the nuclear rDNA, beta-tubulin (TUB2) and the second largest subunit of the RNA polymerase II (RPB2). Concurrently, various strains were surveyed for production of secondary metabolites. Metabolite profiling relied on methods with high performance liquid chromatography with diode array and mass spectrometric detection (HPLC-DAD/MS) as well as preparative isolation of the major components after re-fermentation followed by structure elucidation using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and high resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS). Two new and nine known isopimarane diterpenoids were identified during our mycochemical studies of two selected Dematophora strains and the metabolites were tested for biological activity. In addition, the nematicidal cyclodepsipeptide PF1022 A was purified and identified from a culture of Rosellinia corticium, which is the first time that this endophyte-derived drug precursor has been identified unambiguously from an ascospore-derived isolate of a Rosellinia species. While the results of this first HPLC profiling were largely inconclusive regarding the utility of secondary metabolites as genus-specific chemotaxonomic markers, the phylogeny clearly showed that species featuring a dematophora-like asexual morph were included in a well-defined clade, for which the genus Dematophora is resurrected. Dematophora now comprises all previously known important plant pathogens in the genus such as D. arcuata, D. bunodes, D. necatrix and D. pepo, while Rosellinia s. str. comprises those species that are known to have a geniculosporium-like or nodulisporium-like asexual morph, or where the asexual morph remains unknown. The extensive morphological studies of L.E. Petrini served as a basis to transfer several further species from Rosellinia to Dematophora, based on the morphology of their asexual morphs. However, most species of Rosellinia and allies still need to be recollected in fresh state, cultured, and studied for their morphology and their phylogenetic affinities before the infrageneric relationships can be clarified.
    • Structure of a Protein-RNA Complex by Solid-State NMR Spectroscopy.

      Ahmed, Mumdooh; Marchanka, Alexander; Carlomagno, Teresa; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-02-05)
      Solid-state NMR (ssNMR) is applicable to high molecular-weight (MW) protein assemblies in a non-amorphous precipitate. The technique yields atomic resolution structural information on both soluble and insoluble particles without limitations of MW or requirement of crystals. Herein, we propose and demonstrate an approach that yields the structure of protein-RNA complexes (RNP) solely from ssNMR data. Instead of using low-sensitivity magnetization transfer steps between heteronuclei of the protein and the RNA, we measure paramagnetic relaxation enhancement effects elicited on the RNA by a paramagnetic tag coupled to the protein. We demonstrate that this data, together with chemical-shift-perturbation data, yields an accurate structure of an RNP complex, starting from the bound structures of its components. The possibility of characterizing protein-RNA interactions by ssNMR may enable applications to large RNP complexes, whose structures are not accessible by other methods.
    • Natural Compound Library Screening Identifies New Molecules for the Treatment of Cardiac Fibrosis and Diastolic Dysfunction.

      Schimmel, Katharina; Jung, Mira; Foinquinos, Ariana; José, Gorka San; Beaumont, Javier; Bock, Katharina; Grote-Levi, Lea; Xiao, Ke; Bär, Christian; Pfanne, Angelika; et al. (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2020-01-17)
      High-throughput natural compound library screening identified 15 substances with antiproliferative effects in human cardiac fibroblasts. Using multiple in vitro fibrosis assays and stringent selection algorithms, we identified the steroid bufalin (from Chinese toad venom) and the alkaloid lycorine (from Amaryllidaceae species) to be effective antifibrotic molecules both in vitro and in vivo, leading to improvement in diastolic function in 2 hypertension-dependent rodent models of cardiac fibrosis. Administration at effective doses did not change plasma damage markers or the morphology of kidney and liver, providing the first toxicological safety data. Using next-generation sequencing, we identified the conserved microRNA 671-5p and downstream the antifibrotic selenoprotein P1 as common effectors of the antifibrotic compounds.
    • Non-Targeted Mass Isotopolome Analysis Using Stable Isotope Patterns to Identify Metabolic Changes.

      Dudek, Christian-Alexander; Schlicker, Lisa; Hiller, Karsten; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany.
      Gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry can provide an extensive overview of the metabolic state of a biological system. Analysis of raw mass spectrometry data requires powerful data processing software to generate interpretable results. Here we describe a data processing workflow to generate metabolite levels, mass isotopomer distribution, similarity and variability analysis of metabolites in a nontargeted manner, using stable isotope labeling. Using our data analysis software, no bioinformatic or programming background is needed to generate results from raw mass spectrometry data.
    • Patient iPSC-Derived Macrophages to Study Inborn Errors of the IFN-γ Responsive Pathway.

      Haake, Kathrin; Neehus, Anna-Lena; Buchegger, Theresa; Kühnel, Mark Philipp; Blank, Patrick; Philipp, Friederike; Oleaga-Quintas, Carmen; Schulz, Ansgar; Grimley, Michael; Goethe, Ralph; et al. (MDPI, 2020-02-19)
      nterferon γ (IFN-γ) was shown to be a macrophage activating factor already in 1984. Consistently, inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity underlie Mendelian Susceptibility to Mycobacterial Disease (MSMD). MSMD is characterized by genetic predisposition to disease caused by weakly virulent mycobacterial species. Paradoxically, macrophages from patients with MSMD were little tested. Here, we report a disease modeling platform for studying IFN-γ related pathologies using macrophages derived from patient specific induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). We used iPSCs from patients with autosomal recessive complete- and partial IFN-γR2 deficiency, partial IFN-γR1 deficiency and complete STAT1 deficiency. Macrophages from all patient iPSCs showed normal morphology and IFN-γ-independent functionality like phagocytic uptake of bioparticles and internalization of cytokines. For the IFN-γ-dependent functionalities, we observed that the deficiencies played out at various stages of the IFN-γ pathway, with the complete IFN-γR2 and complete STAT1 deficient cells showing the most severe phenotypes, in terms of upregulation of surface markers and induction of downstream targets. Although iPSC-derived macrophages with partial IFN-γR1 and IFN-γR2 deficiency still showed residual induction of downstream targets, they did not reduce the mycobacterial growth when challenged with Bacillus Calmette-Guérin. Taken together, we report a disease modeling platform to study the role of macrophages in patients with inborn errors of IFN-γ immunity.
    • A NanoLuc luciferase-based assay enabling the real-time analysis of protein secretion and injection by bacterial type III secretion systems.

      Westerhausen, Sibel; Nowak, Melanie; Torres-Vargas, Claudia E; Bilitewski, Ursula; Bohn, Erwin; Grin, Iwan; Wagner, Samuel; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-02-18)
      The elucidation of the molecular mechanisms of secretion through bacterial protein secretion systems is impeded by a shortage of assays to quantitatively assess secretion kinetics. Also the analysis of the biological role of these secretion systems as well as the identification of inhibitors targeting these systems would greatly benefit from the availability of a simple, quick and quantitative assay to monitor principle secretion and injection into host cells. Here, we present a versatile solution to this need, utilizing the small and very bright NanoLuc luciferase to assess the function of the type III secretion system encoded by Salmonella pathogenicity island 1. Type III secretion substrate-NanoLuc fusions are readily secreted into the culture supernatant, where they can be quantified by luminometry after removal of bacteria. The NanoLuc-based secretion assay features a very high signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity down to the nanolitre scale. The assay enables monitoring of secretion kinetics and is adaptable to a high throughput screening format in 384-well microplates. We further developed a split NanoLuc-based assay that enables the real-time monitoring of type III secretion-dependent injection of effector-HiBiT fusions into host cells stably expressing the complementing NanoLuc-LgBiT.
    • Characterization of a transcriptional TPP riboswitch in the human pathogen .

      Righetti, Francesco; Materne, Solange Lise; Boss, John; Eichner, Hannes; Charpentier, Emmanuelle; Loh, Edmund; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Taylor & Francis, 2020-02-20)
      Increasing evidence has demonstrated that regulatory RNA elements such as riboswitches (RS) play a pivotal role in the fine-tuning of bacterial gene expression. In this study, we investigated and characterized a novel transcriptional thiamine pyrophosphate (TPP) RS in the obligate human pathogen N. meningitidis MC58 (serogroup B). This RS is located in the 5´ untranslated region upstream of thiC gene, encoding a protein involved in TPP biosynthesis, an essential cofactor for all living beings. Primer extension revealed the transcriptional start site of thiC. Northern blot analysis of thiC mRNA and reporter gene studies confirmed the presence of an active TPP-sensing RS. Expression patterns of the wild-type RS and site-specific mutants showed that it is an OFF switch that controls transcription elongation of thiC mRNA. Interestingly, the regulatory mechanism of the meningococcal thiC RS resembles the Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis thiC RS rather than the Gram-negative Escherichia coli thiC RS. Therefore, the meningococcal thiC RS represents a rare example of transcriptional RS in a Gram-negative bacterium. We further observed that the RS is actively involved in modulating gene expression in response to different growth media and to supplemented bacterial and eukaryotic cell lysates as possible sources of nutrients in the nasopharynx. Our results suggest that RS-mediated gene regulation could influence meningococcal fitness, through the fine-tuning of biosynthesis and scavenging of nutrients and cofactors, such as thiamine.
    • Non-canonical Caspase-1 Signaling Drives RIP2-Dependent and TNF-α-Mediated Inflammation In Vivo.

      Reinke, Sören; Linge, Mary; Diebner, Hans H; Luksch, Hella; Glage, Silke; Gocht, Anne; Robertson, Avril A B; Cooper, Matthew A; Hofmann, Sigrun R; Naumann, Ronald; et al.
      Pro-inflammatory caspase-1 is a key player in innate immunity. Caspase-1 processes interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-18 to their mature forms and triggers pyroptosis. These caspase-1 functions are linked to its enzymatic activity. However, loss-of-function missense mutations in CASP1 do not prevent autoinflammation in patients, despite decreased IL-1β production. In vitro data suggest that enzymatically inactive caspase-1 drives inflammation via enhanced nuclear factor κB (NF-κB) activation, independent of IL-1β processing. Here, we report two mouse models of enzymatically inactive caspase-1-C284A, demonstrating the relevance of this pathway in vivo. In contrast to Casp1-/- mice, caspase-1-C284A mice show pronounced hypothermia and increased levels of the pro-inflammatory cytokines tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and IL-6 when challenged with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). Caspase-1-C284A signaling is RIP2 dependent and mediated by TNF-α but independent of the NLRP3 inflammasome. LPS-stimulated whole blood from patients carrying loss-of-function missense mutations in CASP1 secretes higher amounts of TNF-α. Taken together, these results reveal non-canonical caspase-1 signaling in vivo.
    • Alpha-Glucosidase- and Lipase-Inhibitory Phenalenones from a New Species of Originating from Thailand.

      Macabeo, Allan Patrick G; Pilapil, Luis Agustin E; Garcia, Katherine Yasmin M; Quimque, Mark Tristan J; Phukhamsakda, Chayanard; Cruz, Allaine Jean C; Hyde, Kevin D; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-02-20)
      The alpha-glucosidase- and lipase-inhibitory activities of three phenalenones (1-3) and one phenylpropanoid (4) from the ethyl acetate extracts of a Pseudolophiosptoma sp. are described. They represent the first secondary metabolites reported from the genus Pseudolophiostoma. Scleroderolide (1) and sclerodione (2) exhibited potent α-glucosidase- and porcine-lipase-inhibitory activity during primary screening, with better IC50 values compared to the positive controls, N-deoxynojirimycin and orlistat. In silico techniques were employed to validate the probable biological targets and elucidate the mechanism of actions of phenalenones 1 and 2. Both compounds exhibited strong binding affinities to both alpha-glucosidase and porcine lipase through H-bonding and π-π interactions. Interestingly, favorable in silico ADME (absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion) properties such as gastrointestinal absorption were also predicted using software.
    • Diffusion and transport of extracellular vesicles.

      Fuhrmann, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer Nature, 2020-02-17)
      Cell-derived extracellular vesicles are important intercellular communicators involved in many biological processes and diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases, but, thus far, how they navigate within complex extracellular matrices has been poorly understood.