Ines Louise Mordhorst

University of Wuerzburg, Würzburg, Bavaria, Germany

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Publications (5)15.47 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Neisseria meningitidis (Nm) is a leading cause of septicemia in childhood. Nm septicemia is unique with respect to very quick disease progression, high in vivo bacterial replication rate and its considerable mortality. Nm circumvents major mechanisms of innate immunity such as complement system and phagocytosis. Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are formed from neutrophils during systemic infection and are suggested to contain invading microorganisms. Here, we investigated the interaction of Nm with NETs. Both, meningococci and spontaneously released outer membrane vesicles (SOMVs) were potent NET inducers. NETs were unable to kill NET bound meningococci, but slowed down their proliferation rate. Using Nm as model organism we identified three novel mechanisms how bacteria can evade NET-mediated killing: (i) modification of lipid A of meningococcal LPS with phosphoethanolamine protected Nm from NET-bound cathepsin G; (ii) expression of the high-affinity zinc uptake receptor ZnuD allowed Nm to escape NET-mediated nutritional immunity; (iii) binding of SOMVs to NETs saved Nm from NET binding and the consequent bacteriostatic effect. Escape from NETs may contribute to the most rapid progression of meningococcal disease. The induction of NET formation by Nm in vivo might aggravate thrombosis in vessels ultimately directing to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC).
    Molecular Microbiology 06/2013; · 5.03 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B (MenB) is a major cause of bacterial sepsis and meningitis, with the highest disease burden in young children. Available vaccines are based on outer membrane vesicles (OMVs) obtained from wild-type strains. However, particularly in toddlers and infants, they confer protection mostly against strains expressing the homologous PorA, a major and variable outer membrane protein. In the quest for alternative vaccine antigens able to provide broad MenB strain coverage in the younger populations, but potentially also across all age groups, ZnuD, a protein expressed under zinc-limiting conditions, may be considered as a promising candidate. Here, we have investigated the potential value of ZnuD and show that it is a conserved antigen expressed by all MenB strains tested except for some strains of clonal complex ST-8. In mice and guinea-pigs immunized with ZnuD-expressing OMVs, antibodies were elicited that were able to trigger complement-mediated killing of all the MenB strains and serogroup A, C, and Y strains tested, when grown under zinc limitation. ZnuD is also expressed during infection, since anti-ZnuD antibodies were detected in sera from patients. In conclusion, we confirm the potential of ZnuD-bearing OMVs as a component of an effective MenB vaccine.
    Infection and immunity 03/2013; · 4.21 Impact Factor
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    Ines Louise Mordhorst
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    ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli ist ein Kommensale des menschlichen und tierischen Gastrointestinaltraktes. Einige E. coli-Stämme sind in der Lage, extraintestinale Erkrankungen beim Menschen wie Harnwegsinfekte, Neugeborenen-Meningitis und Sepsis, sowie beim Tier aviäre Coliseptikämien, hervorzurufen. Ein wichtiger Virulenzfaktor des Bakteriums ist dabei die aus α-2,8-verknüpften Sialinsäuremonomeren aufgebaute K1-Kapsel, die phasenvariabel mit einer hohen Frequenz O-acetyliert werden kann. Im Jahr 2005 konnte gezeigt werden, dass es sich bei dem für die O-Acetylierung verantwortlichen Enzym um die O-Acetyltransferase NeuO handelt, die von dem K1-spezifischen Prophagen CUS-3 codiert wird. Die Verteilung von neuO in der E. coli K1-Population sowie die funktionelle Relevanz der K1-Kapsel O-Acetylierung für das Bakterium waren zu Beginn der vorliegenden Arbeit weitestgehend unklar. Eine E. coli K1-Stammsammlung mit 183 Isolaten wurde aufgebaut. Die E. coli K1-Isolate stammten sowohl aus Stuhlproben gesunder Freiwilliger, humanen Harnwegsinfekten, humanen invasiven Erkrankungen (Neugeborenen-Meningitis und Bakteriämie) und aus an Coliseptikämie erkrankten Vögeln. Die Isolate der E. coli K1-Stammsammlung wurden mit der Multilokus-Sequenztypisierung (MLST) typisiert. Es konnten 39 Sequenztypen (ST) sowie fünf Sequenztyp-Komplexe (STC) identifiziert werden. Bei dem mit Abstand häufigsten STC handelte es sich um den STC95, dem 80 Stämme (44%) angehörten. Insgesamt 103 der 183 E. coli K1-Stämme waren neuO-positiv (56%). Das Gen wurde in 78 (98%) der STC95-Isolate, aber nur in 25 (24%) der 103 nicht-STC95-Stämme gefunden. NeuO war also mit dem STC95 assoziiert. Über Sequenzanalysen des CUS-3-Prophagen konnten CUS-3-Genotypen bestimmt werden. Die Gruppierung der CUS-3-Genotypen und der E. coli K1-ST sowie der anschließende Vergleich beider Gruppierungen miteinander offenbarte eine Segregation der Prophagen-Genotypen entsprechend der ST. Daher legen die in dieser Arbeit ermittelten Ergebnisse eine Koevolution des Phagen mit seinem Wirt nahe. Einige humane und aviäre E. coli K1-Isolate waren weder auf Basis der MLST bzw. der CUS-3-Genotypisierung noch anhand des Vorhandenseins verschiedener, mit extraintestinal-pathogenen E. coli-assoziierter Gene voneinander unterscheidbar, was die Hypothese einer zoonotischen Transmission dieser Stämme unterstützt. In den in dieser Arbeit durchgeführten funktionellen Analysen konnte weder ein Effekt der NeuO-vermittelten E. coli K1-Kapsel O-Acetylierung auf die Fähigkeit der Bakterien an humane mikrovaskuläre Gehirnendothelzellen zu adhärieren oder in diese zu invadieren, noch auf die in vivo-Virulenz der Bakterien im Hühnermodell beobachtet werden. Die K1-Kapsel O-Acetylierung verringerte die in vivo-Kolonisierung des Hühner-Gastrointestinaltraktes und die in vitro-Biofilmbildung durch das Bakterium, wohingegen sie die Austrocknungsresistenz von E. coli K1 erhöhte. Möglicherweise dient die phasenvariable neuO-Expression und damit die E. coli K1-Kapsel O-Acetylierung der Anpassung des Bakteriums an wechselnde Umweltbedingungen. Escherichia coli is a commensal of the human and animal intestinal tract. Some strains have the ability to cause extraintestinal disease in humans such as urinary tract infections, neonatal meningitis and septicemia, but also animal infection such as avian colisepticemia. A major virulence factor of the bacterium is the K1 capsule composed of α-2,8-linked sialic acid monomers, which can be phase variably O-acetylated at a high frequency. In 2005, it was shown that the enzyme responsible for O-acetylation is the O-acetyltransferase NeuO, which is encoded by the K1-specific prophage CUS-3. The distribution of neuO as well as the functional relevance of the K1 capsule O-acetylation for the bacterium were largely unknown at the start of the thesis. A strain collection comprising 183 E. coli K1 strains was established. The E. coli K1 isolates derived from stool samples of healthy donors, human urinary tract infections, human invasive diseases like newborn meningitis and bacteremia, and from avian colisepticemia. All isolates were typed by multilocus sequence typing (MLST). Thirty-nine sequence types (ST) and five sequence type complexes (STC) were identified. The major share of the strains belonged to the STC95 (80 strains, 44%). 103 of 183 E. coli K1 strains were neuO-positive (56%). The gene was found in 78 (98%) STC95 isolates, but only in 25 (24%) of 103 non-STC95 isolates. Therefore, there was an association of neuO with the STC95. With the help of DNA sequencing of internal fragments of CUS-3, distinct CUS-3 genotypes were assigned. There was a segregation of CUS-3 genotypes according to STs, suggesting coevolution of the prophage CUS-3 and its host. Some human and avian isolates were indistinguishable with respect to MLST, CUS-3 genotyping and the presence of genetic markers associated with extraintestinal pathogenic E. coli, which was compatible with the hypothesis of zoonotic transmission of these strains. Functional analyses performed in this study neither revealed an impact of NeuO-mediated K1 capsule O-acetylation on the ability of the bacteria to adhere to or invade into human brain microvascular endothelial cells, nor on the in vivo virulence of the bacteria in a chicken infection model. K1 capsule O-acetylation decreased in vivo chicken gut colonization and in vitro biofilm formation, while increasing E. coli K1 desiccation resistance. This study provides evidence that phase variable neuO expression and the subsequent O-acetylation of the E. coli K1 capsule serves as an efficient tool for the adaptation to changing environments.
    Environmental Microbiology (2009) 11(12), 3154-3165. 01/2010;
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    ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli K1 causes disease in humans and birds. Its polysialic acid capsule can be O-acetylated via phase-variable expression of the acetyltransferase NeuO encoded by prophage CUS-3. The role of capsule O-acetylation in ecological adaptation or pathogenic invasion of E. coli K1 is largely unclear. A population genetics approach was performed to study the distribution of neuO among E. coli K1 isolates from human and avian sources. Multilocus sequence typing revealed 39 different sequence types (STs) among 183 E. coli K1 strains. The proportion of the ST95 complex (STC95) was 44%. NeuO was found in 98% of the STC95 strains, but only in 24% of other STs. Grouping of STs and prophage genotypes revealed a segregation of prophage types according to STs, suggesting coevolution of CUS-3 and the E. coli K1 host. Within the STC95, which is known to harbour both human and avian pathogenic isolates, CUS-3 genotypes were shared irrespective of the host species. Functional analysis of a variety of strain pairs revealed that NeuO-mediated K1 capsule O-acetylation enhanced desiccation resistance. In contrast, NeuO expression led to a reduced biofilm formation in biofilm positive E. coli K1 isolates. These findings suggest a delicate ecological balance of neuO'on'/'off' switching.
    Environmental Microbiology 09/2009; 11(12):3154-65. · 6.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Escherichia coli K1 causes disease in humans and birds. Its polysialic acid capsule can be O-acetylated via phase-variable expression of the acetyltransferase NeuO encoded by prophage CUS-3. The role of capsule O-acetylation in ecological adaptation or pathogenic invasion of E. coli K1 is largely unclear. A population genetics approach was performed to study the distribution of neuO among E. coli K1 isolates from human and avian sources. Multilocus sequence typing revealed 39 different sequence types (STs) among 183 E. coli K1 strains. The proportion of the ST95 complex (STC95) was 44%. NeuO was found in 98% of the STC95 strains, but only in 24% of other STs. Grouping of STs and prophage genotypes revealed a segregation of prophage types according to STs, suggesting coevolution of CUS-3 and the E. coli K1 host. Within the STC95, which is known to harbour both human and avian pathogenic isolates, CUS-3 genotypes were shared irrespective of the host species. Functional analysis of a variety of strain pairs revealed that NeuO-mediated K1 capsule O-acetylation enhanced desiccation resistance. In contrast, NeuO expression led to a reduced biofilm formation in biofilm positive E. coli K1 isolates. These findings suggest a delicate ecological balance of neuO'on'/'off' switching
    Environ.Microbiol. 08/2009;