Abstract (Expand)

Candida albicans is a common cause of life-threatening fungal bloodstream infections. In the murine model of systemic candidiasis, the kidney is the primary target organ while the fungal load declines over time in liver and spleen. To better understand these organ-specific differences in host-pathogen interaction, we performed gene expression profiling of murine kidney, liver and spleen and determined the fungal transcriptome in liver and kidney. We observed a delayed transcriptional immune response accompanied by late induction of fungal stress response genes in the kidneys. In contrast, early upregulation of the proinflammatory response in the liver was associated with a fungal transcriptome resembling response to phagocytosis, suggesting that phagocytes contribute significantly to fungal control in the liver. Notably, C. albicans hypha-associated genes were upregulated in the absence of visible filamentation in the liver, indicating an uncoupling of gene expression and morphology and a morphology-independent effect by hypha-associated genes in this organ. Consistently, integration of host and pathogen transcriptional data in an inter-species gene regulatory network indicated connections of C. albicans cell wall remodelling and metabolism to the organ-specific immune responses.

Authors: B. Hebecker, S. Vlaic, T. Conrad, Michael Bauer, S. Brunke, M. Kapitan, Jörg Linde, B. Hube, Ilse Jacobsen

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract (Expand)

Fungal spores and hyphal fragments play an important role as allergens in respiratory diseases. In this study, we performed trypsin shaving and secretome analyses to identify the surface-exposed proteins and secreted/shed proteins of Aspergillus fumigatus conidia, respectively. We investigated the surface proteome under different conditions, including temperature variation and germination. We found that the surface proteome of resting A. fumigatus conidia is not static but instead unexpectedly dynamic, as evidenced by drastically different surface proteomes under different growth conditions. Knockouts of two abundant A. fumigatus surface proteins, ScwA and CweA, were found to function only in fine-tuning the cell wall stress response, implying that the conidial surface is very robust against perturbations. We then compared the surface proteome of A. fumigatus to other allergy-inducing molds, including Alternaria alternata, Penicillium rubens, and Cladosporium herbarum, and performed comparative proteomics on resting and swollen conidia, as well as secreted proteins from germinating conidia. We detected 125 protein ortholog groups, including 80 with putative catalytic activity, in the extracellular region of all four molds, and 42 nonorthologous proteins produced solely by A. fumigatus. Ultimately, this study highlights the dynamic nature of the A. fumigatus conidial surface and provides targets for future diagnostics and immunotherapy.

Authors: M. G. Blango, A. Pschibul, Flora Rivieccio, Thomas Krüger, M. Rafiq, L. J. Jia, T. Zheng, M. Goldmann, V. Voltersen, J. Li, Gianni Panagiotou, Olaf Kniemeyer, Axel Brakhage

Date Published: 1st May 2020

Journal: J Proteome Res

Abstract (Expand)

Mathematical modeling and computer simulations have become an integral part of modern biological research. The strength of theoretical approaches is in the simplification of complex biological systems. We here consider the general problem of receptor-ligand binding in the context of antibody-antigen binding. On the one hand, we establish a quantitative mapping between macroscopic binding rates of a deterministic differential equation model and their microscopic equivalents as obtained from simulating the spatiotemporal binding kinetics by stochastic agent-based models. On the other hand, we investigate the impact of various properties of B cell-derived receptors-such as their dimensionality of motion, morphology, and binding valency-on the receptor-ligand binding kinetics. To this end, we implemented an algorithm that simulates antigen binding by B cell-derived receptors with a Y-shaped morphology that can move in different dimensionalities, i.e., either as membrane-anchored receptors or as soluble receptors. The mapping of the macroscopic and microscopic binding rates allowed us to quantitatively compare different agent-based model variants for the different types of B cell-derived receptors. Our results indicate that the dimensionality of motion governs the binding kinetics and that this predominant impact is quantitatively compensated by the bivalency of these receptors.

Authors: Teresa Lehnert, Marc Thilo Figge

Date Published: 19th Dec 2017

Journal: Front Immunol

Abstract (Expand)

Understanding optimality principles shaping the evolution of regulatory networks controlling metabolism is crucial for deriving a holistic picture of how metabolism is integrated into key cellular processes such as growth, adaptation and pathogenicity. While in the past the focus of research in pathway regulation was mainly based on stationary states, more recently dynamic optimization has proved to be an ideal tool to decipher regulatory strategies for metabolic pathways in response to environmental cues. In this short review, we summarize recent advances in the elucidation of optimal regulatory strategies and identification of optimal control points in metabolic pathways. We discuss biological implications of the discovered optimality principles on genome organization and provide examples how the derived knowledge can be used to identify new treatment strategies against pathogens. Furthermore, we briefly discuss the variety of approaches for solving dynamic optimization problems and emphasize whole-cell resource allocation models as an important emerging area of research that will allow us to study the regulation of metabolism on the whole-cell level.

Authors: Jan Ewald, M. Bartl, Christoph Kaleta

Date Published: 30th Jul 2017

Journal: Biochem Soc Trans

Abstract (Expand)

Humans are continuously exposed to airborne spores of the saprophytic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. However, in healthy individuals pulmonary host defense mechanisms efficiently eliminate the fungus. In contrast, A. fumigatus causes devastating infections in immunocompromised patients. Host immune responses against A. fumigatus lung infections in immunocompromised conditions have remained largely elusive. Given the dynamic changes in immune cell subsets within tissues upon immunosuppressive therapy, we dissected the spatiotemporal pulmonary immune response after A. fumigatus infection to reveal basic immunological events that fail to effectively control invasive fungal disease. In different immunocompromised murine models, myeloid, notably neutrophils, and macrophages, but not lymphoid cells were strongly recruited to the lungs upon infection. Other myeloid cells, particularly dendritic cells and monocytes, were only recruited to lungs of corticosteroid treated mice, which developed a strong pulmonary inflammation after infection. Lymphoid cells, particularly CD4(+) or CD8(+) T-cells and NK cells were highly reduced upon immunosuppression and not recruited after A. fumigatus infection. Moreover, adoptive CD11b(+) myeloid cell transfer rescued cyclophosphamide immunosuppressed mice from lethal A. fumigatus infection but not cortisone and cyclophosphamide immunosuppressed mice. Our findings illustrate that CD11b(+) myeloid cells are critical for anti-A. fumigatus defense under cyclophosphamide immunosuppressed conditions.

Authors: Natarajaswamy Kalleda, J. Amich, B. Arslan, S. Poreddy, K. Mattenheimer, Z. Mokhtari, Hermann Einsele, Matthias Brock, Katrin Heinze, Andreas Beilhack

Date Published: 13th Jul 2016

Journal: Front Microbiol

Abstract (Expand)

Microbial invaders are ubiquitously present and pose the constant risk of infections that are opposed by various defence mechanisms of the human immune system. A tight regulation of the immune response ensures clearance of microbial invaders and concomitantly limits host damage that is crucial for host viability. To investigate the counterplay of infection and inflammation, we simulated the invasion of the human-pathogenic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus in lung alveoli by evolutionary games on graphs. The layered structure of the innate immune system is represented by a sequence of games in the virtual model. We show that the inflammatory cascade of the immune response is essential for microbial clearance and that the inflammation level correlates with the infection-dose. At low infection-doses, corresponding to daily inhalation of conidia, the resident alveolar macrophages may be sufficient to clear infections, however, at higher infection-doses their primary task shifts towards recruitment of neutrophils to infection sites.

Authors: J. Pollmacher, Sandra Timme, Stefan Schuster, Axel Brakhage, Peter Zipfel, Marc Thilo Figge

Date Published: 13th Jun 2016

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract (Expand)

In the emerging field of systems biology of fungal infection, one of the central roles belongs to the modeling of gene regulatory networks (GRNs). Utilizing omics-data, GRNs can be predicted by mathematical modeling. Here, we review current advances of data-based reconstruction of both small-scale and large-scale GRNs for human pathogenic fungi. The advantage of large-scale genome-wide modeling is the possibility to predict central (hub) genes and thereby indicate potential biomarkers and drug targets. In contrast, small-scale GRN models provide hypotheses on the mode of gene regulatory interactions, which have to be validated experimentally. Due to the lack of sufficient quantity and quality of both experimental data and prior knowledge about regulator-target gene relations, the genome-wide modeling still remains problematic for fungal pathogens. While a first genome-wide GRN model has already been published for Candida albicans, the feasibility of such modeling for Aspergillus fumigatus is evaluated in the present article. Based on this evaluation, opinions are drawn on future directions of GRN modeling of fungal pathogens. The crucial point of genome-wide GRN modeling is the experimental evidence, both used for inferring the networks (omics 'first-hand' data as well as literature data used as prior knowledge) and for validation and evaluation of the inferred network models.

Authors: Reinhard Guthke, S. Gerber, Theresia Conrad, S. Vlaic, S. Durmus, T. Cakir, F. E. Sevilgen, Ekaterina Shelest, Jörg Linde

Date Published: 22nd Apr 2016

Journal: Front Microbiol

Abstract (Expand)

Here, we report the draft genome sequence of Aspergillus calidoustus (strain SF006504). The functional annotation of A. calidoustus predicts a relatively large number of secondary metabolite gene clusters. The presented genome sequence builds the basis for further genome mining.

Authors: F. Horn, Jörg Linde, D. J. Mattern, G. Walther, Reinhard Guthke, K. Scherlach, K. Martin, Axel Brakhage, L. Petzke, Vito Valiante

Date Published: 12th Mar 2016

Journal: Genome Announc

Abstract (Expand)

The genus Penicillium belongs to the phylum Ascomycota and includes a variety of fungal species important for food and drug production. We report the draft genome sequence of Penicillium brasilianum MG11. This strain was isolated from soil, and it was reported to produce different secondary metabolites.

Authors: F. Horn, Jörg Linde, D. J. Mattern, G. Walther, Reinhard Guthke, Axel Brakhage, V. Valiante

Date Published: 5th Sep 2015

Journal: Genome Announc

Abstract (Expand)

The ubiquitous airborne fungal pathogen Aspergillus fumigatus is inhaled by humans every day. In the lung, it is able to quickly adapt to the humid environment and, if not removed within a time frame of 4-8 h, the pathogen may cause damage by germination and invasive growth. Applying a to-scale agent-based model of human alveoli to simulate early A. fumigatus infection under physiological conditions, we recently demonstrated that alveolar macrophages require chemotactic cues to accomplish the task of pathogen detection within the aforementioned time frame. The objective of this study is to specify our general prediction on the as yet unidentified chemokine by a quantitative analysis of its expected properties, such as the diffusion coefficient and the rates of secretion and degradation. To this end, the rule-based implementation of chemokine diffusion in the initial agent-based model is revised by numerically solving the spatio-temporal reaction-diffusion equation in the complex structure of the alveolus. In this hybrid agent-based model, alveolar macrophages are represented as migrating agents that are coupled to the interactive layer of diffusing molecule concentrations by the kinetics of chemokine receptor binding, internalization and re-expression. Performing simulations for more than a million virtual infection scenarios, we find that the ratio of secretion rate to the diffusion coefficient is the main indicator for the success of pathogen detection. Moreover, a subdivision of the parameter space into regimes of successful and unsuccessful parameter combination by this ratio is specific for values of the migration speed and the directional persistence time of alveolar macrophages, but depends only weakly on chemokine degradation rates.

Authors: J. Pollmacher, Marc Thilo Figge

Date Published: 16th Jun 2015

Journal: Front Microbiol

Abstract (Expand)

Gene regulatory network inference is a systems biology approach which predicts interactions between genes with the help of high-throughput data. In this review, we present current and updated network inference methods focusing on novel techniques for data acquisition, network inference assessment, network inference for interacting species and the integration of prior knowledge. After the advance of Next-Generation-Sequencing of cDNAs derived from RNA samples (RNA-Seq) we discuss in detail its application to network inference. Furthermore, we present progress for large-scale or even full-genomic network inference as well as for small-scale condensed network inference and review advances in the evaluation of network inference methods by crowdsourcing. Finally, we reflect the current availability of data and prior knowledge sources and give an outlook for the inference of gene regulatory networks that reflect interacting species, in particular pathogen-host interactions.

Authors: Jörg Linde, Sylvie Schulze, S. G. Henkel, Reinhard Guthke

Date Published: 2nd Mar 2015

Journal: EXCLI J

Abstract (Expand)

Verticillium hemipterigenum (anamorph Torrubiella hemipterigena) is an entomopathogenic fungus and produces a broad range of secondary metabolites. Here, we present the draft genome sequence of the fungus, including gene structure and functional annotation. Genes were predicted incorporating RNA-Seq data and functionally annotated to provide the basis for further genome studies.

Authors: F. Horn, A. Habel, D. H. Scharf, J. Dworschak, Axel Brakhage, Reinhard Guthke, C. Hertweck, Jörg Linde

Date Published: 24th Jan 2015

Journal: Genome Announc

Abstract (Expand)

Candida glabrata is the second most common pathogenic Candida species and has emerged as a leading cause of nosocomial fungal infections. Its reduced susceptibility to antifungal drugs and its close relationship to Saccharomyces cerevisiae make it an interesting research focus. Although its genome sequence was published in 2004, little is known about its transcriptional dynamics. Here, we provide a detailed RNA-Seq-based analysis of the transcriptomic landscape of C. glabrata in nutrient-rich media, as well as under nitrosative stress and during pH shift. Using RNA-Seq data together with state-of-the-art gene prediction tools, we refined the annotation of the C. glabrata genome and predicted 49 novel protein-coding genes. Of these novel genes, 14 have homologs in S. cerevisiae and six are shared with other Candida species. We experimentally validated four novel protein-coding genes of which two are differentially regulated during pH shift and interaction with human neutrophils, indicating a potential role in host-pathogen interaction. Furthermore, we identified 58 novel non-protein-coding genes, 38 new introns and condition-specific alternative splicing. Finally, our data suggest different patterns of adaptation to pH shift and nitrosative stress in C. glabrata, Candida albicans and S. cerevisiae and thus further underline a distinct evolution of virulence in yeast.

Authors: Jörg Linde, S. Duggan, M. Weber, F. Horn, Patricia Sieber, D. Hellwig, Konstantin Riege, Manja Marz, R. Martin, Reinhard Guthke, Oliver Kurzai

Date Published: 13th Jan 2015

Journal: Nucleic Acids Res

Abstract (Expand)

Streptomyces iranensis HM 35 has been shown to exhibit 72.7% DNA-DNA similarity to the important drug rapamycin (sirolimus)-producing Streptomyces rapamycinicus NRRL5491. Here, we report the genome sequence of HM 35, which represents a partially overlapping repertoire of secondary metabolite gene clusters with S. rapamycinicus, including the gene cluster for rapamycin biosynthesis.

Authors: F. Horn, V. Schroeckh, T. Netzker, Reinhard Guthke, Axel Brakhage, Jörg Linde

Date Published: 19th Jul 2014

Journal: Genome Announc

Abstract (Expand)

Little is known regarding the role of NK cells during primary and secondary disseminated Candida albicans infection. We assessed the role of NK cells for host defense against candidiasis in immunocompetent, as well as immunodeficient, hosts. Surprisingly, depletion of NK cells in immunocompetent WT mice did not increase susceptibility to systemic candidiasis, suggesting that NK cells are redundant for antifungal defense in otherwise immunocompetent hosts. NK-cell-depleted mice were found to be protected as a consequence of attenuation of systemic inflammation. In contrast, the absence of NK cells in T/B/NK-cell-deficient NSG (NOD SCID gamma) mice led to an increased susceptibility to both primary and secondary systemic C. albicans infections compared with T/B-cell-deficient SCID mice. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that NK cells are an essential and nonredundant component of anti-C. albicans host defense in immunosuppressed hosts with defective T/B-lymphocyte immunity, while contributing to hyperinflammation in immunocompetent hosts. The discovery of the importance of NK cells in hosts with severe defects of adaptive immunity might have important consequences for the design of adjunctive immunotherapeutic approaches in systemic C. albicans infections targeting NK-cell function.

Authors: J. Quintin, J. Voigt, R. van der Voort, Ilse Jacobsen, I. Verschueren, Bernhard Hube, E. J. Giamarellos-Bourboulis, J. W. van der Meer, L. A. Joosten, Oliver Kurzai, M. G. Netea

Date Published: 27th May 2014

Journal: Eur J Immunol

Abstract (Expand)

Unlike induced Foxp3(+) regulatory T cells (Foxp3(+) iTreg) that have been shown to play an essential role in the development of protective immunity to the ubiquitous mold Aspergillus fumigatus, type-(1)-regulatory T cells (Tr1) cells have, thus far, not been implicated in this process. Here, we evaluated the role of Tr1 cells specific for an epitope derived from the cell wall glucanase Crf-1 of A. fumigatus (Crf-1/p41) in antifungal immunity. We identified Crf-1/p41-specific latent-associated peptide(+) Tr1 cells in healthy humans and mice after vaccination with Crf-1/p41+zymosan. These cells produced high amounts of interleukin (IL)-10 and suppressed the expansion of antigen-specific T cells in vitro and in vivo. In mice, in vivo differentiation of Tr1 cells was dependent on the presence of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, c-Maf and IL-27. Moreover, in comparison to Tr1 cells, Foxp3(+) iTreg that recognize the same epitope were induced in an interferon gamma-type inflammatory environment and more potently suppressed innate immune cell activities. Overall, our data show that Tr1 cells are involved in the maintenance of antifungal immune homeostasis, and most likely play a distinct, yet complementary, role compared with Foxp3(+) iTreg.

Authors: Tanja Bedke, R. G. Iannitti, A. De Luca, G. Giovannini, F. Fallarino, C. Berges, J. P. Latge, H. Einsele, L. Romani, Max Topp

Date Published: 13th May 2014

Journal: Immunol Cell Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Human fungal pathogens are distributed throughout their kingdom, suggesting that pathogenic potential evolved independently. Candida albicans is the most virulent member of the CUG clade of yeasts and a common cause of both superficial and invasive infections. We therefore hypothesized that C. albicans possesses distinct pathogenicity mechanisms. In silico genome subtraction and comparative transcriptional analysis identified a total of 65 C. albicans-specific genes (ASGs) expressed during infection. Phenotypic characterization of six ASG-null mutants demonstrated that these genes are dispensable for in vitro growth but play defined roles in host-pathogen interactions. Based on these analyses, we investigated two ASGs in greater detail. An orf19.6688Delta mutant was found to be fully virulent in a mouse model of disseminated candidiasis and to induce higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-1beta (IL-1beta) following incubation with murine macrophages. A pga16Delta mutant, on the other hand, exhibited attenuated virulence. Moreover, we provide evidence that secondary filamentation events (multiple hyphae emerging from a mother cell and hyphal branching) contribute to pathogenicity: PGA16 deletion did not influence primary hypha formation or extension following contact with epithelial cells; however, multiple hyphae and hyphal branching were strongly reduced. Significantly, these hyphae failed to damage host cells as effectively as the multiple hypha structures formed by wild-type C. albicans cells. Together, our data show that species-specific genes of a eukaryotic pathogen can play important roles in pathogenicity.

Authors: D. Wilson, F. L. Mayer, P. Miramon, F. Citiulo, S. Slesiona, Ilse Jacobsen, Bernhard Hube

Date Published: 7th Mar 2014

Journal: Eukaryot Cell


Not specified

Authors: A. Schmoldt, H. F. Benthe, G. Haberland

Date Published: 1st Sep 1975

Journal: Biochem Pharmacol

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