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1.  Intrinsic carnosine metabolism in the human kidney 
Amino Acids  2015;47(12):2541-2550.
Histidine-containing dipeptides like carnosine and anserine have protective functions in both health and disease. Animal studies suggest that carnosine can be metabolized within the kidney. The goal of this study was to obtain evidence of carnosine metabolism in the human kidney and to provide insight with regards to diabetic nephropathy. Expression, distribution, and localization of carnosinase-1 (CNDP1), carnosine synthase (CARNS), and taurine transporters (TauT) were measured in human kidneys. CNDP1 and CARNS activities were measured in vitro. CNDP1 and CARNS were located primarily in distal and proximal tubules, respectively. Specifically, CNDP1 levels were high in tubular cells and podocytes (20.3 ± 3.4 and 15 ± 3.2 ng/mg, respectively) and considerably lower in endothelial cells (0.5 ± 0.1 ng/mg). CNDP1 expression was correlated with the degradation of carnosine and anserine (r = 0.88 and 0.81, respectively). Anserine and carnosine were also detectable by HPLC in the renal cortex. Finally, TauT mRNA and protein were found in all renal epithelial cells. In diabetic patients, CNDP1 seemed to be reallocated to proximal tubules. We report compelling evidence that the kidney has an intrinsic capacity to metabolize carnosine. Both CNDP1 and CARNS are expressed in glomeruli and tubular cells. Carnosine-synthesizing and carnosine-hydrolyzing enzymes are localized in distinct compartments in the nephron and increased CNDP1 levels suggest a higher CNDP1 activity in diabetic kidneys.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00726-015-2045-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4633449  PMID: 26206726
Carnosine; Anserine; Carnosinase (CNDP1); Metabolism; Diabetic nephropathy
2.  Draft Genome Sequence of Pseudomonas aeruginosa SG17M, an Environmental Isolate Belonging to Clone C, Prevalent in Patients and Aquatic Habitats 
Genome Announcements  2014;2(2):e00186-14.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa SG17M is an environmental isolate recovered from river water in the city of Mulheim, Germany. SG17M belongs to clone C, which is distributed worldwide. This is the first clone C strain whose genome sequence has been determined.
PMCID: PMC3961725  PMID: 24652978
3.  Recombinant Protein Production by In Vivo Polymer Inclusion Display ▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2011;77(18):6706-6709.
A novel approach to produce purified recombinant proteins was established. The target protein is produced as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthase fusion protein, which mediates intracellular formation of PHA inclusions displaying the target protein. After isolation of the PHA inclusions, the pure target protein was released by simple enterokinase digestion.
PMCID: PMC3187177  PMID: 21803888
4.  Complex c-di-GMP Signaling Networks Mediate Transition between Virulence Properties and Biofilm Formation in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium 
PLoS ONE  2011;6(12):e28351.
Upon Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium infection of the gut, an early line of defense is the gastrointestinal epithelium which senses the pathogen and intrusion along the epithelial barrier is one of the first events towards disease. Recently, we showed that high intracellular amounts of the secondary messenger c-di-GMP in S. typhimurium inhibited invasion and abolished induction of a pro-inflammatory immune response in the colonic epithelial cell line HT-29 suggesting regulation of transition between biofilm formation and virulence by c-di-GMP in the intestine. Here we show that highly complex c-di-GMP signaling networks consisting of distinct groups of c-di-GMP synthesizing and degrading proteins modulate the virulence phenotypes invasion, IL-8 production and in vivo colonization in the streptomycin-treated mouse model implying a spatial and timely modulation of virulence properties in S. typhimurium by c-di-GMP signaling. Inhibition of the invasion and IL-8 induction phenotype by c-di-GMP (partially) requires the major biofilm activator CsgD and/or BcsA, the synthase for the extracellular matrix component cellulose. Inhibition of the invasion phenotype is associated with inhibition of secretion of the type three secretion system effector protein SipA, which requires c-di-GMP metabolizing proteins, but not their catalytic activity. Our findings show that c-di-GMP signaling is at least equally important in the regulation of Salmonella-host interaction as in the regulation of biofilm formation at ambient temperature.
PMCID: PMC3229569  PMID: 22164276
5.  N-Glycosylation of Carnosinase Influences Protein Secretion and Enzyme Activity 
Diabetes  2010;59(8):1984-1990.
The (CTG)n polymorphism in the serum carnosinase (CN-1) gene affects CN-1 secretion. Since CN-1 is heavily glycosylated and glycosylation might influence protein secretion as well, we tested the role of N-glycosylation for CN-1 secretion and enzyme activity. We also tested whether CN-1 secretion is changed under hyperglycemic conditions.
N-glycosylation of CN-1 was either inhibited by tunicamycin in pCSII-CN-1–transfected Cos-7 cells or by stepwise deletion of its three putative N-glycosylation sites. CN-1 protein expression, N-glycosylation, and enzyme activity were assessed in cell extracts and supernatants. The influence of hyperglycemia on CN-1 enzyme activity in human serum was tested in homozygous (CTG)5 diabetic patients and healthy control subjects.
Tunicamycin completely inhibited CN-1 secretion. Deletion of all N-glycosylation sites was required to reduce CN-1 secretion efficiency. Enzyme activity was already diminished when two sites were deleted. In pCSII-CN-1–transfected Cos-7 cells cultured in medium containing 25 mmol/l d-glucose, the immature 61 kilodaltons (kDa) CN-1 immune reactive band was not detected. This was paralleled by an increased GlcNAc expression in cell lysates and CN-1 expression in the supernatants. Homozygous (CTG)5 diabetic patients had significantly higher serum CN-1 activity compared with genotype-matched, healthy control subjects.
We conclude that apart from the (CTG)n polymorphism in the signal peptide of CN-1, N-glycosylation is essential for appropriate secretion and enzyme activity. Since hyperglycemia enhances CN-1 secretion and enzyme activity, our data suggest that poor blood glucose control in diabetic patients might result in an increased CN-1 secretion even in the presence of the (CTG)5 allele.
PMCID: PMC2911063  PMID: 20460427
6.  Uropathogenic Escherichia coli Modulates Immune Responses and Its Curli Fimbriae Interact with the Antimicrobial Peptide LL-37 
PLoS Pathogens  2010;6(7):e1001010.
Bacterial growth in multicellular communities, or biofilms, offers many potential advantages over single-cell growth, including resistance to antimicrobial factors. Here we describe the interaction between the biofilm-promoting components curli fimbriae and cellulose of uropathogenic E. coli and the endogenous antimicrobial defense in the urinary tract. We also demonstrate the impact of this interplay on the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections. Our results suggest that curli and cellulose exhibit differential and complementary functions. Both of these biofilm components were expressed by a high proportion of clinical E. coli isolates. Curli promoted adherence to epithelial cells and resistance against the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37, but also increased the induction of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-8. Cellulose production, on the other hand, reduced immune induction and hence delayed bacterial elimination from the kidneys. Interestingly, LL-37 inhibited curli formation by preventing the polymerization of the major curli subunit, CsgA. Thus, even relatively low concentrations of LL-37 inhibited curli-mediated biofilm formation in vitro. Taken together, our data demonstrate that biofilm components are involved in the pathogenesis of urinary tract infections by E. coli and can be a target of local immune defense mechanisms.
Author Summary
Most infections of the urinary tract are caused by uropathogenic E. coli. On abiotic surfaces, these bacteria are able to form biofilms, which protect them from various adverse environmental conditions. In this study, we sought to investigate whether two E. coli biofilm components, curli fimbriae and cellulose, provide a similar protection against innate immune defense mechanisms of the urinary tract. We put special emphasis on the interaction with the human antimicrobial peptide LL-37, which plays a crucial role in the protection against uropathogenic E. coli. We demonstrate that curli expression specifically reduces bacterial sensitivity to LL-37 by binding the peptide before reaching the bacterial cell membrane and exhibiting its bactericidal activity. A more general protection is mediated by cellulose, possibly by hiding immunogenic surface structures of the bacterium. In addition to providing protection, curli are also targeted by the immune system. The formation of new curli fibers is inhibited in the presence of LL-37. Moreover, curliated bacteria show higher immunogenicity than their non-curliated counterparts. Cellulose expression, on the other hand, appears to impair initial host colonization. In conclusion, our findings demonstrate an example of the tight interplay between bacterial virulence factors and the host immune defense.
PMCID: PMC2908543  PMID: 20661475
7.  Bistable Expression of CsgD in Biofilm Development of Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium▿ † 
Journal of Bacteriology  2009;192(2):456-466.
Bacterial persistence in the environment and in the infected host is often aided by the formation of exopolymer-enclosed communities known as biofilms. Heterogeneous gene expression takes place in microcompartments formed within the complex biofilm structure. This study describes cell differentiation within an isogenic bacterial cell population based on the example of biofilm formation by Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium. We analyzed the expression of the major biofilm regulator CsgD at the single-cell level with a chromosomal CsgD-green fluorescent protein (GFP) translational fusion. In individual cells, CsgD-GFP expression is mostly found in the cytoplasm. Quantitative expression analysis and results from three different models of S. Typhimurium biofilms demonstrated that CsgD is expressed in a bistable manner during biofilm development. CsgD expression is, however, monomodal when CsgD is expressed in larger amounts due to a promoter mutation or elevated levels of the secondary signaling molecule c-di-GMP. High levels of CsgD-GFP are associated with cellular aggregation in all three biofilm models. Furthermore, the subpopulation of cells expressing large amounts of CsgD is engaged in cellulose production during red, dry, and rough (rdar) morphotype development and in microcolony formation under conditions of continuous flow. Consequently, bistability at the level of CsgD expression leads to a corresponding pattern of task distribution in S. Typhimurium biofilms.
PMCID: PMC2805326  PMID: 19897646
8.  Recombinant Escherichia coli Strain Produces a ZZ Domain Displaying Biopolyester Granules Suitable for Immunoglobulin G Purification▿  
Applied and Environmental Microbiology  2006;72(11):7394-7397.
The immunoglobulin G (IgG) binding ZZ domain of protein A from Staphylococcus aureus was fused to the N terminus of the polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthase from Cupriavidus necator. The fusion protein was confirmed by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometry and mediated formation of ZZ domain-displaying PHA granules in recombinant Escherichia coli. The IgG binding capacity of isolated granules was assessed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and could be enhanced by the overproduction of the ZZ-PHA synthase. ZZ-PHA granules enabled efficient purification of IgG from human serum.
PMCID: PMC1636211  PMID: 16936052
9.  In Vivo Enzyme Immobilization by Use of Engineered Polyhydroxyalkanoate Synthase 
This study demonstrated that engineered polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) synthases can be employed as molecular tools to covalently immobilize enzymes at the PHA granule surface. The β-galactosidase was fused to the N terminus of the class II PHA synthase from Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The open reading frame was confirmed to encode the complete fusion protein by T7 promoter-dependent overexpression. Restoration of PHA biosynthesis in the PHA-negative mutant of P. aeruginosa PAO1 showed a PHA synthase function of the fusion protein. PHA granules were isolated and showed β-galactosidase activity. PHA granule attached proteins were analyzed and confirmed by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis and matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry. Surprisingly, the β-galactosidase-PHA synthase fusion protein was detectable at a high copy number at the PHA granule, compared with PHA synthase alone, which was barely detectable at PHA granules. Localization of the β-galactosidase at the PHA granule surface was confirmed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay using anti-β-galactosidase antibodies. Treatment of these β-galactosidase-PHA granules with urea suggested a covalent binding of the β-galactosidase-PHA synthase to the PHA granule. The immobilized β-galactosidase was enzymologically characterized, suggesting a Michaelis-Menten reaction kinetics. A Km of 630 μM and a Vmax of 17.6 nmol/min for orthonitrophenyl-β-d-galactopyranoside as a substrate was obtained. The immobilized β-galactosidase was stable for at least several months under various storage conditions. This study demonstrated that protein engineering of PHA synthase enables the manufacture of PHA granules with covalently attached enzymes, suggesting an application in recycling of biocatalysts, such as in fine-chemical production.
PMCID: PMC1393242  PMID: 16517622
10.  Deficiency of UDP-galactose:N-acetylglucosamine β-1,4-galactosyltransferase I causes the congenital disorder of glycosylation type IId 
Deficiency of the Golgi enzyme UDP-Gal:N-acetylglucosamine β-1,4-galactosyltransferase I (β4GalT I) (E.C. causes a new congenital disorder of glycosylation (CDG), designated type IId (CDG-IId), a severe neurologic disease characterized by a hydrocephalus, myopathy, and blood-clotting defects. Analysis of oligosaccharides from serum transferrin by HPLC, mass spectrometry, and lectin binding revealed the loss of sialic acid and galactose residues. In skin fibroblasts and leukocytes, galactosyltransferase activity was reduced to 5% that of controls. In fibroblasts, a truncated polypeptide was detected that was about 12 kDa smaller in size than wild-type β4GalT I and that failed to localize to the Golgi apparatus. Sequencing of the β4GalT I cDNA and gene revealed an insertion of a single nucleotide (1031-1032insC) leading to premature translation stop and loss of the C-terminal 50 amino acids of the enzyme. The patient was homozygous and his parents heterozygous for this mutation. Expression of a corresponding mutant cDNA in COS-7 cells led to the synthesis of a truncated, inactive polypeptide, which localized to the endoplasmic reticulum.
PMCID: PMC150909  PMID: 11901181

Results 1-10 (10)