FMP Publications

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

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References per page: Show keywords Show abstracts
Human iPSC-Derived Neural Progenitors Are an Effective Drug Discovery Model for Neurological mtDNA Disorders
Lorenz(*), C., Lesimple(*), P., Bukowiecki(*), R., Zink(*), A., Inak(*), G., Mlody(*), B., Singh(*), M., Semtner(*), M., Mah(*), N., Aure(*), K., Leong(*), M., Zabiegalov(*), O., Lyras(*), E. M., Pfiffer(*), V., Fauler(*), B., Eichhorst, J., Wiesner, B., Huebner(*), N., Priller(*), J., Mielke(*), T., Meierhofer(*), D., Izsvak(*), Z., Meier(*), J. C., Bouillaud(*), F., Adjaye(*), J., Schuelke(*), M., Wanker(*), E. E., Lombes(*), A.; Prigione(*), A.
Cell stem cell,

Tags: Cellular Imaging (Wiesner)

Abstract: Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations frequently cause neurological diseases. Modeling of these defects has been difficult because of the challenges associated with engineering mtDNA. We show here that neural progenitor cells (NPCs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) retain the parental mtDNA profile and exhibit a metabolic switch toward oxidative phosphorylation. NPCs derived in this way from patients carrying a deleterious homoplasmic mutation in the mitochondrial gene MT-ATP6 (m.9185T>C) showed defective ATP production and abnormally high mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), plus altered calcium homeostasis, which represents a potential cause of neural impairment. High-content screening of FDA-approved drugs using the MMP phenotype highlighted avanafil, which we found was able to partially rescue the calcium defect in patient NPCs and differentiated neurons. Overall, our results show that iPSC-derived NPCs provide an effective model for drug screening to target mtDNA disorders that affect the nervous system.

Structural-Functional Features of the Thyrotropin Receptor: A Class A G-Protein-Coupled Receptor at Work
Kleinau(*), G., Worth, C. L., Kreuchwig, A., Biebermann(*), H., Marcinkowski, P., Scheerer(*), P.; Krause, G.
Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 8:86

Tags: Structural Bioinformatics and Protein Design (Krause, G.)

Abstract: The thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor (TSHR) is a member of the glycoprotein hormone receptors, a sub-group of class A G-protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). TSHR and its endogenous ligand thyrotropin (TSH) are of essential importance for growth and function of the thyroid gland and proper function of the TSH/TSHR system is pivotal for production and release of thyroid hormones. This receptor is also important with respect to pathophysiology, such as autoimmune (including ophthalmopathy) or non-autoimmune thyroid dysfunctions and cancer development. Pharmacological interventions directly targeting the TSHR should provide benefits to disease treatment compared to currently available therapies of dysfunctions associated with the TSHR or the thyroid gland. Upon TSHR activation, the molecular events conveying conformational changes from the extra- to the intracellular side of the cell across the membrane comprise reception, conversion, and amplification of the signal. These steps are highly dependent on structural features of this receptor and its intermolecular interaction partners, e.g., TSH, antibodies, small molecules, G-proteins, or arrestin. For better understanding of signal transduction, pathogenic mechanisms such as autoantibody action and mutational modifications or for developing new pharmacological strategies, it is essential to combine available structural data with functional information to generate homology models of the entire receptor. Although so far these insights are fragmental, in the past few decades essential contributions have been made to investigate in-depth the involved determinants, such as by structure determination via X-ray crystallography. This review summarizes available knowledge (as of December 2016) concerning the TSHR protein structure, associated functional aspects, and based on these insights we suggest several receptor complex models. Moreover, distinct TSHR properties will be highlighted in comparison to other class A GPCRs to understand the molecular activation mechanisms of this receptor comprehensively. Finally, limitations of current knowledge and lack of information are discussed highlighting the need for intensified efforts toward TSHR structure elucidation.

GPCR-SSFE 2.0-a fragment-based molecular modeling web tool for Class A G-protein coupled receptors
Worth, C. L., Kreuchwig, F., Tiemann*, J. K. S., Kreuchwig, A., Ritschel*, M., Kleinau*, G., Hildebrand*, P. W.; Krause, G.
Nucleic Acids Res,

Tags: Structural Bioinformatics and Protein Design (Krause, G.)

Abstract: G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are key players in signal transduction and therefore a large proportion of pharmaceutical drugs target these receptors. Structural data of GPCRs are sparse yet important for elucidating the molecular basis of GPCR-related diseases and for performing structure-based drug design. To ameliorate this problem, GPCR-SSFE 2.0 (, an intuitive web server dedicated to providing three-dimensional Class A GPCR homology models has been developed. The updated web server includes 27 inactive template structures and incorporates various new functionalities. Uniquely, it uses a fingerprint correlation scoring strategy for identifying the optimal templates, which we demonstrate captures structural features that sequence similarity alone is unable to do. Template selection is carried out separately for each helix, allowing both single-template models and fragment-based models to be built. Additionally, GPCR-SSFE 2.0 stores a comprehensive set of pre-calculated and downloadable homology models and also incorporates interactive loop modeling using the tool SL2, allowing knowledge-based input by the user to guide the selection process. For visual analysis, the NGL viewer is embedded into the result pages. Finally, blind-testing using two recently published structures shows that GPCR-SSFE 2.0 performs comparably or better than other state-of-the art GPCR modeling web servers.

Polar and charged extracellular residues conserved among barrier-forming claudins contribute to tight junction strand formation
Piontek, A., Rossa, J., Protze, J., Wolburg(*), H., Hempel(*), C., Günzel(*), D., Krause, G.; Piontek(*), J.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,

Tags: Structural Bioinformatics and Protein Design (Krause, G.)

Abstract: Claudins (Cldn) form the backbone of tight junction (TJ) strands and thereby regulate paracellular permeability for solutes and water. Polymeric strands are formed by homo- and heterophilic cis- and trans-interactions between claudin protomers. Crystal structures of some claudins have been resolved; however, the mechanism by which claudins assemble into TJ strands remains unclear. To elucidate strand architecture, TJ-like strands were reconstituted in HEK293 cells by claudin transfection. Determinants of prototypic, classic barrier-forming claudins (Cldn1, -3, and -5) involved in strand formation were analyzed by mutagenesis. The capability of claudin constructs to interact in trans and to form strands was investigated by cell contact-enrichment assays and freeze-fracture electron microscopy. Residues in extracellular loops 1 and 2 of the claudins affecting strand formation were identified. Using homology modeling and molecular docking, we tested working concepts for the arrangement of claudin protomers within TJ strands. We show that the charge of Lys65 in Cldn1 and Glu158 in Cldn3, but not of Arg30 or Asp145 in Cldn3, and the polarity of Gln56 and Gln62 in Cldn3 and of Gln57 in Cldn5 are necessary for TJ strand formation. These residues are all conserved among barrier-forming classic claudins. The results contribute to mechanistic understanding of claudin-based regulation of paracellular permeability.

Preparation of biogenic gas vesicle nanostructures for use as contrast agents for ultrasound and MRI
Lakshmanan(*), A., Lu(*), G. J., Farhadi(*), A., Nety(*), S. P., Kunth, M., Lee-Gosselin(*), A., Maresca(*), D., Bourdeau(*), R. W., Yin(*), M., Yan(*), J., Witte, C., Malounda(*), D., Foster(*), F. S., Schröder, L.; Shapiro(*), M. G.
Nat Protoc, 12:2050-2080

Tags: Molecular Imaging (Schröder)

Abstract: Gas vesicles (GVs) are a unique class of gas-filled protein nanostructures that are detectable at subnanomolar concentrations and whose physical properties allow them to serve as highly sensitive imaging agents for ultrasound and MRI. Here we provide a protocol for isolating GVs from native and heterologous host organisms, functionalizing these nanostructures with moieties for targeting and fluorescence, characterizing their biophysical properties and imaging them using ultrasound and MRI. GVs can be isolated from natural cyanobacterial and haloarchaeal host organisms or from Escherichia coli expressing a heterologous GV gene cluster and purified using buoyancy-assisted techniques. They can then be modified by replacing surface-bound proteins with engineered, heterologously expressed variants or through chemical conjugation, resulting in altered mechanical, surface and targeting properties. Pressurized absorbance spectroscopy is used to characterize their mechanical properties, whereas dynamic light scattering (DLS)and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) are used to determine nanoparticle size and morphology, respectively. GVs can then be imaged with ultrasound in vitro and in vivo using pulse sequences optimized for their detection versus background. They can also be imaged with hyperpolarized xenon MRI using chemical exchange saturation transfer between GV-bound and dissolved xenon-a technique currently implemented in vitro. Taking 3-8 d to prepare, these genetically encodable nanostructures enable multimodal, noninvasive biological imaging with high sensitivity and potential for molecular targeting.

A cCPE-based xenon biosensor for magnetic resonance imaging of claudin-expressing cells
Piontek, A., Witte, C., May Rose, H., Eichner(*), M., Protze, J., Krause, G., Piontek(*), J.; Schröder, L.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1397:195-208

Tags: Structural Bioinformatics and Protein Design (Krause, G.), Molecular Imaging (Schröder)

Abstract: The majority of malignant tumors originate from epithelial cells, and many of them are characterized by an overexpression of claudins (Cldns) and their mislocalization out of tight junctions. We utilized the C-terminal claudin-binding domain of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (cCPE), with its high affinity to specific members of the claudin family, as the targeting unit for a claudin-sensitive cancer biosensor. To overcome the poor sensitivity of conventional relaxivity-based magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) contrast agents, we utilized the superior sensitivity of xenon Hyper-CEST biosensors. We labeled cCPE for both xenon MRI and fluorescence detection. As one readout module, we employed a cryptophane (CrA) monoacid and, as the second, a fluorescein molecule. Both were conjugated separately to a biotin molecule via a polyethyleneglycol chemical spacer and later via avidin linked to GST-cCPE. Nontransfected HEK293 cells and HEK293 cells stably expressing Cldn4-FLAG were incubated with the cCPE-based biosensor. Fluorescence-based flow cytometry and xenon MRI demonstrated binding of the biosensor specifically to Cldn4-expressing cells. This study provides proof of concept for the use of cCPE as a carrier for diagnostic contrast agents, a novel approach for potential detection of Cldn3/-4-overexpressing tumors for noninvasive early cancer detection.

Sapofectosid - Ensuring non-toxic and effective DNA and RNA delivery
Sama(*), S., Jerz(*), G., Schmieder, P., Woith(*), E., Melzig(*), M. F.; Weng(*), A.
International journal of pharmaceutics, 534:195-205

Tags: Solution NMR (Schmieder)

Abstract: Different methods are being deployed for non-viral DNA/RNA delivery. However non-viral formulations for DNA/RNA-delivery are often accompanied by severe toxicity and thus low efficiency. Particular costly cell culture media are required as well. Here we introduce sapofection as a valuable enhancing method for non-viral DNA/RNA delivery. Sapofection is based on the application of DNA/RNA nanoplexes and sapofectosid, a plant derived natural transfection reagent. Sapofectosid was produced from plant raw material by chromatographic methods and characterized by tandem mass spectrometry and intensive one and two dimensional NMR-spectroscopy. Sapofectosid did enhance the transfection efficiency of different DNA- and RNA-nanoplexes formulated with liposomes, polyethylenimine (PEI) or targeted and non-targeted oligo-lysine peptides. All nanoplexes were characterized physicochemically and the influence of sapofectosid on the nanoplex integrity was determined by DNA complexation assays. The nanoplexes and sapofectosid were administered to a variety of cancer cell lines and the transfection efficiency was investigated by flow cytometry and confocal microscopy. Dependent on the cell line the transfection efficiencies varied from 6 to 76%. The saponin- and receptor-mediated endocytosis of nanoplexes was investigated by flow cytometry. As demonstrated by impedance based live cell imaging sapofection was non-toxic. The findings show the great potential of sapofection to be used as an effective and non-toxic transfection enhancing method.

Stable Positioning of Unc13 Restricts Synaptic Vesicle Fusion to Defined Release Sites to Promote Synchronous Neurotransmission
Reddy-Alla(*), S., Böhme, M. A., Reynolds(*), E., Beis(*), C., Grasskamp, A. T., Mampell(*), M. M., Maglione, M., Jusyte, M., Rey(*), U., Babikir(*), H., McCarthy, A. W., Quentin(*), C., Matkovic(*), T., Bergeron(*), D. D., Mushtaq, Z., Goettfert(*), F., Owald(*), D., Mielke(*), T., Hell(*), S. W., Sigrist(*), S. J.; Walter, A. M.

Tags: Molecular and Theoretical Neuroscience (Walter)

Abstract: Neural information processing depends on precisely timed, Ca2+-activated synaptic vesicle exocytosis from release sites within active zones (AZs), but molecular details are unknown. Here, we identify that the (M)Unc13-family member Unc13A generates release sites and show the physiological relevance of their restrictive AZ targeting. Super-resolution and intravital imaging of Drosophila neuromuscular junctions revealed that (unlike the other release factors Unc18 and Syntaxin-1A) Unc13A was stably and precisely positioned at AZs. Local Unc13A levels predicted single AZ activity. Different Unc13A portions selectively affected release site number, position, and functionality. An N-terminal fragment stably localized to AZs, displaced endogenous Unc13A, and reduced the number of release sites, while a C-terminal fragment generated excessive sites at atypical locations, resulting in reduced and delayed evoked transmission that displayed excessive facilitation. Thus, release site generation by the Unc13A C terminus and their specific AZ localization via the N terminus ensure efficient transmission and prevent ectopic, temporally imprecise release.

Trictide, a tricellulin-derived peptide to overcome cellular barriers
Cording, J., Arslan, B., Staat, C., Dithmer, S., Krug(*), S. M., Krüger(*), A., Berndt, P., Günther, R., Winkler, L., Blasig, I. E.; Haseloff, R. F.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences,

Tags: Molecular Cell Physiology (Blasig, I.E.)

Abstract: The majority of tight junction (TJ) proteins restrict the paracellular permeation of solutes via their extracellular loops (ECLs). Tricellulin tightens tricellular TJs (tTJs) and regulates bicellular TJ (bTJ) proteins. We demonstrate that the addition of recombinantly produced extracellular loop 2 (ECL2) of tricellulin opens cellular barriers. The peptidomimetic trictide, a synthetic peptide derived from tricellulin ECL2, increases the passage of ions, as well as of small and larger molecules up to 10 kDa, between 16 and 30 h after application to human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cell line 2. Tricellulin and lipolysis-stimulated lipoprotein receptor relocate from tTJs toward bTJs, while the TJ proteins claudin-1 and occludin redistribute from bTJs to the cytosol. Analyzing the opening of the tricellular sealing tube by the peptidomimetic using super-resolution stimulated-emission depletion microscopy revealed a tricellulin-free area at the tricellular region. Cis-interactions (as measured by fluorescence resonance energy transfer) of tricellulin-tricellulin (tTJs), tricellulin-claudin-1, tricellulin-marvelD3, and occludin-occludin (bTJs) were strongly affected by trictide treatment. Circular dichroism spectroscopy and molecular modeling suggest that trictide adopts a beta-sheet structure, resulting in a peculiar interaction surface for its binding to tricellulin. In conclusion, trictide is a novel and promising tool for overcoming cellular barriers at bTJs and tTJs with the potential to transiently improve drug delivery.

Claudin peptidomimetics modulate tissue barriers for enhanced drug delivery
Dithmer, S., Staat, C., Müller, C., Ku(*), M. C., Pohlmann(*), A., Niendorf(*), T., Gehne, N., Fallier-Becker(*), P., Kittel(*), A., Walter(*), F. R., Veszelka(*), S., Deli(*), M. A., Blasig, R., Haseloff, R. F., Blasig, I. E.; Winkler, L.
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1397:169-184

Tags: Molecular Cell Physiology (Blasig, I.E.)

Abstract: The blood-brain barrier (BBB) formed by the microvascular endothelium limits cerebral drug delivery. The paraendothelial cleft is sealed by tight junctions (TJs) with a major contribution from claudin-5, which we selected as a target to modulate BBB permeability. For this purpose, drug-enhancer peptides were designed based on the first extracellular loop (ECL) of claudin-5 to allow transient BBB permeabilization. Peptidomimetics (C5C2 and derivatives, nanomolar affinity to claudin-5) size-selectively (</=40 kDa) and reversibly (12-48 h) increased the permeability of brain endothelial and claudin-5-transfected epithelial cell monolayers. Upon peptide uptake, the number of TJ strand particles diminished, claudin-5 was downregulated and redistributed from cell-cell contacts to the cytosol, and the cell shape was altered. Cellular permeability of doxorubicin (cytostatic drug, 580 Da) was enhanced after peptide administration. Mouse studies (3.5 mumol/kg i.v.) confirmed that, for both C5C2 and a d-amino acid derivative, brain uptake of Gd-diethylene-triamine penta-acetic acid (547 Da) was enhanced within 4 h of treatment. On the basis of our functional data, circular dichroism measurements, molecular modeling, and docking experiments, we suggest an association model between beta-sheets flanked by alpha-helices, formed by claudin-5 ECLs, and the peptides. In conclusion, we identified claudin-5 peptidomimetics that improve drug delivery through endothelial and epithelial barriers expressing claudin-5.

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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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