Tobias M Boeckers

Universität Ulm, Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (172)827.45 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: SHANK proteins are crucial for the formation and plasticity of excitatory synapses. Although mutations in all three SHANK genes are associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), SHANK3 appears to be the major ASD gene with a prevalence of approximately 0.5% for SHANK3 mutations in ASD, with higher rates in individuals with ASD and intellectual disability (ID). Interestingly, the most relevant mutations are typically de novo and often are frameshift or nonsense mutations resulting in a premature stop and a truncation of SHANK3 protein. We analyzed three different SHANK3 stop mutations that we identified in individuals with ASD and/or ID, one novel (c.5008A > T) and two that we recently described (c.1527G > A, c.2497delG). The mutations were inserted into the human SHANK3a sequence and analyzed for effects on subcellular localization and neuronal morphology when overexpressed in rat primary hippocampal neurons. Clinically, all three individuals harboring these mutations had global developmental delays and ID. In our in vitro assay, c.1527G > A and c.2497delG both result in proteins that lack most of the SHANK3a C-terminus and accumulate in the nucleus of transfected cells. Cells expressing these mutants exhibit converging morphological phenotypes including reduced complexity of the dendritic tree, less spines, and less excitatory, but not inhibitory synapses. In contrast, the truncated protein based on c.5008A > T, which lacks only a short part of the sterile alpha motif (SAM) domain in the very SHANK3a C-terminus, does not accumulate in the nucleus and has minor effects on neuronal morphology. In spite of the prevalence of SHANK3 disruptions in ASD and ID, only a few human mutations have been functionally characterized; here we characterize three additional mutations. Considering the transcriptional and functional complexity of SHANK3 in healthy neurons, we propose that any heterozygous stop mutation in SHANK3 will lead to a dysequilibrium of SHANK3 isoform expression and alterations in the stoichiometry of SHANK3 protein complexes, resulting in a distinct perturbation of neuronal morphology. This could explain why the clinical phenotype in all three individuals included in this study remains quite severe - regardless of whether there are disruptions in one or more SHANK3 interaction domains.
    Molecular Autism 12/2015; 6(1). DOI:10.1186/s13229-015-0020-5 · 5.49 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteolytic processing of amyloid-β precursor protein (APP) by beta-site APP cleaving enzyme 1 (BACE1) is the initial step in the production of amyloid beta (Aβ), which accumulates in senile plaques in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Essential for this cleavage is the transport and sorting of both proteins through endosomal/Golgi compartments. Golgi-localized γ-ear-containing ARF-binding (GGA) proteins have striking cargo-sorting functions in these pathways. Recently, GGA1 and GGA3 were shown to interact with BACE1, to be expressed in neurons, and to be decreased in AD brain, whereas little is known about GGA2. Since GGA1 impacts Aβ generation by confining APP to the Golgi and perinuclear compartments, we tested whether all GGAs modulate BACE1 and APP transport and processing. We observed decreased levels of secreted APP alpha (sAPPα), sAPPβ, and Aβ upon GGA overexpression, which could be reverted by knockdown. GGA-BACE1 co-immunoprecipitation was impaired upon GGA-GAE but not VHS domain deletion. Autoinhibition of the GGA1-VHS domain was irrelevant for BACE1 interaction. Our data suggest that all three GGAs affect APP processing via the GGA-GAE domain.
    PLoS ONE 06/2015; 10(6). DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0129047 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative syndrome hallmarked by adult-onset loss of motor neurons. We performed exome sequencing of 252 familial ALS (fALS) and 827 control individuals. Gene-based rare variant analysis identified an exome-wide significant enrichment of eight loss-of-function (LoF) mutations in TBK1 (encoding TANK-binding kinase 1) in 13 fALS pedigrees. No enrichment of LoF mutations was observed in a targeted mutation screen of 1,010 sporadic ALS and 650 additional control individuals. Linkage analysis in four families gave an aggregate LOD score of 4.6. In vitro experiments confirmed the loss of expression of TBK1 LoF mutant alleles, or loss of interaction of the C-terminal TBK1 coiled-coil domain (CCD2) mutants with the TBK1 adaptor protein optineurin, which has been shown to be involved in ALS pathogenesis. We conclude that haploinsufficiency of TBK1 causes ALS and fronto-temporal dementia.
    Nature Neuroscience 03/2015; DOI:10.1038/nn.4000 · 14.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Various recent studies revealed that biometal dyshomeostasis plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of neurological disorders such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Substantial evidence indicates that disrupted neuronal homeostasis of different metal ions such as Fe, Cu, Pb, Hg, Se, and Zn may mediate synaptic dysfunction and impair synapse formation and maturation. Here, we performed in vitro studies investigating the consequences of an imbalance of transition metals on glutamatergic synapses of hippocampal neurons. We analyzed whether an imbalance of any one metal ion alters cell health and synapse numbers. Moreover, we evaluated whether a biometal profile characteristic for ASD patients influences synapse formation, maturation, and composition regarding NMDA receptor subunits and Shank proteins. Our results show that an ASD like biometal profile leads to a reduction of NMDAR (NR/Grin/GluN) subunit 1 and 2a, as well as Shank gene expression along with a reduction of synapse density. Additionally, synaptic protein levels of GluN2a and Shanks are reduced. Although Zn supplementation is able to rescue the aforementioned alterations, Zn deficiency is not solely responsible as causative factor. Thus, we conclude that balancing Zn levels in ASD might be a prime target to normalize synaptic alterations caused by biometal dyshomeostasis.
    Neural Plasticity 02/2015; 2015(985083):1-16. DOI:10.1155/2015/985083 · 3.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cytosolic accumulation of TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43) is a major neuropathological feature of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). However, the mechanisms involved in TDP-43 accumulation remain largely unknown. Previously, we reported that inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) prevented cytosolic stress granule accumulation of TDP-43, correlating with depletion of heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) K from stress granules. In the present study, we further investigated the relationship between TDP-43 and hnRNP K and their control by CDKs. Inhibition of CDK2 abrogated the accumulation of TDP-43 into stress granules. Phosphorylated CDK2 co-localized with accumulated TDP-43 and phosphorylated hnRNP K in stress granules. Inhibition of CDK2 phosphorylation blocked phosphorylation of hnRNP K, preventing its incorporation into stress granules. Due to interaction between hnRNP K with TDP-43, the loss of hnRNP K from stress granules prevented accumulation of TDP-43. Mutation of Ser216 and Ser284 phosphorylation sites on hnRNP K inhibited hnRNP K- and TDP-43-positive stress granule formation in transfected cells. The interaction between hnRNP K and TDP-43 was further confirmed by the loss of TDP-43 accumulation following siRNA-mediated inhibition of hnRNP K expression. A substantial decrease of CDK2 and hnRNP K expression in spinal cord motor neurons in ALS patients demonstrates a potential key role for these proteins in ALS and TDP-43 accumulation, indicating that further investigation of the association between hnRNP K and TDP-43 is warranted. Understanding how kinase activity modulates TDP-43 accumulation may provide new pharmacological targets for disease intervention. © The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: journals.permissions@oup.com.
    Human Molecular Genetics 11/2014; 24(6). DOI:10.1093/hmg/ddu578 · 6.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Located at neuronal terminals, the postsynaptic density (PSD) is a highly complex network of cytoskeletal scaffolding and signaling proteins responsible for the transduction and modulation of glutamatergic signaling between neurons. Using ion-mobility enhanced data-independent label-free LC-MS/MS, we established a reference proteome of crude synaptosomes, synaptic junctions and PSD derived from mouse hippocampus including TOP3-based absolute quantification values for identified proteins. The final dataset across all fractions comprised 49491 peptides corresponding to 4558 protein groups. Of these, 2102 protein groups were identified in highly purified PSD in at least two biological replicates. Identified proteins play pivotal roles in neurological and synaptic processes providing a rich resource for studies on hippocampal PSD function as well as on the pathogenesis of neuropsychiatric disorders. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Proteomics 11/2014; 14(21-22). DOI:10.1002/pmic.201300520 · 3.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SHANK genes code for scaffold proteins located at the post-synaptic density of glutamatergic synapses. In neurons, SHANK2 and SHANK3 have a positive effect on the induction and maturation of dendritic spines, whereas SHANK1 induces the enlargement of spine heads. Mutations in SHANK genes have been associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), but their prevalence and clinical relevance remain to be determined. Here, we performed a new screen and a meta-analysis of SHANK copy-number and coding-sequence variants in ASD. Copy-number variants were analyzed in 5,657 patients and 19,163 controls, coding-sequence variants were ascertained in 760 to 2,147 patients and 492 to 1,090 controls (depending on the gene), and, individuals carrying de novo or truncating SHANK mutations underwent an extensive clinical investigation. Copy-number variants and truncating mutations in SHANK genes were present in ∼1% of patients with ASD: mutations in SHANK1 were rare (0.04%) and present in males with normal IQ and autism; mutations in SHANK2 were present in 0.17% of patients with ASD and mild intellectual disability; mutations in SHANK3 were present in 0.69% of patients with ASD and up to 2.12% of the cases with moderate to profound intellectual disability. In summary, mutations of the SHANK genes were detected in the whole spectrum of autism with a gradient of severity in cognitive impairment. Given the rare frequency of SHANK1 and SHANK2 deleterious mutations, the clinical relevance of these genes remains to be ascertained. In contrast, the frequency and the penetrance of SHANK3 mutations in individuals with ASD and intellectual disability-more than 1 in 50-warrant its consideration for mutation screening in clinical practice.
    PLoS Genetics 09/2014; 10(9):e1004580. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004580 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent studies suggest that synaptic pathology in autism spectrum disorder (ASD) might be caused by the disruption of a signaling pathway at excitatory glutamatergic synapses, which can be influenced by environmental factors. Some factors, such as prenatal zinc deficiency, dysfunction of metallothioneins as well as deletion of COMMD1, all affect brain metal-ion homeostasis and have been associated with ASD. Given that COMMD1 regulates copper levels and that copper and zinc have antagonistic properties, here, we followed the idea that copper overload might induce a local zinc deficiency affecting key players of a putative ASD pathway such as ProSAP/Shank proteins as reported before. Our results show that increased copper levels indeed interfere with intracellular zinc concentrations and affect synaptic ProSAP/Shank levels, which similarly are altered by manipulation of copper and zinc levels through overexpression and knockdown of COMMD1. In line with this, acute and prenatal copper overload lead to local zinc deficiencies in mice. Pups exposed to prenatal copper overload furthermore show a reduction in ProSAP/Shank protein levels in the brain as well as a decreased NMDAR subunit 1 concentration. Thus, it might be likely that brain metal ion status influences a distinct pathway in excitatory synapses associated with genetic forms of ASD.
    BioMetals 07/2014; 27(4). DOI:10.1007/s10534-014-9764-1 · 2.69 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) offer a promising approach for therapeutic intracellular delivery of proteins, conventionally hampered by short half-lives, instability and immunogenicity. Remarkably, NPs uptake occurs via endocytic internalization leading to NPs content's release within lysosomes. To overcome lysosomal degradation and achieve NPs and/or loaded proteins release into cytosol, we propose the formulation of hybrid NPs by adding 1,2-dioleoyl-sn-glycero-3-phosphoethanolamine (DOPE) as pH sensitive component in the formulation of poly-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) NPs. Hybrid NPs, featured by different DOPE/PLGA ratios, were characterized in terms of structure, stability and lipid organization within the polymeric matrix. Experiments on neuronal cells and rat primary cultures highlighted the safety profile of hybrid NPs. Moreover, after internalization, NPs are able to transiently destabilize the integrity of lysosomes in which they are taken up, speeding their escape and favoring cytoplasmatic localization. Thus, these DOPE/PLGA-NPs configure themselves as promising carriers for intracellular protein delivery.
    International Journal of Pharmaceutics 05/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ijpharm.2014.05.054 · 3.79 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Background: A number of the genes identified as anomalous in genetic screens of the autism spectrum disorders (ASD) population code for proteins that regulate synaptic plasticity, including the Shank family of genes. The link between mutation of these ubiquitously expressed genes and the selective social impairments and repetitive behaviors featured in ASD, though, is still unclear. Transgenic introduction of mutations identified in human ASD subjects into rodent models enables the association of specific genotypes to phenotypes. Rat models present several advantages over mouse models for characterizing ASD mutations due to their rich social behavioral repertoire, metabolic similarities to humans and amenability to complex electrophysiological manipulations. Objectives: To investigate the relationship between decreased synaptic function and social impairment, we have characterized the behavioral, molecular and electrophysiological phenotype of rats expressing a mutation of the Shank2 gene associated with ASD. The characterization of neural activity associated with aberrant behavior has the potential to identify reliable biomarkers of both disease and drug response. Methods: Transgenic Sprague-Dawley rats containing a targeted deletion of exon 31 of the SHANK2 gene were generated using zinc finger nuclease technology. The subsequent animals were characterized through a behavioral battery, molecularly, through western blot protein quantification of regional synaptosomal brain homogenates, and electrophysiologically, through in vivo, chronically implanted, surface and depth electrodes. Results: Mutation of the Shank2 gene results in alterations in social behavior seen throughout development. Homozygous Shank2 mutant rats (HOs) engage in less species typical juvenile play than wild type rats (WTs). This deficit is maintained into adulthood as evidenced by decreased social investigation of conspecifics and transmission of food preference. However, Shank2 mutation in the rat, unlike in the mouse, does not result in decreased social approach. HOs also exhibited several forms of restricted and repetitive behaviors analogous to those observed in ASD, including increased locomotion and abnormal circling and checking behaviors. Uniquely, HOs also show increased motivation in a progressive ratio task that is independent of hyperactivity. The behavioral deficits associated with Shank2 mutation are accompanied by upregulation of Shank3 and mGluR1 in the striatum and downregulation SHANK1 and Homer1 in the hippocampus. Local field potential recordings in multiple nodes of the social brain circuit, including the amygdala, entorhinal cortex and hippocampus were collected to assess differences in network activity resulting from Shank2 mutation. Conclusions: Shank2 mutation in the rat model recapitulates many of the behavioral features of ASD and has broad effects on the expression of synaptic proteins. Exploration of electrophysiological phenotypes associated with these behaviors in this model may shed light on the neural underpinnings of the symptomatology of the disorder.
    2014 International Meeting for Autism Research; 05/2014
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    ABSTRACT: The genetic heterogeneity of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) is enormous, and the neurobiology of proteins encoded by genes associated with ASD is very diverse. Revealing the mechanisms on which different neurobiological pathways in ASD pathogenesis converge may lead to the identification of drug targets. The main objective is firstly to outline the main molecular networks and neuronal mechanisms in which ASD gene products participate and secondly to answer the question how these converge. Finally, we aim to pinpoint drug targets within these mechanisms. Literature review of the neurobiological properties of ASD gene products with a special focus on the developmental consequences of genetic defects and the possibility to reverse these by genetic or pharmacological interventions. The regulation of activity-dependent protein synthesis appears central in the pathogenesis of ASD. Through sequential consequences for axodendritic function, neuronal disabilities arise expressed as behavioral abnormalities and autistic symptoms in ASD patients. Several known ASD gene products have their effect on this central process by affecting protein synthesis intrinsically, e.g., through enhancing the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signal transduction pathway or through impairing synaptic function in general. These are interrelated processes and can be targeted by compounds from various directions: inhibition of protein synthesis through Lovastatin, mTOR inhibition using rapamycin, or mGluR-related modulation of synaptic activity. ASD gene products may all feed into a central process of translational control that is important for adequate glutamatergic regulation of dendritic properties. This process can be modulated by available compounds but may also be targeted by yet unexplored routes.
    Psychopharmacology 01/2014; 231(6). DOI:10.1007/s00213-013-3403-3 · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The application of polymeric nanoparticles (NPs) has a promising future for targeting and delivering drugs into the central nervous system (CNS). However, the fate of NPs once entered in the brain after crossing the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and taken up into neuronal cells is a neglected area of study. Thus, here, we investigate the possible mechanisms of a cell-to-cell transport of poly-lactide-co-glycolide (PLGA) NPs modified with a glycopeptide (g7-NPs), already demonstrated to be able to cross the BBB after in vivo administration in rodents. We also tested antibody (Ab) -modified g7-NPs both in vitro and in vivo to investigate the possibility of specific targeting. Our results show that g7-NPs can be transported intra- and intercellularly within vesicles after vesicular internalization. Moreover, cell-to-cell transport is mediated by tunneling-nanotube (TNT)-like structures in cell lines and most interestingly in glial as well as neuronal cells in vitro. The transport is dependent on F-actin and can be increased by induction of TNT-like structures overexpressing M-Sec, a central factor and inducer of TNT formation. Moreover, cell-to-cell transport occurs independently from NP surface modification with antibodies. These in vitro findings were in part confirmed by in vivo evidence after i.p. administration of NPs in mice.
    Journal of Controlled Release 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.jconrel.2014.01.004 · 7.26 Impact Factor
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    Anja Böckers, Christian Mayer, Tobias Maria Böckers
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    ABSTRACT: The preclinical compulsory elective course "Ready for the Operating Room (OR)!?" [in German]: "Fit für den OP (FOP)"] was implemented for students in their second year, who were simultaneously enrolled in the gross anatomy course. The objective of the study was to determine whether the direct practical application of anatomical knowledge within the surgical context of the course led to any improvement in learning motivation, learning orientation, and ultimately examination results in the gross anatomy course, as compared with a control group. Within the scope of five teaching sessions, the students learned surgical hand disinfection, suturing techniques, and the identification of commonly used surgical instruments. In addition, the students attended five surgical demonstrations performed by surgical colleagues on cadavers. Successful learning of these basic skills was then assessed based on an Objectively Structured Practical Examination. Learning motivation and learning orientation in both subgroups was determined using the SELLMO-ST motivation test and the Approaches and Study Skills Inventory test. While a significant increase in work avoidance was identified in the control group, this was not the case for FOP participants. Similarly, an increase in the "deep approach" to learning, as well as a decrease in the "surface approach," was able to be documented among the FOP participants following completion of the course. The results suggest that students enrolled in the gross anatomy course, who were simultaneously provided with the opportunity to learn in clinical context, were more likely to be successful at maintaining learning motivation and learning orientation required for the learning process, than students who attended the gross anatomy course alone. © 2013 American Association of Anatomists.
    Anatomical Sciences Education 01/2014; 7(1). DOI:10.1002/ase.1375 · 2.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Development of dendritic spines is important for synaptic function, and alteration in spine morphogenesis is often associated with mental disorders. Rich2 was an uncharacterized Rho-GAP protein. Here we searched for a role of this protein in spine morphogenesis. We found that it is enriched in dendritic spines of cultured hippocampal pyramidal neurons during early stages of development. Rich2 specifically stimulated the Rac1 GTPase in these neurons. Inhibition of Rac1 by EHT 1864 increased the size and decreased the density of dendritic spines. Similarly, Rich2 overexpression increased the size and decreased the density of dendritic spines, whereas knock-down of the protein by specific si-RNA decreased both size and density of spines. The morphological changes were reflected by the increased amplitude and decreased frequency of miniature EPSCs induced by Rich2 overexpression, while si-RNA treatment decreased both amplitude and frequency of these events. Finally, treatment of neurons with EHT 1864 rescued the phenotype induced by Rich2 knock-down. These results suggested that Rich2 controls dendritic spine morphogenesis and function via inhibition of Rac1.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2013; 289(5). DOI:10.1074/jbc.M113.534636 · 4.60 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Nanocarriers can be useful tools for delivering drugs to the central nervous system (CNS). Their distribution within the brain and their interaction with CNS cells must be assessed accurately before they can be proposed for therapeutic use. In this paper, we investigated these issues by employing poly-lactide-co-glycolide nanoparticles (NPs) specifically engineered with a glycopeptide (g7) conferring to NPs the ability to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB) at a concentration of up to 10% of the injected dose. g7-NPs display increased in vitro uptake in neurons and glial cells. Our results show that in vivo administration of g7-NPs leads to a region- and cell type-specific enrichment of NPs within the brain. We provide evidence that g7-NPs are endocytosed in a clathrin-dependent manner and transported into a specific subset of early endosomes positive for Rab5 in vitro and in vivo. The differential Rab5 expression level is strictly correlated with the amount of g7-NP accumulation. These findings show that g7-NPs can cross the BBB and target specific brain cell populations, suggesting that these NPs can be promising carriers for the treatment of neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.
    Journal of Controlled Release 12/2013; 174. DOI:10.1016/j.jconrel.2013.11.023 · 7.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteins of the ProSAP/Shank family act as major organizing scaffolding elements within the postsynaptic density of excitatory synapses. Deletions, mutations or the downregulation of these molecules has been linked to autism spectrum disorders, the related Phelan McDermid Syndrome or Alzheimer's disease. ProSAP/Shank proteins are targeted to synapses depending on binding to zinc, which is a prerequisite for the assembly of the ProSAP/Shank scaffold. To gain insight into whether the previously reported assembly of ProSAP/Shank through zinc ions provides a crossing point between genetic forms of autism spectrum disorder and zinc deficiency as an environmental risk factor for autism spectrum disorder, we examined the interplay between zinc and ProSAP/Shank in vitro and in vivo using neurobiological approaches. Our data show that low postsynaptic zinc availability affects the activity dependent increase in ProSAP1/Shank2 and ProSAP2/Shank3 levels at the synapse in vitro and that a loss of synaptic ProSAP1/Shank2 and ProSAP2/Shank3 occurs in a mouse model for acute and prenatal zinc deficiency. Zinc-deficient animals displayed abnormalities in behaviour such as over-responsivity and hyperactivity-like behaviour (acute zinc deficiency) and autism spectrum disorder-related behaviour such as impairments in vocalization and social behaviour (prenatal zinc deficiency). Most importantly, a low zinc status seems to be associated with an increased incidence rate of seizures, hypotonia, and attention and hyperactivity issues in patients with Phelan-McDermid syndrome, which is caused by haploinsufficiency of ProSAP2/Shank3. We suggest that the molecular underpinning of prenatal zinc deficiency as a risk factor for autism spectrum disorder may unfold through the deregulation of zinc-binding ProSAP/Shank family members.
    Brain 11/2013; DOI:10.1093/brain/awt303 · 10.23 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The postsynaptic density is an electron dense meshwork composed of a variety of molecules facilitating neuronal signal transmission. ProSAP2/Shank3 represents a crucial player at postsynaptic sites, assembling large multimeric platforms and anchoring numerous other molecules, thereby linking the functional synapse with the cytoskeleton. ProSAP2/Shank3 is also implicated in the pathogenesis of numerous diseases, including autism spectrum disorders. Kvβ2 on the other hand serves as a regulatory subunit of voltage gated potassium channels. Kvβ2 is located at various sites in the neuron including the axon (binding to Kv1.2), the dendrites (binding to Kv4.2) and the synapse. Binding of Kvβ2 to either Kv1.2 or Kv4 modulates not only the channel conformation but directs targeting of the channel protein complex to distinct loci within the cell. Thus an interaction between ProSAP2 and Kvβ2 could have important roles at diverse cellular compartments and moreover during maturation stages. We report here on the direct protein-protein interaction of the postsynaptic density anchoring molecule ProSAP2 and the potassium channel subunit Kvβ2, initially identified in a yeast-two-hybrid-screen. Furthermore, we characterize this interaction at synapses using primary hippocampal neurons in vitro.
    Neuroscience 11/2013; 261. DOI:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2013.10.045 · 3.33 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Circuit formation in the nervous system essentially relies on the proper development of neurons and their processes. In this context, the ubiquitin ligase Nedd4 is a crucial modulator of axonal and dendritic branching. Herein we characterize the Nedd4-binding protein 3 (N4BP3), a Fezzin family member, during nerve cell development. In developing rat primary hippocampal neurons, endogenous N4BP3 localizes to neuronal processes, including axons and dendrites. Transient in vitro knockdown of N4BP3 in hippocampal cultures during neuritogenesis results in impaired branching of axons and dendrites. In line with these findings, in vivo knockdown of n4bp3 in Xenopus laevis embryos results in severe alteration of cranial nerve branching. We introduce N4BP3 as a novel molecular element for the correct branching of neurites in developing neurons and propose a central role for an N4BP3-Nedd4 complex in neurite branching and circuit formation.
    Neural Development 09/2013; 8(1):18. DOI:10.1186/1749-8104-8-18 · 3.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cell-fate decisions and pluripotency are dependent on networks of key transcriptional regulators. Recent reports demonstrated additional functions of pluripotency-associated factors during early lineage commitment. The T-box transcription factor TBX3 has been implicated in regulating embryonic stem cell self-renewal and cardiogenesis. Here, we show that TBX3 is dynamically expressed during specification of the mesendoderm lineages in differentiating embryonic stem cells (ESCs) in vitro and in developing mouse and Xenopus embryos in vivo. Forced TBX3 expression in ESCs promotes mesendoderm specification by directly activating key lineage specification factors and indirectly by enhancing paracrine Nodal/Smad2 signaling. TBX3 loss-of-function analyses in the Xenopus underline its requirement for mesendoderm lineage commitment. Moreover, we uncovered a functional redundancy between TBX3 and Tbx2 during Xenopus gastrulation. Taken together, we define further facets of TBX3 actions and map TBX3 as an upstream regulator of the mesendoderm transcriptional program during gastrulation.
    Stem Cell Reports 09/2013; 1(3):248-265. DOI:10.1016/j.stemcr.2013.08.002

Publication Stats

5k Citations
827.45 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2003–2015
    • Universität Ulm
      • • Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology
      • • Division of Neurophysiology
      Ulm, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
  • 2009
    • University Medical Center Hamburg - Eppendorf
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 1990–2004
    • University of Münster
      • • Institute of Anatomy
      • • Medical Faculty
      Muenster, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1998–2003
    • Leibniz Institute for Neurobiology
      • Department of Neurochemistry and Molecular Biology
      Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
  • 2001
    • Hannover Medical School
      • Centre for Anatomy
      Hanover, Lower Saxony, Germany
    • University of Hamburg
      Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany
  • 1996–1999
    • Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg
      • Institute for Medical Psychology
      Magdeburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
  • 1994
    • University of Cologne
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany