Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Bern, Switzerland

Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Bern, Switzerland
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Bippes C.A.,ETH Zurich | Ge L.,ETH Zurich | Meury M.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine | Meury M.,University of Bern | And 8 more authors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2013

Peptide transporters (PTRs) of the large PTR family facilitate the uptake of di- and tripeptides to provide cells with amino acids for protein synthesis and for metabolic intermediates. Although several PTRs have been structurally and functionally characterized, how drugs modulate peptide transport remains unclear. To obtain insight into this mechanism, we characterize inhibitor binding to the Escherichia coli PTR dipeptide and tripeptide permease A (DtpA), which shows substrate specificities similar to its human homolog hPEPT1. After demonstrating that Lys[Z-NO2]-Val, the strongest inhibitor of hPEPT1, also acts as a high-affinity inhibitor for DtpA, we used single-molecule force spectroscopy to localize the structural segments stabilizing the peptide transporter and investigated which of these structural segments change stability upon inhibitor binding. This characterization was done with DtpA embedded in the lipid membrane and exposed to physiologically relevant conditions. In the unbound state, DtpA adopts two main alternate conformations in which transmembrane α-helix (TMH) 2 is either stabilized (in ~43% of DtpA molecules) or not (in ~57% of DtpA molecules). The two conformations are understood to represent the inward- and outward-facing conformational states of the transporter. With increasing inhibitor concentration, the conformation characterized by a stabilized TMH 2 becomes increasingly prevalent, reaching ~92% at saturation. Our measurements further suggest that Lys[Z-NO 2]-Val interacts with discrete residues in TMH 2 that are important for ligand binding and substrate affinity. These interactions in turn stabilize TMH 2, thereby promoting the inhibited conformation of DtpA.

Tamborrini M.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Tamborrini M.,University of Basel | Bauer M.,Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute | Bauer M.,University of Basel | And 16 more authors.
Journal of Bacteriology | Year: 2011

The surfaces of Bacillus anthracis endospores expose a pentasaccharide containing the monosaccharide anthrose, which has been considered for use as a vaccine or target for specific detection of the spores. In this study B. anthracis strains isolated from cattle carcasses in African countries where anthrax is endemic were tested for their cross-reactivity with monoclonal antibodies (MAbs) specific for anthrose-containing oligosaccharides. Unexpectedly, none of the isolates collected in Chad, Cameroon, and Mali were recognized by the MAbs. Sequencing of the four-gene operon encoding anthrose biosynthetic enzymes revealed the presence of premature stop codons in the aminotransferase and glycosyltransferase genes in all isolates from Chad, Cameroon, and Mali. Both immunological and genetic findings suggest that the West African isolates are unable to produce anthrose. The anthrose-deficient strains from West Africa belong to a particular genetic lineage. Immunization of cattle in Chad with a locally produced vaccine based on anthrose-positive spores of the B. anthracis strain Sterne elicited an anti-carbohydrate IgG response specific for a synthetic anthrosecontaining tetrasaccharide as demonstrated by glycan microarray analysis. Competition immunoblots with synthetic pentasaccharide derivatives suggested an immunodominant role of the anthrose-containing carbohydrate in cattle. In West Africa anthrax is highly endemic. Massive vaccination of livestock in this area has taken place over long periods of time using spores of the anthrose-positive vaccine strain Sterne. The spread of anthrose-deficient strains in this region may represent an escape strategy of B. anthracis. © 2011, American Society for Microbiology.

De Simone F.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne | Gertsch J.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine | Waser J.,Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne
Angewandte Chemie - International Edition | Year: 2010

(Figure Presented) Mild control: Selective cyclization of aminocyclopropanes at either the N1 or C3 position of an indole ring was achieved by tuning the reaction conditions (see scheme). This strategy was applied to the formal synthesis of aspidospermidine and the total synthesis of goniomitine, which demonstrated significant cytotoxicity against several tumor cell lines (IC50 = 150-400 nM). Cbz = benzyloxycarbonyl, Ts = 4-toluenesulfonyl. © 2010 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.

Leonti M.,University of Cagliari | Casu L.,University of Cagliari | Solinas M.N.,University of Cagliari | Cottiglia F.,University of Cagliari | And 4 more authors.
Natural Product Communications | Year: 2010

Chemical investigation of the stems of Seseli praecox (Gamisans) Gamisans, an endemic Apiaceae from Sardinia, afforded an isopropenylated chromone (5-hydroxy-6-(2-Z-butenyl-3-hydroxymethyl)-7-methoxy-2-methylchromone), along with four known linear furocoumarins and their natural precursor. For biological characterization the new compound was screened against four cancer cell lines in vitro and showed differential μM antiproliferative effects between suspension and adherent cells.

Simonin A.,University of Bern | Simonin A.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine | Fuster D.,University of Bern | Fuster D.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2010

The ubiquitously expressed mammalian Na+/H+ exchanger 1 (NHE1) controls cell volume and pH but is also critically involved in complex biological processes like cell adhesion, cell migration, cell proliferation, and mechanosensation. Pathways controlling NHE1 turnover at the plasma membrane, however, are currently unclear. Here, we demonstrate that NHE1 undergoes ubiquitylation at the plasma membrane by a process that is unprecedented for a mammalian ion transport protein. This process requires the adapter protein β-arrestin-1 that interacts with both the E3 ubiquitin ligase Nedd4-1 and the NHE1 C terminus. Truncation of NHE1 C terminus to amino acid 550 abolishes binding to β-arrestin-1 and NHE1 ubiquitylation. Overexpression of β-arrestin-1 or of wild type but not ligase-dead Nedd4-1 increases NHE1 ubiquitylation. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nedd4-1 or β-arrestin-1 reduces NHE1 ubiquitylation and endocytosis leading to increased NHE1 surface levels. Fibroblasts derived from β-arrestin-1 and Nedd4-1 knock-out mice show loss of NHE1 ubiquitylation, increased plasmalemmal NHE1 levels and greatly enhanced NHE1 transport compared with wild-type fibroblasts. These findings reveal Nedd4-1 and β-arrestin-1 as key regulators of NHE1 ubiquitylation, endocytosis, and function. Our data suggest a broader role for β-arrestins in the regulation of membrane ion transport proteins than currently known. © 2010 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.

Baumann M.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine | Baumann M.,University of Bern | Korner M.,University of Bern | Huang X.,Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine | And 6 more authors.
Placenta | Year: 2013

Introduction Transplacental feto-maternal lipid exchange through the ATP-binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1 is important for normal fetal development. However, only scarce and conflicting data exist on the involvement of these transporters in gestational disease. Methods Placenta samples (n = 72) derived from common gestational diseases, including pre-eclampsia (PE), HELLP, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and gestational diabetes, were assessed for their ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression levels and compared to age-matched control placentas with qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. ABCA1 expression was additionally investigated with immunoblot in placental membrane vesicles. Furthermore, placental cholesterol and phospholipid contents were assessed. Results ABCA1 mRNA levels differed significantly between preterm and term control placentas (p = 0.0013). They were down-regulated in isolated PE and PE with IUGR (p = 0.0006 and p = 0.0012, respectively), but unchanged in isolated IUGR, isolated HELLP and other gestational diseases compared to gestational age-matched controls. Correspondingly, in PE, ABCA1 protein expression was significantly reduced in the apical membrane of the villous syncytiotrophoblast (p = 0.011) and in villous fetal endothelial cells (p = 0.036). Furthermore, in PE there was a significant increase in the placental content of total and individual classes of phospholipids which were partially correlated with diminished ABCA1 expression. Conversely, ABCG1 mRNA and protein levels were stable in the investigated conditions. Conclusions In gestational disease, there is a specific down-regulation of placental ABCA1 expression at sites of feto-maternal lipid exchange in PE. At a functional level, the increase in placental lipid concentrations provides indirect evidence of an impaired transport capacity of ABCA1 in this disease. © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

PubMed | University of Zürich, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University of Applied Sciences, University of Bern and Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN | Year: 2016

A heterozygous mutation (c.643C>A; p.Q215X) in the monocarboxylate transporter 12-encoding gene MCT12 (also known as SLC16A12) that mediates creatine transport was recently identified as the cause of a syndrome with juvenile cataracts, microcornea, and glucosuria in a single family. Whereas the MCT12 mutation cosegregated with the eye phenotype, poor correlation with the glucosuria phenotype did not support a pathogenic role of the mutation in the kidney. Here, we examined MCT12 in the kidney and found that it resides on basolateral membranes of proximal tubules. Patients with MCT12 mutation exhibited reduced plasma levels and increased fractional excretion of guanidinoacetate, but normal creatine levels, suggesting that MCT12 may function as a guanidinoacetate transporter in vivo However, functional studies in Xenopus oocytes revealed that MCT12 transports creatine but not its precursor, guanidinoacetate. Genetic analysis revealed a separate, undescribed heterozygous mutation (c.265G>A; p.A89T) in the sodium/glucose cotransporter 2-encoding gene SGLT2 (also known as SLC5A2) in the family that segregated with the renal glucosuria phenotype. When overexpressed in HEK293 cells, the mutant SGLT2 transporter did not efficiently translocate to the plasma membrane, and displayed greatly reduced transport activity. In summary, our data indicate that MCT12 functions as a basolateral exit pathway for creatine in the proximal tubule. Heterozygous mutation of MCT12 affects systemic levels and renal handling of guanidinoacetate, possibly through an indirect mechanism. Furthermore, our data reveal a digenic syndrome in the index family, with simultaneous MCT12 and SGLT2 mutation. Thus, glucosuria is not part of the MCT12 mutation syndrome.

PubMed | Institute of Pathology, University of Bern and Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Pregnancy hypertension | Year: 2015

The ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter A1 (ABCA1) and ABCG1 are highly expressed in the placenta in various compartments, including the villous syncytiotrophoblast (V-STB) and foetal endothelial cells. Among other not yet characterized functions, they play a role in the foeto-maternal transport of cholesterol and other lipophilic molecules. In humans, preliminary data suggest expressional changes of ABCA1 and ABCG1 in pathologic gestation, particularly under hypoxic conditions, but a systematic expression analysis in common human pregnancy diseases has never been performed.The aim of the present study was to characterize ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression in a large series of pathologic placentas, in particular from preeclampsia (PE) and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) which are associated with placental hypoxia.Placentas from 152 pathological pregnancies, including PE and/or HELLP (n=24) and IUGR (n=21), and 20 normal control placentas were assessed for their ABCA1 and ABCG1 mRNA and protein expression with quantitative RT-PCR and semi-quantitative immunohistochemical analysis, respectively.ABCA1 protein expression in the V-STB was significantly less extensive in PE compared with normal controls (<10% of V-STB stained for ABCA1 in 58% PE placentas vs. 25% controls; p=0.035). Conversely, it was significantly more wide-spread in IUGR (>75% of V-STB stained in 57% IUGR placentas vs. 15% controls; p=0.009). Moreover, there was an insignificant trend for increased ABCA1 expression in fetal endothelial cells of stem villi in PE (p=0.0588). ABCA1 staining levels in V-STB were significantly associated with placental histopathological features related with hypoxia: they were decreased in placentas exhibiting syncytial knotting (p=0.033) and decidual vasculopathy (p=0.0437) and increased in low weight placentas (p=0.015). The significant and specific alterations in ABCA1 protein expression found at a specific cellular level were not paralleled by changes in ABCA1 mRNA abundance of total placental tissue. ABCG1 staining was universally extensive in the V-STB of normal placentas, always affecting more than 90% of V-STB surface. In comparison, ABCG1 staining of the V-STB was generally often reduced in pregnancy diseases. In particular, less than 90% of V-STB exhibited ABCG1 staining in 26% of PE placentas (p=0.022) and 35% of IUGR placentas (p=0.003). Similarly to ABCA1, ABCG1 mRNA expression in total placental tissue was not significantly different between controls and PE or IUGR.ABCA1 and ABCG1 proteins are differentially expressed, with either down- or up-regulation, in the V-STB of placentas exhibiting features of chronic hypoxia, such as in PE and IUGR. This suggests that other factors in addition to hypoxia regulate the expression of placental lipid transporters. The specific changes on a cellular level were masked when only total tissue mRNA was analysed underlining the importance of cell specific expression analysis. The potential effects of decreased placental ABCA1 and ABCG1 expression on foetal nutrition and development remain to be elucidated.

PubMed | University of Bern and Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Pregnancy hypertension | Year: 2015

Angiogenic signals are a vital signal of placental integrity. Aldosterone has recently been shown to enhance placental growth factor (PlGF) expression in the peripheral vasculature [1] and to promote trophoblast growth [2]. The plgf gene possesses a functional mineralocorticoid receptor responsive element in the promoter region.Thus, we hypothesized that aldosterone adapts placental angiogenesis to trophoblast growth by secreting PlGF.The human choriocarcinoma cell line BeWo and first and third trimester human primary trophoblasts cells were subjected to several syncytialization signals. Upon visual confirmation, the cultured cells were subjected to either control conditions, the known stimulator forskolin, and increasing amounts of aldosterone (10(-9) to 10(-6)M) with and without the competitive aldosterone receptor blocker spironolactone. After 6 and 24h of incubation, RNA and protein were extracted. PlGF transcripts were quantified by Taqman PCR normalized to several housekeeping genes. Protein expression was quantified by ELISA.PlGF mRNA expression increased 3-fold with forskolin in BeWo cells. In this cell line, aldosterone could slightly stimulate PlGF production. In non-syncytialized primary human first trimester trophoblasts, aldosterone did not exert a specific effect. In contrast, the term primary human trophoblasts did respond with a 2.5-fold increase after incubation with aldosterone (10(-7)M) in the presence of forskolin to allow forming a syncytial layer. PlGF protein was already slightly upregulated following 6h of incubation with aldosterone.We concluded that aldosterone does regulate PlGF expression in specified conditions during pregnancy. Inappropriately low aldosterone levels such as in preeclampsia might such not only compromise plasma volume and trophoblast growth but also placental vascularization and systemic PlGF availability. These observations merit further investigation.

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