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      Toll-Like Receptor-4 is Essential for Arcobacter Butzleri-Induced Colonic and Systemic Immune Responses in Gnotobiotic IL-10 –/– Mice

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          Arcobacter butzleri causes sporadic cases of gastroenteritis, but the underlying immunopathological mechanisms of infection are unknown. We have recently demonstrated that A. butzleri-infected gnotobiotic IL-10 –/– mice were clinically unaffected but exhibited intestinal and systemic inflammatory immune responses. For the first time, we here investigated the role of Toll-like receptor (TLR)-4, the main receptor for lipopolysaccharide and lipooligosaccharide of Gram-negative bacteria, in murine arcobacteriosis. Gnotobiotic TLR-4/IL-10-double deficient (TLR-4 –/– IL-10 –/–) and IL-10 –/– control mice generated by broad-spectrum antibiotics were perorally infected with A. butzleri. Until day 16 postinfection, mice of either genotype were stably colonized with the pathogen, but fecal bacterial loads were approximately 0.5–2.0 log lower in TLR-4 –/– IL-10 –/– as compared to IL-10 –/– mice. A. butzleri-infected TLR-4 –/– IL-10 –/– mice displayed less pronounced colonic apoptosis accompanied by lower numbers of macrophages and monocytes, T lymphocytes, regulatory T-cells, and B lymphocytes within the colonic mucosa and lamina propria as compared to IL-10 –/– mice. Furthermore, colonic concentrations of nitric oxide, TNF, IL-6, MCP-1, and, remarkably, IFN-γ and IL-12p70 serum levels were lower in A. butzleri-infected TLR-4 –/– IL-10 –/– versus IL-10 –/– mice. In conclusion, TLR-4 is involved in mediating murine A. butzleri infection. Further studies are needed to investigate the molecular mechanisms underlying Arcobacter–host interactions in more detail.

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          Gram-negative bacteria aggravate murine small intestinal Th1-type immunopathology following oral infection with Toxoplasma gondii.

          Oral infection of susceptible mice with Toxoplasma gondii results in Th1-type immunopathology in the ileum. We investigated gut flora changes during ileitis and determined contributions of gut bacteria to intestinal inflammation. Analysis of the intestinal microflora revealed that ileitis was accompanied by increasing bacterial load, decreasing species diversity, and bacterial translocation. Gram-negative bacteria identified as Escherichia coli and Bacteroides/Prevotella spp. accumulated in inflamed ileum at high concentrations. Prophylactic or therapeutic administration of ciprofloxacin and/or metronidazole ameliorated ileal immunopathology and reduced intestinal NO and IFN-gamma levels. Most strikingly, gnotobiotic mice in which cultivable gut bacteria were removed by quintuple antibiotic treatment did not develop ileitis after Toxoplasma gondii infection. A reduction in total numbers of lymphocytes was observed in the lamina propria of specific pathogen-free (SPF), but not gnotobiotic, mice upon development of ileitis. Relative numbers of CD4(+) T cells did not differ in naive vs infected gnotobiotic or SPF mice, but infected SPF mice showed a significant increase in the frequencies of activated CD4(+) T cells compared with gnotobiotic mice. Furthermore, recolonization with total gut flora, E. coli, or Bacteroides/Prevotella spp., but not Lactobacillus johnsonii, induced immunopathology in gnotobiotic mice. Animals recolonized with E. coli and/or total gut flora, but not L. johnsonii, showed elevated ileal NO and/or IFN-gamma levels. In conclusion, Gram-negative bacteria, i.e., E. coli, aggravate pathogen-induced intestinal Th1-type immunopathology. Thus, pathogen-induced acute ileitis may prove useful to study bacteria-host interactions in small intestinal inflammation and to test novel therapies based on modulation of gut flora.
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            Novel Murine Infection Models Provide Deep Insights into the “Ménage à Trois” of Campylobacter jejuni, Microbiota and Host Innate Immunity

            Background Although Campylobacter jejuni-infections have a high prevalence worldwide and represent a significant socioeconomic burden, it is still not well understood how C. jejuni causes intestinal inflammation. Detailed investigation of C. jejuni-mediated intestinal immunopathology is hampered by the lack of appropriate vertebrate models. In particular, mice display colonization resistance against this pathogen. Methodology/Principal Findings To overcome these limitations we developed a novel C. jejuni-infection model using gnotobiotic mice in which the intestinal flora was eradicated by antibiotic treatment. These animals could then be permanently associated with a complete human (hfa) or murine (mfa) microbiota. After peroral infection C. jejuni colonized the gastrointestinal tract of gnotobiotic and hfa mice for six weeks, whereas mfa mice cleared the pathogen within two days. Strikingly, stable C. jejuni colonization was accompanied by a pro-inflammatory immune response indicated by increased numbers of T- and B-lymphocytes, regulatory T-cells, neutrophils and apoptotic cells, as well as increased concentrations of TNF-α, IL-6, and MCP-1 in the colon mucosa of hfa mice. Analysis of MyD88−/−, TRIF−/−, TLR4−/−, and TLR9−/− mice revealed that TLR4- and TLR9-signaling was essential for immunopathology following C. jejuni-infection. Interestingly, C. jejuni-mutant strains deficient in formic acid metabolism and perception induced less intestinal immunopathology compared to the parental strain infection. In summary, the murine gut flora is essential for colonization resistance against C. jejuni and can be overcome by reconstitution of gnotobiotic mice with human flora. Detection of C. jejuni-LPS and -CpG-DNA by host TLR4 and TLR9, respectively, plays a key role in immunopathology. Finally, the host immune response is tightly coupled to bacterial formic acid metabolism and invasion fitness. Conclusion/Significance We conclude that gnotobiotic and “humanized” mice represent excellent novel C. jejuni-infection and -inflammation models and provide deep insights into the immunological and molecular interplays between C. jejuni, microbiota and innate immunity in human campylobacteriosis.
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              Quorum sensing in bacterial virulence.

              Bacteria communicate through the production of diffusible signal molecules termed autoinducers. The molecules are produced at basal levels and accumulate during growth. Once a critical concentration has been reached, autoinducers can activate or repress a number of target genes. Because the control of gene expression by autoinducers is cell-density-dependent, this phenomenon has been called quorum sensing. Quorum sensing controls virulence gene expression in numerous micro-organisms. In some cases, this phenomenon has proven relevant for bacterial virulence in vivo. In this article, we provide a few examples to illustrate how quorum sensing can act to control bacterial virulence in a multitude of ways. Several classes of autoinducers have been described to date and we present examples of how each of the major types of autoinducer can be involved in bacterial virulence. As quorum sensing controls virulence, it has been considered an attractive target for the development of new therapeutic strategies. We discuss some of the new strategies to combat bacterial virulence based on the inhibition of bacterial quorum sensing systems.

                Author and article information

                Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp)
                Eur J Microbiol Immunol (Bp)
                European Journal of Microbiology & Immunology
                Akadémiai Kiadó (Budapest )
                18 November 2015
                December 2015
                : 5
                : 4
                : 321-332
                [1 ]Institute of Food Hygiene, Freie Universität Berlin , Berlin, Germany
                [2 ] Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Charité – University Medicine Berlin , Berlin, Germany
                Author notes
                * Charité – University Medicine Berlin, CC5, Department of Microbiology and Hygiene, Campus Benjamin Franklin, FEM, Garystr. 5, D-14195 Berlin, Germany; +49-30-450524318; markus.heimesaat@

                Financial disclosure and grant support This work was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG) to A.F., S.B., and U.B.G. (SFB633, TP A7), MMH (SFB633, TP B6), and from the German Federal Ministery of Education and Research (BMBF) to S.B. (TP1.1).

                The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the article.

                Competing interests The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

                © 2015, The Author(s)

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 11, Tables: 0, Equations: 0, References: 37, Pages: 12
                Original Article


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