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    Functional degradation: A mechanism of NLRP1 inflammasome activation by diverse pathogen enzymes. Sandstrom Andrew,Mitchell Patrick S,Goers Lisa,Mu Edward W,Lesser Cammie F,Vance Russell E Science (New York, N.Y.) Inflammasomes are multiprotein platforms that initiate innate immunity by recruitment and activation of caspase-1. The NLRP1B inflammasome is activated upon direct cleavage by the anthrax lethal toxin protease. However, the mechanism by which cleavage results in NLRP1B activation is unknown. In this study, we find that cleavage results in proteasome-mediated degradation of the amino-terminal domains of NLRP1B, liberating a carboxyl-terminal fragment that is a potent caspase-1 activator. Proteasome-mediated degradation of NLRP1B is both necessary and sufficient for NLRP1B activation. Consistent with our functional degradation model, we identify IpaH7.8, a ubiquitin ligase secreted effector, as an enzyme that induces NLRP1B degradation and activation. Our results provide a unified mechanism for NLRP1B activation by diverse pathogen-encoded enzymatic activities. 10.1126/science.aau1330
    Assembly and Function of the Bacillus anthracis S-Layer. Missiakas Dominique,Schneewind Olaf Annual review of microbiology Bacillus anthracis, the anthrax agent, is a member of the Bacillus cereus sensu lato group, which includes invasive pathogens of mammals or insects as well as nonpathogenic environmental strains. The genes for anthrax pathogenesis are located on two large virulence plasmids. Similar virulence plasmids have been acquired by other B. cereus strains and enable the pathogenesis of anthrax-like diseases. Among the virulence factors of B. anthracis is the S-layer-associated protein BslA, which endows bacilli with invasive attributes for mammalian hosts. BslA surface display and function are dependent on the bacterial S-layer, whose constituents assemble by binding to the secondary cell wall polysaccharide (SCWP) via S-layer homology (SLH) domains. B. anthracis and other pathogenic B. cereus isolates harbor genes for the secretion of S-layer proteins, for S-layer assembly, and for synthesis of the SCWP. We review here recent insights into the assembly and function of the S-layer and the SCWP. 10.1146/annurev-micro-090816-093512
    Use of Anthrax Vaccine in the United States: Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, 2019. Bower William A,Schiffer Jarad,Atmar Robert L,Keitel Wendy A,Friedlander Arthur M,Liu Lindy,Yu Yon,Stephens David S,Quinn Conrad P,Hendricks Katherine, MMWR. Recommendations and reports : Morbidity and mortality weekly report. Recommendations and reports This report updates the 2009 recommendations from the CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) regarding use of anthrax vaccine in the United States (Wright JG, Quinn CP, Shadomy S, Messonnier N. Use of anthrax vaccine in the United States: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices [ACIP)], 2009. MMWR Recomm Rep 2010;59[No. RR-6]). The report 1) summarizes data on estimated efficacy in humans using a correlates of protection model and safety data published since the last ACIP review, 2) provides updated guidance for use of anthrax vaccine adsorbed (AVA) for preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) and in conjunction with antimicrobials for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP), 3) provides updated guidance regarding PrEP vaccination of emergency and other responders, 4) summarizes the available data on an investigational anthrax vaccine (AV7909), and 5) discusses the use of anthrax antitoxins for PEP. Changes from previous guidance in this report include the following: 1) a booster dose of AVA for PrEP can be given every 3 years instead of annually to persons not at high risk for exposure to Bacillus anthracis who have previously received the initial AVA 3-dose priming and 2-dose booster series and want to maintain protection; 2) during a large-scale emergency response, AVA for PEP can be administered using an intramuscular route if the subcutaneous route of administration poses significant materiel, personnel, or clinical challenges that might delay or preclude vaccination; 3) recommendations on dose-sparing AVA PEP regimens if the anthrax vaccine supply is insufficient to vaccinate all potentially exposed persons; and 4) clarification on the duration of antimicrobial therapy when used in conjunction with vaccine for PEP.These updated recommendations can be used by health care providers and guide emergency preparedness officials and planners who are developing plans to provide anthrax vaccine, including preparations for a wide-area aerosol release of B. anthracis spores. The recommendations also provide guidance on dose-sparing options, if needed, to extend the supply of vaccine to increase the number of persons receiving PEP in a mass casualty event. 10.15585/mmwr.rr6804a1
    Atomic structure of anthrax protective antigen pore elucidates toxin translocation. Jiang Jiansen,Pentelute Bradley L,Collier R John,Zhou Z Hong Nature Anthrax toxin, comprising protective antigen, lethal factor, and oedema factor, is the major virulence factor of Bacillus anthracis, an agent that causes high mortality in humans and animals. Protective antigen forms oligomeric prepores that undergo conversion to membrane-spanning pores by endosomal acidification, and these pores translocate the enzymes lethal factor and oedema factor into the cytosol of target cells. Protective antigen is not only a vaccine component and therapeutic target for anthrax infections but also an excellent model system for understanding the mechanism of protein translocation. On the basis of biochemical and electrophysiological results, researchers have proposed that a phi (Φ)-clamp composed of phenylalanine (Phe)427 residues of protective antigen catalyses protein translocation via a charge-state-dependent Brownian ratchet. Although atomic structures of protective antigen prepores are available, how protective antigen senses low pH, converts to active pore, and translocates lethal factor and oedema factor are not well defined without an atomic model of its pore. Here, by cryo-electron microscopy with direct electron counting, we determine the protective antigen pore structure at 2.9-Å resolution. The structure reveals the long-sought-after catalytic Φ-clamp and the membrane-spanning translocation channel, and supports the Brownian ratchet model for protein translocation. Comparisons of four structures reveal conformational changes in prepore to pore conversion that support a multi-step mechanism by which low pH is sensed and the membrane-spanning channel is formed. 10.1038/nature14247
    Anthrax toxin induces macrophage death by p38 MAPK inhibition but leads to inflammasome activation via ATP leakage. Ali Syed Raza,Timmer Anjuli M,Bilgrami Sameera,Park Eek Joong,Eckmann Lars,Nizet Victor,Karin Michael Immunity Detection of microbial constituents by membrane associated and cytoplasmic pattern recognition receptors is the essence of innate immunity, leading to activation of protective host responses. However, it is still unclear how immune cells specifically respond to pathogenic bacteria. Using virulent and nonvirulent strains of Bacillus anthracis, we have shown that secretion of ATP by infected macrophages and the sequential activation of the P2X7 purinergic receptor and nucleotide binding oligomerization domain (NOD)-like receptors are critical for IL-1-dependent host protection from virulent B. anthracis. Importantly, lethal toxin produced by virulent B. anthracis blocked activation of protein kinases, p38 MAPK and AKT, resulting in opening of a connexin ATP release channel and induction of macrophage death. Prevention of cell death or ATP release through constitutive p38 or AKT activation interfered with inflammasome activation and IL-1β production, thereby compromising antimicrobial immunity. 10.1016/j.immuni.2011.04.015
    A genomics-based approach to biodefence preparedness. Fraser Claire M Nature reviews. Genetics 10.1038/nrg1245
    Rabbit and nonhuman primate models of toxin-targeting human anthrax vaccines. Phipps Andrew J,Premanandan Christopher,Barnewall Roy E,Lairmore Michael D Microbiology and molecular biology reviews : MMBR The intentional use of Bacillus anthracis, the etiological agent of anthrax, as a bioterrorist weapon in late 2001 made our society acutely aware of the importance of developing, testing, and stockpiling adequate countermeasures against biological attacks. Biodefense vaccines are an important component of our arsenal to be used during a biological attack. However, most of the agents considered significant threats either have been eradicated or rarely infect humans alive today. As such, vaccine efficacy cannot be determined in human clinical trials but must be extrapolated from experimental animal models. This article reviews the efficacy and immunogenicity of human anthrax vaccines in well-defined animal models and the progress toward developing a rugged immunologic correlate of protection. The ongoing evaluation of human anthrax vaccines will be dependent on animal efficacy data in the absence of human efficacy data for licensure by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 10.1128/MMBR.68.4.617-629.2004
    Technological advancements for the detection of and protection against biological and chemical warfare agents. Eubanks Lisa M,Dickerson Tobin J,Janda Kim D Chemical Society reviews There is a growing need for technological advancements to combat agents of chemical and biological warfare, particularly in the context of the deliberate use of a chemical and/or biological warfare agent by a terrorist organization. In this tutorial review, we describe methods that have been developed both for the specific detection of biological and chemical warfare agents in a field setting, as well as potential therapeutic approaches for treating exposure to these toxic species. In particular, nerve agents are described as a typical chemical warfare agent, and the two potent biothreat agents, anthrax and botulinum neurotoxin, are used as illustrative examples of potent weapons for which countermeasures are urgently needed. 10.1039/b615227a
    Progress and novel strategies in vaccine development and treatment of anthrax. Chitlaru Theodor,Altboum Zeev,Reuveny Shaul,Shafferman Avigdor Immunological reviews The lethal anthrax disease is caused by spores of the gram-positive Bacillus anthracis, a member of the cereus group of bacilli. Although the disease is very rare in the Western world, development of anthrax countermeasures gains increasing attention due to the potential use of B. anthracis spores as a bio-terror weapon. Protective antigen (PA), the non-toxic subunit of the bacterial secreted exotoxin, fulfills the role of recognizing a specific receptor and mediating the entry of the toxin into the host target cells. PA elicits a protective immune response and represents the basis for all current anthrax vaccines. Anti-PA neutralizing antibodies are useful correlates for protection and for vaccine efficacy evaluation. Post exposure anti-toxemic and anti-bacteremic prophylactic treatment of anthrax requires prolonged antibiotic administration. Shorter efficient postexposure treatments may require active or passive immunization, in addition to antibiotics. Although anthrax is acknowledged as a toxinogenic disease, additional factors, other than the bacterial toxin, may be involved in the virulence of B. anthracis and may be needed for the long-lasting protection conferred by PA immunization. The search for such novel factors is the focus of several high throughput genomic and proteomic studies that are already leading to identification of novel targets for therapeutics, for vaccine candidates, as well as biomarkers for detection and diagnosis. 10.1111/j.1600-065X.2010.00969.x