News

Publication Placeholder

Sonal, Ganzinger, K.A., Vogel, S.K., Mucksch, J., Blumhardt, P., and Schwille, P.
J Cell Sci, 2018, 132, [Epub ahead of print].
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
doi: 10.1242/jcs.219899

Myosin-II activity generates a dynamic steady state with continuous actin turnover in a minimal actin cortex.

Dynamic reorganization of the actomyosin cytoskeleton allows fast modulation of the cell surface, which is vital for many cellular functions. Myosin-II motors generate the forces required for this remodeling by imparting contractility to actin networks. However, myosin-II activity might also have a more indirect contribution to cytoskeletal dynamics; it has been proposed that myosin activity increases actin turnover in various cellular contexts, presumably by enhancing disassembly. In vitro reconstitution of actomyosin networks has confirmed the role of myosin in actin network disassembly, but the reassembly of actin in these assays was limited by factors such as diffusional constraints and the use of stabilized actin filaments. Here, we present the reconstitution of a minimal dynamic actin cortex, where actin polymerization is catalyzed on the membrane in the presence of myosin-II activity. We demonstrate that myosin activity leads to disassembly and redistribution in this simplified cortex. Consequently, a new dynamic steady state emerges in which the actin network undergoes constant turnover. Our findings suggest a multifaceted role of myosin-II in the dynamics of the eukaryotic actin cortex. This article has an associated First Person interview with the first author of the paper.


Publication Placeholder

Blumhardt, P., Stein, J., Mucksch, J., Stehr, F., Bauer, J., Jungmann, R., and Schwille, P.
Molecules, 2018, 23, [Epub ahead of print].
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
doi: 10.3390/molecules23123165

Photo-Induced Depletion of Binding Sites in DNA-PAINT Microscopy

The limited photon budget of fluorescent dyes is the main limitation for localization precision in localization-based super-resolution microscopy. Points accumulation for imaging in nanoscale topography (PAINT)-based techniques use the reversible binding of fluorophores and can sample a single binding site multiple times, thus elegantly circumventing the photon budget limitation. With DNA-based PAINT (DNA-PAINT), resolutions down to a few nanometers have been reached on DNA-origami nanostructures. However, for long acquisition times, we find a photo-induced depletion of binding sites in DNA-PAINT microscopy that ultimately limits the quality of the rendered images. Here we systematically investigate the loss of binding sites in DNA-PAINT imaging and support the observations with measurements of DNA hybridization kinetics via surface-integrated fluorescence correlation spectroscopy (SI-FCS). We do not only show that the depletion of binding sites is clearly photo-induced, but also provide evidence that it is mainly caused by dye-induced generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). We evaluate two possible strategies to reduce the depletion of binding sites: By addition of oxygen scavenging reagents, and by the positioning of the fluorescent dye at a larger distance from the binding site.


Publication Placeholder

Scacchetti, A., Brueckner, L., Jain, D., Schauer, T., Zhang, X., Schnorrer, F., van Steensel, B., Straub, T., and Becker, P.B.
Life Sci Alliance, 2018, 1, e201800024.
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
doi: 10.26508/lsa.201800024

CHRAC/ACF contribute to the repressive ground state of chromatin

Telomeres and the shelterin complex cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres are flanked by the subtelomeric sequences that have also been implicated in telomere regulation, although their role is not well defined. Here, we show that, in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the telomere-associated sequences (TAS) present on most subtelomeres are hyper-recombinogenic, have metastable nucleosomes, and unusual low levels of H3K9 methylation. Ccq1, a subunit of shelterin, protects TAS from nucleosome loss by recruiting the heterochromatic repressor complexes CLRC and SHREC, thereby linking nucleosome stability to gene silencing. Nucleosome instability at TAS is independent of telomeric repeats and can be transmitted to an intrachromosomal locus containing an ectopic TAS fragment, indicating that this is an intrinsic property of the underlying DNA sequence. When telomerase recruitment is compromised in cells lacking Ccq1, DNA sequences present in the TAS promote recombination between chromosomal ends, independent of nucleosome abundance, implying an active function of these sequences in telomere maintenance. We propose that Ccq1 and fragile subtelomeres co-evolved to regulate telomere plasticity by controlling nucleosome occupancy and genome stability.


Publication Placeholder

van Emden, T.S., Forn, M., Forne, I., Sarkadi, Z., Capella, M., Martin Caballero, L., Fischer-Burkart, S., Bronner, C., Simonetta, M., Toczyski, D., Halic, M., Imhof, A., and Braun, S.
EMBO Rep, 2018, [Epub ahead of print].
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
doi: 10.15252/embr.201847181

Shelterin and subtelomeric DNA sequences control nucleosome maintenance and genome stability.

Telomeres and the shelterin complex cap and protect the ends of chromosomes. Telomeres are flanked by the subtelomeric sequences that have also been implicated in telomere regulation, although their role is not well defined. Here, we show that, in Schizosaccharomyces pombe, the telomere-associated sequences (TAS) present on most subtelomeres are hyper-recombinogenic, have metastable nucleosomes, and unusual low levels of H3K9 methylation. Ccq1, a subunit of shelterin, protects TAS from nucleosome loss by recruiting the heterochromatic repressor complexes CLRC and SHREC, thereby linking nucleosome stability to gene silencing. Nucleosome instability at TAS is independent of telomeric repeats and can be transmitted to an intrachromosomal locus containing an ectopic TAS fragment, indicating that this is an intrinsic property of the underlying DNA sequence. When telomerase recruitment is compromised in cells lacking Ccq1, DNA sequences present in the TAS promote recombination between chromosomal ends, independent of nucleosome abundance, implying an active function of these sequences in telomere maintenance. We propose that Ccq1 and fragile subtelomeres co-evolved to regulate telomere plasticity by controlling nucleosome occupancy and genome stability.


Publication Placeholder

De Oliveira, T., Ramakrishnan, M., Diamanti, M.A., Ziegler, P.K., Brombacher, F., and Greten, F.R.
Oncogene, 2018, [Epub ahead of print].
doi: 10.1038/s41388-018-0551-2

Loss of Stat6 affects chromatin condensation in intestinal epithelial cells causing diverse outcome in murine models of inflammation-associated and sporadic colon carcinogenesis.

While great advances have been achieved regarding the genetic basis of colorectal cancer, the complex role of cell-cell communication and cytokine-induced signaling during its pathogenesis remains less understood. Signal transducer and activator of transcription 6 (Stat6) is the main transcription factor of interleukin-4 (IL-4) signaling and its participation in the development of various tumor types has been already reported. Here we aimed to examine the contribution of Stat6 in intestinal epithelial cells (IEC) in mouse models of intestinal carcinogenesis. Wild-type (WT), Stat6 knockout (Stat6-/-), and intestinal epithelial cell-specific IL-4Rα knockout (Il-4rαΔIEC) mice were subjected to colitis-associated (AOM/DSS) and colitis-independent (sporadic) carcinogenesis. IEC proliferation, apoptosis and RNA expression were evaluated by immunohistochemical, immunoblot, and RT-PCR analysis. We found that Stat6-/- mice developed more tumors in the colitis-associated carcinogenesis model. This was accompanied by a more pronounced inflammatory response during colitis and an elevated Stat3-dependent proliferation of IEC. Increased sensitivity to DSS-induced colitis was caused by elevated cell death in response to the initial carcinogen exposure as Stat6 deficiency led to increased chromatin compaction affecting DNA damage response in IEC upon treatment with alkylating agents independently of IL-4Rα engagement. Thus, loss of Stat6 caused more severe colitis and increased tumor load, however loss-of-initiated Stat6-/- IEC prevented tumor formation in the absence of overt inflammation. Our data unravel unexpected IL-4-independent functions of Stat6 in chromatin compaction in intestinal epithelial cells ultimately providing both tumor suppressive as well as tumor promoting effects in different models of intestinal tumorigenesis.


Publication Placeholder

Galanti, L., and Pfander, B.
EMBO J, 2018, [Epub ahead of print].
doi: 10.15252/embj.2018100681

Right time, right place-DNA damage and DNA replication checkpoints collectively safeguard S phase

The DNA replication checkpoint (DRC) and the DNA damage checkpoint (DDC) are two closely linked signaling cascades that adjust S phase to the presence of DNA lesions and other replication impediments. Two recent studies published in The EMBO Journal shed new light on their relationship in budding yeast, collectively showing that the two pathways—while sharing several factors—differ in the location and kinetics of their activation, suggesting that they constitute different branches of an integrated cellular response to impaired DNA replication.


Publication Placeholder

Butryn, A., Woike, S., Shetty, S.J., Auble, D.T., and Hopfner, K.P.
Elife 7, 2018.
doi: 10.7554/eLife.37774

Crystal structure of the full Swi2/Snf2 remodeler Mot1 in the resting state.

Swi2/Snf2 ATPases remodel protein:DNA complexes in all of the fundamental chromosome‑associated processes. The single‑subunit remodeler Mot1 dissociates TATA box-binding protein (TBP):DNA complexes and provides a simple model for obtaining structural insights into the action of Swi2/Snf2 ATPases. Previously we reported how the N-terminal domain of Mot1 it binds TBP, NC2 and DNA, but the location of the C-terminal ATPase domain remained unclear (Butryn et al., 2015). Here, we report the crystal structure of the near full-length Mot1 from Chaetomium thermophilum. Our data show that Mot1 adopts a ring like structure with a catalytically inactive resting state of the ATPase. Biochemical analysis suggests that TBP binding switches Mot1 into an ATP hydrolysis-competent conformation. Combined with our previous results, these data significantly improve the structural model for the complete Mot1:TBP:DNA complex and suggest a general mechanism for Mot1 action.


Publication Placeholder

Coscia, F., Lengyel, E., Duraiswamy, J., Ashcroft, B., Bassani-Sternberg, M., Wierer, M., Johnson, A., Wroblewski, K., Montag, A., Yamada, S.D., Lopez-Mendez, B., Nilsson, J., Mund, A., Mann, M., and Curtis, M.
Cell 2018, 175, 159-170.e116.
doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2018.08.065

Multi-level Proteomics Identifies CT45 as a Chemosensitivity Mediator and Immunotherapy Target in Ovarian Cancer.

Most high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) patients develop resistance to platinum-based chemotherapy and recur, but 15% remain disease free over a decade. To discover drivers of long-term survival, we quantitatively analyzed the proteomes of platinum-resistant and -sensitive HGSOC patients from minute amounts of formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumors. This revealed cancer/testis antigen 45 (CT45) as an independent prognostic factor associated with a doubling of disease-free survival in advanced-stage HGSOC. Phospho- and interaction proteomics tied CT45 to DNA damage pathways through direct interaction with the PP4 phosphatase complex. In vitro, CT45 regulated PP4 activity, and its high expression led to increased DNA damage and platinum sensitivity. CT45-derived HLA class I peptides, identified by immunopeptidomics, activate patient-derived cytotoxic T cells and promote tumor cell killing. This study highlights the power of clinical cancer proteomics to identify targets for chemo- and immunotherapy and illuminate their biological roles.


Publication Placeholder

Fabritius, A., Ng, D., Kist, A.M., Erdogan, M., Portugues, R., and Griesbeck, O.
Cell Chem Biol, 2018, [Epub ahead of print].
(IMPRS-LS students are in bold)
doi: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.08.008

Imaging-Based Screening Platform Assists Protein Engineering.

Protein engineering involves generating and screening large numbers of variants for desired properties. While modern DNA technology has made it easy to create protein diversity on the DNA level, the selection and validation of candidate proteins from large libraries remains a challenge. We built a screening platform that integrates high-quality fluorescence-based image analysis and robotic picking of bacterial colonies. It allows tracking each individual colony in a large population and collecting quantitative information on library composition during the protein evolution process. We demonstrate the power of the screening platform by optimizing a dim far-red-emitting fluorescent protein whose brightness increased several fold using iterative cycles of mutagenesis and platform-based screening. The resulting protein variant mCarmine is useful for imaging cells and structures within live tissue as well as for molecular tagging. Overall, the platform presented provides powerful, flexible, and low-cost instrumentation to accelerate many fluorescence-based protein optimization projects.


 

Publication Placeholder

Kabacaoglu, D., Ciecielski, K.J., Ruess, D.A., and Algul, H.
Front Immunol, 2018, 9, 1878.
doi: 10.3389/fimmu.2018.01878

Immune Checkpoint Inhibition for Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma: Current Limitations and Future Options.

Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), as the most frequent form of pancreatic malignancy, still is associated with a dismal prognosis. Due to its late detection, most patients are ineligible for surgery, and chemotherapeutic options are limited. Tumor heterogeneity and a characteristic structure with crosstalk between the cancer/malignant cells and an abundant tumor microenvironment (TME) make PDAC a very challenging puzzle to solve. Thus far, targeted therapies have failed to substantially improve the overall survival of PDAC patients. Immune checkpoint inhibition, as an emerging therapeutic option in cancer treatment, shows promising results in different solid tumor types and hematological malignancies. However, PDAC does not respond well to immune checkpoint inhibitors anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) or anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) alone or in combination. PDAC with its immune-privileged nature, starting from the early pre-neoplastic state, appears to escape from the antitumor immune response unlike other neoplastic entities. Different mechanisms how cancer cells achieve immune-privileged status have been hypothesized. Among them are decreased antigenicity and impaired immunogenicity via both cancer cell-intrinsic mechanisms and an augmented immunosuppressive TME. Here, we seek to shed light on the recent advances in both bench and bedside investigation of immunotherapeutic options for PDAC. Furthermore, we aim to compile recent data about how PDAC adopts immune escape mechanisms, and how these mechanisms might be exploited therapeutically in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors, such as PD-1 or CTLA-4 antibodies.