Conformational dynamics of the tetracycline-binding aptamer
Julia E. Weigand
- The conformational dynamics induced by ligand binding to the tetracycline-binding aptamer is monitored via stopped-flow fluorescence spectroscopy and time-correlated single photon counting experiments. The fluorescence of the ligand is sensitive to changes within the tertiary structure of the aptamer during and after the binding process. In addition to the wild-type aptamer, the mutants A9G, A13U and A50U are examined, where bases important for regulation are changed to inhibit the aptamer’s function. Our results suggest a very fast two-step-mechanism for the binding of the ligand to the aptamer that can be interpreted as a binding step followed by a reorganization of the aptamer to accommodate the ligand. Binding to the two direct contact points A13 and A50 was found to occur in the first binding step. The exchange of the structurally important base A9 for guanine induces an enormous deceleration of the overall binding process, which is mainly rooted in an enhancement of the back reaction of the first binding step by several orders of magnitude. This indicates a significant loss of tertiary structure of the aptamer in the absence of the base A9, and underlines the importance of pre-organization on the overall binding process of the tetracycline-binding aptamer.
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The C-terminal domain of Fcj1 is required for formation of crista junctions and interacts with the TOB/SAM complex in mitochondria
Andreas S. Reichert
- Crista junctions (CJs) are tubular invaginations of the inner membrane of mitochondria that connect the inner boundary with the cristae membrane. These architectural elements are critical for mitochondrial function. The yeast inner membrane protein Fcj1, called mitofilin in mammals, was reported to be preferentially located at CJs and crucial for their formation. Here we investigate the functional roles of individual domains of Fcj1. The most conserved part of Fcj1, the C-terminal domain, is essential for Fcj1 function. In its absence, formation of CJ is strongly impaired and irregular, and stacked cristae are present. This domain interacts with full-length Fcj1, suggesting a role in oligomer formation. It also interacts with Tob55 of the translocase of outer membrane β-barrel proteins (TOB)/sorting and assembly machinery (SAM) complex, which is required for the insertion of β-barrel proteins into the outer membrane. The association of the TOB/SAM complex with contact sites depends on the presence of Fcj1. The biogenesis of β-barrel proteins is not significantly affected in the absence of Fcj1. However, down-regulation of the TOB/SAM complex leads to altered cristae morphology and a moderate reduction in the number of CJs. We propose that the C-terminal domain of Fcj1 is critical for the interaction of Fcj1 with the TOB/SAM complex and thereby for stabilizing CJs in close proximity to the outer membrane. These results assign novel functions to both the C-terminal domain of Fcj1 and the TOB/SAM complex.
Synthesis of szentiamide, a depsipeptide from entomopathogenic Xenorhabdus szentirmaii with activity against Plasmodium falciparum
Friederike I. Nollmann
Helge Björn Bode
- The synthesis of the recently characterized depsipeptide szentiamide (1), which is produced by the entomopathogenic bacterium Xenorhabdus szentirmaii, is described. Whereas no biological activity was previously identified for 1, the material derived from the efficient synthesis enabled additional bioactivity tests leading to the identification of a notable activity against insect cells and Plasmodium falciparum, the causative agent of malaria.
Molekulargenetische Optimierung der Sphingoidbasen-Produktion der nicht-konventionellen Hefe Pichia ciferrii
- Die nicht-konventionelle Hefe P. ciferrii produziert große Mengen der tetra-acetylierten Sphingoidbase Phytosphingosin (TAPS). Sphingoidbasen sind essentielle Komponenten des stratum corneums, der multilamellaren Barriere der menschlichen Haut, und daher in der Kosmetik-Industrie von großem Interesse. Im Rahmen dieser Arbeit sollte die biotechnologische Produktion der Sphingoidbasen Phytosphingosin, Sphinganin und Sphingosin auf molekularbiologischer Ebene in P. ciferrii charakterisiert und optimiert werden. Die Hefe P. ciferrii konnte durch Etablierung einer einfachen und hoch-effizienten Transformations-Methode auf genetischer Ebene leicht zugänglich gemacht werden. Durch Inaktivierung des für NHEJ essentiellen PcLIG4 Gens konnte die Effizienz zielgerichteter genomischer Integrationen von transformierten DNA-Konstrukten von 1 % auf 87 % erhöht werden. Die Etablierung des Cre-loxP Systems erlaubte das mehrfache Verwenden eines Selektions-Markers wodurch sukzessiv mehrere genomische Integrationen in einem Stamm ermöglicht wurden. Durch diese Errungenschaften konnte das Ziel „Optimierung der Sphingoidbasen-Produktion der nicht-konventionellen Hefe P. ciferrii“ im Folgenden erfolgreich verfolgt werden. Der initiale Schritt der Sphingoidbasen-Biosynthese ist die von der Serin-Palmitoyl-Transferase katalysierte Kondensation von L-Serin und Palmitoyl-CoA. Durch die Deletion von Genen, die am L-Serin-Katabolismus von P. ciferrii beteiligt sind (PcSHM1, PcSHM2und PcCHA1), konnte die de novo Sphingoidbasen-Biosynthese optimiert werden und führte in einem lig4? Stamm zu einer etwa dreifachen Erhöhung der TAPS-Produktion. Weitere Ansätze den (vermutlich durch L-Serin feed back regulierten) L-Serin-Biosyntheseweg bzw. die in vivo L-Serin-Verfügbarkeit zu optimieren, führten nicht zu einer gesteigerten TAPS-Produktion. Durch weitere Deletion und Überexpression von Genen des Sphingolipid-Stoffwechsels konnte die TAPS-Produktion jedoch um ein Vielfaches verbessert werden. So konnte ein Stamm konstruiert werden, der die Gene PcLCB1, PcLCB2 und PcSYR2 überexprimiert und Deletionen der Gene PcSHM1, PcSHM2, PcCHA1, PcLCB4 und PcORM12 trägt. Dieser Stamm (CSS.L4.O.L2.L1.S2) wies eine mehr als fünffach erhöhte maximale spezifische TAPS-Produktbildungsrate (q Pmax ) auf und produzierte mit 2 g * L rund siebenmal mehr TAPS als der lig4? Ausgangsstamm, weshalb ein Einsatz dieses Stammes für die industrielle TAPS-Produktion denkbar wäre. Ausgehend von einem für die TAPS- (und somit Sphingoidbasen-) Produktion optimierten Stamm sollten Stämme mit optimierter TriASa- oder TriASo-Produktion für industrielle Zwecke generiert werden. Es stellte sich allerding heraus, dass erhöhte Mengen dieser Sphingoidbasen wahrscheinlich wachstumshemmend für P. ciferrii sind, weshalb eine weitere Produktions-Optimierung nicht ohne Weiteres möglich ist. In einem Laborstamm gelang es jedoch, durch Konstruktion und anschließende Transformation eines optimierten integrativen Plasmids (trägt die Gene, die für die Produktion von Sphingosin bzw. TriASo nötig sind) eine TriASo-Produktion von bis zu 30 mg * g (BTM) zu erzielen, wobei gleichzeitig die Bildung des Nebenprodukts TriASa auf weniger als 4 mg * g (BTM)reduziert wurde. Weiterhin konnte durch Deletion von PcSCS7 in einem TriASo-Produktionsstamm die TriASa-Produktion mehr als vierfach reduziert werden. Die Bildung eines weiteren von P. ciferrii gebildeten Nebenproduktes [Tri-Acetyl-Sphingadienin (TriASd)] konnte durch Deletion des PcSLD1 Gens unterbunden werden. Nach Inaktivierung von PcSCH9 konnte eine fast 20 %ige Verbesserung der TriASo-Produktion erreicht werden. Es konnten zwei putative Acetyl-Transferasen identifiziert werden (PcAft2 und PcSli1), die an der Acetylierung von Phytosphingosin (zu TAPS), Sphinganin (zu TriASa) und Sphingosin (zu TriASo) beteiligt sind. Die Aufklärung und Optimierung dieser von PcAtf2 und PcSli1 katalysierten Schritte sind vielversprechende Ansatzpunkte die Sphingoidbasen-Produktion in P. ciferrii weiter zu optimieren.
Deceleration of fusion–fission cycles improves mitochondrial quality control during aging
Marc Thilo Figge
Andreas S. Reichert
Heinz D. Osiewacz
- Mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy play a key role in ensuring mitochondrial quality control. Impairment thereof was proposed to be causative to neurodegenerative diseases, diabetes, and cancer. Accumulation of mitochondrial dysfunction was further linked to aging. Here we applied a probabilistic modeling approach integrating our current knowledge on mitochondrial biology allowing us to simulate mitochondrial function and quality control during aging in silico. We demonstrate that cycles of fusion and fission and mitophagy indeed are essential for ensuring a high average quality of mitochondria, even under conditions in which random molecular damage is present. Prompted by earlier observations that mitochondrial fission itself can cause a partial drop in mitochondrial membrane potential, we tested the consequences of mitochondrial dynamics being harmful on its own. Next to directly impairing mitochondrial function, pre-existing molecular damage may be propagated and enhanced across the mitochondrial population by content mixing. In this situation, such an infection-like phenomenon impairs mitochondrial quality control progressively. However, when imposing an age-dependent deceleration of cycles of fusion and fission, we observe a delay in the loss of average quality of mitochondria. This provides a rational why fusion and fission rates are reduced during aging and why loss of a mitochondrial fission factor can extend life span in fungi. We propose the ‘mitochondrial infectious damage adaptation’ (MIDA) model according to which a deceleration of fusion–fission cycles reflects a systemic adaptation increasing life span.
Crowd Sourcing a New Paradigm for Interactome Driven Drug Target Identification in Mycobacterium tuberculosis
Anupam Kumar Mondal
Ashwini G. Bhat
Kumari Sonal Choudhary
Girish Muthagadhalli Ramanna
Sunil N. Subramanya
Pankaj Kumar Singh
Tiruvayipati Suma Avasthi
Samir K. Brahmachari
- A decade since the availability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) genome sequence, no promising drug has seen the light of the day. This not only indicates the challenges in discovering new drugs but also suggests a gap in our current understanding of Mtb biology. We attempt to bridge this gap by carrying out extensive re-annotation and constructing a systems level protein interaction map of Mtb with an objective of finding novel drug target candidates. Towards this, we synergized crowd sourcing and social networking methods through an initiative ‘Connect to Decode’ (C2D) to generate the first and largest manually curated interactome of Mtb termed ‘interactome pathway’ (IPW), encompassing a total of 1434 proteins connected through 2575 functional relationships. Interactions leading to gene regulation, signal transduction, metabolism, structural complex formation have been catalogued. In the process, we have functionally annotated 87% of the Mtb genome in context of gene products. We further combine IPW with STRING based network to report central proteins, which may be assessed as potential drug targets for development of drugs with least possible side effects. The fact that five of the 17 predicted drug targets are already experimentally validated either genetically or biochemically lends credence to our unique approach.
Functional characterization of NOSTRIN in signal transduction and vascular development
- NOSTRIN belongs to the recently defined F-BAR protein family. F-BAR proteins are
multi-domain proteins, which serve as adaptors between plasma membrane and
cytoskeleton components in processes such as membrane protrusion formation,
endocytosis and migration. NOSTRIN encompasses a F-BAR domain at the N-terminus,
which mediates membrane association, followed by a HR1 motif and an intermediate
domain (ID) domain in the middle, and a SH3 domain at the C-terminus. The domain
architecture and ability to form oligomers enable NOSTRIN to coordinate several
interaction partners namely dynamin, caveolin, N-WASP and endothelial nitric oxide
synthase (eNOS) in the process of eNOS trafficking. In this context NOSTRIN was
originally identified and hence termed eNOS traffick inducer. NOSTRIN is expressed in
vascularized tissues (e.g. liver and lung) and in primary endothelial cells.
Aims of the present work were (1) to investigate if NOSTRIN is involved in other
processes besides eNOS trafficking, (2) to analyse the function of NOSTRIN in vivo
through knockdown of NOSTRIN in developing zebrafish and (3) to study the
consequences of the loss of NOSTRIN on signal transduction in a primary cell culture
model derived from NOSTRIN knockout mice.
To study the possible involvement of NOSTRIN in other processes besides eNOS
trafficking a yeast two-hybrid screen was performed in which fibroblast growth factor
receptor 1 (FGFR1) was identified as a putative novel interaction partner of NOSTRIN. In
a series of yeast two-hybrid, pulldown and co-immunoprecipitation experiments the
interaction between NOSTRIN and FGFR1 was confirmed to occur between
endogenously expressed proteins and determined to be direct and to depend on the ID
domain of NOSTRIN and the 130 C-terminal amino acid residues of FGFR1. FGFR1 is
activated by binding of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs) and induces several different
signal transduction pathways (e.g. MAPK and Akt pathway). Overexpression of
NOSTRIN in HeLa cells specifically enhanced FGF2-dependent MAPK activation.
Accordingly, depletion of NOSTRIN attenuated FGF2-dependent MAPK activation and
did not affect FGF2-induced Akt activation.
In summary, NOSTRIN has been identified as a novel interaction partner of FGFR1
involved in FGF2-dependent signal transduction.
The morpholino oligonucleotide-mediated knockdown of NOSTRIN in developing
zebrafish caused vascular leakage and irregular vascular patterning e.g. a loss of the
proper trajectory of intersegmental vessel and interruptions of the dorsal longitudinal
anastomotic vessel. The vascular phenotype was consistent upon use of two different
morpholinos and could be rescued in a dose dependent manner by the injection of
zebrafish NOSTRIN mRNA. Detailed analysis involving confocal and time lapse
microscopy in zebrafish with endothelial specific expression of EGFP revealed that the
knockdown of NOSTRIN impacts in vivo on the migration and morphology of endothelial
tip cells and leads to a reduction of filopodia number and length.
Additionally a NOSTRIN knockout mouse was generated. The analysis of FGFR1 signal
transduction in primary mouse lung endothelial cells (MLECs) from NOSTRIN knockout
and wild type mice revealed that FGF2-dependent MAPK activation was attenuated in
MLECs isolated from NOSTRIN knockout mice when compared to MLECs isolated from
wild type mice. The effect of NOSTRIN on FGF2-dependent signal transduction seems to
be specific, since VEGF-induced MAPK activation was not affected in NOSTRIN
knockout MLECs. The importance of NOSTRIN for FGF2 signal transduction in vivo is
demonstrated by the greatly impaired angiogenic response to FGF2 in NOSTRIN
knockout mice in matrigel plug assay. In a detailed biochemical analysis it was
discovered that NOSTRIN interacts with the activated small GTPase Rac1 and that
overexpression of NOSTRIN enhances Rac1 activation. Furthermore, the interactions of
NOSTRIN with both Rac1 and its GEF Sos1 are required for NOSTRIN-mediated
activation of Rac1. In accordance, activation of Rac1 was not detected upon FGF2
stimulation in NOSTRIN knockout MLECs.
In conclusion, the present work describes a novel function of the F-BAR protein
NOSTRIN in FGFR1 signal transduction. Data presented in this work demonstrate that
NOSTRIN is required for the assembly of a complex consisting of FGFR1, Sos1 and
Rac1 and subsequently for the FGF2-dependent activation of Rac1 in endothelial cells.
Exosome mediated intercellular signaling from blood to brain
- The brain is characterized by its immune privileged state. However, recent studies suggest an extended contribution of hematopoietic cells to the brain. After transplantation of genetically labeled bone marrow into bone marrow depleted mice, not only labeled blood cells but also labeled neurons and other non-hematopoietic cells can be observed. Initially interpreted as transdifferentiated hematopoietic stem cells, this contribution later was identified as cell fusion of hematopoietic cells and neurons.
Our lab previously addressed the question whether these fusion events also occur under non-invasive conditions. A Cre-LoxP based transgenic mouse line was used to irreversibly label all hematopoietic cells. In these mice, Cre expression is controlled by a hematopoietic promoter, thus causing recombination and subsequent marker gene expression restricted to blood cells. Interestingly, contribution of these hematopoietic cells to non-hematopoietic tissues was observed, but fusion could be excluded as the underlying mechanism. The Cre mRNA or protein seems to reach the non-hematopoietic cells from an external source.
Extracellular vesicles, specifically exosomes, are increasingly recognized as a vehicle for the intercellular transfer of cellular components such as proteins or mRNAs. However, if they contribute to signaling between tissues in vivo is completely unknown and would represent a major paradigm shift for intercellular communication. Therefore, the aim of this PhD study is to investigate whether an exosomal transfer between the hematopoietic system and the brain exists.
To confirm the previous results, a second Cre-LoxP mouse line that expresses the Cre recombinase under a different hematopoietic promoter is used additionally.
Both mouse lines are screened for recombination and show comparable numbers and types of different non-hematopoietic cells. Besides hepatocytes and cells in lung and intestine, recombined Purkinje neurons in the cerebellum are detectable.
To assess the influence of inflammation on these recombination events, different lesions such as peripheral tumors or peritonitis are applied to the mice. Inflammatory stimuli strongly increase the numbers of recombined Purkinje neurons. These neurons remain mononuclear, indicating that fusion does not occur. Also in human cerebellar material, no evidence for inflammation induced cell fusion is detectable.
To screen for Cre recombinase containing exosomes, exosome purification protocols such as differential ultracentrifugation and sucrose gradient fractioning, are applied. The exosomal content is analyzed with nested PCR and western blot. Hematopoietically expressed Cre mRNA is detectable in blood plasma and hematopoietic cell culture conditioned medium. Further analysis reveals that this Cre mRNA but no Cre protein is contained in exosomes. The exosomal ability to induce recombination is investigated by injections into Cre reporter mice. After direct cerebellar injection, exosomes are sufficient to induce recombination of Purkinje neurons.
Brain tissue of mice that received an inflammation is analyzed further to reveal other recombined cell types. The main immune cells of the brain, microglia, are not recombined. Mainly neuronal cell types are recombined in different areas of the brain.
The observations made in this study are consistent with the hypothesis that a previously unrecognized way to communicate RNA based signals between the immune system and the brain exists. Specifically neurons are target cells for the uptake of hematopoietic exosomes and seem able to translate exosomal mRNA into functional protein. Microglial cells are neither involved as target cells, nor do they release Cre containing exosomes.
By using the Cre-LoxP system, in vivo tracing of exosomes could be achieved for the first time. With this knowledge, other exosomal routes can be uncovered in future. The discovery of the exosomal transfer between the blood and the brain enables further research about the relevance of this signaling pathway. It will be important to investigate its role especially in the context of neural malfunctions and further studies might help to find new therapeutical approaches.
Biosynthesis of fucoxanthin and diadinoxanthin and function of initial pathway genes in Phaeodactylum tricornutum
- The biosynthesis pathway to diadinoxanthin and fucoxanthin was elucidated in Phaeodactylum tricornutum by a combined approach involving metabolite analysis identification of gene function. For the initial steps leading to β-carotene, putative genes were selected from the genomic database and the function of several of them identified by genetic pathway complementation in Escherichia coli. They included genes encoding a phytoene synthase, a phytoene desaturase, a ζ-carotene desaturase, and a lycopene β-cyclase. Intermediates of the pathway beyond β-carotene, present in trace amounts, were separated by TLC and identified as violaxanthin and neoxanthin in the enriched fraction. Neoxanthin is a branching point for the synthesis of both diadinoxanthin and fucoxanthin and the mechanisms for their formation were proposed. A single isomerization of one of the allenic double bounds in neoxanthin yields diadinoxanhin. Two reactions, hydroxylation at C8 in combination with a keto-enol tautomerization and acetylation of the 3′-HO group results in the formation of fucoxanthin.
Ecotoxicological assessment of small surface waters with emphasis on sediments : a case study in Hesse, Germany
- Chemical contamination of the environment and thus of aquatic ecosystems is steadily increasing.
Whenever environmental pollutants enter a water body, they affect not only the
water, but also the sediment. Substances that bind to sediment particles can be stored for
a long time, whereby sediments act as sinks for some contaminants. Therefore, sediment
assessments often more accurately describe the contamination of a water body than investigations
of the water itself. Among environmental chemicals, endocrine disrupting compounds
(EDCs) have gained more and more attention in recent years. Since they interfere
with endocrine systems and may disturb reproduction, they endanger the survival of populations
or even species. Hazardous substances enter the aquatic environment by different
pathways, with sewage treatment plants (STPs) belonging to the most important contamination
The main objective of this work is a comprehensive sediment assessment of predominantly
small surface waters in the German federal state of Hesse. The 50 study sites, located in 44
different creeks and small rivers, are situated in the densely populated and economically
important Frankfurt/Rhine-Main area, as well as in rural and less urbanized regions.
Chemical analytical data, provided by the Hessian Agency for the Environment and Geology
(HLUG), indicated different contamination levels of the study sites. In order to investigate
the general toxicity of the sediment samples, the oligochaete Lumbriculus variegatus
and the midge Chironomus riparius were exposed to whole sediments and apical endpoints
regarding biomass, survival, and reproduction were determined. In further experiments,
special attention was paid to the contamination with endocrine active compounds. For this
purpose, the reproductive success of the New Zealand mudsnail Potamopyrgus antipodarum
was analyzed after exposure to whole sediments. Additionally, a yeast-based reporter gene
assay was applied with sediment eluates to assess the estrogenic and androgenic activity of
the samples. Biotest results were compared with chemical analysis data to investigate
whether the test organisms reflect the measured pollution of the study sites and if the observed
effects can be explained by chemical contamination.
Five study sites, all located less than 1 km downstream of a STP discharger, were selected
for further investigations based on the results of the sediment monitoring. The sediments
from these sites were conspicuous due to their general toxic and/or estrogenic activity. In
order to investigate whether the observed effects can be ascribed to the effluents, an active
biomonitoring study was conducted with the mudsnail P. antipodarum and the zebra mussel
Dreissena polymorpha, exposed at study sites located up- and downstream of the discharger.
In addition to endocrine activity, genotoxic effects were investigated using the
comet assay and the micronucleus assay. Endocrine activity was examined based on the
reproductive output of P. antipodarum and the content of vitellogenin-like proteins in
D. polymorpha. Yeast-based reporter gene assays were used to estimate the endocrine potential
(estrogen, anti-estrogen, anti-androgen, dioxin-like) of sediment and water samples.
22% of the 50 sediments showed ecologically relevant effects in the biotests with L. variegatus
and C. riparius. Only one sediment caused a relevant effect on both test organisms,
while the other ten positively tested sediments affected either L. variegatus or C. riparius,
probably due to differences in inter-species sensitivities. This suggests that a combination
of different biotests is necessary for a comprehensive evaluation of sediment toxicity.
78% of the sediments caused a significantly increased number of embryos in P. antipodarum,
which could be ascribed to estrogenic contamination of the sediment samples. An
increase in the number of embryos by 60%, as observed in this study, and an associated
increase in population size may result in the displacement of other, less competitive species.
In the in vitro tests, 66% of the sediments showed estrogenic activity and 68% showed androgenic
activity. Maximum observed values were 40.9 ng EEQ/kg sediment (EEQ = estradiol
equivalent) for estrogenic and 93.4 ng TEQ/kg sediment (TEQ = testosterone
equivalent) for androgenic activity. Natural and synthetic hormones as well as alkylphenols
were the major contributors to the total estrogenicity of environmental samples in several
other studies, and are likely responsible for a large part of the estrogenic activity in this
case as well. Similarly, androgenic activity is mainly due to natural steroids and their metabolites.
Bioassay results reflect the analytically measured contamination levels at the study sites
only very infrequently. This can be ascribed to the occurrence of integrated effects of chemical
mixtures present in the sediments. Additionally, effects of substances not included in
the analytical program or of substances present in concentrations below the detection limit
of the chemical analytical investigations as well as varying bioavailabilities might be relevant.
The fact that a large part of the observed effects cannot be explained by the chemical
contamination demonstrates the need for effect studies in ecotoxicological sediment assessments.
In order to identify possible causes for the effects observed in the sediment monitoring, e.g.
contamination sources, the area types (urban fabrics, arable lands, pasturages, etc.) of the
catchment areas belonging to the study sites were analyzed. No significant differences were
found between the area profiles of the sampling sites with and without effects in the biotests.
The results indicate that the contamination responsible for the observed effects can
be ascribed to different sources. Furthermore, study sites whose sediments exerted significant
effects in biotests were located in anthropogenic as well as in predominantly natural
The active biomonitoring study at STPs revealed genotoxic and endocrine effects only sporadically.
However, in the in vitro tests considerable endocrine activities of sediment and
water samples were determined. No conclusive picture emerges as to whether the observed
effects occur more frequently downstream of the dischargers, and thus could be attributed
to a contamination by sewage. This indicates that contamination sources other than STP
dischargers, for example agricultural runoff, may contribute to the observed effects. Weaker
effects and biological activities downstream of a discharger compared to an upstream site
might be ascribed to a dilution effect by the effluents. A comparison of the measured in
vitro estrogenicity with exposure studies described in the literature shows that adverse effects
in aquatic organisms can be expected at the EEQ concentrations determined in the
The results of the sediment monitoring and the STP study revealed a widespread endocrine
pollution of small surface waters in Hesse. The fact that the bioassay results only rarely
reflect study site contamination as determined by chemical analysis demonstrates the need
for effect studies in comprehensive sediment assessments. In some cases STP dischargers
increased, in other cases they decreased the observed in vivo effects and in vitro activity of
environmental samples. Transferring the results obtained in laboratory studies to the field,
adverse effects on aquatic ecosystems can be expected. The study illustrates the need for
restrictive measures that contribute to the removal or reduction of environmental pollutants.
For the identification of substances that have so far not been linked to adverse effects
on the environment, methods such as effect-directed analyses (EDA) or toxicity identification
evaluation (TIE) should be increasingly applied in future studies. Furthermore,
bioassays for the assessment of endocrine activity should be implemented in standardized