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  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Quantitative analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi gene expression in naturally (tick) infected mouse strains
    (2005)
    Lederer, Sharon
    ;
    Brenner, Christiane
    ;
    Stehle, Thomas
    ;
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi in the vector and vertebrate host is mediated by mechanisms that regulate differential expression of outer surface lipoproteins (Osps). In this study, real time PCR was applied to quantify tissue-specific expression of four linear plasmid (lp54)-encoded (ospA, zs7.a36, zs7.a66 zs7.a68) and one circular plasmid (cp26)-encoded (ospC) gene from B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, in a natural setting of tick-infected immunodeficient (C.B-17 SCID) and immunocompetent (BALB/c and AKR/OlaHsd) mice for up to 120 days post-infection (p.i.). Early during infection (day 30 p.i.) high numbers of spirochetes were found in the heart and joint, but not the ear and spleen tissues of disease-susceptible SCID mice. In disease-susceptible AKR mice spirochetes colonized the ear and joint tissues, but were undetectable in tissues of disease-resistant BALB/c mice. Later in infection (day 120 p.i.), spirochetes had expanded (similar to1,000-fold) in all SCID tissues tested but were undetectable in AKR and BALB/c mice. Of the five genes analyzed, only zs7.a36 transcripts were detected in various tissues of all infected mouse strains, though at differing levels, whereas ospC transcripts were only found in tissue specimens of SCID mice. Furthermore, gene expression of ospC and zs7.a36 appears to be differentially regulated in distinct organs of individual mice. In contrast, transcripts for ospA, zs7.a66, and zs7.a68 were not detected in any of the mouse strains, independent of their immune status and/or the severity of their infection/inflammatory responses. Late during infection (day 120 p.i.), transcription of zs7.a36 and ospC was down-regulated in the tissues of SCID mice despite expansion of spirochetes. This type of quantitative analysis may be helpful to further disclose principles of pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis and to design strategies for its therapeutic treatment.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Quantitative analysis of Borrelia burgdorferi gene expression in naturally (tick) infected mouse strains
    (2005)
    Lederer, Sharon
    ;
    Brenner, Christiane
    ;
    Stehle, Thomas
    ;
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M.
    Adaptation of Borrelia burgdorferi in the vector and vertebrate host is mediated by mechanisms that regulate differential expression of outer surface lipoproteins (Osps). In this study, real time PCR was applied to quantify tissue-specific expression of four linear plasmid (lp54)-encoded (ospA, zs7.a36, zs7.a66 zs7.a68) and one circular plasmid (cp26)-encoded (ospC) gene from B. burgdorferi sensu stricto, in a natural setting of tick-infected immunodeficient (C.B-17 SCID) and immunocompetent (BALB/c and AKR/OlaHsd) mice for up to 120 days post-infection (p.i.). Early during infection (day 30 p.i.) high numbers of spirochetes were found in the heart and joint, but not the ear and spleen tissues of disease-susceptible SCID mice. In disease-susceptible AKR mice spirochetes colonized the ear and joint tissues, but were undetectable in tissues of disease-resistant BALB/c mice. Later in infection (day 120 p.i.), spirochetes had expanded (~1,000-fold) in all SCID tissues tested but were undetectable in AKR and BALB/c mice. Of the five genes analyzed, only zs7.a36 transcripts were detected in various tissues of all infected mouse strains, though at differing levels, whereas ospC transcripts were only found in tissue specimens of SCID mice. Furthermore, gene expression of ospC and zs7.a36 appears to be differentially regulated in distinct organs of individual mice. In contrast, transcripts for ospA, zs7.a66, and zs7.a68 were not detected in any of the mouse strains, independent of their immune status and/or the severity of their infection/inflammatory responses. Late during infection (day 120 p.i.), transcription of zs7.a36 and ospC was down-regulated in the tissues of SCID mice despite expansion of spirochetes. This type of quantitative analysis may be helpful to further disclose principles of pathogenesis of Lyme borreliosis and to design strategies for its therapeutic treatment.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Artificial-infection protocols allow immunodetection of novel Borrelia burgdorferi antigens suitable as vaccine candidates against Lyme disease
    (2003)
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Jahraus, Oliver
    ;
    Stehle, Thomas
    ;
    Tran, Thi Thanh Thao
    ;
    Brenner, Christiane
    ;
    Hofmann, Heidelore
    ;
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Vaccination with recombinant outer surface protein A (OspA) from Borrelia burgdorferi provides excellent antibody-mediated protection against challenge with the pathogen in animal models and in humans. However, the bactericidal antibodies are ineffective in the reservoir host, since OspA is expressed by spirochetes only in the vector, but rarely, if at all, in mammals. Using an artificially generated immune serum (anti-10(8) spirochetes) with high protective potential for prophylactic and therapeutic treatment, we have now isolated from an expression library of B. burgdorferi (strain ZS7) three novel genes, zs7.a36, zs7.a66 and zs7.a68. All three genes are located, together with ospA/B, on the linear plasmid lp54, and are expressed in vitro and in ticks. At least temporarily two of them, ZS7.A36 and ZS7.A66, are also expressed during infection. The respective natural antigens are poorly immunogenic in infected normal mice but elicited antibodies in Lyme disease patients. We show that recombinant preparations of ZS7.A36, ZS7.A66 and ZS7.A68 induce functional antibodies in rabbits capable of protecting immunodeficient mice against subsequent experimental infection. These findings suggest that all three recombinant antigens represent potential candidates for a 'second generation' vaccine to prevent and/or cure Lyme disease.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Resolution of experimental and tick-borne Borrelia burgdorferi infection in mice by passive, but not active immunization using recombinant OspC
    (1999)
    Zhong, Weimin
    ;
    ;
    Stehle, Thomas
    ;
    Museteanu, Crisan
    ;
    Kramer, Michael
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Vaccination with outer surface protein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi prevents subsequent infection and disease in both laboratory animals and humans with high efficacy. OspA-based immunity, however, does not affect established infection due to the loss of OspA expression in the vertebrate host. We show here that repeated passive transfer of mouse and/or rabbit immune sera to recombinant GST-OspC fusion protein resulted in a dose-dependent resolution (1) of fully established arthritis and carditis as well as infection in needle-challenged C.B-17 SCID and (2) of infection in both experimentally and tick-infected BALB/c mice. Unexpectedly, active immunization of disease-susceptible AKR/N mice with GST-OspC only led to prevention but not resolution of disease and infection, in spite of high serum titers of OspC-specific Ab and the expression of ospC in tissue-derived spirochetes. The data suggest that the efficacy of OspC antibody-mediated immunity depends on the immunological history of the recipient and/or environment-dependent regulation of OspC surface expression by spirochetes in vivo. The results encourage further attempts to develop therapeutic vaccination protocols against Lyme disease.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    An avian reservoir (Turdus merula) of the Lyme borreliosis spirochetes
    (1998)
    Humair, Pierre-François
    ;
    Postic, Danièle
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    The reservoir competence of passerine birds for the Lyme borreliosis spirochetes was studied in an enzootic focus in Switzerland. Skin aspirates and skin biopsies were used to isolate Borrelia spirochetes from Turdus species. B. burgdorferi sensu late was isolated and/or PCR-detected in BSK medium containing skin biopsy or skin aspirate from 5 blackbirds (T. merula) and one song thrush (T. philomelos). Seven isolates were obtained from 3 different blackbirds. Either B. garinii or Borrelia from the genomic group VS116 was found in bird skin samples. Mixed infection occurred in 2 cases. Tick xenodiagnosis was used to determine whether blackbirds transmitted Borrelia to ticks. Five xenodiagnoses were performed on 3 different blackbirds. Borrelia DNA was detected in BSK medium inoculated with xenodiagnostic ticks from all the passerines tested. Isolates cultured from xenodiagnostic ticks were obtained from 2 blackbirds. Isolates belonged to group VS116 (n = 10) and to B. garinii (n = 1). Our study has shown that Turdus sp. are infected by B. garinii and by Borrelia from group VS116 and that blackbirds are implicated as reservoirs for these 2 genomic groups of Borrelia, as they transmit living borreliae to ticks. An association seems to exist between birds and Borrelia VS116, and to a lesser extent, B. garinii, similar to the association existing between small rodents and B. afzelii. Our observations emphasize the fact that different enzootic cycles maintain Lyme borreliosis spirochetes in nature.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Therapeutic passive vaccination against chronic Lyme disease in mice
    (1997)
    Zhong, Weimin
    ;
    Stehle, Thomas
    ;
    Museteanu, Crisan
    ;
    Siebers, Annette
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    ;
    Kramer, Michael
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Passive and active immunization against outer surface protein A (OspA) has been successful in protecting laboratory animals against subsequent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi. Antibodies (Abs) to OspA convey full protection, but only when they are present at the time of infection, Abs inactivate spirochetes within the tick and block their transmission to mammals, but do not affect established infection because of the loss of OspA in the vertebrate host. Our initial finding that the presence of high serum titers of anti-OspC Abs (5 to 10 mu g/ml) correlates with spontaneous resolution of disease and infection in experimentally challenged immunocompetent mice suggested that therapeutic vaccination with OspC may be feasible. We now show that polyclonal and monospecific mouse immune sera to recombinant OspC, but not to OspA, of B. burgdorferi resolve chronic arthritis and carditis and clear disseminated spirochetes in experimentally infected C.B.-17 severe combined immunodeficient mice in a dose-dependent manner. This was verified by macroscopical and microscopical examination of affected tissues and recultivation of spirochetes from ear biopsies. Complete resolution of disease and infection was achieved, independent of whether OspC-specific immune sera (10 mu g OspC-specific Abs) were repeatedly given (4 x in 3- to 4-day intervals) before the onset (day 10 postinfection) or at the time of fully established arthritis and carditis (days 19 or 60 postinfection). The results indicate that in mice spirochetes constitutively express OspC and are readily susceptible to protective OspC-specific Abs throughout the infection. Thus, an OspC-based vaccine appears to be a candidate for therapy of Lyme disease.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    Apodemus sp. rodents, reservoir hosts for Borrelia afzelii in an endemic area in Switzerland
    (1997)
    Hu, Chang Min
    ;
    Humair, Pierre-François
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Borrelia burgdorferi is maintained in nature in transmission cycles alternatively involving ticks and reservoir hosts. Small rodents like Apodemus mice and Clethrionomys voles are the primary reservoir of Lyme disease in Europe. In this study, we analyzed by SDS-PAGE and Western blot 20 borrelial isolates from xenodiagnostic ticks fed on four Apodemus sp. mice captured in the Staatswald forest (Switzerland). All isolates but one showed a homogeneous protein pattern expressing an outer surface protein, (Osp) A of 32 kDa and an OspB of 35 kDa and reacted with monoclonal antibody (mAb) I 17.3 specific for B. afzelii. One isolate expressed an OspA of 32.5 kDa and an OspB of 35 kDa and did not react with species-specific mAbs I 17.3, D6 and H3TS, but was shown to belong to B., afzelii by Southern blot analysis. The possibility exists that non-cultivatable borreliae are present in xenodiagnostic ticks. However, our results clearly show that Apodemus sp. are reservoir hosts for B. afzelii, since this genospecies is transmitted from Apodemus sp. to feeding larval ticks.
  • Publication
    Métadonnées seulement
    T helper cell priming of mice to Borrelia burgdorferi OspA leads to induction of protective antibodies following experimental but not tick-borne infection
    (1997)
    Zhong, Weimin
    ;
    ;
    Kramer, Michael
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Antibodies to the outer surface lipoprotein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi confer protection to SCID mice against subsequent tick-borne or experimental infection. However, OspA-specific antibodies are hardly detectable in naturally infected humans, dogs, hamsters and mice. This is most probably due to limited expression of OspA on spirochetes transmitted from the vector to the host. Here we have tested whether T cell priming of mice would lead to the induction of protective OspA-specific antibodies upon infection. It is shown that AKR/N mice, previously immunized with either a single T helper cell peptide of OspA, or a mixture of 27 peptides spanning the entire molecule, develop OspA-specific IgM or IgG antibodies, including those to a prominent protective B cell epitope of OspA, LA-2, within 7 days of infection with low doses (10(3)) of culture-derived spirochetes. In marked contrast, the same groups of pre-sensitized mice failed to generate any detectable OspA-specific antibodies after tick-borne infection for more than 40 days after infection. All mice, irrespective of their state of T cell immunity to OspA or the mode of infection, produced similar levels of OspC-specific IgM and IgG antibodies as early as day 14 after infection. None of the mice previously immunized with OspA peptides were protected against experimental infection, in spite of the appearance of protective antibodies. It is clear from these data that, in contrast to culture-derived spirochetes, the naturally transmitted pathogen fails to express OspA within the mammalian host at levels sufficient for induction of B cell responses, even in the presence of pre-activated T helper cells. Together with the fact that OspA-specific antibodies are mainly operative by eliminating spirochetes from the vector during infestation, the data suggest that OspA-vaccination for T helper cell immunity alone is not sufficient to prevent Lyme disease.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    Protective immunization with plasmid DNA containing the outer surface lipoprotein A gene of Borrelia burgdorferi is independent of an eukaryotic promoter
    Simon, Markus M
    ;
    ;
    Hauser, Pierre
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    Zhong, Weimin
    ;
    Nielsen, Peter J
    ;
    Kramer, Michael D
    ;
    Brenner, Christiane
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    Plasmid DNA encoding the outer surface lipoprotein A (OspA) of Borrelia burgdorferi under the control of either strong eukaryotic/viral or its own bacterial promoter was injected intramuscularly (m. tibialis anterior) or intradermally into BALB/c and AKR/N mice. OspA-specific antibodies and OspA-reactive T helper 1 cells (Th1) were induced only with those plasmids containing the ospA structural gene including its own regulatory control region immediately upstream. In the absence of the ospA promoter, no or only marginal immune responses to ospA were obtained, even when strong eukaryotic promoter/enhancer elements were present. Together with the finding that the ospA promoter is active in a mouse B- lymphoma line, the data suggest that spirochetes are able to express at least part of their genes in the mammalian environment. Mice previously vaccinated with the relevant ospA plasmid DNA were protected against subsequent experimental challenge with a virulent strain of B. burgdorferi, as measured by the appearance of antibodies to a prominent protective epitope (LA-2) and the failure to re- isolate spirochetes from ear biopsies. In addition, C.B-17 severe-combined immunodeficient mice could be protected against infection by passive transfer of immune sera from ospA plasmid DNA-inoculated normal mice. Protective LA-2- related antibody titers obtained after repeated immunization persisted for 200 days and longer. This simple procedure of immunization using plasmid DNA consisting of a prokaryotic gene under the control of its own promoter holds great promise for the development of alternative subunit vaccines against bacterial infections, including Lyme disease. In addition, the availability of this novel prokaryotic promoter element now allows the study of the basis for the differential expression of bacterial genes in prokaryotic and eukaryotic environments.
  • Publication
    Accès libre
    T helper cell priming of mice to Borrelia burgdorferi Osp A leads to induction of protective antibodies following experimental but not tickborne infection
    Zhong, Weimin
    ;
    ;
    Kramer, Michael
    ;
    Wallich, Reinhard
    ;
    Simon, Markus M
    Antibodies to the outer surface lipoprotein A (Osp A) of Borrelia burgdorferi confer protection to SCID mice against subsequent tick-borne or experimental infection. However, Osp A-specific antibodies are hardly detectable in naturally infected humans, dogs, hamsters and mice. This is most probably due to limited expression of Osp A on spirochetes transmitted from the vector to the host. Here we have tested whether T cell priming of mice would lead to the induction of protective Osp A-specific antibodies upon infection. It is shown that AKR/N mice, previously immunized with either a single T helper cell peptide of Osp A, or a mixture of 27 peptides spanning the entire molecule, develop Osp A-specific IgM or IgG antibodies, including those to a prominent protective B cell epitope of Osp A, LA-2, within 7 days of infection with low doses (103) of culture-derived spirochetes. In marked contrast, the same groups of pre-sensitized mice failed to generate any detectable Osp A-specific antibodies after tick-borne infection for more than 40 days after infection. All mice, irrespective of their state of T cell immunity to OspA or the mode of infection, produced similar levels of Osp C-specific IgM and IgG antibodies as early as day 14 after infection. None of the mice previously immunized with Osp A peptides were protected against experimental infection, in spite of the appearance of protective antibodies. It is clear from these data that, in contrast to culture-derived spirochetes, the naturally transmitted pathogen fails to express Osp A within the mammalian host at levels sufficient for induction of B cell responses, even in the presence of pre-activated T helper cells. Together with the fact that Osp A-specific antibodies are mainly operative by eliminating spirochetes from the vector during infestation, the data suggest that Osp A-vaccination for T helper cell immunity alone is not sufficient to prevent Lyme disease.