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Publications

TRAF3 enhances type I interferon receptor signaling in T cells by modulating the phosphatase PTPN22

Abstract

Type I interferons (IFNs) are among the most powerful tools that host cells deploy against intracellular pathogens. Their effectiveness is due both to the rapid, directly antiviral effects of IFN-stimulated gene products and to the effects of type I IFN on responding immune cells. Type I IFN signaling through its receptor, IFNAR, is tightly regulated at multiple steps in the signaling cascade, including at the level of IFNAR downstream effectors, which include the kinase JAK1 and the transcriptional regulator STAT1. Here, we found that tumor necrosis factor receptor (TNFR)-associated factor 3 (TRAF3) enhanced the activation of JAK1 and STAT1 specifically in CD4+ T cells by preventing recruitment of the negative regulatory phosphatase PTPN22 to the IFNAR complex. The balance between signals through IFNAR and other cytokine receptors influences CD4+ T cell differentiation and function during infections. Our work reveals TRAF3 and PTPN22 as key regulators of CD4+ T cell activation by type I IFNs.

Authors:
E. Hornick, A. Wallis, G. A. Bishop


Commonly Elicited Antibodies against the Base of the HIV-1 Env Trimer Guide the Population-Level Evolution of a Structure-Regulating Region in gp41

Abstract

The antibody response against the HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins (Envs) guides evolution of this protein within each host. Whether antibodies with similar target specificities are elicited in different individuals and affect the population-level evolution of Env is poorly understood. To address this question, we analyzed properties of emerging variants in the gp41 fusion peptide-proximal region (FPPR) that exhibit distinct evolutionary patterns in HIV-1 clade B. For positions 534, 536, and 539 in the FPPR, alanine was the major emerging variant. However, 534A and 536A show a constant frequency in the population between 1979 and 2016, whereas 539A is gradually increasing. To understand the basis for these differences, we introduced alanine substitutions in the FPPR of primary HIV-1 strains and examined their functional and antigenic properties. Evolutionary patterns could not be explained by fusion competence or structural stability of the emerging variants. Instead, 534A and 536A exhibited modest but significant increases in sensitivity to antibodies against the membrane-proximal external region (MPER) and gp120-gp41 interface. These Envs were also more sensitive to poorly neutralizing sera from HIV-1-infected individuals than the clade ancestral form or 539A variant. Competition binding assays confirmed for all sera tested the presence of antibodies against the base of the Env trimer that compete with monoclonal antibodies targeting the MPER and gp120-gp41 interface. Our findings suggest that weakly neutralizing antibodies against the trimer base are commonly elicited; they do not exert catastrophic population size reduction effects on emerging variants but, instead, determine their set point frequencies in the population and historical patterns of change. IMPORTANCE: Infection by HIV-1 elicits formation of antibodies that target the viral Env proteins and can inactivate the virus. The specific targets of these antibodies vary among infected individuals. It is unclear whether some target specificities are shared among the antibody responses of different individuals. We observed that antibodies against the base of the Env protein are commonly elicited during infection. The selective pressure applied by such antibodies is weak. As a result, they do not completely eliminate the sensitive forms of the virus from the population, but maintain their frequency at a low level that has not increased since the beginning of the AIDS pandemic. Interestingly, the changes in Env do not occur at the sites targeted by the antibodies, but at a distinct region of Env, the fusion peptide-proximal region, which regulates their exposure.

Authors:
Roberth Anthony Rojas Chávez, Devlin Boyt, Nathan Schwery, Changze Han, Li Wu, Hillel Haim


The WalRK Two-Component System Is Essential for Proper Cell Envelope Biogenesis in Clostridioides difficile

Abstract

The WalR-WalK two-component regulatory system (TCS) is found in all Firmicutes, in which it regulates the expression of multiple genes required for remodeling the cell envelope during growth and division. Unlike most TCSs, WalRK is essential for viability, so it has attracted interest as a potential antibiotic target. In this study, we used overexpression of WalR and CRISPR interference to investigate the Wal system of Clostridioides difficile, a major cause of hospital-associated diarrhea in high-income countries. We confirmed that the wal operon is essential and identified morphological defects and cell lysis as the major terminal phenotypes of altered wal expression. We also used transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to identify over 150 genes whose expression changes in response to WalR levels. This gene set is enriched in cell envelope genes and includes genes encoding several predicted PG hydrolases and proteins that could regulate PG hydrolase activity. A distinct feature of the C. difficile cell envelope is the presence of an S-layer, and we found that WalR affects expression of several genes which encode S-layer proteins. An unexpected finding was that some Wal-associated phenotypic defects were inverted in comparison to what has been reported for other Firmicutes. For example, downregulation of Wal signaling caused C. difficile cells to become longer rather than shorter, as in Bacillus subtilis. Likewise, downregulation of Wal rendered C. difficile more sensitive to vancomycin, whereas reduced Wal activity is linked to increased vancomycin resistance in Staphylococcus aureus. IMPORTANCE The WalRK two-component system (TCS) is essential for coordinating synthesis and turnover of peptidoglycan in Firmicutes. We investigated the WalRK TCS in Clostridioides difficile, an important bacterial pathogen with an atypical cell envelope. We confirmed that WalRK is essential and regulates cell envelope biogenesis, although several of the phenotypic changes we observed were opposite to what has been reported for other Firmicutes. We also identified over 150 genes whose expression is controlled either directly or indirectly by WalR. Overall, our findings provide a foundation for future investigations of an important regulatory system and potential antibiotic target in C. difficile.

 

Authors:
Ute Müh, Craig D Ellermeier, David S Weiss


Limited Variation between SARS-CoV-2-Infected Individuals in Domain Specificity and Relative Potency of the Antibody Response against the Spike Glycoprotein

Abstract

The spike protein of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is arranged as a trimer on the virus surface, composed of three S1 and three S2 subunits. Infected and vaccinated individuals generate antibodies against spike, which can neutralize the virus. Most antibodies target the receptor-binding domain (RBD) and N-terminal domain (NTD) of S1; however, antibodies against other regions of spike have also been isolated. The interhost variability in domain specificity and relative neutralization efficacy of the antibodies is still poorly characterized. To this end, we tested serum and plasma samples collected from 85 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) convalescent subjects. Samples were analyzed using seven immunoassays that employ different domains, subunits, and oligomeric forms of spike to capture the antibodies. Samples were also tested for their neutralization of pseudovirus containing SARS-CoV-2 spike and of replication-competent SARS-CoV-2. While the total amount of anti-spike antibodies produced varied among convalescent subjects, we observed an unexpectedly fixed ratio of RBD- to NTD-targeting antibodies. The relative potency of the response (defined as the measured neutralization efficacy relative to the total level of spike-targeting antibodies) also exhibited limited variation between subjects and was not associated with the overall amount of antispike antibodies produced. These studies suggest that host-to-host variation in the polyclonal response elicited against SARS-CoV-2 spike in early pandemic subjects is primarily limited to the quantity of antibodies generated rather than their domain specificity or relative neutralization potency. IMPORTANCE: Infection by SARS-CoV-2 elicits antibodies against various domains of the spike protein, including the RBD and NTD of subunit S1 and against subunit S2. The antibody responses of different infected individuals exhibit different efficacies to inactivate (neutralize) the virus. Here, we show that the observed variation in the neutralizing activity of the antibody responses in COVID-19 convalescent subjects is caused by differences in the amounts of antibodies rather than their recognition properties or the potency of their antiviral activity. These findings suggest that COVID-19 vaccine strategies that focus on enhancing the overall level of the antibodies will likely elicit a more uniformly efficacious protective response.

Authors:
Hanora A Van Ert, Dana W Bohan, Kai Rogers, Mohammad Fili, Roberth A Rojas Chávez, Enya Qing, Changze Han, Spencer Dempewolf, Guiping Hu, Nathan Schwery, Kristina Sevcik, Natalie Ruggio. et al


Temporally Evolving and Context-Dependent Functions of Cytokines That Regulate Murine Anti- Plasmodium Humoral Immunity

Abstract

Protective immunity against blood-stage Plasmodium infection and the disease malaria depends on antibodies secreted from high-affinity B cells selected during the germinal center (GC) response. The induction and stability of the GC response require the activation and direct cell-cell communication between parasite-specific CD4 helper T cells and B cells. However, cytokines secreted by helper T cells, B cells, and multiple other innate and adaptive immune cells also contribute to regulating the magnitude and protective functions of GC-dependent humoral immune responses. Here, we briefly review emerging data supporting the finding that specific cytokines can exhibit temporally distinct and context-dependent influences on the induction and maintenance of antimalarial humoral immunity.

Authors:
Fionna A Surette, Noah S Butler


Pathogen Stimulation of Interleukin-8 from Human Vaginal Epithelial Cells through CD40

Abstract

Many bacterial and fungal pathogens cause disease across mucosal surfaces, and to a lesser extent through skin surfaces. Pathogens that potentially cause disease vaginally across epithelial cells include Staphylococcus aureus, group A and B streptococci, Escherichia coli, Neisseria gonorrhoeae, and Candida albicans. We have previously shown that staphylococcal and streptococcal superantigens induce inflammatory chemokines from vaginal epithelial cells through the immune costimulatory molecule CD40 through use of a CRISPR cas9 knockout mutant and complemented epithelial cell line. In this study, we show that the potential vaginal pathogens S. aureus, group A and B streptococci, E. coli, an Enterococcus faecalis strain, and C. albicans in part use CD40 to stimulate interleukin-8 (IL-8) production from human vaginal epithelial cells. In contrast, N. gonorrhoeae does not appear to use CD40 to signal IL-8 production. Normal flora Lactobacillus crispatus and an Enterococcus faecalis strain that produces reutericyclin do not induce IL-8. These data indicate that many potential pathogens, but no normal commensals, induce IL-8 to help disrupt the human vaginal epithelial barrier through CD40, thus providing a potential therapeutic target for drug development. IMPORTANCE: Most bacterial and fungal pathogens cause disease across mucosal, and to a lesser extent, skin barriers with the help of induced chemokines from epithelial cells. In this study, we showed that potential vaginal pathogens Staphylococcus aureus, group A and B streptococci, some Enterococcus faecalis strains, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans use the immune costimulatory molecule CD40 to induce the chemokine interleukin-8 production. In contrast, Neisseria gonorrhoeae does not use CD40 to stimulate interleukin-8. Normal flora lactobacilli and at least one E. faecalis strain do not induce interleukin-8.

Authors:
Patrick M Schlievert, Samuel H Kilgore, Andrea Benavides, Aloysius J Klingelhutz


Eicosanoid signaling blockade protects middle-aged mice from severe COVID-19

Abstract


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is especially severe in aged populations1. SARS-CoV-2 vaccines are highly effective, but vaccine efficacy is partly compromised by the emergence of SARS-CoV-2 variants with enhanced transmissibility2. The emergence of these variants emphasizes the need for further development of anti-SARS-CoV-2 therapies, especially in aged populations. Here, we describe the isolation of highly virulent mouse-adapted viruses and use them to test a novel therapeutic drug in infected aged animals. Many of the mutations observed in SARS-CoV-2 during mouse adaptation (positions 417, 484, 493, 498, 501 of the spike protein) also arise in humans in variants of concern (VOC)2. Their appearance during mouse adaptation indicates that immune pressure is not required for selection. In murine SARS, in which severity is also age-dependent, elevated levels of an eicosanoid, prostaglandin D2 (PGD2) and of a phospholipase, PLA2G2D, contributed to poor outcomes in aged mice3,4. mRNA expression of PLA2G2D and PTGDR, a PGD2 receptor, and production of PGD2 also increase in human PBMC-derived dendritic cells with aging and after SARS-CoV-2 infection. Using our mouse-adapted SARS-CoV-2, we show that middle-aged mice lacking expression of PTGDR, or PLA2G2D are protected from severe disease. Further, treatment with a PTGDR antagonist, asapiprant, protected aged mice from lethal infection. PTGDR antagonism is one of the first interventions in SARS-CoV-2-infected animals that specifically protects aged animals, suggesting that the PLA2G2D-PGD2/PTGDR pathway is a useful target for therapeutic interventions.

 

Authors:
Lok-Yin Roy Wong, Jian Zheng, Kevin Wilhelmsen, Kun Li, Miguel E. Ortiz, Nicholas J. Schnicker, Andrew Thurman, Alejandro A. Pezzulo, Peter J. Szachowicz, Pengfei Li, Ruangang Pan, Klaus Klumpp, Fred Aswad, Justin Rebo,...Paul McCray Jr., Stanley Perlman


Respiratory Syncytial Virus Provides Protection against a Subsequent Influenza A Virus Infection

Abstract

Respiratory infections are a leading cause of morbidity and mortality. The presence of multiple heterologous virus infections is routinely observed in a subset of individuals screened for the presence of respiratory viruses. However, the impact overlapping infections has on disease severity and the host immune response is not well understood. Respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and influenza A virus (IAV) are two of the most common respiratory infections observed in hospitalized patients, particularly in the very young and aged populations. In this study, we examined how the order in which BALB/c mice were infected with both RSV and IAV impacts disease severity. RSV infection prior to an IAV infection was associated with decreased weight loss and increased survival as compared with IAV infection alone. In contrast, IAV infection prior to an RSV infection was associated with similar morbidity and mortality as compared with an IAV infection alone. Our results suggest that the order in which viral infections are acquired plays a critical role in the outcome of disease severity and the host immune response.

Authors:
Stacey M Hartwig, Ann M Miller, Steven M Varga


Development of a Single-cycle Infectious SARS-CoV-2 Virus Replicon Particle System for use in BSL2 Laboratories

Abstract

Research activities with infectious severe acute respiratory syndrome associated coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) are currently permitted only under biosafety level 3 (BSL3) containment. Here, we report the development of a single-cycle infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus replicon particle (VRP) system with a luciferase and green fluorescent protein (GFP) dual reporter that can be safely handled in BSL2 laboratories to study SARS-CoV-2 biology. The Spike (S) gene of SARS-CoV-2 encodes for the envelope glycoprotein, which is essential for mediating infection of new host cells. Through deletion and replacement of this essential S gene with a luciferase and GFP dual reporter, we have generated a conditional SARS-CoV-2 mutant (ΔS-VRP) that produces infectious particles only in cells expressing a viral envelope glycoprotein of choice. Interestingly, we observed more efficient production of infectious particles in cells expressing vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) glycoprotein G (ΔS-VRP(G)) as compared to cells expressing other viral glycoproteins including S. We confirmed that infection from ΔS-VRP(G) is limited to a single round and can be neutralized by anti-VSV serum. In our studies with ΔS-VRP(G), we observed robust expression of both luciferase and GFP reporters in various human and murine cell types, demonstrating that a broad variety of cells can support intracellular replication of SARS-CoV-2. In addition, treatment of ΔS-VRP(G) infected cells with anti-CoV drugs remdesivir (nucleoside analog) or GC376 (CoV 3CL protease inhibitor) resulted in a robust decrease in both luciferase and GFP expression in a drug-dose and cell-type dependent manner. Taken together, we have developed a single-cycle infectious SARS-CoV-2 VRP system that serves as a versatile platform to study SARS-CoV-2 intracellular biology and to perform high throughput screening of antiviral drugs under BSL2 containment.

Authors:
Johnny Malicoat, Senthamizharasi Manivasagam, Sonia Zuñiga, Isabel Sola, Dianne McCabe, Lijun Rong, Stanley Perlman, Luis Enjuanes, Balaji Manicassamy


Phosphatidylserine receptors enhance SARS-CoV-2 infection

Abstract

Phosphatidylserine (PS) receptors enhance infection of many enveloped viruses through virion-associated PS binding that is termed apoptotic mimicry. Here we show that this broadly shared uptake mechanism is utilized by SARS-CoV-2 in cells that express low surface levels of ACE2. Expression of members of the TIM (TIM-1 and TIM-4) and TAM (AXL) families of PS receptors enhance SARS-CoV-2 binding to cells, facilitate internalization of fluorescently-labeled virions and increase ACE2-dependent infection of SARS-CoV-2; however, PS receptors alone did not mediate infection. We were unable to detect direct interactions of the PS receptor AXL with purified SARS-CoV-2 spike, contrary to a previous report. Instead, our studies indicate that the PS receptors interact with PS on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virions. In support of this, we demonstrate that: 1) significant quantities of PS are located on the outer leaflet of SARS-CoV-2 virions, 2) PS liposomes, but not phosphatidylcholine liposomes, reduced entry of VSV/Spike pseudovirions and 3) an established mutant of TIM-1 which does not bind to PS is unable to facilitate entry of SARS-CoV-2. As AXL is an abundant PS receptor on a number of airway lines, we evaluated small molecule inhibitors of AXL signaling such as bemcentinib for their ability to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. Bemcentinib robustly inhibited virus infection of Vero E6 cells as well as multiple human lung cell lines that expressed AXL. This inhibition correlated well with inhibitors that block endosomal acidification and cathepsin activity, consistent with AXL-mediated uptake of SARS-CoV-2 into the endosomal compartment. We extended our observations to the related betacoronavirus mouse hepatitis virus (MHV), showing that inhibition or ablation of AXL reduces MHV infection of murine cells. In total, our findings provide evidence that PS receptors facilitate infection of the pandemic coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 and suggest that inhibition of the PS receptor AXL has therapeutic potential against SARS-CoV-2.

Authors:
Dana Bohan, Hanora Van Ert, Natalie Ruggio, Kai J. Rogers,...Jonah Elliff, R. Anthony Rojas Chavez, Boning Gao, Tomasz Stokowy, Eleni Christakou, Petri Kursula, David, Micklem, Gro Gausdal, Hillel Haim, John Minna, James Lorens, and Wendy Maury


TSST-1+ Staphylococcus aureus in Bullous pemphigoid

ABSTRACT

A potential role of S. aureus in BP was explored by examining the colonization rate in patients with new-onset disease, compared to age- and sex-matched controls. S. aureus colonization was observed in 85% of BP lesions; 3-6-fold higher than the nares or unaffected skin from the same patients (p≤0.003) and 6-fold higher than nares or skin of controls (p≤0.0015). Furthermore, 96% of the lesional isolates produced the toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1) superantigen and most of these additionally exhibited homogeneous expression of the enterotoxin gene cluster (EGC) toxins. TSST-1 neutralizing antibodies were not protective against colonization. However, S. aureus colonization was not observed in patients who had recently received antibiotics and addition of antibiotics with staphylococcal coverage eliminated S. aureus and resulted in clinical improvement. This study demonstrates that TSST-1+ S. aureus is prevalent in BP lesions and suggests that early implementation of antibiotics may be of benefit. Further, our results suggest that S. aureus colonization could provide a source of infection in BP patients, particularly in the setting of high dose immunosuppression.

Authors:
Kelly N. Messingham PhD, Michael P. Cahill, Samuel H. Kilgore, Ananya Munjal, Patrick M. Schlievert PhD, Janet A. Fairley MD


Activated B lymphocytes and tumor cell lysate as an effective cellular cancer vaccine

Abstract

Cancer vaccines that utilize patient antigen-presenting cells to fight their own tumors have shown exciting promise in many preclinical studies, but have proven quite challenging to translate to clinical feasibility. Dendritic cells have typically been the cell of choice for such vaccine platforms, due to their ability to endocytose antigens nonspecifically, and their expression of multiple surface molecules that enhance antigen presentation. However, dendritic cells are present in low numbers in human peripheral blood and must be matured in culture before use in vaccines. Mature B lymphocytes, in contrast, are relatively abundant in peripheral blood, and can be quickly activated and expanded in overnight cultures. We devised an optimal stimulation cocktail that engages the B cell antigen receptor, CD40, TLR4 and TLR7, to activate B cells to present antigens from lysates of the recipient's tumor cells, precluding the need for known tumor antigens. This B cell vaccine (Bvac) improved overall survival from B16F1 melanoma challenge, as well as reduced tumor size and increased time to tumor appearance. Bvac upregulated B cell antigen presentation molecules, stimulated activation of both CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and induced T cell migration. Bvac provides an alternative cellular vaccine strategy that has considerable practical advantages for translation to clinical settings.

Authors:
Kyp L Oxley, Brett M Hanson, Ashley N Zani, and Gail A Bishop


Measles virus exits human airway epithelia within dislodged metabolically active infectious centers

Abstract

Measles virus (MeV) is the most contagious human virus. Unlike most respiratory viruses, MeV does not directly infect epithelial cells upon entry in a new host. MeV traverses the epithelium within immune cells that carry it to lymphatic organs where amplification occurs. Infected immune cells then synchronously deliver large amounts of virus to the airways. However, our understanding of MeV replication in airway epithelia is limited. To model it, we use well-differentiated primary cultures of human airway epithelial cells (HAE) from lung donors. In HAE, MeV spreads directly cell-to-cell forming infectious centers that grow for ~3–5 days, are stable for a few days, and then disappear. Transepithelial electrical resistance remains intact during the entire course of HAE infection, thus we hypothesized that MeV infectious centers may dislodge while epithelial function is preserved. After documenting by confocal microscopy that infectious centers progressively detach from HAE, we recovered apical washes and separated cell-associated from cell-free virus by centrifugation. Virus titers were about 10 times higher in the cell-associated fraction than in the supernatant. In dislodged infectious centers, ciliary beating persisted, and apoptotic markers were not readily detected, suggesting that they retain functional metabolism. Cell-associated MeV infected primary human monocyte-derived macrophages, which models the first stage of infection in a new host. Single-cell RNA sequencing identified wound healing, cell growth, and cell differentiation as biological processes relevant for infectious center dislodging. 5-ethynyl-2’-deoxyuridine (EdU) staining located proliferating cells underneath infectious centers. Thus, cells located below infectious centers divide and differentiate to repair the dislodged infected epithelial patch. As an extension of these studies, we postulate that expulsion of infectious centers through coughing and sneezing could contribute to MeV’s strikingly high reproductive number by allowing the virus to survive longer in the environment and by delivering a high infectious dose to the next host.

Authors:
Camilla E. Hippee, Brajesh K. Singh, Andrew L. Thurman, Ashley L. Cooney, Alejandro A. Pezzulo, Roberto Cattaneo, Patrick L. Sinn


Ring finger protein 213 assembles into a sensor for ISGylated proteins with antimicrobial activity

Noted Research:

In a trans-Atlantic collaboration, researchers from the labs of Francis Impens (VIB-UGent, Center for Medical Biotechnology) and of Lilliana Radoshevich (Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa), have shed light on a novel cell intrinsic host defense pathway against intracellular pathogens. ISG15 is a host protein whose activity targets viral and bacterial infection. In this manuscript, Thery and colleagues used a new technique developed at VIB to trap and identify interactors of ISG15 in order to understand its function. Using this method called “virotrap,” they uncovered an interaction between ISG15 and RNF213. RNF213 is a giant protein whose mutation results in Moyamoya disease, which is a rare disorder that causes patients to suffer from stroke at a young age. RNF213 is known to stabilize lipid droplets in the cell but in this manuscript, the authors discovered that it could also serve as a binding platform for ISGylated proteins. Lipid droplets have antibacterial properties and, in this study, RNF213 was shown to dock on and tag the surface of the intracellular bacterium, Listeria monocytogenes with ubiquitin, thus targeting the bacteria for destruction through the cellular recycling pathway of autophagy.  Accordingly, deletion of RNF213 strongly sensitized animals to Listeria monocytogenes infection. This manuscript linking RNF213 to intracellular clearance of viruses and bacteria may help researchers understand and unlock the mysterious etiology of Moyamoya disease.  

 

Abstract

ISG15 is an interferon-stimulated, ubiquitin-like protein that can conjugate to substrate proteins (ISGylation) to counteract microbial infection, but the underlying mechanisms remain elusive. Here, we use a virus-like particle trapping technology to identify ISG15-binding proteins and discover Ring Finger Protein 213 (RNF213) as an ISG15 interactor and cellular sensor of ISGylated proteins. RNF213 is a poorly characterized, interferon-induced megaprotein that is frequently mutated in Moyamoya disease, a rare cerebrovascular disorder. We report that interferon induces ISGylation and oligomerization of RNF213 on lipid droplets, where it acts as a sensor for ISGylated proteins. We show that RNF213 has broad antimicrobial activity in vitro and in vivo, counteracting infection with Listeria monocytogenes, herpes simplex virus 1, human respiratory syncytial virus and coxsackievirus B3, and we observe a striking co-localization of RNF213 with intracellular bacteria. Together, our findings provide molecular insights into the ISGylation pathway and reveal RNF213 as a key antimicrobial effector.

Authors:
Fabien Thery, Lia Martina, Caroline Asselman, Yifeng Zhang, Madeleine Vessely, Heidi Repo, Koen Sedeyn, George D. Moschonas, Clara Bredow, Qi Wen Teo, Jingshu Zhang, K...Lilliana Radoshevich, Sven Eyckerman, Francis Impens


Hemozoin-mediated inflammasome activation limits long-lived anti-malarial immunity

Highlights

• Hemozoin engages NLRP3 to reduce CD8α+ dendritic cell (DC) number and function
• Impaired DC responses compromise the B cell helper functions of CD4+ T cells
• The accumulation of hemozoin reduces memory B cell and plasma cell responses
• NLRP3 deficiency boosts humoral immune memory-mediated protection

Summary

During acute malaria, most individuals mount robust inflammatory responses that limit parasite burden. However, long-lived sterilizing anti-malarial memory responses are not efficiently induced, even following repeated Plasmodium exposures. Using multiple Plasmodium species, genetically modified parasites, and combinations of host genetic and pharmacologic approaches, we find that the deposition of the malarial pigment hemozoin directly limits the abundance and capacity of conventional type 1 dendritic cells to prime helper T cell responses. Hemozoin-induced dendritic cell dysfunction results in aberrant Plasmodium-specific CD4 T follicular helper cell differentiation, which constrains memory B cell and long-lived plasma cell formation. Mechanistically, we identify that dendritic cell-intrinsic NLRP3 inflammasome activation reduces conventional type 1 dendritic cell abundance, phagocytosis, and T cell priming functions in vivo. These data identify biological consequences of hemozoin deposition during malaria and highlight the capacity of the malarial pigment to program immune evasion during the earliest events following an initial Plasmodium exposure.

 

Authors:
Angela D. Pack, Patrick V. Schwartzhoff, Zeb R. Zacharias, Kevin L. Legge, Chris J. Janse, Noah S. Butler


Staphylococcal TSST-1 Association with Eczema Herpeticum in Humans

Abstract

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a condition affecting 30 million persons in the United States. AD patients are heavily infected with Staphylococcus aureus on the skin. A particularly severe form of AD is eczema herpeticum (ADEH), where the patients' AD is complicated by S. aureus and herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. This study examined the S. aureus strains from 15 ADEH patients, provided blinded, and showed a high association of ADEH with strains that produce toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1; 73%) compared to 10% production by typical AD isolates from patients without EH and those from another unrelated condition, cystic fibrosis. The ADEH isolates produced the superantigens associated with TSS (TSST-1 and staphylococcal enterotoxins A, B, and C). This association may in part explain the potential severity of ADEH. We also examined the effect of TSST-1 and HSV-1 on human epithelial cells and keratinocytes. TSST-1 used CD40 as its receptor on epithelial cells, and HSV-1 either directly or indirectly interacted with CD40. The consequence of these interactions was chemokine production, which is capable of causing harmful inflammation, with epidermal/keratinocyte barrier disruption. Human epithelial cells treated first with TSST-1 and then HSV-1 resulted in enhanced chemokine production. Finally, we showed that TSST-1 modestly increased HSV-1 replication but did not increase viral plaque size. Our data suggest that ADEH is associated with production of the major TSS-associated superantigens, together with HSV reactivation. The superantigens plus HSV may damage the skin barrier by causing harmful inflammation, thereby leading to increased symptoms. IMPORTANCE Atopic dermatitis (eczema, AD) with concurrent herpes simplex virus infection (eczema herpeticum, ADEH) is a severe form of AD. We show that ADEH patients are colonized with Staphylococcus aureus that primarily produces the superantigen toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1); however, significantly but to a lesser extent the superantigens staphylococcal enterotoxins A, B, and C are also represented in ADEH. Our studies showed that TSST-1 uses the immune costimulatory molecule CD40 as its epithelial cell receptor. Herpes simplex virus (HSV) also interacted directly or indirectly with CD40 on epithelial cells. Treatment of epithelial cells with TSST-1 and then HSV-1 resulted in enhanced chemokine production. We propose that this combination of exposures (TSST-1 and then HSV) leads to opening of epithelial and skin barriers to facilitate potentially serious ADEH.

Authors:
Patrick M Schlievert, Richard J Roller, Samuel H Kilgore, Miguel Villarreal, Aloysius J Klingelhutz, Donald Y M Leung


Protection of K18-hACE2 mice and ferrets against SARS-CoV-2 challenge by a single-dose mucosal immunization with a parainfluenza virus 5–based COVID-19 vaccine

Abstract

Transmission-blocking vaccines are urgently needed to reduce transmission of SARS-CoV 2, the cause of the COVID-19 pandemic. The upper respiratory tract is an initial site of SARS-CoV-2 infection and, for many individuals, remains the primary site of virus replication. An ideal COVID-19 vaccine should reduce upper respiratory tract virus replication and block transmission as well as protect against severe disease. Here, we optimized a vaccine candidate, parainfluenza virus 5 (PIV5) expressing the SARS-CoV-2 S protein (CVXGA1), and then demonstrated that a single-dose intranasal immunization with CVXGA1 protects against lethal infection of K18-hACE2 mice, a severe disease model. CVXGA1 immunization also prevented virus infection of ferrets and blocked contact transmission. This mucosal vaccine strategy inhibited SARS-CoV-2 replication in the upper respiratory tract, thus preventing disease progression to the lower respiratory tract. A PIV5-based mucosal vaccine provides a strategy to induce protective innate and cellular immune responses and reduce SARS-CoV-2 infection and transmission in populations.

Authors:
D An, K Li, DK Rowe, MC Huertas Diaz EF Griffin, AC Beavis, SK Johnson, I Padykula, CA Jones, K Briggs, G Li, Y Lin, J Huang, J Mousa, M Brindley, K Sakamoto, DK Meyerholz, PB McCray Jr , SM Tompkins, B He


Checkpoint blockade accelerates a novel switch from an NKT-driven TNFα response toward a T cell driven IFN-γ response within the tumor microenvironment

Abstract

Background The temporal response to checkpoint blockade (CB) is incompletely understood. Here, we profiled the tumor infiltrating lymphocyte (TIL) landscape in response to combination checkpoint blockade at two distinct timepoints of solid tumor growth.

Authors:
Shota Aoyama, Ryosuke Nakagawa, Satoshi Nemoto, Patricio Perez-Villarroel, James J Mulé, Adam W Mailloux


Inducible Tertiary Lymphoid Structures: Promise and Challenges for Translating a New Class of Immunotherapy

Abstract

Tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) are ectopically formed aggregates of organized lymphocytes and antigen-presenting cells that occur in solid tissues as part of a chronic inflammation response. Sharing structural and functional characteristics with conventional secondary lymphoid organs (SLO) including discrete T cell zones, B cell zones, marginal zones with antigen presenting cells, reticular stromal networks, and high endothelial venues (HEV), TLS are prominent centers of antigen presentation and adaptive immune activation within the periphery. TLS share many signaling axes and leukocyte recruitment schemes with SLO regarding their formation and function. In cancer, their presence confers positive prognostic value across a wide spectrum of indications, spurring interest in their artificial induction as either a new form of immunotherapy, or as a means to augment other cell or immunotherapies. Here, we review approaches for inducible (iTLS) that utilize chemokines, inflammatory factors, or cellular analogues vital to TLS formation and that often mirror conventional SLO organogenesis. This review also addresses biomaterials that have been or might be suitable for iTLS, and discusses remaining challenges facing iTLS manufacturing approaches for clinical translation.

Authors:
Shota Aoyama, Ryosuke Nakagawa, James J. Mulé, and Adam W. Mailloux


Innate immune and inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2: Implications for COVID-19

Abstract

COVID-19 can result in severe disease characterized by significant immunopathology that is spurred by an exuberant, yet dysregulated, innate immune response with a poor adaptive response. A limited and delayed interferon I (IFN-I) and IFN-III response results in exacerbated proinflammatory cytokine production and in extensive cellular infiltrates in the respiratory tract, resulting in lung pathology. The development of effective therapeutics for patients with severe COVID-19 depends on our understanding of the pathological elements of this unbalanced innate immune response. Here, we review the mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 both activates and antagonizes the IFN and inflammatory response following infection, how a dysregulated cytokine and cellular response contributes to immune-mediated pathology in COVID-19, and therapeutic strategies that target elements of the innate response.

Authors:
Shea A Lowery, Alan Sariol, Stanley Perlman


Coronavirus-specific antibody production in middle-aged mice requires phospholipase A2G2D

Abstract

Worse outcomes occur in aged compared with young populations after infections with respiratory viruses, including pathogenic coronaviruses (SARS-CoV, MERS-CoV, and SARS-CoV-2), and are associated with a suboptimal lung milieu ("inflammaging"). We previously showed that a single inducible phospholipase, PLA2G2D, is associated with a proresolving/antiinflammatory response in the lungs, and increases with age. Survival was increased in naive Pla2g2d-/- mice infected with SARS-CoV resulting from augmented respiratory dendritic cell (rDC) activation and enhanced priming of virus-specific T cells. Here, in contrast, we show that intranasal immunization provided no additional protection in middle-aged Pla2g2d-/- mice infected with any of the 3 pathogenic human coronaviruses because virtually no virus-specific antibodies or follicular helper CD4+ T (Tfh) cells were produced. Using MERS-CoV-infected mice, we found that these effects did not result from T or B cell intrinsic factors. Rather, they resulted from enhanced, and ultimately, pathogenic rDC activation, as manifested most prominently by enhanced IL-1β expression. Wild-type rDC transfer to Pla2g2d-/- mice in conjunction with partial IL-1β blockade reversed this defect and resulted in increased virus-specific antibody and Tfh responses. Together, these results indicate that PLA2G2D has an unexpected role in the lungs, serving as an important modulator of rDC activation, with protective and pathogenic effects in respiratory coronavirus infections and immunization, respectively.

Authors:
Jian Zheng, David Meyerholz, Lok-Yin Roy Wong, Michael Gelb, Makoto Murakami, Stanley Perlman


An assessment of the impact of recommended anesthesia work area cleaning procedures on intraoperative SARS-CoV-2 contamination, a case-series analysis

Authors:
Randy W. Loftus, Franklin Dexter, Lance C. Evans, Alysha D.M. Robinson, Abby Odle, Stanley Perlman


Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus Spike protein variants exhibit geographic differences in virulence

Abstract

Human Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) cases were detected primarily in the Middle East before a major outbreak occurred in South Korea in 2015. The Korean outbreak was initiated by a single infected individual, allowing studies of virus evolution in the absence of further MERS-CoV introduction into human populations. In contrast, MERS is primarily a camel disease on the Arabian Peninsula and in Africa, with clinical disease in humans only in the former location. Previous work identified two mutations in the South Korean MERS-CoV, D510G and I529T on the Spike (S) protein, that led to impaired binding to the receptor. However, whether these mutations affected virulence is unknown. To address this question, we constructed isogenic viruses expressing mutations found in the S protein from Korean isolates and showed that isogenic viruses carrying the Korean MERS-CoV mutations, D510G or I529T, were attenuated in mice, resulting in greater survival, less induction of inflammatory cytokines, and less severe lung injury. In contrast, isogenic viruses expressing S proteins from African isolates were nearly fully virulent; other studies showed that West African camel isolates carry mutations in MERS-CoV accessory proteins, which may limit human transmission. These data indicate that following a single-point introduction of the virus, MERS-CoV S protein evolved rapidly in South Korea to adapt to human populations, with consequences on virulence. In contrast, the mutations in S proteins of African isolates did not change virulence, indicating that S protein variation likely does not play a major role in the lack of camel-to-human transmission in Africa.

Authors:
Lok-Yin Roy Wong, Jian Zheng, Alan Sariol, Shea Lowery, David K Meyerholz, Tom Gallagher, Stanley Perlman


Host factor Rab11a is critical for efficient assembly of influenza A virus genomic segments

Abstract


It is well documented that influenza A viruses selectively package 8 distinct viral ribonucleoprotein complexes (vRNPs) into each virion; however, the role of host factors in genome assembly is not completely understood. To evaluate the significance of cellular factors in genome assembly, we generated a reporter virus carrying a tetracysteine tag in the NP gene (NP-Tc virus) and assessed the dynamics of vRNP localization with cellular components by fluorescence microscopy. At early time points, vRNP complexes were preferentially exported to the MTOC; subsequently, vRNPs associated on vesicles positive for cellular factor Rab11a and formed distinct vRNP bundles that trafficked to the plasma membrane on microtubule networks. In Rab11a deficient cells, however, vRNP bundles were smaller in the cytoplasm with less co-localization between different vRNP segments. Furthermore, Rab11a deficiency increased the production of non-infectious particles with higher RNA copy number to PFU ratios, indicative of defects in specific genome assembly. These results indicate that Rab11a+ vesicles serve as hubs for the congregation of vRNP complexes and enable specific genome assembly through vRNP:vRNP interactions, revealing the importance of Rab11a as a critical host factor for influenza A virus genome assembly.

Authors:
Julianna Han, Ketaki Ganti, Veeresh Kumar Sali, Carly Twigg, Yifeng Zhang, Senthamizharasi Manivasagam, Chieh-Yu Liang, Olivia A. Vogel, Iris Huang, Shanan N. Emmanuel, Jesse Plung, Lilliana Radoshevich, Jasmine T. Perez, Anice C. Lowen,Balaji Manicassamy


Suppression of human T cell activation by derivatives of glycerol monolaurate

Abstract


Glycerol monolaurate (GML), a naturally occurring monoglyceride, is widely used commercially for its antimicrobial properties. Interestingly, several studies have shown that GML not only has antimicrobial properties but is also an anti-inflammatory agent. GML inhibits peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation and inhibits T cell receptor (TCR)-induced signaling events. In this study, we perform an extensive structure activity relationship analysis to investigate the structural components of GML necessary for its suppression of human T cell activation. Human T cells were treated with analogs of GML, differing in acyl chain length, head group, linkage of acyl chain, and number of laurate groups. Treated cells were then tested for changes in membrane dynamics, LAT clustering, calcium signaling, and cytokine production. We found that an acyl chain with 12–14 carbons, a polar head group, an ester linkage, and a single laurate group at any position are all necessary for GML to inhibit protein clustering, calcium signaling, and cytokine production. Removing the glycerol head group or replacing the ester linkage with a nitrogen prevented derivative-mediated inhibition of protein cluster formation and calcium signaling, while still inhibiting TCR-induced cytokine production. These findings expand our current understanding of the mechanisms of action of GML and the of GML needed to function as a novel immunosuppressant.

Authors:
Micaela G. Fosdick, Pratik Rajesh Chheda, Phuong M. Tran, Alex Wolff, Ronal Peralta, Michael Y. Zhang, Robert Kerns & Jon C. D. Houtman


Exponential increase in neutralizing and spike specific antibodies following vaccination of COVID‐19 convalescent plasma donors

Abstract

Background

With the recent approval of COVID‐19 vaccines, recovered COVID‐19 subjects who are vaccinated may be ideal candidates to donate COVID‐19 convalescent plasma (CCP).

Case Series

Eleven recovered COVID‐19 patients were screened to donate CCP. All had molecularly confirmed COVID‐19, and all but one were antibody positive by chemiluminescence immunoassay (DiaSorin) prior to vaccination. All were tested again for antibodies 11–21 days after they were vaccinated (Pfizer/Moderna). All showed dramatic increases (~50‐fold) in spike‐specific antibody levels and had at least a 20‐fold increase in the IC50 neutralizing antibody titer based on plaque reduction neutralization testing (PRNT). The spike‐specific antibody levels following vaccination were significantly higher than those seen in any non‐vaccinated COVID‐19 subjects tested to date at our facility.

Conclusion

Spike‐specific and neutralizing antibodies demonstrated dramatic increases following a single vaccination after COVID‐19 infection, which significantly exceeded values seen with COVID‐19 infection alone. Recovered COVID‐19 subjects who are vaccinated may make ideal candidates for CCP donation.

Authors:
Molly A. Vickers, Alan Sariol, Judith Leon, Alexandra Ehlers, Aaron V. Locher, Kerry A. Dubay, Laura Collins, Dena Voss, Abby E. Odle, Myrl Holida, Anna E. Merrill, Stanley Perlman, C. Michael Knudson


Hemolysis-associated phosphatidylserine exposure promotes polyclonal plasmablast differentiation

Abstract

Antimalarial antibody responses are essential for mediating the clearance of Plasmodium parasite–infected RBCs from infected hosts. However, the rapid appearance of large numbers of plasmablasts in Plasmodium-infected hosts can suppress the development and function of durable humoral immunity. Here, we identify that the formation of plasmablast populations in Plasmodium-infected mice is mechanistically linked to both hemolysis-induced exposure of phosphatidylserine on damaged RBCs and inflammatory cues. We also show that virus and Trypanosoma infections known to trigger hemolytic anemia and high-grade inflammation also induce exuberant plasmablast responses. The induction of hemolysis or administration of RBC membrane ghosts increases plasmablast differentiation. The phosphatidylserine receptor Axl is critical for optimal plasmablast formation, and blocking phosphatidylserine limits plasmablast expansions and reduces Plasmodium parasite burden in vivo. Our findings support that strategies aimed at modulating polyclonal B cell activation and phosphatidylserine exposure may improve immune responses against Plasmodium parasites and potentially other infectious diseases that are associated with anemia.

Authors:
R. Vijay, J. Guthmiller, A. Sturtz, S. Crooks, J. Johnson, L. Li, L. Yu-Ling Lan, R. Pope, Y. Chen, K. Rogers, N. Dutta, J. Toombs, M. Wilson, P. Wilson, W. Maury, R. Brekken, N. Butler


The Penicillin-Binding Protein PbpP Is a Sensor of β-Lactams and Is Required for Activation of the Extracytoplasmic Function σ Factor σP in Bacillus thuringiensis

ABSTRACT

β-Lactams are a class of antibiotics that target the synthesis of peptidoglycan, an essential component of the cell wall. β-Lactams inhibit the function of penicillin-binding proteins (PBPs), which form the cross-links between strands of peptidoglycan. Resistance to β-lactams complicates the treatment of bacterial infections. In recent years, the spread of β-lactam resistance has increased with growing intensity. Resistance is often conferred by β-lactamases, which inactivate β-lactams, or the expression of alternative β-lactam-resistant PBPs. σP is an extracytoplasmic function (ECF) σ factor that controls β-lactam resistance in the species Bacillus thuringiensis, Bacillus cereus, and Bacillus anthracis. σP is normally held inactive by the anti-σ factor RsiP. σP is activated by β-lactams that trigger the proteolytic destruction of RsiP. Here, we identify the penicillin-binding protein PbpP and demonstrate its essential role in the activation of σP. Our data show that PbpP is required for σP activation and RsiP degradation. Our data suggest that PbpP acts as a β-lactam sensor since the binding of a subset of β-lactams to PbpP is required for σP activation. We find that PbpP likely directly or indirectly controls site 1 cleavage of RsiP, which results in the degradation of RsiP and, thus, σP activation. σP activation results in increased expression of β-lactamases and, thus, increased β-lactam resistance. This work is the first report of a PBP acting as a sensor for β-lactams and controlling the activation of an ECF σ factor.

Authors:
Kelsie M. Nauta, Theresa D. Ho, Craig D. Ellermeier


N6-methyladenosine modification of HIV-1 RNA suppresses type-I interferon induction in differentiated monocytic cells and primary macrophages

Abstract

N6-methyladenosine (m6A) is a prevalent RNA modification that plays a key role in regulating eukaryotic cellular mRNA functions. RNA m6A modification is regulated by two groups of cellular proteins, writers and erasers that add or remove m6A, respectively. HIV-1 RNA contains m6A modifications that modulate viral infection and gene expression in CD4+ T cells. However, it remains unclear whether m6A modifications of HIV-1 RNA modulate innate immune responses in myeloid cells that are important for antiviral immunity. Here we show that m6A modification of HIV-1 RNA suppresses the expression of antiviral cytokine type-I interferon (IFN-I) in differentiated human monocytic cells and primary monocyte-derived macrophages. Transfection of differentiated monocytic U937 cells with HIV-1 RNA fragments containing a single m6A-modification significantly reduced IFN-I mRNA expression relative to their unmodified RNA counterparts. We generated HIV-1 with altered m6A levels of RNA by manipulating the expression of the m6A erasers (FTO and ALKBH5) or pharmacological inhibition of m6A addition in virus-producing cells, or by treating HIV-1 RNA with recombinant FTO in vitro. HIV-1 RNA transfection or viral infection of differentiated U937 cells and primary macrophages demonstrated that HIV-1 RNA with decreased m6A levels enhanced IFN-I expression, whereas HIV-1 RNA with increased m6A modifications had opposite effects. Our mechanistic studies indicated that m6A of HIV-1 RNA escaped retinoic acid-induced gene I (RIG-I)-mediated RNA sensing and activation of the transcription factors IRF3 and IRF7 that drive IFN-I gene expression. Together, these findings suggest that m6A modifications of HIV-1 RNA evade innate immune sensing in myeloid cells.

Authors:
Shuliang Chen, Sameer Kumar, Constanza E Espada, Nagaraja Tirumuru, Michael P Cahill, Lulu Hu, Chuan He, Li Wu


Anti-malarial humoral immunity: the long and short of it

Abstract

Humoral immunity is critical for limiting Plasmodium parasite infections and the severity of malaria. Naturally acquired immunity against malaria occurs inefficiently and protection is relatively short-lived. Here we review recent advances and explore emerging hypotheses regarding the molecular and cellular pathways that regulate Plasmodium parasite-specific B cell responses and durable anti-malarial humoral immunity.

Authors:
Kai J.Rogers, Rahul Vijay, Noah S.Butler


Extrafollicular CD4 T cell-derived IL-10 functions rapidly and transiently to support anti-Plasmodium humoral immunity

Abstract

Immunity against malaria depends on germinal center (GC)-derived antibody responses that are orchestrated by T follicular helper (TFH) cells. Emerging data show that the regulatory cytokine IL-10 plays an essential role in promoting GC B cell responses during both experimental malaria and virus infections. Here we investigated the cellular source and temporal role of IL-10, and whether IL-10 additionally signals to CD4 T-cells to support anti-Plasmodium humoral immunity. Distinct from reports of virus infection, we found that IL-10 expressed by conventional, Foxp3-negative effector CD4 T cells and functioned in a B cell-intrinsic manner only during the first 96 hours of Plasmodium infection to support humoral immunity. The critical functions of IL-10 manifested only before the orchestration of GC responses and were primarily localized outside of B cell follicles. Mechanistically, our studies showed that the rapid and transient provision of IL-10 promoted B cell expression of anti-apoptotic factors, MHC class II, CD83, and cell-cell adhesion proteins that are essential for B cell survival and interaction with CD4 T cells. Together, our data reveal temporal features and mechanisms by which IL-10 critically supports humoral immunity during blood-stage Plasmodium infection, information that may be useful for developing new strategies designed to lessen the burden of malaria.

Authors:
Fionna A Surette, Jenna J Guthmiller, Lei Li, Alexandria J Sturtz, Rahul Vijay, Rosemary L Pope, Brandon L McClellan, Angela D Pack, Ryan A Zander, Peng Shao, Linda Yu-Ling Lan, Daniel Fernandez-Ruiz, William R Heath, Patrick C


Identification of three new GGDEF and EAL domain-containing proteins participating in the Scr surface colonization regulatory network in Vibrio parahaemolyticus

Abstract

Vibrio parahaemolyticus rapidly colonizes surfaces using swarming motility. Surface contact induces the surface sensing regulon including lateral flagellar genes, spurring dramatic shifts in physiology and behavior. The bacterium can also adopt a sessile, surface-associated lifestyle and form robust biofilms. These alternate colonization strategies are influenced reciprocally by the second messenger c-di-GMP. Although V. parahaemolyticus possesses 43 predicted proteins with the c-di-GMP-forming GGDEF domain, none have been previously been identified as contributors to surface colonization. We sought to explore this knowledge gap by using a suppressor transposon screen to restore swarming motility of a non-swarming, high c-di-GMP strain. Two diguanylate cyclases, ScrJ and ScrL, each containing tetratricopeptide repeat coupled GGDEF domains were demonstrated to contribute additively to swarming gene repression. Both proteins required an intact catalytic motif to regulate. Another suppressor mapped in lafV, the last gene in a lateral flagellar operon. Containing a degenerate phosphodiesterase (EAL) domain, LafV affected expression of multiple genes in the surface sensing regulon and required LafK, a primary swarming activator, to repress. Mutation of the signature EAL motif had little effect on LafV's repressive activity, suggesting LafV belongs to the subclass of EAL-type proteins that are regulatory but not enzymatic. Consistent with these activities and their predicted effects on c-di-GMP, scrJ and scrL, but not lafV mutants affected transcription of the c-di-GMP-responsive, biofilm reporter cpsA::lacZ. Our results expand the knowledge of the V. parahaemolyticus GGDEF/EAL repertoire and their roles in this surface colonization regulatory network.Significance A key survival decision, in the environment or the host, is whether to emigrate or aggregate. In bacteria, c-di-GMP signaling almost universally influences solutions to this dilemma. In V. parahaemolyticus, c-di-GMP reciprocally regulates swarming and sticking (i.e., biofilm formation) programs of surface colonization. Key c-di-GMP degrading phosphodiesterases responsive to quorum and nutritional signals have been previously identified. c-di-GMP-binding transcription factors programming biofilm development have been studied. Here, we further develop the blueprint of the c-di-GMP network by identifying new participants involved in dictating the complex decision of whether to swarm or stay. These include diguanylate cyclases with tetratricopeptide domains and a degenerate EAL protein that serves, analogous to the negative flagellar regulator RflP/YdiV of enteric bacteria, to regulate swarming.

Authors:
John H Kimbrough Linda L McCarter


The SrrAB two-component system regulates Staphylococcus aureus pathogenicity through redox sensitive cysteines

Abstract


Staphylococcus aureus infections can lead to diseases that range from localized skin abscess to life-threatening toxic shock syndrome. The SrrAB two-component system (TCS) is a global regulator of S. aureus virulence and critical for survival under environmental conditions such as hypoxic, oxidative, and nitrosative stress found at sites of infection. Despite the critical role of SrrAB in S. aureus pathogenicity, the mechanism by which the SrrAB TCS senses and responds to these environmental signals remains unknown. Bioinformatics analysis showed that the SrrB histidine kinase contains several domains, including an extracellular Cache domain and a cytoplasmic HAMP-PAS-DHp-CA region. Here, we show that the PAS domain regulates both kinase and phosphatase enzyme activity of SrrB and present the structure of the DHp-CA catalytic core. Importantly, this structure shows a unique intramolecular cysteine disulfide bond in the ATP-binding domain that significantly affects autophosphorylation kinetics. In vitro data show that the redox state of the disulfide bond affects S. aureus biofilm formation and toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 production. Moreover, with the use of the rabbit infective endocarditis model, we demonstrate that the disulfide bond is a critical regulatory element of SrrB function during S. aureus infection. Our data support a model whereby the disulfide bond and PAS domain of SrrB sense and respond to the cellular redox environment to regulate S. aureus survival and pathogenesis.

Authors:
N Tiwari, M López-Redondo, L Miguel-Romero, K Kulhankova, M P Cahill, P M Tran , K J Kinney, S H Kilgore, H Al-Tameemi, C A Herfst, S W Tuffs, J R Kirby, J M Boyd, J K McCormick, W Salgado-Pabón, A Marina, P M Schlievert, E. Fuentes


Decolonization of Human Anterior Nares of Staphylococcus aureus with Use of a Glycerol Monolaurate Nonaqueous Gel

Abstract


Staphylococcus aureus is a highly significant infection problem in health care centers, particularly after surgery. It has been shown that nearly 80% of S. aureus infections following surgery are the same as those in the anterior nares of patients, suggesting that the anterior nares is the source of the infection strain. This has led to the use of mupirocin ointment being applied nasally to reduce infections; mupirocin resistance is being observed. This study was undertaken to determine whether gel composed of 5% glycerol monolaurate solubilized in a glycol-based, nonaqueous gel (5% GML gel) could be used as an alternative. In our study, 40 healthy human volunteers swabbed their anterior nares for 3 days with the 5% GML gel. Prior to swabbing and 8 to 12 h after swabbing, S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococcal CFU per milliliter were determined by plating the swabs on mannitol salt agar. Fourteen of the volunteers had S. aureus in their nares prior to 5% GML gel treatment, most persons with the organisms present in both nares; five had pure cultures of S. aureus All participants without pure culture of S. aureus were cocolonized with S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci. Five of the S. aureus strains produced the superantigens commonly associated with toxic shock syndrome, though none of the participants became ill. For both S. aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci, the 5% GML gel treatment resulted in a 3-log-unit reduction in microorganisms. For S. aureus, the reduction persisted for 2 or 3 days.IMPORTANCE In this microflora study, we show that a 5% glycerol monolaurate nonaqueous gel is safe for use in the anterior nares. The gel was effective in reducing Staphylococcus aureus nasally, a highly significant hospital-associated pathogen. The gel may be a useful alternative or additive to mupirocin ointment for nasal use prior to surgery, noting that 80% of hospital-associated S. aureus infections are due to the same organism found in the nose. This gel also kills all enveloped viruses tested and should be considered for studies to reduce infection and transmission of coronaviruses and influenza viruses.

Authors:
Patrick M Schlievert, Marnie L Peterson


COVID-19 treatments and pathogenesis including anosmia in K18-hACE2 mice

Abstract

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is associated with substantial morbidity and mortality. Although much has been learned in the first months of the pandemic, many features of COVID-19 pathogenesis remain to be determined. For example, anosmia is a common presentation and many patients with this finding show no or only minor respiratory signs1. Studies in animals experimentally infected with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the cause of COVID-19, provide opportunities to study aspects of the disease not easily investigated in human patients. Although COVID-19 severity ranges from asymptomatic to lethal2, most experimental infections provide insights into mild disease3. Here, using K18-hACE2 mice that we originally developed for SARS studies4, we show that infection with SARS-CoV-2 causes severe disease in the lung, and in some mice, the brain. Evidence of thrombosis and vasculitis was detected in mice with severe pneumonia. Furthermore, we show that infusion of convalescent plasma from a recovered patient with COVID-19 protected against lethal disease. Mice developed anosmia at early times after infection. Notably, although pre-treatment with convalescent plasma prevented notable clinical disease, it did not prevent anosmia. Thus, K18-hACE2 mice provide a useful model for studying the pathological underpinnings of both mild and lethal COVID-19 and for assessing therapeutic interventions.

Authors:
Jian Zheng, Lok-Yin Roy Wong, Kun Li, Abhishek Kumar Verma, Miguel Ortiz, Christine Wohlford-Lenane, Mariah R. Leidinger, C. Michael Knudson, David K. Meyerholz, Paul B. McCray Jr & Stanley Perlman


TRAF6 and TAK1 contribute to SAMHD1-mediated negative regulation of NF-κB signaling

ABSTRACT
Sterile alpha motif and HD-domain-containing protein 1 (SAMHD1) restricts HIV-1 replication by limiting the intracellular dNTP pool. SAMHD1 also suppresses the activation of NF-κB in response to viral infections and inflammatory stimuli. However, the mechanisms by which SAMHD1 negatively regulates this pathway remain unclear. Here we show that SAMHD1-mediated suppression of NF-κB activation is modulated by two key mediators of NF-κB signaling, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) receptor-associated factor 6 (TRAF6) and transforming growth factor-ß-activated kinase-1 (TAK1). We compared NF-κB activation stimulated by interleukin (IL)-1ß in monocytic THP-1 control and SAMHD1 knockout (KO) cells with and without partial TRAF6 knockdown (KD), or in cells treated with TAK1 inhibitors. Relative to control cells, IL-1ß-treated SAMHD1 KO cells showed increased phosphorylation of the inhibitor of NF-κB (IκBα), an indication of pathway activation, and elevated levels of TNF-α mRNA. Moreover, SAMHD1 KO combined with TRAF6 KD or pharmacological TAK1 inhibition reduced IκBα phosphorylation and TNF-α mRNA to the level of control cells. SAMHD1 KO cells infected with single-cycle HIV-1 showed elevated infection and TNF-α mRNA levels compared to control cells, and the effects were significantly reduced by TRAF6 KD or TAK1 inhibition. We further demonstrated that overexpressed SAMHD1 inhibited TRAF6-stimulated NF-κB reporter activity in HEK293T cells in a dose-dependent manner. SAMHD1 contains a nuclear localization signal (NLS), but an NLS-defective SAMHD1 exhibited a suppressive effect similar to the wild-type protein. Our data suggest that the TRAF6-TAK1 axis contributes to SAMHD1-mediated suppression of NF-κB activation and HIV-1 infection.

Authors:
Constanza E. Espada, Corine St. Gelais, Serena Bonifati, Victoria V. Maksimova, Michael P. Cahill, Sun Hee Kim, Li Wu


Microglia depletion exacerbates demyelination and impairs remyelination in a neurotropic coronavirus infection

Abstract

Microglia are considered both pathogenic and protective during recovery from demyelination, but their precise role remains ill defined. Here, using an inhibitor of colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R), PLX5622, and mice infected with a neurotropic coronavirus (mouse hepatitis virus [MHV], strain JHMV), we show that depletion of microglia during the time of JHMV clearance resulted in impaired myelin repair and prolonged clinical disease without affecting the kinetics of virus clearance. Microglia were required only during the early stages of remyelination. Notably, large deposits of extracellular vesiculated myelin and cellular debris were detected in the spinal cords of PLX5622-treated and not control mice, which correlated with decreased numbers of oligodendrocytes in demyelinating lesions in drug-treated mice. Furthermore, gene expression analyses demonstrated differential expression of genes involved in myelin debris clearance, lipid and cholesterol recycling, and promotion of oligodendrocyte function. The results also demonstrate that microglial functions affected by depletion could not be compensated by infiltrating macrophages. Together, these results demonstrate that microglia play key roles in debris clearance and in the initiation of remyelination following infection with a neurotropic coronavirus but are not necessary during later stages of remyelination.

Authors:
Alan Sariol, Samantha Mackin, Merri-Grace Allred, Chen Ma, Yu Zhou, Qinran Zhang, Xiufen Zou, Juan E. Abrahante, David K. Meyerholz, and Stanley Perlman


Human Keratinocyte Response to Superantigens

ABSTRACT


Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes are significant human pathogens, causing infections at multiple body sites, including across the skin. Both are organisms that cause human diseases and secrete superantigens, including toxic shock syndrome toxin-1 (TSST-1), staphylococcal enterotoxins (SEs), and streptococcal pyrogenic exotoxins (SPEs). On the skin, human keratinocytes represent the first cell type to encounter these superantigens. We employed transcriptome sequencing (RNA-seq) to evaluate the human primary keratinocyte response to both TSST-1 and staphylococcal enterotoxin B (SEB) in triplicate analyses. Both superantigens caused large numbers of genes to be up- and downregulated. The genes that exhibited 2-fold differential gene expression compared to vehicle-treated cells, whether up- or downregulated, totaled 5,773 for TSST-1 and 4,320 for SEB. Of these, 4,482 were significantly upregulated by exposure of keratinocytes to TSST-1, whereas 1,291 were downregulated. For SEB, expression levels of 3,785 genes were upregulated, whereas those of 535 were downregulated. There was the expected high overlap in both upregulation (3,412 genes) and downregulation (400 genes). Significantly upregulated genes included those associated with chemokine production, with the possibility of stimulation of inflammation. We also tested an immortalized human keratinocyte line, from a different donor, for chemokine response to four superantigens. TSST-1 and SEB caused production of interleukin-8 (IL-8), MIP-3α, and IL-33. SPEA and SPEC were evaluated for stimulation of expression of IL-8 as a representative chemokine; both stimulated production of IL-8.

Authors:
Patrick M. Schlievert, Francoise A. Gourronc, Donald Y. M. Leung, Aloysius J. Klingelhulz


The p150 Isoform of ADAR1 Blocks Sustained RLR signaling and Apoptosis during Influenza Virus Infection

Abstract

Signaling through retinoic acid inducible gene I (RIG-I) like receptors (RLRs) is tightly regulated, with activation occurring upon sensing of viral nucleic acids, and suppression mediated by negative regulators. Under homeostatic conditions aberrant activation of melanoma differentiation-associated protein-5 (MDA5) is prevented through editing of endogenous dsRNA by RNA editing enzyme Adenosine Deaminase Acting on RNA (ADAR1). In addition, ADAR1 is postulated to play proviral and antiviral roles during viral infections that are dependent or independent of RNA editing activity. Here, we investigated the importance of ADAR1 isoforms in modulating influenza A virus (IAV) replication and revealed the opposing roles for ADAR1 isoforms, with the nuclear p110 isoform restricting versus the cytoplasmic p150 isoform promoting IAV replication. Importantly, we demonstrate that p150 is critical for preventing sustained RIG-I signaling, as p150 deficient cells showed increased IFN-β expression and apoptosis during IAV infection, independent of RNA editing activity. Taken together, the p150 isoform of ADAR1 is important for preventing sustained RIG-I induced IFN-β expression and apoptosis during viral infection.

Authors:
Olivia A. Vogel, Julianna Han, Chieh-Yu Liang, Santhakumar Manicassamy, Jasmine T. Perez, Balaji Manicassamy


The Chlamydia trachomatis secreted effector TmeA hijacks the N-WASP-ARP2/3 actin remodeling axis to facilitate cellular invasion

Abstract


As an obligate intracellular pathogen, host cell invasion is paramount to Chlamydia trachomatis proliferation. While the mechanistic underpinnings of this essential process remain ill-defined, it is predicted to involve delivery of prepackaged effector proteins into the host cell that trigger plasma membrane remodeling and cytoskeletal reorganization. The secreted effector proteins TmeA and TarP, have risen to prominence as putative key regulators of cellular invasion and bacterial pathogenesis. Although several studies have begun to unravel molecular details underlying the putative function of TarP, the physiological function of TmeA during host cell invasion is unknown. Here, we show that TmeA employs molecular mimicry to bind to the GTPase binding domain of N-WASP, which results in recruitment of the actin branching ARP2/3 complex to the site of chlamydial entry. Electron microscopy revealed that TmeA mutants are deficient in filopodia capture, suggesting that TmeA/N-WASP interactions ultimately modulate host cell plasma membrane remodeling events necessary for chlamydial entry. Importantly, while both TmeA and TarP are necessary for effective host cell invasion, we show that these effectors target distinct pathways that ultimately converge on activation of the ARP2/3 complex. In line with this observation, we show that a double mutant suffers from a severe entry defect nearly identical to that observed when ARP3 is chemically inhibited or knocked down. Collectively, our study highlights both TmeA and TarP as essential regulators of chlamydial invasion that modulate the ARP2/3 complex through distinct signaling platforms, resulting in plasma membrane remodeling events that are essential for pathogen uptake.

Authors:
Robert Faris, Alix McCullough, Shelby E. Andersen, Thomas O. Moninger, Mary M. Weber


Kawasaki syndrome: role of superantigens revisited

Abstract

Kawasaki syndrome (KS) is an acute vasculitis in children complicated by the development of heart disease. Despite its description over 50 years ago, the etiology of coronary artery disease in KS is unknown. High dose intravenous immunoglobulin is the most effective approach to reduce cardiovascular complications. It remains unclear why patients with KS develop coronary artery aneurysms. A subset of patients is resistant to immunoglobulin therapy. Given the heterogeneity of clinical features, variability of history, and therapeutic response, KS may be a cluster of phenotypes triggered by multiple infectious agents and influenced by various environmental, genetic, and immunologic responses. The cause of KS is unknown, and a diagnostic test remains lacking. A better understanding of mechanisms leading to acute KS would contribute to a more precision medicine approach for this complex disease. In the current viewpoint, we make the case for microbial superantigens as important causes of KS.

Authors:
Donald Y M Leung, Patrick M Schlievert


Kinetic Visualization of Single-Cell Interspecies Bacterial Interactions

Abstract
Polymicrobial communities are ubiquitous in nature, yet studying their interactions at the single-cell level is difficult. Thus, a microscopy-based method has been developed for observing interspecies interactions between two bacterial pathogens. The use of this method to interrogate interactions between a motile Gram-negative pathogen, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and a non-motile Gram-positive pathogen, Staphylococcus aureus is demonstrated here. This protocol consists of co-inoculating each species between a coverslip and an agarose pad, which maintains the cells in a single plane and allows for visualization of bacterial behaviors in both space and time.

Furthermore, the time-lapse microscopy demonstrated here is ideal for visualizing the early interactions that take place between two or more bacterial species, including changes in bacterial species motility in monoculture and in coculture with other species. Due to the nature of the limited sample space in the microscopy setup, this protocol is less applicable for studying later interactions between bacterial species once cell populations are too high. However, there are several different applications of the protocol which include the use of staining for imaging live and dead bacterial cells, quantification of gene or protein expression through fluorescent reporters, and tracking bacterial cell movement in both single species and multispecies experiments.

Authors:
Kaitlin D Yarrington, Andrea Sánchez Peña, Dominique H Limoli


Device-Associated Menstrual Toxic Shock Syndrome

Abstract

In the 1980s, menstrual toxic shock syndrome (mTSS) became a household topic, particularly among mothers and their daughters. The research performed at the time, and for the first time, exposed the American public as well as the biomedical community, in a major way, to understanding disease progression and investigation. Those studies led to the identification of the cause, Staphylococcus aureus and the pyrogenic toxin superantigen TSS toxin 1 (TSST-1), and many of the risk factors, for example, tampon use. Those studies in turn led to TSS warning labels on the outside and inside of tampon boxes and, as important, uniform standards worldwide of tampon absorbency labeling. This review addresses our understanding of the development and conclusions related to mTSS and risk factors. We leave the final message that even though mTSS is not commonly in the news today, cases continue to occur. Additionally, S. aureus strains cycle in human populations in roughly 10-year intervals, possibly dependent on immune status. TSST-1-producing S. aureus bacteria appear to be reemerging, suggesting that physician awareness of this emergence and mTSS history should be heightened.

Authors:
Patrick M Schlievert, Catherine C Davis


Sustained Coinfections with Staphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa in Cystic Fibrosis

Summary:

This study questions the long-standing assumption that Staphylococcus aureus is replaced over time by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in the airways of individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF). By examining over 10 years of quantitative bacterial airway cultures from CF patients cared for at the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, we found that S. aureus is not routinely replaced and is maintained at high levels, even when also infected with P. aeruginosa.

Authors:
Anthony J Fischer, Sachinkumar B Singh, Mason M LaMarche, Lucas J Maakestad, Zoe E Kienenberge , Tahuanty A Peña, David A Stolt , Dominique H Limoli


Pdgfrα-Cre mediated knockout of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor protects mice from high-fat diet induced obesity and hepatic steatosis

Abstract

Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) agonists such as dioxin have been associated with obesity and the development of diabetes. Whole-body Ahr knockout mice on high-fat diet (HFD) have been shown to resist obesity and hepatic steatosis. Tissue-specific knockout of Ahr in mature adipocytes via adiponectin-Cre exacerbates obesity while knockout in liver increases steatosis without having significant effects on obesity. Our previous studies demonstrated that treatment of subcutaneous preadipocytes with exogenous or endogenous AHR agonists disrupts maturation into functional adipocytes in vitro. Here, we used platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (Pdgfrα)-Cre mice, a Cre model previously established to knock out genes in preadipocyte lineages and other cell types, but not liver cells, to further define AHR's role in obesity. We demonstrate that Pdgfrα-Cre Ahr-floxed (Ahrfl/fl) knockout mice are protected from HFD-induced obesity compared to non-knockout Ahrfl/fl mice (control mice). The Pdgfrα-Cre Ahrfl/fl knockout mice were also protected from increased adiposity, enlargement of adipocyte size, and liver steatosis while on the HFD compared to control mice. On a regular control diet, knockout and non-knockout mice showed no differences in weight gain, indicating the protective phenotype arises only when animals are challenged by a HFD. At the cellular level, cultured cells from brown adipose tissue (BAT) of Pdgfrα-Cre Ahrfl/fl mice were more responsive than cells from controls to transcriptional activation of the thermogenic uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) gene by norepinephrine, suggesting an ability to burn more energy under certain conditions. Collectively, our results show that knockout of Ahr mediated by Pdgfrα-Cre is protective against diet-induced obesity and suggest a mechanism by which enhanced UCP1 activity within BAT might confer these effects.

Authors:
Francoise A Gourronc, Kathleen R Markan, Katarina Kulhankova, Zhiyong Zhu, Ryan Sheehy, Dawn E Quelle, Leonid V Zingman, Zoya B Kurago, James A Ankrum, Aloysius J Klingelhutz


Herpes Simplex Virus Organizes Cytoplasmic Membranes to Form a Viral Assembly Center in Neuronal Cells

ABSTRACT


Herpes simplex virus (HSV) is a neuroinvasive virus that has been used as a model organism for studying common properties of all herpesviruses. HSV induces host organelle rearrangement and forms multiple, dispersed assembly compartments in epithelial cells, which complicates the study of HSV assembly. In this study, we show that HSV forms a visually distinct unitary cytoplasmic viral assembly center (cVAC) in both cancerous and primary neuronal cells that concentrates viral structural proteins and is a major site of capsid envelopment. The HSV cVAC also concentrates host membranes that are important for viral assembly, such as Golgi- and recycling endosome-derived membranes. Lastly, we show that HSV cVAC formation and/or maintenance depends on an intact microtubule network and a viral tegument protein, pUL51. Our observations suggest that the neuronal cVAC is a uniquely useful model to study common herpesvirus assembly pathways, and cell-specific pathways for membrane reorganization.

Importance Herpesvirus particles are complex and contain many different proteins that must come together in an organized and coordinated fashion. Many viruses solve this coordination problem by creating a specialized assembly factory in the host cell, and the formation of such factories provides a promising target for interfering with virus production. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) infects several types of cells, including neurons, but has not previously been shown to form such an organized factory in the non-neuronal cells in which its assembly has been best studied. Here we show that HSV-1 forms an organized assembly factory in neuronal cells, and we identify some of the viral and host cell factors that are important for its formation.

Authors:
Shaowen White, Hiroyuki Kawano, N. Charles Harata, Richard J. Roller


Lessons for COVID-19 immunity from other coronavirus infections

Abstract

A key goal to controlling COVID-19 is developing an effective vaccine. Development of a vaccine requires knowledge of what constitutes a protective immune response and also features that might be pathogenic. Protective and pathogenic aspects of the response to SARS-CoV-2 are not well understood, partly because the virus has infected humans for only 6 months. However, insight into coronavirus immunity can be informed by previous studies of immune responses to non-human coronaviruses, to common cold coronaviruses, and to SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. Here we review the literature describing these responses and discuss their relevance to the SARS-CoV-2 immune response.

 

Authors:
Alan Sariol and Stanley Perlman


Envelope protein ubiquitination drives entry and pathogenesis of Zika virus

Abstract


Zika virus (ZIKV) belongs to the family Flaviviridae, and is related to other viruses that cause human diseases. Unlike other flaviviruses, ZIKV infection can cause congenital neurological disorders and replicates efficiently in reproductive tissues1-3. Here we show that the envelope protein (E) of ZIKV is polyubiquitinated by the E3 ubiquitin ligase TRIM7 through Lys63 (K63)-linked polyubiquitination. Accordingly, ZIKV replicates less efficiently in the brain and reproductive tissues of Trim7-/- mice. Ubiquitinated E is present on infectious virions of ZIKV when they are released from specific cell types, and enhances virus attachment and entry into cells. Specifically, K63-linked polyubiquitin chains directly interact with the TIM1 (also known as HAVCR1) receptor of host cells, which enhances virus entry in cells as well as in brain tissue in vivo. Recombinant ZIKV mutants that lack ubiquitination are attenuated in human cells and in wild-type mice, but not in live mosquitoes. Monoclonal antibodies against K63-linked polyubiquitin specifically neutralize ZIKV and reduce viraemia in mice. Our results demonstrate that the ubiquitination of ZIKV E is an important determinant of virus entry, tropism and pathogenesis.

Authors:
Maria I. Giraldo, Hongjie Xia, Leopoldo Aguilera-Aguirre, Adam Hage, Sarah van Tol, Chao Shan, Xuping Xie, Gail L. Sturdevant, Shelly J. Robertson, Kristin L. McNally, Kimberly Meade-White, Sasha R. Azar, Shannan L. Rossi, Wendy Maury..., Sonja M. Best, Pei-Yong Shi & Ricardo Rajsbaum


Cutting Edge: Augmenting Muscle MHC Expression Enhances Systemic Pathogen Control at the Expense of T Cell Exhaustion

Lead author is Postdoctoral Research Scholar Angela Pack, PhD, who is in the Noah Butler, PhD lab. 

Abstract

Myocytes express low levels of MHC class I (MHC I), perhaps influencing the ability of CD8+ T cells to efficiently detect and destroy pathogens that invade muscle. Trypanosoma cruzi infects many cell types but preferentially persists in muscle, and we asked if this tissue-dependent persistence was linked to MHC expression. Inducible enhancement of skeletal muscle MHC I in mice during the first 20 d of T. cruzi infection resulted in enhanced CD8-dependent reduction of parasite load. However, continued overexpression of MHC I beyond 30 d ultimately led to a collapse of systemic parasite control associated with immune exhaustion, which was reversible in part by blocking PD-1:PD-L1 interactions. These studies demonstrate a surprisingly strong and systemically dominant effect of skeletal muscle MHC expression on maintaining T cell function and pathogen control and argue that the normally low MHC I expression in skeletal muscle is host protective by allowing for pathogen control while preventing immune exhaustion.

Authors:
Angela D. Pack and Rick L. Tarleton


Fitting Pieces Into the Puzzle of Pseudomonas aeruginosa Type III Secretion System Gene Expression

Abstract
Type III secretion systems (T3SS) are widely distributed in Gram-negative microorganisms and critical for host-pathogen and host-symbiont interactions with plants and animals. Central features of the T3SS are a highly conserved set of secretion and translocation genes and contact dependence wherein host-pathogen interactions trigger effector protein delivery and serve as an inducing signal for T3SS gene expression. In addition to these conserved features, there are pathogen-specific properties that include a unique repertoire of effector genes and mechanisms to control T3SS gene expression. The Pseudomonas aeruginosa T3SS serves as a model system to understand transcriptional and posttranscriptional mechanisms involved in the control of T3SS gene expression. The central regulatory feature is a partner-switching system that controls the DNA-binding activity of ExsA, the primary regulator of T3SS gene expression. Superimposed upon the partner-switching mechanism are cyclic AMP and cyclic di-GMP signaling systems, two-component systems, global regulators, and RNA-binding proteins that have positive and negative effects on ExsA transcription and/or synthesis. In the present review, we discuss advances in our understanding of how these regulatory systems orchestrate the activation of T3SS gene expression in the context of acute infections and repression of the T3SS as P. aeruginosa adapts to and colonizes the cystic fibrosis airways.

Authors:
Emily A Williams McMackin, Louise Djapgne, Jodi M Corley, Timothy L Yahr