Martin Borch Jensen

University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Capital Region, Denmark

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Publications (7)25.89 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: We have investigated the mobility of two EGFP-tagged DNA repair proteins, WRN and BLM. In particular, we focused on the dynamics in two locations, the nucleoli and the nucleoplasm. We found that both WRN and BLM use a "DNA-scanning" mechanism, with rapid binding-unbinding to DNA resulting in effective diffusion. In the nucleoplasm WRN and BLM have effective diffusion coefficients of 1.62 and 1.34 μm(2)/s, respectively. Likewise, the dynamics in the nucleoli are also best described by effective diffusion, but with diffusion coefficients a factor of ten lower than in the nucleoplasm. From this large reduction in diffusion coefficient we were able to classify WRN and BLM as DNA damage scanners. In addition to WRN and BLM we also classified other DNA damage proteins and found they all fall into one of two categories. Either they are scanners, similar to WRN and BLM, with very low diffusion coefficients, suggesting a scanning mechanism, or they are almost freely diffusing, suggesting that they interact with DNA only after initiation of a DNA damage response.
    European biophysics journal : EBJ. 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: RECQL4 is one of five members of the human RecQ helicase family, and is implicated in three syndromes displaying accelerating aging, developmental abnormalities and a predisposition to cancer. In this study, we purified three variants of RECQL4 carrying previously reported patient mutations. These three mutant proteins were analyzed for the known biochemical activities of RECQL4: DNA binding, unwinding of duplex DNA, ATP hydrolysis and annealing of simplex DNA. Further, the mutant proteins were evaluated for stability and recruitment to sites of laser-induced DNA damage. One mutant was helicase-dead, had marginal ATPase activity and may be structurally compromised, while the other two showed greatly reduced helicase and ATPase activities. The remaining biochemical activities and ability to recruit to damage sites were not significantly impaired for any of the mutants. Our findings demonstrate a consistent pattern of functional deficiency and provide further support for a helicase-dependent cellular function of RECQL4 in addition to its N-terminus-dependent role in initiation of replication, a function that may underlie the phenotype of RECQL4-linked disease.
    Aging 11/2012; 4(11):790-802. · 4.70 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Preferential binding of proteins on curved membranes (membrane curvature sensing) is increasingly emerging as a general mechanism whereby cells may effect protein localization and trafficking. Here we use a novel single liposome fluorescence microscopy assay to examine a common sensing motif, the amphipathic helix (AH), and provide quantitative measures describing and distinguishing membrane binding and sensing behavior. By studying two AH-containing proteins, α-synuclein and annexin B12, as well as a range of AH peptide mutants, we reveal that both the hydrophobic and hydrophilic faces of the helix greatly influence binding and sensing. Although increased hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions with the membrane both lead to greater densities of bound protein, the former yields membrane curvature-sensitive binding, whereas the latter is not curvature-dependent. However, the relative contributions of both components determine the sensing of AHs. In contrast, charge density in the lipid membrane seems important primarily in attracting AHs to the membrane but does not significantly influence sensing. These observations were made possible by the ability of our assay to distinguish within our samples liposomes with and without bound protein as well as the density of bound protein. Our findings suggest that the description of membrane curvature-sensing requires consideration of several factors such as short and long range electrostatic interactions, hydrogen bonding, and the volume and structure of inserted hydrophobic residues.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 12/2011; 286(49):42603-42614. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Preferential binding of proteins on curved membranes (membrane curvature sensing) is increasingly emerging as a general mechanism whereby cells may effect protein localization and trafficking. Here we use a novel single liposome fluorescence microscopy assay to examine a common sensing motif, the amphipathic helix (AH), and provide quantitative measures describing and distinguishing membrane binding and sensing behavior. By studying two AH-containing proteins, α-synuclein and annexin B12, as well as a range of AH peptide mutants, we reveal that both the hydrophobic and hydrophilic faces of the helix greatly influence binding and sensing. Although increased hydrophobic and electrostatic interactions with the membrane both lead to greater densities of bound protein, the former yields membrane curvature-sensitive binding, whereas the latter is not curvature-dependent. However, the relative contributions of both components determine the sensing of AHs. In contrast, charge density in the lipid membrane seems important primarily in attracting AHs to the membrane but does not significantly influence sensing. These observations were made possible by the ability of our assay to distinguish within our samples liposomes with and without bound protein as well as the density of bound protein. Our findings suggest that the description of membrane curvature-sensing requires consideration of several factors such as short and long range electrostatic interactions, hydrogen bonding, and the volume and structure of inserted hydrophobic residues.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 09/2011; 286(49):42603-14. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • Lise Goltermann, Martin Borch Jensen, Thomas Bentin
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    ABSTRACT: In bacteria, the 5' mRNA coding region plays an important role in determining translation output. Here, we report synthetic sequences that when placed in the 5'-mRNA coding region, leading to recombinant proteins containing short N-terminal extensions, virtually abolish, enhance or produce intermediate expression levels of green fluorescent protein in Escherichia coli. At least in one case, no apparent effect on protein stability was observed, pointing to RNA level effects as the principal reason for the observed expression differences. Targeting a synonymous codon library to the 5' coding sequence allowed tuning of protein expression over ~300-fold with preservation of amino acid identity. This approach is simple and should be generally applicable in bacteria. The data support that features in the 5' mRNA coding region near the AUG start codon are key in determining translation output and hence is important to recombinant and, most certainly, endogenous gene expression.
    Protein Engineering Design and Selection 11/2010; 24(1-2):123-9. · 2.59 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Synucleins and apolipoproteins have been implicated in a number of membrane and lipid trafficking events. Lipid interaction for both types of proteins is mediated by 11 amino acid repeats that form amphipathic helices. This similarity suggests that synucleins and apolipoproteins might have comparable effects on lipid membranes, but this has not been shown directly. Here, we find that α-synuclein, β-synuclein, and apolipoprotein A-1 have the conserved functional ability to induce membrane curvature and to convert large vesicles into highly curved membrane tubules and vesicles. The resulting structures are morphologically similar to those generated by amphiphysin, a curvature-inducing protein involved in endocytosis. Unlike amphiphysin, however, synucleins and apolipoproteins do not require any scaffolding domains and curvature induction is mediated by the membrane insertion and wedging of amphipathic helices alone. Moreover, we frequently observed that α-synuclein caused membrane structures that had the appearance of nascent budding vesicles. The ability to function as a minimal machinery for vesicle budding agrees well with recent findings that α-synuclein plays a role in vesicle trafficking and enhances endocytosis. Induction of membrane curvature must be under strict regulation in vivo; however, as we find it can also cause disruption of membrane integrity. Because the degree of membrane curvature induction depends on the concerted action of multiple proteins, controlling the local protein density of tubulating proteins may be important. How cellular safeguarding mechanisms prevent such potentially toxic events and whether they go awry in disease remains to be determined.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(42):32486-93. · 4.65 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Synucleins and apolipoproteins have been implicated in a number of membrane and lipid trafficking events. Lipid interaction for both types of proteins is mediated by 11 amino acid repeats that form amphipathic helices. This similarity suggests that synucleins and apolipoproteins might have comparable effects on lipid membranes, but this has not been shown directly. Here, we find that α-synuclein, β-synuclein, and apolipoprotein A-1 have the conserved functional ability to induce membrane curvature and to convert large vesicles into highly curved membrane tubules and vesicles. The resulting structures are morphologically similar to those generated by amphiphysin, a curvature-inducing protein involved in endocytosis. Unlike amphiphysin, however, synucleins and apolipoproteins do not require any scaffolding domains and curvature induction is mediated by the membrane insertion and wedging of amphipathic helices alone. Moreover, we frequently observed that α-synuclein caused membrane structures that had the appearance of nascent budding vesicles. The ability to function as a minimal machinery for vesicle budding agrees well with recent findings that α-synuclein plays a role in vesicle trafficking and enhances endocytosis. Induction of membrane curvature must be under strict regulation in vivo; however, as we find it can also cause disruption of membrane integrity. Because the degree of membrane curvature induction depends on the concerted action of multiple proteins, controlling the local protein density of tubulating proteins may be important. How cellular safeguarding mechanisms prevent such potentially toxic events and whether they go awry in disease remains to be determined.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 10/2010; 285(42):32486-32493. · 4.65 Impact Factor