University of Greifswald
  • Greifswald, M-V, Germany
Recent publications
Microorganisms capable of decomposing polyurethane (PU) and other plastics have the potential to be used in bio-recycling processes. In this study, 20 PU-degrading strains were isolated, including 11 bacteria and 9 fungi, using a synthesized poly(1,4-butylene adipate)-based PU (PBA-PU) as the screening substrate. Three PU substrates with increasing structure complexities were used for a thorough evaluation of microbial degradation capacity: Impranil® DLN-SD, PBA-PU film and PU foam waste. After 4 days, the best fungal PBA-PU degrader, Cladosporium sp. P7, could degrade 94.5% of Impranil® DLN-SD. After 28 days of cultivation, 32.42% and 43.91% of solid PBA-PU film was converted into soluble small molecules when used as the sole carbon source or in a medium with other co-carbon sources, respectively. Accordingly, the weight loss of PU foam waste after 15 days was 15.3% for the sole carbon condition and 83.83% for the co-carbon conditions. Furthermore, PBA-PU was used for metabolic pathway analysis because of its known composition and chemical structure. Six metabolites were identified during the degradation process of PBA-PU, including adipic acid (AA), 1,4-butanediol (BDO), and 4,4'-methylenedianiline (MDA), which can also be used as the sole carbon source to grow the fungal strain P7, resulting in the discovery of two MDA metabolites during the cultivation processes. Based on the presence of these eight metabolites, we hypothesized that PBA-PU is first depolymerized by the fungal strain P7 via ester and urethane bond hydrolysis, followed by intracellular metabolism and mineralization of the three monomers to CO2 and H2O.
White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is considered one of the most infectious and lethal viruses that affect shrimp. Bioinformatic studies revealed several G-quadruplex forming sequences at the open reading frame region. Moreover, the sequences are widely conserved through all deposited WSSV sequences. Introductory structural studies on two sequences, namely WSSV131 and WSSV172, are proposed to form a quadruplex. While WSSV172 forms a mixture of quadruplex topologies, WSSV131 is suggested to form a parallel topology, as indicated by the NMR spectra and circular dichroism (CD) ellipticity pattern. CD spectra also suggested that the major parallel species of the WSSV131 sequence are found to be stable above 60 °C. Ultimately, these results may open a new strategy for WSSV treatment by targeting the quadruplex confirmation with a quadruplex binding ligand.
In oviparous animals, egg morphology is considered an aspect of the extended phenotype of the laying mother and, thus, can be directly assessed for consistency both within and between individual females. Despite a recently renewed interest in the evolution and mechanics of avian eggshell morphology, we still lack a large-scale, comparative understanding of which egg traits are individually plastic and whether individual consistency is shaped by ecological and life history traits at the species level. Here, we aimed to understand whether intraclutch repeatability per se of different eggshell metrics is an evolving trait that responds to selection pressures from socio-ecological contexts across a diverse group of avian species for which clutch-level eggshell morphology data were available to us. Coloniality, ontogeny, and incubation period had significant impacts on the comparative patterns of relative individual repeatability among two egg metrics (i.e., size and shape), whereas other life history traits (including adult size, clutch size, nest type, migration, breeding latitude, host status of brood parasitism) did not have statistical impacts. Our results also demonstrate that individual consistency has a more widespread phylogenetic distribution than expected by evolutionary contingency across avian diversity. Future analyses should also incorporate the effects of intra- and interspecific covariation in other morphological and physiological traits on the evolution of individual consistency, especially those relevant to egg recognition, including eggshell color and maculation.
With advances in protein structure predictions, the number of available high-quality structures has increased dramatically. In light of these advances, structure-based enzyme engineering is expected to become increasingly important for optimizing biocatalysts for industrial processes. Here, we present AsiteDesign, a Monte Carlo-based protocol for structure-based engineering of active sites. AsiteDesign provides a framework for introducing new catalytic residues in a given binding pocket to either create a new catalytic activity or alter the existing one. AsiteDesign is implemented using pyRosetta and incorporates enhanced sampling techniques to efficiently explore the search space. The protocol was tested by designing an alternative catalytic triad in the active site of Pseudomonas fluorescens esterase (PFE). The designed variant was experimentally verified to be active, demonstrating that AsiteDesign can find alternative catalytic triads. Additionally, the AsiteDesign protocol was employed to enhance the hydrolysis of a bulky chiral substrate (1-phenyl-2-pentyl acetate) by PFE. The experimental verification of the designed variants demonstrated that F158L/F198A and F125A/F158L mutations increased the hydrolysis of 1-phenyl-2-pentyl acetate from 8.9 to 66.7 and 23.4%, respectively, and reversed the enantioselectivity of the enzyme from (R) to (S)-enantiopreference, with 32 and 55% enantiomeric excess (ee), respectively.
Existing neuroimaging studies have reported divergent structural alterations in insomnia disorder (ID). In the present study, we performed a large-scale coordinated meta-analysis by pooling structural brain measures from 1085 subjects (mean [SD] age 50.5 [13.9] years, 50.2% female, 17.4% with insomnia) across three international Enhancing NeuroImaging Genetics through Meta-Analysis (ENIGMA)-Sleep cohorts. Two sites recruited patients with ID/controls: Freiburg (University of Freiburg Medical Center, Freiburg, Germany) 42/43 and KUMS (Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran) 42/49, while the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-Trend, University Medicine Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany) recruited population-based individuals with/without insomnia symptoms 75/662. The influence of insomnia on magnetic resonance imaging-based brain morphometry using an insomnia brain score was then assessed. Within each cohort, we used an ordinary least-squares linear regression to investigate the link between the individual regional cortical and subcortical volumes and the presence of insomnia symptoms. Then, we performed a fixed-effects meta-analysis across cohorts based on the first-level results. For the insomnia brain score, weighted logistic ridge regression was performed on one sample (Freiburg), which separated patients with ID from controls to train a model based on the segmentation measurements. Afterward, the insomnia brain scores were validated using the other two samples. The model was used to predict the log-odds of the subjects with insomnia given individual insomnia-related brain atrophy. After adjusting for multiple comparisons, we did not detect any significant associations between insomnia symptoms and cortical or subcortical volumes, nor could we identify a global insomnia-related brain atrophy pattern. Thus, we observed inconsistent brain morphology differences between individuals with and without insomnia across three independent cohorts. Further large-scale cross-sectional/longitudinal studies using both structural and functional neuroimaging are warranted to decipher the neurobiology of insomnia.
All-optical ferromagnetic resonance (AO-FMR) is a powerful tool for the local detection of micromagnetic parameters, such as magnetic anisotropy, Gilbert damping or spin stiffness. In this work we demonstrate that the AO-FMR method can be used in thin films of Yttrium Iron Garnet (YIG) if a metallic capping layer (Au, Pt) is deposited on top of the film. Magnetization precession is triggered by heating of the metallic layer with femtosecond laser pulses. The heat pulse modifies the magneto-crystalline anisotropy of the YIG film and shifts the quasi-equilibrium orientation of the magnetization, which results in precessional magnetization dynamics. The laser-induced magnetization precession corresponds to a uniform (Kittel) magnon mode, with the precession frequency determined by the magnetic anisotropy of the material as well as the external magnetic field, and the damping time set by a Gilbert damping parameter. The AO-FMR method thus enables measuring local magnetic properties, with a resolution given by the laser spot size.
In recent years, histone deacetylases (HDACs) have emerged as promising targets in the treatment of cancer. The approach is to inhibit HDACs with drugs known as HDAC inhibitors (HDACis). Such HDACis are broadly classified according to their chemical structure, e.g., hydroxamic acids, benzamides, thiols, short-chain fatty acids, and cyclic peptides. Fluorination plays an important role in the medicinal–chemical design of new active representatives. As a result of the introduction of fluorine into the chemical structure, parameters such as potency or selectivity towards isoforms of HDACs can be increased. However, the impact of fluorination cannot always be clearly deduced. Nevertheless, a change in lipophilicity and, hence, solubility, as well as permeability, can influence the potency. The selectivity towards certain HDACs isoforms can be explained by special interactions of fluorinated compounds with the structure of the slightly different enzymes. Another aspect is that for a more detailed investigation of newly synthesized fluorine-containing active compounds, fluorination is often used for the purpose of labeling. Aside from the isotope 19F, which can be detected by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, the positron emission tomo-graphy of 18F plays a major role. However, to our best knowledge, a survey of the general effects of fluorination on HDACis development is lacking in the literature to date. Therefore, the aim of this review is to highlight the introduction of fluorine in the course of chemical synthesis and the impact on biological activity, using selected examples of recently developed fluorinated HDACis.
Geometric regularity of spider webs has been intensively studied in orb-weaving spiders, although it is not exclusive of orb weavers. Here, we document the geometrically regular, repetitive elements in the webs of the non-orb-weaving groups Leptonetidae and Telemidae for the first time. Similar to orb weavers, we found areas with regularly spaced parallel lines in the webs of Calileptoneta helferi, Sulcia sp., and cf. Pinelema sp. Furthermore, we provide a detailed account of the regular webs of Ochyrocera (Ochyroceratidae). The sections of the web with regularly disposed parallel lines are built as U-shaped modules reminiscent of orb webs. It has been suggested that the regularly spaced parallel lines in the webs of Ochyroceratidae and Psilodercidae may be produced in a single sweep of their posterior lateral spinnerets, which have regularly spaced aciniform gland spigots, perhaps involving expansion of the spinnerets. To test this hypothesis, we compared the spacing between parallel lines with the spacing between spigots, searched for expansible membranes in the spinnerets, and examined the junctions of regularly spaced lines. The distance between parallel lines was 10-20 times the distance between spigots, and we found no expansible membranes, and the intersection of parallel lines are cemented, which opposes the single sweep hypothesis. Furthermore, we found cues of viscid silk in the parallel lines of the psilodercid Althepus and broadened piriform gland spigots that may be responsible of its production. Finally, we evaluated the presence or absence of geometrically regular web elements across the spider tree of life. We found reports of regular webs in 31 spider families, including 20 families that are not orb weavers and hypothesize that the two basic aspects of regularity (parallel lines spaced at regular intervals, and radial lines spaced at regular angles) probably appeared many times in the evolution of spiders.
Equal-spin Cooper pairs are pivotal building blocks for superconducting spintronics devices. In recent experiments unusual behavior was observed in ferromagnet/ferromagnet/superconductor devices when a precession of the magnetization was induced by ferromagnetic resonance. By using a nonequilibrium Usadel Green's function formalism, we study spin transport for such a setup. We solve for spin-resolved distribution functions and demonstrate that the spin injection process in superconductors is governed by the inverse proximity effect in the superconducting layer. We find that equal-spin Cooper pairs, which are produced by the two misaligned ferromagnetic layers, transport spin inside the superconductor layer. This then results in an increase of the injected spin current below the superconducting critical temperature. Our calculations provide evidence of the essential role of equal-spin Cooper pairs in spin-transport properties of superconductor/ferromagnet devices and pave avenues for the design of superconducting spintronics devices.
Growing Sphagnum on rewetted bogs (=Sphagnum paludiculture) is an alternative to drainage-based land use because it retains its value as productive land while mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, studies on GHG exchange covering the full production system and cycle are missing. Here, we combined data of the establishment phase with newly recorded data of a 7-year old Sphagnum paludiculture site in Germany including partial Sphagnum harvest. GHGs were measured with closed chambers at all elements of the system (production fields, ditches, causeways). Over the full production cycle, the production fields were GHG sinks with -3.2 ± 4.2 t ha-1 a-1 (in CO2-eq), while ditches represented sources emitting 13.8 ± 11.5 t ha-1 a-1. New measurements on the causeway indicated that it was a stronger GHG source with 29.3 ± 9.8 t ha-1 a-1 than previously assumed from literature values. Corrected for the area share of its elements and including the partial Sphagnum harvest (in dry mass) of ~13.8 ± 0.6 t ha-1 (=average 7-year CO2 emissions of 3.3 ± 0.1 t ha-1 a-1), the site was a GHG source of 10.7 ± 4.6 t ha-1 a-1, thus reducing emissions by ~20 t ha-1 a-1 compared to the German emission factor for grassland on drained organic soils. Per ton harvested dry biomass, the paludiculture site emitted 9.9 ± 4.6 t of CO2-eq. The causeways were the major contributor to the warming, calling for reducing causeway area in Sphagnum paludicultures. Future 'best-practice' could realistically comprise areal shares of 80 % production fields, 5 % ditches, 15 % causeways and a full Sphagnum harvest with the uppermost 5 cm remaining on site for recovery. In this scenario the site would emit CO2-eq emissions of 4.3 ± 1.9 t ha-1 a-1 or 0.9 ± 2.1 t per ton harvested dry mass.
Metabarcoding of invertebrate-derived DNA (iDNA) is increasingly used to describe vertebrate diversity in terrestrial ecosystems. Fly iDNA has also shown potential as a tool for detecting pathogens. Combining these approaches makes fly iDNA a promis-ing tool for understanding the ecology and distribution of novel pathogens or emerg-ing infectious diseases. Here, we use fly iDNA to explore the geographic distribution of Bacillus cereus biovar anthracis (Bcbva) along a gradient from the forest within Taï National Park, Côte d'Ivoire, out to surrounding villages. We tested fly pools (N= 100 pools of 5 flies) collected in the forest (N= 25 pools), along the forest edge (N= 50 pools), and near surrounding villages (N= 25 pools) for Bcbva. Using the same iDNA, we sought to reconstruct fly and mammal communities with metabarcoding, with the aim of investigating potential links with Bcbva detection. We detected Bcbva in 5/100 fly pools and positivity varied significantly across the habitat types (forest = 4/25, edge = 1/50, village = 0/25). It was possible to culture Bcbva from all positive fly pools, confirming their positivity, while sequencing of their whole genomes revealed a considerable portion of known genomic diversity for this pathogen. iDNA generated data about the mammal and fly communities in these habitats, revealing the highest mammal diversity in the forest and considerable changes in fly community composi-tion along the gradient. Bcbva host range estimates from fly iDNA were largely iden-tical to the results of long-term carcass monitoring efforts in the region. We show that fly iDNA can generate data on the geographic distribution and host range of a pathogen at kilometer scales, as well as reveal the pathogen's phylogenetic diversity. Our results highlight the power of fly iDNA for mammal biomonitoring and pathogen surveillance.
Rewetted peatlands are reestablished hot spots for CH4 emissions, which are subject to increased drought events in the course of climate change. However, the dynamics of soil methane-cycling microbiomes in rewetted peatlands during summer drought are still poorly characterized. Using a quantitative metatranscriptomic approach, we investigated the changes in the transcript abundances of methanogen and methanotroph rRNA, as well as mcrA and pmoA mRNA before, during, and after the 2018 summer drought in a coastal and a percolation fen in northern Germany. Drought changed the community structure of methane-cycling microbiomes and decreased the CH4 fluxes as well as the rRNA and mRNA transcript abundances of methanogens and methanotrophs, but they showed no recovery or increase after the drought ended. The rRNA transcript abundance of methanogens was not correlated with CH4 fluxes in both fens. In the percolation fen, however, the mcrA transcript abundance showed a positive and significant correlation with CH4 fluxes. Importantly, when integrating pmoA abundance, a stronger correlation was observed between CH4 fluxes and mcrA/pmoA, suggesting that relationships between methanogens and methanotrophs are the key determinant of CH4 turnover. Our study provides a comprehensive understanding of the methane-cycling microbiome feedbacks to drought events in rewetted peatlands.
Baeyer-Villiger monooxygenases (BVMOs) are important flavin-dependent enzymes which perform oxygen insertion reactions leading to valuable products. As reported in many studies, BVMOs are usually unstable during application, preventing a wider usage in biocatalysis. Here, we discovered a novel NADPH-dependent BVMO which originates from Halopolyspora algeriensis using sequence similarity networks (SSNs). The enzyme is stable at temperatures between 10°C to 30°C up to five days after the purification, and yields the normal ester product. In this study,the substrate scope was investigated for a broad range of aliphatic ketones and the enzyme was biochemically characterized to identify optimum reaction conditions. The best substrate (86% conversion) was 2-dodecanone using purified enzyme. This novel BVMO could potentially be applied as part of an enzymatic cascade or in bioprocesses which utilize aliphatic alkanes as feedstock.
Chromatin-binding proteins are critical regulators of cell state in haematopoiesis1,2. Acute leukaemias driven by rearrangement of the mixed lineage leukaemia 1 gene (KMT2Ar) or mutation of the nucleophosmin gene (NPM1) require the chromatin adapter protein menin, encoded by the MEN1 gene, to sustain aberrant leukaemogenic gene expression programs3–5. In a phase 1 first-in-human clinical trial, the menin inhibitor revumenib, which is designed to disrupt the menin–MLL1 interaction, induced clinical responses in patients with leukaemia with KMT2Ar or mutated NPM1 (ref. ⁶). Here we identified somatic mutations in MEN1 at the revumenib–menin interface in patients with acquired resistance to menin inhibition. Consistent with the genetic data in patients, inhibitor–menin interface mutations represent a conserved mechanism of therapeutic resistance in xenograft models and in an unbiased base-editor screen. These mutants attenuate drug–target binding by generating structural perturbations that impact small-molecule binding but not the interaction with the natural ligand MLL1, and prevent inhibitor-induced eviction of menin and MLL1 from chromatin. To our knowledge, this study is the first to demonstrate that a chromatin-targeting therapeutic drug exerts sufficient selection pressure in patients to drive the evolution of escape mutants that lead to sustained chromatin occupancy, suggesting a common mechanism of therapeutic resistance.
Targeting critical epigenetic regulators reverses aberrant transcription in cancer, thereby restoring normal tissue function1–3. The interaction of menin with lysine methyltransferase 2A (KMT2A), an epigenetic regulator, is a dependence in acute leukaemia caused by either rearrangement of KMT2A or mutation of the nucleophosmin 1 gene (NPM1)4–6. KMT2A rearrangements occur in up to 10% of acute leukaemias and have an adverse prognosis, whereas NPM1 mutations occur in up to 30%, forming the most common genetic alteration in acute myeloid leukaemia7,8. Here, we describe the results of the first-in-human phase 1 clinical trial investigating revumenib (SNDX-5613), a potent and selective oral inhibitor of the menin–KMT2A interaction, in patients with relapsed or refractory acute leukaemia (, NCT04065399). We show that therapy with revumenib was associated with a low frequency of grade 3 or higher treatment-related adverse events and a 30% rate of complete remission or complete remission with partial haematologic recovery (CR/CRh) in the efficacy analysis population. Asymptomatic prolongation of the QT interval on electrocardiography was identified as the only dose-limiting toxicity. Remissions occurred in leukaemias refractory to multiple previous lines of therapy. We demonstrate clearance of residual disease using sensitive clinical assays and identify hallmarks of differentiation into normal haematopoietic cells, including differentiation syndrome. These data establish menin inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for susceptible acute leukaemia subtypes.
Background Childhood maltreatment is associated with depression and cardiometabolic disease in adulthood. However, the relationships with these two diseases have so far only been evaluated in different samples and with different methodology. Thus, it remains unknown how the effect sizes magnitudes for depression and cardiometabolic disease compare with each other and whether childhood maltreatment is especially associated with the co-occurrence (“comorbidity”) of depression and cardiometabolic disease. This pooled analysis examined the association of childhood maltreatment with depression, cardiometabolic disease, and their comorbidity in adulthood. Methods We carried out an individual participant data meta-analysis on 13 international observational studies (N = 217,929). Childhood maltreatment comprised self-reports of physical, emotional, and/or sexual abuse before 18 years. Presence of depression was established with clinical interviews or validated symptom scales and presence of cardiometabolic disease with self-reported diagnoses. In included studies, binomial and multinomial logistic regressions estimated sociodemographic-adjusted associations of childhood maltreatment with depression, cardiometabolic disease, and their comorbidity. We then additionally adjusted these associations for lifestyle factors (smoking status, alcohol consumption, and physical activity). Finally, random-effects models were used to pool these estimates across studies and examined differences in associations across sex and maltreatment types. Results Childhood maltreatment was associated with progressively higher odds of cardiometabolic disease without depression (OR [95% CI] = 1.27 [1.18; 1.37]), depression without cardiometabolic disease (OR [95% CI] = 2.68 [2.39; 3.00]), and comorbidity between both conditions (OR [95% CI] = 3.04 [2.51; 3.68]) in adulthood. Post hoc analyses showed that the association with comorbidity was stronger than with either disease alone, and the association with depression was stronger than with cardiometabolic disease. Associations remained significant after additionally adjusting for lifestyle factors, and were present in both males and females, and for all maltreatment types. Conclusions This meta-analysis revealed that adults with a history of childhood maltreatment suffer more often from depression and cardiometabolic disease than their non-exposed peers. These adults are also three times more likely to have comorbid depression and cardiometabolic disease. Childhood maltreatment may therefore be a clinically relevant indicator connecting poor mental and somatic health. Future research should investigate the potential benefits of early intervention in individuals with a history of maltreatment on their distal mental and somatic health (PROSPERO CRD42021239288).
Background Long periods of uninterrupted sitting, i.e., sedentary bouts, and their relationship with adverse health outcomes have moved into focus of public health recommendations. However, evidence on associations between sedentary bouts and adiposity markers is limited. Our aim was to investigate associations of the daily number of sedentary bouts with waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI) in a sample of middle-aged to older adults. Methods In this cross-sectional study, data were collected from three different studies that took place in the area of Greifswald, Northern Germany, between 2012 and 2018. In total, 460 adults from the general population aged 40 to 75 years and without known cardiovascular disease wore tri-axial accelerometers (ActiGraph Model GT3X+, Pensacola, FL) on the hip for seven consecutive days. A wear time of ≥ 10 h on ≥ 4 days was required for analyses. WC (cm) and BMI (kg m− 2) were measured in a standardized way. Separate multilevel mixed-effects linear regression analyses were used to investigate associations of sedentary bouts (1 to 10 min, >10 to 30 min, and >30 min) with WC and BMI. Models were adjusted for potential confounders including sex, age, school education, employment, current smoking, season of data collection, and composition of accelerometer-based time use. Results Participants (66% females) were on average 57.1 (standard deviation, SD 8.5) years old and 36% had a school education >10 years. The mean number of sedentary bouts per day was 95.1 (SD 25.0) for 1-to-10-minute bouts, 13.3 (SD 3.4) for >10-to-30-minute bouts and 3.5 (SD 1.9) for >30-minute bouts. Mean WC was 91.1 cm (SD 12.3) and mean BMI was 26.9 kg m− 2 (SD 3.8). The daily number of 1-to-10-minute bouts was inversely associated with BMI (b = -0.027; p = 0.047) and the daily number of >30-minute bouts was positively associated with WC (b = 0.330; p = 0.001). All other associations were not statistically significant. Conclusion The findings provide some evidence on favourable associations of short sedentary bouts as well as unfavourable associations of long sedentary bouts with adiposity markers. Our results may contribute to a growing body of literature that can help to define public health recommendations for interrupting prolonged sedentary periods. Trial registration Study 1: German Clinical Trials Register (DRKS00010996); study 2: (NCT02990039); study 3: (NCT03539237).
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4,139 members
Sebastian Guenther
  • Institute of Pharmacy
Sven Hammerschmidt
  • Interfaculty Institute for Genetics and Functional Genomics, Center for Functional Genomics of Microbes
Karsten Becker
  • Friedrich Loeffler-Institute of Medical Microbiology
Greifswald, M-V, Germany
Head of institution
Prof. Hannelore Weber