Charakterisierung des Abbaus von Mitochondrien in primären humanen Zellen
- Autophagie ist ein evolutionär stark konservierter Degradationsmechanismus für geschädigte Proteine bis hin zu ganzen Organellen eukaryotischer Zellen. Dabei umhüllt eine Doppelmembran, bisher unbekannten Ursprungs, das zu degradierende Material und bildet das Autophagosom. Dies fusioniert später mit Lysosomen, wodurch dessen Inhalt proteolytisch zersetzt und die Bestandteile der Zelle wieder zur Verfügung gestellt werden kann.
In dieser Abeit wurde der Fokus auf den mitochondrialen Abbau über Autophagie (Mitophagie) und dessen Funktion als ein mitochondrialer Qualitätsmechanismus gesetzt. Als Zellmodell wurden primäre humane Endothelzellen der Nabelschnurvene (HUVEC) verwendet. Diese zeichenen sich durch einen Übergang von einer mitotischen, jungen in eine lange postmitotische, seneszente Phase während der Kultiverungszeit aus. Dabei durchlaufen sie einer zelluläre und mitochondriale Morphologieänderung. , wodurch sich die Möglichkeit bot , die Autophagie unter verschiedenen Parametern zu betrachten.
So wird generell eine Abnahme des autophagosomalen / lysosomalen Weges mit dem Alter beschrieben und die Abhängigkeit der Mitophagie von der mitochondrialen Länge.
Mitophagie ist unter normalen Kultivierungsbedingungen ein mikroskopisch selten zu beobachtender Vorgang. Daher wurde ein mitochondriales Schädigungsystem etabliert, welches die photosensibiliesierende Wirkung des Farbstoffs MitoTracker Red Cmx Ros (MTR) nutzt, um Mitochondrien gezielt oxidativ zu schädigen und die Mitophagie zu aktivieren.
Mitotische HUVEC zeigten 2 h – 8 h nach oxidativer Schädigung eine mitochondriale Fragmentierung größtenteils begleitet von einem Verlust des Membranpotentials. Über einen Zeitraum von 72h-120h kam es zur Regeneration des mitochondrialen Netzwerks durch Neusynthese mitochondrialer Biomoleküle. Entgegen der rescue Hypothese konnten oxidativ geschädigte Mitochondrien nicht durch eine Fusion mit funktional intakten Mitochondrien gerettet werden und wurden über den autophagosomalen / lysosomalen Weg abgebaut, gekennzeichnet durch die Ubiquitin-Ligase Parkin vermittelte Markierung und finaler Kolokalisation mit den autophagosomalen und lysosomalen Markerproteinen LC3B und LAMP-2A. Auf mRNA- und Proteinebene zeigte sich in diesem Zeitraum eine erhöhte Expression autophagie-relevanter Gene (ATGs) ATG5, ATG12 und LC3B.
Der Vergleich von mitotischen mit postmitotischen HUVEC nach oxidativer Schädigung wies zwei grundlegende Unterschiede auf.
Zum einem behielten, in Gegensatz zu jungen Zellen, die Mitochondrien alter HUVEC ihre Morphologie und ihr Membranpotential bei. Diese erhöhte Widerstandfähigkeit gegenüber oxidativem Stress konnte auf die erhöhte Expression der mitochondrial lokalisierten Serin / Threonin Kinase PINK1 zurückgeführt werden, ein Schlüsselgen in Parkinson.
Die PINK1-Transkription stand invers zu der Expression der mitochondrialen Teilungsfaktoren Fis1- und Drp1, welche in postmitotischen HUVEC stark vermindert war.
Andererseits wiesen alte Zellen eine verminderte Degradationsfähigkeit geschädigter Mitochondrien auf. Dieser Umstand war durch eine verminderte lysosomale Azidität bedingt. Eine externe ATP-Zugabe förderte die Azidität der Lysosomen alter Zellen und die Fusion mit Autophagosomen, wodurch Mitochondrien und ihre geringere ATP-Produktion im Alter als ein Faktor der Autophagie ermittelt weden konnte.
Die Autophagierate steht in Verbindung mit der Lebensspanne von Zellen bis hin zu ganzen Organismen. Durch die Überexpression autophagie-relevanter GFP-Fusions-Proteine ATG5, ATG12 und LC3B, welche nach oxidativer Schädigung in ihrer Expression verstärkt wurden, förderten die Mitophagie und wurden stabil in junge HUVEC exprimiert. Diese Überexpressionen bewirkten eine verbesserte mitochondriale Qualität, veranschaulicht durch ein erhöhtes Membranpotential und die ATP-Bereitstellung, einer besseren mtDNA Integrität und sie verlängerten die Lebensspanne signifikant, wobei die Produktion von reaktiven Sauerstoffspezien (ROS), entgegen der von Harman aufgestellten Alterungstheorie, keine Verminderung zeigte. Dennoch wiesen sie einen erhöhten Gehalt oxidativ modifizierter Proteine auf, welche letztendlich auf die erhöhten Autophagosomenanzahl zurückgeführt werden konnte, in denen höchstwahrscheinlich das oxidativ geschädigte Material gelagert wird.
In dieser Arbeit kann gezeigt werden, dass Mitochondrien nach oxidativer Schädigung eine Teilung vollziehen und geschädigte Mitochondrien selektiv über Autophagie abgebaut werden. Dabei fungiert Mitophagie als ein mitochondrialer Qualitätmechanismus und steht unmittelbar mit der Lebensspanne in Verbindung.
ZEB1 as a common regulatory factor in brain cancer and neural development
- Glioblastoma is the most common and most aggressive type of brain tumor in adults. In contrast to epithelial cancers, glioblastomas do not metastasize. While the major treatment challenge in epithelial cancers is not the primary tumor but metastasis, glioblastoma patients die of the primary tumor.
However, there is a common theme which underlies the malignant properties of progressed epithelial cancers and glioblastoma: invasion from the primary tumor into the surrounding tissue. In the case of epithelial cancers this is the first and necessary step to metastasis, whereas invasion leads inevitably to tumor recurrence after resection in the case of glioblastoma, causing it to be incurable.
A cellular program which has been described in detail to promote the invasive phenotype in epithelial tumors, is the epithelial-mesenchymal-transition (EMT). Differentiated neural cells are not epithelial, thus, strictly speaking, EMT does not occur in glioblastoma. However, the traits acquired in the process of EMT, especially invasiveness and stemness, are highly relevant to glioblastoma. One of the key transcription factors known to induce EMT in epithelial cancers is ZEB1, which has been described only marginally in the central nervous system so far. Here, I investigate the expression and function of ZEB1 in glioblastoma and during human fetal neural development.
ZEB1 mRNA was significantly upregulated in all histological types of glioma, including glioblastoma, when compared to normal brain. There was no correlation between ZEB1 mRNA levels and tumor grade. Immunohistochemical staining of glioma samples demonstrated that ZEB1 was highly expressed in the great majority of tumor cells. In the developing human brain, intense staining for ZEB1 could be observed in the ventricular and subventricular zone, where stem- and progenitor cells reside. ZEB1 positive cells included cells stained with stem- and progenitor markers like PAX6, GFAP and Nestin. In contrast, ZEB1 was never found in early neuronal cells as identified by TUBB3 staining.
To gain insight into ZEB1 function I generated a human fetal neural stem cell line and a glioblastoma cell line with ZEB1 knockdown, which were compared with their respective control cell lines. First, I found that ZEB1 does not regulate the micro RNA 200 family in either cell line, which has been described as an essential ZEB1 target in epithelial cancers. Second, regulated target genes were identified with a genome wide microarray. The third approach was to directly identify genomic binding sites of ZEB1 by chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-seq). All three approaches showed that the ZEB1 transcriptional program is surprisingly similar in the neural stem cell line and the glioblastoma cell line. In contrast, it bears only little resemblance to the program described in epithelial cancers.
The most interesting, previously unrecognized ZEB1 target gene identified in this study is integrin b1. It was regulated after ZEB1 knockdown detected by microarray analysis, and has a ZEB1 binding site in its promoter region detected by ChIP-seq. Finally, I addressed the question whether ZEB1 influences tumor growth and invasiveness in a glioblastoma model. After intracranial xenotransplantation in mice, ZEB1 knockdown glioblastoma cells formed significantly smaller and less invasive tumors than control glioblastoma cells.
This study demonstrates that ZEB1 is widely expressed in glioma and relevant for glioblastoma growth and invasion. In contrast to what is known about ZEB1 function in epithelial cancers, ZEB1 is not associated with glioma progression, but instead seems to be an early and necessary event in tumorigenesis. Also with regard to ZEB1 target genes, ZEB1 functions differently in glioblastoma than in epithelial cancers. The two most important ZEB1 targets in epithelial cancers are E-cadherin and the miR-200 family members. Both are not relevant to ZEB1 function in glioblastoma. Interestingly, while the ZEB1 transcriptional program is different from the one described in epithelial cancers, it is highly similar in glioblastoma cells and fetal neural stem cells. This suggests that an embryonic pathway restricted to stem- and progenitor cells during development is reactivated in glioblastoma.
Previously known ZEB1 target genes were tissue specific and therefore seemed unlikely to mediate ZEB1 function in the central nervous system. However, the newly identified ZEB1 target gene integrin b1 is well known to play pivotal roles in both glioblastoma tumorigenesis and invasion as well as in neural stem cells. Additionally, integrin b1 is widely expressed and seems a likely ZEB1 target in other organs than the brain.
Taken together, I demonstrate that ZEB1 is a new regulator of glioblastoma growth and invasion. The transcriptional program of ZEB1 differs from the one in epithelial cancers but is strikingly similar to the one in neural stem cells. The newly identified ZEB1 target gene integrin b1 is likely to mediate crucial ZEB1 functios. Thus, this study identifies ZEB1 as a yet unrecognized player in glioblastoma and neural development. Furthermore, it sets the stage for more research which will help to deepen our understanding of ZEB1 function in the central nervous system and beyond.
Gradient evolution of body colouration in surface- and cave-dwelling Poecilia mexicana and the role of phenotype-assortative female mate choice
Denise B. Herbert
Elisabeth A.M. Berger
Jeanne R. Indy
- Ecological speciation assumes reproductive isolation to be the product of ecologically based divergent selection. Beside natural selection, sexual selection via phenotype-assortative mating is thought to promote reproductive isolation. Using the neotropical fish Poecilia mexicana from a system that has been described to undergo incipient ecological speciation in adjacent, but ecologically divergent habitats characterized by the presence or absence of toxic H2S and darkness in cave habitats, we demonstrate a gradual change in male body colouration along the gradient of light/darkness, including a reduction of ornaments that are under both inter- and intrasexual selection in surface populations. In dichotomous choice tests using video-animated stimuli, we found surface females to prefer males from their own population over the cave phenotype. However, female cave fish, observed on site via infrared techniques, preferred to associate with surface males rather than size-matched cave males, likely reflecting the female preference for better-nourished (in this case: surface) males. Hence, divergent selection on body colouration indeed translates into phenotype-assortative mating in the surface ecotype, by selecting against potential migrant males. Female cave fish, by contrast, do not have a preference for the resident male phenotype, identifying natural selection against migrants imposed by the cave environment as the major driver of the observed reproductive isolation.
Mining herbaria for plant pathogen genomes: back to the future
Hernán A. Burbano
Contractile and Mechanical Properties of Epithelia with Perturbed Actomyosin Dynamics
Sabine C. Fischer
Guy B. Blanchard
Richard J. Adams
Alfonso Martinez Arias
Simon D. Guest
- Mechanics has an important role during morphogenesis, both in the generation of forces driving cell shape changes and in determining the effective material properties of cells and tissues. Drosophila dorsal closure has emerged as a reference model system for investigating the interplay between tissue mechanics and cellular activity. During dorsal closure, the amnioserosa generates one of the major forces that drive closure through the apical contraction of its constituent cells. We combined quantitation of live data, genetic and mechanical perturbation and cell biology, to investigate how mechanical properties and contraction rate emerge from cytoskeletal activity. We found that a decrease in Myosin phosphorylation induces a fluidization of amnioserosa cells which become more compliant. Conversely, an increase in Myosin phosphorylation and an increase in actin linear polymerization induce a solidification of cells. Contrary to expectation, these two perturbations have an opposite effect on the strain rate of cells during DC. While an increase in actin polymerization increases the contraction rate of amnioserosa cells, an increase in Myosin phosphorylation gives rise to cells that contract very slowly. The quantification of how the perturbation induced by laser ablation decays throughout the tissue revealed that the tissue in these two mutant backgrounds reacts very differently. We suggest that the differences in the strain rate of cells in situations where Myosin activity or actin polymerization is increased arise from changes in how the contractile forces are transmitted and coordinated across the tissue through ECadherin-mediated adhesion. Altogether, our results show that there is an optimal level of Myosin activity to generate efficient contraction and suggest that the architecture of the actin cytoskeleton and the dynamics of adhesion complexes are important parameters for the emergence of coordinated activity throughout the tissue.
Loss of PINK1 Impairs Stress-Induced Autophagy and Cell Survival
Marthe A. Chimi
- The mitochondrial kinase PINK1 and the ubiquitin ligase Parkin are participating in quality control after CCCP- or ROSinduced mitochondrial damage, and their dysfunction is associated with the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease. Furthermore, PINK1 expression is also induced by starvation indicating an additional role for PINK1 in stress response. Therefore, the effects of PINK1 deficiency on the autophago-lysosomal pathway during stress were investigated. Under trophic deprivation SH-SY5Y cells with stable PINK1 knockdown showed downregulation of key autophagic genes, including Beclin, LC3 and LAMP-2. In good agreement, protein levels of LC3-II and LAMP-2 but not of LAMP-1 were reduced in different cell model systems with PINK1 knockdown or knockout after addition of different stressors. This downregulation of autophagic factors caused increased apoptosis, which could be rescued by overexpression of LC3 or PINK1. Taken together, the PINK1-mediated reduction of autophagic key factors during stress resulted in increased cell death, thus defining an additional pathway that could contribute to the progression of Parkinson’s disease in patients with PINK1 mutations.
Haloferax volcanii, a Prokaryotic Species that Does Not Use the Shine Dalgarno Mechanism for Translation Initiation at 5′-UTRs
- It was long assumed that translation initiation in prokaryotes generally occurs via the so-called Shine Dalgarno (SD) mechanism. Recently, it became clear that translation initiation in prokaryotes is more heterogeneous. In the haloarchaeon Haloferax volcanii, the majority of transcripts is leaderless and most transcripts with a 5′-UTR lack a SD motif. Nevertheless, a bioinformatic analysis predicted that 20–30% of all genes are preceded by a SD motif in haloarchaea. To analyze the importance of the SD mechanism for translation initiation in haloarchaea experimentally the monocistronic sod gene was chosen, which contains a 5′-UTR with an extensive SD motif of seven nucleotides and a length of 19 nt, the average length of 5′UTRs in this organism. A translational fusion of part of the sod gene with the dhfr reporter gene was constructed. A mutant series was generated that matched the SD motif from zero to eight positions, respectively. Surprisingly, there was no correlation between the base pairing ability between transcripts and 16S rRNA and translational efficiency in vivo under several different growth conditions. Furthermore, complete replacement of the SD motif by three unrelated sequences did not reduce translational efficiency. The results indicate that H. volcanii does not make use of the SD mechanism for translation initiation in 5′-UTRs. A genome analysis revealed that while the number of SD motifs in 5′-UTRs is rare, their fraction within open reading frames is high. Possible biological functions for intragenic SD motifs are discussed, including re-initiation of translation at distal genes in operons.
Function of ephrinBs in Reelin signaling during nervous system development and plasticity
- Nervous system development requires a sequence of processes such as neuronal migration, the development of dendrites and dendritic spines and the formation of synapses. The extracellular matrix protein Reelin plays an important role in these processes, Reelin regulates for example the migration of neurons from proliferative zones to their target positions in the brain. As a consequence, layered structures are formed in the neocortex, the hippocampus and cerebellum (Lambert de Rouvroit et al., 1999). Reelin exerts its functions by binding to two transmembrane receptors, apolipoprotein E receptor 2 (ApoER2) and very-low-density lipoprotein receptor (VLDLR). This binding causes phosphorylation of the intracellular adapter protein Disabled-1 (Dab1) (D’Arcangelo et al., 1999) via activation of Src-family kinases (SFKs) (Bock and Herz, 2003), leading to cytoskeletal reorganization which enables cell migration and morphological changes (Lambert de Rouvroit and Goffinet, 2001). Since ApoER2 and VLDLR do not possess intrinsic kinase activity to activate SFKs, the existence of a co-receptor was suggested. EphrinBs are transmembrane ligands for Eph receptors and have signaling capabilities required for axon guidance (Cowan et al., 2004), dendritic spine maturation (Segura et al., 2007) and synaptic plasticity (Essmann et al., 2008; Grunwald et al., 2004). As stimulation of cultured cortical neurons with soluble EphB receptors causes recruitment of SFKs to ephrinB-containing membrane patches and SFK activation (Palmer et al., 2002), we investigated whether ephrinB ligands would be the missing co-receptors in the Reelin signaling pathway functioning during neuronal migration, dendritic spine maturation and synaptic plasticity. We found that the extracellular part of ephrinBs directly binds to Reelin and that ephrinBs interact with Dab1, phospho-Dab1, ApoER2 and VLDLR. EphrinB3 is localized in the same neurons as ApoER2 and Dab1 in the cortex and hippocampus, and in the cerebellum ephrinB2 is detected in neurons that express Dab1. To investigate the requirement of ephrinBs for neuronal migration, triple knockout mice lacking all ephrinB ligands were analyzed. The cortical layering of ephrinB1, B2, B3 knockout brains is inverted, showing the outside-in pattern typical for the reeler cortex. The hippocampus and cerebellum of triple knockout mice also exhibit reeler-like malformations, although less penetrant than the cortical defects. Dab1 phosphorylation is impaired in mice lacking ephrinB3 and this effect is strongly enhanced in neurons lacking all ephrin ligands. Moreover, activation of ephrinB3 reverse signaling induces Dab1phosphorylation in reeler primary neurons. In agreement with an important regulatory function of ephrinBs in Reelin signaling, activation of ephrinB3 reverse signaling is even able to rescue reeler defects in cortical layering in organotypic slice cultures. In summary, all these results identify ephrinBs as co-receptors for Reelin signaling, playing essential roles in neuronal migration during the development of cortex, hippocampus and cerebellum (Sentürk et al., 2011).
DNA as a phosphate storage polymer and the alternative advantages of polyploidy for growth or survival
R. Thane Papke
- Haloferax volcanii uses extracellular DNA as a source for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous. However, it can also grow to a limited extend in the absence of added phosphorous, indicating that it contains an intracellular phosphate storage molecule. As Hfx. volcanii is polyploid, it was investigated whether DNA might be used as storage polymer, in addition to its role as genetic material. It could be verified that during phosphate starvation cells multiply by distributing as well as by degrading their chromosomes. In contrast, the number of ribosomes stayed constant, revealing that ribosomes are distributed to descendant cells, but not degraded. These results suggest that the phosphate of phosphate-containing biomolecules (other than DNA and RNA) originates from that stored in DNA, not in rRNA. Adding phosphate to chromosome depleted cells rapidly restores polyploidy. Quantification of desiccation survival of cells with different ploidy levels showed that under phosphate starvation Hfx. volcanii diminishes genetic advantages of polyploidy in favor of cell multiplication. The consequences of the usage of genomic DNA as phosphate storage polymer are discussed as well as the hypothesis that DNA might have initially evolved in evolution as a storage polymer, and the various genetic benefits evolved later.
Electrophysiological characterization of surviving dopaminergic neurons in a mouse model of Parkinsonʼs disease
- The midbrain DA system comprising dopamine (DA) neurons of the substantia nigra (SN) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is involved in various brain functions, including voluntary movement and the encoding and prediction of behaviorally relevant stimuli. In Parkinsonʼs disease (PD), a progressive degeneration of particularly vulnerable SN DA neurons causes a progressive DA depletion of striatal projection sites. As a consequence, motor symptoms such as tremor, hypokinesia and rigidity appear once about 50 % to 70 % of SN DA neurons have been lost. Under physiological conditions, SN DA neurons can encode behaviorally salient events and coordinated movements through tonic and phasic activity and correlated striatal DA release. Burst-activity mediates a phasic, supralinear rise of striatal DA levels and allows to activate coordinated movements via modulation of corticostriatal signals.
In the present dissertation project, pathophysiological adaptations of surviving SN DA neurons after a partial degeneration of the nigrostiatal system have been studied using a 6-hydroxydopamine mouse model of PD. Combining in vivo retrograde tracing techniques with in vitro whole-cell patch-clamp recordings, multifluorescent immunolabeling and confocal microscopy allowed an unambiguous correlation of electrophysiological phenotypes, anatomical positions and neurochemical phenotypes of recorded neurons on a single-cell level. In vitro, neuronal activity of SN DA neurons is characterized by spontaneous, slow pacemaker activity of 1 to 10 Hz and a high degree of spike-timing precision. In vitro current-clamp recordings of surviving SN DA neurons using acute brain slice preparations after a partial, PD-like degeneration of the nigrostriatal DA system showed a significant perturbation of spontaneous pacemaker activity, mirrored by a decreased spike-timing precision compared to controls. Selective pharmacology and whole-cell voltage-clamp recordings served to identify calciumactivated SK channels as molecular effectors of a perturbated pacemaker activity of surviving SN DA neurons. SK channels and have been shown to critically contribute to the spike-timing precision of SN DA neurons. Consistently, in vitro current-clamp recordings after pharmacological blockade of SK channels in vitro caused a significant decrease of spike-timing precision, occluding previously observed differences between surviving SN DA neurons and controls.In addition to in vitro patch-clamp recordings, extracellular single-unit recordings in anaesthetized animals in vivo served to study surviving SN DA neurons embedded in an intact neuronal network after a partial, PD-like degeneration of the nigrostriatal DA system. Combining in vivo single-unit recordings, juxtacellular neurobiotin labeling and multifluorescent immunohistochemistry allowed to directly correlate electrophysiological and neurochemical phenotypes as well as anatomical positions on a single-cell level. In vivo, surviving SN DA neurons showed a significant decrease of spike-timing precision as reflected by an increased irregularity and an augmented burst activity compared to controls.
The present dissertation project provided a unique combination of a neurotoxicological PD mouse model, retrograde tracing techniques and in vitro as well as in vivo electrophysiologiy, allowing to unambiguously correlate electrophysiological adaptations, projection-specific anatomical positions and neurochemical phenotypes of SN DA neurons after a partial degeneration of the nigrostriatal system. Surviving SN DA neurons exhibited a significant deficit of SK channel activity after a partial degeneration of the nigrostriatal DA system. In consequence of a diminished SK channel activity observed in vitro, surviving SN DA neurons exhibited and enhanced burst activity in vivo, providing a plausible mechanism to compensate a striatal DA depletion.