• Fibroblast GATA-4 and GATA-6 promote myocardial adaptation to pressure overload by enhancing cardiac angiogenesis.

      Dittrich, Gesine M; Froese, Natali; Wang, Xue; Kroeger, Hannah; Wang, Honghui; Szaroszyk, Malgorzata; Malek-Mohammadi, Mona; Cordero, Julio; Keles, Merve; Korf-Klingebiel, Mortimer; et al. (Springer Nature, 2021-04-19)
      Heart failure due to high blood pressure or ischemic injury remains a major problem for millions of patients worldwide. Despite enormous advances in deciphering the molecular mechanisms underlying heart failure progression, the cell-type specific adaptations and especially intercellular signaling remain poorly understood. Cardiac fibroblasts express high levels of cardiogenic transcription factors such as GATA-4 and GATA-6, but their role in fibroblasts during stress is not known. Here, we show that fibroblast GATA-4 and GATA-6 promote adaptive remodeling in pressure overload induced cardiac hypertrophy. Using a mouse model with specific single or double deletion of Gata4 and Gata6 in stress activated fibroblasts, we found a reduced myocardial capillarization in mice with Gata4/6 double deletion following pressure overload, while single deletion of Gata4 or Gata6 had no effect. Importantly, we confirmed the reduced angiogenic response using an in vitro co-culture system with Gata4/6 deleted cardiac fibroblasts and endothelial cells. A comprehensive RNA-sequencing analysis revealed an upregulation of anti-angiogenic genes upon Gata4/6 deletion in fibroblasts, and siRNA mediated downregulation of these genes restored endothelial cell growth. In conclusion, we identified a novel role for the cardiogenic transcription factors GATA-4 and GATA-6 in heart fibroblasts, where both proteins act in concert to promote myocardial capillarization and heart function by directing intercellular crosstalk.
    • FMNL2 drives actin-based protrusion and migration downstream of Cdc42.

      Block, Jennifer; Breitsprecher, Dennis; Kühn, Sonja; Winterhoff, Moritz; Kage, Frieda; Geffers, Robert; Duwe, Patrick; Rohn, Jennifer L; Baum, Buzz; Brakebusch, Cord; et al. (2012-06-05)
      Cell migration entails protrusion of lamellipodia, densely packed networks of actin filaments at the cell front. Filaments are generated by nucleation, likely mediated by Arp2/3 complex and its activator Scar/WAVE. It is unclear whether formins contribute to lamellipodial actin filament nucleation or serve as elongators of filaments nucleated by Arp2/3 complex. Here we show that the Diaphanous-related formin FMNL2, also known as FRL3 or FHOD2, accumulates at lamellipodia and filopodia tips. FMNL2 is cotranslationally modified by myristoylation and regulated by interaction with the Rho-guanosine triphosphatase Cdc42. Abolition of myristoylation or Cdc42 binding interferes with proper FMNL2 activation, constituting an essential prerequisite for subcellular targeting. In vitro, C-terminal FMNL2 drives elongation rather than nucleation of actin filaments in the presence of profilin. In addition, filament ends generated by Arp2/3-mediated branching are captured and efficiently elongated by the formin. Consistent with these biochemical properties, RNAi-mediated silencing of FMNL2 expression decreases the rate of lamellipodia protrusion and, accordingly, the efficiency of cell migration. Our data establish that the FMNL subfamily member FMNL2 is a novel elongation factor of actin filaments that constitutes the first Cdc42 effector promoting cell migration and actin polymerization at the tips of lamellipodia.
    • From Human Monocytes to Genome-Wide Binding Sites - A Protocol for Small Amounts of Blood: Monocyte Isolation/ChIP-Protocol/Library Amplification/Genome Wide Computational Data Analysis.

      Weiterer, Sebastian; Uhle, Florian; Bhuju, Sabin; Jarek, Michael; Weigand, Markus A; Bartkuhn, Marek (2014)
      Chromatin immunoprecipitation in combination with a genome-wide analysis via high-throughput sequencing is the state of the art method to gain genome-wide representation of histone modification or transcription factor binding profiles. However, chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis in the context of human experimental samples is limited, especially in the case of blood cells. The typically extremely low yields of precipitated DNA are usually not compatible with library amplification for next generation sequencing. We developed a highly reproducible protocol to present a guideline from the first step of isolating monocytes from a blood sample to analyse the distribution of histone modifications in a genome-wide manner. Conclusion: The protocol describes the whole work flow from isolating monocytes from human blood samples followed by a high-sensitivity and small-scale chromatin immunoprecipitation assay with guidance for generating libraries compatible with next generation sequencing from small amounts of immunoprecipitated DNA.
    • A functional insulator screen identifies NURF and dREAM components to be required for enhancer-blocking.

      Bohla, Dorte; Herold, Martin; Panzer, Imke; Buxa, Melanie K; Ali, Tamer; Demmers, Jeroen; Krüger, Marcus; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Bartkuhn, Marek; et al. (2014)
      Chromatin insulators of higher eukaryotes functionally divide the genome into active and inactive domains. Furthermore, insulators regulate enhancer/promoter communication, which is evident from the Drosophila bithorax locus in which a multitude of regulatory elements control segment specific gene activity. Centrosomal protein 190 (CP190) is targeted to insulators by CTCF or other insulator DNA-binding factors. Chromatin analyses revealed that insulators are characterized by open and nucleosome depleted regions. Here, we wanted to identify chromatin modification and remodelling factors required for an enhancer blocking function. We used the well-studied Fab-8 insulator of the bithorax locus to apply a genome-wide RNAi screen for factors that contribute to the enhancer blocking function of CTCF and CP190. Among 78 genes required for optimal Fab-8 mediated enhancer blocking, all four components of the NURF complex as well as several subunits of the dREAM complex were most evident. Mass spectrometric analyses of CTCF or CP190 bound proteins as well as immune precipitation confirmed NURF and dREAM binding. Both co-localise with most CP190 binding sites in the genome and chromatin immune precipitation showed that CP190 recruits NURF and dREAM. Nucleosome occupancy and histone H3 binding analyses revealed that CP190 mediated NURF binding results in nucleosomal depletion at CP190 binding sites. Thus, we conclude that CP190 binding to CTCF or to other DNA binding insulator factors mediates recruitment of NURF and dREAM. Furthermore, the enhancer blocking function of insulators is associated with nucleosomal depletion and requires NURF and dREAM.
    • FurA contributes to the oxidative stress response regulation of Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis.

      Eckelt, Elke; Meißner, Thorsten; Meens, Jochen; Laarmann, Kristin; Nerlich, Andreas; Jarek, Michael; Weiss, Siegfried; Gerlach, Gerald-F; Goethe, Ralph; HZI-Helmholzzentrum für Infektionsforschung (2015)
      The ferric uptake regulator A (FurA) is known to be involved in iron homeostasis and stress response in many bacteria. In mycobacteria the precise role of FurA is still unclear. In the presented study, we addressed the functional role of FurA in the ruminant pathogen Mycobacterium avium ssp. paratuberculosis (MAP) by construction of a furA deletion strain (MAPΔfurA). RNA deep sequencing revealed that the FurA regulon consists of repressed and activated genes associated to stress response or intracellular survival. Not a single gene related to metal homeostasis was affected by furA deletion. A decisive role of FurA during intracellular survival in macrophages was shown by significantly enhanced survival of MAPΔfurA compared to the wildtype, indicating that a principal task of mycobacterial FurA is oxidative stress response regulation in macrophages. This resistance was not associated with altered survival of mice after long term infection with MAP. Our results demonstrate for the first time, that mycobacterial FurA is not involved in the regulation of iron homeostasis. However, they provide strong evidence that FurA contributes to intracellular survival as an oxidative stress sensing regulator.
    • Gene expression profiling of macrophages: implications for an immunosuppressive effect of dissolucytotic gold ions

      Seifert, Oliver; Matussek, Andreas; Sjögren, Florence; Geffers, Robert; Anderson, Chris D (2012-11-09)
      Abstract Background Gold salts has previously been used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis but have been replaced by biologicals such as TNF-α inhibitors. The mechanisms behind the anti-inflammatory effect of metallic gold ions are still unknown, however, recent data showed that charged gold atoms are released from pure metallic gold implants by macrophages via a dissolucytosis membrane, and that gold ions are taken up by local macrophages, mast cells and to some extent fibroblasts. These findings open the question of possible immunomodulatory effects of metallic gold and motivate efforts on a deeper understanding of the effect of metallic gold on key inflammatory cells as macrophages. Methods Human macrophage cells (cell line THP-1) were grown on gold foils and intracellular uptake was analysed by autometallography. The impact of phagocytised gold ions on viability of THP-1 cells was investigated by trypan blue staining and TUNEL assay. The global gene expression profile of THP-1 cells after incorporation of gold ions was studied using microarray analysis comprising approximately 20,000 genes. The gene expression data was confirmed by measurement of secreted proteins. Results Autometallography showed intracellular uptake of gold ions into THP-1 cells. No significant effect on viability of THP-1 cells was demonstrated. Our data revealed a unique gene expression signature of dissolucytotic THP-1 cells that had taken up gold ions. A large number of regulated genes were functionally related to immunomodulation. Gold ion uptake induced downregulation of genes involved in rheumatoid arthritis such as hepatocyte growth factor, tenascin-C, inhibitor of DNA binding 1 and 3 and matrix metalloproteinase 13. Conclusion The data obtained in this study offer new insights into the mode of action of gold ions and suggest for the investigation of effects on other key cells and a possible future role of metallic gold as implants in rheumatoid arthritis or other inflammatory conditions.
    • Genetic determinants of Pseudomonas aeruginosa fitness during biofilm growth.

      Schinner, Silvia; Engelhardt, Florian; Preusse, Matthias; Thöming, Janne Gesine; Tomasch, Jürgen; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Elsevier, 2020-04-02)
      Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an environmental bacterium and an opportunistic human pathogen. It is also a well-established model organism to study bacterial adaptation to stressful conditions, such as those encountered during an infection process in the human host. Advancing knowledge on P. aeruginosa adaptation to biofilm growth conditions is bound to reveal novel strategies and targets for the treatment of chronic biofilm-associated infections. Here, we generated transposon insertion libraries in three P. aeruginosa strain backgrounds and determined the relative frequency of each insertion following biofilm growth using transposon sequencing. We demonstrate that in general the SOS response, several tRNA modifying enzymes as well as adaptation to microaerophilic growth conditions play a key role in bacterial survival under biofilm growth conditions. On the other hand, presence of genes involved in motility and PQS signaling were less important during biofilm growth. Several mutants exhibiting transposon insertions in genes detected in our screen were validated for their biofilm growth capabilities and biofilm specific transcriptional responses using independently generated transposon mutants. Our results provide new insights into P. aeruginosa adaptation to biofilm growth conditions. The detection of previously unknown determinants of biofilm survival supports the use of transposon insertion sequencing as a global genomic technology for understanding the establishment of difficult to treat biofilm-associated infections.
    • Genetically diverse Pseudomonas aeruginosa populations display similar transcriptomic profiles in a cystic fibrosis explanted lung.

      Kordes, Adrian; Preusse, Matthias; Willger, Sven D; Braubach, Peter; Jonigk, Danny; Haverich, Axel; Warnecke, Gregor; Häussler, Susanne; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Springer-Nature, 2019-07-30)
      Previous studies have demonstrated substantial genetic diversification of Pseudomonas aeruginosa across sub-compartments in cystic fibrosis (CF) lungs. Here, we isolate P. aeruginosa from five different sampling areas in the upper and lower airways of an explanted CF lung, analyze ex vivo transcriptional profiles by RNA-seq, and use colony re-sequencing and deep population sequencing to determine the genetic diversity within and across the various sub-compartments. We find that, despite genetic variation, the ex vivo transcriptional profiles of P. aeruginosa populations inhabiting different regions of the CF lung are similar. Although we cannot estimate the extent to which the transcriptional response recorded here actually reflects the in vivo transcriptomes, our results indicate that there may be a common in vivo transcriptional profile in the CF lung environment.
    • Genome Sequence of Strain MOLA814, a Proteorhodopsin-Containing Representative of the Betaproteobacteria Common in the Ocean.

      Courties, Alicia; Riedel, Thomas; Jarek, Michael; Intertaglia, Laurent; Lebaron, Philippe; Suzuki, Marcelino T; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013-12-19)
      Strain MOLA814 is a marine betaproteobacterium that was isolated from seawater in the Beaufort Sea. Here, we present its genome sequence and annotation. Genome analysis revealed the presence of a proteorhodopsin-encoding sequence together with its retinal-producing pathway, indicating that this strain might generate energy by using light.
    • Genome sequence of the thermophilic strain Bacillus coagulans 2-6, an efficient producer of high-optical-purity L-lactic acid.

      Su, Fei; Yu, Bo; Sun, Jibin; Ou, Hong-Yu; Zhao, Bo; Wang, Limin; Qin, Jiayang; Tang, Hongzhi; Tao, Fei; Jarek, Michael; et al. (2011-09)
      Bacillus coagulans 2-6 is an efficient producer of lactic acid. The genome of B. coagulans 2-6 has the smallest genome among the members of the genus Bacillus known to date. The frameshift mutation at the start of the d-lactate dehydrogenase sequence might be responsible for the production of high-optical-purity l-lactic acid.
    • Genome-wide localization and expression profiling establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific transcription factor regulating vitally important genes.

      Terrados, Gloria; Finkernagel, Florian; Stielow, Bastian; Sadic, Dennis; Neubert, Juliane; Herdt, Olga; Krause, Michael; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Suske, Guntram; et al. (2012-09)
      The transcription factor Sp2 is essential for early mouse development and for proliferation of mouse embryonic fibroblasts in culture. Yet its mechanisms of action and its target genes are largely unknown. In this study, we have combined RNA interference, in vitro DNA binding, chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing and global gene-expression profiling to investigate the role of Sp2 for cellular functions, to define target sites and to identify genes regulated by Sp2. We show that Sp2 is important for cellular proliferation that it binds to GC-boxes and occupies proximal promoters of genes essential for vital cellular processes including gene expression, replication, metabolism and signalling. Moreover, we identified important key target genes and cellular pathways that are directly regulated by Sp2. Most significantly, Sp2 binds and activates numerous sequence-specific transcription factor and co-activator genes, and represses the whole battery of cholesterol synthesis genes. Our results establish Sp2 as a sequence-specific regulator of vitally important genes.
    • Genome-Wide Sequencing Reveals MicroRNAs Downregulated in Cerebral Cavernous Malformations.

      Kar, Souvik; Bali, Kiran Kumar; Baisantry, Arpita; Geffers, Robert; Samii, Amir; Bertalanffy, Helmut; Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr.7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2017-02)
      Cerebral cavernous malformations (CCM) are vascular lesions associated with loss-of-function mutations in one of the three genes encoding KRIT1 (CCM1), CCM2, and PDCD10. Recent understanding of the molecular mechanisms that lead to CCM development is limited. The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) has been demonstrated in vascular pathologies resulting in loss of tight junction proteins, increased vascular permeability and endothelial cell dysfunction. Since the relevance of miRNAs in CCM pathophysiology has not been elucidated, the primary aim of the study was to identify the miRNA-mRNA expression network associated with CCM. Using small RNA sequencing, we identified a total of 764 matured miRNAs expressed in CCM patients compared to the healthy brains. The expression of the selected miRNAs was validated by qRT-PCR, and the results were found to be consistent with the sequencing data. Upon application of additional statistical stringency, five miRNAs (let-7b-5p, miR-361-5p, miR-370-3p, miR-181a-2-3p, and miR-95-3p) were prioritized to be top CCM-relevant miRNAs. Further in silico analyses revealed that the prioritized miRNAs have a direct functional relation with mRNAs, such as MIB1, HIF1A, PDCD10, TJP1, OCLN, HES1, MAPK1, VEGFA, EGFL7, NF1, and ENG, which are previously characterized as key regulators of CCM pathology. To date, this is the first study to investigate the role of miRNAs in CCM pathology. By employing cutting edge molecular and in silico analyses on clinical samples, the current study reports global miRNA expression changes in CCM patients and provides a rich source of data set to understand detailed molecular machinery involved in CCM pathophysiology.
    • Genomewide analyses define different modes of transcriptional regulation by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-β/δ (PPARβ/δ).

      Adhikary, Till; Kaddatz, Kerstin; Finkernagel, Florian; Schönbauer, Anne; Meissner, Wolfgang; Scharfe, Maren; Jarek, Michael; Blöcker, Helmut; Müller-Brüsselbach, Sabine; Müller, Rolf; et al. (2011)
      Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are nuclear receptors with essential functions in lipid, glucose and energy homeostasis, cell differentiation, inflammation and metabolic disorders, and represent important drug targets. PPARs heterodimerize with retinoid X receptors (RXRs) and can form transcriptional activator or repressor complexes at specific DNA elements (PPREs). It is believed that the decision between repression and activation is generally governed by a ligand-mediated switch. We have performed genomewide analyses of agonist-treated and PPARβ/δ-depleted human myofibroblasts to test this hypothesis and to identify global principles of PPARβ/δ-mediated gene regulation. Chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (ChIP-Seq) of PPARβ/δ, H3K4me3 and RNA polymerase II enrichment sites combined with transcriptional profiling enabled the definition of 112 bona fide PPARβ/δ target genes showing either of three distinct types of transcriptional response: (I) ligand-independent repression by PPARβ/δ; (II) ligand-induced activation and/or derepression by PPARβ/δ; and (III) ligand-independent activation by PPARβ/δ. These data identify PPRE-mediated repression as a major mechanism of transcriptional regulation by PPARβ/δ, but, unexpectedly, also show that only a subset of repressed genes are activated by a ligand-mediated switch. Our results also suggest that the type of transcriptional response by a given target gene is connected to the structure of its associated PPRE(s) and the biological function of its encoded protein. These observations have important implications for understanding the regulatory PPAR network and PPARβ/δ ligand-based drugs.
    • A Genomic Approach to Resolving Relapse versus Reinfection among Four Cases of Buruli Ulcer.

      Eddyani, Miriam; Vandelannoote, Koen; Meehan, Conor J; Bhuju, Sabin; Porter, Jessica L; Aguiar, Julia; Seemann, Torsten; Jarek, Michael; Singh, Mahavir; Portaels, Françoise; et al. (2015-11)
      Increased availability of Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) techniques allows, for the first time, to distinguish relapses from reinfections in patients with multiple Buruli ulcer (BU) episodes.
    • Genomic Landscape of Primary Mediastinal B-Cell Lymphoma Cell Lines.

      Dai, Haiping; Ehrentraut, Stefan; Nagel, Stefan; Eberth, Sonja; Pommerenke, Claudia; Dirks, Wilhelm G; Geffers, Robert; Kalavalapalli, Srilaxmi; Kaufmann, Maren; Meyer, Corrina; et al. (2015)
      Primary mediastinal B-Cell lymphoma (PMBL) is a recently defined entity comprising ~2-10% non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL). Unlike most NHL subtypes, PMBL lacks recurrent gene rearrangements to serve as biomarkers or betray target genes. While druggable, late chemotherapeutic complications warrant the search for new targets and models. Well characterized tumor cell lines provide unlimited material to serve as preclinical resources for verifiable analyses directed at the discovery of new biomarkers and pathological targets using high throughput microarray technologies. The same cells may then be used to seek intelligent therapies directed at clinically validated targets. Four cell lines have emerged as potential PMBL models: FARAGE, KARPAS-1106P, MEDB-1 and U-2940. Transcriptionally, PMBL cell lines cluster near c(lassical)-HL and B-NHL examples showing they are related but separate entities. Here we document genomic alterations therein, by cytogenetics and high density oligonucleotide/SNP microarrays and parse their impact by integrated global expression profiling. PMBL cell lines were distinguished by moderate chromosome rearrangement levels undercutting cHL, while lacking oncogene translocations seen in B-NHL. In total 61 deletions were shared by two or more cell lines, together with 12 amplifications (≥4x) and 72 homozygous regions. Integrated genomic and transcriptional profiling showed deletions to be the most important class of chromosome rearrangement. Lesions were mapped to several loci associated with PMBL, e.g. 2p15 (REL/COMMD1), 9p24 (JAK2, CD274), 16p13 (SOCS1, LITAF, CIITA); plus new or tenuously associated loci: 2p16 (MSH6), 6q23 (TNFAIP3), 9p22 (CDKN2A/B), 20p12 (PTPN1). Discrete homozygous regions sometimes substituted focal deletions accompanied by gene silencing implying a role for epigenetic or mutational inactivation. Genomic amplifications increasing gene expression or gene-activating rearrangements were respectively rare or absent. Our findings highlight biallelic deletions as a major class of chromosomal lesion in PMBL cell lines, while endorsing the latter as preclinical models for hunting and testing new biomarkers and actionable targets.
    • Germline variation of Ribonuclease H2 genes in ovarian cancer patients.

      Polaczek, Rahel; Schürmann, Peter; Speith, Lisa-Marie; Geffers, Robert; Dürst, Matthias; Hillemanns, Peter; Park-Simon, Tjoung-Won; Liebrich, Clemens; Dörk, Thilo; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (BMC, 2020-12-22)
      Epithelial ovarian carcinoma (EOC) is a genetically heterogeneous disease that is partly driven by molecular defects in mismatch repair (MMR) or homology-directed DNA repair (HDR). Ribonuclease H2 serves to remove mis-incorporated ribonucleotides from DNA which alleviates HDR mechanisms and guides the MMR machinery. Although Ribonuclease H2 has been implicated in cancer, the role of germline variants for ovarian cancer is unknown. In the present case-control study, we sequenced the coding and flanking untranslated regions of the RNASEH2A, RNASEH2B and RNASEH2C genes, encoding all three subunits of Ribonuclease H2, in a total of 602 German patients with EOC and of 940 healthy females from the same population. We identified one patient with a truncating variant in RNASEH2B, p.C44X, resulting in a premature stop codon. This patient had high-grade serous EOC with an 8 years survival after platinum/taxane-based therapy. Subsequent analysis of TCGA data similarly showed a significantly longer progression-free survival in ovarian cancer patients with low RNASEH2B or RNASEH2C expression levels. In conclusion, loss-of-function variants in Ribonuclease H2 genes are not common predisposing factors in ovarian cancer but the possibility that they modulate therapeutic platinum response deserves further investigation.
    • Gin-mediated site-specific recombination in bacteriophage Mu DNA: overproduction of the protein and inversion in vitro

      Mertens, Gabriele; Hoffmann, Andrea; Blöcker, Helmut; Frank, Ronald; Kahmann, Regine (1984-10)
    • Global micro RNA expression profiling in the liver biopsies of Hepatitis B Virus infected patients suggests specific miRNA signatures for viral persistence and hepatocellular injury.

      Singh, Avishek Kumar; Rooge, Sheetalnath Babasaheb; Varshney, Aditi; Vasudevan, Madavan; Bhardwaj, Ankit; Venugopal, Senthil Kumar; Trehanpati, Nirupama; Kumar, Manoj; Geffers, Robert; Kumar, Vijay; et al. (2017-11-30)
      Hepatitis B virus (HBV) can manipulate the miRNA regulatory networks in infected cells to create a permissive environment for viral replication, cellular injury, disease onset and its progression. The aim of the present study was to understand the miRNA networks and their target genes in the liver of hepatitis B patients involved in HBV replication, liver injury and liver fibrosis. We investigated differentially expressed miRNAs by microarray in the liver biopsy samples from different stages of HBV infection and liver disease [immune tolerant (IT; n= 8); acute viral hepatitis (AVH; n=8); no fibrosis (n=16); early (F1+F2) (n=19) or late fibrosis (F3+F4) (n=14) and healthy controls (n=7)]. The miRNA expression levels were analyzed by the unsupervised principal component analysis (PCA) and hierarchical clustering. Analysis of miRNA-mRNA regulatory networks identified 17 miRNAs and 18 target gene interactions with four distinct nodes each representing a stage-specific gene regulation during disease progression. The IT group showed elevated miR-199a-5p, miR-221-3p and Let-7a-3p levels which could target genes involved in innate immune response and viral replication. In AVH group, miR-125b-5p and miR-3613-3p were up whereas miR-940 was down which might affect cell proliferation via STAT3 pathway. In early fibrosis, miR-34b-3p, miR-1224-3p and miR-1227-3p were up while miR-499a-5p was down which together, possibly mediate chronic inflammation. In advanced fibrosis, miR-1, miR-10b-5p, miR-96-5p, miR-133b and miR-671-5p were up while miR-20b-5p and miR-455-3p were down, possibly allowing chronic disease progression. Interestingly, only 8 of 17 liver-specific miRNAs exhibited a similar expression pattern in patient sera.
    • Gut bacterial communities across tadpole ecomorphs in two diverse tropical anuran faunas.

      Vences, Miguel; Lyra, Mariana L; Kueneman, Jordan G; Bletz, Molly C; Archer, Holly M; Canitz, Julia; Handreck, Svenja; Randrianiaina, Roger-Daniel; Struck, Ulrich; Bhuju, Sabin; et al. (2016-04)
      Animal-associated microbial communities can play major roles in the physiology, development, ecology, and evolution of their hosts, but the study of their diversity has yet focused on a limited number of host species. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing of partial sequences of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene to assess the diversity of the gut-inhabiting bacterial communities of 212 specimens of tropical anuran amphibians from Brazil and Madagascar. The core gut-associated bacterial communities among tadpoles from two different continents strongly overlapped, with eight highly represented operational taxonomic units (OTUs) in common. In contrast, the core communities of adults and tadpoles from Brazil were less similar with only one shared OTU. This suggests a community turnover at metamorphosis. Bacterial diversity was higher in tadpoles compared to adults. Distinct differences in composition and diversity occurred among gut bacterial communities of conspecific tadpoles from different water bodies and after experimental fasting for 8 days, demonstrating the influence of both environmental factors and food on the community structure. Communities from syntopic tadpoles clustered by host species both in Madagascar and Brazil, and the Malagasy tadpoles also had species-specific isotope signatures. We recommend future studies to analyze the turnover of anuran gut bacterial communities at metamorphosis, compare the tadpole core communities with those of other aquatic organisms, and assess the possible function of the gut microbiota as a reservoir for protective bacteria on the amphibian skin.
    • Haplotypes of the porcine peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta gene are associated with backfat thickness

      Meidtner, Karina; Schwarzenbacher, Hermann; Scharfe, Maren; Severitt, Simone; Blöcker, Helmut; Fries, Ruedi (2009-11-30)
      Abstract Background Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta belongs to the nuclear receptor superfamily of ligand-inducible transcription factors. It is a key regulator of lipid metabolism. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta gene (PPARD) has been assigned to a region on porcine chromosome 7, which harbours a quantitative trait locus for backfat. Thus, PPARD is considered a functional and positional candidate gene for backfat thickness. The purpose of this study was to test this candidate gene hypothesis in a cross of breeds that were highly divergent in lipid deposition characteristics. Results Screening for genetic variation in porcine PPARD revealed only silent mutations. Nevertheless, significant associations between PPARD haplotypes and backfat thickness were observed in the F2 generation of the Mangalitsa × Piétrain cross as well as a commercial German Landrace population. Haplotype 5 is associated with increased backfat in F2 Mangalitsa × Piétrain pigs, whereas haplotype 4 is associated with lower backfat thickness in the German Landrace population. Haplotype 4 and 5 carry the same alleles at all but one SNP. Interestingly, the opposite effects of PPARD haplotypes 4 and 5 on backfat thickness are reflected by opposite effects of these two haplotypes on PPAR-δ mRNA levels. Haplotype 4 significantly increases PPAR-δ mRNA levels, whereas haplotype 5 decreases mRNA levels of PPAR-δ. Conclusion This study provides evidence for an association between PPARD and backfat thickness. The association is substantiated by mRNA quantification. Further studies are required to clarify, whether the observed associations are caused by PPARD or are the result of linkage disequilibrium with a causal variant in a neighbouring gene.