Biologische Hochschulschriften (Goethe-Universität; nur lokal zugänglich)
Analyses of the human ribosome biogenesis co-factors PWP2, EMG1 and XPO5 / von Matthias Sebastian Leisegang
- Ribosome biogenesis is best understood in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In human or mammalian ribosome biogenesis, it has been shown that basic principles are conserved to yeast, but additional features have been reported. Our understanding about the interplay between proteins and RNA in human ribosome biogenesis is far from complete.
The present study focused on the analysis of the human ribosome biogenesis co-factors PWP2, EMG1 and Exportin 5 (XPO5) to understand the degree of conservation of ribosome biogenesis. The proteins were characterized in respect to their localization and interaction partners. For the early 90S co-factor, PWP2, it was possible to pull down and identify the human UTP-B complex with MALDI mass spectrometry. Besides the orthologues of the members of this complex known in yeast (TBL3, WDR3, WDR36, UTP6, UTP18), the human UTP-B complex is not only conserved from yeast to humans, but contains also additional components, like the DEAD-box RNA helicase DDX21, which lacks a yeast orthologue. DDX21 was localized to the nucleus, assembled to the native UTP-B complex and co-precipitated also with other UTP-B complex members, presumably extending the functions of this complex in ribosome biogenesis.
This phenomenon was also observed for the 90S co-factor EMG1, an RNA methyltransferase, whose mutant form causes the Bowen-Conradi syndrome, if aspartic acid is mutated to glycine at position 86. This study revealed that the mutant, EMG1-D86G, clearly lost its nucleolar localization and co-precipitated to histones for unknown reasons.
A participation of the nuclear export receptor XPO5 in human ribosome biogenesis was shown in this study. Pulldown analysis, sucrose density gradients and UV crosslinking and analysis of cDNAs of XPO5 revealed the involvement of XPO5 in pre-60S subunit maturation. Moreover, besides the known pre-miRNAs and tRNAs as substrates for nuclear export, XPO5 crosslinked to snoRNAs. XPO5 was further demonstrated to interact with the miRNA Let-7a, which has an important regulatory function for MYC, a transcription factor required for ribosome biogenesis.
All results support a role of these proteins in human ribosome biogenesis and therefore it seems that the biogenesis of ribosomes in human cells requires additional components, like DDX21 and XPO5.
Post-transcriptional regulation of 5-lipoxygenase mRNA expression via alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay
- 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LO) catalyzes the two initial steps in the biosynthesis of leukotrienes, a group of inflammatory lipid mediators derived from arachidonic acid. Here, the regulation of 5-LO mRNA expression by alternative splicing and nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) was investigated. In the present study, the identification of two truncated transcripts and four novel 5-LO splice variants containing premature termination codons (PTC) was reported. The characterization of one of the splice variants, 5-LOΔ3, revealed that it is a target for NMD since knockdown of the NMD factors UPF1, UPF2 and UPF3b in the human monocytic cell line Mono Mac 6 (MM6) altered the expression of 5-LOΔ3 mRNA up to 2-fold in a cell differentiation-dependent manner suggesting that cell differentiation alters the composition or function of the NMD complex. In contrast, the mature 5-LO mRNA transcript was not affected by UPF knockdown. Thus, the data suggest that the coupling of alternative splicing and NMD is involved in the regulation of 5-LO gene expression.
RT-PCR analysis of different cell types revealed the existence of a large number of 5-LO splice variants. The most interesting splice variants were observed in BL41-E95A cells, which give a raise to novel 5-LO protein isoforms. This leads to the hypothesis of a novel regulatory mechanism in which the dimerization of 5-LO with 5-LO isoforms might regulate the 5-LO activity.
The 5-LO protein expression was reduced on translational level in UPF1 knock down cells, suggesting that UPF1 has a positive influence on 5-LO translation. Therefore, a mass spectrometry based proteomics study was started to identify compartment specific protein expression changes upon UPF1 knockdown in differentiated and undifferentiated MM6 cells. The proteomics analysis demonstrated that the knockdown of UPF1 results in numerous protein changes in the microsomal fraction (~ 21%) but not in the soluble fraction (< 1%). Western blot data confirmed the trend of the proteomics analysis. This data suggest that UPF1 is a critical gene expression regulator in a compartment specific way. During differentiation by TGFβ and calcitriol the majority of UPF1 regulated proteins was adjusted to normal level. It appears that that not only the NMD mechanism alters its composition during differentiation. Also the gene expression regulation on translational level by UPF1 seems to be also cell differentiation dependent. An interesting group of UPF1 target genes represent the downregulated proteins. qRT-PCR analysis of randomly chosen genes revealed no effect on mRNA expression upon UPF1 knockdown, suggesting that UPF1 positively influences the translation of these genes. Computational sequence analysis identified a conserved C-rich sequence which might be a hnRNP E2-binding site. hnRNP E2 has been characterized as a translational repressor in myeloid cells. Western blot analysis revealed a differentiation independent up regulation of hnRNP E2 by UPF1 knockdown. Additionally, microRNA-328 (miR-328) has been described as an RNA decoy modulating hnRNP E2 regulation. Due to this, stem loop qRT-PCR showed an up regulation of miR-328 in TGFβ and calcitriol differentiated MM6 cells. Based on this data we suggest a model in which downregulation of UPF1 increases hnRNP E2 expression, leading to translation inhibition. During differentiation, miRNA-328 is upregulated thereby competing with hnRNP E2 leading to an efficient translation
Identification of erioflorin as a stabilizer of Pdcd4 by a HTS of natural products and discovery of its mechanism of action
- The tumor suppressor programmed cell death 4 (Pdcd4) exerts its function by inhibiting protein translation initiation. Specifically, it displaces the scaffold protein eukaryotic initiation factor 4G (eIF4G) from its binding to the eukaryotic initiation factor 4A (eIF4A). Thereby, Pdcd4 inhibits the helicase activity of eIF4A, which is necessary for the unwinding of highly structured 5’ untranslated regions (UTRs) of messenger RNAs (mRNAs) often found in oncogenes like c-myc to make them accessible for the translation machinery and subsequent protein production. Overexpression of Pdcd4 inhibits tumorigenesis in vitro and in vivo and inversely, Pdcd4 knockout mice show enhanced tumor formation. In line, Pdcd4 is lost in various tumor types and proposed as prognostic factor in colon carcinomas. Unlike most other tumor suppressors that are rendered nonfunctional by mutations (e.g., p53), Pdcd4 loss is not attributable to mutational inactivation. It is regulated via translational repression by microRNAs and increased degradation of the protein under tumor promoting, inflammatory conditions and mitogens. Specifically, proteasomal degradation of Pdcd4 is controlled by p70 S6 Kinase (p70S6K)-mediated phosphorylation in its degron sequence (serines 67, 71 and 76). Stimulation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathway by growth factors, hormones and cytokines initiates p70S6K activity. Phosphorylated Pdcd4 is subsequently recognized by the E3 ubiquitin ligase beta-transducin repeats-containing protein (β-TrCP) and marked with a polyubiquitin tail to be detected by the 26S proteasome for degradation. β-TrCP represents the substrate specific recognition subunit of the ubiquitin ligase complex responsible for protein-protein interaction with Pdcd4 as substrate for ubiquitin transfer and subsequent proteasomal disassembly.
The first part of the present work aimed at identifying novel stabilizers of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4 in a high throughput screen (HTS). As assay design, a fragment of Pdcd4 from amino acid 39 to 91, containing the phosphorylation sensitive degron sequence, was fused to a luciferase reporter gene construct. Stable expression of this Pdcd4(39-91)luciferase (Pdcd4(39-91)luc) fusion protein in HEK 293 cells served as read-out for the Pdcd4 protein amount to be detected in a high throughput compatible cell-based assay. Loss of Pdcd4(39-91)luc was induced by treatment with 12-O-
tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA), a phorbolester, which activates the PI3K signaling cascade leading to degradation of Pdcd4. The cut-off for hit definition was set at >50% activity in rescuing the Pdcd4(39-91)luc signal from TPA-induced degradation. Activity was calculated relative to the difference of DMSO- and TPA-treated cells (ΔDMSO-TPA = RLUDMSO-RLUTPA). Initial screening of a protein kinase inhibitor library (PKI) revealed hit substances expected to show Pdcd4 stabilizing activity by inhibition of kinases involved in Pdcd4 downregulation, e.g., the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, the PI3K inhibitors wortmannin and LY294002 and the PKC inhibitors GF 109203X and Ro 31-8220.
The Molecular Targets Laboratory (MTL) of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Frederick, USA, hosts one of the largest collections of crude natural product extracts as well as a big substance libraries from pure synthetic sources. Screening of over 15 000 pure compounds and over 135 000 natural product extracts identified 46 pure and 42 extract hits as Pdcd4 stabilizers. For nine synthetic and six natural product derived compounds (after bioassay-guided fractionation), dose-dependent activities for recovering the TPA-induced Pdcd4(39-91)luc loss defined IC50s in the low micromolar range. Most importantly, these compounds were confirmed to stabilize endogenous Pdcd4 protein levels from forced degradation as well. This result proved the assay design to be highly representative for endogenous cellular mechanisms regulating Pdcd4 protein stability. The next step was to stratify the hit substances according to their likely mechanism of action to be located either up- or downstream of the p70S6K-mediated phosphorylation of Pdcd4. Therefore, phosphorylation of S6, as proto-typical p70S6K target, was analyzed and uncovered two natural derived compounds to influence p70S6K activity. Four substances did not affect p70S6K phosphorylation activity and were therefore considered to stabilize Pdcd4 by acting downstream, i.e. on the β-TrCP-mediated proteasomal degradation.
In the second part of this work, one of these compounds, namely the sesquiterpene lactone erioflorin, isolated by bioassay-guided fraction from the active extract of Eriophyllum lanatum, Asteraceae, was further characterized in detail with respect to its molecular mechanism of action. Erioflorin dose-dependently protected both Pdcd4(39-91)luc and endogenous Pdcd4 protein from TPA-induced degradation with IC50s of 1.28 and 2.64 μM, respectively. Pdcd4 stabilizing activity was maximal at 5 μM erioflorin. Up to this concentration, erioflorin was verified not to inhibit p70S6K activity. In addition, it was observed that erioflorin rescued Pdcd4(39-91)luc from both, wild type and constitutively active p70S6K-mediated downregulation. Only wild type p70S6K was inhibitable by the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin which served as an upstream acting control. To study the next section of Pdcd4 regulation, i.e. recognition by the E3 ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP, Pdcd4(39-91)luc and endogenous Pdcd4 were immunoprecipitated from whole cell extracts with the corresponding antibodies. In this key experiment, treatment with TPA increased overexpressed β-TrCP binding to both and this coimmunoprecipitation could be strongly reduced by erioflorin treatment. This result strongly pointed to an inhibitory mechanism of the β-TrCP specific binding to Pdcd4 by erioflorin. In addition, erioflorin disrupted the binding of in vitro transcribed/translated β-TrCP to Pdcd4 in an in vitro interaction assay to exclude nonspecific intracellular signals. Furthermore, polyubiquitination of Pdcd4 was decreased by erioflorin treatment as well. To clarify questions regarding specificity of erioflorin for the E3 ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP, stability of another important β-TrCP target was explored, i.e. the tumor suppressor inhibitor of kappa B alpha (IκBα). Indeed, the tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα)-mediated loss of IκBα could be prevented by erioflorin cotreatment. On the other hand, the E3 ubiquitin ligase von Hippel Lindau protein (pVHL) was left unaffected as its target hypoxia inducible factor 1 alpha (HIF-1α) could not be stabilized from oxygen-dependent degradation by erioflorin treatment. These results argued strongly for erioflorin being a specific inhibitor of β-TrCP-mediated protein degradation. Functional consequences of erioflorin treatment were investigated by observing its influence on the transcriptional activities of the transformation marker activator protein 1 (AP-1, an indirect downstream target of Pdcd4) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB which is directly inhibited by IκBα). Indeed, erioflorin showed significant inhibition of AP-1 and NF-κB reporter constructs at 5 μM, a concentration for which an impact on cell viability was excluded. Finally to characterize the significance of erioflorin in a cell-based tumorigenesis assay, the highly invasive colon carcinoma cell line RKO was tested in a two dimensional migration assay. Erioflorin was discovered to significantly lower cell migration in a wound closure assay.
In conclusion, development of a high throughput compatible cell-based reporter assay successfully identified novel substances from pure synthetic and natural product derived background as potent stabilizers of the tumor suppressor Pdcd4. In addition, this work aimed at elucidating the detailed mechanism of action of the sesquiterpene lactone erioflorin from Eriophyllum lanatum, Asteraceae. Erioflorin was discovered to inhibit the E3 ubiquitin ligase β-TrCP, thereby preventing protein degradation of tumor suppressors like Pdcd4 and IκBα. This may offer the possibility to more specifically target protein degradation and generate less adverse side effects by blocking a particular E3 ubiquitin ligase compared to general proteasome inhibition.
Epigenetic regulation of innate immune responses
- We found that the HMTase G9a, that catalyzes H3K9me2 in euchromatin, plays a key modulatory role in type I IFN expression. This finding raises the possibility of targeted intervention with type I IFN expression by using small synthetic inhibitors of G9a. Given the overall minimal negative effect of G9a-deficiency on differentiated cells, the short-term suppression of G9a could be used to potentiate type I IFN expression during chronic viral diseases such as hepatitis C. Accordingly, pharmacological enhancement of methylation, for example by inhibition of the H3K9me2 specific demethylases, could be potentially used to attenuate type I IFN expression and help to control chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions. The mechanism responsible for canvassing the epigenetic profile of type I IFN expressing cells are not known. It is plausible, that similar to neurons, where G9a is targeted to specific loci with the help of noncoding RNAs, IFN expressing cells possess similar mechanisms to target H3K9me2 demethylating enzymes to type I IFN loci, thus keeping these loci accessible for IFN-inducing transcription factors. Identification of non-coding RNAs that may contribute to the establishment of the epigenetic state of IFN producing cells will provide a further opportunity for targeted manipulation of IFN expression.
In my thesis, I describe the collaborative experiments that show the ability of synthetic compounds that interfere with the histone readers to suppress inflammation. Our results present a novel concept for the regulation of inflammatory gene expression. The diversity of histone readers and the combinatorial nature of regulation of gene transcription may provide an opportunity for highly selective interference with disease associated transcriptional programs by interfering with specific readers. In the future we plan to address the therapeutic potential of BET antagonists in autoimmune and chronic inflammatory conditions.In summary, the experiments described in my thesis provide an example of how the understanding of the basic mechanisms of chromatin control of gene expression can facilitate novel therapeutic approaches that target chromatin.
Production ecology of tropical rain forests in southwestern Cambodia : I. Plant biomass
1) Three types of forest, evergreen seasonal forest, heath forest and Melaleuca swamp forest, were distinguished and studied in the vicinity of Cheko in southwestern Cambodia, where moist tropical climate with a pronounced dry season in three winter months prevails.
2) These three forest types respectively occupied deep latosol derived from sandstone, very sandy soil around the swamp forest, and deep deposit of silica sand with underground hardpan in shallow valleys.
3) Total plant biomass was estimated by the allometric method based on some 140 sample trees (DBH24.5 cm) which were felled in four sample plots (two 50 mX50 m plots in the evergreen seasonal forest, and each one 20 m x 50 m plot in the other two types). Biomass of ground vegetation was estimated separately by similar technique and clipping.
4) The biomass of evergreen seasonal forest was estimated as follows. Stem 215 ton/ha, branch 99 ton/ha, root 61 ton/ha, leaf 7.3 ton/ha, leaf area index 7.4 ha/ha, density of trees over 4.5 cm DBH 1,280/ha, relative basal area of Whole stand 3.19 o/oo.
5) The biomass of heath forest was as follows. Stem 111 ton/ha, branch 35 ton/ha·, root 19 ton/ha, leaf 7.7 ton/ha, leaf area index 7.1 ha/ha, tree density 2,570/ha, relative basal area 2.3 o/oo.
6) The biomass of M elaleuca swamp forest was as follows. Stem 7.4 ton/ha, branch 3.9 ton/ha, root 2.6 ton/ha, leaf 0.79 ton/ha, leaf area index 0.37, undergrowth of sedge 2.57 ton/ha, tree density 200/ha, relative basal area of trees 0.35 o/oo.
7) It was found that the biomass of small trees (4.5 cm>DBH>1 cm) and ground vegetation (4.5 cm <= DBH) was so unevenly distributed over the forest floor that a few hundred square meters of sample area would be needed for estimating them at a moderate level of statistical reliability.
8) The estimated biomass of the evergreen seasonal forest was compared with the data hitherto obtained in moist tropical forests of Cote d'Ivoire and Thailand. The forest of Cheko was found to have the biomass equivalent to other rain forests, but to be characterized by a specific DBH-tree height curve, a rather small leaf area index and a high value of leaf area/leaf weight ratio.
Strukturelle Organisation und Mobilisierung des Primaten-spezifischen Non-LTR-Retrotransposons SVA
- SVA-Elemente repraesentieren die juengste Familie der Non-LTR-Retrotransposons,
welche das humane Genom fortwaehrend modifizieren. SVA-Elemente zeichnen sich
durch ihre Organisation aus zusammengesetzten repetitiven Elementen aus. Um
Rueckschluesse auf den Assemblierungsprozess, der zur gegenwaertigen Organisation der
SVA-Elemente fuehrte, und ueber transkriptionelle Regulation dieser Elemente zu ziehen,
wurden Unterschiede in der Struktur der 116 SVA-Elemente, die auf humanem
Chromosom 19 lokalisiert sind, detailliert untersucht.
SVA-Elemente konnten in sieben unterschiedliche Strukturvarianten eingeteilt werden,
einschliesslich neuer Varianten wie SVA2, 3`-verkuerzte Elemente und Elemente mit 5`-
flankierenden Transduktionen. Ich habe auch eine extrem erfolgreiche human-spezifische
5`-Transduktionsgruppe identifiziert, SVA_F1, die trotz ihres jungen evolutionaeren Alters
ca. 32% aller Mitglieder der SVA-Subfamilie SVA_F umfasst. Die transkriptionelle
Kontrolle einer retrotransponierten und 5`-verkuerzten SVA_F-Kopie durch den Promotor
des MAST2-Gens diente als urspruengliches Source-Element dieser umfangreichen 5`-
Transduktionsgruppe, die mindestens 84 Elemente einschliesst. Die zusaetzlichen 5`-
sowie 3`-Transduktionsereignisse der vollstaendigen Alu-Sequenzen bei Mitgliedern der
SVA_F1-Transduktionsgruppe 4 weisen auf ihre wichtige Rolle in der erfolgreichen
Expansion im humanen Genom hin. Diese nachtraeglich erworbenen Alu-Sequenzen
machen SVA_F1-Familienmitglieder offensichtlich zum besseren Substrat fuer die Trans-
Mobilisierung durch die L1-Proteinmaschinerie. Die unterschiedlichen konsekutiven 5`-
Tansduktionsereignisse der SVA_F1-Familienmitglieder deuten auf transkriptionelle
Kontrolle ihrer Source-Elemente durch eine Vielzahl externer zellulaerer Promotoren hin,
die im Laufe der Evolution in Keimzellen aktiv waren. Ausserdem zeigt die Existenz von
5`-Transduktionen, dass SVA-Elemente sich die 5`-flankierenden Sequenzen aneignen
koennen. Die Daten zeigen auch, dass SVA-vermittelte 5-Tansduktionsereignisse
alternatives RNA-Spleissen an putativen Spleissstellen involvieren. Aus der EST-
Datenbankanalyse ist ersichtlich, dass Mitglieder der SVA_F1-Subfamilie auch
gegenwaertig transkribiert werden.
SVA-Elemente sind hoch aktiv im humanen Genom, aber der Mechanismus ihrer
Retrotransposition wurde bislang nicht aufgeklaert. Vorangehende Analysen genomischer
SVA-Kopien liessen auf eine L1-vermittelte Mobilisierung schliessen; allerdings wurde
der experimentelle Beweis dieser Hypothese bislang nicht geliefert. Mit Hilfe der
Zellkultur-basierten Trans-Mobilisierungsassays wurde in dieser Arbeit zum ersten Mal
experimentell bewiesen, dass SVA-Elemente tatsaechlich durch die L1-kodierten Proteine
in trans mobilisiert werden. Zu diesem Zweck wurden HeLa-Zellen mit einem
vollstaendigen oder mit einem 5`-verkuerzten SVA-Retrotranspositionsreporterkonstrukt
sowie mit einem L1-Expressionsplasmid bzw. Leervektor kotransfiziert und dann die
jeweiligen Raten der SVA-Retrotransposition anhand Neo-resistenter Kolonien, die
mindestens ein de novo-Retrotranspositionsereignis widerspiegeln, bestimmt. Die
Experimente zeigen, dass die Entstehung der Neo-resistenten Kolonien von der
Koexpression L1-kodierter Proteine abhaengig ist. Ich konnte auch zeigen, dass das
vollstaendige SVA-Testkonstrukt - im Gegensatz zum 5`-verkuerzten SVA-Konstrukt -
mit einer signifikant hoeheren Retrotranspositionsrate als die Kontrollkonstrukte, die zur
Generierung der prozessierten Pseudogenformation eingesetzt wurden, trans-mobilisiert
wird. Die Ergebnisse der Trans-Mobilisierungsassays belegen, dass SVA-Elemente ein
bevorzugtes Substrat fuer die L1-Proteinmaschinerie darstellen, und ihre 5`-Region
einschliesslich der Alu-homologen Sequenz fuer die hohe Retrotranspositionsrate essentiell
ist. Die elf analysierten SVA de novo-Integrationsereignisse weisen Merkmale der L1-
vermittelten Retrotransposition auf, wie Poly(A)-Enden, L1-EN-spezifische Konsensus-
Zielsequenz (NNAUNA), Zielsequenz-Verdoppelungen (TSDs), Mikrohomologien und
zusaetzliche Guanosin-Nukleotide am 5`-UEbergang.
Zusammenfassend demonstrieren die Ergebnisse dieser Studien, dass ein signifikanter Teil
der Mitglieder der human-spezifischen SVA-Subfamilie aus transkriptioneller Kontrolle
ihrer Source-Elemente durch externe Promotoren hervorgeht. Durch die in dieser Arbeit
durchgefuehrten in silico-Analysen wurde auch gezeigt, dass SVA-vermittelte 5`-
Transduktionsereignisse zur strukturellen Vielfalt der SVA-Elemente fuehren, und eine
neue Art von genomischen Umstrukturierungen darstellen, die zur Plastizitaet des
humanen Genoms beitragen. Ausserdem bestaetigen die Ergebnisse der Trans-
Mobilisierungsassays die Hypothese, dass SVA-Elemente tatsaechlich durch die L1-
kodierte Proteinmaschinerie trans-mobilisiert werden. Dabei sind Module am 5`-Ende der
SVA-Elemente fuer diesen Prozess hoechst relevant.
Die Ergebnisse der Dualen-Luciferase-Reportergen-Assays unterstuetzen die Hypothese,
dass innerhalb der SINE-R-Sequenz von SVA H19_27 cis-aktive Elemente vorhanden
sind, die auf aehnliche Weise wie die cis-aktiven Elemente innerhalb der 5`LTR von
HERV-K reguliert werden.
Ausserdem wurde in dieser Arbeit die Existenz interner reguatorischer Sequenzen
innerhalb der SVA-Sequenz bestaetigt. Mit Hilfe der Dualen-Luciferase-Reportergen-
Assays konnte zum ersten Mal gezeigt werden, dass SVA-Elemente cis-aktive Elemente
enthalten, die hauptsaechlich in der SINE-R-Region lokalisiert sind. Diese cis-aktiven
Elemente werden auf aehnliche Weise wie die cis-aktiven Elemente innerhalb der 5`LTR
von HERV-K reguliert. Die starke transkriptionelle Aktivitaet des vollstaendigen SVA-
Testelements und des L1RP-Promotors in den Teratokarzinom-Zelllinien bekraeftigen die
Annahme, dass haeufige SVA-Mobilisierung in Keimzellen durch die gleichzeitig
hochregulierte SVA- und L1-Transkription bedingt sein koennte.
Es konnte gezeigt werden, dass SVA-Elemente cis-aktive Elemente enthalten, die
hauptsaechlich in der SINE-R-Region lokalisiert sind, und auf aehnliche Weise wie die cis-
aktiven Elemente innerhalb der 5`LTR von HERV-K reguliert werden. Die starke
transkriptionelle Aktivitaet des vollstaendigen SVA-Testelements und des L1RP-Promotors
in Teratokarzinom-Zelllinien bestaetigen die Annahme, dass haeufige SVA-
Retrotransposition in Keimzellen durch die gleichzeitig hochregulierte SVA- und L1-
Transkription bedingt sein koennte.
The sponges of the Chinese Yellow Sea
- Sponges are one of the major components of benthic communities and are considered to be a
key role organism in marine ecosystems. In addition to their importance in terms of
biodiversity, sponges are becoming increasingly attractive to the industry, as they themselves
or associated symbionts, produce various kinds of secondary metabolites of pharmaceutical
properties. Some of them have already been clinically applied.
The taxonomic characters of Porifera are limited to only a few morphological and
histological characters. In addition, sponges of the same species often show a wide
morphological variability, whereas the latter depends on different ecological parameters such
as water depth and current conditions. Thus, the taxonomic classification of sponges often
becomes a scientific challenge.
The fauna of the Yellow Sea rates among the least studied worldwide. At the same time,
according to the UN Atlas of the Ocean, the Yellow Sea is one of the most intensively
exploited marine areas in the world. This is not least due to the dense human population living
in the entire catchment area of the Yellow Sea region. In order to compile medium- and longterm
conclusions about the anthropogenic impact on biota of the Yellow Sea, the knowledge
of species and their distribution is of crucial importance, as these data form the baseline for all
future conservation efforts.
Until now the sponge fauna of the Chinese Yellow Sea is insufficiently investigated.
Thus, there is only one publication on sponges from this region that has been released
hitherto. This paper is dealing with only a view species. However, there is no reference
concerning the present location of the voucher material, on which this publication is based on.
Consequently, no scientific collection on Porifera from the Chinese part of the Yellow Sea
exists to date.
In order to compile a documentation of the recent sponge community of the Chinese
Yellow Sea, 12 study sites along the coast of the Liaoning Peninsula, China, Northeast
Yellow Sea, were investigated with focus on sponge distribution. The corresponding habitats
were characterized in regard to their topographical features, abiotic parameters, and common
composition of benthic megafaunal and macroalgal assemblages.
Due to the lack of comparable studies, a comprehensive literature research on sponges of the
shallow Northwest Pacific Ocean was required. As a result the first compilation of
publications is presented, dealing with sponges from shallow depths of the northwestern
In the course of this study, 31 sponge species in total were recorded, which are scientifically
processed. With the exception of four all specimens were determined to species- level.
Twelve out of the total number of species are new to science and are described and classified
according to the recent taxonomic system of the phylum Porifera.
The results of this study indicate considerable differences in species composition between
investigated sites. It is shown that physical factors (particularly current regime, sedimentation,
seasonally related variations in temperatures), as well the availability of suitable substrates are
directly related to the diversity and abundance of investigated sponge communities. In this
context possible adaptation strategies of the corresponding sponges were discussed in detail.
Two sponge species, Clathria (Clathria) asodes and Antho (Acarnia) lithophoenix, formerly
known exclusively from the northeastern Pacific Ocean, are now recorded from the Northwest
Pacific Ocean for the first time. Furthermore, Penares hongdoensis, Clathria (Clathria)
hongdoensis and Celtodoryx girardae were synonymized with Penares cortius, Clathria
(Clathria) acanthostyli, and Celtodoryx ciocalyptoides respectively. Moreover, the occurrence
of eight sponge species, which were known from previous records from the Yellow Sea, could
As a result of this study the Asian origin of a sponge species that is invasive to the French and
Dutch coasts of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean since the 1990s could be established. Moreover,
it is demonstrated that Celtodoryx girardae from the northeastern Atlantic is in fact
conspecific with Cornulum ciocalyptoides described by Burton (1935) from the Posiet Bay,
Sea of Japan. Apart from taxonomic remarks, variations between populations from both
oceans are examined and discussed thoroughly in regard to possible ecological implications.
The community of documented sponges shows overlapping with the one from the Sea of
Japan. According to the results it is assumed that the endemic degree of the sponges from the
Chinese Yellow Sea is rather low to moderate.
The material obtained in the course of this study was integrated in the collection of the
Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Sammlungen. Therefore, it is the first scientific
collection of sponges from the Chinese Yellow Sea that can be consulted as a basis for all
further studies on sponges of this region.
The present study is the only investigation of sponges from Dalian and adjacent waters before
the spill occurred in the Dalian harbour in July 2010. Therefore, it provides an essential
baseline needed to assess the impact of the oil spill on benthic communities.
Controlling gene expression with engineered catalytic riboswitches
- The importance of RNA in molecular and cell biology has long been underestimated. Besides transmitting genetic information, studies of recent years have revealed crucial tasks of RNA especially in gene regulation. Riboswitches are natural RNA-based genetic switches and known only for ten years. They directly sense small-molecule metabolites and regulate in response the expression of the corresponding metabolic genes. Within recent years, artificial riboswitches have been developed that operate according to user-defined demands. Hence, they represent powerful tools for synthetic biology.
This study focused on the development of engineered catalytic riboswitches for conditional gene expression in eukaryotes. A self-cleaving hammerhead ribozyme was linked to a tetracycline binding aptamer in order to regulate ribozyme cleavage allosterically with tetracycline. By integrating such a hybrid molecule into a gene of interest, mRNA cleavage and thereby gene expression is controllable in a ligand dependent manner. The linking domain between ribozyme and aptamer was randomised. Tetracycline inducible ribozymes were isolated after eleven cycles of in vitro selection (SELEX). 80% of the analysed ribozymes show cleavage that strongly depends on tetracycline. In the presence of 1 μM tetracycline, their cleavage rates are comparable to that of the parental hammerhead ribozyme. In the absence of tetracycline, cleavage rates are inhibited up to 333-fold. The allosteric ribozymes bind tetracycline with similar affinity and specificity as the parental aptamer. Ribozyme cleavage is fully induced within minutes after addition of tetracycline. Interestingly, the isolated linker domains exhibit structural consensus motives rather than consensus sequences.
When transferred to yeast, three switches reduced reporter gene expression by 30 - 60% in the presence of tetracycline; none of them controlled gene expression in mammalian cells. In vitro selected molecules do not necessarily retain their characteristics when applied in a cellular context. Therefore, high throughput screening and selection systems have been developed in mammalian cells. The screening system is based on two fluorescent reporter proteins (GFP and mCherry). 1152 individual constructs of the selected ribozyme pool were tested, but none of them reduced reporter gene expression significantly in the presence of tetracycline. The selection system employs a fusion peptide encoding two selection markers (Hygromycin B phosphotransferase and HSV thymidine kinase) facilitating both negative and positive selection. 6.5 x 104 individual constructs of the selected ribozyme pool are currently under investigation.
Development of lentiviral vectors for the gene therapy of HIV infection
- Drug toxicity and viral resistance limit long-term efficacy of antiviral drug treatment for HIV
infection. Thus, alternative therapies need to be explored. Previously, group of “Prof. von Laer”
tested the infusion of T lymphocytes transduced with a retroviral vector (M87o) that expresses an
HIV entry inhibitory peptide (maC46). Gene-modified autologous T cells were infused into 10
HIV-infected patients with advanced disease and multidrug resistant virus during antiretroviral
combination therapy. T cell infusions were tolerated well with no severe side effects. A
significant increase of CD4 counts was observed post infusion. At the end of the one-year
follow-up, the CD4 counts of all patients were still around or above baseline. Gene-modified
cells could be detected in peripheral blood, lymph nodes and bone marrow throughout the oneyear
follow-up, whereby marking levels correlated with the cell dose. No significant changes of
viral load were observed during the first four months. Four of the seven patients that changed
their antiviral drug regimen thereafter responded with a significant decline in plasma viral load.
In conclusion, the transfer of gene-modified cells was safe, led to sustained levels of gene
marking and may improve immune competence in HIV-infected patients with advanced disease
and multidrug resistant virus. However, the low level of gene marking and the lack of substantial
long-term in vivo accumulation of gene-protected cells observed in this trial clearly demonstrate
the requirement for new vectors with new strategy.
In this thesis self‐inactivating lentiviral vectors harboring internal promoters and RNA elements
were therefore evaluated for their potential use in a clinical gene‐therapy trial. The results from
this work provide the basis for the selection of a suitable candidate vector for extensive
preclinical testing. Apart from being capable of transducing non‐dividing cells, lentiviral vectors
incorporate a number of additional features that are of potential value for gene therapeutic
applications. These include a larger packaging capacity, higher titers than γ‐retroviral vectors
and, most importantly, a reduced risk of deregulating cellular genes due to its natural integration
profile. The use of internal promoters to drive expression of the therapeutic transgene maC46
should further improve the safety profile of these new‐generation vectors, while an additional
artificial splice acceptor (SA) into the 5‟UTR of the transgene over all elevate transgene
expression. The rationale for this is that hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells will be
protected from enhancer‐mediated transactivation effects and also from potential side effects due
to the aberrant expression of maC46 while at the same time the full clinical benefit for the
patients is maintained.
In order to find a suitable candidate for preclinical studies, two candidate therapeutic vectors
harboring different regulatory elements were selected based on results from pilot experiments.
The internal promoters used to drive expression of codon optimized maC46 were the PGK
promoter and MPSV promoter. This work focuses on the transgene expression levels in
lymphoid cells and antiviral activity. The issues of long term expression, propensity to
methylation mediated silencing of the promoters, and genotoxicity were also touched. In a first
step the performance of different vectors was evaluated in the human T cell lines. Based on
promising data from ex vivo human peripheral blood mononuclear cells, the vector carrying the
MPSV promoter along with intron were selected for in vivo transplantation experiments.
In summary, the ex vivo data suggested the long term survival of lentiviral gene modified cells,
along with maintained expression of introduced genes. It was observed that the expression of
these constructs depends strongly on the activation and differentiation status of the targeted T
cells. This regulation was not linked to any specific promotor. In vivo study shows that maC46
can be introduced into murine multiple hematopoietic lineages via lentiviral vector and expressed
at high levels in their mulilineage progeny, without altering the hematopoiesis. There was no
sign of any kind of hematopoietic or lymphoid malignancies. Although gene-modified
lymphocytes persisted in-vivo, the downregulation of transgene expression was consistent with
the ex-vivo observation. In contrast to that the T cells transplanted group showed delayed
engraftment of donor cells and there was no expression of C46 in blood and lymphatic organs. .
In conclusion, when considering HIV gene therapy focusing CD4+ T cells, potential problems of
T cell activation status as related to the desired clinical effect must be addressed. These results
might open the way for a gene therapy targeting mainly or exclusively activated T cells and
could be exploited for immunostimulatory as well as suppressive approaches.
Die Rolle des Epstein-Barr-Virus bei der Entstehung des Burkitt-Lymphoms : virale microRNA-Expression und Erkennung viraler Genprodukte durch das angeborene Immunsystem
- Das Burkitt Lymphom ist ein aggressives B-Zelllymphom, das in tropischen Regionen Afrikas und in Neu Guinea endemisch auftritt und vor allem bei Kindern vorkommt. Die sporadische Form des Burkitt Lymphoms tritt weltweit in geringerer Häufigkeit auf und betrifft alle Altersschichten. In nahezu allen endemischen Fällen ist das Epstein-Barr Virus in den Tumorzellen nachweisbar, jedoch nur in ca. 20 % der sporadischen Fälle. Der Beitrag von EBV zur Entstehung EBV-positiver Burkitt Lymphome ist seit über 50 Jahren EBV-Forschung ungeklärt. Im Jahr 2004 wurden im Genom des Epstein-Barr Virus eine Reihe von microRNAs entdeckt, die potentiell für die Pathogenese des EBV-positiven Burkitt Lymphoms relevant sein könnten. Da die Expression der viralen microRNAs seither für das Burkitt Lymphom nur unvollständig beschrieben worden sind, wurden sie in dieser Arbeit systematisch analysiert und dadurch ein vollständiges Expressionsprofil erstellt. Es konnte dabei keine Unterscheidung zwischen endemischen und sporadischen Fällen erreicht werden, jedoch wurden hierbei erstmals Fälle identifiziert, die trotz nachgewiesener EBV-Assoziation keine viralen microRNAs enthielten. Neben den viralen microRNAs könnten im Burkitt Lymphom auch die zellulären microRNAs für die Tumorentstehung von Bedeutung sein. Deshalb wurde in dieser Arbeit auch die Expression der zellulären microRNAs aus Burkitt Lymphom-Biopsien charakterisiert. Durch hierarchisches „Clustering“ bildeten sich drei Gruppen, die hauptsächlich durch An- und Abwesenheit von zwei microRNAs (miR21 und miR92a) definiert wurden, denen onkogenes Potential zugeschrieben wird. Die Expressionsmuster der einzelnen Gruppen weisen auf zelluläre Mechanismen der Pathogenese des Burkitt Lymphoms hin.
Die genetische Charakteristik des Burkitt Lymphoms ist eine Chromosomentranslokation, welche das Protoonkogen c MYC unter die Kontrolle von regulatorischen Elementen der Immunglobulingene bringt. Durch die somit erhöhte Transkription von c-MYC entfaltet das Genprodukt sein onkogenes Potential. Mutationen im offenen Leserahmen können dieses Potential zusätzlich verstärken. Da c MYC ein pleiotroper Transkriptionsfaktor ist und somit auf eine ganze Reihe zellulärer Prozesse Einfluss hat, bewirkt die Translokation massive Veränderungen in der Zelle. Vorangegangene Untersuchungen der Arbeitsgruppe zeigten, dass die antivirale Interferonantwort durch hohe c MYC-Expression unterdrückt wird. Diese Beobachtung liefert eine mögliche Erklärung für die Immunevasion von Burkitt Lymphom-Zellen, trotz Anwesenheit des EBV-Genoms. In Zelllinien, die aus Burkitt Lymphom-Biopsien generiert wurden, konnte gezeigt werden, dass EBV eine Interferoninduktion auslöst, die durch c-MYC unterdrückt wird. In dieser Arbeit konnte auch gezeigt werden, dass Epstein-Barr-virale Nukleinsäureprodukte durch den zytosolischen Rezeptor RIG-I Interferon induzieren, dieser aber durch die hohe c-MYC-Expression transkriptionell gehemmt wird. Neben RIG-I wurden weitere Rezeptoren und Mediatoren der Interferoninduktionskaskade identifiziert, die ebenfalls transkriptionell von c-MYC unterdrückt werden. Diese Ergebnisse stützen die Hypothese, dass c-MYC durch Unterdrückung der angeborenen Immunität die Immunevasion von Burkitt Lymphom-Zellen ermöglicht.