• A Hypermorphic Allele Contributes to Impaired Thymic Deletion of Autoreactive Diabetogenic CD8 T Cells in NOD Mice.

      Presa, Maximiliano; Racine, Jeremy J; Dwyer, Jennifer R; Lamont, Deanna J; Ratiu, Jeremy J; Sarsani, Vishal Kumar; Chen, Yi-Guang; Geurts, Aron; Schmitz, Ingo; Stearns, Timothy; et al. (American Association of Immunologists, 2018-10-01)
      In both NOD mice and humans, the development of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is dependent in part on autoreactive CD8+ T cells recognizing pancreatic β cell peptides presented by often quite common MHC class I variants. Studies in NOD mice previously revealed that the common H2-Kd and/or H2-Db class I molecules expressed by this strain aberrantly lose the ability to mediate the thymic deletion of pathogenic CD8+ T cell responses through interactions with T1D susceptibility genes outside the MHC. A gene(s) mapping to proximal chromosome 7 was previously shown to be an important contributor to the failure of the common class I molecules expressed by NOD mice to mediate the normal thymic negative selection of diabetogenic CD8+ T cells. Using an inducible model of thymic negative selection and mRNA transcript analyses, we initially identified an elevated Nfkbid expression variant as a likely NOD-proximal chromosome 7 region gene contributing to impaired thymic deletion of diabetogenic CD8+ T cells. CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic attenuation of Nfkbid expression in NOD mice resulted in improved negative selection of autoreactive diabetogenic AI4 and NY8.3 CD8+ T cells. These results indicated that allelic variants of Nfkbid contribute to the efficiency of intrathymic deletion of diabetogenic CD8+ T cells. However, although enhancing thymic deletion of pathogenic CD8+ T cells, ablating Nfkbid expression surprisingly accelerated T1D onset that was associated with numeric decreases in both regulatory T and B lymphocytes in NOD mice.
    • 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.