Tim Overkamp

Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin, Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany

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Publications (7)44.26 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The p14(ARF) tumor suppressor triggers cell death or cell cycle arrest upon oncogenic stress. In MCF-7 breast carcinoma cells, expression of the tumor suppressor gene p14(ARF) fails to trigger apoptosis but induces an arrest in the G1 and, to a lesser extent, in the G2 phase in the cell division cycle. Here, inhibition of cell cycle arrest resulted in apoptosis induction in caspase-3 proficient MCF-7 cells upon expression of p14(ARF) . This occurred in the absence of S-phase progression or mitotic entry. In contrast, syngeneic, caspase-3 deficient MCF-7 cells remained entirely resistant to p14(ARF) induced apoptosis. Thus, cell cycle checkpoint abrogation overcomes resistance to p14(ARF) induced cell death and promotes cell death via a caspase-3 dependent pathway. Cell death coincided with dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential, release of cytochrome c, and was inhibitable by pan-caspase inhibitors and the caspase-3/7 inhibitor zDEVD-fmk. Of note, mitochondrial events of apoptosis execution depended entirely on caspase-3 proficiency indicating that caspase-3 either acts "up-stream" of the mitochondria in a "non-canonical" pathway or mediates a mitochondrial feedback loop to amplify the apoptotic caspase signal in p14(ARF) induced stress signaling. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    International Journal of Cancer 05/2013; · 6.20 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: TRAIL is a promising anticancer agent, capable of inducing apoptosis in a wide range of treatment-resistant tumor cells. In 'type II' cells, the death signal triggered by TRAIL requires amplification via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. Consequently, deregulation of the intrinsic apoptosis-signaling pathway, for example, by loss of Bax and Bak, confers TRAIL-resistance and limits its application. Here, we show that despite resistance of Bax/Bak double-deficient cells, TRAIL-treatment resulted in caspase-8 activation and complete processing of the caspase-3 proenzymes. However, active caspase-3 was degraded by the proteasome and not detectable unless the XIAP/proteasome pathway was inhibited. Direct or indirect inhibition of XIAP by RNAi, Mithramycin A or by the SMAC mimetic LBW-242 as well as inhibition of the proteasome by Bortezomib overcomes TRAIL-resistance of Bax/Bak double-deficient tumor cells. Moreover, activation and stabilization of caspase-3 becomes independent of mitochondrial death signaling, demonstrating that inhibition of the XIAP/proteasome pathway overcomes resistance by converting 'type II' to 'type I' cells. Our results further demonstrate that the E3 ubiquitin ligase XIAP is a gatekeeper critical for the 'type II' phenotype. Pharmacological manipulation of XIAP therefore is a promising strategy to sensitize cells for TRAIL and to overcome TRAIL-resistance in case of central defects in the intrinsic apoptosis-signaling pathway.
    Cell Death & Disease 01/2013; 4:e643. · 6.04 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The p14(ARF) tumor suppressor plays a central role in regulating cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. We reported previously that p14(ARF) is capable of triggering apoptosis in a p53-independent manner. However, the mechanism remained unclear. Here we demonstrate that the p53-independent activation of the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway by p14(ARF) is primarily mediated by the pro-apoptotic Bax-homolog Bak. Expression of p14(ARF) exclusively triggers a N-terminal conformational switch of Bak, but not Bax, which allows for mitochondrial permeability shift, release of cytochrome c, activation of caspases, and subsequent fragmentation of genomic DNA. Although forced expression of Bak markedly sensitizes toward p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis, re-expression of Bax has no effect. Vice versa, knockdown of Bak by RNA interference attenuates p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis, whereas down-regulation of Bax has no effect. Bak activation coincides with a prominent, caspase-independent deprivation of the endogenous Bak inhibitors Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L). In turn, mitochondrial apoptosis is fully blocked by overexpression of either Mcl-1 or Bcl-x(L). Taken together, these data indicate that in the absence of functional p53 and Bax, p14(ARF) triggers mitochondrial apoptosis signaling by activating Bak, which is facilitated by down-regulating anti-apoptotic Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L). Moreover, our data suggest that the simultaneous inhibition of two central endogenous Bak inhibitors, i.e. Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L), may be sufficient to activate mitochondrial apoptosis in the absence of BH3-only protein regulation.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 02/2012; 287(21):17343-52. · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations in the dysferlin gene cause the most frequent adult-onset limb girdle muscular dystrophy, LGMD2B. There is no therapy. Dysferlin is a membrane protein comprised of seven, beta-sheet enriched, C2 domains and is involved in Ca(2+)dependent sarcolemmal repair after minute wounding. On the protein level, point mutations in DYSF lead to misfolding, aggregation within the endoplasmic reticulum, and amyloidogenesis. We aimed to restore functionality by relocating mutant dysferlin. Therefore, we designed short peptides derived from dysferlin itself and labeled them to the cell penetrating peptide TAT. By tracking fluorescently labeled short peptides we show that these dysferlin-peptides localize in the endoplasmic reticulum. There, they are capable of reducing unfolded protein response stress. We demonstrate that the mutant dysferlin regains function in membrane repair in primary human myotubes derived from patients' myoblasts by the laser wounding assay and a novel technique to investigate membrane repair: the interventional atomic force microscopy. Mutant dysferlin abuts to the sarcolemma after peptide treatment. The peptide-mediated approach has not been taken before in the field of muscular dystrophies. Our results could redirect treatment efforts for this condition.
    PLoS ONE 01/2012; 7(11):e49603. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: During apoptosis Bcl-2 proteins control permeabilization of the mitochondrial outer membrane leading to the release of cytochrome c. Essential gatekeepers for cytochrome c release are the proapoptotic multidomain proteins, Bax, and Bak. The expression of Bax is upregulated upon cellular stress by the tumor suppressor p53. Despite the high functional homology of Bax and Bak, little is known about how the bak gene is regulated. To investigate its transcriptional regulation in further detail, we have analyzed a region spanning 8200 bp upstream of the bak start codon (within exon 2) for transcription factor-binding sites, and identified three p53 consensus sites (BS1-3). Reporter gene assays in combination with site-directed mutagenesis revealed that only one putative p53-binding site (BS3) is necessary and sufficient for induction of reporter gene expression by p53. Consistently, p53 induces expression of endogenous Bak. At the mRNA level, induction of Bak expression is weaker than induction of Puma and p21. Interestingly, Bak expression can also be induced by p73 that binds however to each of the three p53-binding sites within the bak promoter region. Our data suggest that expression of Bak can be induced by both, p53 and p73 utilizing different binding sites within the bak promoter.
    Cell death and differentiation 01/2011; 18(7):1130-9. · 8.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Induction of cell death by p14(ARF) is mediated through a Bax/Bak-dependent mitochondrial apoptosis pathway. To investigate the upstream signaling events required for the activation of Bax and/or Bak and to determine the functional impact of de-regulated cell cycle restriction point control in this context, we genetically dissected the impact of BH3-only proteins and the role of the cyclin-dependent kinase (cdk) inhibitor p21(CDKN1). Using isogenic HCT116 colorectal cancer cells, either wild-type or homozygously deleted for the BH3-only protein Puma/bbc3 and/or p21(CDKN1) or p53-reconstituted DU145 prostate cancer cells, we show that p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is attenuated in the absence of Puma. Upon expression of p14(ARF) in HCT116 cells, Puma is rapidly induced at both the mRNA and protein level. Puma-proficient HCT116 cells undergo apoptotic (nuclear) DNA fragmentation, which is preceded by the N-terminal conformational change of Bax, the breakdown of the mitochondrial membrane potential, and induction of caspase-9 (LEHD)-like and caspase-3/7 (DEVD)-like activities. In contrast, p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is markedly attenuated in isogenic HCT116 cells bi-allelically deleted for puma. The sensitivity of Puma-deficient cells to p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis is fully restored by functional reconstitution of Puma using a conditional adenoviral expression vector. Notably, the concomitant deletion of p21(CDKN1) strongly enhances p14(ARF)-induced apoptosis in Puma-proficient cells, but not in isogenic Puma-deficient cells. These results indicate that p14(ARF)-induced mitochondrial apoptosis critically depends on the BH3-only protein Puma. In the presence of a functional p53/Puma/Bax-signaling axis, p14(ARF)-triggered apoptosis is enhanced by loss of p21(CDKN1)-mediated cell cycle checkpoint control.
    Journal of Molecular Medicine 04/2010; 88(6):609-22. · 4.77 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Tumor necrosis factor (alpha)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) is a promising anticancer agent that preferentially kills tumor cells with limited cytotoxicity to nonmalignant cells. However, signaling from death receptors requires amplification via the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway (type II) in the majority of tumor cells. Thus, TRAIL-induced cell death entirely depends on the proapoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bax, which is often lost as a result of epigenetic inactivation or mutations. Consequently, Bax deficiency confers resistance against TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Despite expression of Bak, Bax-deficient cells are resistant to TRAIL-induced apoptosis. In this study, we show that the Bax dependency of TRAIL-induced apoptosis is determined by Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL. Both are antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family proteins that keep Bak in check. Nevertheless, knockdown of Mcl-1 but not Bcl-xL overcame resistance to TRAIL, CD95/FasL and tumor necrosis factor (alpha) death receptor ligation in Bax-deficient cells, and enabled TRAIL to activate Bak, indicating that Mcl-1 rather than Bcl-xL is a major target for sensitization of Bax-deficient tumors for death receptor-induced apoptosis via the Bak pathway.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 03/2010; 188(6):851-62. · 10.82 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

61 Citations
44.26 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin
      • Research Team Clinical and Molecular Oncology
      Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany
  • 2010–2011
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
    • Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin
      • Medical Department, Division of Hematology, Oncology and Tumor Immunology
      Berlin, Land Berlin, Germany