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Department of Plant Biotechnology
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Department of Bioresources
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    ABSTRACT: Pf38 is a surface protein of the malarial parasite Plasmodium falciparum. In this study, we produced and purified recombinant Pf38 and a fusion protein composed of red fluorescent protein and Pf38 (RFP-Pf38) using a transient expression system in the plant Nicotiana benthamiana. To our knowledge, this is the first description of the production of recombinant Pf38. To verify the quality of the recombinant Pf38, plasma from semi-immune African donors was used to confirm specific binding to Pf38. ELISA measurements revealed that immune responses to Pf38 in this African subset were comparable to reactivities to AMA-1 and MSP119. Pf38 and RFP-Pf38 were successfully used to immunise mice, although titres from these mice were low (on average 1∶11.000 and 1∶39.000, respectively). In immune fluorescence assays, the purified IgG fraction from the sera of immunised mice recognised Pf38 on the surface of schizonts, gametocytes, macrogametes and zygotes, but not sporozoites. Growth inhibition assays using αPf38 antibodies demonstrated strong inhibition (≥60%) of the growth of blood-stage P. falciparum. The development of zygotes was also effectively inhibited by αPf38 antibodies, as determined by the zygote development assay. Collectively, these results suggest that Pf38 is an interesting candidate for the development of a malaria vaccine.
    PLoS ONE 11/2013; 8(11):e79920.
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    ABSTRACT: Exposure to environmental chemicals known as endocrine disruptors (EDs) is in many cases associated with an unpredictable hazard for wildlife and human health. The identification of endocrine disruptive properties of chemicals certain to enter the aquatic environment relies on toxicity tests with fish, assessing adverse effects on reproduction and sexual development. The demand for quick, reliable ED assays favored the use of fish embryos as alternative test organisms. We investigated the application of a transcriptomics-based assay for estrogenic and anti-androgenic chemicals with zebrafish embryos. Two reference compounds, 17α-ethinylestradiol and flutamide, were tested to evaluate the effects on development and the transcriptome after 48h-exposures. Comparison of the transcriptome response with other estrogenic and anti-androgenic compounds (genistein, bisphenol A, methylparaben, linuron, prochloraz, propanil) showed commonalities and differences in regulated pathways, enabling us to classify the estrogenic and anti-androgenic potencies. This demonstrates that different mechanism of ED can be assessed already in fish embryos.
    Reproductive Toxicology 09/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Ebselen (2-phenyl-1,2-benzisoselenazol-3(2H)-one; PZ-51, DR-3305), is an organoselenium compound with glutathione peroxidase (GPx)-like, thiol-dependent, hydroperoxide reducing activity. As an enzyme mimic for activity of the selenoenzyme GPx, this compound has proved to be highly useful in research on mechanisms in redox biology. Furthermore, the reactivity of ebselen with protein thiols has helped to identify novel, selective targets for inhibitory actions on several enzymes of importance in pharmacology and toxicology. Importantly, the selenium in ebselen is not released and thus is not bioavailable, ebselen metabolites being excreted in bile and urine. As a consequence, initial concerns about selenium toxicity, fortunately, were unfounded. Potential applications in medical settings have been explored, notably in brain ischemia and stroke. More recently, there has been a surge in interest as new medical applications have been taken into consideration. The first publication on the biochemical effects of ebselen appeared 30 years ago (Müller et al. A novel biologically active seleno-organic compound--I. Glutathione peroxidase-like activity in vitro and antioxidant capacity of PZ 51 (Ebselen). Biochem Pharmacol. 1984;33:3235-9), which prompted the authors to retrace the early development from their perspective. It is a fascinating example of fruitful interaction between research-oriented industry and academia.
    Biochemical pharmacology 09/2013;


  • Address
    Forckenbeckstraße 6 , 52074 Aachen , Aachen, Germany
  • Head of Institution
    Prof. Dr. Rainer Fischer
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  • Phone
    +49 241 6085-12020
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