• Structure of a novel farnesylated bilin from an insect--formation by α-cleavage of heme A of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidases?

      Kayser, Hartmut; Wray, Victor; Nimtz, Manfred (2014-05)
      Biliproteins are present in almost all forms of life, and many of them play vital roles in photobiology. The bilin ligand of a recently characterized 500-kDa biliprotein from an insect has been isolated and its structure elucidated with chemical and spectroscopic techniques (UV-visible, IR, MS, NMR, and CD). This blue pigment, named CV-bilin, represents a unique high molecular mass derivative of biliverdin IXα, with an unusual 10E-configuration and a molecular mass of 852 Da, corresponding to C48H60N4O10. The high mass of this open-chain tetrapyrrole results from the presence of an epoxi-dihydroxyethylfarnesyl substituent at C-18 and a hydroxymethyl substituent at C-13. This substitution pattern exactly reflects that of heme A of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidases with a hydroxyethylfarnesyl chain and a formyl group at corresponding positions of the cyclic tetrapyrrole. As no other natural product is known to show these structural features (heme O, the precursor of heme A, has a methyl group at C-13), this bilin is presumed to be derived from heme A by cleavage of the α-methine bridge and oxidative modifications at C-13 and the hydroxyethylfarnesyl chain. Possibly, a bilin structurally related to this insect bilin is also produced in other organisms as a result of mitochondrial turnover or degradation. As CV-bilin in complex with a specific protein is accumulated at the end of larval life, stored in the pupa, and finally transferred to the oocytes, a possible role of the free or protein-bound pigment in egg or embryonic development is discussed.
    • Towards an advanced therapy medicinal product based on mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from the umbilical cord tissue: quality and safety data

      Martins, José P; Santos, Jorge M; Almeida, Joana M d; Filipe, Mariana A; de Almeida, Mariana V T; Almeida, Sílvia C C; Água-Doce, Ana; Varela, Alexandre; Gilljam, Mari; Stellan, Birgitta; Pohl, Susanne; Dittmar, Kurt; Lindenmaier, Werner; Alici, Evren; Graça, Luís; Cruz, Pedro E; Cruz, Helder J; Bárcia, Rita N (2014-01-17)
      Abstract Introduction Standardization of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) manufacturing is urgently needed to enable translational activities and ultimately facilitate comparison of clinical trial results. In this work we describe the adaptation of a proprietary method for isolation of a specific umbilical cord tissue-derived population of MSCs, herein designated by its registered trademark as UCX®, towards the production of an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP). Methods The adaptation focused on different stages of production, from cell isolation steps to cell culturing and cryopreservation. The origin and quality of materials and reagents were considered and steps for avoiding microbiological and endotoxin contamination of the final cell product were implemented. Cell isolation efficiency, MSCs surface markers and genetic profiles, originating from the use of different medium supplements, were compared. The ATMP-compliant UCX® product was also cryopreserved avoiding the use of dimethyl sulfoxide, an added benefit for the use of these cells as an ATMP. Cells were analyzed for expansion capacity and longevity. The final cell product was further characterized by flow cytometry, differentiation potential, and tested for contaminants at various passages. Finally, genetic stability and immune properties were also analyzed. Results The isolation efficiency of UCX® was not affected by the introduction of clinical grade enzymes. Furthermore, isolation efficiencies and phenotype analyses revealed advantages in the use of human serum in cell culture as opposed to human platelet lysate. Initial decontamination of the tissue followed by the use of mycoplasma- and endotoxin-free materials and reagents in cell isolation and subsequent culture, enabled the removal of antibiotics during cell expansion. UCX®-ATMP maintained a significant expansion potential of 2.5 population doublings per week up to passage 15 (P15). They were also efficiently cryopreserved in a DMSO-free cryoprotectant medium with approximately 100% recovery and 98% viability post-thaw. Additionally, UCX®-ATMP were genetically stable upon expansion (up to P15) and maintained their immunomodulatory properties. Conclusions We have successfully adapted a method to consistently isolate, expand and cryopreserve a well-characterized population of human umbilical cord tissue-derived MSCs (UCX®), in order to obtain a cell product that is compliant with cell therapy. Here, we present quality and safety data that support the use of the UCX® as an ATMP, according to existing international guidelines.
    • Latency can be conferred to a variety of cytokines by fusion with latency-associated peptide from TGF-β.

      Mullen, Lisa; Rigby, Anne; Sclanders, Michelle; Adams, Gill; Mittal, Gayatri; Colston, Julia; Fatah, Rewas; Subang, Cristina; Foster, Julie; Francis-West, Philippa; Köster, Mario; Hauser, Hansjörg; Layward, Lorna; Vessillier, Sandrine; Annenkov, Alex; Al-Izki, Sarah; Pryce, Gareth; Bolton, Chris; Baker, David; Gould, David J; Chernajovsky, Yuti; Experimental Rheumatology, Charité University Medicine, Berlin, Germany (2014-01)
      Targeting cytokines to sites of disease has clear advantages because it increases their therapeutic index. We designed fusion proteins of the latent-associated peptide (LAP) derived from TGF-β with various cytokines via a matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) cleavage site. This design confers latency, increased half-life and targeting to sites of inflammation. The aim of this study is to determine whether this approach can be applied to cytokines of different molecular structures and sizes.
    • Bridging the species divide: transgenic mice humanized for type-I interferon response.

      Harari, Daniel; Abramovich, Renne; Zozulya, Alla; Smith, Paul; Pouly, Sandrine; Köster, Mario; Hauser, Hansjörg; Schreiber, Gideon (2014)
      We have generated transgenic mice that harbor humanized type I interferon receptors (IFNARs) enabling the study of type I human interferons (Hu-IFN-Is) in mice. These "HyBNAR" (Hybrid IFNAR) mice encode transgenic variants of IFNAR1 and IFNAR2 with the human extracellular domains being fused to transmembrane and cytoplasmic segments of mouse sequence. B16F1 mouse melanoma cells harboring the HyBNAR construct specifically bound Hu-IFN-Is and were rendered sensitive to Hu-IFN-I stimulated anti-proliferation, STAT1 activation and activation of a prototypical IFN-I response gene (MX2). HyBNAR mice were crossed with a transgenic strain expressing the luciferase reporter gene under the control of the IFN-responsive MX2 promoter (MX2-Luciferase). Both the HyBNAR and HyBNAR/MX2-Luciferase mice were responsive to all Hu-IFN-Is tested, inclusive of IFNα2A, IFNβ, and a human superagonist termed YNSα8. The mice displayed dose-dependent pharmacodynamic responses to Hu-IFN-I injection, as assessed by measuring the expression of IFN-responsive genes. Our studies also demonstrated a weak activation of endogenous mouse interferon response, especially after high dose administration of Hu-IFNs. In sharp contrast to data published for humans, our pharmacodynamic readouts demonstrate a very short-lived IFN-I response in mice, which is not enhanced by sub-cutaneous (SC) injections in comparison to other administration routes. With algometric differences between humans and mice taken into account, the HyBNAR mice provides a convenient non-primate pre-clinical model to advance the study of human IFN-Is.
    • Towards an advanced therapy medicinal product based on mesenchymal stromal cells isolated from the umbilical cord tissue: quality and safety data.

      Martins, José Paulo; Santos, Jorge Miguel; de Almeida, Joana Marto; Filipe, Mariana Alves; de Almeida, Mariana Vargas Teixeira; Almeida, Sílvia Cristina Paiva; Água-Doce, Ana; Varela, Alexandre; Gilljam, Mari; Stellan, Birgitta; Pohl, Susanne; Dittmar, Kurt; Lindenmaier, Werner; Alici, Evren; Graça, Luís; Cruz, Pedro Estilita; Cruz, Helder Joaquim; Bárcia, Rita Nogueira (2014)
      Standardization of mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) manufacturing is urgently needed to enable translational activities and ultimately facilitate comparison of clinical trial results. In this work we describe the adaptation of a proprietary method for isolation of a specific umbilical cord tissue-derived population of MSCs, herein designated by its registered trademark as UCX®, towards the production of an advanced therapy medicinal product (ATMP).
    • Stable expression of MutLγ in human cells reveals no specific response to mismatched DNA, but distinct recruitment to damage sites.

      Roesner, Lennart M; Mielke, Christian; Fähnrich, Silke; Merkhoffer, Yvonne; Dittmar, Kurt E J; Drexler, Hans G; Dirks, Wilhelm G; Department of Human and Animal Cell Lines, Leibniz-Institute DSMZ-German Collection of Microorganisms and Cell Cultures, Braunschweig, Germany. roesner.lennart@mh-hannover.de (2013-10)
      The human DNA mismatch repair (MMR) gene family comprises four MutL paralogues capable of forming heterodimeric MutLα (MLH1-PMS2), MutLβ (MLH1-PMS1), and MutLγ (MLH1-MLH3) protein complexes. Human MutL subunits PMS2 and MLH3 contain an evolutionarily conserved amino acid motif DQHA(X)2E(X)4E identified as an endonucleolytic domain capable of incising a defective DNA strand. PMS2 of MutLα is generally accepted to be the sole executor of endonucleolytic activity, but since MLH3 was shown to be able to perform DNA repair at low levels in vitro, our aim was to investigate whether or not MLH3 is activated as a backup under MutLα-deficient conditions. Here, we report stable expression of GFP-tagged MLH3 in the isogenic cell lines 293 and 293T which are functional or defective for MLH1 expression, respectively. As expected, MLH3 formed dimeric complexes with endogenous and recombinant MLH1. MutLγ dimers were recruited to sites of DNA damage induced by UVA micro-irradiation as shown for MutLα. Surprisingly, splicing variant MLH3Δ7 lacking the endonucleolytic motif displayed congruent foci formation, implying that recruitment is not necessarily representing active DNA repair. As an alternative test for repair enzyme activity, we combined alkylation-directed DNA damage with comet formation assays. While recombinant MutLα led to full recovery of DNA damage response in MMR deficient cells, expression of MutLγ or single MLH3 failed to do so. These experiments show recruitment and persistence of MutLγ-heterodimers at UVA-induced DNA lesions. However, we demonstrate that in a MutLα-deficient background no DNA repair-specific function carried out by MutLγ can be detected in living cells.
    • The formation of an organic coat and the release of corrosion microparticles from metallic magnesium implants.

      Badar, Muhammad; Lünsdorf, Heinrich; Evertz, Florian; Rahim, Muhammad Imran; Glasmacher, Birgit; Hauser, Hansjörg; Mueller, Peter P; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-07)
      Magnesium alloys have been proposed as prospective degradable implant materials. To elucidate the complex interactions between the corroding implants and the tissue, magnesium implants were analyzed in a mouse model and the response was compared to that induced by Ti and by the resorbable polymer polyglactin, respectively. One month after implantation, distinct traces of corrosion were apparent but the magnesium implants were still intact, whereas resorbable polymeric wound suture implants were already fragmented. Analysis of magnesium implants 2weeks after implantation by energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy indicated that magnesium, oxygen, calcium and phosphate were present at the implant surface. One month after implantation, the element composition of the outermost layer of the implant was indicative of tissue without detectable levels of magnesium, indicating a protective barrier function of this organic layer. In agreement with this notion, gene expression patterns in the surrounding tissue were highly similar for all implant materials investigated. However, high-resolution imaging using energy-filtered transmission electron microscopy revealed magnesium-containing microparticles in the tissue in the proximity of the implant. The release of such corrosion particles may contribute to the accumulation of calcium phosphate in the nearby tissue and to bone conductive activities of magnesium implants.
    • Efficacy of nanoporous silica coatings on middle ear prostheses as a delivery system for antibiotics: an animal study in rabbits.

      Lensing, Rebecca; Bleich, André; Smoczek, Anna; Glage, Silke; Ehlert, Nina; Luessenhop, Tammo; Behrens, Peter; Müller, Peter Paul; Kietzmann, Manfred; Stieve, Martin; Department of Otolaryngology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. Lensing.Rebecca@mh-hannover.de (2013-01)
      Nanoporous silica layers are able to host molecules and release them over a certain period of time. These local drug delivery systems for antibiotics could be a new approach in the treatment of chronic otitis media. The aim of this study was to examine the efficacy of nanoporous silica coatings on middle ear prostheses as a delivery system for antibiotics in vivo. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was inoculated into the middle ear of rabbits to induce an otitis media. The control group received coated Bioverit®II implants without antibiotics. Coated prostheses with loaded ciprofloxacin were implanted into the middle ears of the study group. After 1 week, the rabbits were sacrificed. The clinical examination as well as the microbiological and histological examinations of organs and middle ear irrigation revealed clear differences between the two groups. P. aeruginosa was detected in every middle ear of the control group and was almost completely eliminated in the study group. Organ examinations revealed the presence of P. aeruginosa in the control group and a prevention of a bacterial spread in the study group. The nanoporous silica layer as antibiotic delivery system showed convincing efficacy in induced pseudomonal otitis media in the rabbit.
    • Therapeutic strategies for tendon healing based on novel biomaterials, factors and cells.

      Gross, Gerhard; Hoffmann, Andrea; Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Signalling and Gene Regulation, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      The repair of tendon injuries still presents a major clinical challenge to orthopedic medicine. Tendons, like some other tissues, are poorly vascularized and heal slowly. In addition, healing often leads to the formation of fibrous tissue and scar tissue which lack flexibility and biomechanical properties. So the treatment of tendon injuries is challenging. We give an overview of the structure and composition of tendons, pathological states of tendon and natural healing, as well as therapeutic options. We focus in particular on biomaterials that have been specifically developed or suggested for the successful repair of tendon injuries. In addition, we also review factor- and cell-dependent strategies to heal tendon and ligament disorders. Although brief, we hope that this review will be helpful, particularly for those readers who are new to the field of tendon tissue engineering.
    • Generation of mouse small intestinal epithelial cell lines that allow the analysis of specific innate immune functions.

      Schwerk, Johannes; Köster, Mario; Hauser, Hansjörg; Rohde, Manfred; Fulde, Marcus; Hornef, Mathias W; May, Tobias; Department of Gene Regulation and Differentiation, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      Cell lines derived from the small intestine that reflect authentic properties of the originating intestinal epithelium are of high value for studies on mucosal immunology and host microbial homeostasis. A novel immortalization procedure was applied to generate continuously proliferating cell lines from murine E19 embryonic small intestinal tissue. The obtained cell lines form a tight and polarized epithelial cell layer, display characteristic tight junction, microvilli and surface protein expression and generate increasing transepithelial electrical resistance during in vitro culture. Significant up-regulation of Cxcl2 and Cxcl5 chemokine expression upon exposure to defined microbial innate immune stimuli and endogenous cytokines is observed. Cell lines were also generated from a transgenic interferon reporter (Mx2-Luciferase) mouse, allowing reporter technology-based quantification of the cellular response to type I and III interferon. Thus, the newly created cell lines mimic properties of the natural epithelium and can be used for diverse studies including testing of the absorption of drug candidates. The reproducibility of the method to create such cell lines from wild type and transgenic mice provides a new tool to study molecular and cellular processes of the epithelial barrier.
    • Assessment of cellular reactions to magnesium as implant 
material in comparison to titanium and to glyconate using 
the mouse tail model.

      Reifenrath, Janin; Badar, Muhammad; Dziuba, Dina; Müller, Peter P; Heidenblut, Torsten; Bondarenko, Alexander; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andrea; Small Animal Clinic, University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Hannover - Germany. (2013)
      Nowadays, research in magnesium alloys as a biodegradable implant material has increased. The aim of this study was to examine osteoinductive properties and tissue responses to pure magnesium in comparison to conventional permanent (titanium) and to degradable (glyconate) implant materials.
    • Histological and molecular evaluation of iron as degradable medical implant material in a murine animal model.

      Mueller, Peter P; Arnold, Sylvia; Badar, Muhammad; Bormann, Dirk; Bach, Friedrich-Wilhelm; Drynda, Andreas; Meyer-Lindenberg, Andrea; Hauser, Hansjörg; Peuster, Matthias; Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. pmu@gbf.de (2012-11)
      A small animal model was established to evaluate the potential of iron as a degradable implant material. After insertion into the tail of mice, the implants gradually degraded over a clinically relevant time period of several months. Histological analysis and gene expression data from whole-genome microarray analyses indicated a limited inflammatory reaction. No evidence of cellular responses to excess iron ions was detected, suggesting that the iron degradation products were metabolically inactive. Iron-rich compounds could be detected in the vicinity of the implant and in individual cells distant from the implantation site. These results demonstrate that the mouse model could be useful for the primary in vivo evaluation of novel implant materials and that iron degradation products can accumulate in diverse organs of the body.
    • VEGFR-3 is expressed on megakaryocyte precursors in the murine bone marrow and plays a regulatory role in megakaryopoiesis.

      Thiele, Wilko; Krishnan, Jaya; Rothley, Melanie; Weih, Debra; Plaumann, Diana; Kuch, Vanessa; Quagliata, Luca; Weich, Herbert A; Sleeman, Jonathan P; Universität Heidelberg, Medizinische Fakultät Mannheim, Mannheim, Germany; (2012-08-30)
      VEGFR-3 is a transmembrane receptor tyrosine kinase that is activated by its ligands VEGF-C and VEGF-D. Although VEGFR-3 has been linked primarily to the regulation of lymphangiogenesis, in the present study, we demonstrate a role for VEGFR-3 in megakaryopoiesis. Using a human erythroleukemia cell line and primary murine BM cells, we show that VEGFR-3 is expressed on megakaryocytic progenitor cells through to the promegakaryoblast stage. Functionally, specific activation of VEGFR-3 impaired the transition to polyploidy of CD41(+) cells in primary BM cultures. Blockade of VEGFR-3 promoted endoreplication consistently. In vivo, long-term activation or blockade of VEGFR-3 did not affect steady-state murine megakaryopoiesis or platelet counts significantly. However, activation of VEGFR-3 in sublethally irradiated mice resulted in significantly elevated numbers of CD41(+) cells in the BM and a significant increase in diploid CD41(+) cells, whereas the number of polyploid CD41(+) cells was reduced significantly. Moreover, activation of VEGFR-3 increased platelet counts in thrombopoietin-treated mice significantly and modulated 5-fluorouracil-induced thrombocytosis strongly, suggesting a regulatory role for VEGFR-3 in megakaryopoiesis.
    • Comparison of in vitro and in vivo protein release from hydrogel systems.

      Wöhl-Bruhn, Stefanie; Badar, Muhammad; Bertz, Andreas; Tiersch, Brigitte; Koetz, Joachim; Menzel, Henning; Mueller, Peter P; Bunjes, Heike; Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institute of Pharmaceutical Technology, Mendelssohnstraße 1, 38106 Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-08-20)
      Hydrogel systems based on hydroxyethyl starch-polyethylene glycol methacrylate (HES-P(EG)(6)MA) or hydroxyethyl starch methacrylate (HES-MA) were used to assess the protein release behavior. Here, we analyzed the in vitro release of FITC-anti-human antibodies incorporated in either HES-P(EG)(6)MA or HES-MA hydrogel delivery systems in PBS or human serum. In addition, hydrogel disks and microparticles prepared from the two polymers were subcutaneously implanted in BALB/c mice. The in vivo release of FITC-IgG was non-invasively monitored by an in vivo imaging system (IVIS 200) over a time period of up to 3 months. The imaging system allowed to asses individual animals over time, therefore only a small number of animals was required to obtain high quality data. The reduction in fluorescence intensity at the site of administration was compared to in vitro release profiles. These investigations demonstrated a sustained release from HES-MA hydrogel disks compared to rapidly degrading HES-P(EG)(6)MA disks and microparticles. The sustained release from HES-MA disks could be further optimized by using increased polymer concentrations. Human serum as in vitro release medium reflected better the in vivo release from HES-P(EG)(6)MA systems than PBS, suggesting that the presence of organic substances like proteins or lipids may play a significant role for the release kinetics.
    • Programmable bacterial catalysis - designing cells for biosynthesis of value-added compounds.

      Lam, Carolyn M C; Suárez Diez, María; Godinho, Miguel; Martins Dos Santos, Vítor A P; Systems and Synthetic Biology Group, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Inhoffenstraße 7, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany; Systems and Synthetic Biology, Wageningen University, Dreijenplein 10, Building number 316, 6703 HB Wageningen, The Netherlands. (2012-07-16)
      Bacteria have long been used for the synthesis of a wide range of useful proteins and compounds. The developments of new bioprocesses and improvements of existing strategies for syntheses of valuable products in various bacterial cell hosts have their own challenges and limitations. The field of synthetic biology has combined knowledge from different science and engineering disciplines and facilitated the advancement of novel biological components which has inspired the design of targeted biosynthesis. Here we discuss recent advances in synthetic biology with relevance to biosynthesis in bacteria and the applications of computational algorithms and tools for manipulation of cellular components. Continuous improvements are necessary to keep up with increasing demands in terms of complexity, scale, and predictability of biosynthesis products.
    • Random and cyclical deletion of large DNA segments in the genome of Pseudomonas putida.

      Leprince, Audrey; de Lorenzo, Víctor; Völler, Petra; van Passel, Mark W J; Martins dos Santos, Vitor A P; Systems and Synthetic Biology Group, Helmholtz-Centre for Infection Research, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-06)
      Cumulative site-directed mutagenesis is of limited suitability for the global analysis of the gene functions in the microbe's cellular network. In order to simplify and stabilize the genome of the soil bacterium Pseudomonas putida, we developed a recyclable three-step excision method based on the combination of customized mini-transposons and the FLP-FRT site-specific recombination system. To demonstrate the powerful potential of these tools, we first established insertion mutant libraries that allow users to study gene functions with respect either to phenotypic characteristics (single insertions) or to their involvement in predicted networks (double insertions). Based on these libraries, we generated as a proof-of-principle, single-deletion mutants lacking ~4.1% of the genome (~3.7% of the gene repertoire). A cyclical application of the method generated four double-deletion mutants of which a maximum of ~7.4% of the chromosome (~6.9% of the gene count) was excised. This procedure demonstrates a new strategy for rapid genome streamlining and gain of new insights into the molecular interactions and regulations.
    • Directing neuronal cell growth on implant material surfaces by microstructuring.

      Reich, Uta; Fadeeva, Elena; Warnecke, Athanasia; Paasche, Gerrit; Müller, Peter; Chichkov, Boris; Stöver, Timo; Lenarz, Thomas; Reuter, Günter; Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany. (2012-05)
      For best hearing sensation, electrodes of auditory prosthesis must have an optimal electrical contact to the respective neuronal cells. To improve the electrode-nerve interface, microstructuring of implant surfaces could guide neuronal cells toward the electrode contact. To this end, femtosecond laser ablation was used to generate linear microgrooves on the two currently relevant cochlear implant materials, silicone elastomer and platinum. Silicone surfaces were structured by two different methods, either directly, by laser ablation or indirectly, by imprinting using laser-microstructured molds. The influence of surface structuring on neurite outgrowth was investigated utilizing a neuronal-like cell line and primary auditory neurons. The pheochromocytoma cell line PC-12 and primary spiral ganglion cells were cultured on microstructured auditory implant materials. The orientation of neurite outgrowth relative to the microgrooves was determined. Both cell types showed a preferred orientation in parallel to the microstructures on both, platinum and on molded silicone elastomer. Interestingly, microstructures generated by direct laser ablation of silicone did not influence the orientation of either cell type. This shows that differences in the manufacturing procedures can affect the ability of microstructured implant surfaces to guide the growth of neurites. This is of particular importance for clinical applications, since the molding technique represents a reproducible, economic, and commercially feasible manufacturing procedure for the microstructured silicone surfaces of medical implants.
    • The metabolic response of P. putida KT2442 producing high levels of polyhydroxyalkanoate under single- and multiple-nutrient-limited growth: Highlights from a multi-level omics approach

      Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; Escapa, Isabel F; Jäger, Christian; Puchalka, Jacek; Chi Lam, Carolyn M; Schomburg, Dietmar; Prieto, María A; Martins dos Santos, Vítor A (2012-03-20)
      Abstract Background Pseudomonas putida KT2442 is a natural producer of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), which can substitute petroleum-based non-renewable plastics and form the basis for the production of tailor-made biopolymers. However, despite the substantial body of work on PHA production by P. putida strains, it is not yet clear how the bacterium re-arranges its whole metabolism when it senses the limitation of nitrogen and the excess of fatty acids as carbon source, to result in a large accumulation of PHAs within the cell. In the present study we investigated the metabolic response of KT2442 using a systems biology approach to highlight the differences between single- and multiple-nutrient-limited growth in chemostat cultures. Results We found that 26, 62, and 81% of the cell dry weight consist of PHA under conditions of carbon, dual, and nitrogen limitation, respectively. Under nitrogen limitation a specific PHA production rate of 0.43 (g·(g·h)-1) was obtained. The residual biomass was not constant for dual- and strict nitrogen-limiting growth, showing a different feature in comparison to other P. putida strains. Dual limitation resulted in patterns of gene expression, protein level, and metabolite concentrations that substantially differ from those observed under exclusive carbon or nitrogen limitation. The most pronounced differences were found in the energy metabolism, fatty acid metabolism, as well as stress proteins and enzymes belonging to the transport system. Conclusion This is the first study where the interrelationship between nutrient limitations and PHA synthesis has been investigated under well-controlled conditions using a system level approach. The knowledge generated will be of great assistance for the development of bioprocesses and further metabolic engineering work in this versatile organism to both enhance and diversify the industrial production of PHAs.
    • Industrial biotechnology of Pseudomonas putida and related species.

      Poblete-Castro, Ignacio; Becker, Judith; Dohnt, Katrin; dos Santos, Vitor Martins; Wittmann, Christoph; HZI-Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, Systems and Synthetic Biology, Braunschweig, Germany. (2012-03)
      Since their discovery many decades ago, Pseudomonas putida and related subspecies have been intensively studied with regard to their potential application in industrial biotechnology. Today, these Gram-negative soil bacteria, traditionally known as well-performing xenobiotic degraders, are becoming efficient cell factories for various products of industrial relevance including a full range of unnatural chemicals. This development is strongly driven by systems biotechnology, integrating systems metabolic engineering approaches with novel concepts from bioprocess engineering, including novel reactor designs and renewable feedstocks.
    • DNA methylation regulates expression of VEGF-R2 (KDR) and VEGF-R3 (FLT4)

      Quentmeier, Hilmar; Eberth, Sonja; Romani, Julia; Weich, Herbert A; Zaborski, Margarete; Drexler, Hans G (2012-01-17)
      Abstract Background Vascular Endothelial Growth Factors (VEGFs) and their receptors (VEGF-Rs) are important regulators for angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis. VEGFs and VEGF-Rs are not only expressed on endothelial cells but also on various subtypes of solid tumors and leukemias contributing to the growth of the malignant cells. This study was performed to examine whether VEGF-R2 (KDR) and VEGF-R3 (FLT4) are regulated by DNA methylation. Methods Real-time (RT) PCR analysis was performed to quantify KDR and FLT4 expression in some ninety leukemia/lymphoma cell lines, human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and dermal microvascular endothelial cells (HDMECs). Western blot analyses and flow cytometric analyses confirmed results at the protein level. After bisulfite conversion of DNA we determined the methylation status of KDR and FLT4 by DNA sequencing and by methylation specific PCR (MSP). Western blot analyses were performed to examine the effect of VEGF-C on p42/44 MAPK activation. Results Expression of KDR and FLT4 was observed in cell lines from various leukemic entities, but not in lymphoma cell lines: 16% (10/62) of the leukemia cell lines expressed KDR, 42% (27/65) were FLT4 positive. None of thirty cell lines representing six lymphoma subtypes showed more than marginal expression of KDR or FLT4. Western blot analyses confirmed KDR and FLT4 protein expression in HDMECs, HUVECs and in cell lines with high VEGF-R mRNA levels. Mature VEGF-C induced p42/44 MAPK activation in the KDR- /FLT4+ cell line OCI-AML1 verifying the model character of this cell line for VEGF-C signal transduction studies. Bisulfite sequencing and MSP revealed that GpG islands in the promoter regions of KDR and FLT4 were unmethylated in HUVECs, HDMECs and KDR + and FLT4 + cell lines, whereas methylated cell lines did not express these genes. In hypermethylated cell lines, KDR and FLT4 were re-inducible by treatment with the DNA demethylating agent 5-Aza-2'deoxycytidine, confirming epigenetic regulation of both genes. Conclusions Our data show that VEGF-Rs KDR and FLT4 are silenced by DNA methylation. However, if the promoters are unmethylated, other factors (e.g. transactivation factors) determine the extent of KDR and FLT4 expression.