E Wahlström

University of Copenhagen, København, Capital Region, Denmark

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Publications (20)73.69 Total impact

  • [show abstract] [hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Chlamydia pneumoniae is a common human respiratory pathogen, and sera from infected individuals recognize several proteins of C. pneumoniae. We produced C. pneumoniae-specific proteins in a Bacillus subtilis expression system. We then used these recombinant C. pneumoniae proteins and purified C. pneumoniae elementary bodies as antigens in enzyme immunoassays to assess the kinetics and protein specificity of the systemic and mucosal antibody responses induced by C. pneumoniae intranasal infection in BALB/c mice. The systemic antibodies in mice recognized strong 'key' immunogens of Chlamydia, Omp2 and Hsp60, but weakly targeted the MOMP protein, the major immunogen in chlamydial species other than C. pneumoniae. The IgA antibodies in bronchial secretions specifically recognized the putative surface protein of C. pneumoniae, Omp4. Our preliminary observations point to the necessity of further characterization of the mucosal antibody response during C. pneumoniae infection.
    Comparative medicine 09/2006; 56(4):272-8. · 1.12 Impact Factor
  • FEMS Microbiology Letters 03/2006; 18(3):233 - 238. · 2.05 Impact Factor
  • Mikael Rhen, Eva Wahlström, Timo K. Korhonen
    FEMS Microbiology Letters 03/2006; 18(3):227 - 232. · 2.05 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and immune response to the C. pneumoniae heat shock protein 60 (CpHsp60) have been suggested to be associated with asthma. To study whether a slightly elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) level as a marker of low-grade systemic inflammation has a role in this association, we collected serum and sputum samples from 103 asthma patients with disease severity ranging from mild to moderate and from 30 healthy volunteers. IgA and IgG antibodies to C. pneumoniae elementary bodies (CpEB) and CpHsp60 were measured by enzyme immunoassay. Serum CRP levels were measured with a rapid two-site ultra-sensitive assay based on time-resolved immunofluorometry. The asthma patients, especially those with moderate asthma, had higher serum IgA antibody levels to CpHsp60 than the healthy controls (test for trend, p = 0.05), whereas antibody levels to CpEB antigen did not differ between the study groups. CRP levels were higher in both asthma groups compared to the control group and moreover, the patients with moderate asthma had higher CRP levels than those with mild asthma (test for trend, p < 0.01). The subjects with a slightly elevated CRP level, defined as > or =1.8 mg/l, had higher CpEB IgA (p = 0.001), CpEB IgG (p = 0.008) and CpHsp60 IgA (p = 0.023) antibody levels in serum compared to the subjects with lower CRP levels. Slightly elevated CRP levels as a marker of low-grade systemic inflammation may be associated with C. pneumoniae infection in asthma patients.
    Respiration 01/2004; 71(2):120-5. · 2.62 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Due to intracellular growth requirements, large-scale cultures of chlamydiae and purification of its proteins are difficult and laborious. To overcome these problems we produced chlamydial proteins in a heterologous host, Bacillus subtilis, a gram-positive nonpathogenic bacterium. The genes of Chlamydia pneumoniae major outer membrane protein (MOMP), the cysteine-rich outer membrane protein (Omp2), and the heat shock protein (Hsp60) were amplified by PCR, and the PCR products were cloned into expression vectors containing a promoter, a ribosome binding site, and a truncated signal sequence of the alpha-amylase gene from Bacillus amyloliquefaciens. C. pneumoniae genes were readily expressed in B. subtilis under the control of the alpha-amylase promoter. The recombinant proteins MOMP and Hsp60 were purified from the bacterial lysate with the aid of the carboxy-terminal histidine hexamer tag by affinity chromatography. The Omp2 was separated as an insoluble fraction after 8 M urea treatment. The purified proteins were successfully used as immunogens and as antigens in serological assays and in a lymphoproliferation test. The Omp2 and Hsp60 antigens were readily recognized by the antibodies appearing after pulmonary infection following intranasal inoculation of C. pneumoniae in mice. Also, splenocytes collected from mice immunized with MOMP or Hsp60 proteins proliferated in response to in vitro stimulation with the corresponding proteins.
    Clinical and Diagnostic Laboratory Immunology 06/2003; 10(3):367-75. · 2.51 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Pulse-chase labelling was used to study the role of the cell wall microenvironment in the functioning of Bacillus subtilis PrsA, an extracellular lipoprotein and member of the parvulin family of peptidylprolyl cis/trans-isomerases. It was found that in protoplasts, and thus in the absence of a cell wall matrix, the post-translocational folding, stability and secretion of the AmyQ alpha-amylase were independent of PrsA, in contrast to the strict dependency found in rods. The results indicate that PrsA is dedicated to assisting the folding and stability of exported proteins in the particular microenvironment of the cytoplasmic membrane-cell wall interface, possibly as a chaperone preventing unproductive interactions with the wall. The data also provide evidence for a crucial role of the wall in protein secretion. The presence of the wall directly or indirectly facilitates the release of AmyQ from the cell membrane and affects the rate of the signal peptide processing.
    Microbiology 04/2003; 149(Pt 3):569-77. · 2.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) and Chlamydia pneumoniae infection have both been associated with cardiovascular diseases. Our aim was to study the role of Hsp60 antibodies as coronary risk predictors and their association with C pneumoniae infection and inflammation. This was a prospective, nested, case-control study. The cases consisted of 239 middle-aged Finnish men who developed myocardial infarction or coronary death during the follow-up. Baseline levels of IgA and IgG antibodies to human-specific and C pneumoniae-specific Hsp60 were measured by enzyme immunoassay. Human Hsp60 IgA, but not IgG or C pneumoniae Hsp60, antibodies were a significant risk factor for coronary events (odds ratio 2.0, 95% CI 1.1 to 3.6, when the fourth and first quartiles are compared). When an elevated human Hsp60 IgA antibody level (above the second quartile) was present simultaneously with a high C pneumoniae IgA antibody level (the third quartile) and an elevated C-reactive protein level (the second quartile), compared with all factors at low levels, the risk was 7.0 (95% CI 2.6 to 19.1) without adjustment and 5.0 (95% CI 1.8 to 14.2) when adjustment was made for age and smoking. In conclusion, an elevated human Hsp60 IgA antibody level was a risk factor for coronary events, especially when it was present together with C pneumoniae infection and inflammation.
    Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 04/2002; 22(3):431-7. · 6.34 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Identification and characterization of a suppressor mutation, sup-15, which partially restored secretion in the protein secretion-deficient Bacillus subtilis ecsA26 mutant, led us to discover a novel function of Clp protease. Inactivation of ClpP improved the processing of the precursor of AmyQ alpha-amylase exposed on the outer surface of the cytoplasmic membrane. A similar improvement of AmyQ secretion was conferred by inactivation of the ClpX substrate-binding component of the ClpXP complex. In the absence of ClpXP, the transcription of the sipS, sipT, sipV, and lsp signal peptidase genes was elevated two- to fivefold, a likely cause of the improvement of the processing and secretion of AmyQ and complementation of ecs mutations. Specific overproduction of SipT enhanced the secretion. These findings extend the regulatory roles of ClpXP to protein secretion. ClpXP also influenced the processing of the lipoprotein PrsA. A concerted regulation of signal peptidase genes by a ClpXP-dependent activator is suggested. In contrast, Ecs did not affect transcription of the sip genes, pointing to a different mechanism of secretion regulation.
    Journal of Bacteriology 03/2002; 184(4):1010-8. · 3.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A substantial increase in the prevalence of asthma in the Western world during the last few decades has led to a continuous search for novel factors that might be involved in the development of the disease. We carried out a study to clarify whether there is a relationship between severity of asthma and Chlamydia pneumoniae-specific titres at the group level and whether antibodies to the 60 kDa chlamydial heat shock protein (chsp60) are associated with asthma. A total of 116 (31 men, 85 women) consecutive asthma patients from a chest clinic were recruited and divided into 3 groups according to the severity of the disease: there were 13 asthmatics with severe, 54 with moderate and 49 with mild asthma. In addition, 50 (31 men, 19 women) consecutive blood donors were enrolled to serve as a control group. Sera for the measurements of specific IgG, IgA and IgM antibodies using a microimmunofluorescence test and of chsp60 using an enzyme immunoassay were obtained upon enrolment and also 3-4 months later from the asthma patients. Severe and moderate asthma were found to be strongly associated with elevated IgA antibody levels to C. pneumoniae [odds ratio (OR) 5.58, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.31-23.72 for severe and OR 5.65, 95% CI 2.05-15.53 for moderate asthma] in a logistic regression model. Furthermore, in women, the occurrence of elevated IgA antibody levels and the age-adjusted geometric mean titres of IgA antibodies were significantly higher among the asthmatics than the controls (p = 0.003 and 0.04, respectively). Antibodies to chsp60 occurred more frequently and in higher concentrations among the asthmatics than the controls, although the differences did not reach significance. In conclusion, severe and moderate asthma were significantly associated with elevated IgA antibody levels to C. pneumoniae suggestive of chronic infection. Antibodies to chsp60 did not prove to be a useful marker of such an infection among the asthmatics studied here.
    Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Diseases 02/2002; 34(1):22-7. · 1.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chlamydia pneumoniae infection has been associated with asthma. It has also been suggested that heat shock protein 60 (Hsp60) belonging to a class of highly conserved proteins may play a role in the pathogenesis of chlamydial infections. The purpose was to study whether the host immune response to C. pneumoniae Hsp60 is associated with asthma and decreased pulmonary function. An enzyme immunoassay was used to measure immunoglobulin-(Ig)A and IgG antibodies against recombinant C. pneumoniae Hsp60 and human Hsp60 in a study group consisting of 24 cases of recently symptomatic asthma and 62 nonasthmatic controls. A strong (r=0.50) and significant (p<0.001) correlation was observed between C. pneumoniae and human Hsp60 IgA antibodies, but only C. pneumoniae Hsp60 IgA antibodies were significantly associated with asthma (p = 0.02). Pulmonary function, as measured by forced expiratory volume in one second, also inversely correlated (r = -0.23, p = 0.04) with the quantity of C. pneumoniae Hsp60 IgA antibodies, suggesting an association with the severity of pulmonary obstruction. By showing an association of Chlamydia pneumoniae heat shock protein 60 immunoglobulin A antibodies with asthma, the results support the hypothesis of an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae infection and asthma and support the need for further investigations on the role of heat shock protein 60 in the pathogenesis of asthma.
    European Respiratory Journal 06/2001; 17(6):1078-82. · 6.36 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Regulated expression of AmyQ alpha-amylase of Bacillus amyloliquefaciens was used to examine the capacity of the protein secretion apparatus of B. subtilis. One B. subtilis cell was found to secrete maximally 10 fg of AmyQ per h. The signal peptidase SipT limits the rate of processing of the signal peptide. Another limit is set by PrsA lipoprotein. The wild-type level of PrsA was found to be 2 x 10(4) molecules per cell. Decreasing the cellular level of PrsA did not decrease the capacity of the protein translocation or signal peptide processing steps but dramatically affected secretion in a posttranslocational step. There was a linear correlation between the number of cellular PrsA molecules and the number of secreted AmyQ molecules over a wide range of prsA and amyQ expression levels. Significantly, even when amyQ was expressed at low levels, overproduction of PrsA enhanced its secretion. The finding is consistent with a reversible interaction between PrsA and AmyQ. The high cellular level of PrsA suggests a chaperone-like function. PrsA was also found to be essential for the viability of B. subtilis. Drastic depletion of PrsA resulted in altered cellular morphology and ultimately in cell death.
    Journal of Bacteriology 04/2001; 183(6):1881-90. · 3.19 Impact Factor
  • S Leskelä, E Wahlström, V P Kontinen, M Sarvas
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    ABSTRACT: We have identified and characterized the Igt gene of Bacillus subtilis. The prelipoprotein diacylglycerol transferase enzyme (Lgt) catalyses the first reaction in lipomodification of bacterial lipoproteins. Inactivation of Igt in B. subtilis by a nonsense mutation (prs-11 mutation) or by disruption was shown here to abolish lipomodification of prelipoproteins completely, as well as the cleavage of signal peptide. However, unlike in Gram-negative bacteria, the Igt mutants of B. subtilis were fully viable. In agreement with this observation, studies of two lipoproteins, PrsA and BlaP, indicated that non-lipomodified precursors of these proteins were functional and translocated across the cytoplasmic membrane. However, there was release of both precursors from cells, resulting in a reduced level of the cell-bound form. We have shown that the reduced level of the PrsA lipoprotein, a foldase involved in protein secretion, caused impaired protein secretion, a prominent phenotype of Igt mutants. There was no indication that non-lipomodified PrsA displayed reduced activity.
    Molecular Microbiology 03/1999; 31(4):1075-85. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ecs is a three-cistron operon of Bacillus subtilis, encoding proteins with similarity to the ATPase (EcsA) and hydrophobic components (EcsB) of ABC transporters. The ecsA26 point mutation was shown to cause a strong processing defect of a secreted alpha-amylase precursor (preAmyQ) and of three other exoproteins. Northern analysis of the level of amyQ mRNA showed that ecsA26 also decreases amyQ transcription. This effect too was pleiotropic, as judged by a drastic decrease in the expression from an exoprotease promoter of a reporter protein. A knockout mutation of the ecsB cistron caused a processing defect similar to ecsA26 but, unlike ecsA26, did not affect amyQ transcription. These was also no defect in transcription in the ecsA ecsB double mutant. Thus, an intact ecsB product was required for the downregulation of amyQ by the mutant ecsA. These results suggest a dual regulatory function for Ecs, in which Ecs, possibly as part of a signal transduction mechanism, regulates some component(s) of the protein secretion apparatus as well as secretory protein transcription in a co-ordinated fashion.
    Molecular Microbiology 02/1999; 31(2):533-43. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vaccines against group B meningococcal infection tested in several field trials have all been extracts of the outer membrane of the bacteria. We have developed a single component vaccine based on the class 1 outer membrane protein P1 produced in a heterologous host Bacillus subtilis, and describe here its immunizing properties. The purified and denatured protein BacP1 was solubilized in SDS, followed by addition of an excess of a second detergent (Zwittergent 3-14 or Triton X-100). Immunization of mice showed that this process led to at least partial reconstitution of the native epitopes of the P1 protein. The immunogenicity of these BacP1 detergent preparations was further improved when administered together with adjuvants (aluminium hydroxide or monophosphoryl lipid A); high titers of antibodies were thus obtained with vaccine doses as low as 2 micrograms of protein. The antibodies elicited were essentially of IgG and reactive with protective epitopes present on the surface of meningococci. The bactericidal activity of the sera showed a good correlation to antibodies of the IgG1 and IgG2 isotypes, concomitantly increased in most sera.
    Vaccine 07/1996; 14(9):886-91. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Monoclonal antibodies to the class 1 outer membrane protein P1 of Neisseria meningitidis B:15:P1.7,16 have been shown to be bactericidal and protective in an infant rat meningitis model. We have produced the P1 protein in Bacillus subtilis as inclusion bodies. When the purified and denatured protein (BacP1) was reconstituted with phosphatidylcholine into liposomes, native antigenic epitopes were formed. Such liposomes were reproducibly immunogenic in mice and guinea pigs at a low dose (1-10 micrograms of BacP1 protein) and without any other adjuvant. The resulting antisera contained high titers (enzyme immunoassay) of antibodies directed to native P1 epitopes exposed on the surface of meningococcal cells. The sera were also active with live N. meningitidis in bactericidal assays and protective in the infant rat meningitis model; all these activities were specific to the serosubtype of the P1 protein.
    Vaccine 12/1995; 13(16):1501-8. · 3.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Class 1 outer membrane protein (P1) of Neisseria meningitidis group B is considered a promising vaccine candidate because P1 subtype-specific antibodies have been shown to be protective in an animal model. We have previously described the production of P1 in the Gram-positive Bacillus subtilis as intracellular inclusion bodies, from which the protein (BacP1) is easily purified (Nurminen et al., Mol. Microbiol., 1992, 2499-2506). We show here that the purified BacP1 can be reconstituted into phospholipid vesicles with the formation of the native immunodominant surface epitopes. The detergent-solubilized, completely denatured BacP1 was fused with phospholipid-detergent micelles during detergent removal by dialysis or gel filtration to yield protein-lipid vesicles (liposomes). When mice were immunized with these liposomes, they produced high titers of antibodies reacting in a P1 subtype-specific manner with meningococcal cells indicating the presence of conformation-dependent P1-specific epitopes in the liposomes. The results suggest that a vaccine candidate for meningococcal disease could be developed from the BacP1-liposomes. They furthermore demonstrate the feasibility of refolding a denatured outer membrane protein, which has never been exposed to lipopolysaccharide, into a native-like conformation.
    Microbial Pathogenesis 07/1995; 18(6):423-36. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The major outer membrane protein P1 (class 1) of Neisseria meningitidis has been produced as inclusion bodies in Bacillus subtilis with the aim to develop a vaccine based on it. The protein produced in high yield in B. subtilis contained an N-terminal extension of 11 amino acid residues which was found to be necessary for expression in the production system. In the present study we asked whether or not the removal of this extension would effect the conformation of this protein in liposomes as judged by its immunogenic properties. A methionine was engineered in front of the mature P1 protein to provide a chemical cleavage site for CNBr to remove the extension. The CNBr-cleaved protein, complexed with phospholipids, elicited high titers of antibodies binding to the meningococcal cells similarly to the noncleaved protein. This suggests that the BacP1 protein can serve as an effective vaccine component irrespective of the presence, or absence, of this N-terminal extension.
    Microbial Pathogenesis 06/1995; 18(5):365-71. · 1.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The class 1 outer membrane protein of Neisseria meningitidis B:15:P1.7,16 was expressed in Bacillus subtilis in high yield as intracellular aggregates. These were easy to isolate and the protein (called BacP1) could be solubilized under denaturing conditions. Sera of mice immunized with thus-solubilized BacP1 contained high titres of antibodies that reacted with the class 1 protein of the meningococcal envelope in immunoblots but did not react with native meningococcal envelope in enzyme immunoassays (EIA) or with intact meningococci in bactericidal assays. However, when the BacP1 protein was complexed with heterologous (Salmonella) lipopolysaccharide, the ensuing sera reacted with meningococcal envelope preparations in both EIA and immunoblots, showed subtype-specific bactericidal activity, and were protective in an infant rat meningitis model.
    Molecular Microbiology 10/1992; 6(17):2499-506. · 4.96 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A fresh human isolate of Yersinia enterocolitica serotype 03, and its derivative that had lost the virulence-associated 46-Md plasmid, were grown under defined conditions and compared for their outer membrane protein and cell surface structure. Under these conditions, the virulent strain grown at 37 degrees C expressed one major outer membrane protein (47 kd) not present in the plasmidless strain or in either strain grown at room temperature. A 200-kd protein also seen in the same preparations was shown to be an oligomer composed of the 47-kd protein subunits. Four different electron microscopic techniques showed tack-like projections covering the surface of those bacteria that expressed the 47-kd protein. These were specifically labeled with antibody to the 47-kd protein. This surface structure appeared to mediate aggregation (auto-agglutination) of the bacteria bringing their surfaces into unusually close apposition.
    The EMBO Journal 05/1985; 4(4):1013-8. · 9.82 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The lipopolysaccharides (LPS) of Chlamydia trachomatis, Acinetobacter calcoaceticus var. anitratus, and Re mutants of Salmonella sp. were shown to share related immunodeterminants , as demonstrated by double immunodiffusion and immunoblotting from sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels. The cross-reactive material in the extracellular slime of A. calcoaceticus var. anitratus was shown to be released LPS. The Acinetobacter LPS was found to separate in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis into three fractions. The cross-reactive component was the fraction migrating fastest, at a rate identical to Re-type LPS of Salmonella sp. The Acinetobacter LPS could be used as antigen in complement fixation assays performed on paired sera of patients with chlamydial pneumonia; it gave results identical to those of the chlamydial complement fixation glycolipid antigen conventionally used in such assays in 9 of 10 patients.
    Infection and Immunity 07/1984; 44(3):609-13. · 4.07 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

514 Citations
73.69 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2006
    • University of Copenhagen
      København, Capital Region, Denmark
  • 1992–2006
    • National Public Health Institute
      Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
  • 1984
    • University of Helsinki
      • Department of Virology
      Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland