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  • 1
    Abstract: The citric acid cycle intermediate 2-oxoglutarate (2-OG, a.k.a. alpha-ketoglutarate) links the carbon and nitrogen metabolic pathways and can provide information on the metabolic status of cells. In recent years, it has become exceedingly clear that 2-OG also acts as a master regulator of diverse biologic processes in all domains of life. Consequently, there is a great demand for time-resolved data on 2-OG fluctuations that can't be adequately addressed using established methods like mass spectrometry-based metabolomics analysis. Therefore, we set out to develop a novel intramolecular 2-OG FRET sensor based on the signal transduction protein PII from Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942. We created two variants of the sensor, with a dynamic range for 2-OG from 0.1 microM to 0.1 mM or from 10 microM to 10 mM. As proof of concept, we applied the sensors to determine in situ glutamine:2-oxoglutarate aminotransferase (GOGAT) activity in Synechococcus elongatus PCC 7942 cells and measured 2-OG concentrations in cell extracts from Escherichia coli in vitro. Finally, we could show the sensors' functionality in living human cell lines, demonstrating their potential in the context of mechanistic studies and drug screening.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28469248
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  • 2
    Abstract: We examined acceptability, preference and feasibility of collecting nasal and oropharyngeal swabs, followed by microbiome analysis, in a population-based study with 524 participants. Anterior nasal and oropharyngeal swabs were collected by certified personnel. In addition, participants self-collected nasal swabs at home four weeks later. Four swab types were compared regarding (1) participants' satisfaction and acceptance and (2) detection of microbial community structures based on deep sequencing of the 16 S rRNA gene V1-V2 variable regions. All swabbing methods were highly accepted. Microbial community structure analysis revealed 846 phylotypes, 46 of which were unique to oropharynx and 164 unique to nares. The calcium alginate tipped swab was found unsuitable for microbiome determinations. Among the remaining three swab types, there were no differences in oropharyngeal microbiomes detected and only marginal differences in nasal microbiomes. Microbial community structures did not differ between staff-collected and self-collected nasal swabs. These results suggest (1) that nasal and oropharyngeal swabbing are highly feasible methods for human population-based studies that include the characterization of microbial community structures in these important ecological niches, and (2) that self-collection of nasal swabs at home can be used to reduce cost and resources needed, particularly when serial measurements are to be taken.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28500287
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  • 3
    Abstract: In recent years, long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) research has identified essential roles of these transcripts in virtually all physiological cellular processes including tumorigenesis, but their functions and molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we performed a high-throughput siRNA screen targeting 638 lncRNAs deregulated in cancer entities to analyse their impact on cell division by using time-lapse microscopy. We identified 26 lncRNAs affecting cell morphology and cell cycle including LINC00152. This transcript was ubiquitously expressed in many human cell lines and its RNA levels were significantly upregulated in lung, liver and breast cancer tissues. A comprehensive sequence analysis of LINC00152 revealed a highly similar paralog annotated as MIR4435-2HG and several splice variants of both transcripts. The shortest and most abundant isoform preferentially localized to the cytoplasm. Cells depleted of LINC00152 arrested in prometaphase of mitosis and showed reduced cell viability. In RNA affinity purification (RAP) studies, LINC00152 interacted with a network of proteins that were associated with M phase of the cell cycle. In summary, we provide new insights into the properties and biological function of LINC00152 suggesting that this transcript is crucial for cell cycle progression through mitosis and thus, could act as a non-coding oncogene.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28536419
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  • 4
    Abstract: Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) is a rare and aggressive, yet highly immunogenic skin cancer. The latter is due to its viral or UV-associated carcinogenesis. For tumor progression MCC has to escape the host's immuno-surveillance, e.g. by loss of HLA class-I expression. Indeed, a reduced HLA class-I expression was observed in MCC tumor tissues and MCC cell lines. This reduced HLA class-I surface expression is caused by an impaired expression of key components of the antigen processing machinery (APM), including LMP2 and LMP7 as well as TAP1 and TAP2. Notably, experimental provisions of HLA class-I binding peptides restored HLA class-I surface expression on MCC cells. Silencing of the HLA class-I APM is due to histone deacetylation as inhibition of histone deacetylases (HDACs) not only induced acetylation of histones in the respective promoter regions but also re-expression of APM components. Thus, HDAC inhibition restored HLA class-I surface expression in vitro and in a mouse xenotransplantation model. In contrast to re-induction of HLA class-I by interferons, HDAC inhibitors did not interfere with the expression of immuno-dominant viral proteins. In summary, restoration of HLA class-I expression on MCC cells by epigenetic priming is an attractive approach to enhance therapies boosting adaptive immune responses.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 28536458
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  • 5
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; antibodies ; ESCHERICHIA-COLI ; EFFICACY ; VACCINES ; intraepithelial neoplasia ; FUSION PROTEIN ; L2 ; MOLECULE DRUG DISCOVERY ; APTAMERS
    Abstract: Escherichia coli thioredoxin has been previously exploited as a scaffold for the presentation/stabilization of peptide aptamers as well as to confer immunogenicity to peptide epitopes. Here we focused on other key features of thioredoxin that are of general interest for the production of safer and more effective peptide immunogens, such as a high thermal stability, lack of cross-reactivity and a low-cost of production. We identified thioredoxin from the archaebacterium Pyrococcus furiosus (PfTrx) as a novel scaffold meeting all the above criteria. PfTrx is a highly thermostable and protease-resistant scaffold with a strong (poly)peptide solubilisation capacity. Anti-PfTrx antibodies did not cross-react with mouse, nor human thioredoxin. Untagged PfTrx bearing a previously identified HPV16-L2 peptide epitope was obtained in a 〉90% pure form with a one-step thermal purification procedure and effectively elicited the production of neutralizing anti-HPV antibodies. We thus propose PfTrx as a superior, general-purpose scaffold for the construction of safe, stable, and low-cost peptide immunogens.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 24751665
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  • 6
    Keywords: IN-VIVO ; NUDE-MICE ; COLON-CANCER ; MULTIDRUG-RESISTANCE ; P53 PATHWAY ; ANTHELMINTIC DRUG MEBENDAZOLE ; RESISTANT CANCER-CELLS ; ONTOLOGY LEGO VECTORS ; BINDING AGENTS ; ALBENDAZOLE
    Abstract: Flubendazole was shown to exert anti-leukaemia and anti-myeloma activity through inhibition of microtubule function. Here, flubendazole was tested for its effects on the viability of in total 461 cancer cell lines. Neuroblastoma was identified as highly flubendazole-sensitive cancer entity in a screen of 321 cell lines from 26 cancer entities. Flubendazole also reduced the viability of five primary neuroblastoma samples in nanomolar concentrations thought to be achievable in humans and inhibited vessel formation and neuroblastoma tumour growth in the chick chorioallantoic membrane assay. Resistance acquisition is a major problem in high-risk neuroblastoma. 119 cell lines from a panel of 140 neuroblastoma cell lines with acquired resistance to various anti-cancer drugs were sensitive to flubendazole in nanomolar concentrations. Tubulin-binding agent-resistant cell lines displayed the highest flubendazole IC50 and IC90 values but differences between drug classes did not reach statistical significance. Flubendazole induced p53-mediated apoptosis. The siRNA-mediated depletion of the p53 targets p21, BAX, or PUMA reduced the neuroblastoma cell sensitivity to flubendazole with PUMA depletion resulting in the most pronounced effects. The MDM2 inhibitor and p53 activator nutlin-3 increased flubendazole efficacy while RNAi-mediated p53-depletion reduced its activity. In conclusion, flubendazole represents a potential treatment option for neuroblastoma including therapy-refractory cells.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25644037
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  • 7
    Keywords: EXPRESSION ; SUSCEPTIBILITY ; BREAST-CANCER ; CARCINOMA-CELLS ; OVEREXPRESSION ; SERUM RESPONSE FACTOR ; LOCI ; GENOME-WIDE ASSOCIATION ; COMMON VARIANTS ; FOXE1
    Abstract: A genome-wide association study (GWAS) performed on a high-incidence Italian population followed by replications on low-incidence cohorts suggested a strong association of differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC) with single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 9q22.33, 2q35, 20q11.22-q12 and 14q24.3. Moreover, six additional susceptibility loci were associated with the disease only among Italians. The present study had two aims, first to identify loci involved in DTC risk and then to assess the cumulative effect of the SNPs identified so far in the Italian population. The combined analysis of the previous GWAS and the present Italian study provided evidence of association with rs7935113 (GALNTL4, OR = 1.36, 95%CI 1.20-1.53, p-value = 7.41 x 10(-7)) and rs1203952 (FOXA2, OR = 1.29, 95%CI 1.16-1.44, p-value = 4.42 x 10(-6)). Experimental ENCODE and eQTL data suggested that both SNPs may influence the closest genes expression through a differential recruitment of transcription factors. The assessment of the cumulative risk of eleven SNPs showed that DTC risk increases with an increasing number of risk alleles (p-trend = 3.13 x 10(-47)). Nonetheless, only a small fraction (about 4% on the disease liability scale) of DTC is explained by these SNPs. These data are consistent with a polygenic model of DTC predisposition and highlight the importance of association studies in the discovery of the disease hereditability.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 25753578
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  • 8
    Keywords: proliferation ; IDENTIFICATION ; MASS-SPECTROMETRY ; TUMOR-MARKERS ; TRANSFER-RNA ; MODIFIED URINARY NUCLEOSIDES ; METHYLTHIOADENOSINE PHOSPHORYLASE ; NICOTINAMIDE RIBOSIDE ; MS ANALYSIS ; 1-METHYLADENOSINE
    Abstract: Cancer cells show characteristic effects on cellular turnover and DNA/RNA modifications leading to elevated levels of excreted modified nucleosides. We investigated the molecular signature of different subtypes of breast cancer cell lines and the breast epithelial cell line MCF-10A. Prepurification of cell culture supernatants was performed by cis-diol specific affinity chromatography using boronate-derivatized polyacrylamide gel. Samples were analyzed by application of reversed phase chromatography coupled to a triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. Collectively, we determined 23 compounds from RNA metabolism, two from purine metabolism, five from polyamine/methionine cycle, one from histidine metabolism and two from nicotinate and nicotinamide metabolism. We observed major differences of metabolite excretion pattern between the breast cancer cell lines and MCF-10A, just as well as between the different breast cancer cell lines themselves. Differences in metabolite excretion resulting from cancerous metabolism can be integrated into altered processes on the cellular level. Modified nucleosides have great potential as biomarkers in due consideration of the heterogeneity of breast cancer that is reflected by the different molecular subtypes of breast cancer. Our data suggests that the metabolic signature of breast cancer cell lines might be a more subtype-specific tool to predict breast cancer, rather than a universal approach.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26293811
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  • 9
    Keywords: COMMON ; EPIDEMIOLOGY ; SWEDEN ; PREVALENCE ; MELLITUS ; ASSOCIATIONS ; RHEUMATOID-ARTHRITIS ; CELIAC-DISEASE ; FAMILIAL RISKS ; PSORIATIC-ARTHRITIS
    Abstract: Immunological data show that type 2 diabetes (T2D) manifests autoimmune features. We wanted to test the association epidemiologically by assessing subsequent diagnosis of T2D following diagnosis of autoimmune disease (AId) and subsequent AId after T2D in the same individuals. Patients were identified from three Swedish health databases. A total of 32 different AId were included. Standardized incidence ratios (SIRs) were calculated for T2D diagnosis in patients with previously diagnosed AId and compared to those without a previous AId. Among a total of 757,368 AId patients, 15,103 were diagnosed with T2D, giving an overall SIR for T2D of 1.66. T2D risks were increased after 27 AIds; the highest SIRs were noted for chorea minor (8.00), lupoid hepatitis (5.75), and Addison disease (2.63). T2D was increased after 27 of 32 AIds but we were unable to control for factors such as obesity and smoking. However, the clearly increased risks for T2D in most types of AId patients, and in reverse order increased risks for AId after T2D, do not support an overall confounding by life-style factors. Mechanistic links shared by T2D, AId and life-style factors such as obesity, perhaps through chronic inflammation, may drive autoimmune activation of T2D and many AIds.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26350756
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  • 10
    Keywords: CANCER ; VARIANTS ; IDENTIFICATION ; etiology ; ORIGIN ; METAANALYSIS ; susceptibility loci ; DMRT1 ; WIDE ASSOCIATION ; MISSING HERITABILITY
    Abstract: A sizable fraction of testicular germ cell tumour (TGCT) risk is expected to be explained by heritable factors. Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have successfully identified a number of common SNPs associated with TGCT. It is however, unclear how much common variation there is left to be accounted for by other, yet to be identified, common SNPs and what contribution common genetic variation makes to the heritable risk of TGCT. We approached this question using two complimentary analytical techniques. We undertook a population-based analysis of the Swedish family-cancer database, through which we estimated that the heritability of TGCT at 48.9% (CI:47.2%-52.3%). We also applied Genome-Wide Complex Trait Analysis to 922 cases and 4,842 controls to estimate the heritability of TGCT. The heritability explained by known common risk SNPs identified by GWAS was 9.1%, whereas the heritability explained by all common SNPs was 37.4% (CI:27.6%-47.2%). These complementary findings indicate that the known TGCT SNPs only explain a small proportion of the heritability and many additional common SNPs remain to be identified. The data also suggests that a fraction of the heritability of TGCT is likely to be explained by other classes of genetic variation, such as rare disease-causing alleles.
    Type of Publication: Journal article published
    PubMed ID: 26349679
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