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Targeting cellular cholesterol levels may help fight the flu
*To fight against the flu, vaccines are prepared from virus strains that resemble those that are likely to circulate in the upcoming influenza season. However, protection by vaccination is limited due to the abrupt and unpredictable emergence of new subtypes that may rapidly spread worldwide. Therefore, drugs that target host cell factors could open up efficient therapeutic strategies to keep viruses from reproducing in the body. We found that host cell factors involved in maintaining proper cholesterol homeostasis such as AnxA6 have a major impact on IAV replication. AnxA6 indirectly regulates IAV replication via reducing the availability of cholesterol at the plasma membrane, thereby equipping the budding virus with an envelope that is strongly reduced in cholesterol (see our new article “Annexin A6-balanced late endosomal cholesterol controls influenza A replication and propagation” for more information). Thus, targeting the cellular cholesterol balance might ameliorate IAV infection.
Musiol A, Gran, Ehrhardt C, Ludwig S, Grewal T, Gerke V, Rescher U. mBio 2013.
In a dark place
To keep everything neat, tidy, and organized, the eukaryotic cell relies on an intricate system of distinct compartments. But the large nucleus of a mammalian cell sticks to that routine, too. It features a complex internal structure with a variety of specific subnuclear bodies, including the not so well known paraspeckles. These quite recently discovered ribonucleoprotein bodies are formed by the assembly of paraspeckle proteins and specific long non-coding RNAs transcribed by Pol II. Paraspeckles might serve as retention sites for otherwise transcription-competent RNA, thereby adding a new layer of complexity to the complicated posttranscriptional control of gene expression. While working on the cellular functions of atypical annexins, we found to our surprise that annexin A10 co-localizes with the mRNA-binding proteins SFPQ and PSPC1 at paraspeckles, and decreases paraspeckle numbers when overexpressed in HeLa cells. In addition, annexin A10 relocates to Dark Nucleolar Caps upon transcriptional inhibition of RNA polymerase II, a typical behavior of paraspeckle proteins. For more information, read our article published in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences.
Quiskamp N, Poeter M, Raabe CA, Hohenester UM, König S, Gerke V, Rescher U. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2013 May 29. [Epub ahead of print]
In control of mitogenic signaling
Mitogenic Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) signaling controls complex intracellular pathways involved in cell growth and differentiation. Activated EGF receptors are internalized and degraded in lysosomes to prevent chronic stimulation leading to tumor formation and progression.
We published a new article on the control of EGFR signal duration in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular Cell Research. The title is “Disruption of the annexin A1/S100A11 complex increases the migration and clonogenic growth by dysregulating epithelial growth factor (EGF) signaling”. Together with colleagues from the University of Sydney we provide evidence that complex formation of annexin A1 with S100C is essential for proper targeting the EGF receptor to lysosomes, possibly by acting as a physical scaffold that supports formation of inner vesicles in MVBs. Ablation of the complex results in prolonged EGFR signaling and enhanced cell migration and clonogenicity
Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 Dec 14. pii: S0167-4889(12)00369-2. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2012.12.006. [Epub ahead of print]
We have open positions for PhD student positions (Control of the host inflammatory response; Regulation of Membrane trafficking events). Please send your application in English as a single PDF file, containing a cover letter with a statement of research interests, a CV including your research experience, and the contact information of two references.
Prof. Dr. Ursula Rescher
Institut für Medizinische Biochemie, ZMBE
phone +49 251 83 52121 / Fax - 56748
e-mail: rescher at uni-muenster.de