Max Von Pettenkofer Institute

Munchen, Germany

Max Von Pettenkofer Institute

Munchen, Germany
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Finsel I.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Hilbi H.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Hilbi H.,University of Zürich
Cellular Microbiology | Year: 2015

Legionella species are ubiquitous, waterborne bacteria that thrive in numerous ecological niches. Yet, in contrast to many other environmental bacteria, Legionella spp. are also able to grow intracellularly in predatory protozoa. This feature mainly accounts for the pathogenicity of Legionella pneumophila, which causes the majority of clinical cases of a severe pneumonia termed Legionnaires' disease. The pathomechanism underlying L.pneumophila infection is based on macrophage resistance, which in turn is largely defined by the opportunistic pathogen's resistance towards amoebae. L.pneumophila replicates in macrophages or amoebae in a unique membrane-bound compartment, the Legionella-containing vacuole (LCV). LCV formation requires the bacterial intracellular multiplication/defective for organelle trafficking (Icm/Dot) type IV secretion system and involves a plethora of translocated effector proteins, which subvert pivotal processes in the host cell. Of the ca.300 different experimentally validated Icm/Dot substrates, about 50 have been studied and attributed a cellular function to date. The versatility and ingenuity of these effectors' mode of actions is striking. In this review, we summarize insight into the cellular functions and biochemical activities of well-characterized L.pneumophila effector proteins and the host pathways they target. Recent studies not only substantially increased our knowledge about pathogen-host interactions, but also shed light on novel biological mechanisms. © 2015 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Stecher B.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Hardt W.-D.,ETH Zurich
Current Opinion in Microbiology | Year: 2011

The intestinal microbiota can protect efficiently against colonization by many enteric pathogens ('colonization resistance', CR). This phenomenon has been known for decades, but the mechanistic basis of CR is incompletely defined. At least three mechanisms seem to contribute, that is direct inhibition of pathogen growth by microbiota-derived substances, nutrient depletion by microbiota growth and microbiota-induced stimulation of innate and adaptive immune responses. In spite of CR, intestinal infections are well known to occur. In these cases, the multi-faceted interactions between the microbiota, the host and the pathogen are shifted in favor of the pathogen. We are discussing recent progress in deciphering the underlying molecular mechanisms in health and disease. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Kaiser P.,ETH Zurich | Diard M.,ETH Zurich | Stecher B.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Hardt W.-D.,ETH Zurich
Immunological Reviews | Year: 2012

The mammalian intestine is colonized by a dense microbial community, the microbiota. Homeostatic and symbiotic interactions facilitate the peaceful co-existence between the microbiota and the host, and inhibit colonization by most incoming pathogens ('colonization resistance'). However, if pathogenic intruders overcome colonization resistance, a fierce, innate inflammatory defense can be mounted within hours, the adaptive arm of the immune system is initiated, and the pathogen is fought back. The molecular nature of the homeostatic interactions, the pathogen's ability to overcome colonization resistance, and the triggering of native and adaptive mucosal immune responses are still poorly understood. To study these mechanisms, the streptomycin mouse model for Salmonella diarrhea is of great value. Here, we review how S. Typhimurium triggers mucosal immune responses by active (virulence factor elicited) and passive (MyD88-dependent) mechanisms and introduce the S. Typhimurium mutants available for focusing on either response. Interestingly, mucosal defense turns out to be a double-edged sword, limiting pathogen burdens in the gut tissue but enhancing pathogen growth in the gut lumen. This model allows not only studying the molecular pathogenesis of Salmonella diarrhea but also is ideally suited for analyzing innate defenses, microbe handling by mucosal phagocytes, adaptive secretory immunoglobulin A responses, probing microbiota function, and homeostatic microbiota-host interactions. Finally, we discuss the general need for defined assay conditions when using animal models for enteric infections and the central importance of littermate controls. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons A/S.


Stecher B.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Stecher B.,German Center for Infection Research
Cell Host and Microbe | Year: 2013

Antibiotic therapy predisposes the host to infections with human enteropathogens. In a recent study, Ng et al. (2013) demonstrate that antibiotic-mediated disruption of the microbial food web gives rise to free microbiota-liberated monosaccharides in the gut, which can promote growth of enteropathogenic bacteria. © 2013 Elsevier Inc.


Beck J.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Ebel F.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute
International Journal of Medical Microbiology | Year: 2013

In filamentous fungi, the septal pore controls the exchange between neighbouring hyphal compartments. Woronin bodies are fungal-specific organelles that plug the pore in case of physical damage. The Hex protein is their major and essential component. Hex proteins of different size are predicted in the data base for pathogenic and non-pathogenic Aspergillus species. However, using specific monoclonal antibodies, we identified 2 dominant HexA protein species of 20 and 25. kDa in A. fumigatus, A. terreus, A. nidulans, and A. oryzae. HexA and Woronin bodies were found in A. fumigatus hyphae, but also in resting conidia. Using monoclonal antibodies, a GFP-HexA fusion protein, and an RFP protein fused to the putative peroxisomal targeting sequence of HexA, we analyzed the spatial localization and dynamics of Woronin bodies in A. fumigatus as well as their formation from peroxisomes. In intact hyphae, some Woronin bodies were found in close proximity to the septal pore, while the majority was distributed in the cytoplasm. Septum-associated Woronin bodies show a minimal lateral movement, while the cytosolic Woronin bodies are highly dynamic. The distribution of Woronin bodies and their co-localization pattern with peroxisomes revealed no evidence that Woronin bodies arise predominantly at the apical tip of A. fumigatus hyphae. We found that Woronin bodies are able to plug septal pores of A. fumigatus in case of damage. Woronin bodies therefore contribute to the stress resistance and potentially also to the virulence of A. fumigatus, which renders them a potential target for future anti-fungal strategies. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH.


Anders H.-J.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Andersen K.,Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich | Stecher B.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute
Kidney International | Year: 2013

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) are associated with systemic inflammation and acquired immunodeficiency, which promote cardiovascular disease, body wasting, and infections as leading causes of death. This phenomenon persists despite dialysis-related triggers of immune deregulation having been largely eliminated. Here we propose a potential immunoregulatory role of the intestinal microbiota in CKD/ESRD. We discuss how the metabolic alterations of uremia favor pathogen overgrowth (dysbiosis) in the gut and an increased translocation of living bacteria and bacterial components. This process has the potential to activate innate immunity and systemic inflammation. Persistent innate immune activation involves the induction of immunoregulatory mediators that suppress innate and adaptive immunity, similar to the concept of 'endotoxin tolerance' or 'immune paralysis' in advanced sepsis or chronic infections. Renal science has largely neglected the gut as a source of triggers for CKD/ESRD-related immune derangements and complications and lags behind on the evolving microbiota research. Interdisciplinary research activities at all levels are needed to unravel the pathogenic role of the intestinal microbiota in kidney disease and to evaluate if therapeutic interventions that manipulate the microbiota, such as pre-or probiotics, have a therapeutic potential to correct CKD/ESRD-related immune deregulation and to prevent the associated complications. © 2013 International Society of Nephrology.


Rakin A.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute
Frontiers in cellular and infection microbiology | Year: 2012

Low molecular weight siderophores are used by many living organisms to scavenge scarcely available ferric iron. Presence of at least a single siderophore-based iron acquisition system is usually acknowledged as a virulence-associated trait and a pre-requisite to become an efficient and successful pathogen. Currently, it is assumed that yersiniabactin (Ybt) is the solely functional endogenous siderophore iron uptake system in highly virulent Yersinia (Yersinia pestis, Y. pseudotuberculosis, and Y. enterocolitica biotype 1B). Genes responsible for biosynthesis, transport, and regulation of the yersiniabactin (ybt) production are clustered on a mobile genetic element, the High-Pathogenicity Island (HPI) that is responsible for broad dissemination of the ybt genes in Enterobacteriaceae. However, the ybt gene cluster is absent from nearly half of Y. pseudotuberculosis O3 isolates and epidemic Y. pseudotuberculosis O1 isolates responsible for the Far East Scarlet-like Fever. Several potential siderophore-mediated iron uptake gene clusters are documented in Yersinia genomes, however, neither of them have been proven to be functional. It has been suggested that at least two siderophores alternative to Ybt may operate in the highly virulent Yersinia pestis/Y. pseudotuberculosis group, and are referred to as pseudochelin (Pch) and yersiniachelin (Ych). Furthermore, most sporadic Y. pseudotuberculosis O1 strains possess gene clusters encoding all three iron scavenging systems. Thus, the Ybt system appears not to be the sole endogenous siderophore iron uptake system in the highly virulent yersiniae and may be efficiently substituted and/or supplemented by alternative iron siderophore scavenging systems.


Haneburger I.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Hilbi H.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute
Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology | Year: 2013

Subversion of vesicle trafficking is vital for intracellular survival of Legionella pneumophila within host cells. L. pneumophila produces several type IV-translocated effector proteins that modify components of the phagosomal membrane, in particular the phosphoinositide (PI) lipids. Within eukaryotic cells PIs co-define subcellular compartments and membrane dynamics. The generation, half-life, and localization of PI lipids are not only tightly regulated by the host cell, but also targeted and modulated by a number of L. pneumophila effectors. These effectors either anchor to PIs, directly modify the lipids, or recruit PI-metabolizing enzymes to the LCV membrane. Together, PI-subverting L. pneumophila effectors act jointly to promote the formation of a replication-permissive niche inside the host. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Gurtler L.G.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute
Intervirology | Year: 2014

Coinfections with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and HIV are very frequent. Although HBV is a DNA virus, it replicates via reverse transcription like HIV. Structural similarities between the enzymatic pocket of the HBV DNA polymerase and HIV-1 reverse transcriptase are the basis that certain drugs inhibit both enzymes and thus the replication of both viruses. HBV components increase the pathogenic action of HIV and vice versa directly by certain proteins like HBsAg in the case of HBV and HIV-encoded Tat and Vpr and by disturbing the cytokine balance in affected cells. Antiretroviral therapy is highly beneficial for HIV/HBV-coinfected patients, but carries the risk of drug-induced resistance development and hepatotoxicity. Even with restoration of the immune capacity, signs of hepatic inflammation may develop even after 10 years of treatment. © 2014 S. Karger AG, Basel.


Hilbi H.,Max Von Pettenkofer Institute | Haas A.,University of Bonn
Traffic | Year: 2012

Eukaryotic cells possess two extensive endomembrane systems, each consisting of several sub-compartments connected by vesicular trafficking. One of these systems, the endocytic pathway, serves incoming traffic, and the other system, the secretory pathway (SP), is responsible for surface-bound traffic of intracellularly formed vesicles. Compartments derived of either system can be colonized by intracellular pathogens. In this review, we discuss the interactions between the SP and prominent intracellular bacterial pathogens of the genera Legionella, Brucella, Chlamydia and Salmonella. We emphasize secreted bacterial effector proteins, which directly manipulate host components of this pathway. © 2012 John Wiley & Sons A/S.

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