Recent Submissions

  • The diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from the rhizosphere soil of Deschampsia antarctica (Galindez Island, Maritime Antarctic)

    Tistechok, Stepan; Skvortsova, Maryna; Mytsyk, Yuliia; Fedorenko, Victor; Parnikoza, Ivan; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; Gromyko, Oleksandr; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Springer, 2021-09-01)
    Antarctic actinobacteria, which can be isolated from both soils and marine sediments, demonstrate a wide range of antimicrobial activities as well as significant biosynthetic potential as the producers of biologically active compounds. However, the actinobacterial diversity of the Antarctic region has not yet been sufficiently studied. The present study sought to examine the diversity and antibacterial activity of culturable actinobacteria isolated from the rhizosphere soil of Deschampsia antarctica (É. Desv.), which was collected from Galindez Island, Maritime Antarctic. Among the actinobacteria isolated using a 16S rRNA gene sequence-based phylogenetic analysis process, five genera, namely Streptomyces, Micromonospora, Umezawaea, Kribbella and Micrococcus, were identified. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report to describe the isolation and initial characterisation of members of the genus Umezawaea from the Antarctic. The isolated actinobacteria were assayed to determine their activity against Gram-positive bacteria, Gram-negative bacteria and yeast. Among the isolated strains, only 30.2% were able to inhibit the growth of at least one of the tested pathogens. The polymerase chain reaction-based screening of the biosynthetic genes revealed the presence of type I polyketide synthases (65.1%), type II polyketide synthases (25.6%) and non-ribosomal peptide synthetases (9.3%) in the actinobacteria strains. The examination of the sensitivity/resistance to antibiotics profile of the actinobacteria strains revealed their high sensitivity in relation to the tested antibiotics. Taken together, the results showed that Antarctic actinobacteria demonstrate potential as the producers of natural bioactive compounds, which means that they represent a valuable prospect for further studies.
  • Towards the sustainable discovery and development of new antibiotics.

    Miethke, Marcus; Pieroni, Marco; Weber, Tilmann; Brönstrup, Mark; Hammann, Peter; Halby, Ludovic; Arimondo, Paola B; Glaser, Philippe; Aigle, Bertrand; Bode, Helge B; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-08-19)
    An ever-increasing demand for novel antimicrobials to treat life-threatening infections caused by the global spread of multidrug-resistant bacterial pathogens stands in stark contrast to the current level of investment in their development, particularly in the fields of natural-product-derived and synthetic small molecules. New agents displaying innovative chemistry and modes of action are desperately needed worldwide to tackle the public health menace posed by antimicrobial resistance. Here, our consortium presents a strategic blueprint to substantially improve our ability to discover and develop new antibiotics. We propose both short-term and long-term solutions to overcome the most urgent limitations in the various sectors of research and funding, aiming to bridge the gap between academic, industrial and political stakeholders, and to unite interdisciplinary expertise in order to efficiently fuel the translational pipeline for the benefit of future generations.
  • Rational construction of genome-reduced Burkholderiales chassis facilitates efficient heterologous production of natural products from proteobacteria.

    Liu, Jiaqi; Zhou, Haibo; Yang, Zhiyu; Wang, Xue; Chen, Hanna; Zhong, Lin; Zheng, Wentao; Niu, Weijing; Wang, Sen; Ren, Xiangmei; et al. (Nature publishing group, 2021-07-23)
    Heterologous expression of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) avails yield improvements and mining of natural products, but it is limited by lacking of more efficient Gram-negative chassis. The proteobacterium Schlegelella brevitalea DSM 7029 exhibits potential for heterologous BGC expression, but its cells undergo early autolysis, hindering further applications. Herein, we rationally construct DC and DT series genome-reduced S. brevitalea mutants by sequential deletions of endogenous BGCs and the nonessential genomic regions, respectively. The DC5 to DC7 mutants affect growth, while the DT series mutants show improved growth characteristics with alleviated cell autolysis. The yield improvements of six proteobacterial natural products and successful identification of chitinimides from Chitinimonas koreensis via heterologous expression in DT mutants demonstrate their superiority to wild-type DSM 7029 and two commonly used Gram-negative chassis Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas putida. Our study expands the panel of Gram-negative chassis and facilitates the discovery of natural products by heterologous expression.
  • Cyclofaulknamycin with the Rare Amino Acid D-capreomycidine Isolated from a Well-Characterized Strain.

    Horbal, Liliya; Stierhof, Marc; Palusczak, Anja; Eckert, Nikolas; Zapp, Josef; Luzhetskyy, Andriy N; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-07-28)
    Targeted genome mining is an efficient method of biosynthetic gene cluster prioritization within constantly growing genome databases. Using two capreomycidine biosynthesis genes, alpha-ketoglutarate-dependent arginine beta-hydroxylase and pyridoxal-phosphate-dependent aminotransferase, we identified two types of clusters: one type containing both genes involved in the biosynthesis of the abovementioned moiety, and other clusters including only arginine hydroxylase. Detailed analysis of one of the clusters, the flk cluster from Streptomyces albus, led to the identification of a cyclic peptide that contains a rare D-capreomycidine moiety for the first time. The absence of the pyridoxal-phosphate-dependent aminotransferase gene in the flk cluster is compensated by the XNR_1347 gene in the S. albus genome, whose product is responsible for biosynthesis of the abovementioned nonproteinogenic amino acid. Herein, we report the structure of cyclofaulknamycin and the characteristics of its biosynthetic gene cluster, biosynthesis and bioactivity profile.
  • Bonsecamin: A New Cyclic Pentapeptide Discovered through Heterologous Expression of a Cryptic Gene Cluster.

    Lasch, Constanze; Stierhof, Marc; Estévez, Marta Rodríguez; Myronovskyi, Maksym; Zapp, Josef; Luzhetskyy, Andriy N; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-07-31)
    The intriguing structural complexity of molecules produced by natural organisms is uncontested. Natural scaffolds serve as an important basis for the development of molecules with broad applications, e.g., therapeutics or agrochemicals. Research in recent decades has demonstrated that by means of classic metabolite extraction from microbes only a small portion of natural products can be accessed. The use of genome mining and heterologous expression approaches represents a promising way to discover new natural compounds. In this paper we report the discovery of a novel cyclic pentapeptide called bonsecamin through the heterologous expression of a cryptic NRPS gene cluster from Streptomyces albus ssp. chlorinus NRRL B-24108 in Streptomyces albus Del14. The new compound was successfully isolated and structurally characterized using NMR. The minimal set of genes required for bonsecamin production was determined through bioinformatic analysis and gene deletion experiments. A biosynthetic route leading to the production of bonsecamin is proposed in this paper.
  • Heterologous expression of bacterial natural product biosynthetic pathways.

    Huo, Liujie; Hug, Joachim J; Fu, Chengzhang; Bian, Xiaoying; Zhang, Youming; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2019-01-08)
    Covering: 2013 to June 2018 Heterologous expression of natural product biosynthetic pathways is of increasing interest in microbial biotechnology, drug discovery and optimization. It empowers not only the robust production of valuable biomolecules in more amenable heterologous hosts but also permits the generation of novel analogs through biosynthetic engineering. This strategy also facilitates the discovery of novel bioactive compounds following the functional expression of cryptic biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) from fastidious original producers or metagenomic DNA in surrogate hosts, thus facilitating genome mining in the post-genomic era. This review discusses recent advances and trends pertaining to the heterologous production of bacterial natural products, with an emphasis on new techniques, heterologous hosts, and novel chemistry since 2013.
  • Total Syntheses of Cystobactamids and Structural Confirmation of Cystobactamid 919-2.

    Cheng, Bichu; Müller, Rolf; Trauner, Dirk; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2017-08-30)
    The cystobactamids are a family of antibacterial natural products with unprecedented chemical scaffolds that are active against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens. Herein, we describe the first total synthesis of cystobactamid 919-2 from three fragments. Our convergent synthesis enabled both the confirmation of the correct structure and the determination of the absolute configuration of cystobactamid 919-2.
  • Novel Fredericamycin Variant Overproduced by a Streptomycin-resistant subsp. Strain.

    Rodríguez Estévez, Marta; Myronovskyi, Maksym; Rosenkränzer, Birgit; Paululat, Thomas; Petzke, Lutz; Ristau, Jeanette; Luzhetskyy, Andriy; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2020-05-28)
    Streptomycetes are an important source of natural products potentially applicable in the pharmaceutical industry. Many of these drugs are secondary metabolites whose biosynthetic genes are very often poorly expressed under laboratory cultivation conditions. In many cases, antibiotic-resistant mutants exhibit increased production of natural drugs, which facilitates the identification and isolation of new substances. In this study, we report the induction of a type II polyketide synthase gene cluster in the marine strain Streptomyces albus subsp. chlorinus through the selection of streptomycin-resistant mutants, resulting in overproduction of the novel compound fredericamycin C2 (1). Fredericamycin C2 (1) is structurally related to the potent antitumor drug lead fredericamycin A.
  • Insights into evolution and coexistence of the colibactin- and yersiniabactin secondary metabolite determinants in enterobacterial populations.

    Wami, Haleluya; Wallenstein, Alexander; Sauer, Daniel; Stoll, Monika; von Bünau, Rudolf; Oswald, Eric; Müller, Rolf; Dobrindt, Ulrich; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Microbiology Society, 2021-06-15)
    The bacterial genotoxin colibactin interferes with the eukaryotic cell cycle by causing dsDNA breaks. It has been linked to bacterially induced colorectal cancer in humans. Colibactin is encoded by a 54 kb genomic region in Enterobacteriaceae. The colibactin genes commonly co-occur with the yersiniabactin biosynthetic determinant. Investigating the prevalence and sequence diversity of the colibactin determinant and its linkage to the yersiniabactin operon in prokaryotic genomes, we discovered mainly species-specific lineages of the colibactin determinant and classified three main structural settings of the colibactin-yersiniabactin genomic region in Enterobacteriaceae. The colibactin gene cluster has a similar but not identical evolutionary track to that of the yersiniabactin operon. Both determinants could have been acquired on several occasions and/or exchanged independently between enterobacteria by horizontal gene transfer. Integrative and conjugative elements play(ed) a central role in the evolution and structural diversity of the colibactin-yersiniabactin genomic region. Addition of an activating and regulating module (clbAR) to the biosynthesis and transport module (clbB-S) represents the most recent step in the evolution of the colibactin determinant. In a first attempt to correlate colibactin expression with individual lineages of colibactin determinants and different bacterial genetic backgrounds, we compared colibactin expression of selected enterobacterial isolates in vitro. Colibactin production in the tested Klebsiella species and Citrobacter koseri strains was more homogeneous and generally higher than that in most of the Escherichia coli isolates studied. Our results improve the understanding of the diversity of colibactin determinants and its expression level, and may contribute to risk assessment of colibactin-producing enterobacteria.
  • Zebrafish: An Attractive Model to Study Staphylococcus aureus Infection and Its Use as a Drug Discovery Tool.

    Rasheed, Sari; Fries, Franziska; Müller, Rolf; Herrmann, Jennifer; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-21)
    Non-mammalian in vivo disease models are particularly popular in early drug discovery. Zebrafish (Danio rerio) is an attractive vertebrate model, the success of which is driven by several advantages, such as the optical transparency of larvae, the small and completely sequenced genome, the small size of embryos and larvae enabling high-throughput screening, and low costs. In this review, we highlight zebrafish models of Staphyloccoccus aureus infection, which are used in drug discovery and for studying disease pathogenesis and virulence. Further, these infection models are discussed in the context of other relevant zebrafish models for pharmacological and toxicological studies as part of early drug profiling. In addition, we examine key differences to commonly applied models of S.aureus infection based on invertebrate organisms, and we compare their frequency of use in academic research covering the period of January 2011 to January 2021.
  • Discovery and Heterologous Production of New Cyclic Depsibosamycins.

    Stierhof, Marc; Myronovskyi, Maksym; Zapp, Josef; Luzhetskyy, Andriy N; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (MDPI, 2021-06-28)
    Streptomyces are producers of valuable secondary metabolites with unique scaffolds that perform a plethora of biological functions. Nonribosomal peptides are of special interest due to their variety and complexity. They are synthesized by nonribosomal peptide synthetases, large biosynthetic machineries that are encoded in the genome of many Streptomyces species. The identification of new peptides and the corresponding biosynthetic gene clusters is of major interest since knowledge can be used to facilitate combinatorial biosynthesis and chemical semisynthesis of natural products. The recently discovered bosamycins are linear octapeptides with an interesting 5-OMe tyrosine moiety and various modifications at the N-terminus. In this study, the new cyclic depsibosamycins B, C, and D from Streptomyces aurantiacus LU19075 were discovered. In comparison to the linear bosamycins B, C, and D, which were also produced by the strain, the cyclic depsibosamycins showed a side-chain-to-tail lactonization of serine and glycine, leading to a ring of four amino acids. In silico identification and heterologous expression of the depsibosamycin (dbm) gene cluster indicated that the cyclic peptides, rather than the linear derivatives, are the main products of the cluster.
  • Characterization of the Stereoselective P450 Enzyme BotCYP Enables the Biosynthesis of the Bottromycin Core Scaffold.

    Adam, Sebastian; Franz, Laura; Milhim, Mohammed; Bernhardt, Rita; Kalinina, Olga V; Koehnke, Jesko; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (American Chemical Society, 2020-11-28)
    Bottromycins are ribosomally synthesized and post-translationally modified peptide natural product antibiotics that are effective against high-priority human pathogens such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. The total synthesis of bottromycins involves at least 17 steps, with a poor overall yield. Here, we report the characterization of the cytochrome P450 enzyme BotCYP from a bottromycin biosynthetic gene cluster. We determined the structure of a close BotCYP homolog and used our data to conduct the first large-scale survey of P450 enzymes associated with RiPP biosynthetic gene clusters. We demonstrate that BotCYP converts a C-terminal thiazoline to a thiazole via an oxidative decarboxylation reaction and provides stereochemical resolution for the pathway. Our data enable the two-pot in vitro production of the bottromycin core scaffold and may allow the rapid generation of bottromycin analogues for compound development.
  • Synergizing the potential of bacterial genomics and metabolomics to find novel antibiotics.

    Panter, Fabian; Bader, Chantal D; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Royal Society of Chemistry, 2021-03-29)
    Antibiotic development based on natural products has faced a long lasting decline since the 1970s, while both the speed and the extent of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) development have been severely underestimated. The discovery of antimicrobial natural products of bacterial and fungal origin featuring new chemistry and previously unknown mode of actions is increasingly challenged by rediscovery issues. Natural products that are abundantly produced by the corresponding wild type organisms often featuring strong UV signals have been extensively characterized, especially the ones produced by extensively screened microbial genera such as streptomycetes. Purely synthetic chemistry approaches aiming to replace the declining supply from natural products as starting materials to develop novel antibiotics largely failed to provide significant numbers of antibiotic drug leads. To cope with this fundamental issue, microbial natural products science is being transformed from a 'grind-and-find' study to an integrated approach based on bacterial genomics and metabolomics. Novel technologies in instrumental analytics are increasingly employed to lower detection limits and expand the space of detectable substance classes, while broadening the scope of accessible and potentially bioactive natural products. Furthermore, the almost exponential increase in publicly available bacterial genome data has shown that the biosynthetic potential of the investigated strains by far exceeds the amount of detected metabolites. This can be judged by the discrepancy between the number of biosynthetic gene clusters (BGC) encoded in the genome of each microbial strain and the number of secondary metabolites actually detected, even when considering the increased sensitivity provided by novel analytical instrumentation. In silico annotation tools for biosynthetic gene cluster classification and analysis allow fast prioritization in BGC-to-compound workflows, which is highly important to be able to process the enormous underlying data volumes. BGC prioritization is currently accompanied by novel molecular biology-based approaches to access the so-called orphan BGCs not yet correlated with a secondary metabolite. Integration of metabolomics, in silico genomics and molecular biology approaches into the mainstream of natural product research will critically influence future success and impact the natural product field in pharmaceutical, nutritional and agrochemical applications and especially in anti-infective research.
  • Human IFITM3 restricts chikungunya virus and Mayaro virus infection and is susceptible to virus-mediated counteraction.

    Franz, Sergej; Pott, Fabian; Zillinger, Thomas; Schüler, Christiane; Dapa, Sandra; Fischer, Carlo; Passos, Vânia; Stenzel, Saskia; Chen, Fangfang; Döhner, Katinka; et al. (Life Science Alliance, 2021-06-02)
    Interferon-induced transmembrane (IFITM) proteins restrict membrane fusion and virion internalization of several enveloped viruses. The role of IFITM proteins during alphaviral infection of human cells and viral counteraction strategies are insufficiently understood. Here, we characterized the impact of human IFITMs on the entry and spread of chikungunya virus and Mayaro virus and provide first evidence for a CHIKV-mediated antagonism of IFITMs. IFITM1, 2, and 3 restricted infection at the level of alphavirus glycoprotein-mediated entry, both in the context of direct infection and cell-to-cell transmission. Relocalization of normally endosomal IFITM3 to the plasma membrane resulted in loss of antiviral activity. rs12252-C, a naturally occurring variant of IFITM3 that may associate with severe influenza in humans, restricted CHIKV, MAYV, and influenza A virus infection as efficiently as wild-type IFITM3 Antivirally active IFITM variants displayed reduced cell surface levels in CHIKV-infected cells involving a posttranscriptional process mediated by one or several nonstructural protein(s) of CHIKV. Finally, IFITM3-imposed reduction of specific infectivity of nascent particles provides a rationale for the necessity of a virus-encoded counteraction strategy against this restriction factor.
  • Structure-Activity Relationship and Mode-of-Action Studies Highlight 1-(4-Biphenylylmethyl)-1H-imidazole-Derived Small Molecules as Potent CYP121 Inhibitors.

    Walter, Isabell; Adam, Sebastian; Gentilini, Maria Virginia; Kany, Andreas M; Brengel, Christian; Thomann, Andreas; Sparwasser, Tim; Köhnke, Jesko; Hartmann, Rolf W; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany.; TWINCORE, Zentrum für experimentelle und klinische Infektionsforschung GmbH,Feodor-Lynen Str. 7, 30625 Hannover, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-05-19)
    CYP121 of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is an essential target for the development of novel potent drugs against tuberculosis (TB). Besides known antifungal azoles, further compounds of the azole class were recently identified as CYP121 inhibitors with antimycobacterial activity. Herein, we report the screening of a similarity-oriented library based on the former hit compound, the evaluation of affinity toward CYP121, and activity against M. bovis BCG. The results enabled a comprehensive SAR study, which was extended through the synthesis of promising compounds and led to the identification of favorable features for affinity and/or activity and hit compounds with 2.7-fold improved potency. Mode of action studies show that the hit compounds inhibit substrate conversion and highlighted CYP121 as the main antimycobacterial target of our compounds. Exemplified complex crystal structures of CYP121 with three inhibitors reveal a common binding site. Engaging in both hydrophobic interactions as well as hydrogen bonding to the sixth iron ligand, our compounds block a solvent channel leading to the active site heme. Additionally, we report the first CYP inhibitors that are able to reduce the intracellular replication of M. bovis BCG in macrophages, emphasizing their potential as future drug candidates against TB.
  • Leader peptide exchange to produce hybrid, new-to-nature ribosomal natural products.

    Franz, Laura; Koehnke, Jesko; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (RSC, 2021-05-24)
    Ribosomal natural products contain exquisite post-translational peptide modifications that are installed by a range of pathway-specific enzymes. We present proof of principle for a Sortase A-based approach that enables peptide modification by enzymes from unrelated pathways. This allowed the one-pot synthesis of a new-to-nature, hybrid ribosomal natural product.
  • Structure and biosynthesis of sorangipyranone - a new γ-dihydropyrone from the myxobacterial strain MSr12020.

    Okoth, Dorothy A; Hug, Joachim J; Mándi, Attila; Kurtán, Tibor; Garcia, Ronald; Müller, Rolf; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2021-05-18)
    Sorangipyranone was isolated as a novel natural product featuring a unique 2,3-dihydro-γ-4H-pyrone scaffold from cultures of the myxobacterial strain MSr12020. We report here the full structure elucidation of sorangipyranone by spectroscopic techniques including 2D NMR and high-resolution mass spectrometry together with the analysis of the biosynthetic pathway. Determination of the absolute configuration was performed by time-dependent density functional theory-electronic circular dichroism calculations and determination of the applicability of the Snatzke's helicity rule, to correlate the high-wavelength n→π* electronic circular dichroism (ECD) transition and the absolute configuration of the 2,3-dihydro-4H-γ-pyrone, was done by the analysis of low-energy conformers and the Kohn-Sham orbitals. Sorangipyranone outlines a new class of a γ-dihydropyrone-containing natural product comprised of malonyl-CoA-derived building blocks and features a unique polyketide scaffold. In silico analysis of the genome sequence of the myxobacterial strain MSr12020 complemented with feeding experiments employing stable isotope-labeled precursors allowed the identification and annotation of a candidate biosynthetic gene cluster that encodes a modular polyketide synthase assembly line. A model for the biosynthetic pathway leading to the formation of the γ-dihydropyrone scaffold is presented in this study.
  • An extended catalogue of tandem alternative splice sites in human tissue transcriptomes.

    Mironov, Aleksei; Denisov, Stepan; Gress, Alexander; Kalinina, Olga V; Pervouchine, Dmitri D; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (PLOS, 2021-04-07)
    Tandem alternative splice sites (TASS) is a special class of alternative splicing events that are characterized by a close tandem arrangement of splice sites. Most TASS lack functional characterization and are believed to arise from splicing noise. Based on the RNA-seq data from the Genotype Tissue Expression project, we present an extended catalogue of TASS in healthy human tissues and analyze their tissue-specific expression. The expression of TASS is usually dominated by one major splice site (maSS), while the expression of minor splice sites (miSS) is at least an order of magnitude lower. Among 46k miSS with sufficient read support, 9k (20%) are significantly expressed above the expected noise level, and among them 2.5k are expressed tissue-specifically. We found significant correlations between tissue-specific expression of RNA-binding proteins (RBP), tissue-specific expression of miSS, and miSS response to RBP inactivation by shRNA. In combination with RBP profiling by eCLIP, this allowed prediction of novel cases of tissue-specific splicing regulation including a miSS in QKI mRNA that is likely regulated by PTBP1. The analysis of human primary cell transcriptomes suggested that both tissue-specific and cell-type-specific factors contribute to the regulation of miSS expression. More than 20% of tissue-specific miSS affect structured protein regions and may adjust protein-protein interactions or modify the stability of the protein core. The significantly expressed miSS evolve under the same selection pressure as maSS, while other miSS lack signatures of evolutionary selection and conservation. Using mixture models, we estimated that not more than 15% of maSS and not more than 54% of tissue-specific miSS are noisy, while the proportion of noisy splice sites among non-significantly expressed miSS is above 63%.
  • Search for the Active Ingredients from a 2-Aminothiazole DMSO Stock Solution with Antimalarial Activity.

    Ropponen, Henni-Karoliina; Bader, Chantal D; Diamanti, Eleonora; Illarionov, Boris; Rottmann, Matthias; Fischer, Markus; Witschel, Matthias; Müller, Rolf; Hirsch, Anna K H; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Wiley-VCH, 2021-04-12)
    Chemical decomposition of DMSO stock solutions is a common incident that can mislead biological screening campaigns. Here, we share our case study of 2-aminothiazole 1, originating from an antimalarial class that undergoes chemical decomposition in DMSO at room temperature. As previously measured biological activities observed against Plasmodium falciparum NF54 and for the target enzyme PfIspE were not reproducible for a fresh batch, we tackled the challenge to understand where the activity originated from. Solvent- and temperature-dependent studies using HRMS and NMR spectroscopy to monitor the decomposition led to the isolation and in vitro evaluation of several fractions against PfIspE. After four days of decomposition, we successfully isolated the oxygenated and dimerised compounds using SFC purification and correlated the observed activities to them. Due to the unstable nature of the two isolates, it is likely that they undergo further decomposition contributing to the overall instability of the compound.
  • miRMaster 2.0: multi-species non-coding RNA sequencing analyses at scale.

    Fehlmann, Tobias; Kern, Fabian; Laham, Omar; Backes, Christina; Solomon, Jeffrey; Hirsch, Pascal; Volz, Carsten; Müller, Rolf; Keller, Andreas; HIPS, Helmholtz-Institut für Pharmazeutische Forschung Saarland, Universitätscampus E8.1 66123 Saarbrücken, Germany. (Oxford University Press, 2021-04-19)
    Analyzing all features of small non-coding RNA sequencing data can be demanding and challenging. To facilitate this process, we developed miRMaster. After the analysis of over 125 000 human samples and 1.5 trillion human small RNA reads over 4 years, we present miRMaster 2 with a wide range of updates and new features. We extended our reference data sets so that miRMaster 2 now supports the analysis of eight species (e.g. human, mouse, chicken, dog, cow) and 10 non-coding RNA classes (e.g. microRNAs, piRNAs, tRNAs, rRNAs, circRNAs). We also incorporated new downstream analysis modules such as batch effect analysis or sample embeddings using UMAP, and updated annotation data bases included by default (miRBase, Ensembl, GtRNAdb). To accommodate the increasing popularity of single cell small-RNA sequencing data, we incorporated a module for unique molecular identifier (UMI) processing. Further, the output tables and graphics have been improved based on user feedback and new output formats that emerged in the community are now supported (e.g. miRGFF3). Finally, we integrated differential expression analysis with the miRNA enrichment analysis tool miEAA. miRMaster is freely available at

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