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Articles by Robert Thimme
Total Records ( 4 ) for Robert Thimme
  Christoph Neumann-Haefelin , David N. Frick , Jing Jing Wang , Oliver G. Pybus , Shadi Salloum , Gagandeep S. Narula , Anna Eckart , Andrea Biezynski , Thomas Eiermann , Paul Klenerman , Sergei Viazov , Michael Roggendorf , Robert Thimme , Markus Reiser and Jorg Timm
  Failure of the adaptive immune response to control infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can result from mutational escape in targeted T-cell epitopes. Recent studies suggest that T-cell immune pressure is an important factor in the evolution of the nonstructural proteins in HCV. The aim of this study was to characterize the forces that contribute to viral evolution in an HLA-A*01-restricted epitope in HCV NS3. This epitope represents a potentially attractive target for vaccination strategies since it is conserved across all genotypes. In our cohort of subjects with chronic HCV infection (genotype 1b or 3a), it is a frequently recognized CD8 epitope in HLA-A*01-positive subjects. Viral sequence data reveal that an escape variant is the dominant residue in both genotypes. The predominant Y1444F substitution seemingly impairs binding to the HLA-A*01 molecule, which may have an important impact on the ability to prime a functional CD8 response upon infection. Interestingly, a case of evolution toward the prototype sequence was observed during chronic infection, possibly because the helicase activity of the protein containing the Y1444F substitution is reduced compared to the prototype sequence. Comparison of HCV sequences from Asia and Europe suggests that the frequency of the HLA-A*01 allele in a population may influence the frequency of the escape variant in circulating strains. These data suggest a complex interaction of multiple forces shaping the evolution of HCV in which immune pressure both within the individual and also at the population level in addition to functional constraints are important contributing factors.
  Heidi Barth , Eva K. Schnober , Christoph Neumann-Haefelin , Christine Thumann , Christine Thumann , Mirjam B. Zeisel , Helmut M. Diepolder , Zongyi Hu , T. Jake Liang , Hubert E. Blum , Robert Thimme , Melanie Lambotin and Thomas F. Baumert
  Class B scavenger receptors (SR-Bs) bind lipoproteins and play an important role in lipid metabolism. Most recently, SR-B type I (SR-BI) and its splicing variant SR-BII have been found to mediate bacterial adhesion and cytosolic bacterial invasion in mammalian cells. In this study, we demonstrate that SR-BI is a key host factor required for hepatitis C virus (HCV) uptake and cross-presentation by human dendritic cells (DCs). Whereas monocytes and T and B cells were characterized by very low or undetectable SR-BI expression levels, human DCs demonstrated a high level of cell surface expression of SR-BI similar to that of primary human hepatocytes. Antibodies targeting the extracellular loop of SR-BI efficiently inhibited HCV-like particle binding, uptake, and cross-presentation by human DCs. Moreover, human high-density lipoprotein specifically modulated HCV-like particle binding to DCs, indicating an interplay of HCV with the lipid transfer function of SR-BI in DCs. Finally, we demonstrate that anti-SR-BI antibodies inhibit the uptake of cell culture-derived HCV (HCVcc) in DCs. In conclusion, these findings identify a novel function of SR-BI for viral antigen uptake and recognition and may have an important impact on the design of HCV vaccines and immunotherapeutic approaches aiming at the induction of efficient antiviral immune responses.
  Jens Bukh , Robert Thimme , Jean-Christophe Meunier , Kristina Faulk , Hans Christian Spangenberg , Kyong-Mi Chang , William Satterfield , Francis V. Chisari and Robert H. Purcell
  Protective immunity after resolved hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported. However, the breadth of this immunity has remained controversial, and the role of neutralizing antibodies has not been well-defined. In the present study, two chimpanzees (CH96A008 and CH1494) with resolved monoclonal H77C (genotype 1a) infection were rechallenged with low-dose homologous H77C virus about 12 months after viral clearance; CH96A008 became persistently infected, and CH1494 had transient viremia lasting 2 weeks. CH1494 was subsequently either partially or completely protected following five homologous rechallenges with monoclonal H77C or polyclonal H77 and after six heterologous rechallenges with HC-J4 (genotype 1b) or HC-J6 (genotype 2a) viruses. Subsequently, a final challenge with H77C resulted in persistent HCV infection. In both chimpanzees, serum neutralizing antibodies against retroviral pseudoparticles bearing the H77C envelope proteins were not detected during the initial infection or during rechallenge. However, anamnestic cellular immune responses developed during the initial homologous rechallenge, in particular in CH96A008, which developed a persistent infection. Polyprotein sequences of viruses recovered from CH1494 after the two homologous rechallenges that resulted in transient viremia were identical with the H77C virus. In contrast, the polyprotein sequences of viruses recovered from both chimpanzees after homologous rechallenge resulting in persistent infection had numerous changes. These findings have important implications for our understanding of immunity against HCV; even in the best-case scenario with autologous rechallenge, low-level viral persistence was seen in the presence of primed T-cell responses.
  Shadi Salloum , Cesar Oniangue-Ndza , Christoph Neumann-Haefelin , Laura Hudson , Silvia Giugliano , Marc aus dem Siepen , Jacob Nattermann , Ulrich Spengler , Georg M. Lauer , Manfred Wiese , Paul Klenerman , Helen Bright , Norbert Scherbaum , Robert Thimme , Michael Roggendorf , Sergei Viazov and Joerg Timm
  The inherent sequence diversity of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) represents a major hurdle for the adaptive immune system to control viral replication. Mutational escape within targeted CD8 epitopes during acute HCV infection has been well documented and is one possible mechanism for T-cell failure. HLA-B*08 was recently identified as one HLA class I allele associated with spontaneous clearance of HCV replication. Selection of escape mutations in the immunodominant HLA-B*08-restricted epitope HSKKKCDEL1395-1403 was observed during acute infection. However, little is known about the impact of escape mutations in this epitope on viral replication capacity. Their previously reported reversion back toward the consensus residue in patients who do not possess the B*08 allele suggests that the consensus sequence in this epitope is advantageous for viral replication in the absence of immune pressure. The aim of this study was to determine the impact of mutational escape from this immunodominant epitope on viral replication. We analyzed it with a patient cohort with chronic HCV genotype 1b infection and in a single-source outbreak (genotype 1b). Sequence changes in this highly conserved region are rare and selected almost exclusively in the presence of the HLA-B*08 allele. When tested in the subgenomic replicon (Con1), the observed mutations reduce viral replication compared with the prototype sequence. The results provide direct evidence that escape mutations in this epitope are associated with fitness costs and that the antiviral effect of HLA-B*08-restricted T cells is sufficiently strong to force the virus to adopt a relatively unfavorable sequence.
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