Clostridioides difficile is a leading cause of nosocomial infection responsible for significant morbidity and mortality with limited options for therapy. Secreted C. difficile toxin B (TcdB) is a major contributor to disease pathology and select TcdB-specific Abs may protect against disease recurrence. However, the high frequency of recurrence suggests that the memory B cell response, essential for new Ab production following C. difficile re-exposure, is insufficient. We therefore isolated TcdB-specific memory B cells from individuals with a history of C. difficile infection and performed single-cell deep sequencing of their Ab genes. Herein, we report that TcdB-specific memory B cell-encoded antibodies showed somatic hypermutation but displayed limited isotype class switch. Memory B cell-encoded monoclonal antibodies generated from the gene sequences revealed low to moderate affinity for TcdB and a limited ability to neutralize TcdB. These findings indicate that memory B cells are an important factor in C. difficile disease recurrence.
Hemangi B. Shah, Kenneth Smith, Edgar J. Scott, II, Jason L. Larabee, Judith A. James, Jimmy D. Ballard, Mark L. Lang
Severe fever with thrombocytopenia syndrome virus (SFTSV) is a novel tick-borne bunyavirus that recently emerged in East Asian countries. SFTS is characterized by high fever, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, multiorgan failure, and hemorrhage with case fatality rates of 6.3% to 30%. Neither antivirals nor vaccines are available at present. We previously demonstrated that neutralizing antibodies specific for SFTSV glycoprotein (Gn) played a vital role in the survival of patients with SFTS. Nanobodies from camels present unique properties, such as thermostability, high affinity, and low immunogenicity. In the current study, mammalian expressed SFTSV Gn was used to immunize a camel, and functional nanobodies were isolated from the B cell nanobody library constructed from the immunized animal. Clone SNB02 was selected for in-depth analysis for its inhibition of SFTSV replication both in vitro and in vivo. We showed that SNB02 potently inhibited SFTSV infection and prevented thrombocytopenia in a humanized mouse model and is a potential candidate for therapeutics.
Xilin Wu, Yanlei Li, Bilian Huang, Xiaohua Ma, Linjing Zhu, Nan Zheng, Shijie Xu, Waqas Nawaz, Changping Xu, Zhiwei Wu
Critical illness is accompanied by the release of large amounts of the anaphylotoxin, C5a. C5a suppresses antimicrobial functions of neutrophils which is associated with adverse outcomes. The signalling pathways that mediate C5a-induced neutrophil dysfunction are incompletely understood. Healthy donor neutrophils exposed to purified C5a demonstrated a prolonged defect (7 hours) in phagocytosis of Staphylococcus aureus. Phosphoproteomic profiling of 2712 phosphoproteins identified persistent C5a signalling and selective impairment of phagosomal protein phosphorylation on exposure to S. aureus. Notable proteins included early endosomal marker ZFYVE16 and V-ATPase proton channel component ATPV1G1. A novel assay of phagosomal acidification demonstrated C5a-induced impairment of phagosomal acidification which was recapitulated in neutrophils from critically ill patients. Examination of the C5a-impaired protein phosphorylation indicated a role for the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase VPS34 in phagosomal maturation. Inhibition of VPS34 impaired neutrophil phagosomal acidification and killing of S. aureus. This study provides a phosphoproteomic assessment of human neutrophil signalling in response to S. aureus and its disruption by C5a, identifying a defect in phagosomal maturation and new mechanisms of immune failure in critical illness.
Alexander J.T. Wood, Arlette M. Vassallo, Marie-Helene Ruchaud-Sparagano, Jonathan Scott, Carmelo Zinnato, Carmen Gonzalez-Tejedo, Kamal Kishore, Clive S. D’Santos, A. John Simpson, David K. Menon, Charlotte Summers, Edwin R. Chilvers, Klaus Okkenhaug, Andrew Conway Morris
Arrestin domain containing 3 (ARRDC3) represents a newly discovered α-arrestin involved in obesity, inflammation and cancer. Here we demonstrated a pro-inflammation role of ARRDC3 in H. pylori-associated gastritis. Increased ARRDC3 was detected in gastric mucosa of patients and mice infected with H. pylori. ARRDC3 in gastric epithelial cells (GECs) was induced by H. pylori, regulated by ERK and PI3K-AKT pathways in a cagA-dependent manner. Human gastric ARRDC3 correlated with the severity of gastritis, and mouse ARRDC3 from non-BM-derived cells promoted gastric inflammation. This inflammation was characterized by the CXCR2-dependent influx of CD45+CD11b+Ly6C-Ly6G+ neutrophils, whose migration was induced via the ARRDC3-dependent production of CXCL2 by GECs. Importantly, gastric inflammation was attenuated in ARRDC3-/- mice but increased in protease-activated receptor 1 (PAR1)-/- mice. Mechanistically, ARRDC3 in GECs directly interacted with PAR1 and negatively regulated PAR1 via ARRDC3-mediated lysosomal degradation, which abrogated the suppression of CXCL2 production and following neutrophil chemotaxis by PAR1, thereby contributing to the development of H. pylori-associated gastritis. This study identifies a novel regulatory network involving H. pylori, GECs, ARRDC3, PAR1, and neutrophils, which collectively exert a pro-inflammatory effect within gastric microenvironment. Efforts to inhibit this ARRDC3-dependent pathway may prove valuable strategies in treating of H. pylori-associated gastritis.
Yu-gang Liu, Yong-sheng Teng, Zhi-guo Shan, Ping Cheng, Chuan-jie Hao, Yi-pin Lv, Fang-yuan Mao, Shi-ming Yang, Weisan Chen, Yong-Liang Zhao, Nan You, Quan-ming Zou, Yuan Zhuang
BACKGROUND Prediction of adverse outcomes in cerebral malaria (CM) is difficult. We hypothesized that cell-free DNA (cfDNA) levels would facilitate identification of severe and potentially fatal CM cases.METHODS In this retrospective study, plasma from Malawian children with CM (n = 134), uncomplicated malaria (UM, n = 77), and healthy controls (HC, n = 60) was assayed for cfDNA using a fluorescence assay. Host and parasite cfDNA was measured by quantitative PCR. Immune markers were determined by ELISA, Luminex, or cytometric bead array.RESULTS Total cfDNA increased with malaria severity (HC versus UM, P < 0.001; HC versus CM, P < 0.0001; UM versus CM, P < 0.0001), was elevated in retinopathy-positive (Ret+) CM relative to Ret– CM (7.66 versus 5.47 ng/μL, P = 0.027), and differentiated Ret+ fatal cases from survivors (AUC 0.779; P < 0.001). cfDNA levels in patients with non–malarial febrile illness (NMF, P = 0.25) and non–malarial coma (NMC, P = 0.99) were comparable with UM. Host DNA, rather than parasite DNA, was the major cfDNA contributor (UM, 268 versus 67 pg/μL; CM, 2824 versus 463 pg/μL). Host and parasite cfDNA distinguished CM by retinopathy (host, AUC 0.715, P = 0.0001; parasite, AUC 0.745, P = 0.0001), but only host cfDNA distinguished fatal cases (AUC 0.715, P = 0.0001). Total cfDNA correlated with neutrophil markers IL-8 (rs = 0.433, P < 0.0001) and myeloperoxidase (rs = 0.683, P < 0.0001).CONCLUSION Quantifying plasma cfDNA is a simple assay useful in identifying children at risk for fatal outcome and has promise as a point-of-care assay. Elevated cfDNA suggests a link with host inflammatory pathways in fatal CM.FUNDING NIH NCATS (AK), Burroughs-Wellcome (AK), and National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia (SJR).
Iset Medina Vera, Anne Kessler, Li-Min Ting, Visopo Harawa, Thomas Keller, Dylan Allen, Madi Njie, McKenze Moss, Monica Soko, Ajisa Ahmadu, Innocent Kadwala, Stephen Ray, Tonney S. Nyirenda, Wilson L. Mandala, Terrie E. Taylor, Stephen J. Rogerson, Karl B. Seydel, Kami Kim
Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb)-specific T cell responses associated with immune control during asymptomatic latent tuberculosis infection (LTBI) remain poorly understood. Using a non-human primate (NHP) aerosol model, we studied the kinetics, phenotypes and functions of Mtb antigen-specific T cells in peripheral and lung compartments of Mtb-infected asymptomatic rhesus macaques by longitudinally sampling blood and bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL), for up to 24 weeks post-infection. We found significantly higher frequencies of Mtb-specific effector and memory CD4 and CD8 T cells producing IFN-γ in the airways compared to peripheral blood, which were maintained throughout the study period. Moreover, Mtb-specific IL-17+ and IL-17/IFN-γ double-positive T cells were present in the airways but were largely absent in the periphery, suggesting that balanced mucosal Th1/Th17 responses are associated with LTBI. The majority of Mtb-specific CD4 T cells that homed to the airways expressed the chemokine receptor CXCR3 and co-expressed CCR6. Notably, CXCR3+CD4+ cells were found in granulomatous and non-granulomatous regions of the lung and inversely correlated with Mtb burden. Our findings provide novel insights into antigen-specific T cell responses associated with asymptomatic Mtb infection that are relevant for developing better strategies to control TB
Uma Shanmugasundaram, Allison N. Bucsan, Shashank R. Ganatra, Chris Ibegbu, Melanie Quezada, Robert V. Blair, Xavier Alvarez, Vijayakumar Velu, Deepak Kaushal, Jyothi Rengarajan
Infective endocarditis is a life-threatening infection of heart valves and adjacent structures characterized by vegetations on valves and other endocardial surfaces, with tissue destruction and risk of embolization. We used high-resolution mass spectrometry to define the proteome of staphylococcal and non-staphylococcal vegetations and Terminal Amine Isotopic Labeling of Substrates (TAILS) to define their proteolytic landscapes. These approaches identified over 2000 human proteins in staphylococcal and non-staphylococcal vegetations. Individual vegetation proteomes demonstrated comparable profiles of quantitatively major constituents that overlapped with serum, platelet and neutrophil proteomes. Staphylococcal vegetation proteomes resembled each other more than the proteomes of non-staphylococcal vegetations. TAILS demonstrated extensive proteolysis within vegetations, with numerous previously undescribed cleavages. Several proteases and pathogen-specific proteins, including virulence factors were identified in most vegetations. Proteolytic peptides in fibronectin and complement C3 were identified as potential infective endocarditis biomarkers. Overlap of staphylococcal and non-staphylococcal vegetation proteomes suggests a convergent thrombotic and immune response to endocardial infection by diverse pathogens. However, the differences between staphylococcal and non-staphylococcal vegetations and internal variance within the non-staphylococcal group indicates that additional pathogen- or patient-specific effects exist. Pervasive proteolysis of vegetation components may arise from vegetation-intrinsic proteases and destabilize vegetations, contributing to embolism.
Daniel R. Martin, James C. Witten, Carmela D. Tan, E. Rene Rodriguez, Eugene H. Blackstone, Gosta Pettersson, Deborah E. Seifert, Belinda Willard, Suneel Apte
BACKGROUND. The numbers of fatal cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continue to increase rapidly around the world. We aim to retrospectively investigate potential roles of factors, mainly immunologic parameters, in early predicting outcomes of patients with COVID-19. METHODS. A total of 1,018 patients confirmed COVID-19 were enrolled in our retrospective study from two centers. The data of clinical features, laboratory tests, immunological tests, radiological findings, and outcomes were collected. Univariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis were performed to evaluate factors associated with in-hospital mortality. Receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves and survival curves were plotted to evaluate the clinical usefulness. RESULTS. Compared to the survival patients, the counts of all T lymphocytes subsets were markedly lower in non-survivors(P < 0.001), especially in CD8+ T cells (96.89 vs 203.98 cells/μl, P < 0.001) . Among all tested cytokines, IL-6 elevated most significantly with an upward trend of more than ten times (56.16 vs 5.36 pg/mL, P < 0.001). By a multivariable logistic regression analysis, two immunological indicators were found to be associated with in-hospital mortality, including IL-6 > 20 pg/mL (OR = 9.781; 95%CI, 6.304–15.174; P < 0.001) and CD8+ T cell count < 165 cells/μl (OR = 5.930; 95%CI, 3.677–9.562; P < 0.001), after adjusting confounding factors (age, gender, and underlying diseases). All the patients were divided into four groups according to levels of IL-6 and CD8+ T cells. The group with IL-6 > 20 pg/mL and CD8+ T cell count < 165 cells/μl had more old and male patients, as well as more proportion of patients with comorbidities, ventilation, ICU admission, shock, and death than those of any other group (P < 0.001). Furthermore, the ROC curve of the model combining IL-6 (>20 pg/mL) and CD8+ T cell count(<165 cells/μl) displayed more favorable discrimination than that of CURB-65 score (area under curve (AUC) = 0.907 vs 0.843, P < 0.001). Hosmer-Lemeshow test showed a good fitting of the model with no statistical significance (P = 0.581). CONCLUSIONS. We firstly identify two reliable prognostic indicators, IL-6 (>20 pg/mL) and CD8+ T cell count (<165 cells/μl), which can accurately stratify patients into risk categories and predict mortality of patients with COVID-19. Those two indicators combined may guide clinicians to evaluate patient prognosis and make appropriate decisions.
Miao Luo, Jing Liu, Weiling Jiang, Shuang Yue, Huiguo Liu, Shuang Wei
Streptococcus pyogenes (group A streptococcus; GAS) causes 600 million cases of pharyngitis annually worldwide. There is no licensed human GAS vaccine despite a century of research. Although the human oropharynx is the primary site of GAS infection, the pathogenic genes and molecular processes used to colonize, cause disease, and persist in the upper respiratory tract are poorly understood. Using dense transposon mutant libraries made with serotype M1 and M28 GAS strains and transposon-directed insertion sequencing, we performed genome-wide screens in the nonhuman primate (NHP) oropharynx. We identified many potentially novel GAS fitness genes, including a common set of 115 genes that contribute to fitness in both genetically distinct GAS strains during experimental NHP pharyngitis. Targeted deletion of 4 identified fitness genes/operons confirmed that our newly identified targets are critical for GAS virulence during experimental pharyngitis. Our screens discovered many surface-exposed or secreted proteins — substrates for vaccine research — that potentially contribute to GAS pharyngitis, including lipoprotein HitA. Pooled human immune globulin reacted with purified HitA, suggesting that humans produce antibodies against this lipoprotein. Our findings provide new information about GAS fitness in the upper respiratory tract that may assist in translational research, including developing novel vaccines.
Luchang Zhu, Randall J. Olsen, Stephen B. Beres, Matthew Ojeda Saavedra, Samantha L. Kubiak, Concepcion C. Cantu, Leslie Jenkins, Andrew S. Waller, Zhizeng Sun, Timothy Palzkill, Adeline R. Porter, Frank R. DeLeo, James M. Musser
Whole sporozoite vaccines engender sterilizing immunity against malaria in animal models and importantly, in humans. Gene editing allows for the removal of specific parasite genes, enabling generation of genetically attenuated parasite (GAP) strains for vaccination. Using rodent malaria parasites, we have previously shown that late liver stage-arresting replication-competent (LARC) GAPs confer superior protection when compared to early liver stage-arresting replication-deficient (EARD) GAPs and radiation-attenuated sporozoites. However, generating a LARC GAP in the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum (Pf) has been challenging. Here we report the generation and characterization of an unprecedented Pf LARC GAP generated by targeted gene deletion of the Mei2 gene; Pf mei2–. Robust exoerythrocytic schizogony with extensive cell growth and DNA replication was observed for Pf mei2- liver stages in human liver-chimeric mice. However, Pf mei2– liver stages failed to complete development and did not form infectious exo-erythrocytic merozoites, thereby preventing their transition to asexual blood stage infection. Therefore, Pf mei2– is a replication-competent, attenuated human malaria parasite strain with potentially increased potency, useful for vaccination to protect against Pf malaria infection.
Debashree Goswami, William Betz, Navin K. Locham, Chaitra Parthiban, Carolyn Brager, Carola Schäfer, Nelly Camargo, Thao Nguyen, Spencer Y. Kennedy, Sean C. Murphy, Ashley M. Vaughan, Stefan H.I. Kappe
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