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Yang G.,Mouse Biology Unit | Yang G.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | De Castro Reis F.,Mouse Biology Unit | Sundukova M.,Mouse Biology Unit | And 9 more authors.
Nature Methods | Year: 2015

Fluorescent protein reporters have become the mainstay for tracing cellular circuitry in vivo but are limited in their versatility. Here we generated Cre-dependent reporter mice expressing the Snap-tag to target synthetic indicators to cells. Snap-tag labeling worked efficiently and selectively in vivo, allowing for both the manipulation of behavior and monitoring of cellular fluorescence from the same reporter.


Altamura S.,University of Heidelberg | Altamura S.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | D'Alessio F.,University of Heidelberg | D'Alessio F.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | And 4 more authors.
Biochemical Journal | Year: 2010

IRIDA (iron-refractory iron-deficiency anaemia) is a rare autosomal-recessive disorder hallmarked by hypochromic microcytic anaemia, low transferrin saturation and high levels of the iron-regulated hormone hepcidin. The disease is caused by mutations in the transmembrane serine protease TMPRSS6 (transmembrane protease serine 6) that prevent inactivation of HJV (haemojuvelin), an activator of hepcidin transcription. In the present paper, we describe a patient with IRIDA who carries a novel mutation (Y141C) in the SEA domain of the TMPRSS6 gene. Functional characterization of the TMPRSS6(Y141C) mutant protein in cultured cells showed that it localizes to similar subcellular compartments as wild-type TMPRSS6 and binds HJV, but fails to auto-catalytically activate itself. As a consequence, hepcidin mRNA expression is increased, causing the clinical symptoms observed in this IRIDA patient. The present study provides important mechanistic insight into how TMPRSS6 is activated. © 2010 The Author(s).


PubMed | European Molecular Biology Laboratory EMBL, Goethe University Frankfurt, Institute Of Biologie Of Lens Ibens, University of Ljubljana and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Genome biology | Year: 2017

Ultraviolet (UV) crosslinking and immunoprecipitation (CLIP) identifies the sites on RNAs that are in direct contact with RNA-binding proteins (RBPs). Several variants of CLIP exist, which require different computational approaches for analysis. This variety of approaches can create challenges for a novice user and can hamper insights from multi-study comparisons. Here, we produce data with multiple variants of CLIP and evaluate the data with various computational methods to better understand their suitability.We perform experiments for PTBP1 and eIF4A3 using individual-nucleotide resolution CLIP (iCLIP), employing either UV-C or photoactivatable 4-thiouridine (4SU) combined with UV-A crosslinking and compare the results with published data. As previously noted, the positions of complementary DNA (cDNA)-starts depend on cDNA length in several iCLIP experiments and we now find that this is caused by constrained cDNA-ends, which can result from the sequence and structure constraints of RNA fragmentation. These constraints are overcome when fragmentation by RNase I is efficient and when a broad cDNA size range is obtained. Our study also shows that if RNase does not efficiently cut within the binding sites, the original CLIP method is less capable of identifying the longer binding sites of RBPs. In contrast, we show that a broad size range of cDNAs in iCLIP allows the cDNA-starts to efficiently delineate the complete RNA-binding sites.We demonstrate the advantage of iCLIP and related methods that can amplify cDNAs that truncate at crosslink sites and we show that computational analyses based on cDNAs-starts are appropriate for such methods.


De Falco L.,Ceinge | Sanchez M.,Institute of Predictive and Personalized Medicine of Cancer IMPPC | Sanchez M.,Institute Dinvestigacio En Ciencies Of La Salut Germans Trias I Pujol Igtp | Silvestri L.,San Raffaele Scientific Institute | And 12 more authors.
Haematologica | Year: 2013

Iron refractory iron deficiency anemia is a hereditary recessive anemia due to a defect in the TMPRSS6 gene encoding Matriptase-2. This protein is a transmembrane serine protease that plays an essential role in down-regulating hepcidin, the key regulator of iron homeostasis. Hallmarks of this disease are microcytic hypochromic anemia, low transferrin saturation and normal/high serum hepcidin values. The anemia appears in the post-natal period, although in some cases it is only diagnosed in adulthood. The disease is refractory to oral iron treatment but shows a slow response to intravenous iron injections and partial correction of the anemia. To date, 40 different Matriptase-2 mutations have been reported, affecting all the functional domains of the large ectodomain of the protein. In vitro experiments on transfected cells suggest that Matriptase-2 cleaves Hemojuvelin, a major regulator of hepcidin expression and that this function is altered in this genetic form of anemia. In contrast to the low/undetectable hepcidin levels observed in acquired iron deficiency, in patients with Matriptase-2 deficiency, serum hepcidin is inappropriately high for the low iron status and accounts for the absent/delayed response to oral iron treatment. A challenge for the clinicians and pediatricians is the recognition of the disorder among iron deficiency and other microcytic anemias commonly found in pediatric patients. The current treatment of iron refractory iron deficiency anemia is based on parenteral iron administration; in the future, manipulation of the hepcidin pathway with the aim of suppressing it might become an alternative therapeutic approach. © 2013 Ferrata Storti Foundation.


Kloor M.,University of Heidelberg | Kloor M.,German Cancer Research Center | Kloor M.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Kloor M.,Universitatsklinikum Heidelberg | And 9 more authors.
Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery | Year: 2014

Introduction: Colorectal cancer is a heterogeneous tumor type with regard to molecular pathogenesis and genetic instability. The majority of colorectal cancers display chromosomal instability and follow the classical adenoma-carcinoma sequence of tumor progression. A subset of about 15 % of colorectal cancers, however, displays DNA mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency and the high-level microsatellite instability (MSI-H) phenotype. MSI-H colorectal cancers can occur as sporadic tumors or in the context of hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer (HNPCC) or Lynch syndrome. Clinical relevance: The MSI-H phenotype is a hallmark of Lynch syndrome-associated cancers, which is of diagnostic relevance for the identification of Lynch syndrome mutation carriers. MSI-H colorectal cancers are characterized by a distinct clinical behavior, which results from their particular molecular pathogenesis and gives microsatellite instability testing its clinical significance. The MSI-H phenotype shows association with proximal tumor localization, a dense local lymphocyte infiltration, and a low frequency of distant organ metastasis. Moreover, MSI-H colorectal cancers have a better prognosis than their microsatellite-stable counterparts. A distinct responsiveness of MSI-H colorectal cancer patients towards chemotherapy has been shown in several studies. Conclusions: The clinical characteristics of MSI-H cancers are closely linked to their molecular pathogenesis, and research on the molecular alteration characteristic of MSI-H cancers may provide the basis for novel diagnostic or therapeutic approaches. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.


Hollerer I.,University of Heidelberg | Hollerer I.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Hollerer I.,European Molecular Biology Laboratory Heidelberg EMBL | Grund K.,University of Heidelberg | And 5 more authors.
EMBO Molecular Medicine | Year: 2014

Recent advances reveal mRNA 3′end processing as a highly regulated process that fine-tunes posttranscriptional gene expression. This process can affect the site and/or the efficiency of 3′end processing, controlling the quality and the quantity of substrate mRNAs. The regulation of 3′end processing plays a central role in fundamental physiology such as blood coagulation and innate immunity. In addition, errors in mRNA 3′end processing have been associated with a broad spectrum of human diseases, including cancer. We summarize and discuss the paradigmatic shift in the understanding of 3′end processing as a mechanism of posttranscriptional gene regulation that has reached clinical medicine. © 2013 The Authors..


Blattmann P.,Cell Biology and Biophysics Unit | Blattmann P.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Schuberth C.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Schuberth C.,University of Heidelberg | And 4 more authors.
PLoS Genetics | Year: 2013

Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are powerful tools to unravel genomic loci associated with common traits and complex human disease. However, GWAS only rarely reveal information on the exact genetic elements and pathogenic events underlying an association. In order to extract functional information from genomic data, strategies for systematic follow-up studies on a phenotypic level are required. Here we address these limitations by applying RNA interference (RNAi) to analyze 133 candidate genes within 56 loci identified by GWAS as associated with blood lipid levels, coronary artery disease, and/or myocardial infarction for a function in regulating cholesterol levels in cells. Knockdown of a surprisingly high number (41%) of trait-associated genes affected low-density lipoprotein (LDL) internalization and/or cellular levels of free cholesterol. Our data further show that individual GWAS loci may contain more than one gene with cholesterol-regulatory functions. Using a set of secondary assays we demonstrate for a number of genes without previously known lipid-regulatory roles (e.g. CXCL12, FAM174A, PAFAH1B1, SEZ6L, TBL2, WDR12) that knockdown correlates with altered LDL-receptor levels and/or that overexpression as GFP-tagged fusion proteins inversely modifies cellular cholesterol levels. By providing strong evidence for disease-relevant functions of lipid trait-associated genes, our study demonstrates that quantitative, cell-based RNAi is a scalable strategy for a systematic, unbiased detection of functional effectors within GWAS loci. © 2013 Blattmann et al.


Bandapalli O.R.,University of Heidelberg | Bandapalli O.R.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Zimmermann M.,MH Hanover | Kox C.,University of Heidelberg | And 10 more authors.
Haematologica | Year: 2013

Despite improvements in treatment results for pediatric T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia, approximately 20% of patients relapse with dismal prognosis. PTEN inactivation and NOTCH1 activation are known frequent leukemogenic events but their effect on outcome is still controversial. We analyzed the effect of PTEN inactivation and its interaction with NOTCH1 activation on treatment response and long-term outcome in 301 ALL-BFM treated children with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We identified PTEN mutations in 52 of 301 (17.3%) of patients. In univariate analyses this was significantly associated with increased resistance to induction chemotherapy and a trend towards poor long-term outcome. By contrast, patients with inactivating PTEN and activating NOTCH1 mutations showed marked sensitivity to induction treatment and excellent long-term outcome, which was similar to patients with NOTCH1 mutations only, and more favorable than in patients with PTEN mutations only. Notably, in the subgroup of patients with a prednisone- and minimal residual disease (MRD)-response based medium risk profile, PTEN-mutations without co-existing NOTCH1-mutations represented an MRD-independent highly significant high-risk biomarker. Mutations of PTEN highly significantly indicate a poor prognosis in T-ALL patients who have been stratified to the medium risk group of the BFM-protocol. This effect is clinically neutralized by NOTCH1 mutations. Although these results have not yet been explained by an obvious molecular mechanism, they contribute to the development of new molecularly defined stratification algorithms. Furthermore, these data have unexpected potential implications for the development of NOTCH1 inhibitors in the treatment of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia in general, and in those with a combination of PTEN and NOTCH1 mutations in particular. © 2013 by the Ferrata Storti Foundation.


Steinbicker A.U.,University of Munster | Muckenthaler M.U.,University of Heidelberg | Muckenthaler M.U.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU
Nutrients | Year: 2013

Iron is an essential element in our daily diet. Most iron is required for the de novo synthesis of red blood cells, where it plays a critical role in oxygen binding to hemoglobin. Thus, iron deficiency causes anemia, a major public health burden worldwide. On the other extreme, iron accumulation in critical organs such as liver, heart, and pancreas causes organ dysfunction due to the generation of oxidative stress. Therefore, systemic iron levels must be tightly balanced. Here we focus on the regulatory role of the hepcidin/ferroportin circuitry as the major regulator of systemic iron homeostasis. We discuss how regulatory cues (e.g., iron, inflammation, or hypoxia) affect the hepcidin response and how impairment of the hepcidin/ferroportin regulatory system causes disorders of iron metabolism. © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


D'Alessio F.,University of Heidelberg | D'Alessio F.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Hentze M.W.,Molecular Medicine Partnership Unit MMPU | Hentze M.W.,European Molecular Biology Laboratory | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Hepatology | Year: 2012

Background & Aims: The hereditary hemochromatosis-associated membrane proteins HFE, TfR2, and HJV are required for adequate hepatic expression of the iron hormone hepcidin. While the genetic interactions are clear, it remains elusive how bone morphogenetic protein co-receptor HJV functions together with HFE and TfR2 to activate hepcidin transcription via the BMP-SMAD signaling pathway. Here, we investigate whether HFE, TfR2, and HJV physically interact on the surface of hepatocytes. Methods: We explore protein-protein interactions by glycerol gradient sedimentation assays and co-immunoprecipitation analyses in transfected HuH7 hepatoma-derived cells. Results: Our data demonstrate that HFE and TfR2 bind HJV in a non-competitive manner. Co-immunoprecipitation analyses provide direct experimental evidence that HFE, TfR2, and HJV form a multi-protein membrane complex. Our experiments show that like TfR2, HJV competes with TfR1 for binding to HFE, indicating that the expression of TfR2 and HJV may be critical for iron sensing. We identify residues 120-139 of the TfR2 extra-cellular domain as the critical amino acids required for the binding of both HFE and HJV. Interestingly, RGMA, a central nervous system homolog, can substitute for HJV in the complex and promote hepcidin transcription, implicating RGMA in the local control of hepcidin in the CNS. Conclusions: Taken together, our findings provide a biochemical basis for hepcidin control by HFE, TfR2, and HJV. © 2012 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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