[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Adult stem cells (SCs) retain the capacity of self-renewal and differentiation to generate multiple differentiated cell types (Barker et al., 2007). Thus, these adult SCs are utilized to functionally regenerate damaged tissues or reverse organ failure (Yui et al., 2012). However, SCs that are deregulated during inflammation, infection, or tissue regeneration may turn into invasive cancer SCs (CSCs) (Beachy et al., 2004). Accordingly, tight spatial-temporal regulation of adult SC behaviors may confer injury resistance, tissue regeneration, or tumor suppression, whereas SC deregulation may cause tumor initiation and/or recurrence (Merlos-Suárez et al., 2011). However, the lack of molecular markers that reflect the fine modulation of SC homeostatic response to injury or regeneration significantly hinders the development of regenerative medicine and cancer therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bacterial pathogens are known for their wide range of strategies to specifically adapt to host environments and infection sites. An in-depth understanding of these adaptation mechanisms is crucial for the development of effective therapeutics and new prevention measures. In this study, we assessed the suitability of Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy for monitoring metabolic adaptations of the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes to specific host genotypes and for exploring the potential of FTIR spectroscopy to gain novel insights into the host-pathogen interaction. Three different mouse genotypes, showing different susceptibility to L. monocytogenes infections, were challenged with L. monocytogenes and re-isolated bacteria were subjected to FTIR spectroscopy. The bacteria from mice with different survival characteristics showed distinct IR spectral patterns, reflecting specific changes in the backbone conformation and the hydrogen-bonding pattern of the protein secondary structure in the bacterial cell. Coupling FTIR spectroscopy with chemometrics allowed us to link bacterial metabolic fingerprints with host infection susceptibility and to decipher longtime memory effects of the host on the bacteria. After prolonged cultivation of host-passaged bacteria under standard laboratory conditions, the host's imprint on bacterial metabolism vanished, which suggests a revertible metabolic adaptation of bacteria to host environment and loss of host environment triggered memory effects over time. In summary, our work demonstrates the potential and power of FTIR spectroscopy to be used as a fast, simple and highly discriminatory tool to investigate the mechanism of bacterial host adaptation on a macromolar and metabolic level.
PLoS ONE 12/2014; 9(12):e115959. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Severe sepsis and septic shock are leading causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Infection-associated inflammation promotes the development and progression of adverse outcomes in sepsis. The effects of heterodimeric IL-27 (p28/EBI3) have been implicated in the natural course of sepsis, whereas the molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation of gene expression and release of IL-27 in sepsis are poorly understood. We studied the events regulating the p28 subunit of IL-27 in endotoxic shock and polymicrobial sepsis following cecal ligation and puncture. Neutralizing Abs to IL-27(p28) improved survival rates, restricted cytokine release, and reduced bacterial burden in C57BL/6 mice during sepsis. Genetic disruption of IL-27 signaling enhanced the respiratory burst of macrophages. Experiments using splenectomized mice or treatment with clodronate liposomes suggested that macrophages in the spleen may be a significant source of IL-27(p28) during sepsis. In cultures of TLR4-activated macrophages, the frequency of F4/80(+)CD11b(+)IL-27(p28)(+) cells was reduced by the addition of IL-10. IL-10 antagonized both MyD88-dependent and TRIF-dependent release of IL-27(p28). Genetic deletion of STAT3 in Tie2-Cre/STAT3flox macrophages completely interrupted the inhibition of IL-27(p28) by IL-10 after TLR4 activation. In contrast, IL-10 remained fully active to suppress IL-27(p28) with deletion of SOCS3 in Tie2-Cre/SOCS3flox macrophages. Blockade of IL-10R by Ab or genetic deficiency of IL-10 resulted in 3-5-fold higher concentrations of IL-27(p28) in endotoxic shock and polymicrobial sepsis. Our studies identify IL-10 as a critical suppressing factor for IL-27(p28) production during infection-associated inflammation. These findings may be helpful for a beneficial manipulation of adverse IL-27(p28) release during sepsis.
Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950). 10/2014;
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The members of the STAT family of transcription factors modulate the development and function of NK cells. NK cell-mediated tumor surveillance is particularly important in the body's defense against hematological malignancies such as leukemia. STAT3 inhibitors are currently being developed, although their potential effects on NK cells are not clear. We have investigated the function of STAT3 in NK cells with Stat3(Δ/Δ)Ncr1-iCreTg mice, whose NK cells lack STAT3. In the absence of STAT3, NK cells develop normally and in normal numbers but display alterations in the kinetics of IFN-γ production. We report that STAT3 directly binds the IFN-γ promoter. In various in vivo models of hematological diseases loss of STAT3 in NK cells enhances tumor surveillance. The reduced tumor burden is paralleled by increased expression of the activating receptor DNAM-1 and the lytic enzymes perforin and granzyme B. Our findings imply that STAT3 inhibitors will stimulate the cytolytic activity of NK cells against leukemia, thereby providing an additional therapeutic benefit.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Growth hormone (GH) resistance has been associated with liver cirrhosis in humans but its contribution to the disease remains controversial. In order to elucidate whether GH resistance plays a causal role in the establishment and development of liver fibrosis, or rather represents a major consequence thereof, we challenged mice lacking the Growth hormone receptor gene (Ghr-/-, a model for GH resistance) by crossing them with Mdr2 knockout mice (Mdr2-/-), a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis and liver fibrosis.Ghr-/-;Mdr2-/- mice showed elevated serum markers associated with liver damage and cholestasis, extensive bile duct proliferation and increased collagen deposition relative to Mdr2 -/- mice, thus suggesting a more severe liver fibrosis phenotype. Additionally, Ghr-/-;Mdr2-/- mice had a pronounced down-regulation of hepato-protective genes Hnf6, Egfr and Igf-1, and significantly increased levels of ROS and apoptosis in hepatocytes, compared to control mice. Moreover, single knockout mice (Ghr-/-) fed with a diet containing 1% cholic acid displayed an increase in hepatocyte ROS production, hepatocyte apoptosis and bile infarcts compared to their wildtype littermates, indicating that loss of Ghr renders hepatocytes more susceptible to toxic bile acid accumulation. Surprisingly, and despite their severe fibrotic phenotype, Ghr-/-;Mdr2-/- mice displayed a significant decrease in tumour incidence compared to Mdr2-/- mice, indicating that loss of Ghr signaling may slow the progression from fibrosis/cirrhosis to cancer in the liver.Conclusion: Our findings suggest that GH resistance dramatically exacerbates liver fibrosis in a mouse model of inflammatory cholestasis, therefore suggesting that GH resistance plays a causal role in the disease and provides a novel target for the development of liver fibrosis treatments. (Hepatology 2014;)
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The contribution of the innate immune system to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is under intensive investigation. Research in animal models has demonstrated that type I interferons (IFN-Is) protect from IBD. In contrast, studies of patients with IBD have produced conflicting results concerning the therapeutic potential of IFN-Is. Here we present data suggesting that IFN-Is play dual roles as regulators of intestinal inflammation in dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-treated C57BL/6 mice. Though IFN-Is reduced acute intestinal damage and the abundance of colitis-associated intestinal bacteria caused by treatment with a high dose of DSS, they also inhibited the resolution of inflammation after DSS treatment. IFN-Is played an anti-inflammatory role by suppressing the release of IL-1β from the colon MHC class II+ cells. Consistently, IL-1 receptor blockade reduced the severity of inflammation in IFN-I receptor-deficient mice and myeloid cell-restricted ablation of the IFN-I receptor was detrimental. The pro-inflammatory role of IFN-Is during recovery from DSS treatment was caused by IFN-I-dependent cell apoptosis as well as an increase in chemokine production and infiltrating inflammatory monocytes and neutrophils. Thus, IFN-Is play opposing roles in specific phases of intestinal injury and inflammation, which may be important for guiding treatment strategies in patients.This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved
European Journal of Immunology 06/2014; · 4.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor STAT1 is essential for interferon- (IFN) mediated immunity in humans and mice. STAT1 function is tightly regulated and both loss- and gain-of function mutations result in severe immune diseases. The two alternatively spliced isoforms, STAT1α and STAT1β, differ with regard to a C-terminal transactivation domain, which is absent in STAT1β. STAT1β is considered to be transcriptionally inactive and to be a competitive inhibitor of STAT1α. To investigate the functions of the STAT1 isoforms in vivo we generated mice deficient for either STAT1α or STAT1β. As expected, the functions of STAT1α and STAT1β in IFNα/β- and IFNλ-dependent antiviral activity are largely redundant. In contrast to the current dogma, however, we found that STAT1β is transcriptionally active in response to IFNγ. In the absence of STAT1α, STAT1β shows more prolonged IFNγ-induced phosphorylation and promoter binding. Both isoforms mediate protective, IFNγ-dependent immunity against the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, although with remarkably different efficiencies. Our data shed new light on the potential contribution of the individual STAT1 isoforms to STAT1-dependent immune responses. The knowledge of STAT1β's function will help fine-tune diagnostic approaches and design more specific strategies to interfere with STAT1 activity.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 04/2014; · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tyrosine kinase 2 (TYK2) has a pivotal role in immunity to infection and tumor surveillance. It is associated with several cytokine receptor chains including type I interferon (IFN) receptor 1 (IFNAR1), interleukin- (IL-) 12 receptor beta 1 (IL-12Rb1) and IL-10R2. We have generated a mouse with a conditional Tyk2 null allele and proved integrity of the conditional Tyk2 locus. TYK2 was successfully removed by the use of ubiquitous and tissue-specific Cre-expressing mouse strains. Myeloid TYK2 was found to critically contribute to the defense against murine cytomegalovirus. Ubiquitous TYK2 ablation severely impaired tumor immunosurveillance, while deletion in myeloid, dendritic or T cells alone showed no effect. The conditional Tyk2 mouse strain will be instrumental to further dissect TYK2 functions in infection, inflammation and cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that gene expression and release of IL-27 may be modulated by Tyk2. Macrophages derived from the peritoneum or bone marrow of C57BL/10SnJ (WT) mice produced abundant amounts of IL-27(p28) following TLR4 activation by LPS. In contrast, production of IL-27(p28), but not EBI3, was reduced by ∼50% in TLR4-activated macrophages derived from mice with genetic deficiency of Tyk2 compared with WT macrophages. Frequencies of IL-27(p28)+F4/80+CD11b+ cells were lower in TLR4-activated macrophages derived from Tyk2-/- mice. Mechanistically, Tyk2-/- resulted in disruption of a type I IFN-dependent mechanism for production of IL-27(p28), which was induced by type I IFNs, and release of IL-27 was defective in macrophages from IFN-β-/- and IFNAR1-/- mice. In contrast, Tyk2 was not required to mediate the effects of IL-27 on target gene expression in CD4(+) T cells. In vivo, we observed that Tyk2-/- mice have improved survival following endotoxic shock or polymicrobial sepsis induced by CLP. Plasma levels of IL-27(p28) during endotoxic shock or polymicrobial sepsis were markedly reduced in Tyk2-/- mice compared with WT mice. Disruption of IL-27 signaling using IL-27RA-/- mice was protective against sepsis-associated mortality. These data suggest that Tyk2 may mediate adverse outcomes of SIRS by promoting the production of IL-27. In conclusion, this report identifies Tyk2 as a prerequisite factor in the molecular networks that are involved in generation of IL-27.
Journal of leukocyte biology 03/2014; · 4.99 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Considerable amount of effort has been undertaken to identify genes that account for myeloid lineage commitment and development. However, currently available non-invasive mouse models utilize myeloid-specific reporters that are significantly expressed in hematopoietic stem cells as well as lymphoid compartments. Here, we describe a myeloid-specific marker that is not shared by any other lineage. We show that lactotransferrin mRNA is expressed by Gr-1+/CD11b+ cells in the bone marrow, as opposed to HSCs or any peripheral cell population. To follow the progeny of lactotransferrin-expressing bone marrow cells, we generated a mouse model in which a reporter gene is irreversibly activated from the lactotransferrin-promoter. We found that lactotransferrin-reporter labels a majority of neutrophils, monocytes, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells, while excluding T-, B-, NK-cells, iKDC, pDCs, erythrocytes and eosinophils. Lactotransferrin-reporter- bone marrow cells retain lymphoid, erythroid and long-term repopulating potential, while lactotransferrin-reporter+ bone marrow cells confer only myeloid, but no lymphoid potential. We conclude that lactotransferrin represents a late stage differentiation marker of neutrophils, macrophages and distinct subtypes of dendritic cells.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT) 1 is a key player in interferon (IFN) signaling, essential in mediating host defense against viruses and other pathogens. STAT1 levels are tightly regulated and loss- or gain-of-function mutations in mice and men lead to severe diseases. We have generated a doxycycline (dox) -inducible, FLAG-tagged Stat1 expression system in mice lacking endogenous STAT1 (i.e. Stat1(ind) mice). We show that STAT1 expression depends on the time and dose of dox treatment in primary cells and a variety of organs isolated from Stat1(ind) mice. In bone marrow-derived macrophages, a fraction of the amount of STAT1 present in WT cells is sufficient for full expression of IFN-induced genes. Dox-induced STAT1 established protection against virus infections in primary cells and mice. The availability of the Stat1(ind) mouse model will enable an examination of the consequences of variable amounts of STAT1. The model will also permit the study of STAT1 dose-dependent and reversible functions as well as of STAT1's contributions to the development, progression and resolution of disease.
PLoS ONE 01/2014; 9(1):e86608. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although alterations in gut microbiota composition during acute colitis have been repeatedly observed, associated functional changes and the recovery from dysbiosis received little attention. In this study, we investigated structure and function of the gut microbiota during acute inflammation and recovery in a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS)-colitis mouse model using metatranscriptomics, bacterial 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and monitoring of selected host markers. Parallel to an increase of host markers of inflammation during acute colitis, we observed relative abundance shifts and alterations in phylotype composition of the dominant bacterial orders Clostridiales and Bacteroidales, and an increase of the low abundant Enterobacteriales, Deferribacterales, Verrucomicrobiales and Erysipelotrichales. During recovery, the microbiota began to resume, but did not reach its original composition until the end of the experiment. Microbial gene expression was more resilient to disturbance, with pre-perturbation-type transcript profiles appearing quickly after acute colitis. The decrease of Clostridiales during inflammation correlated with a reduction of transcripts related to butyrate formation, suggesting a disturbance in host-microbe signalling and mucosal nutrient provision. The impact of acute inflammation on the Clostridiales was also characterized by a significant downregulation of their flagellin-encoding genes. In contrast, the abundance of members of the Bacteroidales increased along with an increase in transcripts related to mucin degradation. We propose that acute inflammation triggered a selective reaction of the immune system against flagella of commensals and temporarily altered murine microbiota composition and functions relevant for the host. Despite changes in specific interactions, the host-microbiota homeostasis revealed a remarkable ability for recovery.The ISME Journal advance online publication, 9 January 2014; doi:10.1038/ismej.2013.223.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Before they infect red blood cells and cause malaria, Plasmodium parasites undergo an obligate and clinically silent expansion phase in the liver that is supposedly undetected by the host. Here, we demonstrate the engagement of a type I interferon (IFN) response during Plasmodium replication in the liver. We identified Plasmodium RNA as a previously unrecognized pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) capable of activating a type I IFN response via the cytosolic pattern recognition receptor Mda5. This response, initiated by liver-resident cells through the adaptor molecule for cytosolic RNA sensors, Mavs, and the transcription factors Irf3 and Irf7, is propagated by hepatocytes in an interferon-α/β receptor-dependent manner. This signaling pathway is critical for immune cell-mediated host resistance to liver-stage Plasmodium infection, which we find can be primed with other PAMPs, including hepatitis C virus RNA. Together, our results show that the liver has sensor mechanisms for Plasmodium that mediate a functional antiparasite response driven by type I IFN.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Transcriptional activation of the Nos2 gene encoding inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) during infection or inflammation requires coordinate assembly of an initiation complex by transcription factors NFκB and the type I interferon-activated ISGF3. Here we show that infection of macrophages with the intracellular bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) causes binding of BET proteins Brd2, Brd3 and, most prominently, Brd4 to the Nos2 promoter and that a profound reduction of Nos2 expression occurred in the presence of the BET inhibitor JQ1. RNA polymerase activity at the Nos2 gene was regulated through Brd-mediated CTD phosphorylation at serine 5 and the rate of transcriptional re-initiation. Underscoring the critical importance of Brd for the regulation of immune responses, application of JQ1 reduced NO production in mice infected with Lm as well as innate resistance to Lm and influenza virus. In a murine model of inflammatory disease JQ1 treatment increased the colitogenic activity of DSS. The data presented in our study suggest that BET protein inhibition in a clinical setting poses the risk of altering the innate immune response to infectious or inflammatory challenge.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 11/2013; · 5.04 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Janus kinases (Jak) play essential roles in cytokine and growth factor signaling. Conventional gene targeting of Jak2, creating a null allele, leads to a block in definitive erythropoiesis as a result of failing signal transduction at the homomeric Erythropoietin receptor (EpoR) and at the heteromeric Interferon γ receptor (IFNGR). To investigate the in vivo relevance of the activation loop of Jak2, a Jak2-YY1007/1008FF knock-in mutation was introduced into the germline of mice. The phenotype of the Jak2(FF/FF) mouse line reveals that tyrosine residues 1007/1008 are absolutely essential for kinase function and signal transduction at the homomeric EpoR. Detailed studies using the Jak2 activation loop mutant uncover an essential scaffolding function of Jak2 within the IFNGR receptor complex and reveal that Jak1 can mediate a semi-redundant function for IFNGR signal transduction. These studies are highly important for the molecular understanding of cytokine and growth factor signaling and provide new insights for future strategies in the design of pharmacological blockers of Jak2.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transcription factor STAT1 is important in natural killer (NK) cells, which provide immediate defense against tumor and virally infected cells. We show that mutation of a single phosphorylation site (Stat1-S727A) enhances NK cell cytotoxicity against a range of tumor cells, accompanied by increased expression of perforin and granzyme B. Stat1-S727A mice display significantly delayed disease onset in NK cell-surveilled tumor models including melanoma, leukemia, and metastasizing breast cancer. Constitutive phosphorylation of S727 depends on cyclin-dependent kinase 8 (CDK8). Inhibition of CDK8-mediated STAT1-S727 phosphorylation may thus represent a therapeutic strategy for stimulating NK cell-mediated tumor surveillance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Macrophages play a key role in responding to pathogens and initiate an inflammatory response to combat microbe multiplication. Deactivation of macrophages facilitates resolution of the inflammatory response. Deactivated macrophages are characterized by an immunosuppressive phenotype, but the lack of unique markers that can reliably identify these cells explains the poorly defined biological role of this macrophage subset. We identified lipocalin 2 (LCN2) as both a marker of deactivated macrophages and a macrophage deactivator. We show that LCN2 attenuated the early inflammatory response and impaired bacterial clearance, leading to impaired survival of mice suffering from pneumococcal pneumonia. LCN2 induced IL-10 formation by macrophages, skewing macrophage polarization in a STAT3-dependent manner. Pulmonary LCN2 levels were tremendously elevated during bacterial pneumonia in humans, and high LCN2 levels were indicative of a detrimental outcome from pneumonia with Gram-positive bacteria. Our data emphasize the importance of macrophage deactivation for the outcome of pneumococcal infections and highlight the role of LCN2 and IL-10 as determinants of macrophage performance in the respiratory tract.
The Journal of clinical investigation 07/2013; · 15.39 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Listeria monocytogenes is a food-borne pathogen which causes mild to life threatening disease in humans. Ingestion of contaminated food delivers the pathogen to the gastrointestinal tract, where it crosses the epithelial barrier and spreads to internal organs. Type I interferons (IFN-I) are produced during infection and decrease host resistance after systemic delivery of L. monocytogenes. Here we show that mice benefit from IFN-I production following infection with L. monocytogenes via the gastrointestinal route. Intragastric infection lead to increased lethality of IFN-I receptor chain 1-deficient (Ifnar1-/-) animals and to higher bacterial numbers in liver and spleen. Compared to infection from the peritoneum, bacteria infecting via the intestinal tract localized more often to periportal and pericentral regions of the liver and less frequently to the margins of liver lobes. Vigorous replication of intestine-borne L. monocytogenes in the livers of Ifnar1-/- mice 48 h post infection was accompanied by the formation of large inflammatory infiltrates in this organ and massive death of surrounding hepatocytes. This was not observed in Ifnar1-/- mice after intraperitoneal infection. The inflammatory response to infection is shaped by alterations in splenic cytokine production, particularly IFNγ, which differs after intragastric versus intraperitoneal infection. Taken together, our data suggest that the adverse or beneficial role of a cytokine may vary with the route of infection and that IFN-I are not harmful when infection with L. monocytogenes occurs via the natural route.
PLoS ONE 06/2013; 8(6):e65007. · 3.53 Impact Factor