Publications by authors named "Michelle M Thomsen"

7 Publications

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Genetic variants and immune responses in a cohort of patients with varicella zoster virus encephalitis.

J Infect Dis 2021 May 11. Epub 2021 May 11.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Background: Infection with varicella zoster virus (VZV) may involve different central nervous system (CNS) manifestations, including meningitis, encephalitis, and vasculitis. In cases where otherwise healthy individuals are affected, an inborn error of immunity may underlie increased susceptibility or severity of infection.

Methods: We collected a cohort of 17 adults who experienced VZV encephalitis and performed whole exome sequencing. Patient PBMCs were infected with VZV and innate antiviral interferon and cytokine responses as well as viral replication was evaluated. Data were analyzed by Mann Whitney U test.

Results: We identified a total of 21 different potentially disease-causing variants in a total of 13 of the 17 patients included. These gene variants were within two major functional clusters: i) innate viral sensors and immune pathways and ii) autophagy pathways. Antiviral interferon (IFN) and cytokine responses were abnormal in the majority of patients, whereas viral replication was increased in only 2/17.

Conclusion: This study identifies a list of variants of pathogenic potential, which may serve as a platform for generating hypotheses for future studies addressing genetic and immunological factors associated with susceptibility to VZV encephalitis. Collectively, these data suggest that disturbances in innate sensing and autophagy pathways may predispose to VZV encephalitis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiab254DOI Listing
May 2021

SARS-CoV-2 persistence is associated with antigen-specific CD8 T-cell responses.

EBioMedicine 2021 Feb 30;64:103230. Epub 2021 Jan 30.

Dept. of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark; Dept. of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University, Denmark.

Background: Upon SARS-CoV-2 infection, most individuals develop neutralizing antibodies and T-cell immunity. However, some individuals reportedly remain SARS-CoV-2 PCR positive by pharyngeal swabs weeks after recovery. Whether viral RNA in these persistent carriers is contagious and stimulates SARS-CoV-2-specific immune responses is unknown.

Methods: This cohort study was conducted between April 3-July 9 2020, recruiting COVID-19 recovered individuals that were symptom-free for at least 14 days. We collected serum for SARS-CoV-2-specific total Ig, IgA and IgM detection by ELISA, pharyngeal swabs (two time points) for ddPCR and PBMCs for anti-SARS-CoV-2 CD8 T-cell dextramer analyses.

Findings: We enrolled 203 post-symptomatic participants with a previous RT-PCR-verified SARS-CoV-2 infection. At time point 1, a median of 23 days (range 15-44) after recovery, 26 individuals (12⋅8%) were PCR positive. At time point 2, 90 days (median, range 85-105) after recovery, 5 (5⋅3%) were positive. There was no difference in SARS-CoV-2 antibody levels between the PCR negative and positive group. The persistent PCR positive group however, had SARS-CoV-2-specific CD8 T-cell responses of significantly increased breadth and magnitude. Assisted contact tracing among persistent PCR positive individuals revealed zero new COVID-19 diagnoses among 757 close contacts.

Interpretation: Persistent pharyngeal SARS-CoV-2 PCR positivity in post-symptomatic individuals is associated with elevated cellular immune responses and thus, the viral RNA may represent replicating virus. However, transmission to close contacts was not observed indicating that persistent PCR positive individuals are not contagious at the post-symptomatic stage of the infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2021.103230DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7847186PMC
February 2021

Defects in and underlie HSV2 meningitis and reveal a critical role for autophagy in antiviral defense in humans.

Sci Immunol 2020 12;5(54)

Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Recurrent herpesvirus infections can manifest in different forms of disease, including cold sores, genital herpes, and encephalitis. There is an incomplete understanding of the genetic and immunological factors conferring susceptibility to recurrent herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV2) infection in the central nervous system (CNS). Here, we describe two adult patients with recurrent HSV2 lymphocytic Mollaret's meningitis that each carry a rare monoallelic variant in the autophagy proteins ATG4A or LC3B2. HSV2-activated autophagy was abrogated in patient primary fibroblasts, which also exhibited significantly increased viral replication and enhanced cell death. HSV2 antigen was captured in autophagosomes of infected cells, and genetic inhibition of autophagy by disruption of autophagy genes, including and , led to enhanced viral replication and cell death in primary fibroblasts and a neuroblastoma cell line. Activation of autophagy by HSV2 was sensitive to ultraviolet (UV) irradiation of the virus and inhibited in the presence of acyclovir, but HSV2-induced autophagy was independent of the DNA-activated STING pathway. Reconstitution of wild-type ATG4A and LC3B2 expression using lentiviral gene delivery or electroporation of in vitro transcribed mRNA into patient cells restored virus-induced autophagy and the ability to control HSV2 replication. This study describes a previously unknown link between defective autophagy and an inborn error of immunity that can lead to increased susceptibility to HSV2 infection, suggesting an important role for autophagy in antiviral immunity in the CNS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/sciimmunol.abc2691DOI Listing
December 2020

Whole-Exome Sequencing of Patients With Recurrent HSV-2 Lymphocytic Mollaret Meningitis.

J Infect Dis 2021 May;223(10):1776-1786

Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Recurrent lymphocytic meningitis, also referred to as Mollaret meningitis, is a rare neurological disease characterized mainly by reactivation of herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) from sensory ganglia. However, the underlying host immune determinants and viral factors rendering some individuals unable to maintain HSV-2 latency are largely unknown. We collected a cohort of 15 patients diagnosed with Mollaret meningitis. By whole-exome sequencing we identified rare host genetic variants predicted to be deleterious in molecules involved in (1) ubiquitin-proteasome pathways, (2) the autophagy machinery, and (3) cell proliferation/apoptosis. Moreover, infection of patient cells with HSV-2 or stimulation by virus-derived double-stranded DNA ligands revealed reduced antiviral interferon responses in most patients. These findings may contribute to a better understanding of disease pathogenesis and protective immunity to HSV in the central nervous system, and may ultimately be of importance for identification of targets for development of improved prophylaxis and treatment of this disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa589DOI Listing
May 2021

Defective interferon priming and impaired antiviral responses in a patient with an IRF7 variant and severe influenza.

Med Microbiol Immunol 2019 Dec 6;208(6):869-876. Epub 2019 Jun 6.

Department of Infectious Diseases, Aarhus University Hospital, Palle Juul-Jensens Boulevard 99, 8200, Aarhus N, Denmark.

Influenza infection is common worldwide with many individuals affected each year during epidemics and occasionally pandemics. Previous studies in animal models and a few human cases have established an important role of innate type I and III interferon (IFN) for viral elimination and mounting of antiviral responses. However, genetic and immunological determinants of very severe disseminated influenza virus infection in humans remain incompletely understood. Here, we describe an adult patient with severe influenza virus A (IAV) infection, in whom we identified a rare variant E331V in IFN regulatory factor (IRF)7 by whole-exome sequencing. Examination of patient cells demonstrated a cellular phenotype suggesting functional IRF7 impairment, since priming with IFN was almost abolished and IFN responses to IAV were significantly impaired in patient cells. Moreover, IAV replication was significantly higher in patient cells than in controls. Finally, expression of IRF7 E331V in HEK293 cells demonstrated significantly reduced activation of both IFNA7 and IFNB promoters in a luciferase reporter gene expression assay compared to IRF7 wild type. These findings provide further support for the essential role of IRF7 in amplifying antiviral IFN responses to ensure potent and sustained IFN responses during influenza virus infection in humans.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00430-019-00623-8DOI Listing
December 2019

Quantitative proteomics suggests metabolic reprogramming during ETHE1 deficiency.

Proteomics 2016 Apr 16;16(7):1166-76. Epub 2016 Mar 16.

Research Unit for Molecular Medicine, Department of Clinical Medicine, Aarhus University and Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

Deficiency of mitochondrial sulfur dioxygenase (ETHE1) causes the severe metabolic disorder ethylmalonic encephalopathy, which is characterized by early-onset encephalopathy and defective cytochrome C oxidase because of hydrogen sulfide accumulation. Although the severe systemic consequences of the disorder are becoming clear, the molecular effects are not well defined. Therefore, for further elucidating the effects of ETHE1-deficiency, we performed a large scale quantitative proteomics study on liver tissue from ETHE1-deficient mice. Our results demonstrated a clear link between ETHE1-deficiency and redox active proteins, as reflected by downregulation of several proteins related to oxidation-reduction, such as different dehydrogenases and cytochrome P450 (CYP450) members. Furthermore, the protein data indicated impact of the ETHE1-deficiency on metabolic reprogramming through upregulation of glycolytic enzymes and by altering several heterogeneous ribonucleoproteins, indicating novel link between ETHE1 and gene expression regulation. We also found increase in total protein acetylation level, pointing out the link between ETHE1 and acetylation, which is likely controlled by both redox state and cellular metabolites. These findings are relevant for understanding the complexity of the disease and may shed light on important functions influenced by ETHE1 deficiency and by the concomitant increase in the gaseous mediator hydrogen sulfide. All MS data have been deposited in the ProteomeXchange with the dataset identifiers PXD002741 (http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/dataset/PXD002741) and PXD002742 (http://proteomecentral.proteomexchange.org/dataset/PXD002741).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/pmic.201500336DOI Listing
April 2016