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.
Effects of BPA in snails : Oehlmann et al. respond
Thomas A. Ternes
- Correspondence : Effects of BPA in snails: Oehlmann et al. respond We welcome critical appraisals that help to provide balance; however, Dietrich et al. gave an unjustified reproach. We feel that Dietrich’s position is severely compromised because he serves as an expert for the bisphenol A (BPA) Industry Group (Brussels, Belgium). We would like to respond to the issues raised by Dietrich et al., as well as to their oversights and inappropriate interpretations of our findings....
Effects of BPA in snails
Daniel R. Dietrich
Michael H. Depledge
Regulated polyploidy in halophilic archaea
- Polyploidy is common in higher eukaryotes, especially in plants, but it is generally assumed that most prokaryotes contain a single copy of a circular chromosome and are therefore monoploid. We have used two independent methods to determine the genome copy number in halophilic archaea, 1) cell lysis in agarose blocks and Southern blot analysis, and 2) Real-Time quantitative PCR. Fast growing H. salinarum cells contain on average about 25 copies of the chromosome in exponential phase, and their ploidy is downregulated to 15 copies in early stationary phase. The chromosome copy number is identical in cultures with a twofold lower growth rate, in contrast to the results reported for several other prokaryotic species. Of three additional replicons of H. salinarum, two have a low copy number that is not growth-phase regulated, while one replicon even shows a higher degree of growth phase-dependent regulation than the main replicon. The genome copy number of H. volcanii is similarly high during exponential phase (on average 18 copies/cell), and it is also downregulated (to 10 copies) as the cells enter stationary phase. The variation of genome copy numbers in the population was addressed by fluorescence microscopy and by FACS analysis. These methods allowed us to verify the growth phase-dependent regulation of ploidy in H. salinarum, and they revealed that there is a wide variation in genome copy numbers in individual cells that is much larger in exponential than in stationary phase. Our results indicate that polyploidy might be more widespread in archaea (or even prokaryotes in general) than previously assumed. Moreover, the presence of so many genome copies in a prokaryote raises questions about the evolutionary significance of this strategy.
COMPRENDO: Focus and Approach
Daniela Candia Carnevali
Kresten Ole Kusk
Ronny van Aerle
Christoph van Ballegoy
- Tens of thousands of man-made chemicals are in regular use and discharged into the environment. Many of them are known to interfere with the hormonal systems in humans and wildlife. Given the complexity of endocrine systems, there are many ways in which endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can affect the body’s signaling system, and this makes unraveling the mechanisms of action of these chemicals difficult. A major concern is that some of these EDCs appear to be biologically active at extremely low concentrations. There is growing evidence to indicate that the guiding principle of traditional toxicology that “the dose makes the poison” may not always be the case because some EDCs do not induce the classical dose–response relationships. The European Union project COMPRENDO (Comparative Research on Endocrine Disrupters—Phylogenetic Approach and Common Principles focussing on Androgenic/Antiandrogenic Compounds) therefore aims to develop an understanding of potential health problems posed by androgenic and antiandrogenic compounds (AACs) to wildlife and humans by focusing on the commonalities and differences in responses to AACs across the animal kingdom (from invertebrates to vertebrates).
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.
Growth-rate regulated genes have profound impact on interpretation of transcriptome profiling in Saccharomyces cerevisiae
Lars Kai Hansen
- Background The growth rate is central for the development of cells in all organisms. However, little is known about the impact of changing growth rates. We have used continuous cultures to control the growth rate and study the transcriptional programme of the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae with generation times varying between 2 and 35 hours. Results A total of 5,930 transcripts were identified at the different growth rates studied. Consensus clustering of these revealed that half of all yeast genes are affected by the specific growth rate, and that the changes are similar to those found when cells are exposed to different types of stress (more than 80% overlap). Genes with decreased transcript levels in response to faster growth are largely of unknown function (more than 50%) while genes with increased transcript levels are involved in macromolecular biosynthesis such as those encoding ribosomal proteins. This group also covers most targets of the transcriptional activator, RAP1, which is also known to be involved in replication. A positive correlation between the location of replication origins and the location of growth-regulated genes, suggests a role for replication in growth rate regulation. Conclusions Our data show that the cellular growth rate has paramount influence on transcriptional regulation. This, in turn, implies that one should be cautious when comparing mutants with different growth rates. The results also indicate that much of the regulation is coordinated via the chromosomal location of the affected genes, which may be valuable information for the control of heterologous gene expression in metabolic engineering.
Comparing the efficacy of morphologic and DNA-based taxonomy in the freshwater gastropod genus Radix (Basommatophora, Pulmonata)
- Background Reliable taxonomic identification at the species level is the basis for many biological disciplines. In order to distinguish species, it is necessary that taxonomic characters allow for the separation of individuals into recognisable, homogeneous groups that differ from other such groups in a consistent way. We compared here the suitability and efficacy of traditionally used shell morphology and DNA-based methods to distinguish among species of the freshwater snail genus Radix (Basommatophora, Pulmonata). Results Morphometric analysis showed that shell shape was unsuitable to define homogeneous, recognisable entities, because the variation was continuous. On the other hand, the Molecularly defined Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTU), inferred from mitochondrial COI sequence variation, proved to be congruent with biological species, inferred from geographic distribution patterns, congruence with nuclear markers and crossing experiments. Moreover, it could be shown that the phenotypically plastic shell variation is mostly determined by the environmental conditions experienced. Conclusion Contrary to DNA-taxonomy, shell morphology was not suitable for delimiting and recognising species in Radix. As the situation encountered here seems to be widespread in invertebrates, we propose DNA-taxonomy as a reliable, comparable, and objective means for species identification in biological research.
BCR and its mutants, the reciprocal t(9;22)-associated ABL/BCR fusion proteins, differentially regulate the cytoskeleton and cell motility
- Background The reciprocal (9;22) translocation fuses the bcr (breakpoint cluster region) gene on chromosome 22 to the abl (Abelson-leukemia-virus) gene on chromosome 9. Depending on the breakpoint on chromosome 22 (the Philadelphia chromosome – Ph+) the derivative 9+ encodes either the p40(ABL/BCR) fusion transcript, detectable in about 65% patients suffering from chronic myeloid leukemia, or the p96(ABL/BCR) fusion transcript, detectable in 100% of Ph+ acute lymphatic leukemia patients. The ABL/BCRs are N-terminally truncated BCR mutants. The fact that BCR contains Rho-GEF and Rac-GAP functions strongly suggest an important role in cytoskeleton modeling by regulating the activity of Rho-like GTPases, such as Rho, Rac and cdc42. We, therefore, compared the function of the ABL/BCR proteins with that of wild-type BCR. Methods We investigated the effects of BCR and ABL/BCRs i.) on the activation status of Rho, Rac and cdc42 in GTPase-activation assays; ii.) on the actin cytoskeleton by direct immunofluorescence; and iii) on cell motility by studying migration into a three-dimensional stroma spheroid model, adhesion on an endothelial cell layer under shear stress in a flow chamber model, and chemotaxis and endothelial transmigration in a transwell model with an SDF-1α gradient. Results Here we show that both ABL/BCRs lost fundamental functional features of BCR regarding the regulation of small Rho-like GTPases with negative consequences on cell motility, in particular on the capacity to adhere to endothelial cells. Conclusion Our data presented here describe for the first time an analysis of the biological function of the reciprocal t(9;22) ABL/BCR fusion proteins in comparison to their physiological counterpart BCR.