Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading pathogen of chronic cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infection. Life-long persistence in the inflamed and ever fluctuating CF lungs results in the selection of a variety of changes in P. aeruginosa physiology. Accumulating evidence suggests that especially metabolic changes support the survival and growth of P. aeruginosa within the hypoxic and nutritious CF mucus. To investigate if metabolic adaptations we described for hypermutable P. aeruginosa from late CF lung disease (Hoboth et al., 2009. J. Infect. Dis., pp. 118-130) may represent specific changes in response to the selective conditions within the oxygen-restricted CF mucus, we determined the expression of a set of genes during aerobic and hypoxic growth in LB and the artificial sputum medium ASM. We further focused on the regulation of the two isocitrate dehydrogenases Icd and Idh. Interestingly, both isoenzymes may replace each other under aerobic and hypoxic conditions. The NADPH- and RpoS-dependent Icd seems to be the leading isoenzyme under prolonged oxygen limitation and stationary growth phase. LacZ reporter analysis revealed that oxygen-restriction increased the expression levels of azu, cbb3-1, cbb3-2, ccpR, icd, idh and oprF gene, whereas himD and nuoA are increasingly expressed only during hypoxic growth in ASM. Overexpression of the anaerobic regulator Anr improved the expression of azu, ccpR, cbb3-2 and icd. In summary, expression of azu, cbb3-1, cbb3-2, ccpR, icd, idh, oprF, himD, and nuoA appeared to be beneficial for the growth of P. aeruginosa under hypoxic conditions indicating these genes may represent marker genes for the metabolic adaptation to the CF lung environment.
Enteropathogenic Yersinia enterocolitica bioserotype 4/O:3 are the most frequent cause of human yersiniosis worldwide with symptoms ranging from mild diarrhea to severe complications of mesenteric lymphadenitis, liver abscesses and postinfectious extraintestinal sequelae. The main reservoir host of 4/O:3 strains are pigs, which represent a substantial disease-causing potential for humans, as they are usually asymptomatic carriers. Y. enterocolitica O:3 initiates infections by tight attachment to the intestinal mucosa. Colonization of the digestive tract is frequently followed by invasion of the intestinal layer primarily at the follicle-associated epithelium, allowing the bacteria to propagate in the lamina propria and disseminate into deeper tissues. Molecular characterization of Y. enterocolitica O:3 isolates led to the identification of (i) alternative virulence and fitness factors and (ii) small genetic variations which cause profound changes in their virulence gene expression pattern (e.g. constitutive expression of the primary invasion factor InvA). These changes provoke a major difference in the virulence properties, i.e. reduced colonization of intestinal tissues in mice, but improved long-term colonization in the pig intestine. Y. enterocolitica O:3 strains cause also a considerably lower level of proinflammatory cytokine IL-8 and higher levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 in porcine primary macrophages, as compared to murine macrophages, which could contribute to limiting inflammation, immunopathology and severity of the infection in pigs.
The Yersinia outer protein M (YopM) is a type 3 secretion system (T3SS)-dependent effector protein of Yersinia enterocolitica, Yersinia pseudotuberculosis and Yersinia pestis. Although YopM is indispensable for full virulence, its molecular functions still remain largely elusive. Recently, we could identify the recombinant YopM (rYopM) protein derived from the Y. enterocolitica strain 8081 (JB580) as a cell-penetrating protein, which down-regulates the expression of various pro-inflammatory cytokines including TNF?. In this study, we have generated rabbit monoclonal anti-YopM antibodies (RabMabs). RabMabs were characterized by SDS-PAGE and Western blotting using various truncated versions of rYopM to identify epitope-containing domains. RabMabs recognizing either the N- or C-terminus of YopM were characterized further and validated using a collection of 61 pathogenic and non-pathogenic Yersinia strains as well as exemplary strains of major intestinal bacterial pathogens such as Salmonella enterica ssp. enterica, Shigella flexneri and intestinal pathogenic Escherichia coli. RabMab 41.3 directed at the N-terminus of YopM of Y. enterocolitica strain 8081 recognized all YopM-expressing pathogenic Yersinia strains analyzed in this study but failed to recognize non-pathogenic isolates. Thus, RabMab 41.3 might be applicable for the detection of pathogenic Yersinia strains.
To adapt to changes in environmental conditions, bacteria regulate their gene expression at the transcriptional but also at the post-transcriptional level, e.g. by small RNAs (sRNAs) which modulate mRNA stability and translation. The conserved RNA chaperone Hfq mediates the interaction of many sRNAs with their target mRNAs, thereby playing a global role in fine-tuning protein production. In this study, we investigated the significance of Hfq for the enteropathogen Yersina enterocolitica serotype O:8. Hfq facilitated optimal growth in complex and minimal media. Our comparative protein analysis of parental and hfq-negative strains suggested that Hfq promotes lipid metabolism and transport, cell redox homeostasis, mRNA translation and ATP synthesis, and negatively affects carbon and nitrogen metabolism, transport of siderophore and peptides and tRNA synthesis. Accordingly, biochemical tests indicated that Hfq represses ornithine decarboxylase activity, indole production and utilization of glucose, mannitol, inositol and 1,2-propanediol. Moreover, Hfq repressed production of the siderophore yersiniabactin and its outer membrane receptor FyuA. In contrast, hfq mutants exhibited reduced urease production. Finally, strains lacking hfq were more susceptible to acidic pH and oxidative stress. Unlike previous reports in other Gram-negative bacteria, Hfq was dispensable for type III secretion encoded by the virulence plasmid. Using a chromosomally encoded FLAG-tagged Hfq, we observed increased production of Hfq-FLAG in late exponential and stationary phases. Overall, Hfq has a profound effect on metabolism, resistance to stress and modulates the production of two virulence factors in Y. enterocolitica, namely urease and yersiniabactin.
Yersinia enterocolitica is a food-borne, gastro-intestinal pathogen with world-wide distribution. Only 11 serotypes have been isolated from patients, with O:3, O:9, O:8 and O:5,27 being the serotypes most commonly associated with human yersiniosis. Serotype is an important characteristic of Y. enterocolitica strains, allowing differentiation for epidemiology, diagnosis and phylogeny studies. Conventional serotyping, performed by slide agglutination, is a tedious and laborious procedure whose interpretation tends to be subjective, leading to poor reproducibility. Here we present a PCR-based typing scheme for molecular identification and patho-serotyping of Y. enterocolitica. Genome-wide comparison of Y. enterocolitica sequences allowed analysis of the O-antigen gene clusters of different serotypes, uncovering their formerly unknown genomic locations, and selection of targets for serotype-specific amplification. Two multiplex PCRs and one additional PCR were designed and tested on various reference strains and isolates from different origins. Our genotypic assay proved to be highly specific for identification of Y. enterocolitica species, discrimination between virulent and non-virulent strains, distinguishing the main human-related serotypes, and typing of conventionally untypeable strains. This genotyping scheme could be applied in microbiology laboratories as an alternative or complementary method to the traditional phenotypic assays, providing data for epidemiological studies.
Antimicrobial peptides are a promising complement to common antibiotics, development of resistance to which is a growing problem. Here we present a de novo-designed peptide, SP1-1 (RKKRLKLLKRLL-NH2), with antimicrobial activity against multiresistant Staphylococcus aureus (minimal inhibitory concentration: 6.25 ?M). Elucidation of the mode of action of this peptide revealed a strong interaction with RsbW kinase (Kd: 6.01±2.73 nM), a serine kinase negatively regulating the activity of the transcription factor ?B (SigB). SP1-1 binding and functional modulation of RsbW were shown in vitro by a combination of biochemical, molecular, and biophysical methods, which were further genetically evidenced in vivo by analysis of S. aureus ?sigB deletion mutants. Intracellular localization of the peptide was demonstrated using nanometer-scaled secondary ion mass spectrometry. Moreover, microarray analysis revealed that transcription of numerous genes, involved in cell wall and amino acid metabolism, transport mechanisms, virulence, and pigmentation, is affected. Interestingly, several WalR binding motif containing genes are induced by SP1-1. In sum, the designed peptide SP1-1 seems to have multiple modes of action, including inhibition of a kinase, and therefore might contribute to the development of new antibacterial compounds, giving bacterial kinase inhibition a closer inspection.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the leading pathogen of chronic cystic fibrosis (CF) lung infection. Life-long persistance of P. aeruginosa in the CF lung requires a sophisticated habitat-specific adaptation of this pathogen to the heterogeneous and fluctuating lung environment. Due to the high selective pressure of inflamed CF lungs, P. aeruginosa increasingly experiences complex physiological and morphological changes. Pulmonary adaptation of P. aeruginosa is mediated by genetic variations that are fixed by the repeating interplay of mutation and selection. In this context, the emergence of hypermutable phenotypes (mutator strains) obviously improves the microevolution of P. aeruginosa to the diverse microenvironments of the CF lung. Mutator phenotypes are amplified during CF lung disease and accelerate the intraclonal diversification of P. aeruginosa. The resulting generation of numerous subclonal variants is advantegous to prepare P. aeruginosa population for unpredictable stresses (insurance hypothesis) and thus supports long-term survival of this pathogen. Oxygen restriction within CF lung environment further promotes persistence of P. aeruginosa due to increased antibiotic tolerance, alginate production and biofilm formation. Finally, P. aeruginosa shifts from an acute virulent pathogen of early infection to a host-adapted chronic virulent pathogen of end-stage infection of the CF lung. Common changes that are observed among chronic P. aeruginosa CF isolates include alterations in surface antigens, loss of virulence-associated traits, increasing antibiotic resistances, the overproduction of the exopolysaccharide alginate and the modulation of intermediary and micro-aerobic metabolic pathways (Hogardt and Heesemann, Int J Med Microbiol 300(8):557-562, 2010). Loss-of-function mutations in mucA and lasR genes determine the transition to mucoidity and loss of quorum sensing, which are hallmarks of the chronic virulence potential of P. aeruginosa. Metabolic factors that are positively selected in response to the specific environment of CF lung include the outer membrane protein OprF, the microaerophilic oxidase Cbb3-2, the blue copper protein azurin, the cytochrome c peroxidase c551 and the enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway ArcA-ArcD. These metabolic adaptations probably support the growth of P. aeruginosa within oxygen-depleted CF mucus. The deeper understanding of the physiological mechanisms of niche specialization of P. aeruginosa during CF lung infection will help to identify new targets for future anti-pseudomonal treatment strategies to prevent the selection of mutator isolates and the establishment of chronic CF lung infection.
We report here the complete genome sequences of four European Yersinia enterocolitica mammalian isolates of bioserotype 4/O:3. The genomes have an average size of 4.50 Mb, a G+C content of 47%, and between 4,231 and 4,330 coding sequences (CDSs). No relevant differences were detected by genome comparison between mammalian and human isolates.
Natural Killer (NK) cells serve as an important source of proinflammatory cytokines early during infection. Hypothesizing that Yersinia enterocolitica might interact with and inactivate NK cells, we examined NK cell-Y. enterocolitica interactions in vitro and in vivo. Y. enterocolitica adheres to NK cells in an Invasin dependent manner and inhibits NK cell cytotoxicity and IFN-? production induced by IL-12+IL-18 or IL-12 alone. YopP, an acetyltransferase known to inhibit MAPK and NF?B signaling, suppresses IL-12 and IL-12+IL-18 mediated IFN-? production in NK cells by inhibiting phosphorylation of Tyk2 and STAT4 in addition to MAPK. YopP inhibits induction of all genes whose expression is induced by IL-12+IL-18 in NK cells. Y. enterocolitica-mediated adherence to and inactivation of NK cells also occurs after infection in vivo. Thus, we present the first report of a bacterial pathogen inactivating NK cells, and report interaction with Tyk2-STAT4 signaling as a novel function of YopP.
The interaction of bacterial pathogens with mammalian hosts leads to a variety of physiological responses of the interacting partners aimed at an adaptation to the new situation. These responses include multiple metabolic changes in the affected host cells which are most obvious when the pathogen replicates within host cells as in case of intracellular bacterial pathogens. While the pathogen tries to deprive nutrients from the host cell, the host cell in return takes various metabolic countermeasures against the nutrient theft. During this conflicting interaction, the pathogen triggers metabolic host cell responses by means of common cell envelope components and specific virulence-associated factors. These host reactions generally promote replication of the pathogen. There is growing evidence that pathogen-specific factors may interfere in different ways with the complex regulatory network that controls the carbon and nitrogen metabolism of mammalian cells. The host cell defense answers include general metabolic reactions, like the generation of oxygen- and/or nitrogen-reactive species, and more specific measures aimed to prevent access to essential nutrients for the respective pathogen. Accurate results on metabolic host cell responses are often hampered by the use of cancer cell lines that already exhibit various de-regulated reactions in the primary carbon metabolism. Hence, there is an urgent need for cellular models that more closely reflect the in vivo infection conditions. The exact knowledge of the metabolic host cell responses may provide new interesting concepts for antibacterial therapies.
Interleukin-1 receptor-associated kinase (IRAK)-M suppresses Toll-like receptor (TLR)-mediated activation of innate immunity during infection. A similar role was hypothesised for IRAK-M in autoimmunity.
In this study, we report on a novel, highly sensitive IL-10 reporter mouse based on the reporter enzyme ?-lactamase and the fluorescence resonance energy transfer substrate coumarin-cephalosporin-fluorescein (4). In contrast to an IL-10 reporter mouse model that we generated by using enhanced GFP as reporter and allowed tracking IL-10 expression only in T cells, the IL-10-?-lactamase reporter (ITIB) mouse enables us to easily analyze and quantify IL-10 production at the single-cell level in all myeloid and lymphoid cell types. Furthermore, the ITIB mouse allows studying of the kinetics of IL-10 expression on a single-cell basis and provides a valuable tool for in vivo screening of cell type-specific IL-10-modulating drugs. Remarkably, the ITIB mouse revealed that, although a significant portion of each myeloid and lymphoid cell type produces IL-10, macrophages represent the major IL-10 producer population in several organs of naive mice. Moreover, using the examples of bacterial infection and transplantable skin melanoma models, we demonstrate the exceptional applicability of the ITIB mouse for the identification of IL-10-producing cells during immune responses in vivo. In this study, we identified tumor-infiltrating F4/80(+) macrophages as the major source for IL-10 in B16-F10 melanoma in vivo. During systemic infection with Yersinia enterocolitica, although the proportion of IL-10(+) cells increased in each myeloid and lymphoid cell type population, infiltrating CD11b(+)Ly6G(+) neutrophils represent a majority among IL-10-producing cells at the site of infection. We conclude that cells of the innate immune system that are involved in immune homeostasis or immune responses are substantial sources of IL-10.
Most bacteria pathogenic for humans have closely related nonpathogenic counterparts that live as saprophytes, commensals or even symbionts (mutualists) in similar or different habitats. The knowledge of how these bacteria adapt their metabolism to the preferred habitats is critical for our understanding of pathogenesis, commensalism and symbiosis, and - in the case of bacterial pathogens - could help to identify targets for new antimicrobial agents. The focus of this review is on the metabolic potentials and adaptations of three different groups of human extra- and intracellular bacterial pathogens and their nonpathogenic relatives. All bacteria selected have the potential to reach the interior of mammalian host cells. However, their ability to replicate intracellularly differs significantly. The question therefore arises whether there are specific metabolic requirements that support stable intracellular replication. Furthermore, we discuss - whenever relevant data for the pathogenic representatives are available - the possible effect of the metabolism on the expression of virulence genes.
The bacterial effector proteins IpgB(1) and IpgB(2) of Shigella and Map of Escherichia coli activate the Rho GTPases Rac1, RhoA and Cdc42, respectively, whereas YopE and YopT of Yersinia inhibit these Rho family GTPases. We established a Yersinia toolbox which allows to study the cellular effects of these effectors in different combinations in the context of Yersinia type 3 secretion system (Ysc)-T3SS-mediated injection into HeLa cells. For this purpose hybrid proteins were constructed by fusion of YopE with the effector protein of interest. As expected, injected hybrid proteins induced membrane ruffles and Yersinia uptake for IpgB(1) , stress fibres for IpgB(2) and microspikes for Map. By co-infection experiments we could demonstrate (i) IpgB(2) -mediated and ROCK-dependent inhibition of IpgB(1) -mediated Rac1 effects, (ii) YopT-mediated suppression of IpgB(1) -induced Yersinia invasion and (iii) failure of YopE-mediated suppression of IpgB(1) -induced Yersinia invasion, presumably due to preferential inhibition of RhoG by YopE GAP function. By infecting polarized MDCK cells we could demonstrate that Map or IpgB(1) but not IpgB(2) affects cell monolayer integrity. In summary, the Yersinia toolbox is suitable to study cellular effects of effector proteins of diverse bacterial species separately or in combination in the context of bacterial T3SS-mediated injection.
Many enteric pathogens are equipped with multiple cell adhesion factors which are important for host tissue colonization and virulence. Y. enterocolitica, a common food-borne pathogen with invasive properties, uses the surface proteins invasin and YadA for host cell binding and entry. In this study, we demonstrate unique cell adhesion and invasion properties of Y. enterocolitica serotype O:3 strains, the most frequent cause of human yersiniosis, and show that these differences are mainly attributable to variations affecting the function and expression of invasin in response to temperature. In contrast to other enteric Yersinia strains, invasin production in O:3 strains is constitutive and largely enhanced compared to other Y. enterocolitica serotypes, in which invA expression is temperature-regulated and significantly reduced at 37°C. Increase of invasin levels is caused by (i) an IS1667 insertion into the invA promoter region, which includes an additional promoter and RovA and H-NS binding sites, and (ii) a P98S substitution in the invA activator protein RovA rendering the regulator less susceptible to proteolysis. Both variations were shown to influence bacterial colonization in a murine infection model. Furthermore, we found that co-expression of YadA and down-regulation of the O-antigen at 37°C is required to allow efficient internalization by the InvA protein. We conclude that even small variations in the expression of virulence factors can provoke a major difference in the virulence properties of closely related pathogens which may confer better survival or a higher pathogenic potential in a certain host or host environment.
Meningococci are facultative-pathogenic bacteria endowed with a set of adhesins allowing colonization of the human upper respiratory tract, leading to fulminant meningitis and septicemia. The Neisseria adhesin NadA was identified in about 50% of N. meningitidis isolates and is closely related to the Yersinia adhesin YadA, the prototype of the oligomeric coiled-coil adhesin (Oca) family. NadA is known to be involved in cell adhesion, invasion, and induction of proinflammatory cytokines. Because of the enormous diversity of neisserial cell adhesins the analysis of the specific contribution of NadA in meningococcal host interactions is limited. Therefore, we used a non-invasive Y. enterocolitica mutant as carrier to study the role of NadA in host cell interaction. NadA was shown to be efficiently produced and localized in its oligomeric form on the bacterial surface of Y. enterocolitica. Additionally, NadA mediated a ?1 integrin-dependent adherence with subsequent internalization of yersiniae by a ?1 integrin-positive cell line. Using recombinant NadA(24-210) protein and human and murine ?1 integrin-expressing cell lines we could demonstrate the role of the ?1 integrin subunit as putative receptor for NadA. Subsequent inhibition assays revealed specific interaction of NadA(24-210) with the human ?1 integrin subunit. Cumulatively, these results indicate that Y. enterocolitica is a suitable toolbox system for analysis of the adhesive properties of NadA, revealing strong evidence that ?1 integrins are important receptors for NadA. Thus, this study demonstrated for the first time a direct interaction between the Oca-family member NadA and human ?1 integrins.
We report here the first finished and annotated genome sequence of a representative of the most epidemiologically successful Yersinia group, Y. enterocolitica subsp. palearctica strain Y11, serotype O:3, biotype 4. This strain is a certified type strain of the German DSMZ collection (DSM no. 13030; Yersinia enterocolitica subsp. palearctica) that was isolated from the stool of a human patient (H. Neubauer, S. Aleksic, A. Hensel, E. J. Finke, and H. Meyer. Int. J. Med. Microbiol. 290:61-64, 2000).
Autoagglutination (AA) is a protective phenotypic trait facilitating survival of bacteria in hostile environments and in the host during infection. Autoagglutination factors (AFs) that possess self-associating ability are currently characterized in many Gram-negative bacteria, but Yersinia pestis AFs are still a matter of debate. Previously, we have shown that AF of Hms(-) strain Y. pestis EV76 is a complex of the 17,485-kDa protein and a low-molecular-weight component with siderophore activity. Here, we identified the protein moiety of AF and examined its role in AA of Hms(+) and Hms(-)Y. pestis strains. Using MALDI-TOF MS of trypsin-hydrolyzed AF, we unambiguously identified the protein as YPO0502, which belongs to a family of Hcp-proteins forming pilus-like structures of the type six secretion system (T6SS). To address the role of YPO0502 in AA, we cloned ypo0502 in E. coli, overexpressed it in Y. pestis and constructed its knock-out mutant in Y. pestis. However, all these approaches failed: YPO0502 was not secreted in E. coli, formed inclusion bodies when overexpressed in Y. pestis, and could probably be compensated by other Hcp-like proteins in Y. pestis. In contrast, downregulation of ypo0502 expression by its antisense RNA supported the contribution of YPO0502 in AA of Hms(+) and Hms(-)Y. pestis strains. The results of the present study indicate that the Hcp-like component of T6SS encoded by ypo502 is involved in Y. pestis AA and suggest that at least one (ypo0499-0516) of the 6 T6SS clusters of Y. pestis is involved in bacterial interaction.
High-pathogenic Y. enterocolitica ssp. enterocolitica caused several human outbreaks in Northern America. In contrast, low pathogenic Y. enterocolitica ssp. palearctica serobiotype O:3/4 is responsible for sporadic cases worldwide with asymptomatic pigs being the main source of infection. Genomes of three Y. enterocolitica ssp. palearctica serobiotype O:3/4 human isolates (including the completely sequenced Y11 German DSMZ type strain) were compared to the high-pathogenic Y. enterocolitica ssp. enterocolitica 8081 O:8/1B to address the peculiarities of the O:3/4 group.
The long-term persistance of P. aeruginosa in the cystic fibrosis (CF) lung is characterized by the selection of a variety of genotypes and phenotypes that typically descend from one infecting P. aeruginosa clone, a process known as adaptive radiation. This adaptation process of P. aeruginosa includes complex physiological changes that likely confer a selective advantage to better thrive in the diverse niches and microenvironments of the inflamed and hostile CF airways. The occurrence of P. aeruginosa variants is fixed by mutation and selection. Common loss-of-function mutations in genes such as lasR, mucA and mexT lead to a general adaptation pattern and P. aeruginosa variants with increased antimicrobial resistance, alginate overproduction, reduced acute virulence, and improved metabolic fitness. Strikingly, several virulence-associated traits and immunostimulatory components of P. aeruginosa are turned off. In contrast, other cellular factors are positively selected such as the outer membrane protein OprF, the blue copper protein azurin, the cytochrome c peroxidase c551, and the enzymes of the arginine deiminase pathway ArcA-ArcD. These metabolic components probably are required for the optimal anaerobic or microaerobic growth and viability of P. aeruginosa within CF airways. Besides these common adaptations found by the comparison of P. aeruginosa isolates from different CF patients, the overall diversity of isogenic isolates from one CF patient is extended by variable changes in the expression of regulatory-, transport-, metabolic-, and virulence-associated genes. A better understanding of the microevolution of P. aeruginosa towards niche specialists according the selection pressure in the CF lung is a prerequisite to develop new strategies for the detection of P. aeruginosa variants, the antipseudomonal treatment, the prediction of the infectious disease state, and the development of efficient vaccines.
The mannosyltransferase Och1 is the key enzyme for synthesis of elaborated protein N-glycans in yeast. In filamentous fungi genes implicated in outer chain formation are present, but their function is unclear. In this study we have analyzed the Och1 protein of Aspergillus fumigatus. We provide first evidence that poly-mannosylated N-glycans exist in A. fumigatus and that their synthesis requires AfOch1 activity. This implies that AfOch1 plays a similar role as S. cerevisiae ScOch1 in the initiation of an N-glycan outer chain. A ?afoch1 mutant showed normal growth under standard and various stress conditions including elevated temperature, cell wall and oxidative stress. However, sporulation of this mutant was dramatically reduced in the presence of high calcium concentrations, suggesting that certain proteins engaged in sporulation require N-glycan outer chains to be fully functional. A characteristic feature of AfOch1 and Och1 homologues from other filamentous fungi is a signal peptide that clearly distinguishes them from their yeast counterparts. However, this difference does not appear to have consequences for its localization in the Golgi. Replacing the signal peptide of AfOch1 by a membrane anchor had no impact on its ability to complement the sporulation defect of the ?afoch1 strain. The mutant triggered a normal cytokine response in infected murine macrophages, arguing against a role of outer chains as relevant Aspergillus pathogen associated molecular patterns. Infection experiments provided no evidence for attenuation in virulence; in fact, according to our data the ?afoch1 mutant may even be slightly more virulent than the control strains.
New technologies such as high-throughput methods and 13C-isotopologue-profiling analysis are beginning to provide us with insight into the in vivo metabolism of microorganisms, especially in the host cell compartments that are colonized by intracellular bacterial pathogens. In this Review, we discuss the recent progress made in determining the major carbon sources and metabolic pathways used by model intracellular bacterial pathogens that replicate either in the cytosol or in vacuoles of infected host cells. Furthermore, we highlight the possible links between intracellular carbon metabolism and the expression of virulence genes.
Farnesol is known for inducing apoptosis in some fungi and mammalian cells. To evaluate its potential role as an antifungal agent, we studied its impact on the human pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus. We found that growth of A. fumigatus wild type is inhibited, but two cell wall mutants, Deltamnt1 andDeltaglfA, are much more susceptible to farnesol. This susceptibility is partially rescued by osmotic stabilization, suggesting that farnesol is a cell wall perturbing agent. However, farnesol does not activate but inhibit the cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway. Remarkably, mutants lacking AfMkk2 or AfMpkA, two kinases essential for CWI signalling, are also highly susceptible to farnesol, suggesting that its mode of action goes beyond inhibition of CWI signalling. Farnesyl derivatives are known for interfering with the function of prenylated proteins. We analysed the subcellular localization of two prenylated Rho family GTPases, AfRho1 and AfRho3, which are implicated in controlling CWI and the cytoskeleton. We found that under normal growth conditions AfRho1 and AfRho3 predominantly localize to the hyphal tip. After farnesol treatment this localization is rapidly lost, which is accompanied by swelling of the hyphal tips. Parallel displacement of tropomyosin from the tips suggests a concomitant disorganization of the apical actin cytoskeleton.
Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) represent a distinct mechanism to control and eliminate microbial infections. Our results show that conidia and germ tubes of the human pathogenic mold Aspergillus fumigatus are able to trigger the formation of NETs. Viable fungal cells are not essentially required for this host-pathogen interaction. Neutrophils engulf conidia and thereby inhibit their germination, a process that is independent of NETosis. In the experimental set-up used in this study neutrophils do not kill germ tubes, but reduce their polar growth and this inhibition depends on NETs as it can be overcome by the addition of DNase-1. The Zn(2+) chelator calprotectin is associated with the Aspergillus-induced NETs and addition of Zn(2+) abrogates the NET-mediated growth inhibition. In summary, our data provide evidence that NETs are not sufficient to kill A. fumigatus, but might be a valuable tool to confine infection.
The cell wall integrity (CWI) pathway, best characterized in S. cerevisiae, is strikingly conserved in Aspergillus species. We analyzed the importance of AfMkk2, a CWI signaling kinase, for virulence and antifungal therapy in the human pathogen A. fumigatus. A mutant lacking AfMkk2 is less adherent to glass and plastic surfaces and shows increased sensitivity to alkaline pH stress and antifungals. Rather than AfMpkA, the target kinase of AfMkk2, AfMpkB is activated in the mutant under cell wall stress. Interestingly, the mutant lacking AfMkk2 shows an enhanced sensitivity to posaconazole and voriconazole. And in agreement with its sensitivity to moderate temperatures, it is less virulent in a murine infection model. Our data underline the importance of mkk2 for the fitness, but also for the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus.
Autophagy is a central lysosomal degradation process that is essential for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Autophagy has furthermore emerged as integral part of the host immune response. Autophagic processes promote the separation and degradation of intracellular microorganisms which contributes to the development of innate and adaptive immunity. Some pathogenic microbes have therefore evolved mechanisms to evade or impede autophagy. We analyzed the effects of the enteropathogenic bacterium Yersinia enterocolitica on autophagy in macrophages. Yersiniae use a number of defined adhesins and secreted proteins to manipulate host immune responses. Our results showed that Y. enterocolitica defective in type III protein secretion efficiently activated autophagy in macrophages. Autophagy was mediated by the Yersinia adhesins invasin and YadA and particularly depended on the engagement of beta(1) integrin receptors. Several autophagy-related events followed beta(1) integrin-mediated engulfment of the bacteria including the formation of autophagosomes, processing of the marker protein LC3, redistribution of GFP-LC3 to bacteria-containing vacuoles, and the segregation of intracellular bacteria by autophagosomal compartments. These results provide direct evidence for the linkage of beta(1) integrin-mediated phagocytosis and autophagy induction. Multiple microbes signal through integrin receptors, and our results suggest a general principle by which the sensing of an extracellular microbe triggers autophagy. Owing to the importance of autophagy as host defense response, wild-type Y. enterocolitica suppressed autophagy by mobilizing type III protein secretion. The subversion of autophagy may be part of the Y. enterocolitica virulence strategy that supports bacterial survival when beta(1) integrin-dependent internalization and autophagy activation by macrophages are deleterious for the pathogen.
Yersiniae bearing the Yersinia virulence plasmid pYV impact the transcriptome of J774A.1 macrophage-like cells in two distinct ways: (i) by suppressing, in a Yersinia outer protein P (YopP)-dependent manner, the induction of inflammatory response genes and (ii) by mRNA induction of the silencing transcription factor klf2. Here we show that klf2 induction by Yersinia enterocolitica occurs in several cell lines of macrophage and squamous and upper gastrointestinal epithelial origin as well as in bone marrow-derived dendritic cells. Several strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus are equally effective as Y. enterocolitica in inducing klf2 expression. Screening of mutant strains or incubation with recombinant toxins identified the rho-inactivating toxins YopT from Yersinia spp., ExoS from Pseudomonas aeruginosa, EDIN-B from Staphylococcus aureus, and C3bot from Clostridium botulinum as bacterial inducers of klf2 mRNA. klf2 mRNA induction by these toxins does not require de novo protein synthesis. Serum response factor or actin depolymerization does not seem to be involved in regulating klf2 expression in response to bacterial infection. Instead, short hairpin RNA-mediated inactivation of RhoA and its effector rhophilin 1 is sufficient to induce long-term klf2 expression. Thus, bacteria exploit the RhoA-rhophilin signaling cascade to mediate sustained expression of the immunosuppressive transcription factor klf2.
Preexisting antivector immunity can severely compromise the ability of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium live vaccines to induce protective CD8 T-cell frequencies after type III secretion system-mediated heterologous protein translocation in orally immunized mice. To circumvent this problem, we injected CpG DNA admixed to the immunodominant p60(217-225) peptide from Listeria monocytogenes subcutaneously into BALB/c mice and coadministered a p60-translocating Salmonella strain by the orogastric route. The distribution of tetramer-positive p60(217-225)-specific effector and memory CD8 T cells was analyzed by costaining of lymphocytes with CD62L and CD127. In contrast to the single oral application of recombinant Salmonella or single immunization with CpG and p60, in the spleens from mice immunized with a combination of both vaccine types a significantly higher level of p60-specific CD8 T cells with a predominance of the effector memory T-cell subset was detected. In vivo protection studies revealed that this CD8 T-cell population conferred sterile protective immunity against a lethal infection with L. monocytogenes. However, p60-specific central memory CD8 T cells induced by single vaccination with CpG and p60 were not able confer effective protection against rapidly replicating intracellular Listeria. In conclusion, we provide compelling evidence that the combination of Salmonella type III-mediated antigen delivery and CpG immunization is an attractive novel vaccination strategy to modulate CD8 differentiation patterns toward distinct antigen-specific T-cell subsets with favorable protective capacities.
GDP-mannose:inositol-phosphorylceramide (MIPC)-derived glycosphingolipids are important pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMP) of Candida albicans and according to recently published data also of Aspergillus fumigatus. MIPC transferases are essential for the synthesis of MIPC, but have so far been studied only in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and C. albicans. Here, we have identified MitA as the only MIPC transferase in A. fumigatus. The DeltamitA mutant lacks MIPC and MIPC-derived glycosphingolipids and accumulates the precursor IPC. The mutant grows normally, shows no defects in cell wall or membrane organization and a normal resistance to different stressors. It is, however, sensitive to high Ca(2+) concentrations, especially during germination. Germination of DeltamitA mutant conidia is also decelerated under normal growth conditions, but neither the virulence of this mutant in a systemic model of infection nor its ability to trigger a cytokine response in macrophages is impaired, arguing against a role of MIPC-derived glycosphingolipids as important A. fumigatus PAMPs.
The mammalian actin-binding protein 1 (mAbp1, Hip-55, SH3P7) is phosphorylated by the nonreceptor tyrosine kinase Syk that has a fundamental effect for several beta(2) integrin (CD11/CD18)-mediated neutrophil functions. Live cell imaging showed a dynamic enrichment of enhanced green fluorescence protein-tagged mAbp1 at the phagocytic cup of neutrophil-like differentiated HL-60 cells during beta(2) integrin-mediated phagocytosis of serum-opsonized Escherichia coli. The genetic absence of Syk or its pharmacologic inhibition using piceatannol abrogated the proper localization of mAbp1 at the phagocytic cup. The genetic absence or down-regulation of mAbp1 using the RNA interference technique significantly compromised beta(2) integrin-mediated phagocytosis of serum-opsonized E coli or Salmonella typhimurium in vitro as well as clearance of S typhimurium infection in vivo. Moreover, the genetic absence of mAbp1 almost completely abrogated firm neutrophil adhesion under physiologic shear stress conditions in vitro as well as leukocyte adhesion and extravasation in inflamed cremaster muscle venules of mice treated with tumor-necrosis factor alpha. Functional analysis showed that the down-regulation of mAbp1 diminished the number of beta(2) integrin clusters in the high-affinity conformation under flow conditions. These unanticipated results define mAbp1 as a novel molecular player in integrin biology that is critical for phagocytosis and firm neutrophil adhesion under flow conditions.
In patients with cystic fibrosis (CF), the emergence of hypermutable Pseudomonas aeruginosa drives the selection of P. aeruginosa variants that are efficiently adapted to the inflamed lungs of these patients.
Aspergillus fumigatus is currently the major airborne fungal pathogen that menaces immunocompromised individuals. Germination of inhaled conidia is a hallmark of the early infection process, but little is known about the underlying mechanisms. The intention of our ongoing studies is the identification of A. fumigatus proteins that are differentially expressed during germination and may provide insights in the germination process. Using a proteomic approach, we identified AFUA_5G09330 as a major hyphal-specific protein. This result was confirmed using monoclonal antibodies generated in this study. AFUA_5G09330 belongs to a fungal-specific protein family. The eponymous CipC protein of A. nidulans has been shown to be induced by concanamycin A, and transcriptional data from Cryptococcus neoformans demonstrate a strong up-regulation of the expression of a homologous gene during infection. Our data provide evidence that AFUA_5G09330 is a monomeric, cytoplasmic protein. We found no evidence for an overexpression of AFUA_5G09330 induced by concanamycin A or other stress conditions. AFUA_5G09330 is exclusively found in the hyphal morphotype that enables an invasive growth of A. fumigatus during infection. Further studies are required to define the biological function of this hyphae-specific protein and its potential relevance for the pathogenicity of A. fumigatus.
Pathogenic yersiniae utilize a type three secretion system (T3SS) to inject Yop proteins into host cells in order to undermine their immune response. YscM1 and YscM2 proteins have been reported to be functionally equivalent regulators of the T3SS in Yersinia enterocolitica. Here, we show by affinity purification, native gel electrophoresis and small angle x-ray scattering that both YscM1 and YscM2 bind to phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) of Y. enterocolitica. Under in vitro conditions, YscM1, but not YscM2, was found to inhibit PEPC with an apparent IC(50) of 4 mum (K(i) = 1 mum). To analyze the functional roles of PEPC, YscM1, and YscM2 in Yop-producing bacteria, cultures of Y. enterocolitica wild type and mutants defective in the formation of PEPC, YscM1, or YscM2, respectively, were grown under low calcium conditions in the presence of [U-(13)C(6)]glucose. The isotope compositions of secreted Yop proteins and nine amino acids from cellular proteins were analyzed by mass spectrometry. The data indicate that a considerable fraction of oxaloacetate used as precursor for amino acids was derived from [(13)C(3)]phosphoenolpyruvate by the catalytic action of PEPC in the wild-type strain but not in the PEPC(-) mutant. The data imply that PEPC is critically involved in replenishing the oxaloacetate pool in the citrate cycle under virulence conditions. In the YscM1(-) and YscM2(-) mutants, increased rates of pyruvate formation via glycolysis or the Entner-Doudoroff pathway, of oxaloacetate formation via the citrate cycle, and of amino acid biosynthesis suggest that both regulators trigger the central metabolism of Y. enterocolitica. We propose a "load-and-shoot cycle" model to account for the cross-talk between T3SS and metabolism in pathogenic yersiniae.
In general, ?-lactamases of medically important Gram-negative bacteria are Sec-dependently translocated into the periplasm. In contrast, ?-lactamases of Mycobacteria spp. (BlaC, BlaS) and the Gram-negative environmental bacteria Stenotrophomonas maltophilia (L2) and Xanthomonas campestris (Bla(XCC-1)) have been reported to be secreted by the twin-arginine translocation (Tat) system. Yersinia enterocolitica carries 2 distinct ?-lactamase genes (blaA and blaB) encoding BlaA(Ye) and the AmpC-like ?-lactamase BlaB, respectively. By using the software PRED-TAT for prediction and discrimination of Sec from Tat signal peptides, we identified a functional Tat signal sequence for Yersinia BlaA(Ye). The Tat-dependent translocation of BlaA(Ye) could be clearly demonstrated by using a Y. enterocolitica tatC-mutant and cell fractionation. Moreover, we could demonstrate a unique unusual temperature-dependent activity profile of BlaA(Ye) ranging from 15 to 60 °C and a high melting temperature (T(M)=44.3°) in comparison to the related Sec-dependent ?-lactamase TEM-1 (20-50°C, T(M)=34.9 °C). Strikingly, the blaA gene of Y. enterocolitica is present in diverse environmental Yersinia spp. and a blaA homolog gene could be identified in the closely related Photorhabdus asymbiotica (BlaA(Pa); 69% identity to BlaA(Ye)). For BlaA(Pa) of P. asymbiotica, we could also demonstrate Tat-dependent secretion. These results suggest that Yersinia BlaA-related ?-lactamases may be the prototype of a large Tat-dependent ?-lactamase family, which originated from environmental bacteria.
Two-component signaling systems are widespread in bacteria, but also found in fungi. In this study, we have characterized TcsC, the only Group III two-component sensor kinase of Aspergillus fumigatus. TcsC is required for growth under hyperosmotic stress, but dispensable for normal growth, sporulation and conidial viability. A characteristic feature of the ?tcsC mutant is its resistance to certain fungicides, like fludioxonil. Both hyperosmotic stress and treatment with fludioxonil result in a TcsC-dependent phosphorylation of SakA, the final MAP kinase in the high osmolarity glycerol (HOG) pathway, confirming a role for TcsC in this signaling pathway. In wild type cells fludioxonil induces a TcsC-dependent swelling and a complete, but reversible block of growth and cytokinesis. Several types of stress, such as hypoxia, exposure to farnesol or elevated concentrations of certain divalent cations, trigger a differentiation in A. fumigatus toward a "fluffy" growth phenotype resulting in white, dome-shaped colonies. The ?tcsC mutant is clearly more susceptible to these morphogenetic changes suggesting that TcsC normally antagonizes this process. Although TcsC plays a role in the adaptation of A. fumigatus to hypoxia, it seems to be dispensable for virulence.
The type 3 secretion system (T3SS) is a powerful bacterial nanomachine that is able to modify the host cellular immune defense in favor of the pathogen by injection of effector proteins. In this regard, cellular Rho GTPases such as Rac1, RhoA or Cdc42 are targeted by a large group of T3SS effectors by mimicking cellular guanine exchange factors or GTPase-activating proteins. However, functional analysis of one type of T3SS effector that is translocated by bacterial pathogens is challenging because the T3SS effector repertoire can comprise a large number of proteins with redundant or interfering functions. Therefore, we developed the Yersinia toolbox to either analyze singular effector proteins of Yersinia spp. or different bacterial species in the context of bacterial T3SS injection into cells. Here, we focus on the WxxxE guanine exchange factor mimetic proteins IpgB1, IpgB2 and Map, which activate Rac1, RhoA or Cdc42, respectively, as well as the Rho GTPase inactivators YopE (a GTPase-activating mimetic protein) and YopT (cysteine protease), to generate a toolbox module for Rho GTPase manipulation.
Staphylococcus aureus is a pyogenic abscess-forming facultative pathogenic microorganism expressing a large set of virulence-associated factors. Among these, secreted proteins with binding capacity to plasma proteins (e.g. fibrinogen binding proteins Eap and Emp) and prothrombin activators such as Coagulase (Coa) and vWbp are involved in abscess formation. By using a three-dimensional collagen gel (3D-CoG) supplemented with fibrinogen (Fib) we studied the growth behavior of S. aureus strain Newman and a set of mutants as well as their interaction with mouse neutrophils by real-time confocal microscopy. In 3D-CoG/Fib, S. aureus forms microcolonies which are surrounded by an inner pseudocapsule and an extended outer dense microcolony-associated meshwork (MAM) containing fibrin. Coa is involved in formation of the pseudocapsule whereas MAM formation depends on vWbp. Moreover, agr-dependent dispersal of late stage microcolonies could be observed. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the pseudocapsule and the MAM act as mechanical barriers against neutrophils attracted to the microcolony. The thrombin inhibitor argatroban is able to prevent formation of both pseudocapsule and MAM and supports access of neutrophils to staphylococci. Taken together, this model can simulate specific stages of S. aureus abscess formation by temporal dissection of bacterial growth and recruitment of immune cells. It can complement established animal infection models in the development of new treatment options.
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