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European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Manja Boehm, Daniel Simson, Ulrike Escher, Anna-Maria Schmidt, Stefan Bereswill, Nicole Tegtmeyer, Steffen Backert, and Markus M. Heimesaat

Campylobacter jejuni is a major food-borne zoonotic pathogen, responsible for a large proportion of bacterial gastroenteritis cases, as well as Guillian-Barré and Miller-Fisher syndromes. During infection, tissue damage is mainly caused by bacteria invading epithelial cells and traversing the intestinal barrier. C. jejuni is able to enter the lamina propria and the bloodstream and may move into other organs, such as spleen, liver, or mesenteric lymph nodes. However, the involved molecular mechanisms are not fully understood. C. jejuni can transmigrate effectively across polarized intestinal epithelial cells mainly by the paracellular route using the serine protease high-temperature requirement A (HtrA). However, it appears that HtrA has a dual function, as it also acts as a chaperone, interacting with denatured or misfolded periplasmic proteins under stress conditions. Here, we review recent progress on the role of HtrA in C. jejuni pathogenesis. HtrA can be transported into the extracellular space and cleaves cell-to-cell junction factors, such as E-cadherin and probably others, disrupting the epithelial barrier and enabling paracellular transmigration of the bacteria. The secretion of HtrA is a newly discovered strategy also utilized by other pathogens. Thus, secreted HtrA proteases represent highly attractive targets for anti-bacterial treatment and may provide a suitable candidate for vaccine development.

Open access
European Journal of Microbiology and Immunology
Authors: Marie E. Alutis, Ursula Grundmann, André Fischer, Ulrike Hagen, Anja A. Kühl, Ulf B. Göbel, Stefan Bereswill, and Markus M. Heimesaat

Matrix metalloproteinases (MMP)-2 and -9 (also referred to gelatinases-A and -B, respectively) are upregulated in the inflamed gut of mice and men. We recently demonstrated that synthetic gelatinase blockage reduced large intestinal pro-inflammatory immune responses and apoptosis following murine Campylobacter (C.) jejuni infection. In order to address which gelatinase mediates C. jejuni-induced immune responses, gnotobiotic MMP-2−/−, MMP-9−/−, and wildtype (WT) mice were generated by broadspectrum antibiotic treatment and perorally infected with C. jejuni strain 81-176. The pathogen stably colonized the murine intestinal tract irrespective of the genotype but did not translocate to extra-intestinal compartments. At days 8 and 14 postinfection (p.i.), less pronounced colonic histopathological changes were observed in infected MMP-2−/− mice, less distinct epithelial apoptosis, but more epithelial proliferation in both MMP-2−/− and MMP-9−/− mice, as compared to WT controls. Reduced immune responses in gelatinase- deficient mice were characterized by lower numbers of effector as well as innate and adaptive immune cells within the colonic mucosa and lamina propria. The expression of IL-22, IL-18, IL-17A, and IL-1β mRNA was higher in the colon of MMP-2−/− as compared to WT mice. In conclusion, both MMP-2 and MMP-9 are differentially involved in mediating C. jejuni-induced intestinal immunopathology.

Open access

Abstract

Non-antibiotic feed additives including competitive exclusion products have been shown effective in reducing pathogen loads including multi-drug resistant strains from the vertebrate gut. In the present study we surveyed the intestinal bacterial colonization properties, potential macroscopic and microscopic inflammatory sequelae and immune responses upon peroral application of the commercial competitive exclusion product Aviguard® to wildtype mice in which the gut microbiota had been depleted by antibiotic pre-treatment. Until four weeks following Aviguard® challenge, bacterial strains abundant in the probiotic suspension stably established within the murine intestines. Aviguard® application did neither induce any clinical signs nor gross macroscopic intestinal inflammatory sequelae, which also held true when assessing apoptotic and proliferative cell responses in colonic epithelia until day 28 post-challenge. Whereas numbers of colonic innate immune cell subsets such as macrophages and monocytes remained unaffected, peroral Aviguard® application to microbiota depleted mice was accompanied by decreases in colonic mucosal counts of adaptive immune cells such as T and B lymphocytes. In conclusion, peroral Aviguard® application results i.) in effective intestinal colonization within microbiota depleted mice, ii.) neither in macroscopic nor in microscopic inflammatory sequelae and iii.) in lower colonic mucosal T and B cell responses.

Open access