Year of publication
- Gene-Wide Analysis Detects Two New Susceptibility Genes for Alzheimer's Disease (2014)
- Background: Alzheimer's disease is a common debilitating dementia with known heritability, for which 20 late onset susceptibility loci have been identified, but more remain to be discovered. This study sought to identify new susceptibility genes, using an alternative gene-wide analytical approach which tests for patterns of association within genes, in the powerful genome-wide association dataset of the International Genomics of Alzheimer's Project Consortium, comprising over 7 m genotypes from 25,580 Alzheimer's cases and 48,466 controls. Principal Findings: In addition to earlier reported genes, we detected genome-wide significant loci on chromosomes 8 (TP53INP1, p = 1.4×10−6) and 14 (IGHV1-67 p = 7.9×10−8) which indexed novel susceptibility loci. Significance: The additional genes identified in this study, have an array of functions previously implicated in Alzheimer's disease, including aspects of energy metabolism, protein degradation and the immune system and add further weight to these pathways as potential therapeutic targets in Alzheimer's disease.
- Sustainable management of river oases along the Tarim River in North-Western China under conditions of climate change (2014)
- The Tarim River Basin, located in Xinjiang, NW China, is the largest endorheic river basin of China and one of the largest in whole Central Asia. Due to the extremely arid climate with an annual precipitation of less than 100 mm, the water supply along the Aksu and Tarim River solely depends on river water. This applies for anthropogenic activities (e.g. agriculture) as well as for the natural ecosystems so that both compete for water. The on-going increase of water consumption by agriculture and other human activities in this region has been enhancing the competition for water between human needs and nature. Against this background, 11 German and 6 Chinese universities and research institutes formed the consortium SuMaRiO (www.sumario.de), which aims at gaining a holistic picture of the availability of water resources in the Tarim River Basin and the impacts on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems caused by the water distribution within the Tarim River Basin. The discharge of the Aksu River, which is the major tributary to the Tarim, has been increasing over the past 6 decades due to enhanced glacier melt. Alone from 1989 to 2011, the area under agriculture more than doubled. Thereby, cotton became the major crop and there was a shift from small-scale farming to large-scale intensive farming. The major natural ecosystems along the Aksu and Tarim River are riparian ecosystems: Riparian (Tugai) forests, shrub vegetation, reed beds, and other grassland. Within the SuMaRiO Cluster the focus was laid on the Tugai forests, with Populus euphratica as dominant tree, because the most productive and species-rich natural ecosystems can be found among those forests. On sites with groundwater distance of less than 7.5 m the annual increments correlated with river runoffs of the previous year. But, the further downstream along the Tarim River, the more the natural river dynamics ceased, which impacts on the recruitment of Populus euphratica. Household surveys revealed that there is a considerable willingness to pay for conservation of those riparian forests with the mitigation of dust and sandstorms considered as the most important ecosystem service. This interdisciplinary project will result in a decision support tool (DST), build on the participation of regional stakeholders and models based on results and field experiments. This DST finally shall assist stakeholders in balancing the water competition acknowledging the major external effects of any water allocation.
- Sustainable management of river oases along the Tarim River (SuMaRiO) in Northwest China under conditions of climate change (2015)
- The Tarim River basin, located in Xinjiang, NW China, is the largest endorheic river basin in China and one of the largest in all of Central Asia. Due to the extremely arid climate, with an annual precipitation of less than 100 mm, the water supply along the Aksu and Tarim rivers solely depends on river water. This is linked to anthropogenic activities (e.g., agriculture) and natural and semi-natural ecosystems as both compete for water. The ongoing increase in water consumption by agriculture and other human activities in this region has been enhancing the competition for water between human needs and nature. Against this background, 11 German and 6 Chinese universities and research institutes have formed the consortium SuMaRiO (Sustainable Management of River Oases along the Tarim River; http://www.sumario.de), which aims to create a holistic picture of the availability of water resources in the Tarim River basin and the impacts on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems caused by the water distribution within the Tarim River basin. On the basis of the results from field studies and modeling approaches as well as from suggestions by the relevant regional stakeholders, a decision support tool (DST) will be implemented that will then assist stakeholders in balancing the competition for water, acknowledging the major external effects of water allocation to agriculture and to natural ecosystems. This consortium was formed in 2011 and is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. As the data collection phase was finished this year, the paper presented here brings together the results from the fields from the disciplines of climate modeling, cryology, hydrology, agricultural sciences, ecology, geoinformatics, and social sciences in order to present a comprehensive picture of the effects of different water availability schemes on anthropogenic activities and natural ecosystems along the Tarim River. The second objective is to present the project structure of the whole consortium, the current status of work (i.e., major new results and findings), explain the foundation of the decision support tool as a key product of this project, and conclude with application recommendations for the region. The discharge of the Aksu River, which is the major tributary of the Tarim, has been increasing over the past 6 decades. From 1989 to 2011, agricultural area more than doubled: cotton became the major crop and there was a shift from small-scale to large-scale intensive farming. The ongoing increase in irrigated agricultural land leads to the increased threat of salinization and soil degradation caused by increased evapotranspiration. Aside from agricultural land, the major natural and semi-natural ecosystems are riparian (Tugai) forests, shrub vegetation, reed beds, and other grassland, as well as urban and peri-urban vegetation. Within the SuMaRiO cluster, focus has been set on the Tugai forests, with Populus euphratica as the dominant tree species, because these forests belong to the most productive and species-rich natural ecosystems of the Tarim River basin. At sites close to the groundwater, the annual stem diameter increments of Populus euphratica correlated with the river runoffs of the previous year. However, the natural river dynamics cease along the downstream course and thus hamper the recruitment of Populus euphratica. A study on the willingness to pay for the conservation of the natural ecosystems was conducted to estimate the concern of the people in the region and in China's capital. These household surveys revealed that there is a considerable willingness to pay for conservation of the natural ecosystems, with mitigation of dust and sandstorms considered the most important ecosystem service. Stakeholder dialogues contributed to creating a scientific basis for a sustainable management in the future.
- Breaking tolerance to the natural human liver autoantigen cytochrome P450 2D6 by virus infection (2008)
- Autoimmune liver diseases, such as autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) and primary biliary cirrhosis, often have severe consequences for the patient. Because of a lack of appropriate animal models, not much is known about their potential viral etiology. Infection by liver-tropic viruses is one possibility for the breakdown of self-tolerance. Therefore, we infected mice with adenovirus Ad5 expressing human cytochrome P450 2D6 (Ad-2D6). Ad-2D6–infected mice developed persistent autoimmune liver disease, apparent by cellular infiltration, hepatic fibrosis, “fused” liver lobules, and necrosis. Similar to type 2 AIH patients, Ad-2D6–infected mice generated type 1 liver kidney microsomal–like antibodies recognizing the immunodominant epitope WDPAQPPRD of cytochrome P450 2D6 (CYP2D6). Interestingly, Ad-2D6–infected wild-type FVB/N mice displayed exacerbated liver damage when compared with transgenic mice expressing the identical human CYP2D6 protein in the liver, indicating the presence of a stronger immunological tolerance in CYP2D6 mice. We demonstrate for the first time that infection with a virus expressing a natural human autoantigen breaks tolerance, resulting in a chronic form of severe, autoimmune liver damage. Our novel model system should be instrumental for studying mechanisms involved in the initiation, propagation, and precipitation of virus-induced autoimmune liver diseases.
- Entwicklungsperspektiven für Natur und Landschaft - Chancen und Risiken einer Wiederentstehung eines Salzigen Sees (2000)
- In den vorangehenden Kapiteln wurde die besondere Charakteristik sowie die bundes- und europaweite Bedeutung des Schutzgebietssystems um die Mansfelder Seen und vordringlich des ehemaligen Salzigen Sees herausgestellt. Es wurde ebenfalls deutlich, dass die Wiederentstehung des Salzigen Sees einen schwerwiegenden Eingriff in den bestehenden Gebietswasserhaushalt darstellt, dessen langfristige Konsequenzen noch nicht in allen Aspekten absehbar sind. Welche Auswirkungen kann dieses Vorhaben nun auf die hoch schutzwürdige Fauna und Flora haben und welche Vorkehrungen müssen getroffen werden, damit die Chancen für den Arten- und Biotopschutz, die der Wiederentstehung des Sees zweifellos innewohnen, zum Tragen kommen?
- Inhibition of neutrophil activity improves cardiac function after cardiopulmonary bypass (2007)
- Background The arterial in line application of the leukocyte inhibition module (LIM) in the cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) limits overshooting leukocyte activity during cardiac surgery. We now studied in a porcine model whether LIM may have beneficial effects on cardiac function after CPB. Methods German landrace pigs underwent CPB (60 min myocardial ischemia; 30 min reperfusion)without (group I; n=6) or with LIM (group II; n=6). The cardiac indices (CI) and cardiac function were analyzed pre and post CPB with a Swan-Ganz catheter and the cardiac function analyzer. Neutrophil labeling with technetium, scintigraphy, and histological analyses were done to track activated neutrophils within the organs. Results LIM prevented CPB-associated increase of neutrophil counts in peripheral blood. In group I, the CI significantly declined post CPB (post: 3.26 +/- 0.31; pre: 4.05 +/- 0.45 l/min/m2; p<0.01). In group II, the CI was only slightly reduced (post: 3.86 +/- 0.49; pre 4.21 +/- 1.32 l/min/m2; p=0.23). Post CPB, the intergroup difference showed significantly higher CI values in the LIM group (p<0.05) which was in conjunction with higher pre-load independent endsystolic pressure volume relationship (ESPVR) values (group I: 1.57 +/- 0.18; group II: 1.93 +/- 0.16; p<0.001). Moreover, the systemic vascular resistance and pulmonary vascular resistance were lower in the LIM group. LIM appeared to accelerate the sequestration of hyperactivated neutrophils in the spleen and to reduce neutrophil infiltration of heart and lung. Conclusions Our data provide strong evidence that LIM improves perioperative hemodynamics and cardiac function after CPB by limiting neutrophil activity and inducing accelerated sequestration of neutrophils in the spleen.
- SNEV is an evolutionarily conserved splicing factor whose oligomerization is necessary for spliceosome assembly (2005)
- We have isolated the human protein SNEV as downregulated in replicatively senescent cells. Sequence homology to the yeast splicing factor Prp19 suggested that SNEV might be the orthologue of Prp19 and therefore might also be involved in pre-mRNA splicing. We have used various approaches including gene complementation studies in yeast using a temperature sensitive mutant with a pleiotropic phenotype and SNEV immunodepletion from human HeLa nuclear extracts to determine its function. A human–yeast chimera was indeed capable of restoring the wild-type phenotype of the yeast mutant strain. In addition, immunodepletion of SNEV from human nuclear extracts resulted in a decrease of in vitro pre-mRNA splicing efficiency. Furthermore, as part of our analysis of protein–protein interactions within the CDC5L complex, we found that SNEV interacts with itself. The self-interaction domain was mapped to amino acids 56–74 in the protein's sequence and synthetic peptides derived from this region inhibit in vitro splicing by surprisingly interfering with spliceosome formation and stability. These results indicate that SNEV is the human orthologue of yeast PRP19, functions in splicing and that homo-oligomerization of SNEV in HeLa nuclear extract is essential for spliceosome assembly and that it might also be important for spliceosome stability.
- Genome sequence of the necrotrophic plant pathogen Pythium ultimum reveals original pathogenicity mechanisms and effector repertoire (2010)
- Background: Pythium ultimum (P. ultimum) is a ubiquitous oomycete plant pathogen responsible for a variety of diseases on a broad range of crop and ornamental species. Results: The P. ultimum genome (42.8 Mb) encodes 15,290 genes and has extensive sequence similarity and synteny with related Phytophthora species, including the potato blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans. Whole transcriptome sequencing revealed expression of 86% of genes, with detectable differential expression of suites of genes under abiotic stress and in the presence of a host. The predicted proteome includes a large repertoire of proteins involved in plant pathogen interactions although surprisingly, the P. ultimum genome does not encode any classical RXLR effectors and relatively few Crinkler genes in comparison to related phytopathogenic oomycetes. A lower number of enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism were present compared to Phytophthora species, with the notable absence of cutinases, suggesting a significant difference in virulence mechanisms between P. ultimum and more host specific oomycete species. Although we observed a high degree of orthology with Phytophthora genomes, there were novel features of the P. ultimum proteome including an expansion of genes involved in proteolysis and genes unique to Pythium. We identified a small gene family of cadherins, proteins involved in cell adhesion, the first report in a genome outside the metazoans. Conclusions: Access to the P. ultimum genome has revealed not only core pathogenic mechanisms within the oomycetes but also lineage specific genes associated with the alternative virulence and lifestyles found within the pythiaceous lineages compared to the Peronosporaceae.
- Development of a primary care-based complex care management intervention for chronically ill patients at high risk for hospitalization: a study protocol (2010)
- Background: Complex care management is seen as an approach to face the challenges of an ageing society with increasing numbers of patients with complex care needs. The Medical Research Council in the United Kingdom has proposed a framework for the development and evaluation of complex interventions that will be used to develop and evaluate a primary care-based complex care management program for chronically ill patients at high risk for future hospitalization in Germany. Methods and design: We present a multi-method procedure to develop a complex care management program to implement interventions aimed at reducing potentially avoidable hospitalizations for primary care patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or chronic heart failure and a high likelihood of hospitalization. The procedure will start with reflection about underlying precipitating factors of hospitalizations and how they may be targeted by the planned intervention (pre-clinical phase). An intervention model will then be developed (phase I) based on theory, literature, and exploratory studies (phase II). Exploratory studies are planned that entail the recruitment of 200 patients from 10 general practices. Eligible patients will be identified using two ways of 'case finding': software based predictive modelling and physicians' proposal of patients based on clinical experience. The resulting subpopulations will be compared regarding healthcare utilization, care needs and resources using insurance claims data, a patient survey, and chart review. Qualitative studies with healthcare professionals and patients will be undertaken to identify potential barriers and enablers for optimal performance of the complex care management program. Discussion: This multi-method procedure will support the development of a primary care-based care management program enabling the implementation of interventions that will potentially reduce avoidable hospitalizations.
- Long term outcome of high-risk neuroblastoma patients after immunotherapy with antibody ch14.18 or oral metronomic chemotherapy (2011)
- Background: The treatment of high-risk neuroblastoma patients consists of multimodal induction therapy to achieve remission followed by consolidation therapy to prevent relapses. However, the type of consolidation therapy is still discussed controversial. We applied metronomic chemotherapy in the prospective NB90 trial and monoclonal anti-GD2-antibody (MAB) ch14.18 in the NB97 trial. Here, we present the long term outcome data of the patient cohort. Methods: A total of 334 stage 4 neuroblastoma patients one year or older were included. All patients successfully completed the induction therapy. In the NB90 trial, 99 patients received at least one cycle of the oral maintenance chemotherapy (NB90 MT, 12 alternating cycles of oral melphalan/etoposide and vincristine/cyclophosphamide). In the NB97 trial, 166 patients commenced the MAB ch14.18 consolidation therapy (six cycles over 12 months). Patients who received no maintenance therapy according to the NB90 protocol or by refusal in NB97 (n = 69) served as controls. Results: The median observation time was 11.11 years. The nine-year event-free survival rates were 41 ± 4%, 31 ± 5%, and 32 ± 6% for MAB ch14.18, NB90 MT, and no consolidation, respectively (p = 0.098). In contrast to earlier reports, MAB ch14.18 treatment improved the long-term outcome compared to no additional therapy (p = 0.038). The overall survival was better in the MAB ch14.18-treated group (9-y-OS 46 ± 4%) compared to NB90 MT (34 ± 5%, p = 0.026) and to no consolidation (35 ± 6%, p = 0.019). Multivariable Cox regression analysis revealed ch14.18 consolidation to improve outcome compared to no consolidation, however, no difference between NB90 MT and MAB ch14.18-treated patients was found. Conclusions: Follow-up analysis of the patient cohort indicated that immunotherapy with MAB ch14.18 may prevent late relapses. Finally, metronomic oral maintenance chemotherapy also appeared effective.