[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Many pathogenic microorganisms express fibronectin-binding molecules that facilitate their adherence to the extracellular matrix and/or entry into mammalian cells. We have previously described a Borrelia recurrentis gene, cihC that encodes a 40-kDa surface receptor for both, fibronectin and the complement inhibitors C4bp and C1-Inh. We now provide evidence for the expression of a group of highly homologues surface proteins, termed FbpA, in three B. hermsii isolates and two tick-borne relapsing fever spirochetes, B. parkeri and B. turicatae. When expressed in Escherichia coli or B. burgdorferi, four out of five proteins were shown to selectively bind fibronectin, whereas none of five proteins were able to bind the human complement regulators, C4bp and C1-Inh. By applying deletion mutants of the B. hermsii fibronectin-binding proteins a putative high-affinity binding site for fibronectin was mapped to its central region. In addition, the fibronectin-binding proteins of B. hermsii were found to share sequence homology with BBK32 of the Lyme disease spirochete B. burgdorferi with similar function suggesting its involvement in persistence and/or virulence of relapsing fever spirochetes.
PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(5):e63437. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The T cell granule exocytosis pathway is essential to control hepatotropic lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus strain WE (LCMV-WE) but also contributes to the observed pathology in mice. Although effective antiviral T cell immunity and development of viral hepatitis are strictly dependent on perforin and granzymes, the molecular basis underlying induction of functionally competent virus-immune T cells, including participation of the innate immune system, is far from being resolved. We demonstrate here that LCMV-immune T cells of interleukin-1 receptor (IL-1R)-deficient mice readily express transcripts for perforin and granzymes but only translate perforin, resulting in the lack of proapoptotic potential in vitro. LCMV is not cleared in IL-1R-deficient mice, and yet the infected mice develop neither splenomegaly nor hepatitis. These results demonstrate that IL-1R signaling is central to the induction of proapoptotic CD8 T cell immunity, including viral clearance and associated tissue injuries in LCMV infection.
Journal of Virology 06/2012; 86(16):8713-9. · 5.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensitization to contact allergens requires activation of the innate immune system by endogenous danger signals. However, the mechanisms through which contact allergens activate innate signaling pathways are incompletely understood. In this study, we demonstrate that mice lacking the adenosine triphosphate (ATP) receptor P2X(7) are resistant to contact hypersensitivity (CHS). P2X(7)-deficient dendritic cells fail to induce sensitization to contact allergens and do not release IL-1β in response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and ATP. These defects are restored by pretreatment with LPS and alum in an NLRP3- and ASC-dependent manner. Whereas pretreatment of wild-type mice with P2X(7) antagonists, the ATP-degrading enzyme apyrase or IL-1 receptor antagonist, prevents CHS, IL-1β injection restores CHS in P2X(7)-deficient mice. Thus, P2X(7) is a crucial receptor for extracellular ATP released in skin in response to contact allergens. The lack of P2X(7) triggering prevents IL-1β release, which is an essential step in the sensitization process. Interference with P2X(7) signaling may be a promising strategy for the prevention of allergic contact dermatitis.
Journal of Experimental Medicine 11/2010; 207(12):2609-19. · 13.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) is a hallmark of granzyme B (gzmB)-mediated pro-apoptotic processes and target cell death. However, it is unclear to what extent the generated ROS derive from mitochondrial and/or extra-mitochondrial sources. To clarify this point, we have produced a mutant EL4 cell line, termed EL4-rho(0), which lacks mitochondrial DNA, associated with a decreased mitochondrial membrane potential and a defective ROS production through the electron transport chain of oxidative phosphorylation. When incubated with either recombinant gzmB plus streptolysin or ex vivo gzmB(+) cytotoxic T cells, EL4-rho(0) cells showed phosphatydylserine translocation, caspase 3 activation, Bak conformational change, cytochrome c release and apoptotic morphology comparable to EL4 cells. Moreover, EL4-rho(0) cells produced ROS at levels similar to EL4 under these conditions. GzmB-mediated ROS production was almost totally abolished in both cell lines by the pan-caspase inhibitor, Z-VAD-fmk. However, addition of apocynin, a specific inhibitor of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidases, led to a significant reduction of ROS production and cell death only in EL4-rho(0) but not EL4 cells. These data suggest that gzmB-induced cell death is accompanied by a caspase-dependent pathway of extra-mitochondrial ROS production, most probably through activation of NADPH oxidase.
Immunology and Cell Biology 07/2010; 88(5):545-54. · 3.93 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granule-associated perforin and granzymes (gzms) are key effector molecules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (Tc cells) and natural killer cells and play a critical role in the control of intracellular pathogens and cancer. Based on the notion that many gzms, including A, B, C, K, H, and M exhibit cytotoxic activity in vitro, all gzms are believed to serve a similar function in vivo. However, more recent evidence supports the concept that gzms are not unidimensional but, rather, possess non-cytotoxic potential, including stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-viral activities. The present study shows that isolated mouse gzmB cleaves the actin-severing mouse protein, cytoplasmic gelsolin (c-gelsolin) in vitro. However, when delivered to intact target cells by ex vivo immune Tc cells, gzmB mediates c-gelsolin proteolysis via activation of caspases 3/7. The NH(2)-terminal c-gelsolin fragment generated by either gzmB or caspase 3 in vitro constitutively severs actin filaments without destroying the target cells. The observation that gzmB secreted by Tc cells initiates a caspase cascade that disintegrates the actin cytoskeleton in target cells suggests that this intracellular process may contribute to anti-viral host defense.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2010; 285(24):18918-27. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granule-associated perforin and granzymes (gzms) are key effector molecules of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (Tc cells) and natural
killer cells and play a critical role in the control of intracellular pathogens and cancer. Based on the notion that many
gzms, including A, B, C, K, H, and M exhibit cytotoxic activity in vitro, all gzms are believed to serve a similar function in vivo. However, more recent evidence supports the concept that gzms are not unidimensional but, rather, possess non-cytotoxic potential,
including stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and anti-viral activities. The present study shows that isolated mouse
gzmB cleaves the actin-severing mouse protein, cytoplasmic gelsolin (c-gelsolin) in vitro. However, when delivered to intact target cells by ex vivo immune Tc cells, gzmB mediates c-gelsolin proteolysis via activation of caspases 3/7. The NH2-terminal c-gelsolin fragment generated by either gzmB or caspase 3 in vitro constitutively severs actin filaments without destroying the target cells. The observation that gzmB secreted by Tc cells
initiates a caspase cascade that disintegrates the actin cytoskeleton in target cells suggests that this intracellular process
may contribute to anti-viral host defense.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 06/2010; 285(24):18918-18927. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spirochete Borrelia recurrentis is the causal agent of louse-borne relapsing fever and is transmitted to humans by the infected body louse Pediculus humanus. We have recently demonstrated that the B. recurrentis surface receptor, HcpA, specifically binds factor H, the regulator of the alternative pathway of complement activation, thereby inhibiting complement mediated bacteriolysis. Here, we show that B. recurrentis spirochetes express another potential outer membrane lipoprotein, termed CihC, and acquire C4b-binding protein (C4bp) and human C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-Inh), the major inhibitors of the classical and lectin pathway of complement activation. A highly homologous receptor for C4bp was also found in the African tick-borne relapsing fever spirochete B. duttonii. Upon its binding to B. recurrentis or recombinant CihC, C4bp retains its functional potential, i.e. facilitating the factor I-mediated degradation of C4b. The additional finding that ectopic expression of CihC in serum sensitive B. burgdorferi significantly increased spirochetal resistance against human complement suggests this receptor to substantially contribute, together with other known strategies, to immune evasion of B. recurrentis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granule-mediated cytotoxicity is the main effector mechanism of cytotoxic CD8+ T cells. We report that CD8+ T cells from acid sphingomyelinase (ASMase)-deficient (ASMase-KO) mice are defective in exocytosis of cytolytic effector molecules; this defect resulted in attenuated cytotoxic activity of ASMase-KO CD8+ T cells and delayed elimination of lymphocytic choriomeningitis virus from ASMase-KO mice. Cytolytic granules of ASMase-KO and wild-type CD8+ T cells were equally loaded with granzymes and perforin, and correctly directed to the immunological synapse. In wild-type CD8+ T cells, secretory granules underwent shrinkage by 82% after fusion with the plasma membrane. In ASMase-KO CD8+ T cells, the contraction of secretory granules was markedly impaired. Thus, ASMase is required for contraction of secretory granules and expulsion of cytotoxic effector molecules.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The cytotoxic cell granule secretory pathway is viewed as indispensable for eliminating tumor and virally infected cells through a process in which the pore-forming protein, perforin, delivers the serine protease granzymes into cells targeted for destruction. Residing in cytotoxic cells, granzymes were originally anticipated to act both extracellularly and intracellularly. With the discovery that isolated granzymes induce apoptosis when combined with perforin, the broader functionality of the granzymes became unattractive. The purpose of this article is to describe observations indicating that granzymes possess non-cytotoxic activities that might include such diverse biologic effects as stimulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, remodeling of extracellular matrices and inactivation of intracellular pathogens.
Trends in Immunology 03/2009; 30(3):117-23. · 9.49 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The granule exocytosis pathway of cytotoxic lymphocytes (Tc and NK cells) is critical for control of tumor development and viral infections. Granule-associated perforin and granzymes are key components in Tc cell-mediated function(s). On the basis of studies that showed granzymes A, B, C, K and M, to induce apoptosis in vitro, all granzymes were thought to also induce cell death in vivo. This review summarizes our present understanding of the biological processes elicited by purified granzyme A and granzyme as well as the processes induced by the more physiologically relevant cytotoxic cells secreting these proteases. The combined evidence supports the concept that the granule secretion pathway is not mono-specific but rather poly-functional including induction of pro-inflammatory cytokines, besides their widely appreciated apoptotic properties.
Microbes and Infection 03/2009; · 2.92 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spirochetes of the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group, the causative agents of Lyme borreliosis, exhibit a complex biology evolved in its zoonotic cycle. Cryo-electron tomography was used to investigate structural features of three species, B. burgdorferi, B. garinii and B. afzelii, known to cause different clinical manifestations in humans. All three organisms revealed an overall similar architecture and showed different numbers of periplasmic flagellar filaments, polar periplasmic void regions, vesicles budding from the outer membrane sheath, which was covered by an amorphous slime layer. The latter was shown to be distinct in its density when comparing the three human-pathogenic Lyme disease spirochetes and Borrelia hermsii, a species causing relapsing fever. Tomograms of dividing bacteria revealed vesicles near the site of division and new basal bodies that were attached at each end of newly establishing cytoplasmic cylinder poles, while periplasmic flagellar filaments still passed the impending site of division. Two different kinds of cytoplasmic filaments showed similarities to MreB or FtsZ filaments of other bacteria. The similar and distinct structural features of Borrelia and the previously investigated pathogenic and non-pathogenic Treponema species emphasize the importance of further studying phylogenetically distant spirochetes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Borrelia recurrentis, the etiologic agent of louse-borne relapsing fever in humans, has evolved strategies, including antigenic variation, to evade immune defence, thereby causing severe diseases with high mortality rates. Here we identify for the first time a multifunctional surface lipoprotein of B. recurrentis, termed HcpA, and demonstrate that it binds human complement regulators, Factor H, CFHR-1, and simultaneously, the host protease plasminogen. Cell surface bound factor H was found to retain its activity and to confer resistance to complement attack. Moreover, ectopic expression of HcpA in a B. burgdorferi B313 strain, deficient in Factor H binding proteins, protected the transformed spirochetes from complement-mediated killing. Furthermore, HcpA-bound plasminogen/plasmin endows B. recurrentis with the potential to resist opsonization and to degrade extracellular matrix components. Together, the present study underscores the high virulence potential of B. recurrentis. The elucidation of the molecular basis underlying the versatile strategies of B. recurrentis to escape innate immunity and to persist in human tissues, including the brain, may help to understand the pathological processes underlying louse-borne relapsing fever.
PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(3):e4858. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Borrelia burgdorferi exploits multiple strategies to evade host immune responses. One central immune escape mechanism is the inactivation of the host complement attack by acquisition host complement regulators FHL-1 and factor H via complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (BbCRASPs). The BbCRASP-1 protein is the first bacterial factor H/FHL-1-binding protein for which the atomic structure has been solved. Previously, 3 regions including the C terminus were identified as putative contact sites for the two complement regulators by the pepspot analysis. Based on the crystallographic structure an in vitro mutagenesis approach was conducted to identify amino acid residues which are relevant for FHL-1 and factor H binding by exchanging single or multiple residues in region 1 and the C-terminally located region 3. Single changes at 4 positions in region 1 either reduced (Lys136, Lys141, Glu147) or completely eliminated (Leu146) binding of both complement regulators. Substitutions clustered within the C-terminal region decreased (Glu234, Lys238, Tyr239, Lys241, Asp244, Thr245) or abolished binding (Lys240, Asp242, Leu246) of both complement regulators. Mapping the mutations onto the atomic structure of BbCRASP-1 reveals that, in contrast to earlier assumption, the C-terminal mutations act indirectly on FHL-1 and factor H binding, whilst the region 1 mutations map the site of direct complement regulator interaction. The elucidation of BbCRASP-1 structure - function may allow development of novel therapeutic strategies against Lyme disease.
International journal of medical microbiology: IJMM 02/2009; 299(4):255-68. · 4.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ectromelia virus is a natural mouse pathogen, causing mousepox. The cytotoxic T (Tc) cell granule serine-protease, granzyme B, is important for its control, but the underlying mechanism is unknown. Using ex vivo virus immune Tc cells, we have previously shown that granzyme B is able to activate several independent pro-apoptotic pathways, including those mediated by Bid/Bak/Bax and caspases-3/-7, in target cells pulsed with Tc cell determinants.
Here we analysed the physiological relevance of those pro-apoptotic pathways in ectromelia infection, by incubating ectromelia-immune ex vivo Tc cells from granzyme A deficient (GzmB(+) Tc cells) or granzyme A and granzyme B deficient (GzmAxB(-/-) Tc cell) mice with ectromelia-infected target cells. We found that gzmB-induced apoptosis was totally blocked in ectromelia infected or peptide pulsed cells lacking caspases-3/-7. However ectromelia inhibited only partially apoptosis in cells deficient for Bid/Bak/Bax and not at all when both pathways were operative suggesting that the virus is able to interfere with apoptosis induced by gzmB in case not all pathways are activated. Importantly, inhibition of viral replication in vitro, as seen with wild type cells, was not affected by the lack of Bid/Bak/Bax but was significantly reduced in caspase-3/-7-deficient cells. Both caspase dependent processes were strictly dependent on gzmB, since Tc cells, lacking both gzms, neither induced apoptosis nor reduced viral titers.
Out findings present the first evidence on the biological importance of the independent gzmB-inducible pro-apoptotic pathways in a physiological relevant virus infection model.
PLoS ONE 01/2009; 4(10):e7512. · 3.73 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Granzyme A (GzmA) is considered a major proapoptotic protease. We have discovered that GzmA-induced cell death involves rapid membrane damage that depends on the synergy between micromolar concentrations of GzmA and sublytic perforin (PFN). Ironically, GzmA and GzmB, independent of their catalytic activity, both mediated this swift necrosis. Even without PFN, lower concentrations of human GzmA stimulated monocytic cells to secrete proinflammatory cytokines (interleukin-1beta [IL-1beta], TNFalpha, and IL-6) that were blocked by a caspase-1 inhibitor. Moreover, murine GzmA and GzmA(+) cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) induce IL-1beta from primary mouse macrophages, and GzmA(-/-) mice resist lipopolysaccharide-induced toxicity. Thus, the granule secretory pathway plays an unexpected role in inflammation, with GzmA acting as an endogenous modulator.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Borrelia burgdorferi, the etiologic agent of Lyme disease, employs sophisticated means to evade killing by its mammalian hosts. One important immune escape mechanism is the inhibition of complement activation mediated by interactions of the host-derived immune regulators factor H (CFH) and factor H-like protein 1 (CFHL1) with borrelial complement regulator-acquiring surface proteins (BbCRASPs). BbCRASP-2 is a distinctive CFH- and CFHL1-binding protein that is produced by serum-resistant B. burgdorferi strains. Here we show that binding of CFH by BbCRASP-2 is due to electrostatic as well as hydrophobic forces. In addition, 14 individual amino acid residues of BbCRASP-2 were identified as being involved in CFH and CFHL1 binding. Alanine substitutions of most of those residues significantly inhibited binding of CFH and/or CFHL1 by recombinant BbCRASP-2 proteins. To conclusively define the effects of BbCRASP-2 residue substitutions on serum sensitivity in the bacterial context, a serum-sensitive Borrelia garinii strain was transformed with plasmids that directed production of either wild-type or mutated BbCRASP-2 proteins. Critical amino acid residues within BbCRASP-2 were identified, with bacteria producing distinct mutant proteins being unable to bind either CFH or CFHL1, showing high levels of complement components C3, C6, and C5b-9 deposited on their surfaces and being highly sensitive to killing by normal serum. Collectively, we mapped a structurally sensitive CFH/CFHL1 binding site within borrelial BbCRASP-2 and identified single amino acid residues potentially involved in the interaction with both complement regulators.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2008; 283(50):34855-63. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The spirochete Borrelia (B.) hermsii is the most frequent tick-borne relapsing fever agent in North America. B. hermsii organisms employ multiple strategies, including acquiring complement regulators and antigenic variation to escape innate and humoral immunity, respectively. Here, we identified a novel member of the complement regulator-acquiring surface protein (CRASP) family, designated BhCRASP-1, that binds the complement regulators, factor H (FH) and FH-related protein 1 (FHR-1) but not FH-like protein 1 (FHL-1). We show that FH when bound to BhCRASP-1 maintains its regulatory capacity to control C3b deposition and C3 convertase activity. BhCRASP-1 specifically interacts with the short consensus repeat 20 of FH, thereby maintaining FH-associated cofactor activity for factor I-mediated C3b inactivation. Heterologous expression of BhCRASP-1 in the serum-sensitive B. burgdorferi B313 strain protects transformed cells from complement-mediated killing, at least partially. Furthermore, we show that BhCRASP-1 concurrently binds plasminogen in addition to FH, however, via distinct, non-overlapping domains. Our findings will be helpful to further elucidate the molecular basis of B. hermsii interactions with host factors in the pathogenesis of relapsing fever.
International journal of medical microbiology: IJMM 06/2008; · 4.54 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BbCRASP-1 is the dominant factor H and FHL-1 binding protein of Lyme disease spirochetes and is suggested to contribute to the persistence of the pathogen in mammals. Here, we show that serum samples from patients with Lyme disease contain antibodies generated to BbCRASP-1 that are exclusively directed to non-denatured structural determinants but not to denatured protein.
International journal of medical microbiology: IJMM 05/2008; · 4.54 Impact Factor