FMP Publications

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

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Redox-sensitive structure and function of the first extracellular loop of the cell-cell contact protein claudin-1: lessons from molecular structure to animals
Dabrowski, S., Staat, C., Zwanziger, D., Sauer(*), R. S., Bellmann, C., Günther, R., Krause, E., Haseloff, R. F., Rittner(*), H.; Blasig, I. E.
Antioxid Redox Signal, 22:1-14

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

Abstract: UNLABELLED: The paracellular cleft within epithelia/endothelia is sealed by tight junction (TJ) proteins. Their extracellular loops (ECLs) are assumed to control paracellular permeability and are targets of pathogenes. We demonstrated that claudin-1 is crucial for paracellular tightening. Its ECL1 is essential for the sealing and contains two cysteines conserved throughout all claudins. AIMS: We prove the hypothesis that this cysteine motif forms a redox-sensitive intramolecular disulfide bridge and, hence, the claudin-1-ECL1 constitutes a functional structure which is associated to ECLs of this and other TJ proteins. RESULTS: The structure and function of claudin-1-ECL1 was elucidated by investigating sequences of this ECL as synthetic peptides, C1C2, and as recombinant proteins, and exhibited a beta-sheet binding surface flanked by an alpha-helix. These sequences bound to different claudins, their ECL1, and peptides with nanomolar binding constants. C-terminally truncated C1C2 (-4aaC) opened cellular barriers and the perineurium. Recombinant ECL1 formed oligomers, and bound to claudin-1 expressing cells. Oligomerization and claudin association were abolished by reducing agents, indicating intraloop disulfide bridging and redox sensitivity. INNOVATION: The structural and functional model based on our in vitro and in vivo investigations suggested that claudin-1-ECL1 constitutes a functional and ECL-binding beta-sheet, stabilized by a shielded and redox-sensitive disulfide bond. CONCLUSION: Since the beta-sheet represents a consensus sequence of claudins and further junctional proteins, a general structural feature is implied. Therefore, our model is of general relevance for the TJ assembly in normal and pathological conditions. C1C2-4aaC is a new drug enhancer that is used to improve pharmacological treatment through tissue barriers.

Solid-state NMR, electrophysiology and molecular dynamics characterization of human VDAC2
Gattin(*), Z., Schneider(*), R., Laukat(*), Y., Giller(*), K., Maier(*), E., Zweckstetter(*), M., Griesinger(*), C., Benz(*), R., Becker(*), S.; Lange, A.
J. Biomol. NMR, 61:311-320

Tags: Molecular Biophysics (Lange, A.)

Abstract: The voltage-dependent anion channel (VDAC) is the most abundant protein of the outer mitochondrial membrane and constitutes the major pathway for the transport of ADP, ATP, and other metabolites. In this multidisciplinary study we combined solid-state NMR, electrophysiology, and molecular dynamics simulations, to study the structure of the human VDAC isoform 2 in a lipid bilayer environment. We find that the structure of hVDAC2 is similar to the structure of hVDAC1, in line with recent investigations on zfVDAC2. However, hVDAC2 appears to exhibit an increased conformational heterogeneity compared to hVDAC1 which is reflected in broader solid-state NMR spectra and less defined electrophysiological profiles.

Copper binding to the N-terminally acetylated, naturally occurring form of alpha-synuclein induces local helical folding
Miotto(*), M. C., Valiente-Gabioud(*), A. A., Rossetti(*), G., Zweckstetter(*), M., Carloni(*), P., Selenko, P., Griesinger(*), C., Binolfi, A.; Fernandez(*), C. O.
J Am Chem Soc, 137:6444-6447

Tags: In-Cell NMR (Selenko)

Abstract: Growing evidence supports a link between brain copper homeostasis, the formation of alpha-synuclein (AS)-copper complexes, and the development of Parkinson disease (PD). Recently it was demonstrated that the physiological form of AS is N-terminally acetylated (AcAS). Here we used NMR spectroscopy to structurally characterize the interaction between Cu(I) and AcAS. We found that the formation of an AcAS-Cu(I) complex at the N-terminal region stabilizes local conformations with alpha-helical secondary structure and restricted motility. Our work provides new evidence into the metallo-biology of PD and opens new lines of research as the formation of AcAS-Cu(I) complex might impact on AcAS membrane binding and aggregation.

Specific binding of Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin fragment to Claudin-b and modulation of zebrafish epidermal barrier
Zhang(*), J., Ni(*), C., Yang(*), Z., Piontek, A., Chen(*), H., Wang(*), S., Fan(*), Y., Qin(*), Z.; Piontek(*), J.
Exp Dermatol, 24:605-610

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

Abstract: Claudins (Cldn) are the major components of tight junctions (TJs) sealing the paracellular cleft in tissue barriers of various organs. Zebrafish Cldnb, the homolog of mammalian Cldn4, is expressed at epithelial cell-cell contacts and is important for regulating epidermal permeability. The bacterial toxin Clostridium perfringens enterotoxin (CPE) has been shown to bind to a subset of mammalian Cldns. In this study, we used the Cldn-binding C-terminal domain of CPE (194-319 amino acids, cCPE 194-319 ) to investigate its functional role in modulating zebrafish larval epidermal barriers. In vitro analyses show that cCPE 194-319 removed Cldn4 from epithelial cells and disrupted the monolayer tightness, which could be rescued by the removal of cCPE 194-319. Incubation of zebrafish larvae with cCPE 194-319 removed Cldnb specifically from the epidermal cell membrane. Dye diffusion analysis with 4-kDa fluorescent dextran indicated that the permeability of the epidermal barrier increased due to cCPE 194-319 incubation. Electron microscopic investigation revealed reversible loss of TJ integrity by Cldnb removal. Collectively, these results suggest that cCPE 194-319 could be used as a Cldnb modulator to transiently open the epidermal barrier in zebrafish. In addition, zebrafish might be used as an in vivo system to investigate the capability of cCPE to enhance drug delivery across tissue barriers.

KCNQ5 K(+) channels control hippocampal synaptic inhibition and fast network oscillations
Fidzinski, P., Korotkova, T., Heidenreich, M., Maier(*), N., Schütze, S., Kobler(*), O., Zuschratter(*), W., Schmitz(*), D., Ponomarenko, A.; Jentsch, T. J.
Nat Commun, 6:6254

Tags: Physiology and Pathology of Ion Transport (Jentsch), Behavioral Neurodynamics (Korotkova/Ponomarenko)

Abstract: KCNQ2 (Kv7.2) and KCNQ3 (Kv7.3) K(+) channels dampen neuronal excitability and their functional impairment may lead to epilepsy. Less is known about KCNQ5 (Kv7.5), which also displays wide expression in the brain. Here we show an unexpected role of KCNQ5 in dampening synaptic inhibition and shaping network synchronization in the hippocampus. KCNQ5 localizes to the postsynaptic site of inhibitory synapses on pyramidal cells and in interneurons. Kcnq5(dn/dn) mice lacking functional KCNQ5 channels display increased excitability of different classes of interneurons, enhanced phasic and tonic inhibition, and decreased electrical shunting of inhibitory postsynaptic currents. In vivo, loss of KCNQ5 function leads to reduced fast (gamma and ripple) hippocampal oscillations, altered gamma-rhythmic discharge of pyramidal cells and impaired spatial representations. Our work demonstrates that KCNQ5 controls excitability and function of hippocampal networks through modulation of synaptic inhibition.

Modulation of monocarboxylate transporter 8 oligomerization by specific pathogenic mutations
Fischer(*), J., Kleinau(*), G., Müller(*), A., Kühnen(*), P., Zwanziger(*), D., Kinne, A., Rehders(*), M., Moeller(*), L. C., Führer(*), D., Grüters(*), A., Krude(*), H., Brix(*), K.; Biebermann(*), H.
Journal of molecular endocrinology, 54:39-50

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

Abstract: The monocarboxylate transporter 8 (MCT8) is a member of the major facilitator superfamily (MFS). These membrane-spanning proteins facilitate translocation of a variety of substrates, MCT8 specifically transports iodothyronines. Mutations in MCT8 are the underlying cause of severe X-linked psychomotor retardation. At the molecular level, such mutations led to deficiencies in substrate translocation due to reduced cell-surface expression, impaired substrate binding, or decreased substrate translocation capabilities. However, the causal relationships between genotypes, molecular features of mutated MCT8, and patient characteristics have not yet been comprehensively deciphered. We investigated the relationship between pathogenic mutants of MCT8 and their capacity to form dimers (presumably oligomeric structures) as a potential regulatory parameter of the transport function of MCT8. Fourteen pathogenic variants of MCT8 were investigated in vitro with respect to their capacity to form oligomers. Particular mutations close to the substrate translocation channel (S194F, A224T, L434W, and R445C) were found to inhibit dimerization of MCT8. This finding is in contrast to those for other transporters or transmembrane proteins, in which substitutions predominantly at the outer-surface inhibit oligomerization. Moreover, specific mutations of MCT8 located in transmembrane helix 2 (del230F, V235M, and ins236V) increased the capacity of MCT8 variants to dimerize. We analyzed the localization of MCT8 dimers in a cellular context, demonstrating differences in MCT8 dimer formation and distribution. In summary, our results add a new link between the functions (substrate transport) and protein organization (dimerization) of MCT8, and might be of relevance for other members of the MFS. Finally, the findings are discussed in relationship to functional data combined with structural-mechanistical insights into MCT8.

Muscular Dystrophy Mutations Impair the Nuclear Envelope Emerin Self-assembly Properties
Herrada(*), I., Samson(*), C., Velours(*), C., Renault(*), L., Ostlund(*), C., Chervy(*), P., Puchkov, D., Worman(*), H. J., Buendia(*), B.; Zinn-Justin(*), S.
ACS Chem Biol, 10:2733-2742

Tags: Molecular Pharmacology and Cell Biology (Haucke)

Abstract: More than 100 genetic mutations causing X-linked Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy have been identified in the gene encoding the integral inner nuclear membrane protein emerin. Most mutations are nonsense or frameshift mutations that lead to the absence of emerin in cells. Only very few cases are due to missense or short in-frame deletions. Molecular mechanisms explaining the corresponding emerin variants' loss of function are particularly difficult to identify because of the mostly intrinsically disordered state of the emerin nucleoplasmic region. We now demonstrate that this EmN region can be produced as a disordered monomer, as revealed by nuclear magnetic resonance, but rapidly self-assembles in vitro. Increases in concentration and temperature favor the formation of long curvilinear filaments with diameters of approximately 10 nm, as observed by electron microscopy. Assembly of these filaments can be followed by fluorescence through Thioflavin-T binding and by Fourier-transform Infrared spectrometry through formation of beta-structures. Analysis of the assembly properties of five EmN variants reveals that del95-99 and Q133H impact filament assembly capacities. In cells, these variants are located at the nuclear envelope, but the corresponding quantities of emerin-emerin and emerin-lamin proximities are decreased compared to wild-type protein. Furthermore, variant P183H favors EmN aggregation in vitro, and variant P183T provokes emerin accumulation in cytoplasmic foci in cells. Substitution of residue Pro183 might systematically favor oligomerization, leading to emerin aggregation and mislocalization in cells. Our results suggest that emerin self-assembly is necessary for its proper function and that a loss of either the protein itself or its ability to self-assemble causes muscular dystrophy.

Mistic's membrane association and its assistance in overexpression of a human GPCR are independent processes
Marino(*), J., Bordag, N., Keller(*), S.; Zerbe(*), O.
Protein Sci, 24:38-48

Tags: Biophysics of Membrane Proteins (Keller)

Abstract: The interaction of the Bacillus subtilis protein Mistic with the bacterial membrane and its role in promoting the overexpression of other membrane proteins are still matters of debate. In this study, we aimed to determine whether individual helical fragments of Mistic are sufficient for its interaction with membranes in vivo and in vitro. To this end, fragments encompassing each of Mistic's helical segments and combinations of them were produced as GFP-fusions, and their cellular localization was studied in Escherichia coli. Furthermore, peptides corresponding to the four helical fragments were synthesized by solid-phase peptide synthesis, and their ability to acquire secondary structure in a variety of lipids and detergents was studied by circular dichroism spectroscopy. Both types of experiments demonstrate that the third helical fragment of Mistic interacts only with LDAO micelles but does not partition into lipid bilayers. Interestingly, the other three helices interact with membranes in vivo and in vitro. Nevertheless, all of these short sequences can replace full-length Mistic as N-terminal fusions to achieve overexpression of a human G-protein-coupled receptor in E. coli, although with different effects on quantity and quality of the protein produced. A bioinformatic analysis of the Mistic family expanded the number of homologs from 4 to 20, including proteins outside the genus Bacillus. This information allowed us to discover a highly conserved Shine-Dalgarno sequence in the operon mstX-yugO that is important for downstream translation of the potassium ion channel yugO.

Transport of Iodothyronines by Human L-Type Amino Acid Transporters
Zevenbergen(*), C., Meima(*), M. E., Lima de Souza(*), E. C., Peeters(*), R. P., Kinne, A., Krause, G., Visser(*), W. E.; Visser(*), T. J.
Endocrinology, 156:4345-4355

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

Abstract: Thyroid hormone (TH) transporters facilitate cellular TH influx and efflux, which is paramount for normal physiology. The L-type amino acid transporters LAT1 and LAT2 are known to facilitate TH transport. However, the role of LAT3, LAT4, and LAT5 is still unclear. Therefore, the aim of this study was to further characterize TH transport by LAT1 and LAT2 and to explore possible TH transport by LAT3, LAT4, and LAT5. FLAG-LAT1-5 constructs were transiently expressed in COS1 cells. LAT1 and LAT2 were cotransfected with the CD98 heavy chain. Cellular transport was measured using 10 nM (125)I-labeled T4, T3, rT3, 3,3'-T2, and 10 muM [(125)I]3'-iodotyrosine (MIT) as substrates. Intracellular metabolism of these substrates was determined in cells cotransfected with either of the LATs with type 1 or type 3 deiodinase. LAT1 facilitated cellular uptake of all substrates and LAT2 showed a net uptake of T3, 3,3'-T2, and MIT. Expression of LAT3 or LAT4 did not affect transport of T4 and T3 but resulted in the decreased cellular accumulation of 3,3'-T2 and MIT. LAT5 did not facilitate the transport of any substrate. Cotransfection with LAT3 or LAT4 strongly diminished the cellular accumulation of 3,3'-T2 and MIT by LAT1 and LAT2. These data were confirmed by metabolism studies. LAT1 and LAT2 show distinct preferences for the uptake of the different iodocompounds, whereas LAT3 and LAT4 specifically facilitate the 3,3'-T2 and MIT efflux. Together our findings suggest that different sets of transporters with specific influx or efflux capacities may cooperate to regulate the cellular thyroid state.

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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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