Harald Saumweber

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Berlín, Berlin, Germany

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Publications (55)359.89 Total impact

  • Thomas Zielke · Alexander Glotov · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic chromatin is organized in contiguous domains that differ in protein binding, histone modifications, transcriptional activity, and in their degree of compaction. Genome-wide comparisons suggest that, overall, the chromatin organization is similar in different cells within an organism. Here, we compare the structure and activity of the 61C7-61C8 interval in polytene and diploid cells of Drosophila. By in situ hybridization on polytene chromosomes combined with high-resolution microscopy, we mapped the boundaries of the 61C7-8 interband and of the 61C7 and C8 band regions, respectively. Our results demonstrate that the 61C7-8 interband is significantly larger than estimated previously. This interband extends over 20 kbp and is in the range of the flanking band domains. It contains several active genes and therefore can be considered as an open chromatin domain. Comparing the 61C7-8 structure of Drosophila S2 cells and polytene salivary gland cells by ChIP for chromatin protein binding and histone modifications, we observe a highly consistent domain structure for the proximal 13 kbp of the domain in both cell types. However, the distal 7 kbp of the open domain differs in protein binding and histone modification between both tissues. The domain contains four protein-coding genes in the proximal part and two noncoding transcripts in the distal part. The differential transcriptional activity of one of the noncoding transcripts correlates with the observed differences in the chromatin structure between both tissues. The significance of our findings for the organization and structure of open chromatin domains will be discussed.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2015 · Chromosoma
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    Thomas Zielke · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: Drosophila polytene interphase chromosomes provide an ideal test system to study the rules that define the structure of chromatin domains. We established a transgenic condensed chromatin domain cassette for the insertion of large pieces of DNA by site specific recombination. Insertion of this cassette into open chromatin generated a condensed domain, visible as an extra band on polytene chromosomes. Site specific recombination of DNA sequence variants into this ectopic band allowed us to compare their capacity for open chromatin formation by cytogenetic methods. We demonstrate that the 61C7-8 interband DNA maintains its open chromatin conformation and epigenetic state at an ectopic position. By deletion analysis we mapped the sequences essential for open chromatin formation to a 490 bp fragment in the proximal part of the 17 kb interband sequence. This fragment overlaps binding sites of the chromatin protein Chriz, the histone kinase Jil-1 and the boundary element protein CP190. It also overlaps a promoter region that locates in between the Rev1 and Med30 transcription units.
    Preview · Article · Mar 2014 · Journal of Cell Science
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    Miao Gan · Selina Moebus · Harald Eggert · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: The conserved band-interband pattern is thought to reflect the looped-domain organization of insect polytene chromosomes. Previously, we have shown that the chromodomain protein Chriz and the zinc-finger protein Z4 are essentially required for the maintenance of polytene chromosome structure. Here we show that both proteins form a complex that recruits the JIL-1 kinase to polytene chromosomes, enabling local H3S10 phosphorylation of interband nucleosomal histones. Interband targeting domains were identified at the N-terminal regions of Chriz and Z4, and our data suggest partial cooperation of the complex with the BEAF boundary element protein in polytene and diploid cells. Reducing the core component Chriz by RNAi results in destabilization of the complex and a strong reduction of interband-specific histone H3S10 phosphorylation.
    Preview · Article · Aug 2011 · Journal of Biosciences
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    ABSTRACT: The PEV-modifying winged-helix/forkhead domain transcription factor JUMU of Drosophila is an essential protein of pleiotropic function. The correct gene dose of jumu is required for nucleolar integrity and correct nucleolus function. Overexpression of jumu results in bloating of euchromatic chromosome arms, displacement of the JUMU protein from the chromocenter and the nucleolus, fragile weak points, and disrupted chromocenter of polytene chromosomes. Overexpression of the acidic C terminus of JUMU alone causes nucleolus disorganization. In addition, euchromatic genes are overexpressed and HP1, which normally accumulates in the pericentric heterochromatin and spreads into euchromatic chromosome arms, although H3-K9 di-methylation remains restricted to the pericentric heterochromatin. The human winged-helix nude gene shows similarities to jumu and its overexpression in Drosophila causes bristle mutations.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2010 · Chromosome Research
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    ABSTRACT: The MYST histone acetyltransferase (HAT) dTip60 is part of a multimeric protein complex that unites both HAT and chromatin remodeling activities. Here, we sought to gain insight into the biological functions of dTip60. Strong ubiquitous dTip60 knock-down in flies was lethal, whereas knock-down in the wing imaginal disk led to developmental defects in the wing. dTip60 localized to the nucleus in early embryos and was present in a large number of interbands on polytene chromosomes. Genome-wide expression analysis upon depletion of dTip60 in cell culture showed that it regulated a large number of genes in Drosophila, among which those with chromatin-related functions were highly enriched. Surprisingly, a significant portion of these genes were upregulated upon dTip60 loss, indicating that dTip60 has repressive as well as activating functions. dTip60 protein was directly located at promoter regions of a subset of repressed genes, suggesting a direct role in gene repression. Comparison of the gene expression signature of dTip60 downregulation with that of histone deacetylase inhibition with trichostatin A revealed a significant correlation, suggesting that the dTip60 complex recruits an HDAC-containing complex to regulate gene expression in the Drosophila genome.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Chromosoma
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    ABSTRACT: For the compact Drosophila genome, several factors mediating insulator function, such as su(Hw) and dCTCF, have been identified. Recent analyses showed that both these insulator-binding factors are functionally dependent on the same cofactor, CP190. Here we analysed genome-wide binding of CP190 and dCTCF. CP190 binding was detected at CTCF, su(Hw) and GAF sites and unexpectedly at the transcriptional start sites of actively transcribed genes. Both insulator and transcription start site CP190-binding elements are strictly marked by a depletion of histone H3 and, therefore, a loss of nucleosome occupancy. In addition, CP190/dCTCF double occupancy was seen at the borders of many H3K27me3 'islands'. As before, these sites were also depleted of H3. Loss of either dCTCF or CP190 causes an increase of H3 and H3K27 trimethylation at these sites. Thus, for both types of cis-regulatory elements, domain borders and promoters, the chromatin structure is dependent on CP190.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2009 · The EMBO Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Insulator sequences guide the function of distantly located enhancer elements to the appropriate target genes by blocking inappropriate interactions. In Drosophila, five different insulator binding proteins have been identified, Zw5, BEAF-32, GAGA factor, Su(Hw) and dCTCF. Only dCTCF has a known conserved counterpart in vertebrates. Here we find that the structurally related factors dCTCF and Su(Hw) have distinct binding targets. In contrast, the Su(Hw) interacting factor CP190 largely overlapped with dCTCF binding sites and interacts with dCTCF. Binding of dCTCF to targets requires CP190 in many cases, whereas others are independent of CP190. Analysis of the bithorax complex revealed that six of the borders between the parasegment specific regulatory domains are bound by dCTCF and by CP190 in vivo. dCTCF null mutations affect expression of Abdominal-B, cause pharate lethality and a homeotic phenotype. A short pulse of dCTCF expression during larval development rescues the dCTCF loss of function phenotype. Overall, we demonstrate the importance of dCTCF in fly development and in the regulation of abdominal segmentation.
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2007 · The EMBO Journal
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    ABSTRACT: The concept of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) as a potent evolutionary force has prompted the re-evaluation of prokaryotic genome shaping and speciation. Horizontal gene transfer enables prokaryotes to rearrange their genomes dynamically, facilitating responses to changing environmental conditions and invasions of new ecological niches. Here we report that the genome of the cyanobacterium Microcystis aeruginosa contains a genomic island encoding proteins with extensive amino-acid sequence identity to two components of the eukaryotic actin cytoskeleton: actin itself; and profilin, an actin binding protein hitherto only known in eukaryotes. Our data indicate that a rare eukaryote-to-prokaryote HGT has introduced both sequences into the Microcystis lineage. We found both genes to be actively expressed and propose a unique role in Microcystis cell stabilization for actin, differing substantially from what is observed for bacterial actin homologs. Because we detected both eukaryote-like genes only in one strain in culture and in recent samples collected from its original habitat we suggest that both proteins may contribute to the adaptation of this strain to its specific ecological niche.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2007 · Current Biology
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    ABSTRACT: Dosage compensation in Drosophila is dependent on MSL proteins and involves hypertranscription of the male X chromosome, which ensures equal X-linked gene expression in both sexes. Here, we report the purification of enzymatically active MSL complexes from Drosophila embryos, Schneider cells, and human HeLa cells. We find a stable association of the histone H4 lysine 16-specific acetyltransferase MOF with the RNA/protein containing MSL complex as well as with an evolutionary conserved complex. We show that the MSL complex interacts with several components of the nuclear pore, in particular Mtor/TPR and Nup153. Strikingly, knockdown of Mtor or Nup153 results in loss of the typical MSL X-chromosomal staining and dosage compensation in Drosophila male cells but not in female cells. These results reveal an unexpected physical and functional connection between nuclear pore components and chromatin regulation through MSL proteins, highlighting the role of nucleoporins in gene regulation in higher eukaryotes.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2006 · Molecular Cell
  • AA Gortchakov · H Eggert · M Gan · J Mattow · I F Zhimulev · H Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: Polytene interphase chromosomes are compacted into a series of bands and interbands reflecting their organization into independent chromosomal domains. In order to understand chromosomal organization, we set out to study the role of proteins that are selective for interbands. Here we describe the Drosophila melanogaster chromodomain protein Chriz that is coimmunoprecipitated with the zinc finger protein Z4. Both proteins colocalize exclusively to the interbands on Drosophila polytene chromosomes. Like Z4, Chriz is ubiquitously expressed throughout development and is associated with chromatin in all interphase nuclei. Following dissociation from chromatin, early in mitosis Chriz binds to the centrosomes and to the mitotic spindle. Newly induced amorphic Chriz alleles are early lethal, and ubiquitous overexpression of Chriz is lethal as well. Available Chriz hypomorphs which survive until pupal stage have a normal chromosomal phenotype. Reducing Z4 protein does not affect Chriz binding to polytene chromosomes and vice versa. Z4 is still chromosomally bound when Chriz protein is depleted by RNA interference.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2005 · Chromosoma
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    Harald Eggert · Andrej Gortchakov · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: The subdivision of polytene chromosomes into bands and interbands suggests a structural chromatin organization that is related to the formation of functional domains of gene expression. We made use of the antibody Z4 to gain insight into this level of chromosomal structure, as the Z4 antibody mirrors this patterning by binding to an antigen that is present in most interbands. The Z4 gene encodes a protein with seven zinc fingers, it is essential for fly development and acts in a dose-dependent manner on the development of several tissues. Z4 mutants have a dose-sensitive effect on w(m4) position effect variegation with a haplo-suppressor and triplo-enhancer phenotype, suggesting Z4 to be involved in chromatin compaction. This assumption is further supported by the phenotype of Z4 mutant chromosomes, which show a loss of the band/interband pattern and are subject to an overall decompaction of chromosomal material. By co-immunoprecipitations we identified a novel chromo domain protein, which we named Chriz (Chromo domain protein interacting with Z4) as an interaction partner of Z4. Chriz localizes to interbands in a pattern that is identical to the Z4 pattern. These findings together with the result that Z4 binds directly to DNA in vitro strongly suggest that Z4 in conjunction with Chriz is intimately involved in the higher-order structuring of chromosomes.
    Preview · Article · Sep 2004 · Journal of Cell Science
  • A A Gorchakov · J Kaltenhäuser · H Eggert · H Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: Here we describe the construction of a new vector, pMH, designed for protein expression in E. coli. The vector provides inducible and powerful T7 RNA polymerase driven transcription of the sequences introduced, and a polylinker comprising now 10 most widely used restriction sites, which allows virtually any sequence to be cloned. Cloning in-frame with the N-terminal (c-myc)3-(His)6-tag makes it possible, first, to easily affinity purify the proteins being expressed and, second, to detect the recombinant proteins with the antibodies specific for any of the tags when protein-specific antibodies are unavailable. General utility of pMH was demonstrated by successful expression in E. coli and further purification of Drosophila melanogaster Chriz (CG10712) product and of a number of its C-terminal truncations, with the approximate protein yeild constituting 10 mg/l culture.
    No preview · Article · Jun 2004 · Molekuliarnaia biologiia
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    ABSTRACT: Using gold labeled antibodies, we developed and tested an immunoelectron microscope (IEM) method for detection of protein localization in Drosophila melanogaster polytene chromosomes. This method is based on procedures widely used for indirect immunofluorescent (IF) staining of salivary gland polytene chromosome squashes. The application of IEM was evaluated by using specific antibodies against proteins earlier localized in both decondensed (interbands and puffs) and compact (bands) regions of polytene chromosomes. In all the experiments, IEM and IF images for homologous chromosome regions were compared. When applied to regions of loose structures, IEM enabled us to localize, with high precision, signals in fine bands, interbands and puffs. There was a good correspondence between immunogold EM and IF data. However, there was no correspondence for dense bands: gold particles were distributed at their boundaries, while the entire bands showed bright fluorescence. This discrepancy probably resulted from a poor penetration of antibodies conjugated to gold particles in the tightly packaged structures. From the results obtained it may by concluded that the IEM method is advantageous for studying the fine protein topography of loose decompacted regions of polytene chromosomes. And this must be taken into consideration when protein localization in polytene chromosomes is performed.
    No preview · Article · Feb 2003 · Tsitologiia
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    Dereje Negeri · Harald Eggert · Renate Gienapp · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: We used the UAS/GAL4 two component system to induce mRNA interference (mRNAi) during Drosophila development. In the adult eye the expression from white transgenes or the resident white locus is significantly repressed by the induction of UAS-wRNAi using different GAL4 expressing strains. By induced RNAi we demonstrate that the conserved nuclear protein Bx42 is essential for the development of many tissues. Phenotypically the effects of Bx42 RNAi resemble those obtained for certain classes of Notch mutants, pointing to an involvement of Bx42 in the Notch signal transduction pathway. The wing phenotype following overexpression of Suppressor of Hairless is strongly enhanced by simultaneous Bx42 RNAi induction in the same tissue. Target genes of Notch signaling like cut and Enhancer of split m8 were suppressed by induction of Bx42 RNAi. Our results demonstrate that inducible RNAi is a powerful tool to study the role of essential genes throughout development.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2002 · Mechanisms of Development

  • No preview · Article · Feb 2002 · Chromosome Research
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    ABSTRACT: Specific nuclear proteins in immunogold labeled Drosophila melanogaster cells were visualized by applying soft X-ray microscopy. In addition, first experiments were performed to localize two different labeled nuclear proteins in the same X-ray micrograph by using immunofluorescence microscopy for distinguishing the proteins.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2001 · Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment
  • U Lammel · H Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: To identify X chromosomal genes required for salivary gland development in the Drosophila embryo, we screened embryos hemizygous for EMS-induced lethal mutations to find mutations causing gross morphological defects in salivary gland development. The parental strain carried a lac Z transgene on the second chromosome, which was specifically expressed in the salivary glands so the mutations could be unambiguously identified. Embryos from 3,383 lines were tested for salivary gland abnormalities following lacZ staining. From 63 lines exhibiting aberrant salivary gland phenotypes, 52 stable lines were established containing mutations affecting salivary gland development. From these, 39 lines could be assigned to nine complementation groups: armadillo, brinker, folded gastrulation, giant, hindsight, Notch, runt, stardust and twisted gastrulation.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2000 · Development Genes and Evolution
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    K Büchner · P Roth · G Schotta · V Krauss · H Saumweber · G Reuter · R Dorn
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    ABSTRACT: mod(mdg4), also known as E(var)3-93D, is involved in a variety of processes, such as gene silencing in position effect variegation (PEV), the control of gypsy insulator sequences, regulation of homeotic gene expression, and programmed cell death. We have isolated a large number of mod(mdg4) cDNAs, representing 21 different isoforms generated by alternative splicing. The deduced proteins are characterized by a common N terminus of 402 amino acids, including the BTB/POZ-domain. Most of the variable C termini contain a new consensus sequence, including four positioned hydrophobic amino acids and a Cys(2)His(2) motif. Using specific antibodies for two protein isoforms, we demonstrate different distributions of the corresponding proteins on polytene chromosomes. Mutations in the genomic region encoding exons 1-4 show enhancement of PEV and homeotic transformation and affect viability and fertility. Homeotic and PEV phenotypes are enhanced by mutations in other trx-group genes. A transgene containing the common 5' region of mod(mdg4) that is present in all splice variants known so far partially rescues the recessive lethality of mod(mdg4) mutant alleles. Our data provide evidence that the molecular and genetic complexity of mod(mdg4) is caused by a large set of individual protein isoforms with specific functions in regulating the chromatin structure of different sets of genes throughout development.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2000 · Genetics
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    Uwe Lammel · Lisa Meadows · Harald Saumweber
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    ABSTRACT: Salivary glands are simple structured organs which can serve as a model system in the study of organogenesis. Following a large EMS mutagenesis we have identified a number of genes required for normal salivary gland development. Mutations in the locus small salivary glands-1 (ssg-1) lead to a drastic reduction in the size of the salivary glands. The gene ssg-1 was cloned and subsequent sequence and genetic analysis showed identity to the recently published gene brinker. The salivary gland placode in brinker mutants appears reduced along both the anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral axis. Analysis of the brinker cuticle phenotype revealed a similar loss of anterior-posterior as well as lateral cell fates. The abdominal ventral denticle belts show a reduced number of setae in the first denticle row. Furthermore, we observed a preferential loss of lateral neuroblasts in the anterior parasegment. Together, these phenotypes suggest that brinker not only plays a role in dorso-ventral but also in anterior-posterior axis patterning.
    Preview · Article · May 2000 · Mechanisms of Development
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    ABSTRACT: The hnRNP K protein is among the major hnRNA-binding proteins with a strong preference for cytidine-rich sequences. We have cloned a Drosophila hnRNP protein closely related to this vertebrate protein. The protein first identified by the monoclonal antibody Q18 is encoded by a gene located in 57A on polytene chromosomes and has been consequently named Hrb57A. The amino acid sequence of the Hrb57A KH domains and their overall organisation in the protein are remarkably similar to the vertebrate proteins. As the hnRNP K in vertebrates the M(r) 55 000 Drosophila Hrb57A/Q18 protein strongly binds to poly(C) in vitro and is ubiquitously present in nuclei active in transcription. On polytene chromosomes it is found in many puffs and minipuffs. Hrb57A/Q18 specifically coprecipitates four other proteins: Hrb87F/P11 a Drosophila hnRNP A1 homologue, the hnRNA-binding protein S5, the RNA recognition motif-containing protein NonA and the RNA-binding zinc finger-containing protein on ecdysone puffs PEP/X4.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2000 · Gene

Publication Stats

3k Citations
359.89 Total Impact Points


  • 1996-2015
    • Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
      • Department of Biology
      Berlín, Berlin, Germany
  • 1994
    • Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg
      • Institutsbereich für Genetik
      Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
  • 1993
    • Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry
      Göttingen, Lower Saxony, Germany
  • 1989-1993
    • University of Cologne
      • Institute for Developmental Biology
      Köln, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
  • 1988
    • University of California, San Francisco
      • Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics
      San Francisco, CA, United States
  • 1984
    • University of San Francisco
      San Francisco, California, United States