FMP Publications

Our publications are recorded in a searchable database since 2010, updates will be added regularly.

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Reconciling the different faces of hippocampal theta: the role of theta oscillations in cognitive, emotional and innate behaviors
Korotkova, T., Ponomarenko, A., Monaghan(*), C. K., Poulter(*), S. L., Cacucci(*), F., Wills(*), T., Hasselmo(*), M. E.; Lever(*), C.
Neuroscience and biobehavioral reviews,

Tags: Behavioral Neurodynamics (Korotkova/Ponomarenko)

Abstract: The theta oscillation (5-10Hz) is a prominent behavior-specific brain rhythm. This review summarizes studies showing the multifaceted role of theta rhythm in cognitive functions, including spatial coding, time coding and memory, exploratory locomotion and anxiety-related behaviors. We describe how activity of hippocampal theta rhythm generators - medial septum, nucleus incertus and entorhinal cortex, links theta with specific behaviors. We review evidence for functions of the theta-rhythmic signaling to subcortical targets, including lateral septum. Further, we describe functional associations of theta oscillation properties - phase, frequency and amplitude - with memory, locomotion and anxiety, and outline how manipulations of these features, using optogenetics or pharmacology, affect associative and innate behaviors. We discuss work linking cognition to the slope of the theta frequency to running speed regression, and emotion-sensitivity (anxiolysis) to its y-intercept. Finally, we describe parallel emergence of theta oscillations, theta-mediated neuronal activity and behaviors during development. This review highlights a complex interplay of neuronal circuits and synchronization features, which enables an adaptive regulation of multiple behaviors by theta-rhythmic signaling.

Statin and rottlerin small-molecule inhibitors restrict colon cancer progression and metastasis via MACC1
Juneja(*), M., Kobelt(*), D., Walther(*), W., Voss(*), C., Smith(*), J., Specker, E., Neuenschwander, M., Gohlke(*), B. O., Dahlmann(*), M., Radetzki, S., Preissner(*), R., von Kries, J. P., Schlag(*), P. M.; Stein(*), U.
PLoS biology, 15:e2000784

Tags: Screening Unit (von Kries)

Abstract: MACC1 (Metastasis Associated in Colon Cancer 1) is a key driver and prognostic biomarker for cancer progression and metastasis in a large variety of solid tumor types, particularly colorectal cancer (CRC). However, no MACC1 inhibitors have been identified yet. Therefore, we aimed to target MACC1 expression using a luciferase reporter-based high-throughput screening with the ChemBioNet library of more than 30,000 compounds. The small molecules lovastatin and rottlerin emerged as the most potent MACC1 transcriptional inhibitors. They remarkably inhibited MACC1 promoter activity and expression, resulting in reduced cell motility. Lovastatin impaired the binding of the transcription factors c-Jun and Sp1 to the MACC1 promoter, thereby inhibiting MACC1 transcription. Most importantly, in CRC-xenografted mice, lovastatin and rottlerin restricted MACC1 expression and liver metastasis. This is-to the best of our knowledge-the first identification of inhibitors restricting cancer progression and metastasis via the novel target MACC1. This drug repositioning might be of therapeutic value for CRC patients.

Chemical Approaches to Investigate Labile Peptide and Protein Phosphorylation
Hauser, A., Penkert, M.; Hackenberger, C. P. R.
Accounts of chemical research, 50:1883-1893

Tags: Chemical Biology II (Hackenberger)

Abstract: Protein phosphorylation is by far the most abundant and most studied post-translational modification (PTM). For a long time, phosphate monoesters of serine (pSer), threonine (pThr), and tyrosine (pTyr) have been considered as the only relevant forms of phosphorylation in organisms. Recently, several research groups have dedicated their efforts to the investigation of other, less characterized phosphoamino acids as naturally occurring PTMs. Such apparent peculiar phosphorylations include the phosphoramidates of histidine (pHis), arginine (pArg), and lysine (pLys), the phosphorothioate of cysteine (pCys), and the anhydrides of pyrophosphorylated serine (ppSer) and threonine (ppThr). Almost all of these phosphorylated amino acids show higher lability under physiological conditions than those of phosphate monoesters. Furthermore, they are prone to hydrolysis under acidic and sometimes basic conditions as well as at elevated temperatures, which renders their synthetic accessibility and proteomic analysis particularly challenging. In this Account, we illustrate recent chemical approaches to probe the occurrence and function of these labile phosphorylation events. Within these endeavors, the synthesis of site-selectively phosphorylated peptides, in particular in combination with chemoselective phosphorylation strategies, was crucial. With these well-defined standards in hand, the appropriate proteomic mass spectrometry-based analysis protocols for the characterization of labile phosphosites in biological samples could be developed. Another successful approach in this research field includes the design and synthesis of stable analogues of these labile PTMs, which were used for the generation of pHis- and pArg-specific antibodies for the detection and enrichment of endogenous phosphorylated samples. Finally, other selective enrichment techniques are described, which rely for instance on the unique chemical environment of a pyrophosphate or the selective interaction between a phosphoamino acid and its phosphatase. It is worth noting that many of those studies are still in their early stages, which is also reflected in the small number of identified phosphosites compared to that of phosphate monoesters. Thus, many challenges need to be mastered to fully understand the biological role of these poorly characterized and rather uncommon phosphorylations. Taken together, this overview exemplifies recent efforts in a flourishing field of functional proteomic analysis and furthermore manifests the power of modern peptide synthesis to address unmet questions in the life sciences.

Unambiguous Identification of Serine and Threonine Pyrophosphorylation Using Neutral-Loss-Triggered Electron-Transfer/Higher-Energy Collision Dissociation
Penkert, M., Yates(*), L. M., Schümann, M., Perlman(*), D., Fiedler, D.; Krause, E.
Anal Chem, 89:3672-3680

Tags: Mass Spectrometry (Krause, E.), Chemical Biology I (Fiedler)

Abstract: Tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) has emerged as the core technology for identification of post-translational modifications (PTMs). Here, we report the mass spectrometry analysis of serine and threonine pyrophosphorylation, a protein modification that has eluded detection by conventional MS/MS methods. Analysis of a set of synthesized, site-specifically modified peptides by different fragmentation techniques shows that pyrophosphorylated peptides exhibit a characteristic neutral loss pattern of 98, 178, and 196 Da, which enables the distinction between isobaric pyro- and diphosphorylated peptides. In addition, electron-transfer dissociation combined with higher energy collision dissociation (EThcD) provides exceptional data-rich MS/MS spectra for direct and unambiguous pyrophosphosite assignment. Remarkably, sufficient fragmentation of doubly charged precursors could be achieved by electron-transfer dissociation (ETD) with increased supplemental activation, without losing the labile modification. By exploiting the specific fragmentation behavior of pyrophosphorylated peptides during collision-induced dissociation (CID), a data dependent neutral-loss-triggered EThcD acquisition method was developed. This strategy enables reliable pyrophosphopeptide identification in complex samples, without compromising speed and sensitivity.

The differentiation and plasticity of Tc17 cells are regulated by CTLA-4-mediated effects on STATs
Arra(*), A., Lingel(*), H., Kuropka, B., Pick(*), J., Schnoeder(*), T., Fischer(*), T., Freund(*), C., Pierau(*), M.; Brunner-Weinzierl(*), M. C.
Oncoimmunology, 6:e1273300

Tags: Mass Spectrometry (Krause, E.)

Abstract: As the blockade of inhibitory surface-molecules such as CTLA-4 on T cells has led to recent advances in antitumor immune therapy, there is great interest in identifying novel mechanisms of action of CD8+ T cells to evoke effective cytotoxic antitumor responses. Using in vitro and in vivo models, we investigated the molecular pathways underlying the CTLA-4-mediated differentiation of IL-17-producing CD8+ T cells (Tc17 cells) that strongly impairs cytotoxicity. Our studies demonstrate that Tc17 cells lacking CTLA-4 signaling have limited production of STAT3-target gene products such as IL-17, IL-21, IL-23R and RORgammat. Upon re-stimulation with IL-12, these cells display fast downregulation of Tc17 hallmarks and acquire Tc1 characteristics such as IFNgamma and TNF-alpha co-expression, which is known to correlate with tumor control. Indeed, upon adoptive transfer, these cells were highly efficient in the antigen-specific rejection of established OVA-expressing B16 melanoma in vivo. Mechanistically, in primary and re-stimulated Tc17 cells, STAT3 binding to the IL-17 promoter was strongly augmented by CTLA-4, associated with less binding of STAT5 and reduced relative activation of STAT1 which is known to block STAT3 activity. Inhibiting CTLA-4-induced STAT3 activity reverses enhancement of signature Tc17 gene products, rendering Tc17 cells susceptible to conversion to Tc1-like cells with enhanced cytotoxic potential. Thus, CTLA-4 critically shapes the characteristics of Tc17 cells by regulating relative STAT3 activation, which provides new perspectives to enhance cytotoxicity of antitumor responses.

Targeting G-protein-coupled receptors by Capture Compound Mass Spectrometry (CCMS) - a case study with sertindole
Blex(*), C., Michaelis(*), S., Schrey(*), A. K., Furkert, J., Eichhorst, J., Bartho(*), K., Quast(*), F. G., Marais(*), A., Hakelberg(*), M., Gruber(*), U., Niquet(*), S., Popp(*), O., Kroll(*), F., Sefkow(*), M., Schülein, R., Mathias(*), D.; Koster(*), H.
Chembiochem, 18:1639-1649

Tags: Protein Trafficking (Schülein), Cellular Imaging (Wiesner/Puchkov)

Abstract: Unbiased chemoproteomic profiling of small molecule interactions with endogenous proteins is important for drug discovery. For meaningful results, all protein classes have to be tractable, including G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). These are hardly tractable by affinity pulldown from lysates. We report a Capture Compound (CC)-based strategy to target and identify GPCRs directly from living cells. We synthesized CCs with sertindole attached to the CC scaffold in different orientations to target the dopamine D2 receptor (DRD2) heterologously expressed in HEK293 cells. The structure-activity relationship of sertindole for DRD2 binding is reflected in the activities of the sertindole CCs in radioligand displacement, cell-based assays, and CCMS. The activity pattern was rationalized by molecular modelling. The most active CC showed activities very similar to unmodifed sertindole. Well below 100 fmol of DRD2 in living cells used as experiment input were sufficient for unambiguous identification of captured DRD2 by mass spectrometry. Our new CCMS workflow broadens the arsenal of chemoproteomic technologies to close a critical gap for the comprehensive characterization of drug-protein interactions.

Reggie-1 and reggie-2 (flotillins) participate in Rab11a-dependent cargo trafficking, spine synapse formation and LTP-related AMPA receptor (GluA1) surface exposure in mouse hippocampal neurons
Bodrikov(*), V., Pauschert(*), A., Kochlamazashvili, G.; Stuermer(*), C. A.
Exp Neurol, 289:31-45

Tags: Molecular Pharmacology and Cell Biology (Haucke)

Abstract: Reggie-1 and -2 (flotillins) reside at recycling vesicles and promote jointly with Rab11a the targeted delivery of cargo. Recycling is essential for synapse formation suggesting that reggies and Rab11a may regulate the development of spine synapses. Recycling vesicles provide cargo for dendritic growth and recycle surface glutamate receptors (AMPAR, GluA) for long-term potentiation (LTP) induced surface exposure. Here, we show reduced number of spine synapses and impairment of an in vitro correlate of LTP in hippocampal neurons from reggie-1 k.o. (Flot2-/-) mice maturating in culture. These defects apparently result from reduced trafficking of PSD-95 revealed by live imaging of 10 div reggie-1 k.o. (Flot2-/-) neurons and likely impairs co-transport of cargo destined for spines: N-cadherin and the glutamate receptors GluA1 and GluN1. Impaired cargo trafficking and fewer synapses also emerged in reggie-1 siRNA, reggie-2 siRNA, and reggie-1 and -2 siRNA-treated neurons and was in siRNA and k.o. neurons rescued by reggie-1-EGFP and CA-Rab11a-EGFP. While correlative expressional changes of specific synapse proteins were observed in reggie-1 k.o. (Flot2-/-) brains in vivo, this did not occur in neurons maturating in vitro. Our work suggests that reggie-1 and reggie-2 function at Rab11a recycling containers in the transport of PSD-95, N-cadherin, GluA1 and GluN1, and promote (together with significant signaling molecules) spine-directed trafficking, spine synapse formation and the in vitro correlate of LTP.

Identification of a Novel Benzimidazole Pyrazolone Scaffold That Inhibits KDM4 Lysine Demethylases and Reduces Proliferation of Prostate Cancer Cells
Carter(*), D. M., Specker, E., Przygodda, J., Neuenschwander, M., von Kries, J. P., Heinemann(*), U., Nazare, M.; Gohlke(*), U.
SLAS discovery, 22:801-812

Tags: Screening Unit (von Kries), Medicinal Chemistry (Nazare)

Abstract: Human lysine demethylase (KDM) enzymes (KDM1-7) constitute an emerging class of therapeutic targets, with activities that support growth and development of metastatic disease. By interacting with and co-activating the androgen receptor, the KDM4 subfamily (KDM4A-E) promotes aggressive phenotypes of prostate cancer (PCa). Knockdown of KDM4 expression or inhibition of KDM4 enzyme activity reduces the proliferation of PCa cell lines and highlights inhibition of lysine demethylation as a possible therapeutic method for PCa treatment. To address this possibility, we screened the ChemBioNet small molecule library for inhibitors of the human KDM4E isoform and identified several compounds with IC50 values in the low micromolar range. Two hits, validated as active by an orthogonal enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, displayed moderate selectivity toward the KDM4 subfamily and exhibited antiproliferative effects in cellular models of PCa. These compounds were further characterized by their ability to maintain the transcriptionally silent histone H3 tri-methyl K9 epigenetic mark at subcytotoxic concentrations. Taken together, these efforts identify and validate a hydroxyquinoline scaffold and a novel benzimidazole pyrazolone scaffold as tractable for entry into hit-to-lead chemical optimization campaigns.

An air-liquid interphase approach for modeling the early embryo-maternal contact zone
Chen(*), S., Palma-Vera(*), S. E., Langhammer(*), M., Galuska(*), S. P., Braun(*), B. C., Krause, E., Lucas-Hahn(*), A.; Schoen(*), J.
Sci Rep, 7:42298

Tags: Mass Spectrometry (Krause, E.)

Abstract: We developed an air-liquid interphase culture procedure for mammalian oviduct epithelial cells leading to the formation of functional epithelial tissues, which generate oviduct fluid surrogates. These in vitro oviduct epithelia can be co-cultured with living zygotes and enable embryonic development up to the blastocyst stage without addition of embryo culture medium. The described strategy is broadly applicable to analyze early embryo-maternal interactions under standardized in vitro conditions.

Design of S-Allylcysteine in Situ Production and Incorporation Based on a Novel Pyrrolysyl-tRNA Synthetase Variant
Exner(*), M. P., Kuenzl(*), T., To(*), T. M., Ouyang(*), Z., Schwagerus, S., Hoesl(*), M. G., Hackenberger, C. P., Lensen(*), M. C., Panke(*), S.; Budisa(*), N.
Chembiochem, 18:85-90

Tags: Chemical Biology II (Hackenberger)

Abstract: The noncanonical amino acid S-allyl cysteine (Sac) is one of the major compounds of garlic extract and exhibits a range of biological activities. It is also a small bioorthogonal alkene tag capable of undergoing controlled chemical modifications, such as photoinduced thiol-ene coupling or Pd-mediated deprotection. Its small size guarantees minimal interference with protein structure and function. Here, we report a simple protocol efficiently to couple in-situ semisynthetic biosynthesis of Sac and its incorporation into proteins in response to amber (UAG) stop codons. We exploited the exceptional malleability of pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) and evolved an S-allylcysteinyl-tRNA synthetase (SacRS) capable of specifically accepting the small, polar amino acid instead of its long and bulky aliphatic natural substrate. We succeeded in generating a novel and inexpensive strategy for the incorporation of a functionally versatile amino acid. This will help in the conversion of orthogonal translation from a standard technique in academic research to industrial biotechnology.

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Leibniz-Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie im Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V. (FMP)
Campus Berlin-Buch
Robert-Roessle-Str. 10
13125 Berlin, Germany
+4930 94793 - 100 
+4930 94793 - 109 (Fax)

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