Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität)
Investigation of the biosynthesis of bacterial natural products
- Natural products (NPs) have been a rich source for pharmaceutically used anti-infectives and other drugs. However, the application of anti-infectives inevitably causes the development of resistant and multiresistant pathogens, which have to be treated with novel anti-infectives. The industrial research for novel anti-infectives has been concentrating on members of the bacterial Actinomycetales for a long time. Due to several reasons, e.g. the rediscovery of already known NPs, pharmaceutical companies abandoned their NP-research and focused on drug development based on combinatorial chemistry. However, the limited structural diversity of merely synthetic compound libraries has not been a fruitful source for bioactive compounds. Hence the discovery of novel bioactive NPs as a source for anti-infectives is still of economical and humanitarian interest and will remain to be an important branch of research in the future. One strategy to circumvent the rediscovery of bioactive NPs is the analysis of yet unexplored bacterial taxa. Based on this assumption, this work aimed at the discovery of novel NPs from the entomopathogenic bacterial genera Xenorhabdus and Photorhabdus and other promising taxa, as well as the investigation of their biosynthesis. ...
Genetic diversity and geneflow between Arctic and Antarctic populations of the lichen Cetraria aculeata along the Andes and the Rocky Mountains
Fernando Fernández Mendoza
- Lichens are present in most land ecosystems, frequently occupying habitats where few other organisms are able to survive. Their contribution to the ecosystems in terms of biomass and ground cover increases with latitude and altitude, being, together with bryophytes, the most conspicuous component of alpine and polar landscapes. Whereas some polar lichens have reduced distributions and are restricted to high latitudes, most of them have very wide distributional ranges, which oven extend over several climatic regions. Many of them are common to Polar Regions of both hemispheres, a distributional pattern that has been denominated as bipolar, antitropical or amphitropical. Bipolar distributions are not exclusive to lichens, but common to many groups of organisms. The bipolar element in lichens is exceptional as it includes a large number of species, while in most other land organisms it includes genera or families but very seldom species.
In this dissertation I use the bipolar lichen Cetraria aculeata to give a first insight into the phylogeography of this biogeographic element in lichens. I discuss how and when the disjunct distribution of C. aculeata came to be, and try to partial out the roles that historical and ecological processes played in shaping its distribution.
Sampling was designed to cover a wide geographic extension. The main e"ort was made to collect in boreal, temperate and tropical mountain ranges in North and South America, as well to include Mediterranean populations in which specimens with deviant morphologies are observed.
I found that Cetraria aculeata forms a genetically congruent taxon. Although whether it should include C. muricata remains unsolved, I excluded all specimens identified as the latter from our analyses. Thee populations of both algal and fungal symbionts have a strong geographic structure. The study of the lichen fungus suggested that the species originated in the Eurasian continent and later expanded to acquire its current distribution during the Pleistocene. The results showed that all American populations originated from an ancestral population, more similar to the extant Arctic populations than to the Mediterranean ones.
The comparison between the structure of fungal and algal populations showed a high degree of coherence between them. However, the similarity in photobiont use between Arctic and Antarctic populations suggests that photobiont use responds not only to a history of codispersal in vegetative propagula, but it is also a result of a selective process related to climate. Since this climatic pattern of similarity is also found in the community of Alphaproteobacteria associated with C. aculeata, we concluded that lichens might be able to accommodate or to respond to different environmental conditions by selectively associating with different symbiotic partners.
Lastly, we found the Mediterranean populations of C. aculeata to be genetically differentiated in algal and fungal symbionts from the rest of the populations. While we found no grounds to believe that the overgrown morphs encountered in the region are due to the association with different algal lineages, I believe that a switch in photobiont use might be responsible for the pattern of genetic isolation encountered. Furthermore, I suggest that the Mediterranean and bipolar C. aculeata could be two different species, since both are ecologically, genetically and at least in part morphologically divergent.
Die Funktion von microRNAs bei der Entstehung und Verarbeitung von Schmerzen
- In der vorliegenden Arbeit konnte gezeigt werden, dass bestimmte neuronale microRNAs im Rückenmark und in den Spinalganglien konstitutiv exprimiert und nach peripherer Entzündung mit Formalin oder Zymosan differenziell reguliert werden. Bei der SNI-induzierten Neuropathie konnte indessen keine signifikante Regulation der untersuchten microRNAs nachgewiesen werden. Aufgrund der Lokalisation in den Neuronen der Schmerz-verarbeitenden Laminae I und II des Dorsalhorns des Rückenmarks und angesichts der Regulation in entzündlich stimulierten Neuronen und Mikroglia wurde der Fokus der Arbeit auf die Untersuchung von microRNA-124a gelegt. Anhand von Expressionsanalysen konnte gezeigt werden, dass eine periphere entzündliche Stimulation mit Formalin oder Zymosan microRNA-124a im Rückenmark inhibiert, die Expression pro-inflammatorischer und pro-nozizeptiver Gene hiernach ermöglicht und ein vermehrtes Schmerzverhalten bewirkt. Die funktionelle Relevanz von microRNA-124a wurde in vivo mittels intravenöser Applikation von microRNA-124a-Modulatoren bei einem Modell für entzündliche Schmerzen, dem Formalin-Modell untersucht. Dabei führte die Hemmung von microRNA-124a zu einem verstärkten Schmerzverhalten, welches mit einer Hochregulation verschiedener Entzündungsmarker einherging. Die Überexpression von microRNA-124a dagegen antagonisierte die Hochregulation entzündlicher Mediatoren und führte zu einer Schmerzhemmung. Darüber hinaus konnte in der vorliegenden Arbeit der antinozizeptive Effekt von microRNA-124a mit der Regulation der Epigenetik-regulierenden Targets MeCP2, HDAC5 und MYST2 assoziiert werden und u.a. über die Hemmung des neuromodulierenden, pro-inflammatorischen Peptids BDNF verifiziert werden. Die spezielle Darreichung von microRNA-124a könnte demzufolge einen vielversprechenden Ansatz zur Therapie chronisch-entzündlicher Schmerzen liefern. Zukünftig werden weitere Studien notwendig sein um die eindeutige Funktion, die individuelle Wirkung sowie die therapeutische Relevanz von microRNA-124a zu analysieren. Darüber hinaus müssten Dosis-Wirkungs-Beziehungen und Nebenwirkungsprofile für microRNA-124a erstellt werden, um potenzielle Risiken, Chancen und Vorteile der microRNA-Modulation hinsichtlich einer humanen Schmerztherapie bewerten zu können.
Cell-free expression and molecular modeling of the γ-secretase complex and G-protein-coupled receptors
- Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which was first reported more than a century ago by Alhzeimer, is one of the commonest forms of dementia which affects >30 million people globally (>8 million in Europe). The origin and pathogenesis of AD is poorly understood and there is no cure available for the disease. AD is characterized by the accumulation of senile plaques composed of amyloid beta peptides (Ab 37-43) which is formed by the gamma secretase (GS) complex by cleaving amyloid precursor protein. Therefore GS can be an attractive drug target. Since GS processes several other substrates like Notch, CD44 and Cadherins, nonspecific inhibition of GS has many side effects. Due to the lack of crystal structure of GS, which is attributed to the extreme difficulties in purifying it, molecular modeling can be useful to understand its architecture. So far only low resolution cryoEM structures of the complex has been solved which only provides a rough structure of the complex at low 12-15 A resolution Furthermore the activity of GS in vitro can be achieved by means of cell-free (CF) expression.
GS comprises catalytic subunits namely presenilins and supporting elements containing Pen-2, Aph-1 and Nicastrin. The origin of AD is hidden in the regulated intramembrnae proteolysis (RIP) which is involved in various physiological processes and also in leukemia. So far growth factors, cytokines, receptors, viral proteins, cell adhesion proteins, signal peptides and GS has been shown to undergo RIP. During RIP, the target proteins undergo extracellular shredding and intramembrane proteolysis.
This thesis is based on molecular modeling, molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, cell-free (CF) expression, mass spectrometry, NMR, crystallization, activity assay etc of the components of GS complex and G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs).
First I validated the NMR structure of PS1 CTF in detergent micelles and lipid bilayers using coarse-grained MD simulations using MARTINI forcefield implemented in Gromacs. CTF was simulated in DPC micelles, DPPC and DLPC lipid bilayer. Starting from random configuration of detergent and lipids, micelle and lipid bilyer were formed respectively in presence of CTF and it was oriented properly to the micelle and bilyer during the simulation. Around DPC molecules formed micelle around CTF in agreement of the experimental results in which 80-85 DPC molecules are required to form micelles. The structure obtained in DPC was similar to that of NMR structure but differed in bilayer simulations showed the possibility of substrate docking in the conserved PAL motif. Simulations of CTF in implicit membrane (IMM1) in CHAMM yielded similar structure to that from coarse grained MD.
I performed cell-free expression optimization, crystallization and NMR spectroscopy of Pen-2 in various detergent micelles. Additionally Pen-2 was modeled by a combination of rosetta membrane ab-initio method, HHPred distant homology modeling and incorporating NMR constraints. The models were validated by all atom and coarse grained MD simulations both in detergent micelles and POPC/DPPC lipid bilayers using MARTINI forcefield.
GS operon consisting of all four subunits was co-expressed in CF and purified. The presence of of GS subunits after pull-down with Aph-1 was determined by western blotting (Pen-2) and mass spectrometry (Presenilin-1 and Aph-1). I also studied interactions of especially PS1 CTF, APP and NTF by docking and MD.
I also made models and interfaces of Pen-2 with PS1 NTF and checked their stability by MD simulations and compared with experimental results. The goal is to model the interfaces between GS subunits using molecular modeling approaches based on available experimental data like cross-linking, mutations and NMR structure of C-terminal fragment of PS1 and transmembrane part of APP. The obtained interfaces of GS subunits may explain its catalysis mechanism which can be exploited for novel lead design. Due to lack of crystal/NMR structure of the GS subunits except the PS1 CTF, it is not possible to predict the effect of mutations in terms of APP cleavage. So I also developed a sequence based approach based on machine learning using support vector machine to predict the effect of PS1 CTF L383 mutations in terms of Aβ40/Aβ42 ratio with 88% accuracy. Mutational data derived from the Molgen database of Presenilin 1 mutations was using for training.
GPCRs (also called 7TM receptors) form a large superfamily of membrane proteins, which can be activated by small molecules, lipids, hormones, peptides, light, pain, taste and smell etc. Although 50% of the drugs in market target GPCRs , only few are targeted therapeutically. Such wide range of targets is due to involvement of GPCRs in signaling pathways related to many diseases i.e. dementia (like Alzheimer's disease), metabolic (like diabetes) including endocrinological disorders, immunological including viral infections, cardiovascular, inflammatory, senses disorders, pain and cancer.
Cannabinoid and adrenergic receptors belong to the class A (similar to rhodopsin) GPCRs. Docking of agonists and antagonists to CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors revealed the importance of a centrally located rotamer toggle switch, and its possible role in the mechanism of agonist/antagonist recognition. The switch is composed of two residues, F3.36 and W6.48, located on opposite transmembrane helices TM3 and TM6 in the central part of the membranous domain of cannabinoid receptors. The CB1 and CB2 receptor models were constructed based on the adenosine A2A receptor template. The two best scored conformations of each receptor were used for the docking procedure. In all poses (ligand-receptor conformations) characterized by the lowest ligand-receptor intermolecular energy and free energy of binding the ligand type matched the state of the rotamer toggle switch: antagonists maintained an inactive state of the switch, whereas agonists changed it. In case of agonists of β2AR, the (R,R) and (S,S) stereoisomers of fenoterol, the molecular dynamics simulations provided evidence of different binding modes while preserving the same average position of ligands in the binding site. The (S,S) isomer was much more labile in the binding site and only one stable hydrogen bond was created. Such dynamical binding modes may also be valid for ligands of cannabinoid receptors because of the hydrophobic nature of their ligand-receptor interactions. However, only very long molecular dynamics simulations could verify the validity of such binding modes and how they affect the process of activation.
Human N-formyl peptide receptors (FPRs) are G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) involved in many physiological processes, including host defense against bacterial infection and resolving inflammation. The three human FPRs (FPR1, FPR2 and FPR3) share significant sequence homology and perform their action via coupling to Gi protein. Activation of FPRs induces a variety of responses, which are dependent on the agonist, cell type, receptor subtype, and also species involved. FPRs are expressed mainly by phagocytic leukocytes. Together, these receptors bind a large number of structurally diverse groups of agonistic ligands, including N-formyl and nonformyl peptides of different composition, that chemoattract and activate phagocytes. For example, N-formyl-Met-Leu-Phe (fMLF), an FPR1 agonist, activates human phagocyte inflammatory responses, such as intracellular calcium mobilization, production of cytokines, generation of reactive oxygen species, and chemotaxis. This ligand can efficiently activate the major bactericidal neutrophil functions and it was one of the first characterized bacterial chemotactic peptides. Whereas fMLF is by far the most frequently used chemotactic peptide in studies of neutrophil functions, atomistic descriptions for fMLF-FPR1 binding mode are still scarce mainly because of the absence of a crystal structure of this receptor. Elucidating the binding modes may contribute to designing novel and more efficient non-peptide FPR1 drug candidates. Molecular modeling of FPR1, on the other hand, can provide an efficient way to reveal details of ligand binding and activation of the receptor. However, recent modelings of FPRs were confined only to bovine rhodopsin as a template.
To locate specific ligand-receptor interactions based on a more appropriate template than rhodopsin we generated the homology models of FPR1 using the crystal structure of the chemokine receptor CXCR4, which shares over 30% sequence identity with FPR1 and is located in the same γ branch of phylogenetic tree of GPCRs (rhodopsin is located in α branch). Docking and model refinement procedures were pursued afterward. Finally, 40 ns full-atom MD simulations were conducted for the Apo form as well as for complexes of fMLF (agonist) and tBocMLF (antagonist) with FPR1 in the membrane. Based on locations of the N- and C-termini of the ligand the FPR1 extracellular pocket can be divided into two zones, namely, the anchor and activation regions. The formylated M1 residue of fMLF bound to the activation region led to a series of conformational changes of conserved residues. Internal water molecules participating in extended hydrogen bond networks were found to play a crucial role in transmitting the agonist-receptor interactions. A mechanism of initial steps of the activation concurrent with ligand binding is proposed.
I accurately predicted the structure and ligand binding pose of dopamine receptor 3 (RMSD to the crystal structure: 2.13 Å) and chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4, RMSD to the crystal structure 3.21 Å) in GPCR-Dock 2010 competition. The homology model of the dopamine receptor 3 was 8 th best overall in the competition.
Characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase and its heterologous production in Escherichia coli
- This work presents a biochemical, functional and structural characterization of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase obtained using both a native form (AAF1FO) and a heterologous form (EAF1FO) of this enzyme.
F1FO ATP synthases catalyze the synthesis of ATP from ADP and inorganic phosphate driven by ion motive forces across the membrane and therefore play a key cellular function. Because of their central role in supporting life, F1FO ATP synthases are ubiquitous and have been remarkably conserved throughout evolution. For their biological importance, F1FO ATP synthases have been extensively studied for many decades and many of them were characterized from both a functional and a structural standpoint. However, important properties of ATP synthases – specifically properties pertaining to their membrane embedded subunits – have yet to be determined and no structures are available to date for the intact enzyme complex. Therefore, F1FO ATP synthases are still a major focus of research worldwide. Our research group had previously reported an initial characterization of AAF1FO and had indicated that this enzyme presents unique features, i.e. a bent central stalk and a putatively heterodimeric peripheral stalk. Based on such a characterization, this enzyme revealed promising for structural and functional studies on ATP synthases and became the focus of this doctoral thesis. Two different lines of research were followed in this work.
First, the characterization of AAF1FO was extended by bioinformatic, biochemical and enzymatic analyses. The work on AAF1FO led to the identification of a new detergent that maintains a higher homogeneity and integrity of the complex, namely the detergent trans-4-(trans-4’-propylcyclohexyl)cyclohexyl-α-D-maltoside (α-PCC). The characterization of AAF1FO in this new detergent showed that AAF1FO is a proton-dependent, not a sodium ion-dependent ATP synthase and that its ATP hydrolysis mechanism needs to be triggered and activated by high temperatures, possibly inducing a conformational switch in subunit γ. Moreover, this approach suggested that AAF1FO may present unusual features in its membrane subunits, i.e. short N-terminal segments in subunits a and c with implications for the membrane insertion mechanism of these subunits.
Investigating on these unique features of A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase could not be done using A. aeolicus cells, because these require a harsh and dangerous environment for growth and they are inaccessible to genetic manipulations. Therefore, a second approach was pursued, in which an expression system was created to produce the enzyme in the heterologous host E. coli. This second approach was experimentally challenging, because A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is a 500-kDa multimeric membrane enzyme with a complicated and still not entirely determined stoichiometry and because its encoding genes are scattered throughout A. aeolicus genome, rather than being organized in one single operon. However, an artificial operon suitable for expression was created in this work and led to the successful production of an active and fully assembled form of Aquifex aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. Such artificial operon was created using a stepwise approach, in which we expressed and studied first individual subunits, then subcomplexes, and finally the entire F1FO ATP synthase complex. We confirmed experimentally that subunits b1 and b2 form a heterodimeric subcomplex in the E. coli membranes, which is a unique case among ATP synthases of non-photosynthetic organisms. Moreover, we determined that the b1b2 subcomplex is sufficient to recruit the soluble F1 subcomplex to the membranes, without requiring the presence of the other membrane subunits a and c. The latter subunits can be produced in our expression system only when the whole ATP synthase is expressed, but not in isolation nor in the context of smaller FO subcomplexes. These observations led us to propose a novel mechanism for the assembly of ATP synthases, in which first the F1 subcomplex attaches to the membrane via subunit b1b2, and then cring and subunits a assemble to complete the FO subcomplex. Furthermore, we could purify the heterologous ATP synthase (EAF1FO) to homogeneity by chromatography and electro-elution. Enzymatic assays showed that the purified form of EAF1FO is as active as AAF1FO. Peptide mass fingerprinting showed that EAF1FO is composed of the same subunits as AAF1FO and all soluble and membrane subunits could be identified. Finally, single-particle electron microscopy analysis revealed that the structure of EAF1FO is identical to that of AAF1FO. Therefore, the EAF1FO expression system serves as a reliable platform for investigating on properties of AAF1FO.
Specifically, in this work, EAF1FO was used to study the membrane insertion mechanism of rotary subunit c. Subunits c possess different lengths and levels of hydrophobicity across species and by analyzing their N-terminal variability, four phylogenetic groups of subunits c were distinguished (groups 1 to 4). As a member of group 2, the subunit c from A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase is characterized by an N-terminal segment that functions as a signal peptide with SRP recognition features, a unique case for bacterial F1FO ATP synthases. By accurately designing mutants of EAF1FO, we determined that such a signal peptide is strictly necessary for membrane insertion of subunit c and we concluded that A. aeolicus subunit c inserts into E. coli membranes using a different pathway than E. coli subunit c. Such a property may be common to other ATP synthases from extremophilic organisms, which all cluster in the same phylogenetic group.
In conclusion, the successful production of the fully assembled and active F1FO ATP synthase from A. aeolicus in E. coli reported in this work provides a novel genetic system to study A. aeolicus F1FO ATP synthase. To a broader extent, it will also serve in the future as a solid reference for designing strategies aimed at producing large multi-subunit complexes with complicated stoichiometry.
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.
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. ...
Isolation, characterization and mechanism of action of a novel and selective pharmacological antagonist from Vipera palaestinae venom targeting α2β1 collagen-binding receptor
Franziska Therese Arlinghaus
- In the past century, scientists have realized that venoms are a source of a number of natural substances presenting a wide range of pharmacological properties and often displaying a high specificity for their targets. Thus, the field of toxinology came into being, which is defined as the study of toxic substances of biological origin. Toxins are found in a wide variety of animals, including fish, cone snails, scorpions, snakes, and even some mammals. To be classified as venom, these must contain substances, i.e. toxins, which disturb physiological processes and must be deliberately delivered to the target animal. Snakes have evolved one of the most sophisticated mechanisms for venom delivery. Envenomation by snakebite can induce and inhibit aggregation/agglutination of platelets as well as inhibit/activate hemostasis, but also disrupt other physiological functions via neurotoxins and angioneurin growth factors. Snake venoms contain a substantial amount of C-type lectin-related proteins (CLRPs) which are known to function, notably, as integrin inhibitors. CLRPs are heterodimers composed of homologous α and β subunits which can assemble either covalently or noncovalently to oligomers, resulting in αβ, (αβ)2 and (αβ)4 structures. Some of the main targets of CLRPs are membrane receptors, coagulation factors, and proteins essential to hemostasis. The platelet collagen receptors GPVI and α2β1 integrin as well as the von Willebrand factor receptor GPIb play important roles in platelet activation and aggregation and are considered main targets of antithrombotic drugs. In this thesis, the integrin α2β1 is particularly considered as it is the sole collagen-binding integrin on platelets. Reduced expression of this platelet receptor results in dysfunction of platelet responses. Equivalently, overexpression of α2β1 integrin results in an increased risk of thrombosis. As a result, selective inhibitors of the collagen-α2β1 interaction could give rise to effective antithrombotic drugs. Integrins are large receptors which mediate cell-cell contacts and the binding of cells to the extracellular matrix (ECM). Therefore, they play a role in physiological processes, e.g. hemostasis and immunity, as well as in pathological processes, e.g. tumor angiogenesis and atherosclerosis. 18 α and 8 β integrin subunits, with nine α subunits containing an additional A domain, associate non-covalently to form 24 heterodimers with distinct binding specificities. Integrin collagen receptors are a subclass of four receptors which all utilize the β1 subunit. The α2β1 integrin is a collagen-binding receptor expressed not only on platelets, but also on endothelial and epithelial cells. Consequently, this integrin is also essential for cell adhesion and migration playing a role in angiogenesis as well as tumor metastasis. To date, there are five known antagonists of α2β1 integrin: EMS16, rhodocetin, vixapatin, and most recently rhinocetin and flavocetin-A. The first four have been shown to be specific for the integrin α2A domain, the major collagen-binding domain. All these antagonists are CLRPs and present new leads for drug design. In the past few years, many insights into the structure and function of rhodocetin were obtained. Monoclonal antibodies proved to be advantageous in disclosing this information, making them not only useful as therapeutic agents, but also as tools for protein characterization. The venom of the Vipera palaestinae snake was recently shown to contain an α2β1 integrin inhibitor, which prevented the integrin from binding collagen. This inhibitor, called vixapatin, was the initial focus of this dissertation. Vixapatin’s interaction with the α2β1 integrin needed further characterization on a molecular and cellular level to assess its medical potential and monoclonal antibodies were to be used as a tool. Originally, vixapatin had been isolated by reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography. To avoid the stringency of this method, for this study, it was replaced with gentler chromatographic methods. First, the α2β1 integrin inhibitor was isolated from the crude snake venom with affinity chromatography using the α2A domain as bait, establishing a method to quickly screen venoms for α2β1-binding proteins which affect the collagenintegrin interaction. The applicability of this method to other snake venoms was shown by isolating an α2A domain-specific toxin from the venom of Trimeresurus flavoviridis. To allow further characterization of both these toxins, gel filtration and ion exchange chromatography were employed to purify the protein without the α2A domain. These classical protein purification methods resulted in similar separation patterns of both the V. palaestinae and T. flavoviridis venom proteins. Purified proteins exhibiting the potential of inhibiting integrinbinding to collagen were analyzed by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis. Both VP-i and flavocetin-A, the integrin inhibitors from V. palaestinae and T. flavoviridis, respectively, were shown to have more complex structures than was evident from the purification. Each consisted of four low-molecular-weight proteins which assembled into two bands (for VP-i) or one single band (for flavocetin-A) under non-reducing conditions. Mass spectrometry analyses revealed VP-i to belong to the family of CLRPs, just like vixapatin does. However, these two proteins differed in their primary sequences and only showed homology to one another. The toxin purified from T. flavoviridis revealed this toxin to be flavocetin-A, a heterodimeric CLRP which had so far only been shown to have GPIb-binding activity. At the time of flavocetin-A’s purification, flavocetin-B was co-purified; flavocetin-B consists of the same two α and β subunits, plus an additional γ subunit. As no sequence information is known to date for the γ subunit, it may be one of the additional proteins purified here, along with an additional δ subunit. Therefore, the toxin isolated here may actually consist of four different subunits forming a tetramer of two different heterodimers, generating an (αβ)2(γδ)2 structure. This proposed (αβ)2(γδ)2 flavocetin-A structure has binding sites for both α2β1 integrin and GPIb, with no sterical overlap, as shown by affinity chromatography using the α2A domain and the extracellular domain of the GPIb receptor. The potential of VP-i and flavocetin-A to inhibit integrin-binding to type I collagen was shown during purification: Both toxins efficiently bind to the integrin α2A domain; also, VP-i and vixapatin bind to the A domain with the same affinity. Surface plasmon resonance showed the interaction of flavocetin-A with the α2β1 integrin to be extremely strong and association to be very fast. Furthermore, both toxins were shown to inhibit binding of the wildtype integrin to collagen: VP-i and flavocetin-A acted antagonistically on cell adhesion and cell migration. Initially, the interaction between VP-i and α2β1 integrin was to be further characterized with the help of monoclonal antibodies. However, this proved problematic, the procedure requiring various optimizations. Although, after expert consultation, some monoclonal antibodies could be obtained, the cells were extremely sensitive and gave unsatisfactory results when tested as detection tools in Western blot and immunoassays. Concluding, two novel α2β1 integrin inhibitors were discovered: VP-i and flavocetin-A, which were purified using the same procedure and which have similar functions. Both are Ctype lectin-related proteins which effectively inhibit cell adhesion and migration. This underlines that nature has instrumentalized CLRPs to specifically inhibit α2β1 integrin. Further characterization of VP-i and flavocetin-A will be able to provide leads for future drug development.
Feinstrukturelle und immunhistologische Charakterisierung potenzieller Rezeptoren der Magnetsinnesorgane von Vögeln
- Es gibt für die Orientierung von Vögel ein allgemeingültiges Konzept, das Karte-Kompass-Prinzip (Kramer 1953, 1957): Der Karten-Schritt besteht darin, den eigenen Standort zu ermitteln und mit dem Ziel in Beziehung zu setzten. Damit wird die geografische Richtung bestimmt, die im Kompass-Schritt in eine konkrete Richtung umgesetzt wird. Für Beides nutzen Vögel auch das Magnetfeld der Erde; in der Karte als einen Faktor den Verlauf der Intensität, im Magnetkompass die Achse der Feldlinien. Der Magnetrezeptor, der die Karte mit Informationen versorgt, ist im Schnabel lokalisiert, der des Kompasses im Auge. Ich habe mich in meiner Arbeit darauf konzentriert, die zwei potenziellen Magnetrezeptoren der Vögel feinstrukturell und immunhistologisch weiter zu charakterisieren.
Für den Magnetkompass wird auf Grund des Radikalpaar-Modells angenommen, dass Cryptochrome die Rezeptormoleküle sein könnten (Ritz et al. 2000). Bei Vögeln sind vier Cryptochrome bekannt, allerdings muss das Rezeptormolekül des Magnetkompasses auch in seiner Lokalisation bestimmte Kriterien erfüllen. Die für meine Arbeit bedeutsamen Kriterien sind: (1) die gleiche Ausrichtung der Proteine in einer Rezeptorzelle und (2), dass die einzelnen Rezeptorzellen alle Raumrichtungen abdecken. Ich habe in meiner Arbeit Cryptochrom 1a (Cry1a) und Cryptochrom 1b (Cry1b) auf ihr Vorkommen in der Retina von Rotkehlchen (Erithacus rubecula) und Hühnern (Gallus gallus) untersucht. Cry1b befindet sich bei Rotkehlchen während der Zugzeit in den Ganglienzellen, in denen es teilweise an Membranen gebunden vorliegt, die jedoch keine bevorzugte Richtung haben. Somit erscheint mir Cry1b als Rezeptormolekül für den Magnetkompass als eher ungeeignet. Cry1b könnte, wie viele Cryptochrome, an der Steuerung von circadianen Rhythmen beteiligt sein. Cry1a hingegen ist bei beiden untersuchten Vogelarten in den UV/V-Zapfen an die Diskmembranen gebunden, was eine Ausrichtung ermöglicht. Die UV/V-Zapfen sind über die gesamte Retina gleichmäßig verteilt, und durch die sphärische Form des Auges decken die einzelnen Rezeptoren jede Raumrichtung ab. Somit erfüllt Cry1a die Bedingungen des Radikalpaar-Modells, und ich schließe daraus, dass es sich hierbei um das Rezeptormolekül des Magnetkompasses handeln könnte. Cry1a ändert nach Lichtabsorption wie viele Cryptochrome seine Konformation. Der von mir verwendete Antikörper bindet nur die lichtaktivierte Form des Proteins. In Versuchen, in denen Hühner verschiedenen monochromatischen Lichtern ausgesetzt wurden, zeigt sich, dass sich Cry1a in UV bis Gelb in lichtaktiviertem Zustand befindet. Dies stimmt sowohl mit der spektralen Empfindlichkeit des Magnetkompasses der Vögel als auch mit der des Flavins, des lichtsensitiven Teils des Cryptochroms, überein. Versuche mit grünem Licht lassen vorsichtige Rückschlüsse auf das für den Magnetkompass relevante Radikalpaar zu: so ist das Flavin erst im zweiten Oxidationsschritt grünlicht-sensitiv, und Cry1a ist nur nachweisbar, also lichtaktiviert, wenn der erste Schritt bereits im Hellen abgelaufen ist. Versuche in denen die Tiere vorab im Dunkeln waren, führen nicht zur erneuten Lichtaktivierung unter grünem Licht. Dies macht nur eines der beiden im Flavinzyklus entstehenden Radikalpaare wahrscheinlich, nämlich das in der Reoxidation entstehende, da das Radikalpaar im ersten Schritt der Oxidation unter Grün nicht entsteht.
In Bezug auf den Magnetrezeptor im Schnabel konnte bereits bei Tauben eine detaillierte Struktur beschrieben werden, die als Magnetrezeptor geeignet ist, nämlich Magnetit- bzw. Maghemit-Teilchen in Dendriten der Nerven (Fleissner et al. 2003). Auch Hühner haben eisenhaltige Strukturen im Oberschnabel, die in ihrer Eisenoxid-Zusammensetzung denen der Tauben entsprechen (Falkenberg et al. 2010). Ich konnte in meiner Arbeit zeigen, dass die eisenhaltigen Strukturen im Oberschnabel der adulten Hühner an oder in Nervenfasern liegen. Elektronenoptisch bestehen diese eisenhaltigen Strukturen im Nervengewebe bei Hühnern, wie bei Tauben beschrieben, aus einem 3-5 µm großen Vesikel, der von eisenhaltigen ‘Schuppen’ besetzt ist, aus circa 1 µm langen Plättchen und Kugeln mit einem Durchmesser von etwa 1 µm. Sie sind in Feldern angeordnet, in denen diese Zellstrukturen gleich ausgerichtet sind. In der Anzahl und Lokalisation der Felder der eisenhaltigen Dendriten gibt es Unterschiede zwischen Hühnern und Tauben, allerdings ist unklar, inwie¬weit dies zu Unterschieden in der Verarbeitung im Gehirn führt. Die Entwicklung der eisenhaltigen Dendriten der Hühner beginnt erst nach dem Schlupf, am Tag des Schlupfes haben Küken noch keine eisenhaltigen Strukturen, abgesehen von roten Blutkörperchen. In den ersten 5 Tagen werden eisenhaltige Makrophagen im frontalen Bereich des Schnabels gebildet, die anschließend wieder reduziert werden. Bei 12 Tage alten Hühnern werden diese auch im lateralen Bereich des Oberschnabels angelegt und ebenfalls dort bis Tag 21 wieder reduziert. 21 Tage alte Hühner haben nur noch wenige eisenhaltige Makrophagen, allerdings ein erstes Feld von eisenhaltigen Dendriten. Die Röntgenabsorption zeigt einen Unterschied in der Eisenoxid-Zusammensetzung zwischen eisenhaltigen Makrophagen und eisenhaltigen Dendriten. Es könnte sein, dass die eisenhaltigen Makrophagen an der Synthese der eisenhaltigen Dendriten beteiligt sind, da sie Eisen aufnehmen, aber auch wieder abgeben können und in demselben Zeitraum reduziert werden, wie die eisenhaltigen Dendriten aufgebaut werden.
Sowohl Tauben als auch Rotkehlchen haben sich phylogenetisch bereits vor 95 Millionen Jahren von den Hühnern abgespalten. Es gibt sowohl in der Lokalisation von Cry1a als auch in der Struktur der einzelnen eisenhaltigen Dendriten keine Unterschiede, so dass es sich bei den beiden Magnetrezeptoren der Vögel vermutlich um sehr alte Mechanismen handelt, die sich in der Evolution kaum verändert haben. Vermutlich sind sie vogelspezifisch, da es in dieser Hinsicht keine erkennbare Gemeinsamkeit mit anderen Wirbeltieren gibt.