Luis Kutner and the development of the advance directive (living will)
- It is well known that Luis Kutner (1908-1993) played an important role in the development of the living will (advance directive, Patientenverfügung). But it is not clear when he developed his concept. We have screened the Luis Kutner Papers,deposited at the Hoover Institution Archives at Stanford University to answer this question. We found out that in the second half of 1967, Kutner dealt intensively with the issue of euthanasia. On December 7, 1967, he delivered a speech at the annual meeting of the Euthanasia Society in New York and presented the concept of the living will to the audience. So Kutner surely was a pioneer in this field, but further research is necessary to clarify, if he (or maybe Elsa W. Simon or Abraham L. Wolbarst) was the "originator" of the living will concept in the sense of passive euthanasia.
Maltose-binding protein enhances secretion of recombinant human granzyme B accompanied by in vivo processing of a precursor MBP fusion protein
Robert A. Jabulowsky
Winfried S. Wels
- Background: The apoptosis-inducing serine protease granzyme B (GrB) is an important factor contributing to lysis of target cells by cytotoxic lymphocytes. Expression of enzymatically active GrB in recombinant form is a prerequisite for functional analysis and application of GrB for therapeutic purposes. Methods and Findings: We investigated the influence of bacterial maltose-binding protein (MBP) fused to GrB via a synthetic furin recognition motif on the expression of the MBP fusion protein also containing an N-terminal alpha-factor signal peptide in the yeast Pichia pastoris. MBP markedly enhanced the amount of GrB secreted into culture supernatant, which was not the case when GrB was fused to GST. MBP-GrB fusion protein was cleaved during secretion by an endogenous furin-like proteolytic activity in vivo, liberating enzymatically active GrB without the need of subsequent in vitro processing. Similar results were obtained upon expression of a recombinant fragment of the ErbB2/HER2 receptor protein or GST as MBP fusions. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that combination of MBP as a solubility enhancer with specific in vivo cleavage augments secretion of processed and functionally active proteins from yeast. This strategy may be generally applicable to improve folding and increase yields of recombinant proteins.
The role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma during sepsis-induced lymphopenia
- Sepsis is one of the most common diseases on intensive care units all over the world and accounts there for the highest mortality rate. One of the hallmarks of sepsis is an accelerated T-cell apoptosis, resulting in a compromised immune state with the inability to eradicate pathogens. This promotes organ damage or even organ failure. A multiple organ dysfunction evolves, which often ends up in septic shock and death. Recently, it was shown that severe T-cell depletion correlates with sepsis mortality. When inhibiting T-cell apoptosis, an increased mouse survival was observed in experimental sepsis. ...
Soluble epoxide hydrolase limits mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation
Carlo Federico Angioni
Ralf Peter Louis Brandes
Peter Werner Reeh
Clifford J. Woolf
Cytochrome-P450 (CYP450) epoxygenases metabolise arachidonic acid (AA) into four different biologically active epoxyeicosatrienoic acid (EET) regioisomers. Three of the EETs (i.e., 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET) are rapidly hydrolysed by the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). Here, we investigated the role of sEH in nociceptive processing during peripheral inflammation.
In dorsal root ganglia (DRG), we found that sEH is expressed in medium and large diameter neurofilament 200-positive neurons. Isolated DRG-neurons from sEH-/- mice showed higher EET and lower DHET levels. Upon AA stimulation, the largest changes in EET levels occurred in culture media, indicating both that cell associated EET concentrations quickly reach saturation and EET-hydrolyzing activity mostly effects extracellular EET signaling. In vivo, DRGs from sEH-deficient mice exhibited elevated 8,9-, 11,12- and 14,15-EET-levels. Interestingly, EET levels did not increase at the site of zymosan-induced inflammation. Cellular imaging experiments revealed direct calcium flux responses to 8,9-EET in a subpopulation of nociceptors. In addition, 8,9-EET sensitized AITC-induced calcium increases in DRG neurons and AITC-induced calcitonin gene related peptide (CGRP) release from sciatic nerve axons, indicating that 8,9-EET sensitizes TRPA1-expressing neurons, which are known to contribute to mechanical hyperalgesia. Supporting this, sEH-/- mice showed increased nociceptive responses to mechanical stimulation during zymosan-induced inflammation and 8,9-EET injection reduced mechanical thresholds in naive mice.
Our results show that the sEH can regulate mechanical hyperalgesia during inflammation by inactivating 8,9-EET, which sensitizes TRPA1-expressing nociceptors. Therefore we suggest that influencing the CYP450 pathway, which is actually highly considered to treat cardiovascular diseases, may cause pain side effects.
Macrophage polarization by apoptotic cancer cells - a RNAi high-throughput screen and validation of interleukin 10 regulation
- Tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) are a major supportive component within neoplasms and by their plasticity promote all phases of tumor development. Mechanisms of macrophage (M Phi) attraction and differentiation to a tumor-promoting phenotype, defined among others by distinct cytokine patterns such as pronounced immunosuppressive interleukin 10 (IL-10) production, are largely unknown. However, a high apoptosis index within tumors and strong M Phi infiltration correlate with poor prognosis. Thus, I aimed at identifying signaling pathways contributing to generation of TAM-like M Phi by using supernatant of apoptotic cancer cells (ACM) as stimulus.
To distinguish novel factors involved in generating TAM-like M Phi, I used an adenoviral RNAi-based approach. The primary read-out was production of IL-10. However, mediators modulating IL-10 were re-validated for their impact on regulation of the cytokines IL-6, IL-8 and IL-12. Following assay development, optimization and down-scaling to a 384-well format, primary human M Phi were transduced with 8495 constructs of the adenoviral shRNA SilenceSelect® library of Galapagos BV, followed by activation to a TAM-like phenotype using ACM. I identified 96 genes involved in IL-10 production in response to ACM and observed a pronounced cluster of 22 targets regulating IL-10 and IL-6. Principal validation of five targets of the IL-10/IL-6 cluster was performed using siRNA or pharmacological inhibitors. Among those, IL-4 receptor-alpha and cannabinoid receptor 2 were confirmed as regulators of IL-10 and IL-6 secretion.
One protein identified in the screen, the nerve growth factor (NGF) receptor TRKA was chosen for in-depth validation, based on its involvement in IL-10, IL-6 and IL-12 secretion from ACM-stimulated human M Phi. TRKA possesses a cardinal role in neuronal development, but compelling evidence emerges suggesting participation of TRKA in cancer development. First experiments using pharmacological inhibitors principally confirmed the involvement of TRKA in IL-10 secretion by ACM-stimulated M Phi and revealed PI3K/AKT and to a lesser extend MAPK p38 as important signaling molecules downstream of TRKA activation. Signaling through TRKA required the presence of its ligand NGF, as indicated by NGF neutralization experiments. NGF was not induced by or present in ACM, but was constitutively secreted by M Phi. Interestingly, M Phi responded to authentic NGF with neither AKT and p38 phosphorylation nor IL-10 production. TRKA is well known to be transactivated by other receptors and in neurons its cellular localization is decisive for its function. Inhibitors of common transactivation partners did not influence IL-10 production by human M Phi. Rather, ACM-treatment provoked pronounced translocation of TRKA to the plasma membrane within 10 minutes as observed by immunofluorescence staining. Consequently, I was intrigued to clarify mechanisms of TRKA trafficking in response to ACM.
The bioactive lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P) has been previously identified as important apoptotic cell-derived mediator involved in TAM-like M Phi polarization. Indeed, I observed S1P and src kinase involvement in ACM-mediated IL-10 induction. Furthermore, inhibition of S1P receptor (S1PR) signaling or src kinase activity prevented TRKA translocation, whereas a TRKA inhibitor or anti-NGF did not block TRKA trafficking to the plasma membrane in response to ACM. Thus, autocrine secreted NGF activated TRKA to promote IL-10 secretion, which required previous S1PR/src-dependent translocation of TRKA to the plasma membrane. Following the detailed analysis of IL-10 regulation, I was interested whether other TAM phenotype markers were influenced by ACM and whether their expression was regulated through TRKA-dependent signaling. Five of six markers were up-regulated on mRNA level by ACM, and secretion of IL-6, IL-8 and TNF-alpha was triggered. S1PR-signaling was essential for induction of all but one marker, whereas TRKA signaling was only required for cytokine secretion. Interestingly, none of the investigated TAM markers was regulated identically to IL-10, emphasizing a tight and exclusive regulation machinery of this potent immunosuppressive cytokine.
Finally, I aimed to validate the in vitro findings in human ACM-stimulated M Phi. Therefore, I isolated murine TAM as well as other major mononuclear phagocyte populations from primary oncogene-induced breast cancer tissue. Indeed, TRKA-dependent signaling was required for spontaneous cytokine production selectively by primary murine TAM. Besides IL-10, the TRKA pathway was decisive for secretion of IL-6, TNF-alpha and monocyte chemotactic protein-1, indicating its relevance in cancer-associated inflammation.
In summary, my findings highlight a fine-tuned regulatory system of S1P-dependent TRKA trafficking and autocrine NGF signaling in TAM biology. Both factors, S1P as well as NGF, might be interesting targets for future cancer therapy.
Identification of translationally deregulated proteins during inflammation-associated tumorigenesis
- The translation of mRNAs into proteins is an elaborate and highly regulated process. Translational regulation primarily takes place at the level of initiation. During initation the eukaryotic initiation factors (eIFs) form a complex that binds to the 5’end of the mRNA to scan for a start codon. Once recognized, the ribosome is recruited to the mRNA and protein synthesis starts. Initiation of translation can basically occur via two distinct mechanisms, i.e. cap-dependent and cap-independent that is mediated via internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs). The former is mediated by a 5’cap structure composed of a 7-methylguanylate which is added to every mRNA during transcription and recruits the initiation complex. IRES-dependent translation involves elements within the 5’untranslated region (UTR) of the mRNA that mostly bind IRES trans-acting factors (ITAFs) which associate either with the initiation complex or with the ribosome itself and consequently allow for internal initiation of translation.
During tumorigenesis the demand for proteins is increased due to rapid cell growth, which consequently requires enhanced translation. Many factors that regulate translation are overexpressed in tumors. Moreover, signaling pathways that trigger translation or further hyperactivated by the surrounding tumor microenvironment. This environment is largely generated by infiltration of immune cells such as macrophages that secrete cytokines and other mediators to promote tumorigenesis. As the effects of inflammatory conditions on the translation of specific targets are only poorly characterized, my study aimed at identifying translationally deregulated targets during inflammation-associated tumorigenesis.
For this purpose, I cocultured MCF7 breast tumor cells with conditioned medium of activated monocyte-derived U937 macrophages (CM). Polysome profiling and microarray analysis identified 42 targets to be regulated at the level of translation. The results were validated by quantitative PCR and one target - early growth response 2 (EGR2) - was chosen for in depth analysis of the mechanism leading to its enhanced translation.
In order to identify upstream signaling molecules causing enhanced EGR2 protein synthesis the cytokine profile of CM was analyzed and the impact of several cytokines on EGR2 translation was examined. Preincubation of CM with neutralizing antibodies revealed that lowering interleukin 6 (IL-6) had only little effect, whereas depletion of IL 1β significantly reduced EGR2 translation. This finding was corroborated by the fact that treatment with recombinant IL-1β enhanced EGR2 translation to virtually the same extend as CM. Further experiments revealed that this effect was mediated via the p38-MAPK signaling cascade.
Interestingly, I observed that the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, which reduces cap-dependent translation, specifically stimulated EGR2 translation. This result argued for an IRES-dependent mechanism that might account for EGR2 translation. The use of bicistronic reporter assays verified this hypothesis. In line with the above mentioned results, CM, IL-1β and p38-MAPK induced EGR2-IRES activity.
Since IRESs commonly require ITAFs to mediate translation initiation, the binding of proteins to the 5’UTR was analyzed using mass spectrometry. Among others, several previously described ITAFs, such as polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB) and heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein A1 (hnRNP-A1) were identified to directly bind to the EGR2-5’UTR. Furthermore, overexpression of hnRNP-A1 enhanced EGR2-IRES activity whereas a dominant negative form of hnRNP-A1 significantly decreased it, thus, showing its importance for EGR2 translation.
In summary, my data provide evidence that EGR2 expression can be controlled by IRES-dependent translational regulation, which is responsive to an inflammatory environment. The identified mechanism may not be exclusive for one target but might be representative for gene expression regulation mechanisms during tumorigenesis. This is of special interest for the treatment of cancer patients and development of more specific therapies to reduce tumor outcome.
Smoking and pregnancy : a scientometric analysis
- Smoking tobacco throughout pregnancy is one of the single most important avoidable causes of adverse pregnancy outcomes. If compared with other risk factors in the perinatal period, exposure to tobacco smoke is considered to be amongst the most harmful. It is associated with high rates of long and short term morbidity and mortality for mother and child. Despite this importance until now a scientometric analysis about the development and the state of scientific knowledge about smoking and pregnancy has not been published. In order to close this gap this work was conceived. In this dissertation quantitative and qualitative data on this topic was analyzed using a variety of objective scientometric methods like the number of scientific contributions, the number of citations and the modified Hirsch-index (H-index). A collective volume of 10,043 entries covering a time period from 1900 to December 5, 2012 was obtained from the Web of Science (WoS) data base. Publishing activities of authors, institutions and countries, their cooperation, reception within the international scientific community and its reactions were interpreted and illustrated.