David gegen Goliath : wie Viren das Immunsystem überlisten
- Infektionen mit Herpesviren sind bereits seit der Antike bekannt. So beschrieb zum Beispiel schon Hippokrates in seinem »Corpus Hippocraticum« die sich auf der Haut ausbreitenden Herpes Simplex Läsionen und gab der Krankheit ihren bis heute gültigen Namen. Verbürgt ist auch, dass der römische Kaiser Tiberius vor etwa 2000 Jahren während einer auftretenden Herpes labialis-Epidemie das Küssen bei öffentlichen Zeremonien per Dekret verbat. Shakespeare war ebenfalls bestens vertraut mit den periodisch auftretenden Herpes-Bläschen; in seinem Werk »Romeo & Julia« spricht Mercutio zu Romeo: »O’er ladies lips, who straight on kisses dream, which oft the angry Mab with blisters plagues, ….« Doch erst in den 1960er Jahren erkannte man die virale Herkunft der Erkrankung.
"Den umgekehrten Weg Freuds gehen" : Eric Kandel sucht die Erinnerung und plädiert für eine Biologie des Geistes ; [Rezension]
Optimization and antiviral analysis of peptide ligands for the HIV-1 packaging signal PSI
- Oral presentations Background: We selected peptide ligands for the HIV-1 packaging signal PSI by screening phage displayed peptide libraries. Peptide ligands were optimized by screening spot synthesis peptide membranes. The aim of this study is the functional characterization of these peptide ligands with respect to inhibition of HIV-1 replication. Methods: Phage displayed peptide libraries were screened with PSI-RNA structures. The Trp-rich peptide motifs were optimized for specific binding on spot synthesis peptide membranes. The best binding peptide was expressed intracellularly in fusion with RFP or linked to a protein transduction domain (PTD) for intracellular delivery. The effects on virion production were analyzed using pseudotyped lentiviral particles. Results: After positive and negative selection rounds, phages binding specifically to PSI-RNA were identified by ELISA. Peptide inserts contained conserved motifs of aromatic amino acids known to be implicated in binding of PSI-RNA by the natural Gag ligand. The filter assay identified HKWPWW as the best binding ligand for PSI-RNA, which is delivered into several cell lines by addition of a PTD. Compared to a control peptide, the HKWPWW peptide inhibited HIV-1 replication as deduced from reduced titers of culture supernatants. As HKWPWW also binds to the TAR-RNA like the natural nucleocapsid PSI-RNA ligand, the effect on Tat-TAR inhibition will also be analyzed. Currently T-cell lines are established which stably express HKWPWW as well as a control peptide, which will be infected with HIV-1 to monitor the ability of HKWPWW to inhibit wild type HIV-1 replication. Conclusion: The selection of a peptide ligand for PSI-RNA able to inhibit HIV-1 replication proves the suitability of the phage display technology for the selection of peptides binding to RNA-structures. This enables the indentification of peptides serving as leads to interfere with additional targets in the HIV-1 replication cycle.
L11 domain rearrangement upon binding to RNA and thiostrepton studied by NMR spectroscopy
Hendrik R. A. Jonker
S. Kaspar Grimm
- Ribosomal proteins are assumed to stabilize specific RNA structures and promote compact folding of the large rRNA. The conformational dynamics of the protein between the bound and unbound state play an important role in the binding process. We have studied those dynamical changes in detail for the highly conserved complex between the ribosomal protein L11 and the GTPase region of 23S rRNA. The RNA domain is compactly folded into a well defined tertiary structure, which is further stabilized by the association with the C-terminal domain of the L11 protein (L11ctd). In addition, the N-terminal domain of L11 (L11ntd) is implicated in the binding of the natural thiazole antibiotic thiostrepton, which disrupts the elongation factor function. We have studied the conformation of the ribosomal protein and its dynamics by NMR in the unbound state, the RNA bound state and in the ternary complex with the RNA and thiostrepton. Our data reveal a rearrangement of the L11ntd, placing it closer to the RNA after binding of thiostrepton, which may prevent binding of elongation factors. We propose a model for the ternary L11–RNA–thiostrepton complex that is additionally based on interaction data and conformational information of the L11 protein. The model is consistent with earlier findings and provides an explanation for the role of L11ntd in elongation factor binding.
Mechanisms of apoptotic cell death of lymphocytes in aging and in Alzheimer's disease
- Aging and age-related diseases are becoming more and more important for our society and our health care system. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a disorder that destroys some parts of the brain and is characterized by global cognitive decline including a progressive irreversible loss of memory, orientation, and reasoning. “Healthy aging”, therefore, is one of the major aims for modern medicine. Apoptosis, or programmed cell death, plays an important role for example in fetal development, as well as for learning processes. T-lymphocytes usually undergo apoptosis in order to terminate an acute inflammation. The aim of this thesis was to explore the changes in the apoptotic mechanism of peripheral lymphocytes from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) patients in contrast to physiological aging. The experiments were conducted with lymphocytes of healthy volunteers of different ages, AD patients and young and aged mice. Moreover, transgenic mice carrying familiar AD-related mutations were examined. The aging study of peripheral cells of ‘healthy’-aged volunteers revealed an age-related increase of basal apoptosis. In addition, spontaneous apoptosis as well as apoptosis induced by oxidative stress (ROS) or by Fas engagement were enhanced in aging. A closer look at the subcellular basis of the lymphocytes (e.g. B-, NK-, CD4+-, and CD8+-T cells) determined that all lymphocyte subsets were affected by aging. Therefore, it could be concluded that the regulation of apoptosis is generally impaired in lymphocytes of aged persons. The increased susceptibility to oxidative stress supports the ‘Free radical theory of aging’ that claims the radicals to be the cause for the aging-process. In mice an increase of basal, spontaneous and ROS-induced apoptosis was detected in T cells from the spleen, as well. An oral treatment over two weeks with the Ginkgo biloba extract EGb761 showed a clear reduction of ROS-induced apoptosis in the treated group. Interestingly, basal and spontaneous apoptosis, e.g. physiological apoptosis, were not effected by the plant extract. This is an important benefit for therapy since physiological apoptosis has a great relevance in the elimination of cancer-cells for example. In conclusion, the antidementive drug EGb761 reduces specifically ROS-induced apoptosis that a plays an important role in aging as shown in this thesis. Based on the data found in healthy aging, lymphocytes from AD patients were assessed for apoptosis. The cells show enhanced levels of basal, spontaneous, and Fas-induced apoptosis. In subsequent experiments it was demonstrated that mainly the T cells were responsible for the findings. However, the NK-cells provided an important impact as well. In concordance with AD-affected neurons, peripheral lymphocytes of AD patients show clear signs of apoptotic cell death. In addition, basal apoptosis of T cells and the CD4/CD8-ratio showed a correlation with the severity of the dementia. Therefore, it could be speculated that apoptosis is due to activation-induced cell death (AICD) that occurs in acute and chronic activation of adaptive immunity. In AD there is a chronic neuroinflammation in the CNS triggering degeneration of neural tissue. In order to explore this, the experimental model of lymphocyte’s activation was established in healthy aging first. The study included the detection of various events of lymphocyte’s activation on the basis of the T cell subsets (CD4+ and CD8+). The inducibility to mitogenic stimulation clearly decreased in both subsets in aging. In contrast, T lymphocytes from AD patients showed an enhanced activation subsequent to mitogenic stimulation compared with age-matched nondemented persons. Only proliferation of CD8+ T cells was clearly reduced in AD. This data could be clues that an increased generation of memory T cells due to chronic neuroinflammation might be evident in AD. Memory T lymphocytes show increased inducibility upon mitogenic activation. Interestingly, CD8+ memory T cells display decreased prolifertive capacity. Due to activation, cells die by apoptosis later on. It could be concluded that AD patients display an increased amount of memory T cells compared to controls. The data implicate that there could be a cross talk between inflammatory within the brain and inflammatory cells of the periphery. This is an interesting point since the brain used to be assumed as immune-privileged zone. According to the experiment, the information of the diseased brain is transferred to white blood cells. The connection of those two compartments might raise the opportunity to observe and probably to influence easily not-accessible regions like the brain. Transgenic mice carrying mutations in familiar AD-relevant genes (Amyloid-Precursor-Protein, Presenilin-1, respectively) displayed enhanced levels of apoptotic T cells from the spleen, as well. It seems that those mutated proteins influence the regulation of apoptosis. Probably, they are involved in the increased cell death of T- and NK-cells, as well. Animals overexpressing Presenilin-1 showed reduced levels of apoptotic cell death. It was demonstrated with molecuar biology tools that Presenilin-1, processed during apoptosis, has an anti-apoptotic effect.
»Small is beautiful« : Bioforschung in der Nanowelt
- Im Zuge der steigenden Bedeutung der Proteomforschung und der »Molekularisierung« der Medizin werden neue, effizientere Plattformen zur Untersuchung von Proteinen und deren Wechselwirkungen notwendig. Hier bietet die Nanotechnologie, eine Wissenschaft mit Ursprüngen in der Physik und der Halbleiterindustrie, attraktive Lösungsperspektiven. Ein Bereich der Forschung am Institut für Biochemie der Universität Frankfurt um Prof. Dr. Robert Tampé widmet sich den Aspekten der Nanotechnologie zur Entwicklung von Protein-Chips für die Proteomforschung und Erzeugung von Mustern im Kleinstformat.
PhAST : pharmacophore alignment search tool
Bettina Petra Hofmann
- We developed the Pharmacophore Alignment Search Tool (PhAST), a text-based technique for rapid hit and lead structure searching in large compound databases. For each molecule, a two-dimensional graph of potential pharmacophoric points (PPPs) is created, which has an identical topology as the original molecule with implicit hydrogen atoms. Each vertex is coloured by a symbol representing the corresponding PPP. The vertices of the graph are canonically labelled . The symbols associated with the vertices are combined to a so-called PhAST-Sequence beginning with the vertex with the lowest canonical label. Due to the canonical labelling the created PhAST-Sequence is characteristic for each molecule. For similarity assessment, PhAST-Sequences are compared using the sequence identity in their global pairwise alignment . The alignment score lies between 0 (no similarity) and 1 (identical PhAST-Sequences). In order to use global pairwise sequence alignment, a score matrix for pharmacophoric symbols was developed and gap penalties were optimized. PhAST performed comparably and sometimes superior to other similarity search tools (CATS2D , MOE pharmacophore quadruples ) in retrospective virtual screenings using the COBRA  collection of drugs and lead structures. Most importantly, the PhAST alignment technique allows for the computation of significance estimates that help prioritize a virtual hit list.
Neue Methoden zur Bestimmung von NMR-Projektionsrestraints : Bestimmung der Struktur und Dynamik von nativen und denaturierten Proteinen
Shahid Ameen Samra
- The central structural element of the title compound, C24H29NO2, is a carbazole unit substituted with two acetyl residues and an octyl chain. The acetyl residues are nearly coplanar [dihedral angles = 5.37 (14) and 1.0 (3)°] with the carbazole unit which is essentially planar (r.m.s. deviation for all non-H atoms = 0.025 Å). The octyl chain adopts an all-trans conformation. The crystal packing is stabilized by C—H ... O hydrogen bonds.
Explicit influence of water microsolvation on charge transfer and dynamics in ground and excited electronic states of molecular systems
- Modern computational molecular quantum chemical studies, such as the present one, typically employ a wide range of theoretical techniques. The latter are often rather complicated and one should not generally expect that an experimental scientist in the area of physical chemistry, a potential reader of this work, should be familiar with all these techniques. To simplify the reading of the Thesis and to make it self-sufficient, it is supplied with an overview of the employed theoretical methodologies (Chapter 1). The overview explains basic quantum-chemical terminology referred to throughout the Thesis, introduces theoretical foundations of the methods and outlines their properties and limitations. In Part 1.1 of Chapter 1, methods for the solution of the molecular Schrödinger equation are introduced, while in the subsequent Parts 1.2 and 1.3 methods for the solution of the electronic Schrödinger equation are presented to find the ground and excited states, respectively. Part 1.4 is dedicated to basis-set effects which are omnipresent in electronic-structure calculations. It contains a number of unusual insights and concepts proposed by the author and, thus, may be insightful also to experts in quantum chemistry.
In Chapter 2, the phenomenon of acetone-water proton exchange catalyzed by tubular as well as amorphous aggregates of calixhydroquinone (CHQ) macromolecules, which has been observed previously in NMR experiments (Ref. D1D), is investigated by means of correlated quantum-chemical methods. The first part of the study (Section 2.3-2.7) considers concerted proton transfer, assisted by several initially neutral OH-groups in the hydrogen-bonded networks of CHQ aggregates. The second part of the study (Section 2.8-2.13) is dedicated to a second mechanism of proton exchange: step-wise proton transfer via formation of ionic intermediates resulting from CHQ pre-dissociation. CHQ application-specific as well as general conclusions, relevant to the main topic of the Thesis (i.e. influence of specific microsolvation on the considered proton transfer processes), are presented in Section 2.14.
The phenomenon of dual fluorescence observed in clusters of methyl 4-N,N-dimethylaminobenzoate ester (DMABME) and two water molecules in the gas phase, is studied in Chapter 3. Experimentally, the dual fluorescence was detected in experiments combining optical and ground-state ion-depletion infrared spectroscopies in ultracold molecular beams (Ref. D2D). In Section 3.3, calculated ground-state infrared spectra are presented that allow to identify the structures of those isomers, which are present in the gas-phase, as well as the structure of the isomer responsible for dual fluorescence. To further understand the reaction mechanism of dual fluorescence, excited-state potential energy surfaces of the identified isomers were computed along the relevant twisted intermolecular charge-transfer formation coordinate and the mechanism of energy dissipation in these complexes was investigated (Section 3.4-3.5) (Ref. D3D). A brief summary of the main results of this chapter and conclusions are given in Section 3.6. Finally, in Section 3.7 a complementary benchmark study of the quality of ground-state potential energy surfaces of prototypical hydrogen-bonded systems (ammonia-water and formic acid-water dimers) obtained at the level of BSSE-corrected MP2 combined with moderate basis sets, has been conducted. The quality of potential energy surfaces was tested with respect to basis-set size, level of electron correlation and anharmonicity effects and the applied methodology to identify the IR spectrum of hydrated DMABME complexes (Section 3.3) has been found to be sufficient to uniquely assign the IR spectra.