David Drechsel

Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden, Saxony, Germany

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Publications (19)248.99 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Many proteins contain disordered regions of low-sequence complexity, which cause aging-associated diseases because they are prone to aggregate. Here, we study FUS, a prion-like protein containing intrinsically disordered domains associated with the neurodegenerative disease ALS. We show that, in cells, FUS forms liquid compartments at sites of DNA damage and in the cytoplasm upon stress. We confirm this by reconstituting liquid FUS compartments in vitro. Using an in vitro "aging" experiment, we demonstrate that liquid droplets of FUS protein convert with time from a liquid to an aggregated state, and this conversion is accelerated by patient-derived mutations. We conclude that the physiological role of FUS requires forming dynamic liquid-like compartments. We propose that liquid-like compartments carry the trade-off between functionality and risk of aggregation and that aberrant phase transitions within liquid-like compartments lie at the heart of ALS and, presumably, other age-related diseases. VIDEO ABSTRACT. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Cell 08/2015; 162(5):1066-1077. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2015.07.047 · 32.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Chemokines are small secreted proteins with important roles in immune responses. They consist of a conserved three-dimensional (3D) structure, so-called IL8-like chemokine fold, which is supported by disulfide bridges characteristic of this protein family. Sequence- and profile-based computational methods have been proficient in discovering novel chemokines by making use of their sequence-conserved cysteine patterns. However, it has been recently shown that some chemokines escaped annotation by these methods due to low sequence similarity to known chemokines and to different arrangement of cysteines in sequence and in 3D. Innovative methods overcoming the limitations of current techniques may allow the discovery of new remote homologs in the still functionally uncharacterized fraction of the human genome. We report a novel computational approach for proteome-wide identification of remote homologs of the chemokine family that uses fold recognition techniques in combination with a scaffold-based automatic mapping of disulfide bonds to define a 3D profile of the chemokine protein family. By applying our methodology to all currently uncharacterized human protein sequences, we have discovered two novel proteins that, without having significant sequence similarity to known chemokines or characteristic cysteine patterns, show strong structural resemblance to known anti-HIV chemokines. Detailed computational analysis and experimental structural investigations based on mass spectrometry and circular dichroism support our structural predictions and highlight several other chemokine-like features. The results obtained support their functional annotation as putative novel chemokines and encourage further experimental characterization. The identification of remote homologs of human chemokines may provide new insights into the molecular mechanisms causing pathologies such as cancer or AIDS, and may contribute to the development of novel treatments. Besides, the genome-wide applicability of our methodology based on 3D protein family profiles may open up new possibilities for improving and accelerating protein function annotation processes.
    PLoS ONE 05/2012; 7(5):e36151. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0036151 · 3.23 Impact Factor
  • Ünal Coskun · Michał Grzybek · David Drechsel · Kai Simons ·

    Chemistry and Physics of Lipids 08/2011; 164. DOI:10.1016/j.chemphyslip.2011.05.070 · 2.42 Impact Factor
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    Ünal Coskun · Michał Grzybek · David Drechsel · Kai Simons ·
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    ABSTRACT: The human epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a key representative of tyrosine kinase receptors, ubiquitous actors in cell signaling, proliferation, differentiation, and migration. Although the receptor is well-studied, a central issue remains: How does the compositional diversity and functional diversity of the surrounding membrane modulate receptor function? Reconstituting human EGFR into proteoliposomes of well-defined and controlled lipid compositions represents a minimal synthetic approach to systematically address this question. We show that lipid composition has little effect on ligand-binding properties of the EGFR but rather exerts a profound regulatory effect on kinase domain activation. Here, the ganglioside GM3 but not other related lipids strongly inhibited the autophosphorylation of the EGFR kinase domain. This inhibitory action of GM3 was only seen in liposomes compositionally poised to phase separate into coexisting liquid domains. The inhibition by GM3 was released by either removing the neuraminic acid of the GM3 headgroup or by mutating a membrane proximal lysine of EGFR (K642G). Our results demonstrate that GM3 exhibits the potential to regulate the allosteric structural transition from inactive to a signaling EGFR dimer, by preventing the autophosphorylation of the intracellular kinase domain in response to ligand binding.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 05/2011; 108(22):9044-8. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1105666108 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Rab GTPases and SNAREs (soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor attachment protein receptors) are evolutionarily conserved essential components of the eukaryotic intracellular transport system. Although pairing of cognate SNAREs is sufficient to fuse membranes in vitro, a complete reconstitution of the Rab–SNARE machinery has never been achieved. Here we report the reconstitution of the early endosomal canine Rab5 GTPase, its key regulators and effectors together with SNAREs into proteoliposomes using a set of 17 recombinant human proteins. These vesicles behave like minimal 'synthetic' endosomes, fusing with purified early endosomes or with each other in vitro. Membrane fusion measured by content-mixing and morphological assays requires the cooperativity between Rab5 effectors and cognate SNAREs which, together, form a more efficient 'core machinery' than SNAREs alone. In reconstituting a fusion mechanism dependent on both a Rab GTPase and SNAREs, our work shows that the two machineries act coordinately to increase the specificity and efficiency of the membrane tethering and fusion process.
    Nature 05/2009; 459(7250):1091-1097. DOI:10.1038/nature08107 · 41.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Many protein-protein interactions are mediated through independently folding modular domains. Proteome-wide efforts to model protein-protein interaction or "interactome" networks have largely ignored this modular organization of proteins. We developed an experimental strategy to efficiently identify interaction domains and generated a domain-based interactome network for proteins involved in C. elegans early-embryonic cell divisions. Minimal interacting regions were identified for over 200 proteins, providing important information on their domain organization. Furthermore, our approach increased the sensitivity of the two-hybrid system, resulting in a more complete interactome network. This interactome modeling strategy revealed insights into C. elegans centrosome function and is applicable to other biological processes in this and other organisms.
    Cell 09/2008; 134(3):534-45. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2008.07.009 · 32.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The beta-secretase, BACE, is a membrane spanning aspartic protease, which cleaves the amyloid precursor protein (APP) in the first step of proteolytic processing leading to the formation of the neurotoxic beta-amyloid peptide (Abeta). Previous results have suggested that the regulation of beta-secretase and BACE access to APP is lipid dependent, and involves lipid rafts. Using the baculovirus expression system, we have expressed recombinant human full-length BACE in insect cells and purified milligram amounts to homogeneity. We have studied partitioning of fluorophor-conjugated BACE between the liquid ordered and disordered phases in giant (10-150 mum) unilamellar vesicles, and found approximately 20% to associate with the raft-like, liquid-ordered phase; the fraction associated with liquid-ordered phase increased upon cross-linking of raft lipids. To examine involvement of individual lipid species in modulating BACE activity, we have reconstituted the purified BACE in large ( approximately 100 nm) unilamellar vesicles, and determined its specific activity in vesicles of various lipid compositions. We have identified 3 groups of lipids that stimulate proteolytic activity of BACE: 1) neutral glycosphingolipids (cerebrosides), 2) anionic glycerophospholipids, and 3) sterols (cholesterol).
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2005; 280(44):36815-23. DOI:10.1074/jbc.M504484200 · 4.57 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is an evolutionarily conserved defence mechanism whereby genes are specifically silenced through degradation of messenger RNAs; this process is mediated by homologous double-stranded (ds)RNA molecules. In invertebrates, long dsRNAs have been used for genome-wide screens and have provided insights into gene functions. Because long dsRNA triggers a nonspecific interferon response in many vertebrates, short interfering (si)RNA or short hairpin (sh)RNAs must be used for these organisms to ensure specific gene silencing. Here we report the generation of a genome-scale library of endoribonuclease-prepared short interfering (esi)RNAs from a sequence-verified complementary DNA collection representing 15,497 human genes. We used 5,305 esiRNAs from this library to screen for genes required for cell division in HeLa cells. Using a primary high-throughput cell viability screen followed by a secondary high content videomicroscopy assay, we identified 37 genes required for cell division. These include several splicing factors for which knockdown generates mitotic spindle defects. In addition, a putative nuclear-export terminator was found to speed up cell proliferation and mitotic progression after knockdown. Thus, our study uncovers new aspects of cell division and establishes esiRNA as a versatile approach for genomic RNAi screens in mammalian cells.
    Nature 01/2005; 432(7020):1036-40. DOI:10.1038/nature03159 · 41.46 Impact Factor
  • Frank Buchholz · David Drechsel · Martine Ruer · Ralf Kittler ·
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    ABSTRACT: RNA interference (RNAi) is a powerful tool for gene function studies in a variety of organisms. In mammalian cells, short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are typically used to specifically knock down the expression of the gene(s) of interest. Different methods have been developed for the generation of these siRNAs, including chemical synthesis and in vitro transcription of complementary ssRNA or short hairpins. Here we describe the production of siRNAs by endoribonuclease digestion of dsRNA using purified RNaseIII from E.coli. This method is fast, efficient and reliable and also produces a pool of different siRNAs, obviating the need to screen for effective siRNA molecules. The ease and cost effectiveness makes this approach particularly useful for large scale and high throughput gene function analyses.
  • F. Buchholz · D. Drechsel · M. Ruer · R. Kittler ·

    01/2004: pages 87-99;
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    Mark van Breugel · David Drechsel · Anthony Hyman ·
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    ABSTRACT: The Dis1/XMAP215 family of microtubule-associated proteins conserved from yeast to mammals is essential for cell division. XMAP215, the Xenopus member of this family, has been shown to stabilize microtubules in vitro, but other members of this family have not been biochemically characterized. Here we investigate the properties of the Saccharomyces cerevisiae homologue Stu2p in vitro. Surprisingly, Stu2p is a microtubule destabilizer that binds preferentially to microtubule plus ends. Quantitative analysis of microtubule dynamics suggests that Stu2p induces microtubule catastrophes by sterically interfering with tubulin addition to microtubule ends. These results reveal both a new biochemical activity for a Dis1/XMAP215 family member and a novel mechanism for microtubule destabilization.
    The Journal of Cell Biology 05/2003; 161(2):359-69. DOI:10.1083/jcb.200211097 · 9.83 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Microtubules are dynamically unstable polymers that interconvert stochastically between polymerization and depolymerization. Compared with microtubules assembled from purified tubulin, microtubules in a physiological environment polymerize faster and transit more frequently between polymerization and depolymerization. These dynamic properties are essential for the functions of the microtubule cytoskeleton during diverse cellular processes. Here, we have reconstituted the essential features of physiological microtubule dynamics by mixing three purified components: tubulin; a microtubule-stabilizing protein, XMAP215; and a microtubule-destabilizing kinesin, XKCM1. This represents an essential first step in the reconstitution of complex microtubule dynamics–dependent processes, such as chromosome segregation, from purified components.
    Science 12/2001; 294(5545):1340-3. DOI:10.1126/science.1064629 · 33.61 Impact Factor
  • David N. Drechsel · Marc W. Kirschner ·
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    ABSTRACT: Microtubules polymerized from pure tubulin show the unusual property of dynamic instability, in which both growing and shrinking polymers coexist at steady state. Shortly after its addition to a microtubule end, a tubulin subunit hydrolyzes its bound GTP. Studies with non-hydrolyzable analogs have shown that GTP hydrolysis is not required for microtubule assembly, but is essential for generating a dynamic polymer, in which the subunits at the growing tip have bound GTP and those in the bulk of the polymer have bound GDP. It has been suggested that loss of the 'GTP cap' through dissociation or hydrolysis exposes the unstable GDP core, leading to rapid depolymerization. However, evidence for a stabilizing cap has been very difficult to obtain. We developed an assay to determine the minimum GTP cap necessary to stabilize a microtubule from shrinking. Assembly of a small number of subunits containing a slowly hydrolyzed GTP analog (GMPCPP) onto the end of dynamic microtubules stabilized the polymer to dilution. By labeling the subunits with rhodamine, we measured the size of the cap and found that as few as 40 subunits were sufficient to stabilize a microtubule. On the basis of statistical arguments, in which the proportion of stabilized microtubules is compared to the probability that when 40 GMPCPP-tubulin subunits have polymerized onto a microtubule end, all protofilaments have added at least one GMPCPP-tubulin subunit, our measurements of cap size support a model in which a single GTP subunit at the end of each of the 13 protofilaments of a microtubule is sufficient for stabilization. Depolymerization of a microtubule may be initiated by an exposed tubulin-GDP subunit at even a single position. These results have implications for the structure of microtubules and their means of regulation.
    Current Biology 01/1995; 4(12):1053-61. DOI:10.1016/S0960-9822(00)00243-8 · 9.57 Impact Factor
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    D N Drechsel · A.A. Hyman · M H Cobb · M W Kirschner ·
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    ABSTRACT: Microtubule-associated proteins (MAP), such as tau, modulate the extent and rate of microtubule assembly and play an essential role in morphogenetic processes, such as axonal growth. We have examined the mechanism by which tau affects microtubule polymerization by examining the kinetics of microtubule assembly and disassembly through direct observation of microtubules using dark-field microscopy. Tau increases the rate of polymerization, decreases the rate of transit into the shrinking phase (catastrophe), and inhibits the rate of depolymerization. Tau strongly suppresses the catastrophe rate, and its ability to do so is independent of its ability to increase the elongation rate. Thus, tau generates a partially stable but still dynamic state in microtubules. This state is perturbed by phosphorylation by MAP2 kinase, which affects all three activities by lowering the affinity of tau for the microtubule lattice.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 11/1992; 3(10):1141-54. DOI:10.1091/mbc.3.10.1141 · 4.47 Impact Factor
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    AA Hyman · S Salser · D N Drechsel · N Unwin · T J Mitchison ·
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    ABSTRACT: The role of GTP hydrolysis in microtubule dynamics has been reinvestigated using an analogue of GTP, guanylyl-(alpha, beta)-methylene-diphosphonate (GMPCPP). This analogue binds to the tubulin exchangeable nucleotide binding site (E-site) with an affinity four to eightfold lower than GTP and promotes the polymerization of normal microtubules. The polymerization rate of microtubules with GMPCPP-tubulin is very similar to that of GTP-tubulin. However, in contrast to microtubules polymerized with GTP, GMPCPP-microtubules do not depolymerize rapidly after isothermal dilution. The depolymerization rate of GMPCPP-microtubules is 0.1 s-1 compared with 500 s-1 for GDP-microtubules. GMPCPP also completely suppresses dynamic instability. Contrary to previous work, we find that the beta--gamma bond of GMPCPP is hydrolyzed extremely slowly after incorporation into the microtubule lattice, with a rate constant of 4 x 10(-7) s-1. Because GMPCPP hydrolysis is negligible over the course of a polymerization experiment, it can be used to test the role of hydrolysis in microtubule dynamics. Our results provide strong new evidence for the idea that GTP hydrolysis by tubulin is not required for normal polymerization but is essential for depolymerization and thus for dynamic instability. Because GMPCPP strongly promotes spontaneous nucleation of microtubules, we propose that GTP hydrolysis by tubulin also plays the important biological role of inhibiting spontaneous microtubule nucleation.
    Molecular Biology of the Cell 11/1992; 3(10):1155-67. DOI:10.1091/mbc.3.10.1155 · 4.47 Impact Factor

  • Methods in Enzymology 02/1991; 196:478-85. DOI:10.1016/0076-6879(91)96041-o · 2.09 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The microtubule array in neuronal cells undergoes extensive growth, dynamics and rearrangements during neurite outgrowth. While little is known about how these changes are regulated, microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) including tau protein are likely to perform an important role. Tau is one of the MAPs in mammalian brain. When isolated it is usually a mixture of several isoforms containing between 341 and 441 residues that arise from alternative splicing. Tau can be phosphorylated by several protein kinases. Phosphorylation at certain sites results in major structural and functional changes, as seen by changes in electrophoretic mobility, interaction with microtubules, molecular length and elasticity. Here we show that the sites of phosphorylation by four kinases (PKA, PKC, CK and CaMK) all lie in the C-terminal microtubule-binding half of tau, but only the phosphorylation by CaM kinase shows the pronounced shift in electrophoretic mobility characteristic for tau from Alzheimer neurofibrillary tangles. By using a combination of limited proteolysis, protein sequencing and protein engineering we show that a single phosphorylation site is responsible for this shift, located at Ser 405 in the C-terminal tail of the protein outside the region of internal repeats. Phosphorylation at this site not only reduces the electrophoretic mobility of tau, it also makes the protein long and stiff, as shown earlier. The site is likely to be phosphorylated in tau from Alzheimer neurofibrillary tangles.
    The EMBO Journal 12/1990; 9(11):3539-44. · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    A Himmler · D Drechsel · M W Kirschner · D. W. Jr. Martin ·
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    ABSTRACT: Tau proteins consist of a family of proteins, heterogeneous in size, which associate with microtubules in vivo and are induced during neurite outgrowth. In humans, tau is one of the major components of the pathognomonic neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease brain. Screening of a cDNA library prepared from bovine brain led to the isolation of several cDNA clones encoding tau proteins with different N termini and differing by insertions or deletions, suggesting differential splicing of the tau transcripts. One of the N-terminal domains and the repeated C-terminal domain of the encoded tau proteins are recognized by polyclonal antibodies to bovine tau. The bovine tau proteins are highly homologous to murine and human tau, especially within the repeated C-terminal domain. Compared with murine and human tau, bovine tau contains the insertion of three longer segments, one of which is an additional characteristic repeat. Portions of tau proteins generated by in vitro translation were used to show that these repeats represent tubulin-binding domains, two of which are sufficient to bind to microtubules assembled from purified tubulin in the presence of taxol.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 05/1989; 9(4):1381-8. DOI:10.1128/MCB.9.4.1381 · 4.78 Impact Factor

    Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders 01/1988; 2(3). DOI:10.1097/00002093-198802030-00038 · 2.44 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

3k Citations
248.99 Total Impact Points


  • 2001-2012
    • Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics
      Dresden, Saxony, Germany
  • 1995
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      San Francisco, California, United States
  • 1992
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
      Dallas, Texas, United States