Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine

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    21921 research outputs found

    Oligodendrocyte-derived LGI3 and its receptor ADAM23 organize juxtaparanodal Kv1 channel clustering for short-term synaptic plasticity

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    Neurodevelopmental disorders, such as intellectual disability (ID), epilepsy, and autism, involve altered synaptic transmission and plasticity. Functional characterization of their associated genes is vital for understanding physio-pathological brain functions. LGI3 is a recently recognized ID-associated gene encoding a secretory protein related to an epilepsy-gene product, LGI1. Here, we find that LGI3 is uniquely secreted from oligodendrocytes in the brain and enriched at juxtaparanodes of myelinated axons, forming nanoscale subclusters. Proteomic analysis using epitope-tagged Lgi3 knockin mice shows that LGI3 uses ADAM23 as a receptor and selectively co-assembles with Kv1 channels. A lack of Lgi3 in mice disrupts juxtaparanodal clustering of ADAM23 and Kv1 channels and suppresses Kv1-channel-mediated short-term synaptic plasticity. Collectively, this study identifies an extracellular organizer of juxtaparanodal Kv1 channel clustering for finely tuned synaptic transmission. Given the defective secretion of the LGI3 missense variant, we propose a molecular pathway, the juxtaparanodal LGI3-ADAM23-Kv1 channel, for understanding neurodevelopmental disorders

    Epigenetic regulatory layers in the 3D nucleus

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    Nearly 7 decades have elapsed since Francis Crick introduced the central dogma of molecular biology, as part of his ideas on protein synthesis, setting the fundamental rules of sequence information transfer from DNA to RNAs and proteins. We have since learned that gene expression is finely tuned in time and space, due to the activities of RNAs and proteins on regulatory DNA elements, and through cell-type-specific three-dimensional conformations of the genome. Here, we review major advances in genome biology and discuss a set of ideas on gene regulation and highlight how various biomolecular assemblies lead to the formation of structural and regulatory features within the nucleus, with roles in transcriptional control. We conclude by suggesting further developments that will help capture the complex, dynamic, and often spatially restricted events that govern gene expression in mammalian cells

    Interferon regulatory factor 4 plays a pivotal role in the development of aGVHD-associated colitis

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    Interferon regulatory factor 4 (IRF4) is a master transcription factor that regulates T helper cell (Th) differentiation. It interacts with the Basic leucine zipper transcription factor, ATF-like (BATF), depletion of which in CD4)(+ T cells abrogates acute graft-versus-host disease (aGVHD)-induced colitis. Here, we investigated the immune-regulatory role of Irf4 in a mouse model of MHC-mismatched bone marrow transplantation. We found that recipients of allogenic Irf4(-/-) CD4(+) T cells developed less GVHD-related symptoms. Transcriptome analysis of re-isolated donor Irf4(-/-) CD4(+) T helper (Th) cells, revealed gene expression profiles consistent with loss of effector T helper cell signatures and enrichment of a regulatory T cell (Treg) gene expression signature. In line with these findings, we observed a high expression of the transcription factor BTB and CNC homolog 2; (BACH2) in Irf4(-/-) T cells, which is associated with the formation of Treg cells and suppression of Th subset differentiation. We also found an association between BACH2 expression and Treg differentiation in patients with intestinal GVHD. Finally, our results indicate that IRF4 and BACH2 act as counterparts in Th cell polarization and immune homeostasis during GVHD. In conclusion, targeting the BACH2/IRF4-axis could help to develop novel therapeutic approaches against GVHD

    Making sense of proprioception

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    Proprioception - the sense of body position in space - is intimately linked to motor control. Here, we briefly review the current knowledge of the proprioceptive system and how advances in the genetic characterisation of proprioceptive sensory neurons in mice promise to dissect its role in health and disease

    High-sensitivity cardiac troponin I enhances preeclampsia prediction beyond maternal factors and the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio

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    BACKGROUND: Preeclampsia shares numerous risk factors with cardiovascular diseases. Here, we aimed to assess the potential utility of high-sensitivity cardiac troponin I (hs-cTnI) values during pregnancy in predicting preeclampsia occurrence. METHODS: This study measured hs-cTnI levels in 3721 blood samples of 2245 pregnant women from 4 international, prospective cohorts. Three analytical approaches were used: (1) a cross-sectional analysis of all women using a single blood sample, (2) a longitudinal analysis of hs-cTnI trajectories in women with multiple samples, and (3) analyses of prediction models incorporating hs-cTnI, maternal factors, and the sFlt-1 (soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase 1)/PlGF (placental growth factor) ratio. RESULTS: Women with hs-cTnI levels in the upper quarter had higher odds ratios for preeclampsia occurrence compared with women with levels in the lower quarter. Associations were driven by preterm preeclampsia (odds ratio, 5.78 [95% CI, 2.73-12.26]) and remained significant when using hs-cTnI as a continuous variable adjusted for confounders. Between-trimester hs-cTnI trajectories were independent of subsequent preeclampsia occurrence. A prediction model incorporating a practical hs-cTnI level of detection cutoff (=1.9 pg/mL) alongside maternal factors provided comparable performance with the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio. A comprehensive model including sFlt-1/PlGF, maternal factors, and hs-cTnI provided added value (cross-validated area under the receiver operator characteristic, 0.78 [95% CI, 0.73-0.82]) above the sFlt-1/PlGF ratio alone (cross-validated area under the receiver operator characteristic, 0.70 [95% CI, 0.65-0.76]; P=0.027). As assessed by likelihood ratio tests, the addition of hs-cTnI to each prediction model significantly improved the respective prediction model not incorporating hs-cTnI, particularly for preterm preeclampsia. Net reclassification improvement analyses indicated that incorporating hs-cTnI improved risk prediction predominantly by correctly reclassifying women with subsequent preeclampsia occurrence. CONCLUSIONS: These exploratory findings uncover a potential role for hs-cTnI as a complementary biomarker in the prediction of preeclampsia. After validation in prospective studies, hs-cTnI, alongside maternal factors, may either be considered as a substitute for angiogenic biomarkers in health care systems where they are sparce or unavailable, or as an enhancement to established prediction models using angiogenic markers

    GIMAP5 deficiency reveals a mammalian ceramide-driven longevity assurance pathway

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    Preserving cells in a functional, non-senescent state is a major goal for extending human healthspans. Model organisms reveal that longevity and senescence are genetically controlled, but how genes control longevity in different mammalian tissues is unknown. Here, we report a new human genetic disease that causes cell senescence, liver and immune dysfunction, and early mortality that results from deficiency of GIMAP5, an evolutionarily conserved GTPase selectively expressed in lymphocytes and endothelial cells. We show that GIMAP5 restricts the pathological accumulation of long-chain ceramides (CERs), thereby regulating longevity. GIMAP5 controls CER abundance by interacting with protein kinase CK2 (CK2), attenuating its ability to activate CER synthases. Inhibition of CK2 and CER synthase rescues GIMAP5-deficient T cells by preventing CER overaccumulation and cell deterioration. Thus, GIMAP5 controls longevity assurance pathways crucial for immune function and healthspan in mammals

    Dysnatriämien - Konzepte und klinische Aufarbeitung [Dysnatremias - concepts and clinical work-up]

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    Osmotic gradients over cell membranes lead to water movement into or out of cells. An intact osmoregulation prevents osmotic gradients, thereby protecting cells from swelling or shrinking. Na is the major cation in the extracellular fluid (ECF) and the major determinant of the osmolarity in the ECF, including plasma. Therefore, the plasma-Na concentration needs to be tightly regulated. An excess of electrolyte-free water decreases the concentration of osmolytes leading to hyponatremia. In contrast, a free water deficit increases the osmolyte concentration leading to hypernatremia. Pathophysiology-oriented approaches to dysnatremic patients help both clinicians and patients. Therapeutic interventions depend on the differentiation between acute and chronic, asymptomatic, and symptomatic dysnatremia, and on the patient's extracellular volume status. The therapeutic armamentarium for hyponatremia consists of water restriction, hypertonic infusions, urea, V2 receptor-blockers, and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. Patients with hypernatremia are treated with electrolyte-free water or hypotonic sodium-containing solutions depending on their volume status. Basic concepts in the management of dysnatremic patients are discussed

    The NSP3 protein of SARS-CoV-2 binds fragile X mental retardation proteins to disrupt UBAP2L interactions

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    Viruses interact with numerous host factors to facilitate viral replication and to dampen antiviral defense mechanisms. We currently have a limited mechanistic understanding of how SARS-CoV-2 binds host factors and the functional role of these interactions. Here, we uncover a novel interaction between the viral NSP3 protein and the fragile X mental retardation proteins (FMRPs: FMR1, FXR1-2). SARS-CoV-2 NSP3 mutant viruses preventing FMRP binding have attenuated replication in vitro and reduced levels of viral antigen in lungs during the early stages of infection. We show that a unique peptide motif in NSP3 binds directly to the two central KH domains of FMRPs and that this interaction is disrupted by the I304N mutation found in a patient with fragile X syndrome. NSP3 binding to FMRPs disrupts their interaction with the stress granule component UBAP2L through direct competition with a peptide motif in UBAP2L to prevent FMRP incorporation into stress granules. Collectively, our results provide novel insight into how SARS-CoV-2 hijacks host cell proteins and provides molecular insight into the possible underlying molecular defects in fragile X syndrome

    SPIRE: a Searchable, Planetary-scale mIcrobiome REsource

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    Meta'omic data on microbial diversity and function accrue exponentially in public repositories, but derived information is often siloed according to data type, study or sampled microbial environment. Here we present SPIRE, a Searchable Planetary-scale mIcrobiome REsource that integrates various consistently processed metagenome-derived microbial data modalities across habitats, geography and phylogeny. SPIRE encompasses 99 146 metagenomic samples from 739 studies covering a wide array of microbial environments and augmented with manually-curated contextual data. Across a total metagenomic assembly of 16 Tbp, SPIRE comprises 35 billion predicted protein sequences and 1.16 million newly constructed metagenome-assembled genomes (MAGs) of medium or high quality. Beyond mapping to the high-quality genome reference provided by proGenomes3 (, these novel MAGs form 92 134 novel species-level clusters, the majority of which are unclassified at species level using current tools. SPIRE enables taxonomic profiling of these species clusters via an updated, custom mOTUs database ( and includes several layers of functional annotation, as well as crosslinks to several (micro-)biological databases. The resource is accessible, searchable and browsable via


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