Biochemie, Chemie und Pharmazie
The regulation of endocannabinoids after neuronal damage and the neuroprotective impact of GPR55 in organotypic hippocampal slice cultures
- Endocannabinoids (eCB) are signaling lipids and became known for their importance in the central nervous system as well as in immune defense. Beneficial effects of eCB are shown in processes of excitotoxic lesion, secondary damage and neuronal plasticity throughout the last years. Two canabinoid receptors, type 1 (CB1) and type 2 (CB2) as the respective endogenous ligands belong to the endocannabinoid system (eCBS). In 1990, the CB1 could be cloned and was localised mainly on neurons. Shortly thereafter in 1993, the CB2 was characterised and found primarily on cells belonging to the immune system. N-arachidonoylethanolamide (AEA), often called anandamide, and 2-arachidonoylglycerol (2-AG) are the best characterised eCB. N-palmitylethanolamide (PEA) and N-oleoylethanolamide (OEA) have no or only low affinity to CB1 but enhance the affinity of AEA significantly. This group is therefore often summarized as N-ethanolamides (NEA). ECB are derivates of arachidonic acid and are stored in membranes where they become hydrolysed on demand by specific enzymes. Traumatic brain injury altered the levels of eCB in the blood in vivo and when applied in vitro after neuronal damage, eCB could reduce the damaging burden. Further studies demonstrated that eCB are potent to down-regulate pro-inflammatory cytokines and most important to decrease neuronal excitation.
In the present study, the intrinsic regulation of the endocannabinoid system after neuronal damage over time was investigated in rat Organotypic Hippocampal Slice Cultures (OHSC). Temporal and spatial dynamics of eCB levels were analysed after transection of the perforant pathway (PPT) in originating neurons (enthorhinal cortex, EC), areas of deafferentiation/anterograde axonal degeneration (dentate gyrus, DG) and of the synaptically linked cornu ammonis region 1 (CA1) as well as after excitotoxic lesion in the respective regions.
A strong increase of all eCB was observed only in the denervation zone of the DG 24 hours post PPT. In excitotoxic lesioned OHSC all eCB were elevated, in the investigated regions up to 72 hours post lesion (hpl). The responsible enzyme for biosynthesis of the NEA, NAPE-PLD protein, was increased during the early timepoints of measurement (1-6 hpl). The responsible catabolizing enzyme, FAAH, and the CB1 receptor were up-regulated at a later timepoint, 48 hpl, explaining the eCB levels. In the present model, the inhibition of the enzyme responsible for 2-AG hydrolysis (MAGL) was neuroprotective as previously shown and a re-distribution within neurons and astrocytes during neuronal damage could be observed. In primary cell cultures microglia expressed the regulating enzymes of 2-AG and the enzyme responsible for NEA down-regulation, FAAH. Astrocytes expressed mainly the catalyzing enzymes, indicating the role for eCB break-down. All these findings together demonstrate the great capacity of the eCBS to control inflammatory processes and consequently neuronal cell death.
All effects of the known eCB could not be clarified by CB1/CB2 deficient mice. Several G-protein coupled receptors (GPR) are recently in discussion whether they might and should belong to the endocannabinoid system. The GPR55, the not yet cloned abnormal cannabidiol receptor and further GPRs are candidates as potential endocannabinoid receptors. Recently GPR55 has been discussed as a putative cannabinoid receptor type 3 (CB3). Quantitative PCR revealed that Gpr55 is present in primary microglia and the brain, but the exact regional and cellular distribution and the physiological/pathological effects downstream of GPR55 activation in the CNS still remain open. Therefore, the excitotoxic rat OHSC model, previously used to investigate the neuroprotective potency of eCB, was now used to investigate the neuroprotective potency of GPR55. Activation of GPR55 protected dentate gyrus granule cells in vitro after excitotoxic lesion, induced by NMDA. In parallel, GPR55 activation was able to reduce the number of microglia in the dentate gyrus. These neuroprotective effects vanished however in microglia depleted OHSCs as well as in OHSC transfected with Gpr55 siRNA, indicating a strong involvement of microglia in GPR55 mediated neuroprotection.
In summary, the present study found a strong time-dependent and anterograde mechanism of action of eCB after long-range projection damage and provided further evidence for the neuroprotective properties of eCB. The potential cannabinoid receptor 3 (GPR55) mediates neuronal protection on behalf of microglia.
In vivo selection of retroviral display libraries for tumor homing
Lydia Jasmin Dürner
- The display of foreign polypeptides and proteins on the surface of viruses or cells provides an important tool for the engineering of biomolecules and the analysis of their interactions with binding partners. The most extensively used display platform is the coat protein of the filamentous bacteriophage (Smith, 1985). Phage display libraries have often been selected for polypeptides, e.g. single chain (sc) antibodies that bind to a protein of interest, but in vivo selection could only be demonstrated for peptides so far. An alternative display platform is the retrovirus murine leukemia virus (MLV). Here, polypeptides are displayed at the N-terminus of the viral envelope glycoprotein. Proof of principle for this platform was demonstrated for protease substrate libraries, which can be selected through coupling proteolytic activation with viral infectivity (Buchholz et al., 1998). Selection of the library CX4A on living cells resulted in viruses with more than three orders of magnitude improved spreading efficiency through tumor cells (Hartl et al., 2005). Also scAb libraries have recently been displayed and selected using retroviruses (Urban et al., 2005). The library scFvlibxMo displays the repertoire of phage display preselected sc antibodies for laminin-1 binding. The retrovirus based selection process resulted in laminin-specific sc antibodies with improved expression levels in mammalian cells.
This thesis describes the in vivo (i.e. in mouse tumor models) selection of the C-X4-A and scFvlibxMo for tumor homing upon systemic delivery.
For selection of the protease substrate library C-X4-A a subcutaneous tumor was induced in SCID mice followed by three systemic injections of the library. The selection process was monitored over a period of 34 days. After the incubation period mice were sacrificed and virus load in organs and tumor determined. PCR analysis after 34 days showed that virus from the library had preferentially infected the tumor. Sequence analysis showed the selection of protease substrates with the most prominent one with a frequency of over 65%. The four most prominent protease substrate variants where reconstituted into the original viral backbone for further investigation (C-SK-A, C-HI-A, C-HM-A and C-HS-A). Interestingly, these viruses exhibited a reduced spreading capacity in vitro on HT1080 cells as compared to the C-AK-A virus, which had previously been selected on HT1080 cells. When assayed for tumor homing, however, viruses C-HI-A and C-HS-A had clearly improved in comparison to C-AK-A. Tumor tissue had been infected at rates of over 55% while virus load of extratumoral organs was very low (infection rates <0.7 for C-HS-A and <0.02 for C-HI-A). Tumor targeting capacity had thus been improved over 10-fold by the in vivo selection of the C-X4-A library.
The experimental set up for the in vivo selection of the scFvlibxMo library was performed according to that of the C-X4-A library. Fingerprint analysis of the selected viruses that infected tumor tissue resulted in the identification of seven antibody variants showing unique CDR3 sequences. Two prominent clones (M49T-A and M49T-B) were cloned back into the MoMLV genome for further analysis of the reconstituted viruses. While variant B bound laminin-1 efficiently, variant A was unable to do so, although it was selected at highest frequency (76%). Both reconstituted viruses were equally well infectious and spread through HT1080rec1 cells at a similar efficiency as MoMLV. In an in vivo competition experiment the selected viruses clearly out-competed a laminin-1 binding reference virus L36xMo for tumor homing. To understand the molecular driving forces behind the in vivo selection process the epitope of the selected scFv M49T-A was identified using a phage peptide library approach. In silico analysis led to the identification of a small group of possible antigens, including tenascin, fibronectin and collagen.
The data described in this thesis demonstrate that the retrovirus display platform is capable of allowing the in vivo selection of protease substrates and scFvs. Notably, the replication competence of the system introduced an additional level of complexity to the library. The performed in vivo selections significantly enhanced tumor tropism. Selective infection of tumor cells combined with transfer of anti-tumoral genes is an attractive strategy for cancer therapy being in focus of current research. The viruses selected in this thesis build prime candidates for targeted retrovirus based tumor therapy.