Astrocyte-derived Wnt growth factors regulate blood-brain barrier integrity
Cathrin Jacqueline Czupalla
Biophysical studies of lipid membranes by solid state NMR and molecular dynamics simulations
- Biological membranes separate the cell interior from the outside and have diverse functions from signal transduction, apoptosis to transportations of ions and small molecules in and out of the cell. Most of these functions are fulfilled by proteins incorporated in the membrane. However, lipids as the main component of membrane not only serve as structural element for bilayer formation but they are also directly involved e.g. signalling processes and bilayer properties are important to mediate protein interactions. To fully understand the role of lipids, it is necessary to develop a molecular understanding of how certain membrane components modify bulk bilayer structure and dynamics. Membranes are known to have many different motions in different conditions and time scales. Temperature, pH, water content and many other conditions change membrane dynamics in a high degree. In addition to this, time scales of motions in membranes vary from ns to ms range corresponding to fast motion and slow motion, respectively. Therefore, membranes are needed to be studied systematically by varying the conditions and using methods to investigate motions in various time scales separately. The aim of this study was therefore perform a combined solid-state NMR / molecular dynamics study on model membranes. Different substrates, such as potential drugs, polarizing agents and signaling lipids were incorporated into bilayers and their location within the membrane and their effect onto the membrane was probed. NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), pirinixic acid derivatives, ceramides and polarizing agents were the substrates for membranes in this study. There were several experimental methods that were applied in order to investigate effects of these substrates on membrane dynamics. Different kind of phospholipids including POPC, DMPC and DPPC were used. In addition to experimental work, with the information gathered from solid state NMR experiments molecular dynamics simulations were performed to obtain more information about the membranes at the molecular level. As a result, combination of solid-state NMR with molecular dynamics simulations provides very systematic way of investigating membrane dynamics in a large range of time scales.
Pirinixic acid derivatives were special interest of this study because of their activity on peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) as an agonist as well as on enzymes of microsomal prostaglandin E2 synthase-1 (PGE2s) -1 and 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO) as dual inhibitor. Two potent pirinixic acid derivatives, 2-(4-chloro-6-(quinolin-6-ylamino)pyrimidin-2-ylthio)octanoic acid (compound 2) and 2-(4-chloro-6-(quinolin-6-ylamino)pyrimidin-2-ylthio)octanoate (compound 3), have been worked and their insertion depts were investigated by combining of solid state NMR and molecular dynamics simulations. Both experimental and theoretical results pointed out that compound 3 was inserted the phospholipid bilayer more deeply than 2. NSAIDs – lipid mixtures have been also studied here. It is known that consumption of NSAIDs as in mixture with lipids results much fewer side effects than consumption of the drugs alone. Thus, it is crucial to understand interactions of NSAIDs with lipids and investigate the possible complex formation of drugs with lipids. In this study, interactions of three widely used NSAIDs, ibuprofen, diclofenac and piroxicam, with DPPC were investigated by solid-state NMR. 1H and 31P NMR results depicted that ibuprofen and diclofenac had interactions with lipids, which is an indication of drug-lipid complex formation whereas piroxicam didn’t show any interactions with lipids suggesting that no complex formation occurred in the case of piroxicam. Ceramides are known to play key roles in many cell processes and many studies showed that the functions of ceramides are related with the ceramide effects on biological membranes. Therefore, in this study, influences of ceramides on biophysics of lipid bilayers were investigated by using various solid state NMR techniques and molecular dynamics simulations. Results from molecular dynamics simulations clearly showed that ceramide and lipids have strong interactions. More evidences about ceramide-lipid interactions were provided from 1H and 14N NMR results. In addition, it was indicated by both simulation and experimental methods that ceramide increased the rigidity of DMPC by increasing chain order parameters. BTbk is a biradical, which is used as polarizing agent for dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP) experiments and found to be more efficient than other widely used polarizing agents such as TOTAPOL. Since it is a hydrophobic compound, which prefers to stay inside lipid bilayer it is important to investigate the location and orientation of bTbk along the bilayer in order to understand its enhancement profile in DNP measurements. In this study, both NMR relaxation time measurements and molecular dynamics simulations revealed that bTbk tends to stay more close to hydrophobic chain of lipids than the interfacial part of lipids at bilayer surface.
In the first part of this work, a brief introduction on lipid membranes as well as a theoretical summary on both methods of solid-state NMR and molecular dynamics simulations is given. Then, in the second part methodology is introduced for both solid-state NMR spectrometer and theoretical calculations. Afterwards, results of different membrane systems are discussed in the following parts for both solid state NMR and MD. Finally, in the last part, a summary and the conclusion of the overall results together with some future plans are explained.
Taxonomic revision, molecular phylogeny and zoogeography of the huntsman spider genus Eusparassus (Araneae: Sparassidae)
- The spider genus Eusparassus Simon, 1903 (Araneae: Sparassidae: Eusparassinae; stone huntsman spider) is revised worldwide to include 30 valid species distributed exclusively in Africa and Eurasia. The type species E. dufouri Simon, 1932 is redescribed and a neotype is designated from Portugal. An extended diagnosis for the genus is presented. Eight new species are described: Eusparassus arabicus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Arabian Peninsula, E. educatus Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Namibia, E. reverentia Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Burkina Faso and Nigeria, E. jaegeri Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Botswana, E. jocquei Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from Zimbabwe, E. borakalalo Moradmand, 2013 (female) from South Africa, E. schoemanae Moradmand, 2013 (male, female) from South Africa and Namibia and E. mesopotamicus Moradmand and Jäger, 2012 (male and female) from Iraq, Iran and Turkey. 22 species are re-described six of them are transferred from the genus Olios Walckenaer, 1837. Six species-groups are proposed: the dufouri-group [8 species: E. dufouri, E. levantinus Urones, 2006, E. barbarus (Lucas, 1846), E. atlanticus Simon, 1909, E. syrticus Simon, 1909, E. oraniensis (Lucas, 1846), E. letourneuxi (Simon, 1874), E. fritschi (Koch, 1873); Iberian Peninsula to parts of north-western Africa], walckenaeri-group [3 species: E. walckenaeri (Audouin, 1826), E. laevatus (Simon, 1897), E. arabicus; eastern Mediterranean to Arabia and parts of north-eastern Africa], doriae-group [7 species: E. doriae (Simon, 1874), E. kronebergi Denis, 1958, E. maynardi (Pocock, 1901), E. potanini (Simon, 1895), E. fuscimanus Denis, 1958, E. oculatus (Kroneberg, 1846) and E. mesopotamicus; Middle East to Central and South Asia], vestigator-group (3 species: E. vestigator (Simon, 1897), E. reverentia, E. pearsoni (Pocock, 1901); central to eastern Africa and an isolated area in NW India], jaegeri-group [4 species: E. jaegeri, E. jocquei, E. borakalalo, E. schoemanae; southern and south-eastern Africa], tuckeri-group [2 species: E. tuckeri (Lawrence, 1927), E. educatus; south-western Africa). Two species, E. pontii Caporiacco, 1935 and E. xerxes (Pocock, 1901) cannot be placed in any of the above groups. Two species are transferred from Eusparassus to Olios: O. flavovittatus (Caporiacco, 1935) and O. quesitio Moradmand, 2013. 14 species are recognized as misplaced in Eusparassus, thus nearly half of the described species prior to this revision were placed mistakenly in this genus. Neotypes are designated for E. walckenaeri from Egypt, E. barbarus, E. oraniensis and E. letourneuxi (all three from Algeria) to establish their identity. The male and female of Cercetius perezi Simon, 1902, which was known only from the immature holotype, are described for the first time. It is recognized that the monotypic and little used generic name Cercetius Simon, 1902 — a species, which had been known only from the immature holotype — as a synonym of the widely used name Eusparassus. The case proposal 3596 (conservation of name Eusparassus) is under consideration by ICZN.
The first comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family Sparassidae with focus on the genus Eusparassus is investigated using four molecular markers (mitochondrial COI and 16S; nuclear H3 and 28S). The monophyly of Eusparassus and the dufouri, walckenaeri and doriae species-groups are recovered with the latter two groups more closely related. The monophyly of the tuckeri-group is not supported and the position of E. jaegeri as the only available member of the jaegeri-group is not resolved within the Eusparassus clade. DNA samples of the vestigator-group were not accessible for this study. The origination of the genus Eusparassus around 70 million years ago (MA) is estimated according to molecular clock analyses. Using this recent result in combination with some biogeographic and geological data, the Namib Desert is proposed as the place of ancestral origin for Eusparassus and putative Eusparassinae genera.
Further analyses are done on the phylogenetic relationships of Sparassidae and its subfamilies. The Eusparassinae are not confirmed as monophyletic, with the two original genera Eusparassus and Pseudomicrommata in separate clades and only the latter clusters with most other assumed Eusparassinae, here termed the "African clade". Monophyly of the subfamilies Sparianthinae, Heteropodinae sensu stricto, Palystinae and Deleninae is recovered. The Sparianthinae are supported as the most basal clade, diverging considerably early (143 MA) from all other Sparassidae. The Sparassinae and genus Olios are found to be polyphyletic. The Sparassidae are confirmed as monophyletic and as most basal group within the RTA-clade. The divergence time of Sparassidae from the RTA-clade is estimated with 186 MA in the Jurassic. No affiliation of Sparassidae to other members of the "Laterigradae" (Philodromidae, Selenopidae and Thomisidae) is observed, thus the crab-like posture of this group was proposed a result of convergent evolution. Only the families Philodromidae and Selenopidae are found members of a supported clade. Including a considerable amount of RTA-clade representatives, the higher-level clade Dionycha is not but monophyly of the RTA-clade itself is supported.
Der gegenwärtige Stand der Gutenberg-Forschung [Rezension]
Characterising postural sway fluctuations in humans using linear and nonlinear methods
- Introduction: Postural control is a prerequisite to many everyday and sporting activities which requires the interaction of multiple sensorimotor processes. As long as we have no balance disorders, the maintenance of an erect standing position is taken for granted with automatic running control processes. It is well known that with increasing age or disease balance problems occur which often cause fall-related injuries. To assess balance performance, posturography is widely applied in which body sway is traditionally viewed as a manifestation of random fluctuations. Thus, the amount of sway is solely used as an index of postural stability, that is, less sway is an indication of better control. But, traditional measures of variability fail to account for the temporal organisation of postural sway. The concept of nonlinear dynamics suggests that variability in the motor output is not random but structured. It provides the stimulus to reveal the functionality of postural sway. This thesis evaluates nonlinear analysis tools in addition to classic linear methods in terms of age-related modifications of postural control and under different standing conditions in order to broaden the existing knowledge of postural control processes.
Methods: Static posturographic analyses were conducted which included the recording of centre of pressure (COP) time series by means of a force plate. Linear and nonlinear methods were used to quantify postural sway variability in order to evaluate both the amount and structure of sway. Classic time and frequency domain COP parameters were computed. In addition, wavelet transform (WT), multiscale entropy, detrended fluctuation analysis, and scaled windowed variance method were applied to COP signals in order to derive structural COP parameters. Two experiments were performed. 1) 16 young (26.1 ± 6.7 years), healthy subjects were asked to adopt a bipedal stance under single- and dual-task conditions. Three trials were conduced each with a different sampling duration: 30, 60, and 300 seconds [s]. 2) 26 young (28.15 ± 5.86 years) and 13 elderly (72 ± 7 years) subjects stood quietly for 60 s on five different surfaces which imposed different biomechanical constraints: level ground (LG), one foot on a step (ST), uphill (UH), downhill (DH), and slope (SL). Additional to COP recordings, limb load symmetry was assessed via foot pressure insoles.
Results: We found a higher sensitivity of structural COP parameters to modulations of postural control and partly an improved evaluation of sway dynamics in longer COP recordings. WT revealed a reweighing of frequency bands in response to altered standing conditions. Scaling exponents and entropy values of COP signals were task-dependent. Higher entropy values were found under the dual-task and condition ST. The time scales affected under the altered standing positions differed between groups and sway directions. Mainly larger posturograms were found in the elderly. Age effects were especially revealed in position ST and concerning medial-lateral COP signals. Load asymmetry was stronger in elderly subjects for LG, UH, and DH positions.
Discussion: Modifications of multiple time scales corresponds to an interplay of control subsystems to cope with the altered task demands. The affected time scales are age-dependent suggesting a change of control processes. Higher irregularity under the dual-task indicates a more complex motor output which is interpreted as less attentional investment into postural control. Larger complexity is evident for ST in contrast to LG position. ST obviously challenges lateral sway which is counteracted differently between groups. Load asymmetry suggests that especially elderly subjects adopt a step-initiation strategy.
Conclusion: A continued application of nonlinear methods is necessary to broaden the understanding of postural control mechanisms and to identify classifiers for balance dysfunctions. Structural COP parameters provide a more comprehensive indication of postural control system properties between groups and task demands. COP recordings of at least 60 s are recommended to adequately quantify COP signal structure. The analysis of postural strategies in everyday activities increases the ecological validity of postural control studies and can provide valuable information regarding the development of effective rehabilitation programs.
Selection of functional human antibodies from retroviral display libraries
Johannes H. Urban
Richard M. Schneider
Christian J. Buchholz
- Antibody library technology represents a powerful tool for the discovery and design of antibodies with high affinity and specificity for their targets. To extend the technique to the expression and selection of antibody libraries in an eukaryotic environment, we provide here a proof of concept that retroviruses can be engineered for the display and selection of variable single-chain fragment (scFv) libraries. A retroviral library displaying the repertoire obtained after a single round of selection of a human synthetic scFv phage display library on laminin was generated. For selection, antigen-bound virus was efficiently recovered by an overlay with cells permissive for infection. This approach allowed more than 10(3)-fold enrichment of antigen binders in a single selection cycle. After three selection cycles, several scFvs were recovered showing similar laminin-binding activities but improved expression levels in mammalian cells as compared with a laminin-specific scFv selected by the conventional phage display approach. Thus, translational problems that occur when phage-selected antibodies have to be transferred onto mammalian expression systems to exert their therapeutic potential can be avoided by the use of retroviral display libraries.
Integrating movement ecology with biodiversity research - exploring new avenues to address spatiotemporal biodiversity dynamics
Carsten M. Buchmann
Jana A. Eccard
- Movement of organisms is one of the key mechanisms shaping biodiversity, e.g. the distribution of genes, individuals and species in space and time. Recent technological and conceptual advances have improved our ability to assess the causes and consequences of individual movement, and led to the emergence of the new field of ‘movement ecology’. Here, we outline how movement ecology can contribute to the broad field of biodiversity research, i.e. the study of processes and patterns of life among and across different scales, from genes to ecosystems, and we propose a conceptual framework linking these hitherto largely separated fields of research. Our framework builds on the concept of movement ecology for individuals, and demonstrates its importance for linking individual organismal movement with biodiversity. First, organismal movements can provide ‘mobile links’ between habitats or ecosystems, thereby connecting resources, genes, and processes among otherwise separate locations. Understanding these mobile links and their impact on biodiversity will be facilitated by movement ecology, because mobile links can be created by different modes of movement (i.e., foraging, dispersal, migration) that relate to different spatiotemporal scales and have differential effects on biodiversity. Second, organismal movements can also mediate coexistence in communities, through ‘equalizing’ and ‘stabilizing’ mechanisms. This novel integrated framework provides a conceptual starting point for a better understanding of biodiversity dynamics in light of individual movement and space-use behavior across spatiotemporal scales. By illustrating this framework with examples, we argue that the integration of movement ecology and biodiversity research will also enhance our ability to conserve diversity at the genetic, species, and ecosystem levels.
Charakterisierung der Rolle von α-Taxilin [Alpha-Taxilin] für den Zelleintritt und die Morphogenese von Hepatitis B
- Eine Infektion mit dem Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) kann bei 5-10 % der infizierten Erwachsenen und 70-90 % der infizierten Kinder chronisch verlaufen. Trotz einer verfügbaren Impfung gegen die Erkrankung sind heute nach Angaben der WHO weltweit etwa 350 Mio. Menschen chronisch HBV-infiziert [Lupberger and Hildt, 2007, Hollinger and Liang, 2001]. In 5-10 % der Fälle führt eine chronische Infektion zu einer Leberfibrose und Zirrhose, welche letztlich zur Ausbildung eines hepatozellulären Karzinoms (HCC) führen kann. HCCs sind die dritthäufigste karzinomassoziierte Todesursache weltweit [Blum, 2005]. Um Therapien gegen eine HBV-Infektion und das damit erhöhte Risiko einer HCC-Entstehung entwickeln zu können, müssen die einzelnen Schritte des HBV-Replikationszyklus verstanden sein. Wesentliche Schritte der frühen Infektionsphase, insbesondere der Rezeptor bzw. Rezeptorkomplex, welcher den Zelleintritt des Virus vermittelt sowie der Transport des Virusgenoms in den Zellkern, sind bisher noch unklar. Auch der Exportprozess und die Freisetzung der Viruspartikel ist bisher noch nicht im Detail verstanden. Es ist jedoch bekannt, dass die Viruspartikel unter Nutzung der zellulären ESCRT (endosomal sorting complex required for transport)-Maschinerie aus der Zelle freigesetzt werden [Lambert et al., 2007]. Auf der Suche nach Faktoren, die in diese Vorgänge involviert sind, konnte in dieser Arbeit das vesikeltransportassoziierte Protein α-Taxilin identifiziert werden. Der Einfluss von HBV auf die α-Taxilin-Bildung und seine mögliche Beteiligung am viralen Export wurden dabei näher charakterisiert. In HBV-positiven Zellen konnte in vivo und in vitro eine signifikante Steigerung der α-Taxilin-Expression nachgewiesen werden. Diese wird hierbei durch die HBV-Proteine HBx und LHBs über den Raf/Mek/Erk-Signalweg induziert [Glatzel, 2011]. Mithilfe von knockdown-Experimenten konnte beobachtet werden, dass α-Taxilin für den Export der Viruspartikel, nicht aber für den Export subviraler Partikel (SVPs) essentiell ist. Der Export der Virionen findet hierbei über das ESCRT-System statt. Den HBV-Strukturproteinen fehlen jedoch die für die Interaktion mit dem ESCRT-System essentiellen late-Domänen. Die Proteinstruktur von α-Taxilin dagegen weist diese late-Domänen auf. In dieser Arbeit konnte diese interaktionsvermittelnde Funktion von α-Taxilin zwischen dem Virus und dem ESCRT-System charakterisiert werden. Über eine Interaktion von α-Taxilin mit dem viralen LHBs-Protein auf der einen Seite und der tsg101-Komponente des ESCRT-I-Komplexes auf der anderen Seite agiert α-Taxilin als eine Art Linker zwischen dem ESCRT-System und HBV.
Darüber hinaus wurde Annexin A5 als zellulärer Interaktionspartner für α-Taxilin identifiziert [Röttger, 2011]. Es dirigiert α-Taxilin in einer Art shuttle-Funktion auf die Zellmembran suszeptibler Zellen und bindet es an deren Zelloberfläche. Diese Exposition von α-Taxilin nimmt während der Dedifferenzierung in Korrelation mit dem Suszeptibilitätsverlust primärer Hepatozyten ab. Eine Maskierung von α-Taxilin durch eine vorherige Inkubation der Zellen mit α-Taxilin-spezifischen Antikörpern konnte die Bindung und die Aufnahme der Viren inhibieren. Überexpressionsstudien bestätigten die essentielle Rezeptorfunktion von α-Taxilin. Die verstärkte Produktion von α-Taxilin führte zur Suszeptibilität der Zellen. Auch die Speziesspezifität der Bindung zwischen humanem α-Taxilin und HBV konnte in einem Co-Immunpräzipitationsexperiment mit den rezeptorbindenden Domänen von HBV, WHV und DHBV identifiziert werden.
In der vorliegenden Arbeit konnte somit zum ersten Mal eine Rezeptorfunktion von α-Taxilin bei der Aufnahme von HBV in die Wirtszelle nachgewiesen werden. Darüber hinaus schreiben die in dieser Arbeit gemachten Beobachtungen α-Taxilin eine essentielle Funktion für die Vermittlung des ESCRT-abhängigen Exports der Virionen aus der Zelle zu. Die hierbei gewonnen Erkenntnisse sind von hoher Relevanz für die weitere Erforschung der HBV-assoziierten Pathogenese und die Etablierung eines in vivo Infektions-Modells.
Virtual machine scheduling in dedicated computing clusters
- Time-critical applications process a continuous stream of input data and have to meet speciﬁc timing constraints. A common approach to ensure that such an application satisﬁes its constraints is over-provisioning: The application is deployed in a dedicated cluster environment with enough processing power to achieve the target performance for every speciﬁed data input rate. This approach comes with a drawback: At times of decreased data input rates, the cluster resources are not fully utilized. A typical use case is the HLT-Chain application that processes physics data at runtime of the ALICE experiment at CERN. From a perspective of cost and efficiency it is desirable to exploit temporarily unused cluster resources. Existing approaches aim for that goal by running additional applications. These approaches, however, a) lack in ﬂexibility to dynamically grant the time-critical application the resources it needs, b) are insufficient for isolating the time-critical application from harmful side-effects introduced by additional applications or c) are not general because application-speciﬁc interfaces are used. In this thesis, a software framework is presented that allows to exploit unused resources in a dedicated cluster without harming a time-critical application. Additional applications are hosted in Virtual Machines (VMs) and unused cluster resources are allocated to these VMs at runtime. In order to avoid resource bottlenecks, the resource usage of VMs is dynamically modiﬁed according to the needs of the time-critical application. For this purpose, a number of previously not combined methods is used. On a global level, appropriate VM manipulations like hot migration, suspend/resume and start/stop are determined by an informed search heuristic and applied at runtime. Locally on cluster nodes, a feedback-controlled adaption of VM resource usage is carried out in a decentralized manner. The employment of this framework allows to increase a cluster’s usage by running additional applications, while at the same time preventing negative impact towards a time-critical application. This capability of the framework is shown for the HLT-Chain application: In an empirical evaluation the cluster CPU usage is increased from 49% to 79%, additional results are computed and no negative effect towards the HLT-Chain application are observed.
Inhibierung von Stat5 in Tumoren durch RNA‐Interferenz und spezifische Interaktion eines Peptidaptamer‐Konstruktes mit der DNA‐Bindedomäne
- Die phylogenetisch hochkonservierte Jak/Stat‐Signaltransduktionskaskade repräsentiert eines der zentralen Säulen zellulärer Signalübertragung eukaryotischer Organismen. Ubiquitär im Organismus exprimiert und über eine Vielzahl von Zytokinen, Hormonen und Wachstumsfaktoren aktiviert, sind Stat‐Transkriptionsfaktoren maßgeblich an dem Erhalt der Physiologie und Homöostase von Organen und Geweben beteiligt. So sind die Mitglieder Stat5A und Stat5B (als homologe Proteine im Verbund als Stat5 bezeichnet) entscheidende Regulatoren des Immunsystems und der Hämatopoese, der Funktion und Entwicklung des Prostata‐ und Brustdrüsengewebes (Mammogenese) oder bestimmter Funktionen der Leber. Wie auch Stat3, konnten Stat5 Proteine in aberrant aktiver Form in verschiedensten Typen und Stadien humaner Tumore nachgewiesen werden, wo sie über die Expression ihrer Zielgene sowie über weitere nicht‐kanonische Funktionen im Zytoplasma und im Zellkern einer fortschreitend malignen Entartung entscheidend beitragen. Als Folge der Unterstützung essentieller Tumorgenese‐
Mechanismen, wie gesteigertes Zellwachstum, Apoptosehemmung, Migration und Metastasierung, Sauerstoff‐unabhängiger Energiestoffwechsel, Angiogenese oder Umgehung der Immunabwehr, entwickeln Tumore häufig eine Abhängigkeit gegenüber der gesteigerten Aktivität dieser Vertreter der Stat‐Proteinfamilie und reagieren mit einem Wachstumsstopp und Apoptoseinduktion auf ihre Inhibierung. Perspektivisch stellt die gezielte Interferenz mit aberranten, Tumortyp‐spezifischen Stat5‐Aktivitäten einen relevanten Ansatz in der personalisierten Therapie Stat5‐abhängiger Tumore, vorrangig leukämischen Ursprungs, dar. ...