• Differences and Similarities in TRAIL- and Tumor Necrosis Factor-Mediated Necroptotic Signaling in Cancer Cells.

      Sosna, Justyna; Philipp, Stephan; Fuchslocher Chico, Johaiber; Saggau, Carina; Fritsch, Jürgen; Föll, Alexandra; Plenge, Johannes; Arenz, Christoph; Pinkert, Thomas; Kalthoff, Holger; et al. (2016-10-15)
      Recently, a type of regulated necrosis (RN) called necroptosis was identified to be involved in many pathophysiological processes and emerged as an alternative method to eliminate cancer cells. However, only a few studies have elucidated components of TRAIL-mediated necroptosis useful for anticancer therapy. Therefore, we have compared this type of cell death to tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-mediated necroptosis and found similar signaling through acid and neutral sphingomyelinases, the mitochondrial serine protease HtrA2/Omi, Atg5, and vacuolar H(+)-ATPase. Notably, executive mechanisms of both TRAIL- and TNF-mediated necroptosis are independent of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP-1), and depletion of p38α increases the levels of both types of cell death. Moreover, we found differences in signaling between TNF- and TRAIL-mediated necroptosis, e.g., a lack of involvement of ubiquitin carboxyl hydrolase L1 (UCH-L1) and Atg16L1 in executive mechanisms of TRAIL-mediated necroptosis. Furthermore, we discovered indications of an altered involvement of mitochondrial components, since overexpression of the mitochondrial protein Bcl-2 protected Jurkat cells from TRAIL- and TNF-mediated necroptosis, and overexpression of Bcl-XL diminished only TRAIL-induced necroptosis in Colo357 cells. Furthermore, TRAIL does not require receptor internalization and endosome-lysosome acidification to mediate necroptosis. Taken together, pathways described for TRAIL-mediated necroptosis and differences from those for TNF-mediated necroptosis might be unique targets to increase or modify necroptotic signaling and eliminate tumor cells more specifically in future anticancer approaches.
    • Gadd45 proteins in immunity.

      Schmitz, Ingo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2013)
      The vertebrate immune system protects the host against invading pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and parasites. It consists of an innate branch and an adaptive branch that provide immediate and long-lasting protection, respectively. As the immune system is composed of different cell types and distributed throughout the whole body, immune cells need to communicate with each other. Intercellular communication in the immune system is mediated by cytokines, which bind to specific receptors on the cell surface and activate intracellular signalling networks. Growth arrest and DNA damage-inducible 45 (Gadd45) proteins are important components of these intracellular signalling networks. They are induced by a number of cytokines and by bacterial lipopolysaccharide. Within the innate immune system, Gadd45 proteins are crucial for the differentiation of myeloid cells as well as for the function of granulocytes and macrophages. Moreover, Gadd45β regulates autophagy, a catabolic pathway that also degrades intracellular pathogens. Regarding adaptive immunity, Gadd45 proteins are especially well characterized in T cells. For instance, Gadd45β and Gadd45γ regulate cytokine expression and Th1 differentiation, while Gadd45α inhibits p38 kinase activation downstream of the T cell receptor. Due to their many functions in the immune system, deficiency in Gadd45 proteins causes autoimmune diseases and less efficient tumour immunosurveillance.
    • Generation of Foxp3CD25 Regulatory T-Cell Precursors Requires c-Rel and IκB.

      Schuster, Marc; Plaza-Sirvent, Carlos; Visekruna, Alexander; Huehn, Jochen; Schmitz, Ingo; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Frontiers, 2019-01-01)
      Next to the classical developmental route, in which first CD25 and subsequently Foxp3 are induced to generate thymic regulatory T (Treg) cells, an alternative route has been described. This alternative route is characterized by reciprocal induction of Foxp3 and CD25, with CD25 induction being required to rescue developing Treg cells from Foxp3-induced apoptosis. NF-κB has been demonstrated to be crucial for the development of thymic Treg cells via the classical route. However, its impact on the alternative route is poorly characterized. Using single and double deficient mice for key regulators of the classical route, c-Rel and IκBNS, we here demonstrate that NF-κB is essential for the generation of alternative CD25-Foxp3+ precursors, as well. Thus, c-Rel and IκBNS govern both routes of thymic Treg cell development.
    • Intracellular Staphylococcus aureus eludes selective autophagy by activating a host cell kinase.

      Neumann, Yvonne; Bruns, Svenja A; Rohde, Manfred; Prajsnar, Tomasz K; Foster, Simon J; Schmitz, Ingo; Helmholtz Centre for infection research, Inhoffenstr. 7, 38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2016-11)
      Autophagy, a catabolic pathway of lysosomal degradation, acts not only as an efficient recycle and survival mechanism during cellular stress, but also as an anti-infective machinery. The human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) was originally considered solely as an extracellular bacterium, but is now recognized additionally to invade host cells, which might be crucial for persistence. However, the intracellular fate of S. aureus is incompletely understood. Here, we show for the first time induction of selective autophagy by S. aureus infection, its escape from autophagosomes and proliferation in the cytoplasm using live cell imaging. After invasion, S. aureus becomes ubiquitinated and recognized by receptor proteins such as SQSTM1/p62 leading to phagophore recruitment. Yet, S. aureus evades phagophores and prevents further degradation by a MAPK14/p38α MAP kinase-mediated blockade of autophagy. Our study demonstrates a novel bacterial strategy to block autophagy and secure survival inside the host cell.
    • A mathematical model of the impact of insulin secretion dynamics on selective hepatic insulin resistance.

      Zhao, Gang; Wirth, Dagmar; Schmitz, Ingo; Meyer-Hermann, Michael; Braunschweiger Zentrum für Systembiologie, Rebenring 56, 38106, Germany. (2017-11-08)
      Physiological insulin secretion exhibits various temporal patterns, the dysregulation of which is involved in diabetes development. We analyzed the impact of first-phase and pulsatile insulin release on glucose and lipid control with various hepatic insulin signaling networks. The mathematical model suggests that atypical protein kinase C (aPKC) undergoes a bistable switch-on and switch-off, under the control of insulin receptor substrate 2 (IRS2). The activation of IRS1 and IRS2 is temporally separated due to the inhibition of IRS1 by aPKC. The model further shows that the timing of aPKC switch-off is delayed by reduced first-phase insulin and reduced amplitude of insulin pulses. Based on these findings, we propose a sequential model of postprandial hepatic control of glucose and lipid by insulin, according to which delayed aPKC switch-off contributes to selective hepatic insulin resistance, which is a long-standing paradox in the field.
    • Memantine potentiates cytarabine-induced cell death of acute leukemia correlating with inhibition of K1.3 potassium channels, AKT and ERK1/2 signaling.

      Lowinus, Theresa; Heidel, Florian H; Bose, Tanima; Nimmagadda, Subbaiah Chary; Schnöder, Tina; Cammann, Clemens; Schmitz, Ingo; Seifert, Ulrike; Fischer, Thomas; Schraven, Burkhart; et al. (BMC, 2019-01-16)
      Treatment of acute leukemia is challenging and long-lasting remissions are difficult to induce. Innovative therapy approaches aim to complement standard chemotherapy to improve drug efficacy and decrease toxicity. Promising new therapeutic targets in cancer therapy include voltage-gated K We analyzed acute lymphoid (Jurkat, CEM) and myeloid (HL-60, Molm-13, OCI-AML-3) leukemia cell lines and patients' acute leukemic blasts after treatment with either drug alone or the combination of cytarabine and memantine. Patch-clamp analysis was performed to evaluate inhibition of K Our study demonstrates that memantine inhibits K Our study underlines inhibition of K
    • Phosphorylation of Atg5 by the Gadd45β-MEKK4-p38 pathway inhibits autophagy.

      Keil, E; Höcker, R; Schuster, M; Essmann, F; Ueffing, N; Hoffman, B; Liebermann, D A; Pfeffer, K; Schulze-Osthoff, K; Schmitz, I; et al. (2013-02)
      Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway important for cellular homeostasis, mammalian development, cancer and immunity. Many molecular components of autophagy have been identified, but little is known about regulatory mechanisms controlling their effector functions. Here, we show that, in contrast to other p38 MAP kinase activators, the growth arrest and DNA damage 45 beta (Gadd45β)-MAPK/ERK kinase kinase 4 (MEKK4) pathway specifically directs p38 to autophagosomes. This process results in an accumulation of autophagosomes through p38-mediated inhibition of lysosome fusion. Conversely, autophagic flux is increased in p38-deficient fibroblasts and Gadd45β-deficient cells. We further identified the underlying mechanism and demonstrate that phosphorylation of the autophagy regulator autophagy-related (Atg)5 at threonine 75 through p38 is responsible for inhibition of starvation-induced autophagy. Thus, we show for the first time that Atg5 activity is controlled by phosphorylation and, moreover, that the spatial regulation of p38 by Gadd45β/MEKK4 negatively regulates the autophagic process.
    • Phosphorylation of Atg5 by the Gadd45β-MEKK4-p38 pathway inhibits autophagy.

      Keil, E; Höcker, R; Schuster, M; Essmann, F; Ueffing, N; Hoffman, B; Liebermann, D A; Pfeffer, K; Schulze-Osthoff, K; Schmitz, I; et al. (2013-02)
      Autophagy is a lysosomal degradation pathway important for cellular homeostasis, mammalian development, cancer and immunity. Many molecular components of autophagy have been identified, but little is known about regulatory mechanisms controlling their effector functions. Here, we show that, in contrast to other p38 MAP kinase activators, the growth arrest and DNA damage 45 beta (Gadd45β)-MAPK/ERK kinase kinase 4 (MEKK4) pathway specifically directs p38 to autophagosomes. This process results in an accumulation of autophagosomes through p38-mediated inhibition of lysosome fusion. Conversely, autophagic flux is increased in p38-deficient fibroblasts and Gadd45β-deficient cells. We further identified the underlying mechanism and demonstrate that phosphorylation of the autophagy regulator autophagy-related (Atg)5 at threonine 75 through p38 is responsible for inhibition of starvation-induced autophagy. Thus, we show for the first time that Atg5 activity is controlled by phosphorylation and, moreover, that the spatial regulation of p38 by Gadd45β/MEKK4 negatively regulates the autophagic process.
    • The role of c-FLIP splice variants in urothelial tumours.

      Ewald, F; Ueffing, N; Brockmann, L; Hader, C; Telieps, T; Schuster, M; Schulz, W A; Schmitz, I; Institute of Molecular and Clinical Immunology, Otto-von-Guericke-University Magdeburg and Department of Immune Control, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research, D-38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (2011)
      Deregulation of apoptosis is common in cancer and is often caused by overexpression of anti-apoptotic proteins in tumour cells. One important regulator of apoptosis is the cellular FLICE-inhibitory protein (c-FLIP), which is overexpressed, for example, in melanoma and Hodgkin's lymphoma cells. Here, we addressed the question whether deregulated c-FLIP expression in urothelial carcinoma impinges on the ability of death ligands to induce apoptosis. In particular, we investigated the role of the c-FLIP splice variants c-FLIP(long) (c-FLIP(L)) and c-FLIP(short) (c-FLIP(S)), which can have opposing functions. We observed diminished expression of the c-FLIP(L) isoform in urothelial carcinoma tissues as well as in established carcinoma cell lines compared with normal urothelial tissues and cells, whereas c-FLIP(S) was unchanged. Overexpression and RNA interference studies in urothelial cell lines nevertheless demonstrated that c-FLIP remained a crucial factor conferring resistance towards induction of apoptosis by death ligands CD95L and TRAIL. Isoform-specific RNA interference showed c-FLIP(L) to be of particular importance. Thus, urothelial carcinoma cells appear to fine-tune c-FLIP expression to a level sufficient for protection against activation of apoptosis by the extrinsic pathway. Therefore, targeting c-FLIP, and especially the c-FLIP(L) isoform, may facilitate apoptosis-based therapies of bladder cancer in otherwise resistant tumours.
    • UL36 Rescues Apoptosis Inhibition and In vivo Replication of a Chimeric MCMV Lacking the M36 Gene.

      Chaudhry, M Zeeshan; Kasmapour, Bahram; Plaza-Sirvent, Carlos; Bajagic, Milica; Casalegno Garduño, Rosaely; Borkner, Lisa; Lenac Roviš, Tihana; Scrima, Andrea; Jonjic, Stipan; Schmitz, Ingo; et al. (2017)
      Apoptosis is an important defense mechanism mounted by the immune system to control virus replication. Hence, cytomegaloviruses (CMV) evolved and acquired numerous anti-apoptotic genes. The product of the human CMV (HCMV) UL36 gene, pUL36 (also known as vICA), binds to pro-caspase-8, thus inhibiting death-receptor apoptosis and enabling viral replication in differentiated THP-1 cells. In vivo studies of the function of HCMV genes are severely limited due to the strict host specificity of cytomegaloviruses, but CMV orthologues that co-evolved with other species allow the experimental study of CMV biology in vivo. The mouse CMV (MCMV) homolog of the UL36 gene is called M36, and its protein product (pM36) is a functional homolog of vICA that binds to murine caspase-8 and inhibits its activation. M36-deficient MCMV is severely growth impaired in macrophages and in vivo. Here we show that pUL36 binds to the murine pro-caspase-8, and that UL36 expression inhibits death-receptor apoptosis in murine cells and can replace M36 to allow MCMV growth in vitro and in vivo. We generated a chimeric MCMV expressing the UL36 ORF sequence instead of the M36 one. The newly generated MCMV(UL36) inhibited apoptosis in macrophage lines RAW 264.7, J774A.1, and IC-21 and its growth was rescued to wild type levels. Similarly, growth was rescued in vivo in the liver and spleen, but only partially in the salivary glands of BALB/c and C57BL/6 mice. In conclusion, we determined that an immune-evasive HCMV gene is conserved enough to functionally replace its MCMV counterpart and thus allow its study in an in vivo setting. As UL36 and M36 proteins engage the same molecular host target, our newly developed model can facilitate studies of anti-viral compounds targeting pUL36 in vivo.