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Department of Plant Biotechnology
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Department of Bioresources
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Department of Ecotoxicology
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    ABSTRACT: The amino acid taurine is required for development and functioning of the central and peripheral nervous system where it exerts osmoregulatory, neuromodulatory and anti-apoptotic actions. It is subject to cellular import by the taurine transporter slc6a6. Absence of the transporter and consequently, absence of taurine leads to several neurologic deficits and sensory losses. In a slc6a6 knockout mouse model, consequences of congenital taurine deficiency were assessed in nociceptive sensory processes. The formalin assay, hot plate assay, and summated generator potentials in response to local nociceptive stimulation with gaseous CO2 were applied. Reduced responsiveness of slc6a6(-/-) mice to nociceptive stimulation was observed in particular to chemical nociceptive stimuli. Scl6a6 knockout mice spent significantly less time licking the formalin injected paw and displayed smaller amplitudes of the nociceptive nasal mucosa potentials than wild type mice (p = 0.002 and 0.01 respectively). In contrast, withdrawal latencies on a hot plate did not significantly differ, suggesting that intracellular taurine deficits lead in particular to a hyposensitivity of nociceptive sensory neurons sensitive to noxious chemical stimulation. As hereditary absence of taurine affects biological processes of anatomical structure development, the altered nociceptive responses likely reflect consequences of compromised peripheral nervous system development.
    Neuroscience 12/2013; 259. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.11.037
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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. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0079920
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic effects are exerted by a variety of factors and evidence increases that common drugs such as opioids, cannabinoids, valproic acid, or cytostatics may induce alterations in DNA methylation patterns or histone conformations. These effects occur via chemical structural interactions with epigenetic enzymes, through interactions with DNA repair mechanisms. Computational predictions indicate that one-twentieth of all drugs might potentially interact with human histone deacetylase, which was prospectively experimentally verified for the compound with the highest predicted interaction probability. These epigenetic effects add to wanted and unwanted drug effects, contributing to mechanisms of drug resistance or disease-related and unrelated phenotypes. Because epigenetic changes might be transmitted to offspring, the need for reliable and cost-effective epigenetic screening tools becomes acute.
    Trends in Molecular Medicine 09/2013; 19(12). DOI:10.1016/j.molmed.2013.08.006


  • 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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Top publications last week by reads

Biochemical pharmacology 09/2013; 86(9). DOI:10.1016/j.bcp.2013.08.028
15 Reads
Toxicon 09/2015; 106:57-67. DOI:10.1016/j.toxicon.2015.09.014
15 Reads

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