Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne

Köln, Germany

Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne

Köln, Germany
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Turkmen S.,Institute For Medizinische Genetik | Riehn M.,Institute For Medizinische Genetik | Klopocki E.,Institute For Medizinische Genetik | Molkentin M.,Medizinische Klinik fur Hamatologie | And 2 more authors.
Genes Chromosomes and Cancer | Year: 2011

Abnormalities of the long arm of chromosome 6 are a common feature in various B-cell malignancies. In most cases, the genes involved have not yet been clearly identified. We have molecularly characterized the recently established Burkitt lymphoma cell line BLUE-1 that carries a t(6;20)(q15;q11.2) rearrangement in addition to the typical t(8;14) with MYC-IGH fusion. To identify the gene loci involved on both chromosomes we applied a sequential BAC clone mapping strategy. By using RT-PCR we were finally able to detect a chimeric mRNA transcript showing a fusion of the first (non-coding) exon of BACH2 (BTB and CNC homology 1, basic leucine zipper transcription factor 2) on 6q15 to the second exon of BCL2L1 (BCL-X) on 20q11. Various fusion transcripts were detected for different BCL2L1 (BCL-XL) isoforms. The fusion ultimately results in strong expression of the BCL2L1 (BCL-XL) anti-apoptosis protein, as demonstrated by immunoblotting. This is the first report that shows the involvement of both BCL2L1 and the transcription factor BACH2 in a chromosomal rearrangement. It points to BACH2 as a possibly important target in lymphomas with 6q aberrations, although other genes on 6q are probably also involved in these cases. Moreover, it suggests that members of the BCL2 anti-apoptosis gene family other than BCL2 itself might also be involved in lymphoma. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.


Burmeister T.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Groger D.,Charité - Medical University of Berlin | Kuhn A.,Max Planck Institute For Molekulare Genetik | Hoelzer D.,Goethe University Frankfurt | And 2 more authors.
DNA Repair | Year: 2011

The chromosomal translocation t(9;22)(q34;q22), with expression of the BCR-ABL1 fusion gene is the cytogenetic and molecular hallmark of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and a subset of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Basically two types of BCR-ABL1 chimeric mRNA transcripts have been observed: (1) e13a2/e14a2 transcripts in CML and ALL, resulting from chromosomal breaks in the major breakpoint cluster region (M-bcr) of the BCR gene and (2) e1a2 transcripts in ALL resulting from breaks in the minor breakpoint cluster region (m-bcr) of the BCR gene. To gain a better understanding of this molecular alteration, we developed a long-distance inverse PCR (LDI PCR) method for M-bcr breakpoint identification in BCR-ABL1-positive cases and were thus able to identify the chromosomal breakpoints within the M-bcr in 62 BCR-ABL1-positive samples. The corresponding reciprocal breakpoints were identified and molecularly characterized in 45 of these cases. In 2 samples, the breaks were located 5' to the ABL1 locus and in one case, the der(9) break was identified on 9q34.13 several hundred kB 3' telomeric to ABL1. The analysis of breaks revealed no significant clustering and no association with repetitive elements (Alu, L1, L2) or recombination signal sequence sites. The established LDI PCR permits fast, relatively easy and unbiased identification of breakpoints in the M-bcr region of BCR and also enables the molecular analysis of more complex translocations with breakpoints outside the ABL1 gene locus or other BCR fusion genes. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.


Nunna S.,University of Stuttgart | Reinhardt R.,Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne | Ragozin S.,University of Stuttgart | Jeltsch A.,University of Stuttgart
PLoS ONE | Year: 2014

The Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) is overexpressed in many cancers including ovarian cancer and EpCAM overexpression correlates with decreased survival of patients. It was the aim of this study to achieve a targeted methylation of the EpCAM promoter and silence EpCAM gene expression using an engineered zinc finger protein that specifically binds the EpCAM promoter fused to the catalytic domain of the Dnmt3a DNA methyltransferase. We show that transient transfection of this construct increased the methylation of the EpCAM promoter in SKOV3 cells from 4-8% in untreated cells to 30%. Up to 48% methylation was observed in stable cell lines which express the chimeric methyltransferase. Control experiments confirmed that the methylation was dependent on the fusion of the Zinc finger and the methyltransferase domains and specific for the target region. The stable cell lines with methylated EpCAM promoter showed a 60-80% reduction of EpCAM expression as determined at mRNA and protein level and exhibited a significantly reduced cell proliferation. Our data indicate that targeted methylation of the EpCAM promoter could be an approach in the therapy of EpCAM overexpressing cancers. © 2014 Nunna et al.


Emperle M.,University of Stuttgart | Rajavelu A.,University of Stuttgart | Reinhardt R.,Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne | Jurkowska R.Z.,University of Stuttgart | Jeltsch A.,University of Stuttgart
Journal of Biological Chemistry | Year: 2014

The Dnmt3a DNA methyltransferase has been shown to bind cooperatively to DNA and to form large multimeric protein/DNA fibers. However, it has also been reported to methylate DNA in a processive manner, a property that is incompatible with protein/DNA fiber formation. We show here that the DNA methylation rate of Dnmt3a increases more than linearly with increasing enzyme concentration on a long DNA substrate, but not on a short 30-mer oligonucleotide substrate. We also show that addition of a catalytically inactive Dnmt3a mutant, which carries an amino acid exchange in the catalytic center, increases the DNA methylation rate by wild type Dnmt3a on the long substrate but not on the short one. In agreement with this finding, preincubation experiments indicate that stable protein/DNA fibers are formed on the long, but not on the short substrate. In addition, methylation experiments with substrates containing one or two CpG sites did not provide evidence for a processive mechanism over a wide range of enzyme concentrations. These data clearly indicate that Dnmt3a binds to DNA in a cooperative reaction and that the formation of stable protein/DNA fibers increases the DNA methylation rate. Fiber formation occurs at low μM concentrations of Dnmt3a, which are in the range of Dnmt3a concentrations in the nucleus of embryonic stem cells. Understanding the mechanism of Dnmt3a is of vital importance because Dnmt3a is a hotspot of somatic cancer mutations one of which has been implicated in changing Dnmt3a processivity. © 2014 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.


Kungulovski G.,University of Stuttgart | Kycia I.,University of Stuttgart | Kycia I.,The Jackson Laboratory | Tamas R.,University of Stuttgart | And 6 more authors.
Genome Research | Year: 2014

Post-translational modifications (PTMs) of histones constitute a major chromatin indexing mechanism, and their proper characterization is of highest biological importance. So far, PTM-specific antibodies have been the standard reagent for studying histone PTMs despite caveats such as lot-to-lot variability of specificity and binding affinity. Herein, we successfully employed naturally occurring and engineered histone modification interacting domains for detection and identification of histone PTMs and ChIP-like enrichment of different types of chromatin. Our results demonstrate that histone interacting domains are robust and highly specific reagents that can replace or complement histone modification antibodies. These domains can be produced recombinantly in Escherichia coli at low cost and constant quality. Protein design of reading domains allows for generation of novel specificities, addition of affinity tags, and preparation of PTM binding pocket variants as matching negative controls, which is not possible with antibodies. © 2014 Kungulovski et al.


Kungulovski G.,University of Stuttgart | Nunna S.,University of Stuttgart | Thomas M.,Robert Bosch GmbH | Thomas M.,University of Tübingen | And 4 more authors.
Epigenetics and Chromatin | Year: 2015

Background: DNA methylation and histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation are considered as epigenetic marks that can be inherited through cell divisions. To explore the functional consequences and stability of these modifications, we employed targeted installment of DNA methylation and H3K9 methylation in the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) promoter using catalytic domains of DNA or H3K9 methyltransferases that are fused to a zinc finger protein which binds a site in the VEGF-A promoter. Results: Expression of the targeted DNA and H3K9 methyltransferases caused dense deposition of DNA methylation or H3K9 di- and trimethylation in the promoter of VEGF-A and downregulation of VEGF-A gene expression. We did not observe positive feedback between DNA methylation and H3K9 methylation. Upon loss of the targeted methyltransferases from the cells, the epigenetic marks, chromatin environment, and gene expression levels returned to their original state, indicating that both methylation marks were not stably propagated after their installment. Conclusions: The clear anti-correlation between DNA or H3K9 methylation and gene expression suggests a direct role of these marks in transcriptional control. The lack of maintenance of the transiently induced silenced chromatin state suggests that the stability of epigenetic signaling is based on an epigenetic network consisting of several molecular marks. Therefore, for stable reprogramming, either multivalent deposition of functionally related epigenetic marks or longer-lasting trigger stimuli might be necessary. © 2015 Kungulovski et al.; licensee BioMed Central.


Kungulovski G.,University of Stuttgart | Mauser R.,University of Stuttgart | Reinhardt R.,Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne | Jeltsch A.,University of Stuttgart
Epigenetics and Chromatin | Year: 2016

Background: Histone posttranslational modifications (PTMs) represent a focal point of chromatin regulation. The genome-wide and locus-specific distribution and the presence of distinct histone PTMs is most commonly examined with the application of histone PTM-specific antibodies. In spite of their central role in chromatin research, polyclonal antibodies suffer from disadvantages like batch-to-batch variability and insufficient documentation of their quality and specificity. Results: To mitigate some of the pitfalls of using polyclonal antibodies against H3K4me3, we successfully validated the application of a recombinant TAF3 PHD domain as anti-H3K4me3 affinity reagent in peptide array, western blot and ChIP-like experiments coupled with qPCR and deep sequencing. Conclusions: The successful addition of the TAF3 PHD domain to the growing catalog of recombinant affinity reagents for histone PTMs could help to improve the reproducibility, interpretation and cross-laboratory validation of chromatin data. © 2016 Kungulovski et al.


PubMed | University of Stuttgart and Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne
Type: Journal Article | Journal: The Journal of biological chemistry | Year: 2014

The Dnmt3a DNA methyltransferase has been shown to bind cooperatively to DNA and to form large multimeric protein/DNA fibers. However, it has also been reported to methylate DNA in a processive manner, a property that is incompatible with protein/DNA fiber formation. We show here that the DNA methylation rate of Dnmt3a increases more than linearly with increasing enzyme concentration on a long DNA substrate, but not on a short 30-mer oligonucleotide substrate. We also show that addition of a catalytically inactive Dnmt3a mutant, which carries an amino acid exchange in the catalytic center, increases the DNA methylation rate by wild type Dnmt3a on the long substrate but not on the short one. In agreement with this finding, preincubation experiments indicate that stable protein/DNA fibers are formed on the long, but not on the short substrate. In addition, methylation experiments with substrates containing one or two CpG sites did not provide evidence for a processive mechanism over a wide range of enzyme concentrations. These data clearly indicate that Dnmt3a binds to DNA in a cooperative reaction and that the formation of stable protein/DNA fibers increases the DNA methylation rate. Fiber formation occurs at low m concentrations of Dnmt3a, which are in the range of Dnmt3a concentrations in the nucleus of embryonic stem cells. Understanding the mechanism of Dnmt3a is of vital importance because Dnmt3a is a hotspot of somatic cancer mutations one of which has been implicated in changing Dnmt3a processivity.


PubMed | University of Stuttgart and Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne
Type: Journal Article | Journal: PloS one | Year: 2014

The Epithelial Cell Adhesion Molecule (EpCAM) is overexpressed in many cancers including ovarian cancer and EpCAM overexpression correlates with decreased survival of patients. It was the aim of this study to achieve a targeted methylation of the EpCAM promoter and silence EpCAM gene expression using an engineered zinc finger protein that specifically binds the EpCAM promoter fused to the catalytic domain of the Dnmt3a DNA methyltransferase. We show that transient transfection of this construct increased the methylation of the EpCAM promoter in SKOV3 cells from 4-8% in untreated cells to 30%. Up to 48% methylation was observed in stable cell lines which express the chimeric methyltransferase. Control experiments confirmed that the methylation was dependent on the fusion of the Zinc finger and the methyltransferase domains and specific for the target region. The stable cell lines with methylated EpCAM promoter showed a 60-80% reduction of EpCAM expression as determined at mRNA and protein level and exhibited a significantly reduced cell proliferation. Our data indicate that targeted methylation of the EpCAM promoter could be an approach in the therapy of EpCAM overexpressing cancers.


PubMed | University of Tübingen, University of Stuttgart and Max Planck Genomzentrum Cologne
Type: | Journal: Epigenetics & chromatin | Year: 2015

DNA methylation and histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) methylation are considered as epigenetic marks that can be inherited through cell divisions. To explore the functional consequences and stability of these modifications, we employed targeted installment of DNA methylation and H3K9 methylation in the vascular endothelial growth factor A (VEGF-A) promoter using catalytic domains of DNA or H3K9 methyltransferases that are fused to a zinc finger protein which binds a site in the VEGF-A promoter.Expression of the targeted DNA and H3K9 methyltransferases caused dense deposition of DNA methylation or H3K9 di- and trimethylation in the promoter of VEGF-A and downregulation of VEGF-A gene expression. We did not observe positive feedback between DNA methylation and H3K9 methylation. Upon loss of the targeted methyltransferases from the cells, the epigenetic marks, chromatin environment, and gene expression levels returned to their original state, indicating that both methylation marks were not stably propagated after their installment.The clear anti-correlation between DNA or H3K9 methylation and gene expression suggests a direct role of these marks in transcriptional control. The lack of maintenance of the transiently induced silenced chromatin state suggests that the stability of epigenetic signaling is based on an epigenetic network consisting of several molecular marks. Therefore, for stable reprogramming, either multivalent deposition of functionally related epigenetic marks or longer-lasting trigger stimuli might be necessary.

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