Alexander Beck

University of Tuebingen, Tübingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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Publications (44)164.73 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Our original aim was to evaluate in vivo nuclear uptake of a conjugate containing the SV40 T Antigen nuclear localization sequence (NLS), 6 aminohexanoic acids alternating with 7 arginines, the fluorescence dye fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) and the gadolinium chelator 1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA). During the confocal laser scanning microscopy examination of frozen sections of the kidneys of mice injected intravenously with the conjugate we found unexpected conjugate relocation. In the dry frozen sections no nuclear staining was found. After covering the sections with physiological saline and a coverslip, the conjugate was relocated to the cell nuclei. Causation of this effect by FITC and DOTA could be excluded with appropriate controls. In the assumption that other positively charged conjugates behave in the same manner we tested two further conjugates in vivo. An octaarginine coupled to a lysine carrying FITC on the ε-amino-group was found in the cell nuclei of the frozen kidney sections before and after covering the slices with saline. By contrast, a conjugate containing myristoylated HIV-Tat was found not to stain the cell nuclei but only the cytoplasm before and after covering with saline. This demonstrates that not all positively charged conjugates are relocated to the cell nucleus after covering the frozen sections with saline. This was confirmed by direct incubation of frozen sections from untreated kidneys with the same conjugates and additional positively charged FITC conjugates. By coincubating the FITC conjugates with a cytoplasm directed rhodamine conjugate on untreated kidney sections we found that such conjugates could be used as nuclear FITC counterstain. In summary, one should bear in mind that positively charged conjugates applied in vivo can relocate artificially after covering with saline.
    Letters in Drug Design &amp Discovery 06/2012; 9:517-526. · 0.85 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Autoantigenic peptides resulting from self-proteins such as proinsulin are important players in the development of type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1D). Self-proteins can be processed by cathepsins (Cats) within endocytic compartments and loaded to major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II molecules for CD4(+) T cell inspection. However, the processing and presentation of proinsulin by antigen-presenting cells (APC) in humans is only partially understood. Here we demonstrate that the processing of proinsulin by B cell or myeloid dendritic cell (mDC1)-derived lysosomal cathepsins resulted in several proinsulin-derived intermediates. These intermediates were similar to those obtained using purified CatG and, to a lesser extent, CatD, S, and V in vitro. Some of these intermediates polarized T cell activation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from T1D patients indicative for naturally processed T cell epitopes. Furthermore, CatG activity was found to be elevated in PBMC from T1D patients and abrogation of CatG activity resulted in functional inhibition of proinsulin-reactive T cells. Our data suggested the notion that CatG plays a critical role in proinsulin processing and is important in the activation process of diabetogenic T cells.
    PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(8):e22815. · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: As observed in most molluscan hemocyanins, high-mannose type glycans were identified in hemocyanins from Rapana venosa (RvH), Helix lucorum (HlH) and keyhole limpet (Megatura crenulata). In addition, a glycan with a branching structure containing xylose, fucose and terminal methyl hexose was identified in β-HlH. We have examined the immuno-adjuvant properties of hemocyanins, their derivatives and conjugates associated with the cell mediated immunity in experimental tumor-bearing animals with ascites tumor of Guerin. After immunization of the animals with the experimental vaccine preparations, the highest values of splenic lymphocytes were observed in groups immunized with the conjugates RvH-TAg, β-HlH-TAg and KLH-TAg (42.3%; 40.8% and 40.58%, respectively) than with the native hemocyanins (36.5%; 35.1% and 32.4%, respectively). The immunization of rats with the hemocyanins β-HlH, RvH and KLH and their conjugates, prolonged the median survival time of tumor-bearing animals compared with non-immunized animals (39, 33, 31 and 7 days, respectively). Both hemocyanins β-HlH and RvH activate the immune system of the experimental animals and therefore could be a good alternative for KLH. For this reason they could be included into the composition of non-specific anti-tumor vaccines to enhance their effectiveness.
    Immunological Investigations 10/2010; 40(2):130-49. · 1.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Triiodobenzoic acid (TIBA) represents the core structure of most clinically used contrast agents for computed tomography and other X-ray procedures. To construct an intracellular radiopaque contrast agent, TIBA was coupled to various different positively and negatively charged fluorescein iothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled peptides. TIBA coupled to the SV40 T Antigen nuclear localization sequence (NLS) stained 80% of human glioma cells and caused cell death. This occurred with C- or N-terminal binding of TIBA and with the correct or mutant NLS. No cell death and only small numbers of stained cells (below 3 %) were observed after incubation with NLS conjugates lacking TIBA or after incubation with TIBA-conjugates containing a negatively charged polyglutamic acid stretch. TIBA-conjugates containing the Antennapedia-derived cell-penetrating peptide penetratin were only nuclearly taken up when TIBA and FITC were coupled to lysines outside the 16-amino acid peptide sequence. The study shows that intracellular TIBA may have potential as a chemotherapeutic agent rather than a contrast agent.
    Medicinal chemistry (Shāriqah (United Arab Emirates)) 08/2009; 5(4):385-91. · 1.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Cellular and nuclear uptake of dual labelled conjugates could be of great value for chemotherapy and cancer diagnostics. Therefore we designed conjugates in which gadolinium (Gd)-1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid (DOTA), a contrast agent for magnetic resonance imaging and fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC), a fluorescence marker were coupled to membrane translocation sequences (MTS). The MTSs we employed were the third helix of the Antennapedia homeodomain, the HIV-1 Tat peptide and the N-myristoylated HIV-1 Tat peptide. We used confocal laser scanning microscopy, fluorescence activated cell sorting, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and viability tests to examine the cellular and nuclear uptake of these conjugates into U373 glioma cells, as well as their cytotoxic effects. We found that the Antennapedia conjugate was taken up by no more than 20% of the cells. The HIV-1 Tat conjugate showed even lower uptake into less than 3% of cells. Interestingly, N-myristoylation of the HIV-1 Tat conjugate drastically improved its cellular uptake. Up to 70% of cells showed cellular and nuclear uptake of the N-myristoylated HIV-1 Tat conjugate. Conjugate cytotoxicity appears to correlate with cellular uptake.
    Amino Acids 07/2009; 37(2):249-55. · 3.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Resistance towards the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib is poorly understood. We adapted the HL-60, ARH-77 and AMO-1 cell lines (myeloid leukemia, plasmocytoid lymphoma, myeloma) to bortezomib exceeding therapeutic plasma levels, and compared characteristics of the ubiquitin-proteasome system, alternative proteases and the unfolded protein response (UPR) between adapted cells and parental lines. Adapted cells showed increased transcription rates, activities and polypeptide levels of the bortezomib-sensitive beta5, but also of the beta2 proteasome subunit and consistently retained elevated levels of active beta1/beta5-type proteasome subunits in the presence of therapeutic levels of bortezomib. Bortezomib-adapted HL-60 cells showed increased expression and proteasome association of the 11S proteasome activator, and did not accumulate poly-ubiquitinated protein, activate the UPR or UPR-mediated apoptosis in response to bortezomib. The rate of protein biosynthesis was reduced, and the transcription of chaperone genes downmodulated. We did not observe major changes in the activities of TPPII, cathepsins or deubiquitinating proteases. We conclude that different types of bortezomib-adapted cell lines, including myeloma, show similar patterns of changes in the proteasomal machinery which result in residual proteasome activity in the presence of bortezomib and a quantitative balance between protein biosynthesis and destruction.
    Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 03/2009; 23(6):1098-105. · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) infection suppresses cellular immunity and results in viral persistence. Dendritic cells (DCs) are susceptible to HCMV, and the development and immune function of HCMV-infected DCs are impaired in vitro. HCMV-derived proteins interfere with different aspects of major histocompatibility complex type II (MHC II) maturation and function in genetically engineered cellular models. This study directly analysed the effect of HCMV on the MHC II-associated antigen processing and presentation machinery in HCMV-infected human DCs in vitro. HCMV-infected DCs failed to mature newly synthesized MHC II to the final stage of SDS-stable MHC II alphabeta dimer/peptide complexes, in contrast to mock-infected controls. MHC II biosynthesis was delayed and reduced, whilst MHC II stability remained unchanged. MHC II surface expression was decreased in the late phase of HCMV infection. In addition, infected DCs decreased the transcription rate of the MHC II-associated proteases cathepsins S, Z, B, H and L and asparagine-specific endopeptidase (AEP). This translated into reduced protein expression of cathepsins H and S, as well as AEP, and less-efficient proteolytic degradation of a peptide substrate by endocytic proteases from HCMV-infected DCs in vitro. Thus, HCMV infection interferes with MHC II biosynthesis and maturation, as well as with the expression and function of endocytic proteases in infected DCs.
    Journal of General Virology 11/2008; 89(Pt 10):2427-36. · 3.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Antibodies that recognize specifically phosphorylated sites on proteins are widely utilized for studying the regulation and biological function of phosphoproteins. The proposed strategy is a powerful, analytical tool allowing the generation of phospho-site specific antibodies albeit adjacent phosphorylation sites are present. Here, we demonstrate the assessment and elimination of cross reactivity of phospho-site-specific-Ser(357) IRS-1 antibody. While determining the specificity of p-Ser(357) antiserum we came across the cross reactivity of the antiserum with adjacent Ser(358) which was successfully abolished by an improved immuno-purification method. The specificity of the purified antiserum was then verified by indirect ELISA, results of ELISA were also mirrored in the experiments carried out in BHK-IR cells using different mutants of IRS-1 carrying mutations at either Ser(357)/Ser(358)/Ser(357/358). Immuno-purified-p-Ser(357) did not react with IRS-1 Ala(357) and IRS-1 Ala(357/358). In conclusion, the present study describes generation and characterization of p-Ser(357) IRS-1 antibody, which reacts with IRS-1 in site specific and phosphorylation state-dependent manner without showing cross reactivity to adjacent Ser(358). This antibody can be effectively used to further clarify the inhibitory role of Ser(357) in insulin signal transduction.
    Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 09/2008; 376(1):26-31. · 2.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The seven N-terminal amino acids AVPIAQK (SmacN7) of the mitochondrial protein Smac (second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase) promote caspase activation by binding specifically to inhibitor of apoptosis proteins (IAPs) and blocking their inhibitory activity. SmacN7 cannot pass through the cell membrane, but to be of therapeutic use it would be essential for it to enter the cell. To achieve transmembrane transport of SmacN7 we coupled it to a novel fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labelled transmembrane transport peptide RRRRK(FITC)RRRR via ss-alanine to produce the conjugate AVPIAQKssA RRRRK(FITC)RRRR. Because IAPs are much more strongly expressed in the cytoplasm of tumor cells, we expected this conjugate to produce staining of the cytoplasm, and for this to be stronger in tumor cells than in healthy cells. Surprisingly, we found strong nuclear uptake of the Smac conjugate and of the transport peptide alone without subsequent release in both tumor cells and healthy cells from the bladder, prostate, and brain. This was accompanied by cell death. In contrast to expectations, it appears that the apoptotic effects observed do not result from the SmacN7 cargo alone.
    Medicinal Chemistry 08/2008; 4(4):348-54. · 1.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We synthesized several novel compounds to evaluate the different effects of non-iodinated and mono- or diiodinated benzoic acid on the cellular and nuclear uptake of the SV 40 T antigen nuclear localization sequence (NLS) in human LN18 and U373 glioma cells. The skeletal structure of all the conjugates contained the fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)-labeled NLS of the SV 40T antigen, to which either benzoic acid, mono- or diiodobenzoic acid was coupled. As shown by confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) and fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS), the basic FITC-labeled NLS alone was taken up by the nuclei of only a few glioma cells which remained intact. The coupling of non-iodinated benzoic acid (BA) did not result in a markedly larger number of nuclearly stained cells. A very marked increase in cells with nuclear staining was found with the conjugate containing monoiodobenzoic acid (MIBA). This was also associated with a high cell death rate. Similar results were obtained with the conjugate containing diiodobenzoic acid (DIBA). However, coincubation with free mono- or diiodobenzoic acid and the basic FITC-labeled NLS did not result in a marked change in the number of strongly stained cells or cell viability compared to the results of incubation with the FITC-labeled NLS alone. Surprisingly, FITC-labeled MIBA- and DIBA-conjugates containing a scrambled SV 40 T antigen NLS were also taken up by the cell nuclei of LN18 and U373 glioma cells and led to cell death. Such mono- or diiodobenzoic acid conjugates may therefore have potential in the development of new non-radioactive drugs against malignant glioma cells.
    International Journal of Pharmaceutics 06/2008; 355(1-2):131-40. · 3.99 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Apoptin, a protein of the chicken anemia virus (CAV), consists of 121 amino acids (aa) and represents a novel, potentially tumor-specific therapeutic and diagnostic agent. The C-terminal part of Apoptin (aa 81-121) is believed to contain a bipartite nuclear localization signal (NLS) (NLS1: aa 82-88 and NLS2: aa 111-121), which is only active in tumor cells after phosphorylation of threonine(108) by tumor-specific cytoplasmic phosphokinases. Furthermore, a nuclear export signal (NES) (aa 97-105) seems to enable nuclear export of Apoptin only in healthy cells. The specificity for tumor cell nuclei also applies to the truncated C-terminal part of Apoptin (aa 81-121), which therefore represents a highly attractive peptide sequence for peptide synthesis. Here we describe for the first time the synthesis of fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC)- and Dansyl-labelled conjugates containing this C-terminal part of Apoptin, with either phosphorylated or nonphosphorylated threonine(108). The phosphorylated conjugates were synthesized in an attempt to achieve nuclear accumulation in healthy cells, which lack cytoplasmic tumor-specific phosphokinases. Surprisingly, all the conjugates accumulated rapidly within the cell nuclei of both tumor and non-tumor cells from the bladder, brain and prostate and led to cell death. By coupling Apoptin(81-121) to FITC and DOTA (1,4,7,10-tetraazacyclododecane-1,4,7,10-tetraacetic acid) at either the C- or N-terminus we could exlude that the coupling site is decisive for tumor cell-specific nuclear localization. The labels FITC, DOTA and Dansyl were not responsible for cell death in healthy cells because cell death was not prevented by using an unlabelled Apoptin(81-121) peptide. Cellular and nuclear uptake of the FITC-labelled Apoptin(81-121) peptide was almost completely abolished after altering the NLS2 (replacement of five arginines with serines).
    Apoptosis 05/2008; 13(4):495-508. · 4.07 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The snake venom from the leaf-nosed viper Eristocophis macmahoni was analyzed regarding its toxic effects on the bloodstream form of Trypanosoma brucei. A considerable trypanocidal effect was measured with an IC5 value of 186 ng/ml in bloodstream form parasites. Following several high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separation steps, the major trypanocidal activity was assigned to a single fraction by in vitro toxicity assays. Analysis by off-line ESI-MS(n) revealed an m/z value of 202.2 for the precursor ion and fragment ions of m/z=129.1 (MS2) and 112.1 (MS3), respectively, clearly corresponding to the molecular mass and the fragmentation pattern of the polyamine spermine. Quantification of spermine within the viper venom using an on-line hydrophilic interaction chromatography (HILIC) ESI-MS method revealed that this compound constituted approximately 1% of the dry venom mass. The polyamine oxidase activity in the fetal calf serum used for cultivation was responsible for a trypanocidal effect of pure spermine in the low micromolar range, whereas the antitrypanosomal activity of crude snake venom was virtually independent from serum, suggesting the oxidation of spermine by intrinsic venom components. Using fetal calf serum, spermine was shown to induce autophagy in the parasites using transmission electron microscopy (TEM).
    Toxicon 10/2007; 50(4):457-69. · 2.92 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A derivative (1) of the immunopotentiating 28-peptide thymosin alpha1 has been especially designed, so that it can be (99m)Tc-radiolabelled, and synthesized following the Fmoc solid-phase peptide synthesis approach. Derivative 1 contains the N-terminal fragment Talpha1[1-14] as a bioactive segment, at the C-terminus of which a (99m)Tc-chelating moiety consisting of N(alpha),N(alpha)-dimethylglycine, serine and cysteine is linked through the N(epsilon)-amino group of a 'bifunctional' lysine residue; the latter is indirectly anchored on the solid-phase peptide synthesis resin through 6-aminocaproic acid (dmGSCK{N(epsilon)-Talpha1[1-14]}Aca). Synthetic derivative 1 was obtained at high overall yield (approximately 35%) and purity (>95%) and shown to be efficiently radiolabelled with (99m)Tc, thus resulting in the first, to our knowledge, so far reported (99m)Tc-radiolabelled derivative of thymosin alpha1, which may be eventually used as a specific molecular tool for the in vitro/in vivo study of the mode of action of the parent bioactive peptide.
    Chemical Biology &amp Drug Design 08/2007; 70(1):40-6. · 2.47 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: In the present study the structures of two glycopeptides (G1 and G1'), isolated from FU RvH(1)-b and two glycopeptides (G2 and G3), isolated from the structural subunit RvH(1) of Rapana venosa hemocyanin, were determined. To structurally characterize the site-specific carbohydrate heterogeneity and binding site of the N-linked glycopeptide(s), a combination of capillary reversed-phase chromatography and ion trap mass spectrometry was used. The amino acid sequences of glycopeptides G1 and G1' determined by Edman degradation and MS/MS sequencing demonstrated that the oligosaccharides are linked to N-glycosylation sites. Two peptides (a glycosylated (G1) and non-glycosylated one) were identified in this fraction and no linkage sites were observed in the latter one. Based on the sequencing of the glycosylated fractions G1, G1', G2 and G3, the carbohydrate structure Man(alpha1-6)Man(alpha1-3)Man(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-4)[Fuc(alpha1-6)]GlcNAc-R could be identified for glycopeptides G1 and G3, and only the typical core structure Man(alpha1-6)Man(alpha1-3)Man(beta1-4)GlcNAc(beta1-4)GlcNAc-R was found for G1' and G2. The Fuc residue found in glycopeptides G1 and G3 is attached to N-acetyl-glucosamine of the carbohydrate core, as often found in other glycoproteins.
    Biochimie 08/2007; 89(8):938-49. · 3.14 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The serine protease cathepsin (Cat) G dominates the proteolytic processing of the multiple sclerosis (MS)-associated autoantigen myelin basic protein (MBP) in lysosomes from primary human B cells and dendritic cells. This is in contrast to B-lymphoblastoid cell lines, where the asparagine endopeptidase (AEP) is responsible for this task. We have analysed microglia-derived lysosomal proteases for their ability to process MBP in vitro. In lysosomes derived from primary murine microglia, CatD, CatS, AEP and CatG were involved in the processing of MBP. Interestingly, when microglia were treated with interferon-gamma to mimic a T helper type 1-biased cytokine milieu in MS, CatG was drastically down-regulated, in contrast to CatS, CatB, CatL, CatD or AEP. This resulted in significantly increased stability of MBP and a selective lack of CatG-derived proteolytic fragments; however, it did not affect the gross pattern of MBP processing. Inhibition of serine proteases eliminated the processing differences between lysosomal extracts from resting microglia compared to interferon-stimulated microglia. Thus, the cytokine environment modulates lysosomal proteases in microglia by a selective down-regulation of CatG, leading to decreased MBP-processing by microglia-derived lysosomal proteases in vitro.
    Immunology 06/2007; 121(1):82-93. · 3.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vertebrate metallothioneins are found to contain Zn(II) and variable amounts of Cu(I), in vivo, and are believed to be important for d10-metal control. To date, structural information is available for the Zn(II) and Cd(II) forms, but not for the Cu(I) or mixed metal forms. Cu(I) binding to metallothionein-1 has been investigated by circular dichroism, luminescence and 1H NMR using two synthetic fragments representing the alpha- and the beta-domain. The 1H NMR data and thus the structures of Zn4alpha metallothionein (MT)-1 and Zn3betaMT-1 were essentially the same as those already published for the corresponding domains of native Cd7MT-1. Cu(I) titration of the Zn(II)-reconstituted domains provided clear evidence of stable polypeptide folds of the three Cu(I)-containing alpha- and the four Cu(I)-containing beta-domains. The solution structures of these two species are grossly different from the structures of the starting Zn(II) complexes. Further addition of Cu(I) to the two single domains led to the loss of defined domain structures. Upon mixing of the separately prepared aqueous three and four Cu(I) loaded alpha- and beta-domains, no interaction was seen between the two species. There was neither any indication for a net transfer of Cu(I) between the two domains nor for the formation of one large single Cu(I) cluster involving both domains.
    FEBS Journal 05/2007; 274(9):2349-62. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Proteasomal proteolysis relies on the activity of six catalytically active proteasomal subunits (beta1, beta2, beta5, beta1i, beta2i and beta5i). Applying a functional proteomics approach, we used a recently developed activity-based, cell-permeable proteasome-specific probe that for the first time allows differential visualization of individual active proteasomal subunits in intact primary cells. In primary leukemia samples, we observed remarkable variability in the amounts of active beta1/1i-, beta2/2i- and beta5/5i-type of subunits, contrasting with their constant protein expression. Bortezomib inhibited beta5- and beta1-type, but to a lesser extend beta2-type of subunits in live primary cells in vitro and in vivo. When we adapted the bortezomib-sensitive human acute myeloid leukemia cell line HL-60 to bortezomib 40 nM (HL-60a), proteasomal activity profiling revealed an upregulation of active subunits, and residual beta1/beta5-type of activity could be visualized in the presence of bortezomib 20 nM, in contrast to control cells. In a panel of cell lines from hematologic malignancies, the ratio between beta2-type and (beta1 + beta5)-type of active proteasomal polypeptides mirrored different degrees of bortezomib sensitivity. We thus conclude that the proteasomal activity profile varies in primary leukemia cells, and that the pattern of proteasomal subunit activity influences the sensitivity of hematologic malignancies toward bortezomib.
    Leukemia 02/2007; 21(1):84-92. · 10.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recently, we reported the induction of a programmed cell death (PCD) in bloodstream forms of Trypanosoma brucei by prostaglandin D(2) (PGD(2)). As this prostanoid is readily metabolized in the presence of albumin, we were prompted to investigate if PGD(2) metabolites rather than PGD(2) itself are responsible for the observed PCD. In fact, J series metabolites, especially PGJ(2) and Delta(12)PGJ(2), were able to induce PCD more efficiently than PGD(2). However, the stable PGD(2) analog 17phenyl-trinor-PGD(2) led to the same phenotype as the natural PGD(2), indicating that the latter induces PCD as well. Interestingly, the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level increased significantly under J series metabolites treatment and, incubation with N-acetyl-L-cysteine or glutathione reduced ROS production and cell death significantly. We conclude that PGJ(2) and Delta(12)PGJ(2) formation within the serum represents a mechanism to amplify PGD(2)-induced PCD in trypanosomes via ROS production.
    Cell Death and Differentiation 11/2006; 13(10):1802-14. · 8.37 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Prothymosin alpha (proTalpha) is a 109 amino acid long polypeptide presenting distinct immunoenhancing activity in vitro and in vivo. Recent reports suggest that in apoptotic cells, proTalpha is cleaved by caspases at its carboxy(C)-terminus generating potentially bioactive fragments. In this study, we identified the peptide segment of proTalpha presenting maximum immunomodulatory activity. Calf thymus proTalpha was trypsinised, and the five fragments produced (spanning residues 1-14, 21-30, 31-87, 89-102 and 103-109) were tested for their ability to stimulate healthy donor- and cancer patient-derived peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMC) proliferation in autologous mixed lymphocyte reaction (AMLR), natural killer and lymphokine-activated killer cell activity, intracellular production of perforin, upregulation of adhesion molecules and CD25 expression. ProTalpha(89-102) and proTalpha(103-109) significantly fortified healthy donor-lymphocytes' immune responses to levels comparable to those induced by intact proTalpha. These effects were more pronounced in cancer patients, where peptides proTalpha(89-102) and proTalpha(103-109) partly, however significantly, restored the depressed AMLR and cytolytic ability of PBMC, by simulating the biological activity exerted by intact proTalpha. ProTalpha(1-14), proTalpha(21-30) and proTalpha(31-87) marginally upregulated lymphocyte activation. This is the first report showing that proTalpha's immunomodulating activity can be substituted by its C-terminal peptide(s). Whether generation and externalization of such immunoactive proTalpha fragments occurs in vivo, needs further investigation. However, if these peptides can trigger immune responses, they may eventually be used therapeutically to improve some PBMC functions of cancer patients.
    Cancer Immunology and Immunotherapy 11/2006; 55(10):1247-57. · 3.64 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Insulin resistance in skeletal muscle is found in obesity and type 2 diabetes. A mechanism for impaired insulin signaling in peripheral tissues is the inhibition of insulin action through serine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate (Irs) proteins that abolish the coupling of Irs proteins to the activated insulin receptor. Recently, we described serine-318 as a protein kinase C (PKC)-dependent phosphorylation site in Irs1 (Ser-318) activated by hyperinsulinemia. Here we show in various cell models that the adipose hormone leptin, a putative mediator in obesity-related insulin resistance, promotes phosphorylation of Ser-318 in Irs1 by a janus kinase 2, Irs2, and PKC-dependent pathway. Mutation of Ser-318 to alanine abrogates the inhibitory effect of leptin on insulin-induced Irs1 tyrosine phosphorylation and glucose uptake in L6 myoblasts. In C57Bl/6 mice, Ser-318 phosphorylation levels in muscle tissue were enhanced by leptin and insulin administration in lean animals while in diet-induced obesity Ser-318 phosphorylation levels were already up-regulated in the basal state, and further stimulation was diminished. In analogy, in lymphocytes of obese hyperleptinemic human subjects basal Ser-318 phosphorylation levels were increased compared to lean individuals. During a hyperinsulinemic euglycemic clamp, the increment in Ser-318 phosphorylation observed in lean individuals was absent in obese. In summary, these data suggest that phosphorylation of Ser-318 in Irs1 mediates the inhibitory signal of leptin on the insulin-signaling cascade in obese subjects.
    The FASEB Journal 07/2006; 20(8):1206-8. · 5.70 Impact Factor