• Comprehensive analysis of clinical Burkholderia pseudomallei isolates demonstrates conservation of unique lipid A structure and TLR4-dependent innate immune activation

      Sengyee, S.; Yoon, S.H.; Paksanont, S. (Public Library of Science, 2018)
      Burkholderia pseudomallei is an environmental bacterium that causes melioidosis, a major community-acquired infection in tropical regions. Melioidosis presents with a range of clinical symptoms, is often characterized by a robust inflammatory response, may relapse after treatment, and results in high mortality rates. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) of B. pseudomallei is a potent immunostimulatory molecule comprised of lipid A, core, and O-polysaccharide (OPS) components. Four B. pseudomallei LPS types have been described based on SDS-PAGE patterns that represent the difference of OPS–type A, type B, type B2 and rough LPS. The majority of B. pseudomallei isolates are type A. We used matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF MS) followed by electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-QqTOF MS) and gas chromatography to characterize the lipid A of B. pseudomallei within LPS type A isolates. We determined that B. pseudomallei lipid A is represented by penta- and tetra-acylated species modified with 4-amino-4-deoxy-arabinose (Ara4N). The MALDI-TOF profiles from 171 clinical B. pseudomallei isolates, including 68 paired primary and relapse isolates and 35 within-host isolates were similar. We did not observe lipid A structural changes when the bacteria were cultured in different growth conditions. Dose-dependent NF-κB activation in HEK cells expressing TLR4 was observed using multiple heat-killed B. pseudomallei isolates and corresponding purified LPS. We demonstrated that TLR4-dependent NF-κB activation induced by heat-killed bacteria or LPS prepared from OPS deficient mutant was significantly greater than those induced by wild type B. pseudomallei. These findings suggest that the structure of B. pseudomallei lipid A is highly conserved in a wide variety of clinical and environmental circumstances but that the presence of OPS may modulate LPS-driven innate immune responses in melioidosis. Copyright 2018 Sengyee et al.
    • Rationally designed TLR4 ligands for vaccine adjuvant discovery

      Gregg, K.A.; Harberts, E.; Gardner, F.M. (American Society for Microbiology, 2017)
      Adjuvant properties of bacterial cell wall components like MPLA (monophosphoryl lipid A) are well described and have gained FDA approval for use in vaccines such as Cervarix. MPLA is the product of chemically modified lipooligosaccharide (LOS), altered to diminish toxic proinflammatory effects while retaining adequate immunogenicity. Despite the virtually unlimited number of potential sources among bacterial strains, the number of useable compounds within this promising class of adjuvants are few. We have developed bacterial enzymatic combinatorial chemistry (BECC) as a method to generate rationally designed, functionally diverse lipid A. BECC removes endogenous or introduces exogenous lipid A-modifying enzymes to bacteria, effectively reprogramming the lipid A biosynthetic pathway. In this study, BECC is applied within an avirulent strain of Yersinia pestis to develop structurally distinct LOS molecules that elicit differential Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) activation. Using reporter cell lines that measure NF-κB activation, BECC-derived molecules were screened for the ability to induce a lower proinflammatory response than Escherichia coli LOS. Their structures exhibit varied, dose-dependent, TLR4-driven NF-κB activation with both human and mouse TLR4 complexes. Additional cytokine secretion screening identified molecules that induce levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-8 (IL-8) comparable to the levels induced by phosphorylated hexa-acyl disaccharide (PHAD). The lead candidates demonstrated potent immunostimulation in mouse splenocytes, human primary blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), and human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs). This newly described system allows directed programming of lipid A synthesis and has the potential to generate a diverse array of TLR4 agonist candidates. IMPORTANCE: There is an urgent need to develop effective vaccines against infectious diseases that continue to be major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Making effective vaccines requires selecting an adjuvant to strengthen an appropriate and protective immune response. This work describes a practical method, bacterial enzymatic combinatorial chemistry (BECC), for generating functionally diverse molecules for adjuvant use. These molecules were analyzed in cell culture for their ability to initiate immune stimulatory activity. Several of the assays described herein show promising in vitro cytokine production and costimulatory molecule expression results, suggesting that the BECC molecules may be useful in future vaccine preparations. Copyright 2017 Gregg et al.
    • Remodeling of Lipid A in Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola In Vitro

      Gerster, Tim; Wröbel, Michelle; Hofstaedter, Casey E.; Schwudke, Dominik; Ernst, Robert K.; Ranf, Stefanie; Gisch, Nicolas (MDPI AG, 2022-02-01)
      Pseudomonas species infect a variety of organisms, including mammals and plants. Mammalian pathogens of the Pseudomonas family modify their lipid A during host entry to evade immune responses and to create an effective barrier against different environments, for example by removal of primary acyl chains, addition of phosphoethanolamine (P-EtN) to primary phosphates, and hydroxylation of secondary acyl chains. For Pseudomonas syringae pv. phaseolicola (Pph) 1448A, an economically important pathogen of beans, we observed similar lipid A modifications by mass spectrometric analysis. Therefore, we investigated predicted proteomes of various plant-associated Pseudomonas spp. for putative lipid A-modifying proteins using the well-studied mammalian pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa as a reference. We generated isogenic mutant strains of candidate genes and analyzed their lipid A. We show that the function of PagL, LpxO, and EptA is generally conserved in Pph 1448A. PagL-mediated de-acylation occurs at the distal glucosamine, whereas LpxO hydroxylates the secondary acyl chain on the distal glucosamine. The addition of P-EtN catalyzed by EptA occurs at both phosphates of lipid A. Our study characterizes lipid A modifications in vitro and provides a useful set of mutant strains relevant for further functional studies on lipid A modifications in Pph 1448A. © 2022 by the authors.
    • Variation in blood microbial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) contributes to immune reconstitution in response to suppressive antiretroviral therapy in HIV.

      Luo, Zhenwu; Health, Sonya L; Li, Min; Yang, Hyojik; Wu, Yongxia; Collins, Michael; Deeks, Steven G; Martin, Jeffrey N; Scott, Alison; Jiang, Wei (Elsevier, 2022-04-29)
      Background: In HIV infection, even under long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART), up to 20% of HIV-infected individuals fail to restore CD4+ T cell counts to the levels similar to those of healthy controls. The mechanisms of poor CD4+ T cell reconstitution on suppressive ART are not fully understood. Methods: Here, we tested the hypothesis that lipopolysaccharide (LPS) from bacteria enriched in the plasma from immune non-responders (INRs) contributes to blunted CD4+ T cell recovery on suppressive ART in HIV. We characterized plasma microbiome in HIV INRs (aviremic, CD4+ T cell counts < 350 cells/μl), immune responders (IRs, CD4+ T cell counts > 500 cells/μl), and healthy controls. Next, we analyzed the structure of the lipid A domain of three bacterial species identified by mass spectrometry (MS) and evaluated the LPS function through LPS induced proinflammatory responses and CD4+ T cell apoptosis in PBMCs. In comparison, we also evaluated plasma levels of proinflammatory cytokine and chemokine patterns in these three groups. At last, to study the causality of microbiome-blunted CD4+ T cell recovery in HIV, B6 mice were intraperitoneally (i.p.) injected with heat-killed Burkholderia fungorum, Serratia marcescens, or Phyllobacterium myrsinacearum, twice per week for total of eight weeks. Findings: INRs exhibited elevated plasma levels of total microbial translocation compared to the IRs and healthy controls. The most enriched bacteria were Burkholderia and Serratia in INRs and were Phyllobacterium in IRs. Further, unlike P. myrsinacearum LPS, B. fungorum and S. marcescens LPS induced proinflammatory responses and CD4+ T cell apoptosis in PBMCs, and gene profiles of bacteria-mediated cell activation pathways in THP-1 cells in vitro. Notably, LPS structural analysis by mass spectrometry revealed that lipid A from P. myrsinacearum exhibited a divergent structure consistent with weak toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 agonism, similar to the biological profile of probiotic bacteria. In contrast, lipid A from B. fungorum and S. marcescens showed structures more consistent with canonical TLR4 agonists stemming from proinflammatory bacterial strains. Finally, intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of inactivated B. fungorum and S. marcescens but not P. myrsinacearum resulted in cell apoptosis in mesenteric lymph nodes of C57BL/6 mice in vivo. Interpretation: These results suggest that the microbial products are causally associated with INR phenotype. In summary, variation in blood microbial LPS immunogenicity may contribute to immune reconstitution in response to suppressive ART. Collectively, this work is consistent with immunologically silencing microbiome being causal and targetable with therapy in HIV.