Now showing items 21-40 of 3417

    • Phylogenetic Assignment of the Fungicolous (Ascomycota, Xylariales) and Investigation of its Secondary Metabolites.

      Becker, Kevin; Lambert, Christopher; Wieschhaus, Jörg; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-09-11)
      The ascomycete Hypoxylon invadens was described in 2014 as a fungicolous species growing on a member of its own genus, H.fragiforme, which is considered a rare lifestyle in the Hypoxylaceae. This renders H.invadens an interesting target in our efforts to find new bioactive secondary metabolites from members of the Xylariales. So far, only volatile organic compounds have been reported from H.invadens, but no investigation of non-volatile compounds had been conducted. Furthermore, a phylogenetic assignment following recent trends in fungal taxonomy via a multiple sequence alignment seemed practical. A culture of H.invadens was thus subjected to submerged cultivation to investigate the produced secondary metabolites, followed by isolation via preparative chromatography and subsequent structure elucidation by means of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and high-resolution mass spectrometry (HR-MS). This approach led to the identification of the known flaviolin (1) and 3,3-biflaviolin (2) as the main components, which had never been reported from the order Xylariales before. Assessment of their antimicrobial and cytotoxic effects via a panel of commonly used microorganisms and cell lines in our laboratory did not yield any effects of relevance. Concurrently, genomic DNA from the fungus was used to construct a multigene phylogeny using ribosomal sequence information from the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS), the 28S large subunit of ribosomal DNA (LSU), and proteinogenic nucleotide sequences from the second largest subunit of the DNA-directed RNA polymerase II (RPB2) and β-tubulin (TUB2) genes. A placement in a newly formed clade with H.trugodes was strongly supported in a maximum-likelihood (ML) phylogeny using sequences derived from well characterized strains, but the exact position of said clade remains unclear. Both, the chemical and the phylogenetic results suggest further inquiries into the lifestyle of this unique fungus to get a better understanding of both, its ecological role and function of its produced secondary metabolites hitherto unique to the Xylariales.
    • Impact of Von Willebrand Factor on Bacterial Pathogenesis.

      Steinert, Michael; Ramming, Isabell; Bergmann, Simone; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-09-03)
      Von Willebrand factor (VWF) is a mechano-sensitive protein with crucial functions in normal hemostasis, which are strongly dependant on the shear-stress mediated defolding and multimerization of VWF in the blood stream. Apart from bleeding disorders, higher plasma levels of VWF are often associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular diseases. Herein, the disease symptoms are attributed to the inflammatory response of the activated endothelium and share high similarities to the reaction of the host vasculature to systemic infections caused by pathogenic bacteria such as Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. The bacteria recruit circulating VWF, and by binding to immobilized VWF on activated endothelial cells in blood flow, they interfere with the physiological functions of VWF, including platelet recruitment and coagulation. Several bacterial VWF binding proteins have been identified and further characterized by biochemical analyses. Moreover, the development of a combination of sophisticated cell culture systems simulating shear stress levels of the blood flow with microscopic visualization also provided valuable insights into the interaction mechanism between bacteria and VWF-strings. In vivo studies using mouse models of bacterial infection and zebrafish larvae provided evidence that the interaction between bacteria and VWF promotes bacterial attachment, coagulation, and thrombus formation, and thereby contributes to the pathophysiology of severe infectious diseases such as infective endocarditis and bacterial sepsis. This mini-review summarizes the current knowledge of the interaction between bacteria and the mechano-responsive VWF, and corresponding pathophysiological disease symptoms.
    • Toll-like Receptor 5 Activation by the CagY Repeat Domains of Helicobacter pylori.

      Tegtmeyer, Nicole; Neddermann, Matthias; Lind, Judith; Pachathundikandi, Suneesh Kumar; Sharafutdinov, Irshad; Gutiérrez-Escobar, Andrés Julián; Brönstrup, Mark; Tegge, Werner; Hong, Minsun; Rohde, Manfred; et al. (Cell Press, 2020-11-15)
      Helicobacter pylori (Hp) is an important human pathogen associated with gastric inflammation and neoplasia. It is commonly believed that this bacterium avoids major immune recognition by Toll-like receptors (TLRs) because of low intrinsic activity of its flagellin and lipopolysaccharides (LPS). In particular, TLR5 specifically detects flagellins in various bacterial pathogens, while Hp evolved mutations in flagellin to evade detection through TLR5. Cancerogenic Hp strains encode a type IV secretion system (T4SS). The T4SS core component and pilus-associated protein CagY, a large VirB10 ortholog, drives effector molecule translocation. Here, we identify CagY as a flagellin-independent TLR5 agonist. We detect five TLR5 interaction sites, promoting binding of CagY-positive Hp to TLR5-expressing cells, TLR5 stimulation, and intracellular signal transduction. Consequently, CagY constitutes a remarkable VirB10 member detected by TLR5, driving crucial innate immune responses by this human pathogen.
    • Re-Evaluation of the Order Sordariales: Delimitation of Lasiosphaeriaceae s. str., and Introduction of the New Families Diplogelasinosporaceae, Naviculisporaceae, and Schizotheciaceae.

      Marin-Felix, Yasmina; Miller, Andrew N; Cano-Lira, José F; Guarro, Josep; García, D; Stadler, Marc; Huhndorf, Sabine M; Stchigel, Alberto M; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-09-17)
      The order Sordariales includes the polyphyletic family Lasiosphaeriaceae, which comprises approximately 30 genera characterized by its paraphysate ascomata, asci with apical apparati, and mostly two-celled ascospores, which have a dark apical cell and a hyaline lower cell, frequently ornamented with mucilaginous appendages[...].
    • Editorial: Mechanisms of Prokaryotic Predation.

      Whitworth, David E; Jurkevitch, Edouard; Pérez, Juana; Fuhrmann, Gregor; Koval, Susan F; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2020-09-08)
      No abstract available]
    • Pyruvate dehydrogenase complex—enzyme 2, a new target for Listeria spp. detection identified using combined phage display technologies

      Moreira, Gustavo Marçal Schmidt Garcia; Köllner, Sarah Mara Stella; Helmsing, Saskia; Jänsch, Lothar; Meier, Anja; Gronow, Sabine; Boedeker, Christian; Dübel, Stefan; Mendonça, Marcelo; Moreira, Ângela Nunes; et al. (Springer Science and Business Media LLC, 2020-09-17)
      The genus Listeria comprises ubiquitous bacteria, commonly present in foods and food production facilities. In this study, three different phage display technologies were employed to discover targets, and to generate and characterize novel antibodies against Listeria: antibody display for biomarker discovery and antibody generation; ORFeome display for target identification; and single-gene display for epitope characterization. With this approach, pyruvate dehydrogenase complex-enzyme 2 (PDC-E2) was defined as a new detection target for Listeria, as confirmed by immunomagnetic separation-mass spectrometry (IMS-MS). Immunoblot and fluorescence microscopy showed that this protein is accessible on the bacterial cell surface of living cells. Recombinant PDC-E2 was produced in E. coli and used to generate 16 additional antibodies. The resulting set of 20 monoclonal scFv-Fc was tested in indirect ELISA against 17 Listeria and 16 non-Listeria species. Two of them provided 100% sensitivity (CI 82.35-100.0%) and specificity (CI 78.20-100.0%), confirming PDC-E2 as a suitable target for the detection of Listeria. The binding region of 18 of these antibodies was analyzed, revealing that ≈ 90% (16/18) bind to the lipoyl domains (LD) of the target. The novel target PDC-E2 and highly specific antibodies against it offer new opportunities to improve the detection of Listeria.
    • IDH1/2 mutations in acute myeloid leukemia patients and risk of coronary artery disease and cardiac dysfunction—a retrospective propensity score analysis

      Kattih, Badder; Shirvani, Amir; Klement, Piroska; Garrido, Abel Martin; Gabdoulline, Razif; Liebich, Alessandro; Brandes, Maximilian; Chaturvedi, Anuhar; Seeger, Timon; Thol, Felicitas; et al. (Springer Nature, 2020-01-01)
      Clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) is linked to leukemia gene mutations and associates with an increased risk for coronary artery disease and poor prognosis in ischemic cardiomyopathy. Two recurrently mutated genes in CHIP and adult acute myeloid leukemia (AML) encode for isocitrate dehydrogenases 1 and 2 (IDH1 and IDH2). Global expression of mutant IDH2 in transgenic mice-induced dilated cardiomyopathy and muscular dystrophy. In this retrospective observational study, we investigated whether mutant IDH1/2 predisposes to cardiovascular disease in AML patients. Among 363 AML patients, IDH1 and IDH2 mutations were detected in 26 (7.2%) and 39 patients (10.7%), respectively. Mutant IDH1 patients exhibited a significantly higher prevalence of coronary artery disease (26.1% vs. 6.4%, p = 0.002). Applying inverse probability-weighting analysis, patients with IDH1/2 mutations had a higher risk for a declining cardiac function during AML treatment compared to IDH1/2 wild type patients [left ventricular ejection fraction pretreatment compared to 10 months after diagnosis: 59.2% to 41.9% (p < 0.001) vs 58.5% to 55.4% (p = 0.27), respectively]. Mechanistically, RNA sequencing and immunostaining in hiPS-derived cardiomyocytes indicated that the oncometabolite R-2HG exacerbated doxorubicin mediated cardiotoxicity. Evaluation of IDH1/2 mutation status may therefore help identifying AML patients at risk for cardiovascular complications during cytotoxic treatment. Similar articles
    • Biological and chemical diversity go hand in hand: Basidiomycota as source of new pharmaceuticals and agrochemicals.

      Sandargo, Birthe; Chepkirui, Clara; Cheng, Tian; Chaverra-Muñoz, Lillibeth; Thongbai, Benjarong; Stadler, Marc; Hüttel, Stephan; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-02-07)
      The Basidiomycota constitutes the second largest higher taxonomic group of the Fungi after the Ascomycota and comprises over 30.000 species. Mycelial cultures of Basidiomycota have already been studied since the 1950s for production of antibiotics and other beneficial secondary metabolites. Despite the fact that unique and selective compounds like pleuromutilin were obtained early on, it took several decades more until they were subjected to a systematic screening for antimicrobial and anticancer activities. These efforts led to the discovery of the strobilurins and several hundreds of further compounds that mainly constitute terpenoids. In parallel the traditional medicinal mushrooms of Asia were also studied intensively for metabolite production, aimed at finding new therapeutic agents for treatment of various diseases including metabolic disorders and the central nervous system. While the evaluation of this organism group has in general been more tedious as compared to the Ascomycota, the chances to discover new metabolites and to develop them further to candidates for drugs, agrochemicals and other products for the Life Science industry have substantially increased over the past decade. This is owing to the revolutionary developments in -OMICS techniques, bioinformatics, analytical chemistry and biotechnological process technology, which are steadily being developed further. On the other hand, the new developments in polythetic fungal taxonomy now also allow a more concise selection of previously untapped organisms. The current review is dedicated to summarize the state of the art and to give an outlook to further developments.
    • Investigating the Function of Cryptic Cytochalasan Cytochrome P450 Monooxygenases Using Combinatorial Biosynthesis.

      Wang, Chongqing; Becker, Kevin; Pfütze, Sebastian; Kuhnert, Eric; Stadler, Marc; Cox, Russell J; Skellam, Elizabeth; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (ACS, 2019-10-23)
      Tailoring enzymes in cytochalasan biosynthesis are relatively promiscuous. Exploiting this property, we deduced the function of four cryptic cytochrome P450 monooxygenases via heterologous expression of six cytochrome P450-encoding genes, originating from Hypoxylon fragiforme and Pyricularia oryzae, in pyrichalasin H ΔP450 strains. Three cryptic cytochrome P450 enzymes (HffD, HffG, and CYP1) restored pyrichalasin H production in mutant strains, while CYP3 catalyzed a site-selective epoxidation leading to the isolation of three novel cytochalasans.
    • Conditional Hfq Association with Small Noncoding RNAs in Pseudomonas aeruginosa Revealed through Comparative UV Cross-Linking Immunoprecipitation Followed by High-Throughput Sequencing.

      Chihara, Kotaro; Bischler, Thorsten; Barquist, Lars; Monzon, Vivian A; Noda, Naohiro; Vogel, Jörg; Tsuneda, Satoshi (2019-12-03)
      Bacterial small noncoding RNAs (sRNAs) play posttranscriptional regulatory roles in cellular responses to changing environmental cues and in adaptation to harsh conditions. Generally, the RNA-binding protein Hfq helps sRNAs associate with target mRNAs to modulate their translation and to modify global RNA pools depending on physiological state. Here, a combination of in vivo UV cross-linking immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-seq) and total RNA-seq showed that Hfq interacts with different regions of the Pseudomonas aeruginosa transcriptome under planktonic versus biofilm conditions. In the present approach, P. aeruginosa Hfq preferentially interacted with repeats of the AAN triplet motif at mRNA 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) and sRNAs and U-rich sequences at rho-independent terminators. Further transcriptome analysis suggested that the association of sRNAs with Hfq is primarily a function of their expression levels, strongly supporting the notion that the pool of Hfq-associated RNAs is equilibrated by RNA concentration-driven cycling on and off Hfq. Overall, our combinatorial CLIP-seq and total RNA-seq approach highlights conditional sRNA associations with Hfq as a novel aspect of posttranscriptional regulation in P. aeruginosaIMPORTANCE The Gram-negative bacterium P. aeruginosa is ubiquitously distributed in diverse environments and can cause severe biofilm-related infections in at-risk individuals. Although the presence of a large number of putative sRNAs and widely conserved RNA chaperones in this bacterium implies the importance of posttranscriptional regulatory networks for environmental fluctuations, limited information is available regarding the global role of RNA chaperones such as Hfq in the P. aeruginosa transcriptome, especially under different environmental conditions. Here, we characterize Hfq-dependent differences in gene expression and biological processes in two physiological states: the planktonic and biofilm forms. A combinatorial comparative CLIP-seq and total RNA-seq approach uncovered condition-dependent association of RNAs with Hfq in vivo and expands the potential direct regulatory targets of Hfq in the P. aeruginosa transcriptome.
    • A New Synuclein-Transgenic Mouse Model for Early Parkinson's Reveals Molecular Features of Preclinical Disease.

      Hendrickx, Diana M; Garcia, Pierre; Ashrafi, Amer; Sciortino, Alessia; Schmit, Kristopher J; Kollmus, Heike; Nicot, Nathalie; Kaoma, Tony; Vallar, Laurent; Buttini, Manuel; et al. (Springer, 2020-09-30)
      Understanding Parkinson's disease (PD), in particular in its earliest phases, is important for diagnosis and treatment. However, human brain samples are collected post-mortem, reflecting mainly end-stage disease. Because brain samples of mouse models can be collected at any stage of the disease process, they are useful in investigating PD progression. Here, we compare ventral midbrain transcriptomics profiles from α-synuclein transgenic mice with a progressive, early PD-like striatal neurodegeneration across different ages using pathway, gene set, and network analysis methods. Our study uncovers statistically significant altered genes across ages and between genotypes with known, suspected, or unknown function in PD pathogenesis and key pathways associated with disease progression. Among those are genotype-dependent alterations associated with synaptic plasticity and neurotransmission, as well as mitochondria-related genes and dysregulation of lipid metabolism. Age-dependent changes were among others observed in neuronal and synaptic activity, calcium homeostasis, and membrane receptor signaling pathways, many of which linked to G-protein coupled receptors. Most importantly, most changes occurred before neurodegeneration was detected in this model, which points to a sequence of gene expression events that may be relevant for disease initiation and progression. It is tempting to speculate that molecular changes similar to those changes observed in our model happen in midbrain dopaminergic neurons before they start to degenerate. In other words, we believe we have uncovered molecular changes that accompany the progression from preclinical to early PD.
    • A recently isolated human commensal Escherichia coli ST10 clone member mediates enhanced thermotolerance and tetrathionate respiration on a P1 phage derived IncY plasmid.

      Kamal, Shady Mansour; Cimdins-Ahne, Annika; Lee, Changhan; Li, Fengyang; Martin-Rodriguez, Alberto J; Seferbekova, Zaira; Afasizhev, Robert; Tesfaye Wami, Haleluya; Katikaridis, Panagiotis; Meins, Lena; et al. (Wiley, 2020-09-28)
      The ubiquitous human commensal Escherichia coli has been well investigated through its model representative E. coli K-12. In this work, we initially characterized E. coli Fec10, a recently isolated human commensal strain of phylogroup A/sequence type ST10. Compared to E. coli K-12, the 4.88 Mbp Fec10 genome is characterized by distinct single nucleotide polymorphisms and acquisition of genomic islands. In addition, E. coli Fec10 possesses a 155.86 kbp IncY plasmid, a composite element based on phage P1. pFec10 codes for a variety of cargo genes such as a tetrathionate reductase and its corresponding regulatory two-component system. Among cargo gene products is also the Transmissible Locus of Protein Quality Control (TLPQC), which mediates tolerance to lethal temperatures in bacteria. The disaggregase ClpGGI of TLPQC constitutes a major determinant of thermotolerance of E. coli Fec10. We confirm stand-alone disaggregation activity, but observe distinct biochemical characteristics of ClpGGI-Fec10 compared to the nearly identical Pseudomonas aeruginosa ClpGGI-SG17M. Furthermore, we observed a unique contribution of ClpGGI-Fec10 to the exquisite thermotolerance of E. coli Fec10 suggesting functional differences between both disaggregases in vivo. Detection of thermotolerance in 10% of human commensal E. coli isolates suggests successful establishment of food-borne heat resistant strains in the human gut.
    • Development of a Social Network for People Without a Diagnosis (RarePairs): Evaluation Study.

      Kühnle, Lara; Mücke, Urs; Lechner, Werner M; Klawonn, Frank; Grigull, Lorenz; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (JMIR publications, 2020-09-29)
      Background: Diagnostic delay in rare disease (RD) is common, occasionally lasting up to more than 20 years. In attempting to reduce it, diagnostic support tools have been studied extensively. However, social platforms have not yet been used for systematic diagnostic support. This paper illustrates the development and prototypic application of a social network using scientifically developed questions to match individuals without a diagnosis. Objective: The study aimed to outline, create, and evaluate a prototype tool (a social network platform named RarePairs), helping patients with undiagnosed RDs to find individuals with similar symptoms. The prototype includes a matching algorithm, bringing together individuals with similar disease burden in the lead-up to diagnosis. Methods: We divided our project into 4 phases. In phase 1, we used known data and findings in the literature to understand and specify the context of use. In phase 2, we specified the user requirements. In phase 3, we designed a prototype based on the results of phases 1 and 2, as well as incorporating a state-of-the-art questionnaire with 53 items for recognizing an RD. Lastly, we evaluated this prototype with a data set of 973 questionnaires from individuals suffering from different RDs using 24 distance calculating methods. Results: Based on a step-by-step construction process, the digital patient platform prototype, RarePairs, was developed. In order to match individuals with similar experiences, it uses answer patterns generated by a specifically designed questionnaire (Q53). A total of 973 questionnaires answered by patients with RDs were used to construct and test an artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm like the k-nearest neighbor search. With this, we found matches for every single one of the 973 records. The cross-validation of those matches showed that the algorithm outperforms random matching significantly. Statistically, for every data set the algorithm found at least one other record (match) with the same diagnosis. Conclusions: Diagnostic delay is torturous for patients without a diagnosis. Shortening the delay is important for both doctors and patients. Diagnostic support using AI can be promoted differently. The prototype of the social media platform RarePairs might be a low-threshold patient platform, and proved suitable to match and connect different individuals with comparable symptoms. This exchange promoted through RarePairs might be used to speed up the diagnostic process. Further studies include its evaluation in a prospective setting and implementation of RarePairs as a mobile phone app.
    • Gastrointestinal stress as innate defence against microbial attack.

      Panwar, H; Rokana, N; Aparna, S V; Kaur, J; Singh, A; Singh, J; Singh, K S; Chaudhary, V; Puniya, A K; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-08-31)
      A comparison of the metabolic response of Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) towards the production of human basic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF-2) or towards carbon overfeeding revealed similarities which point to constraints in anabolic pathways. Contrary to expectations, neither energy generation (e.g., ATP) nor provision of precursor molecules for nucleotides (e.g., uracil) and amino acids (e.g., pyruvate, glutamate) limit host cell and plasmid-encoded functions. Growth inhibition is assumed to occur when hampered anabolic capacities do not match with the ongoing and overwhelming carbon catabolism. Excessive carbon uptake leads to by-product secretion, for example, pyruvate, acetate, glutamate, and energy spillage, for example, accumulation and degradation of adenine nucleotides with concomitant accumulation of extracellular hypoxanthine. The cellular response towards compromised anabolic capacities involves downregulation of cAMP formation, presumably responsible for subsequently better-controlled glucose uptake and resultant accumulation of glucose in the culture medium. Growth inhibition is neglectable under conditions of reduced carbon availability when hampered anabolic capacities also match with catabolic carbon processing. The growth inhibitory effect with accompanying energy spillage, respectively, hypoxanthine secretion and cessation of cAMP formation is not unique to the production of hFGF-2 but observed during the production of other proteins and also during overexpression of genes without transcript translation.
    • An RNA-centric view on gut Bacteroidetes.

      Ryan, Daniel; Prezza, Gianluca; Westermann, Alexander J; HIRI, Helmholtz-Institut für RNA-basierte Infektionsforschung, Josef-Shneider Strasse 2, 97080 Würzburg, Germany. (Walter de Gruyter, 2020-09-24)
      Bacteria employ noncoding RNAs to maintain cellular physiology, adapt global gene expression to fluctuating environments, sense nutrients, coordinate their interaction with companion microbes and host cells, and protect themselves against bacteriophages. While bacterial RNA research has made fundamental contributions to biomedicine and biotechnology, the bulk of our knowledge of RNA biology stems from the study of a handful of aerobic model species. In comparison, RNA research is lagging in many medically relevant obligate anaerobic species, in particular the numerous commensal bacteria comprising our gut microbiota. This review presents a guide to RNA-based regulatory mechanisms in the phylum Bacteroidetes, focusing on the most abundant bacterial genus in the human gut, Bacteroides spp. This includes recent case reports on riboswitches, an mRNA leader, cis- and trans-encoded small RNAs (sRNAs) in Bacteroides spp., and a survey of CRISPR-Cas systems across Bacteroidetes. Recent work from our laboratory now suggests the existence of hundreds of noncoding RNA candidates in Bacteroides thetaiotaomicron, the emerging model organism for functional microbiota research. Based on these collective observations, we predict mechanistic and functional commonalities and differences between Bacteroides sRNAs and those of other model bacteria, and outline open questions and tools needed to boost Bacteroidetes RNA research.
    • Agent-Based Modeling of T Cell Receptor Cooperativity.

      Siokis, Anastasios; Robert, Philippe A; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; BRICS, Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56,38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-09-04)
      Immunological synapse (IS) formation is a key event during antigen recognition by T cells. Recent experimental evidence suggests that the affinity between T cell receptors (TCRs) and antigen is actively modulated during the early steps of TCR signaling. In this work, we used an agent-based model to study possible mechanisms for affinity modulation during IS formation. We show that, without any specific active mechanism, the observed affinity between receptors and ligands evolves over time and depends on the density of ligands of the antigen peptide presented by major histocompatibility complexes (pMHC) and TCR molecules. A comparison between the presence or absence of TCR-pMHC centrally directed flow due to F-actin coupling suggests that centripetal transport is a potential mechanism for affinity modulation. The model further suggests that the time point of affinity measurement during immune synapse formation is critical. Finally, a mathematical model of F-actin foci formation incorporated in the agent-based model shows that TCR affinity can potentially be actively modulated by positive/negative feedback of the F-actin foci on the TCR-pMHC association rate kon.
    • Recombinant protein production-associated metabolic burden reflects anabolic constraints and reveals similarities to a carbon overfeeding response.

      Li, Zhaopeng; Rinas, Ursula; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Wiley, 2020-09-03)
      A comparison of the metabolic response of Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) towards the production of human basic fibroblast growth factor (hFGF-2) or towards carbon overfeeding revealed similarities which point to constraints in anabolic pathways. Contrary to expectations, neither energy generation (e.g., ATP) nor provision of precursor molecules for nucleotides (e.g., uracil) and amino acids (e.g., pyruvate, glutamate) limit host cell and plasmid-encoded functions. Growth inhibition is assumed to occur when hampered anabolic capacities do not match with the ongoing and overwhelming carbon catabolism. Excessive carbon uptake leads to by-product secretion, for example, pyruvate, acetate, glutamate, and energy spillage, for example, accumulation and degradation of adenine nucleotides with concomitant accumulation of extracellular hypoxanthine. The cellular response towards compromised anabolic capacities involves downregulation of cAMP formation, presumably responsible for subsequently better-controlled glucose uptake and resultant accumulation of glucose in the culture medium. Growth inhibition is neglectable under conditions of reduced carbon availability when hampered anabolic capacities also match with catabolic carbon processing. The growth inhibitory effect with accompanying energy spillage, respectively, hypoxanthine secretion and cessation of cAMP formation is not unique to the production of hFGF-2 but observed during the production of other proteins and also during overexpression of genes without transcript translation.
    • Severe COVID-19 Is Marked by a Dysregulated Myeloid Cell Compartment.

      Schulte-Schrepping, Jonas; Reusch, Nico; Paclik, Daniela; Baßler, Kevin; Schlickeiser, Stephan; Zhang, Bowen; Krämer, Benjamin; Krammer, Tobias; Brumhard, Sophia; Bonaguro, Lorenzo; et al. (Elsevier /Cell Press), 2020-08-05)
      Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a mild to moderate respiratory tract infection, however, a subset of patients progress to severe disease and respiratory failure. The mechanism of protective immunity in mild forms and the pathogenesis of severe COVID-19 associated with increased neutrophil counts and dysregulated immune responses remain unclear. In a dual-center, two-cohort study, we combined single-cell RNA-sequencing and single-cell proteomics of whole-blood and peripheral-blood mononuclear cells to determine changes in immune cell composition and activation in mild versus severe COVID-19 (242 samples from 109 individuals) over time. HLA-DRhiCD11chi inflammatory monocytes with an interferon-stimulated gene signature were elevated in mild COVID-19. Severe COVID-19 was marked by occurrence of neutrophil precursors, as evidence of emergency myelopoiesis, dysfunctional mature neutrophils, and HLA-DRlo monocytes. Our study provides detailed insights into the systemic immune response to SARS-CoV-2 infection and reveals profound alterations in the myeloid cell compartment associated with severe COVID-19.
    • YB-1 Interferes with TNFα-TNFR Binding and Modulates Progranulin-Mediated Inhibition of TNFα Signaling.

      Hessman, Christopher L; Hildebrandt, Josephine; Shah, Aneri; Brandt, Sabine; Bock, Antonia; Frye, Björn C; Raffetseder, Ute; Geffers, Robert; Brunner-Weinzierl, Monika C; Isermann, Berend; et al. (MDPI, 2020-09-25)
      Inflammation and an influx of macrophages are common elements in many diseases. Among pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor α (TNFα) plays a central role by amplifying the cytokine network. Progranulin (PGRN) is a growth factor that binds to TNF receptors and interferes with TNFα-mediated signaling. Extracellular PGRN is processed into granulins by proteases released from immune cells. PGRN exerts anti-inflammatory effects, whereas granulins are pro-inflammatory. The factors coordinating these ambivalent functions remain unclear. In our study, we identify Y-box binding protein-1 (YB-1) as a candidate for this immune-modulating activity. Using a yeast-2-hybrid assay with YB-1 protein as bait, clones encoding for progranulin were selected using stringent criteria for strong interaction. We demonstrate that at physiological concentrations, YB-1 interferes with the binding of TNFα to its receptors in a dose-dependent manner using a flow cytometry-based binding assay. We show that YB-1 in combination with progranulin interferes with TNFα-mediated signaling, supporting the functionality with an NF-κB luciferase reporter assay. Together, we show that YB-1 displays immunomodulating functions by affecting the binding of TNFα to its receptors and influencing TNFα-mediated signaling via its interaction with progranulin.
    • Seven New Cytotoxic and Antimicrobial Xanthoquinodins from Jugulospora vestita.

      Shao, Lulu; Marin-Felix, Yasmina; Surup, Frank; Stchigel, Alberto M; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-09-25)
      During the course of a screening for novel biologically active secondary metabolites produced by the Sordariomycetes (Ascomycota, Fungi), the ex-type strain of Jugulospora vestita was found to produce seven novel xanthone-anthraquinone heterodimers, xanthoquinodin A11 (1) and xanthoquinodins B10-15 (2-7), together with the already known compound xanthoquinodin B4 (8). The structures of the xanthoquinodins were determined by analysis of the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopic and mass spectrometric data. Moreover, the absolute configurations of these metabolites were established by analysis of the 1H-1H coupling constants, nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy (NOESY) correlations, and Electronic Circular Dichroism (ECD) spectroscopic data. Antifungal and antibacterial activities as well as cytotoxicity of all compounds were tested. Xanthoquinodin B11 showed fungicidal activities against Mucor hiemalis [minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) 2.1 µg/mL], Rhodotorula glutinis (MIC 2.1 µg/mL), and Pichia anomala (MIC 8.3 µg/mL). All the compounds 1-8 displayed anti-Gram-positive bacteria activity (MIC 0.2-8.3 µg/mL). In addition, all these eight compounds showed cytotoxicity against KB 3.1, L929, A549, SK-OV-3, PC-3, A431, and MCF-7 mammalian cell lines. The six novel compounds (1-3, 5-7), together with xanthoquinodin B4, were also found in the screening of other strains belonging to Jugulospora rotula, revealing the potential chemotaxonomic significance of the compound class for the genus.