The New York Times
by Lucy J. Hathaway, Silvio D. Brugger, Brigitte Morand, Mathieu Bangert, Jeannine U. Rotzetter, Christoph Hauser, Werner A. Graber, Suzanna Gore, Aras Kadioglu, Kathrin MühlemannThe polysaccharide capsule of Streptococcus pneumoniae defines over ninety serotypes, which differ in their carriage prevalence and invasiveness for poorly understood reasons. Recently, an inverse correlation between carriage prevalence and oligosaccharide structure of a given capsule has been described. Our previous work suggested a link between serotype and growth in vitro. Here we investigate whether capsule production interferes with growth in vitro and whether this predicts carriage prevalence in vivo. Eighty-one capsule switch mutants were constructed representing nine different serotypes, five of low (4, 7F, 14, 15, 18C) and four of high carriage prevalence (6B, 9V, 19F, 23F). Growth (length of lag phase, maximum optical density) of wildtype strains, nontypeable mutants and capsule switch mutants was studied in nutrient-restricted Lacks medium (MLM) and in rich undefined brain heart infusion broth supplemented with 5% foetal calf serum (BHI+FCS). In MLM growth phenotype depended on, and was transferred with, capsule operon type. Colonization efficiency of mouse nasopharynx also depended on, and was transferred with, capsule operon type. Capsule production interfered with growth, which correlated inversely with serotype-specific carriage prevalence. Serotypes with better growth and higher carriage prevalence produced thicker capsules (by electron microscopy, FITC-dextran exclusion assays and HPLC) than serotypes with delayed growth and low carriage prevalence. However, expression of cpsA, the first capsule gene, (by quantitative RT-PCR) correlated inversely with capsule thickness. Energy spent for capsule production (incorporation of H3-glucose) relative to amount of capsule produced was higher for serotypes with low carriage prevalence. Experiments in BHI+FCS showed overall better bacterial growth and more capsule production than growth in MLM and differences between serotypes were no longer apparent. Production of polysaccharide capsule in S. pneumoniae interferes with growth in nutrient-limiting conditions probably by competition for energy against the central metabolism. Serotype-specific nasopharyngeal carriage prevalence in vivo is predicted by the growth phenotype.
by MarCia T. Ekworomadu, Catherine B. Poor, Cedric P. Owens, Miriam A. Balderas, Marian Fabian, John S. Olson, Frank Murphy, Erol Balkabasi, Erin S. Honsa, Chuan He, Celia W. Goulding, Anthony W. MaressoTo replicate in mammalian hosts, bacterial pathogens must acquire iron. The majority of iron is coordinated to the protoporphyrin ring of heme, which is further bound to hemoglobin. Pathogenic bacteria utilize secreted hemophores to acquire heme from heme sources such as hemoglobin. Bacillus anthracis, the causative agent of anthrax disease, secretes two hemophores, IsdX1 and IsdX2, to acquire heme from host hemoglobin and enhance bacterial replication in iron-starved environments. Both proteins contain NEAr-iron Transporter (NEAT) domains, a conserved protein module that functions in heme acquisition in Gram-positive pathogens. Here, we report the structure of IsdX1, the first of a Gram-positive hemophore, with and without bound heme. Overall, IsdX1 forms an immunoglobin-like fold that contains, similar to other NEAT proteins, a 310-helix near the heme-binding site. Because the mechanistic function of this helix in NEAT proteins is not yet defined, we focused on the contribution of this region to hemophore and NEAT protein activity, both biochemically and biologically in cultured cells. Site-directed mutagenesis of amino acids in and adjacent to the helix identified residues important for heme and hemoglobin association, with some mutations affecting both properties and other mutations affecting only heme stabilization. IsdX1 with mutations that reduced the ability to associate with hemoglobin and bind heme failed to restore the growth of a hemophore-deficient strain of B. anthracis on hemoglobin as the sole iron source. These data indicate that not only is the 310-helix important for NEAT protein biology, but also that the processes of hemoglobin and heme binding can be both separate as well as coupled, the latter function being necessary for maximal heme-scavenging activity. These studies enhance our understanding of NEAT domain and hemophore function and set the stage for structure-based inhibitor design to block NEAT domain interaction with upstream ligands.
by Gleb Pishchany, Eric P. Skaar
by Kouyuki Hirayasu, Jun Ohashi, Koichi Kashiwase, Hathairad Hananantachai, Izumi Naka, Atsuko Ogawa, Minoko Takanashi, Masahiro Satake, Kazunori Nakajima, Peter Parham, Hisashi Arase, Katsushi Tokunaga, Jintana Patarapotikul, Toshio YabeCerebral malaria is a major, life-threatening complication of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, and has very high mortality rate. In murine malaria models, natural killer (NK) cell responses have been shown to play a crucial role in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. To investigate the role of NK cells in the developmental process of human cerebral malaria, we conducted a case-control study examining genotypes for killer immunoglobulin-like receptors (KIR) and their human leukocyte antigen (HLA) class I ligands in 477 malaria patients. We found that the combination of KIR2DL3 and its cognate HLA-C1 ligand was significantly associated with the development of cerebral malaria when compared with non-cerebral malaria (odds ratio 3.14, 95% confidence interval 1.52–6.48, P = 0.00079, corrected P = 0.02). In contrast, no other KIR-HLA pairs showed a significant association with cerebral malaria, suggesting that the NK cell repertoire shaped by the KIR2DL3-HLA-C1 interaction shows certain functional responses that facilitate development of cerebral malaria. Furthermore, the frequency of the KIR2DL3-HLA-C1 combination was found to be significantly lower in malaria high-endemic populations. These results suggest that natural selection has reduced the frequency of the KIR2DL3-HLA-C1 combination in malaria high-endemic populations because of the propensity of interaction between KIR2DL3 and C1 to favor development of cerebral malaria. Our findings provide one possible explanation for KIR-HLA co-evolution driven by a microbial pathogen, and its effect on the global distribution of malaria, KIR and HLA.
by Anna Smed-Sörensen, Cécile Chalouni, Bithi Chatterjee, Lillian Cohn, Peter Blattmann, Norihiro Nakamura, Lélia Delamarre, Ira MellmanInfluenza A virus (IAV) infection is normally controlled by adaptive immune responses initiated by dendritic cells (DCs). We investigated the consequences of IAV infection of human primary DCs on their ability to function as antigen-presenting cells. IAV was internalized by both myeloid DCs (mDCs) and plasmacytoid DCs but only mDCs supported viral replication. Although infected mDCs efficiently presented endogenous IAV antigens on MHC class II, this was not the case for presentation on MHC class I. Indeed, cross-presentation by uninfected cells of minute amounts of endocytosed, exogenous IAV was ∼300-fold more efficient than presentation of IAV antigens synthesized by infected cells and resulted in a statistically significant increase in expansion of IAV-specific CD8 T cells. Furthermore, IAV infection also impaired cross-presentation of other exogenous antigens, indicating that IAV infection broadly attenuates presentation on MHC class I molecules. Our results suggest that cross-presentation by uninfected mDCs is a preferred mechanism of antigen-presentation for the activation and expansion of CD8 T cells during IAV infection.
by Annalisa Bianco, Veronica Reghellin, Lorena Donnici, Simone Fenu, Reinaldo Alvarez, Chiara Baruffa, Francesco Peri, Massimiliano Pagani, Sergio Abrignani, Petra Neddermann, Raffaele De Francesco4-anilino quinazolines have been identified as inhibitors of HCV replication. The target of this class of compounds was proposed to be the viral protein NS5A, although unequivocal proof has never been presented. A 4-anilino quinazoline moiety is often found in kinase inhibitors, leading us to formulate the hypothesis that the anti-HCV activity displayed by these compounds might be due to inhibition of a cellular kinase. Type III phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase α (PI4KIIIα) has recently been identified as a host factor for HCV replication. We therefore evaluated AL-9, a compound prototypical of the 4-anilino quinazoline class, on selected phosphatidylinositol kinases. AL-9 inhibited purified PI4KIIIα and, to a lesser extent, PI4KIIIβ. In Huh7.5 cells, PI4KIIIα is responsible for the phosphatidylinositol-4 phosphate (PI4P) pool present in the plasma membrane. Accordingly, we observed a gradual decrease of PI4P in the plasma membrane upon incubation with AL-9, indicating that this agent inhibits PI4KIIIα also in living cells. Conversely, AL-9 did not affect the level of PI4P in the Golgi membrane, suggesting that the PI4KIIIβ isoform was not significantly inhibited under our experimental conditions. Incubation of cells expressing HCV proteins with AL-9 induced abnormally large clusters of NS5A, a phenomenon previously observed upon silencing PI4KIIIα by RNA interference. In light of our findings, we propose that the antiviral effect of 4-anilino quinazoline compounds is mediated by the inhibition of PI4KIIIα and the consequent depletion of PI4P required for the HCV membranous web. In addition, we noted that HCV has a profound effect on cellular PI4P distribution, causing significant enrichment of PI4P in the HCV-membranous web and a concomitant depletion of PI4P in the plasma membrane. This observation implies that HCV – by recruiting PI4KIIIα in the RNA replication complex – hijacks PI4P metabolism, ultimately resulting in a markedly altered subcellular distribution of the PI4KIIIα product.
by Xiaoyun Liu, Beile Gao, Veronica Novik, Jorge E. GalánCampylobacter jejuni is the major cause of bacterial food-borne illness in the USA and Europe. An important virulence attribute of this bacterial pathogen is its ability to enter and survive within host cells. Here we show through a quantitative proteomic analysis that upon entry into host cells, C. jejuni undergoes a significant metabolic downshift. Furthermore, our results indicate that intracellular C. jejuni reprograms its respiration, favoring the respiration of fumarate. These results explain the poor ability of C. jejuni obtained from infected cells to grow under standard laboratory conditions and provide the bases for the development of novel anti microbial strategies that would target relevant metabolic pathways.
by Youngkyun Kim, Sanghyun Lee, Sungchul Kim, Donghyun Kim, Jin-Hyun Ahn, Kwangseog AhnThe human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) clinical strain Toledo and the attenuated strain AD169 exhibit a striking difference in pathogenic potential and cell tropism. The virulent Toledo genome contains a 15-kb segment, which is present in all virulent strains but is absent from the AD169 genome. The pathogenic differences between the 2 strains are thought to be associated with this additional genome segment. Cytokines induced during viral infection play major roles in the regulation of the cellular interactions involving cells of the immune and inflammatory systems and consequently determine the pathogenic outcome of infection. The chemokine RANTES (Regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted) attracts immune cells during inflammation and the immune response, indicating a role for RANTES in viral pathogenesis. Here, we show that RANTES was downregulated in human foreskin fibroblast (HFF) cells at a later stage after infection with the Toledo strain but not after infection with the AD169 strain. miR-UL148D, the only miRNA predicted from the UL/b' sequences of the Toledo genome, targeted the 3′-untranslated region of RANTES and induced degradation of RANTES mRNA during infection. While wild-type Toledo inhibited expression of RANTES in HFF cells, Toledo mutant virus in which miR-UL148D is specifically abrogated did not repress RANTES expression. Furthermore, miR-UL148D-mediated downregulation of RANTES was inhibited by treatment with a miR-UL148D-specific inhibitor designed to bind to the miR-UL148D sequence via an antisense mechanism, supporting the potential value of antisense agents as therapeutic tools directed against HCMV. Our findings identify a viral microRNA as a novel negative regulator of the chemokine RANTES and provide clues for understanding the pathogenesis of the clinical strains of HCMV.
by Matthew R. Henn, Christian L. Boutwell, Patrick Charlebois, Niall J. Lennon, Karen A. Power, Alexander R. Macalalad, Aaron M. Berlin, Christine M. Malboeuf, Elizabeth M. Ryan, Sante Gnerre, Michael C. Zody, Rachel L. Erlich, Lisa M. Green, Andrew Berical, Yaoyu Wang, Monica Casali, Hendrik Streeck, Allyson K. Bloom, Tim Dudek, Damien Tully, Ruchi Newman, Karen L. Axten, Adrianne D. Gladden, Laura Battis, Michael Kemper, Qiandong Zeng, Terrance P. Shea, Sharvari Gujja, Carmen Zedlack, Olivier Gasser, Christian Brander, Christoph Hess, Huldrych F. Günthard, Zabrina L. Brumme, Chanson J. Brumme, Suzane Bazner, Jenna Rychert, Jake P. Tinsley, Ken H. Mayer, Eric Rosenberg, Florencia Pereyra, Joshua Z. Levin, Sarah K. Young, Heiko Jessen, Marcus Altfeld, Bruce W. Birren, Bruce D. Walker, Todd M. AllenDeep sequencing technologies have the potential to transform the study of highly variable viral pathogens by providing a rapid and cost-effective approach to sensitively characterize rapidly evolving viral quasispecies. Here, we report on a high-throughput whole HIV-1 genome deep sequencing platform that combines 454 pyrosequencing with novel assembly and variant detection algorithms. In one subject we combined these genetic data with detailed immunological analyses to comprehensively evaluate viral evolution and immune escape during the acute phase of HIV-1 infection. The majority of early, low frequency mutations represented viral adaptation to host CD8+ T cell responses, evidence of strong immune selection pressure occurring during the early decline from peak viremia. CD8+ T cell responses capable of recognizing these low frequency escape variants coincided with the selection and evolution of more effective secondary HLA-anchor escape mutations. Frequent, and in some cases rapid, reversion of transmitted mutations was also observed across the viral genome. When located within restricted CD8 epitopes these low frequency reverting mutations were sufficient to prime de novo responses to these epitopes, again illustrating the capacity of the immune response to recognize and respond to low frequency variants. More importantly, rapid viral escape from the most immunodominant CD8+ T cell responses coincided with plateauing of the initial viral load decline in this subject, suggestive of a potential link between maintenance of effective, dominant CD8 responses and the degree of early viremia reduction. We conclude that the early control of HIV-1 replication by immunodominant CD8+ T cell responses may be substantially influenced by rapid, low frequency viral adaptations not detected by conventional sequencing approaches, which warrants further investigation. These data support the critical need for vaccine-induced CD8+ T cell responses to target more highly constrained regions of the virus in order to ensure the maintenance of immunodominant CD8 responses and the sustained decline of early viremia.