Several features common to a Western lifestyle, including obesity and low levels of physical activity, are known risk factors for gastrointestinal cancers. There is substantial evidence suggesting that diet markedly affects the composition of the intestinal microbiota. Moreover, there is now unequivocal evidence linking dysbiosis to cancer development. However, the mechanisms by which high-fat diet (HFD)-mediated changes in the microbial community affect the severity of tumorigenesis in the gut remain to be determined. Here we demonstrate that an HFD promotes tumour progression in the small intestine of genetically susceptible, K-ras(G12Dint), mice independently of obesity. HFD consumption, in conjunction with K-ras mutation, mediated a shift in the composition of the gut microbiota, and this shift was associated with a decrease in Paneth-cell-mediated antimicrobial host defence that compromised dendritic cell recruitment and MHC class II molecule presentation in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues. When butyrate was administered to HFD-fed K-ras(G12Dint) mice, dendritic cell recruitment in the gut-associated lymphoid tissues was normalized, and tumour progression was attenuated. Importantly, deficiency in MYD88, a signalling adaptor for pattern recognition receptors and Toll-like receptors, blocked tumour progression. The transfer of faecal samples from HFD-fed mice with intestinal tumours to healthy adult K-ras(G12Dint) mice was sufficient to transmit disease in the absence of an HFD. Furthermore, treatment with antibiotics completely blocked HFD-induced tumour progression, suggesting that distinct shifts in the microbiota have a pivotal role in aggravating disease. Collectively, these data underscore the importance of the reciprocal interaction between host and environmental factors in selecting a microbiota that favours carcinogenesis, and they suggest that tumorigenesis is transmissible among genetically predisposed individuals.
Legume nodules are plant tissues with an exceptionally high concentration of phosphorus (P), which, when there is scarcity of P, is preferentially maintained there rather than being allocated to other plant organs. The hypothesis of this study was that nodules are affected before the P concentration in the organ declines during whole-plant P depletion. Nitrogen (N2) fixation and P concentration in various organs were monitored during a whole-plant P-depletion process in Medicago truncatula. Nodule gene expression was profiled through RNA-seq at day 5 of P depletion. Until that point in time P concentration in leaves reached a lower threshold but was maintained in nodules. N2-fixation activity per plant diverged from that of fully nourished plants beginning at day 5 of the P-depletion process, primarily because fewer nodules were being formed, while the activity of the existing nodules was maintained for as long as two weeks into P depletion. RNA-seq revealed nodule acclimation on a molecular level with a total of 1140 differentially expressed genes. Numerous genes for P remobilization from organic structures were increasingly expressed. Various genes involved in nodule malate formation were upregulated, while genes involved in fermentation were downregulated. The fact that nodule formation was strongly repressed with the onset of P deficiency is reflected in the differential expression of various genes involved in nodulation. It is concluded that plants follow a strategy to maintain N2 fixation and viable leaf tissue as long as possible during whole-plant P depletion to maintain their ability to react to emerging new P sources (e.g. through active P acquisition by roots).
The mechanism through which nitrate reduces the activity of legume nodules is controversial. The objective of the study was to follow Medicago truncatula nodule activity after nitrate provision continuously and to identify molecular mechanisms which down-regulate the activity of the nodules. Nodule H2 evolution started to decline after about 4 h of nitrate application. At that point in time, a strong shift in nodule gene expression (RNA-seq) had occurred (1120 differentially expressed genes). The most pronounced effect was the down-regulation of 127 genes for nodule-specific cysteine-rich peptides (NCRs). Various other nodulins were also strongly down-regulated, in particular all the genes for leghemoglobins. Shifts in the expression of genes involved in cellular iron allocation and mitochondrial ATP synthesis were observed, too. Furthermore, the expression of numerous genes for the formation of proteins and glycoproteins with no obvious function in nodules (e.g. germins, patatin and thaumatin) was strongly increased. This occurred in conjunction with an up-regulation of genes for proteinase inhibitors, in particular those containing the Kunitz domain. The additionally formed proteins might possibly be involved in reducing nodule oxygen permeability. Between 4 and 28 h of nitrate exposure, a further reduction in nodule activity occurred and the number of differentially expressed genes almost tripled. In particular, there was a differential expression of genes connected with emerging senescence. It is concluded that nitrate exerts rapid and manifold effects on nitrogenase activity. A certain degree of nitrate tolerance might be achieved when the down-regulatory effect on the late nodulins can be alleviated.
Biofilms of the Gram-negative bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa are one of the major causes of complicated urinary tract infections with detrimental outcome. To develop novel therapeutic strategies the molecular adaption strategies of P. aeruginosa biofilms to the conditions of the urinary tract were investigated thoroughly at the systems level using transcriptome, proteome, metabolome and enzyme activity analyses. For this purpose biofilms were grown anaerobically in artificial urine medium (AUM). Obtained data were integrated bioinformatically into gene regulatory and metabolic networks. The dominating response at the transcriptome and proteome level was the adaptation to iron limitation via the broad Fur regulon including 19 sigma factors and up to 80 regulated target genes or operons. In agreement, reduction of the iron cofactor-dependent nitrate respiratory metabolism was detected. An adaptation of the central metabolism to lactate, citrate and amino acid as carbon sources with the induction of the glyoxylate bypass was observed, while other components of AUM like urea and creatinine were not used. Amino acid utilization pathways were found induced, while fatty acid biosynthesis was reduced. The high amounts of phosphate found in AUM explain the reduction of phosphate assimilation systems. Increased quorum sensing activity with the parallel reduction of chemotaxis and flagellum assembly underscored the importance of the biofilm life style. However, reduced formation of the extracellular polysaccharide alginate, typical for P. aeruginosa biofilms in lungs, indicated a different biofilm type for urinary tract infections. Furthermore, the obtained quorum sensing response results in an increased production of virulence factors like the extracellular lipase LipA and protease LasB and AprA explaining the harmful cause of these infections.
Traditionally, differences in absolute numbers of cells expressing a certain marker (e.g., positive staining cells per mm²) have been used in immunohistological synovial tissue classification. We have begun to evaluate the relative composition of the inflammatory infiltrates, i.e. percentages of inflammatory cell types in inflammatory infiltrates, as an alternate classification tool that may potentially improve tissue diagnostics, subgrouping in clinical trials, and understanding of pathogenesis of inflammatory and noninflammatory arthropathies.
Regulatory T cells (Tregs) play an essential role in the control of the immune response. Treg cells represent important targets for therapeutic interventions of the immune system. Therefore, it will be very important to understand in more detail which genes are specifically activated in Treg cells versus T helper (Th) cells, and which gene regulatory circuits may be involved in specifying and maintaining Treg cell homeostasis.
The immune response to viral infection is a temporal process, represented by a dynamic and complex network of gene and protein interactions. Here, we present a reverse engineering strategy aimed at capturing the temporal evolution of the underlying Gene Regulatory Networks (GRN). The proposed approach will be an enabling step towards comprehending the dynamic behavior of gene regulation circuitry and mapping the network structure transitions in response to pathogen stimuli.
Once the genome sequence of an organism is obtained, attention turns from identifying genes to understanding their function, their organization and control of metabolic pathways and networks that determine its physiology. Recent technical advances in acquiring genome-wide data have led to substantial progress in identifying gene functions. However, we still do not know the function of a large number of genes and, even when a gene product has been assigned to a functional class, we cannot normally predict its contribution to the phenotypic behaviour of the cell or organism--the phenome. In this study, we assessed bacterial growth parameters of 4030 non-redundant PA14 transposon mutants in the pathogenic bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The genome-wide simultaneous analysis of 119 distinct growth-related phenotypes uncovered a comprehensive phenome and provided evidence that most genotypes are not phenotypically isolated but rather define specific complex phenotypic clusters of genotypes. Since phenotypic overlap was demonstrated to reflect the relatedness of genotypes on a global scale, knowledge of an organisms phenome might significantly contribute to the advancement of functional genomics.
Dinoroseobacter shibae DFL12(T), a member of the globally important marine Roseobacter clade, comprises symbionts of cosmopolitan marine microalgae, including toxic dinoflagellates. Its annotated 4 417 868 bp genome sequence revealed a possible advantage of this symbiosis for the algal host. D. shibae DFL12(T) is able to synthesize the vitamins B(1) and B(12) for which its host is auxotrophic. Two pathways for the de novo synthesis of vitamin B(12) are present, one requiring oxygen and the other an oxygen-independent pathway. The de novo synthesis of vitamin B(12) was confirmed to be functional, and D. shibae DFL12(T) was shown to provide the growth-limiting vitamins B(1) and B(12) to its dinoflagellate host. The Roseobacter clade has been considered to comprise obligate aerobic bacteria. However, D. shibae DFL12(T) is able to grow anaerobically using the alternative electron acceptors nitrate and dimethylsulfoxide; it has the arginine deiminase survival fermentation pathway and a complex oxygen-dependent Fnr (fumarate and nitrate reduction) regulon. Many of these traits are shared with other members of the Roseobacter clade. D. shibae DFL12(T) has five plasmids, showing examples for vertical recruitment of chromosomal genes (thiC) and horizontal gene transfer (cox genes, gene cluster of 47 kb) possibly by conjugation (vir gene cluster). The long-range (80%) synteny between two sister plasmids provides insights into the emergence of novel plasmids. D. shibae DFL12(T) shows the most complex viral defense system of all Rhodobacterales sequenced to date.
The emergence of antimicrobial drug resistance is of enormous public concern due to the increased risk of delayed treatment of infections, the increased length of hospital stays, the substantial increase in the cost of care, and the high risk of fatal outcomes. A prerequisite for the development of effective therapy alternatives is a detailed understanding of the diversity of bacterial mechanisms that underlie drug resistance, especially for problematic gram-negative bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa. This pathogen has impressive chromosomally encoded mechanisms of intrinsic resistance, as well as the potential to mutate, gaining resistance to current antibiotics. In this study we have screened the comprehensive nonredundant Harvard PA14 library for P. aeruginosa mutants that exhibited either increased or decreased resistance against 19 antibiotics commonly used in the clinic. This approach identified several genes whose inactivation sensitized the bacteria to a broad spectrum of different antimicrobials and uncovered novel genetic determinants of resistance to various classes of antibiotics. Knowledge of the enhancement of bacterial susceptibility to existing antibiotics and of novel resistance markers or modifiers of resistance expression may lay the foundation for effective therapy alternatives and will be the basis for the development of new strategies in the control of problematic multiresistant gram-negative bacteria.
Whole genome sequencing techniques have added a new dimension to studies on bacterial adaptation, evolution and diversity in chronic infections. By using this powerful approach it was demonstrated that Pseudomonas aeruginosa undergoes intense genetic adaptation processes, crucial in the development of persistent disease. The challenge ahead is to identify universal infection relevant adaptive bacterial traits as potential targets for the development of alternative treatment strategies.
Using whole genome microarrays, we compared changes in gene expression patterns in the lungs of TB-resistant A/Sn and TB-susceptible I/St mice at day 14 following infection with Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv. Analyses of differentially expressed genes for representation of gene ontology terms and activation of regulatory pathways revealed interstrain differences in antigen presentation, NK, T and B cell activation pathways. In general, resistant A/Sn mice exhibited a more complex pattern and stronger activation of host defense pathways compared to the TB-susceptible I/St mouse strain. In addition, in I/St mice elevated activation of genes involved in neutrophil response was observed and confirmed by quantitative RT-PCR and histopathology. Furthermore, a specific post infection upregulation of cysteine protease inhibitors was found in susceptible I/St mice.
An infection represents a highly dynamic process involving complex biological responses of the host at many levels. To describe such processes at a global level, we recorded gene expression changes in mouse lungs after a non-lethal infection with influenza A virus over a period of 60 days. Global analysis of the large data set identified distinct phases of the host response. The increase in interferon genes and up-regulation of a defined NK-specific gene set revealed the initiation of the early innate immune response phase. Subsequently, infiltration and activation of T and B cells could be observed by an augmentation of T and B cell specific signature gene expression. The changes in B cell gene expression and preceding chemokine subsets were associated with the formation of bronchus-associated lymphoid tissue. In addition, we compared the gene expression profiles from wild type mice with Rag2 mutant mice. This analysis readily demonstrated that the deficiency in the T and B cell responses in Rag2 mutants could be detected by changes in the global gene expression patterns of the whole lung. In conclusion, our comprehensive gene expression study describes for the first time the entire host response and its kinetics to an acute influenza A infection at the transcriptome level.
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