Recent Submissions

  • Structurally diverse metabolites from the rare actinobacterium Saccharothrix xinjiangensis.

    Babadi, Zahra Khosravi; Sudarman, Enge; Ebrahimipour, Gholam Hossein; Primahana, Gian; Stadler, Marc; Wink, Joachim; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Japan Antibiotics Research Association, 2019-08-26)
    The bioassay-guided fractionation from cultures of the actinobacterium Saccharothrix xinjiangensis Act24Zk, collected from the Caspian Sea beach in Iran led to the isolation of three new compounds, caerulomycin M (1), saccharopyrone (2), and saccharonoic acid (3), together with the known compound, caerulomycin A (4). Their structures were elucidated from HR-ESIMS and 1D and 2D NMR data. Compound 2 displayed moderate cytotoxic activity against the human cervix carcinoma HeLa cells KB3.1 with an IC50 value of 5.4 µM.
  • Diversity of Bacteria Exhibiting Bile Acid-inducible 7α-dehydroxylation Genes in the Human Gut.

    Vital, Marius; Rud, Tatjana; Rath, Silke; Pieper, Dietmar H; Schlüter, Dirk; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2019-01-01)
    The secondary bile acids deoxycholic acid (DCA) and lithocholic acid (LCA), formed by gut microbiota from primary bile acids via a multi-step 7α-dehydroxylation reaction, have wide-ranging effects on host metabolism and play an important role in health and disease. A few 7α-dehydroxylating strains have been isolated, where bile acid-inducible (bai) genes were organized in a gene cluster and encoded major enzymes involved. However, only little is known on diversity and abundance of intestinal bacteria catalysing DCA/LCA formation in the human gut in situ. In this study, we took the opportunity to screen metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) from sequence data of stool samples provided by two recent studies along with newly available gut-derived isolates for the presence of the bai gene cluster. We revealed in total 765 and 620 MAGs encoding the potential to form DCA/LCA that grouped into 21 and 26 metagenomic species, respectively. The majority of MAGs (92.4 and 90.3%) were associated with a Ruminococcaceae clade that still lacks an isolate, whereas less MAGs belonged to Lachnospiraceae along with eight new isolates (n total = 11) that contained the bai genes. Only a few MAGs were linked to Peptostreptococcaceae. Signatures for horizontal transfer of bai genes were observed. This study gives a comprehensive overview of the diversity of bai-exhibiting bacteria in the human gut highlighting the application of metagenomics to unravel potential functions hidden from current isolates. Eventually, isolates of the identified main MAG clade are required in order to prove their capability of 7α-dehydroxylating primary bile acids.
  • Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1-dependent lipogenesis promotes autophagy downstream of AMPK.

    Gross, Angelina S; Zimmermann, Andreas; Pendl, Tobias; Schroeder, Sabrina; Schoenlechner, Hannes; Knittelfelder, Oskar; Lamplmayr, Laura; Santiso, Ana; Aufschnaiter, Andreas; Waltenstorfer, Daniel; et al. (American Society for biochemistry and molecular biology, 2019-08-09)
    Autophagy, a membrane-dependent catabolic process, ensures survival of aging cells and depends on the cellular energetic status. Acetyl-CoA carboxylase 1 (Acc1) connects central energy metabolism to lipid biosynthesis and is rate-limiting for the de novo synthesis of lipids. However, it is unclear how de novo lipogenesis and its metabolic consequences affect autophagic activity. Here, we show that in aging yeast, autophagy levels highly depend on the activity of Acc1. Constitutively active Acc1 (acc1S/A ) or a deletion of the Acc1 negative regulator, Snf1 (yeast AMPK), shows elevated autophagy levels, which can be reversed by the Acc1 inhibitor soraphen A. Vice versa, pharmacological inhibition of Acc1 drastically reduces cell survival and results in the accumulation of Atg8-positive structures at the vacuolar membrane, suggesting late defects in the autophagic cascade. As expected, acc1S/A cells exhibit a reduction in acetate/acetyl-CoA availability along with elevated cellular lipid content. However, concomitant administration of acetate fails to fully revert the increase in autophagy exerted by acc1S/A Instead, administration of oleate, while mimicking constitutively active Acc1 in WT cells, alleviates the vacuolar fusion defects induced by Acc1 inhibition. Our results argue for a largely lipid-dependent process of autophagy regulation downstream of Acc1. We present a versatile genetic model to investigate the complex relationship between acetate metabolism, lipid homeostasis, and autophagy and propose Acc1-dependent lipogenesis as a fundamental metabolic path downstream of Snf1 to maintain autophagy and survival during cellular aging.
  • Connecting lysosomes and mitochondria - a novel role for lipid metabolism in cancer cell death.

    Bartel, Karin; Pein, Helmut; Popper, Bastian; Schmitt, Sabine; Janaki-Raman, Sudha; Schulze, Almut; Lengauer, Florian; Koeberle, Andreas; Werz, Oliver; Zischka, Hans; et al. (BMC, 2019-07-29)
    BACKGROUND: The understanding of lysosomes has been expanded in recent research way beyond their view as cellular trash can. Lysosomes are pivotal in regulating metabolism, endocytosis and autophagy and are implicated in cancer. Recently it was discovered that the lysosomal V-ATPase, which is known to induce apoptosis, interferes with lipid metabolism in cancer, yet the interplay between these organelles is poorly understood. METHODS: LC-MS/MS analysis was performed to investigate lipid distribution in cells. Cell survival and signaling pathways were analyzed by means of cell biological methods (qPCR, Western Blot, flow cytometry, CellTiter-Blue). Mitochondrial structure was analyzed by confocal imaging and electron microscopy, their function was determined by flow cytometry and seahorse measurements. RESULTS: Our data reveal that interfering with lysosomal function changes composition and subcellular localization of triacylglycerids accompanied by an upregulation of PGC1α and PPARα expression, master regulators of energy and lipid metabolism. Furthermore, cardiolipin content is reduced driving mitochondria into fission, accompanied by a loss of membrane potential and reduction in oxidative capacity, which leads to a deregulation in cellular ROS and induction of mitochondria-driven apoptosis. Additionally, cells undergo a metabolic shift to glutamine dependency, correlated with the fission phenotype and sensitivity to lysosomal inhibition, most prominent in Ras mutated cells. CONCLUSION: This study sheds mechanistic light on a largely uninvestigated triangle between lysosomes, lipid metabolism and mitochondrial function. Insight into this organelle crosstalk increases our understanding of mitochondria-driven cell death. Our findings furthermore provide a first hint on a connection of Ras pathway mutations and sensitivity towards lysosomal inhibitors.
  • Polyunsaturated fatty acid production by Yarrowia lipolytica employing designed myxobacterial PUFA synthases.

    Gemperlein, Katja; Dietrich, Demian; Kohlstedt, Michael; Zipf, Gregor; Bernauer, Hubert S; Wittmann, Christoph; Wenzel, Silke C; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Nature publishing Group, 2019-09-06)
    Long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFAs), particularly the omega-3 LC-PUFAs eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), docosapentaenoic acid (DPA), and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), have been associated with beneficial health effects. Consequently, sustainable sources have to be developed to meet the increasing demand for these PUFAs. Here, we demonstrate the design and construction of artificial PUFA biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) encoding polyketide synthase-like PUFA synthases from myxobacteria adapted for the oleaginous yeast Yarrowia lipolytica. Genomic integration and heterologous expression of unmodified or hybrid PUFA BGCs yielded different yeast strains with specific LC-PUFA production profiles at promising yield and thus valuable for the biotechnological production of distinct PUFAs. Nutrient screening revealed a strong enhancement of PUFA production, when cells were phosphate limited. This represents, to the best of our knowledge, highest concentration of DHA (16.8 %) in total fatty acids among all published PUFA-producing Y. lipolytica strains.
  • Molecular profiling of tissue biopsies reveals unique signatures associated with streptococcal necrotizing soft tissue infections

    Thänert, Robert; Itzek, Andreas; Hoßmann, Jörn; Hamisch, Domenica; Madsen, Martin Bruun; Hyldegaard, Ole; Skrede, Steinar; Bruun, Trond; Norrby-Teglund, Anna; Medina, Eva; et al. (Nature, 2019-08-26)
    Necrotizing soft tissue infections (NSTIs) are devastating infections caused by either a single pathogen, predominantly Streptococcus pyogenes, or by multiple bacterial species. A better understanding of the pathogenic mechanisms underlying these different NSTI types could facilitate faster diagnostic and more effective therapeutic strategies. Here, we integrate microbial community profiling with host and pathogen(s) transcriptional analysis in patient biopsies to dissect the pathophysiology of streptococcal and polymicrobial NSTIs. We observe that the pathogenicity of polymicrobial communities is mediated by synergistic interactions between community members, fueling a cycle of bacterial colonization and inflammatory tissue destruction. In S. pyogenes NSTIs, expression of specialized virulence factors underlies infection pathophysiology. Furthermore, we identify a strong interferon-related response specific to S. pyogenes NSTIs that could be exploited as a potential diagnostic biomarker. Our study provides insights into the pathophysiology of mono- and polymicrobial NSTIs and highlights the potential of host-derived signatures for microbial diagnosis of NSTIs.
  • Clinical Resistome Screening of 1,110 Escherichia coli Isolates Efficiently Recovers Diagnostically Relevant Antibiotic Resistance Biomarkers and Potential Novel Resistance Mechanisms.

    Volz, Carsten; Ramoni, Jonas; Beisken, Stephan; Galata, Valentina; Keller, Andreas; Plum, Achim; Posch, Andreas E; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
    Multidrug-resistant pathogens represent one of the biggest global healthcare challenges. Molecular diagnostics can guide effective antibiotics therapy but relies on validated, predictive biomarkers. Here we present a novel, universally applicable workflow for rapid identification of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) biomarkers from clinical Escherichia coli isolates and quantitatively evaluate the potential to recover causal biomarkers for observed resistance phenotypes. For this, a metagenomic plasmid library from 1,110 clinical E. coli isolates was created and used for high-throughput screening to identify biomarker candidates against Tobramycin (TOB), Ciprofloxacin (CIP), and Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX). Identified candidates were further validated in vitro and also evaluated in silico for their diagnostic performance based on matched genotype-phenotype data. AMR biomarkers recovered by the metagenomics screening approach mechanistically explained 77% of observed resistance phenotypes for Tobramycin, 76% for Trimethoprim-Sulfamethoxazole, and 20% Ciprofloxacin. Sensitivity for Ciprofloxacin resistance detection could be improved to 97% by complementing results with AMR biomarkers that are undiscoverable due to intrinsic limitations of the workflow. Additionally, when combined in a multiplex diagnostic in silico panel, the identified AMR biomarkers reached promising positive and negative predictive values of up to 97 and 99%, respectively. Finally, we demonstrate that the developed workflow can be used to identify potential novel resistance mechanisms.
  • Watching DNA replication inhibitors in action: Exploiting time-lapse microfluidic microscopy as a tool for target-drug interaction studies in Mycobacterium .

    Trojanowski, Damian; Kołodziej, Marta; Hołówka, Joanna; Müller, Rolf; Zakrzewska-Czerwińska, Jolanta; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Society of microbiology, 2019-08-05)
    Spreading resistance to antibiotics and the emergence of multidrug-resistant strains have become frequent in many bacterial species, including mycobacteria - a causative agents of severe diseases and have profound impacts on global health. Here, we used a system of microfluidics, fluorescence microscopy and target-tagged fluorescent reporter strains of Mycobacterium smegmatis to perform real-time monitoring of replisome and chromosome dynamics following the addition of replication-altering drugs (novobiocin, nalidixic acid and griselimycin) at the single-cell level. We found that novobiocin stalled replication forks and caused relaxation of the nucleoid, nalidixic acid triggered rapid replisome collapse and compaction of the nucleoid, while griselimycin caused replisome instability with subsequent over-initiation of chromosome replication and over-relaxation of the nucleoid. In addition to study target-drug interactions, our system also enabled to observe how the tested antibiotics affected the physiology of mycobacterial cells (i.e., growth, chromosome segregation, etc.).
  • Myeloid-Derived Suppressor Cells in Infection: A General Overview.

    Medina, Eva; Hartl, Dominik; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Karger, 2018-01-01)
    After initial infection, the immune response that serves to restrict the invading pathogen needs to be tightly calibrated in order to avoid collateral immunopathological damage. This calibration is performed by specialized suppressor mechanisms, which are capable of dampening overwhelming or unremitting inflammation in order to prevent tissue damage. Myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC) are emerging as key players in counter-balancing inflammatory responses and pathogenesis during infection. However, some pathogens are able to exploit the suppressive activities of MDSC to favor pathogen persistence and chronic infections. In this article, we review the current knowledge about the importance of MDSC in the context of bacterial, virus, parasites, and fungal infections.
  • ExoCET: exonuclease in vitro assembly combined with RecET recombination for highly efficient direct DNA cloning from complex genomes.

    Wang, Hailong; Li, Zhen; Jia, Ruonan; Yin, Jia; Li, Aiying; Xia, Liqiu; Yin, Yulong; Müller, Rolf; Fu, Jun; Stewart, A Francis; et al. (Oxford University Press, 2018-03-16)
    The exponentially increasing volumes of DNA sequence data highlight the need for new DNA cloning methods to explore the new information. Here, we describe ‘ExoCET’ (Exonuclease Combined with RecET recombination) to directly clone any chosen region from bacterial and mammalian genomes with nucleotide precision into operational plasmids. ExoCET combines in vitro exonuclease and annealing with the remarkable capacity of full length RecET homologous recombination (HR) to retrieve specified regions from genomic DNA preparations. Using T4 polymerase (T4pol) as the in vitro exonuclease for ExoCET, we directly cloned large regions (>50 kb) from bacterial and mammalian genomes, including DNA isolated from blood. Employing RecET HR or Cas9 cleavage in vitro, the directly cloned region can be chosen with nucleotide precision to position, for example, a gene into an expression vector without the need for further subcloning. In addition to its utility for bioprospecting in bacterial genomes, ExoCET presents straightforward access to mammalian genomes for various applications such as region-specific DNA sequencing that retains haplotype phasing, the rapid construction of optimal, haplotypic, isogenic targeting constructs or a new way to genotype that presents advantages over Southern blotting or polymerase chain reaction. The direct cloning capacities of ExoCET present new freedoms in recombinant DNA technology.
  • Integrating Culture-based Antibiotic Resistance Profiles with Whole-genome Sequencing Data for 11,087 Clinical Isolates.

    Galata, Valentina; Laczny, Cédric C; Backes, Christina; Hemmrich-Stanisak, Georg; Schmolke, Susanne; Franke, Andre; Meese, Eckart; Herrmann, Mathias; von Müller, Lutz; Plum, Achim; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-05-14)
    Emergingantibiotic resistanceis a major global health threat. The analysis of nucleic acidsequences linked to susceptibility phenotypes facilitates the study of genetic antibiotic resistancedeterminants to inform molecular diagnostics and drug development. We collected genetic data(11,087 newly-sequenced whole genomes) and culture-based resistance profiles (10,991 out of the11,087 isolates comprehensively tested against 22 antibiotics in total) of clinical isolates including18 main species spanning a time period of 30 years. Species and drug specific resistance patternswere observed including increased resistance rates forAcinetobacter baumanniito carbapenemsand forEscherichia colito fluoroquinolones. Species-levelpan-genomeswere constructed to reflectthe genetic repertoire of the respective species, including conserved essential genes and known resis-tance factors. Integrating phenotypes and genotypes through species-level pan-genomes allowed toinfer gene–drug resistance associations using statistical testing. The isolate collection and the analysis results have been integrated into GEAR-base, a resource available for academic research use free of charge athttps://gear-base.com
  • Sesquiterpenes from an Eastern African Medicinal Mushroom Belonging to the Genus Sanghuangporus.

    Cheng, Tian; Chepkirui, Clara; Decock, Cony; Matasyoh, Josphat Clement; Stadler, Marc; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Cemical Society (ACS), 2019-05-24)
    During the course of searching for new anti-infective and other biologically active secondary metabolites from Kenyan basidiomycetes, 13 previously undescribed metabolites, (6 R,7 S,10 R)-7,10-epoxy-7,11-dimethyldodec-1-ene-6,11-diol (1) and 12 sesquiterpenes named elgonenes A-L (2-13), and the known compound P-coumaric acid (14) were isolated from a basidiomycete collected in Mount Elgon Natural Reserve. The producing organism represents a new species of the genus Sanghuangporus, which is one of the segregates of the important traditional Asian medicinal mushrooms that were formerly known as the " Inonotus linteus" complex. The structure elucidation of compounds 1-13, based on 2D NMR spectroscopy, high-resolution mass spectrometry, and other spectral methods, and their antibacterial, antifungal, and cytotoxic activities are reported.
  • Kenalactams A-E, Polyene Macrolactams Isolated from Nocardiopsis CG3.

    Messaoudi, Omar; Sudarman, Enge; Bendahou, Mourad; Jansen, Rolf; Stadler, Marc; Wink, Joachim; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Cemical Society (ACS), 2019-05-24)
    In our screening program for new biologically active secondary metabolites, a new strain, Nocardiopsis CG3 (DSM 106572), isolated from the saltpan of Kenadsa, was found to produce five new polyene macrolactams, the kenalactams A-E (1-5). Their structures were elucidated by spectral methods (NMR and HRESIMS), and the absolute configuration was derived by chemical derivatization (Mosher's method). Through a feeding experiment, alanine was proven to be the nitrogen-bearing starter unit involved in biosynthesis of the polyketide kenalactam A (1). Kenalactam E (5) was cytotoxic against human prostate cancer PC-3 cells with an IC50 value of 2.1 μM.
  • Draft Genome Sequence of Streptomyces sp. Strain RFCAC02, Isolated from the Gut Microflora of the Pacific Chub Mackerel Scomber japonicus peruanus.

    Serrano, Wilbert; Olaechea, Raul M; Wink, Joachim; Friedrich, Michael W; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (American Society of micobiology, 2019-06-06)
    A new strain of Streptomyces sp., strain RFCAC02, was isolated from the gut of the Pacific chub mackerel Scomber japonicus peruanus This strain produces a variety of secondary metabolites. Further bioinformatic analysis revealed the presence of biosynthetic gene clusters putatively coding for compounds related to the polycyclic tetramate macrolactams (PTMs).
  • Longitudinal proliferation mapping in vivo reveals NADPH oxidase-mediated dampening of Staphylococcus aureus growth rates within neutrophils.

    Seiß, Elena A; Krone, Anna; Formaglio, Pauline; Goldmann, Oliver; Engelmann, Susanne; Schraven, Burkhart; Medina, Eva; Müller, Andreas J; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Nature publishing group, 2019-04-05)
    Upon the onset of inflammatory responses, bacterial pathogens are confronted with altered tissue microenvironments which can critically impact on their metabolic activity and growth. Changes in these parameters have however remained difficult to analyze over time, which would be critical to dissect the interplay between the host immune response and pathogen physiology. Here, we established an in vivo biosensor for measuring the growth rates of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) on a single cell-level over days in an ongoing cutaneous infection. Using intravital 2-photon imaging and quantitative fluorescence microscopy, we show that upon neutrophil recruitment to the infection site and bacterial uptake, non-lethal dampening of S. aureus proliferation occurred. This inhibition was supported by NADPH oxidase activity. Therefore, reactive oxygen production contributes to pathogen containment within neutrophils not only by killing S. aureus, but also by restricting the growth rate of the bacterium.
  • A central hydrophobic E1 region controls the pH range of hepatitis C virus membrane fusion and susceptibility to fusion inhibitors.

    Banda, Dominic H; Perin, Paula M; Brown, Richard J P; Todt, Daniel; Solodenko, Wladimir; Hoffmeyer, Patrick; Kumar Sahu, Kamlesh; Houghton, Michael; Meuleman, Philip; Müller, Rolf; et al. (Elsevier, 2019-06-01)
  • A high-affinity fluorescence probe for copper(II) ions and its application in fluorescence lifetime correlation spectroscopy.

    Grüter, Andreas; Hoffmann, Michael; Müller, Rolf; Wohland, Thorsten; Jung, Gregor; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2019-04-26)
    Copper is one of the most important transition metals in many organisms where it catalyzes a manifold of different processes. As a result of copper's redox activity, organisms have to avoid unbound ions, and a dysfunctional copper homeostasis may lead to multifarious pathological processes in cells with very severe ramifications for the affected organisms. In many neurodegenerative diseases, however, the exact role of copper ions is still not completely clarified. In this work, a high-affinity and highly selective copper probe molecule, based on the naturally occurring tetrapeptide DAHK is synthesized. The sensor (log KD = - 12.8 ± 0.1) is tagged with a fluorescent BODIPY dye whose fluorescence lifetime distinctly decreases from 5.8 ns ± 0.2 ns to 0.4 ns ± 0.1 ns on binding to copper(II) cations. It is shown by using fluorescence lifetime correlation spectroscopy that the concentration of both probe and probe-copper complex can be simultaneously measured even at nanomolar concentration levels. This work presents a possible starting point for a new type of probe and method for future in vivo studies to further reveal the exact role of copper ions in organisms. Graphical abstract.
  • Biosynthesis of Polyketides in Streptomyces.

    Risdian, Chandra; Mozef, Tjandrawati; Wink, Joachim; HZI, Helmholtz Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (MDPI, 2019-05-06)
    Polyketides are a large group of secondary metabolites that have notable variety in their structure and function. Polyketides exhibit a wide range of bioactivities such as antibacterial, antifungal, anticancer, antiviral, immune-suppressing, anti-cholesterol, and anti-inflammatory activity. Naturally, they are found in bacteria, fungi, plants, protists, insects, mollusks, and sponges. Streptomyces is a genus of Gram-positive bacteria that has a filamentous form like fungi. This genus is best known as one of the polyketides producers. Some examples of polyketides produced by Streptomyces are rapamycin, oleandomycin, actinorhodin, daunorubicin, and caprazamycin. Biosynthesis of polyketides involves a group of enzyme activities called polyketide synthases (PKSs). There are three types of PKSs (type I, type II, and type III) in Streptomyces responsible for producing polyketides. This paper focuses on the biosynthesis of polyketides in Streptomyces with three structurally-different types of PKSs.
  • Targeting actin inhibits repair of doxorubicin-induced DNA damage: a novel therapeutic approach for combination therapy.

    Pfitzer, Lisa; Moser, Christina; Gegenfurtner, Florian; Arner, Anja; Foerster, Florian; Atzberger, Carina; Zisis, Themistoklis; Kubisch-Dohmen, Rebekka; Busse, Johanna; Smith, Rebecca; et al. (Springer-Nature, 2019-04-03)
    Severe side effects often restrict clinical application of the widely used chemotherapeutic drug doxorubicin. In order to decrease required substance concentrations, new concepts for successful combination therapy are needed. Since doxorubicin causes DNA damage, combination with compounds that modulate DNA repair could be a promising strategy. Very recently, a role of nuclear actin for DNA damage repair has been proposed, making actin a potential target for cancer therapy in combination with DNA-damaging therapeutics. This is of special interest, since actin-binding compounds have not yet found their way into clinics. We find that low-dose combination treatment of doxorubicin with the actin polymerizer chondramide B (ChB) synergistically inhibits tumor growth in vivo. On the cellular level we demonstrate that actin binders inhibit distinctive double strand break (DSB) repair pathways. Actin manipulation impairs the recruitment of replication factor A (RPA) to the site of damage, a process crucial for homologous recombination. In addition, actin binders reduce autophosphorylation of DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) during nonhomologous end joining. Our findings substantiate a direct involvement of actin in nuclear DSB repair pathways, and propose actin as a therapeutic target for combination therapy with DNA-damaging agents such as doxorubicin.
  • Development of a Biosensor Concept to Detect the Production of Cluster-Specific Secondary Metabolites.

    Sun, Yi-Qian; Busche, Tobias; Rückert, Christian; Paulus, Constanze; Rebets, Yuriy; Novakova, Renata; Kalinowski, Jörn; Luzhetskyy, Andriy N; Kormanec, Jan; Sekurova, Olga N; et al. (ACS Publications, 2017-06-16)
    Genome mining of actinomycete bacteria aims at the discovery of novel bioactive secondary metabolites that can be developed into drugs. A new repressor-based biosensor to detect activated secondary metabolite biosynthesis gene clusters in Streptomyces was developed. Biosynthetic gene clusters for undecylprodigiosin and coelimycin in the genome of Streptomyces lividans TK24, which encoded TetR-like repressors and appeared to be almost “silent” based on the RNA-seq data, were chosen for the proof-of-principle studies. The bpsA reporter gene for indigoidine synthetase was placed under control of the promotor/operator regions presumed to be controlled by the cluster-associated TetR-like repressors. While the biosensor for undecylprodigiosin turned out to be nonfunctional, the coelimycin biosensor was shown to perform as expected, turning on biosynthesis of indigoidine in response to the concomitant production of coelimycin. The developed reporter system concept can be applied to those cryptic gene clusters that encode metabolite-sensing repressors to speed up discovery of novel bioactive compounds in Streptomyces.

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