Publications

Abstract (Expand)

The mechanisms of organ size control remain poorly understood. A key question is how cells collectively sense the overall status of a tissue. We addressed this problem focusing on mouse liver regeneration. Using digital tissue reconstruction and quantitative image analysis, we found that the apical surface of hepatocytes forming the bile canalicular network expands concomitant with an increase in F‐actin and phospho‐myosin, to compensate an overload of bile acids. These changes are sensed by the Hippo transcriptional co‐activator YAP, which localizes to apical F‐actin‐rich regions and translocates to the nucleus in dependence of the integrity of the actin cytoskeleton. This mechanism tolerates moderate bile acid fluctuations under tissue homeostasis, but activates YAP in response to sustained bile acid overload. Using an integrated biophysical–biochemical model of bile pressure and Hippo signaling, we explained this behavior by the existence of a mechano‐sensory mechanism that activates YAP in a switch‐like manner. We propose that the apical surface of hepatocytes acts as a self‐regulatory mechano‐sensory system that responds to critical levels of bile acids as readout of tissue status.

Authors: Kirstin Meyer, Hernan Morales‐Navarrete, Sarah Seifert, Michaela Wilsch‐Braeuninger, Uta Dahmen, Elly M Tanaka, Lutz Brusch, Yannis Kalaidzidis, Marino Zerial

Date Published: 24th Feb 2020

Journal: Mol Syst Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Background Many functional analysis tools have been developed to extract functional and mechanistic insight from bulk transcriptome data. With the advent of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), it is in principle possible to do such an analysis for single cells. However, scRNA-seq data has characteristics such as drop-out events and low library sizes. It is thus not clear if functional TF and pathway analysis tools established for bulk sequencing can be applied to scRNA-seq in a meaningful way. Results To address this question, we perform benchmark studies on simulated and real scRNA-seq data. We include the bulk-RNA tools PROGENy, GO enrichment, and DoRothEA that estimate pathway and transcription factor (TF) activities, respectively, and compare them against the tools SCENIC/AUCell and metaVIPER, designed for scRNA-seq. For the in silico study, we simulate single cells from TF/pathway perturbation bulk RNA-seq experiments. We complement the simulated data with real scRNA-seq data upon CRISPR-mediated knock-out. Our benchmarks on simulated and real data reveal comparable performance to the original bulk data. Additionally, we show that the TF and pathway activities preserve cell type-specific variability by analyzing a mixture sample sequenced with 13 scRNA-seq protocols. We also provide the benchmark data for further use by the community. Conclusions Our analyses suggest that bulk-based functional analysis tools that use manually curated footprint gene sets can be applied to scRNA-seq data, partially outperforming dedicated single-cell tools. Furthermore, we find that the performance of functional analysis tools is more sensitive to the gene sets than to the statistic used.

Authors: Christian Holland, Jovan Tanevski, Javier Perales-Patón, Jan Gleixner, Manu P. Kumar, Elisabetta Mereu, Brian A. Joughin, Oliver Stegle, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Holger Heyn, Bence Szalai, Julio Saez-Rodriguez

Date Published: 1st Dec 2020

Journal: Genome Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Small-molecule flux in tissue-microdomains is essential for organ function, but knowledge of this process is scant due to the lack of suitable methods applicable to live animals. We developed a methodology based on dynamic and correlative imaging for quantitative intravital flux analysis. Application to the liver, challenged the prevailing ‘mechano-osmotic’ theory of canalicular bile flow. After active transport across hepatocyte membranes bile salts are transported in the canaliculi primarily by diffusion. Only in the interlobular ducts, diffusion is augmented by regulatable advection. We corroborate these observations with in silico simulations and pan-species comparisons of lobule size. This study demonstrates a flux mechanism, where the energy invested in transmembrane transport entropically dissipates in a sub-micron scale vessel network.

Authors: Nachiket Vartak, Georgia Guenther, Florian Joly, Amruta Damle-Vartak, Gudrun Wibbelt, Jörns Fickel, Simone Jörs, Brigitte Begher-Tibbe, Adrian Friebel, Kasimir Wansing, Ahmed Ghallab, Marie Rosselin, Noemie Boissier, Irene Vignon-Clementel, Christian Hedberg, Fabian Geisler, Heribert Hofer, Peter Jansen, Stefan Hoehme, Dirk Drasdo, Jan Hengstler

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Transcriptome profiling followed by differential gene expression analysis often leads to lists of genes that are hard to analyze and interpret. Functional genomics tools are powerful approaches for downstream analysis, as they summarize the large and noisy gene expression space into a smaller number of biological meaningful features. In particular, methods that estimate the activity of processes by mapping transcripts level to process members are popular. However, footprints of either a pathway or transcription factor (TF) on gene expression show superior performance over mapping-based gene sets. These footprints are largely developed for humans and their usability in the broadly-used model organism Mus musculus is uncertain. Evolutionary conservation of the gene regulatory system suggests that footprints of human pathways and TFs can functionally characterize mice data. In this paper we analyze this hypothesis. We perform a comprehensive benchmark study exploiting two state-of-the-art footprint methods, DoRothEA and an extended version of PROGENy. These methods infer TF and pathway activity, respectively. Our results show that both can recover mouse perturbations, confirming our hypothesis that footprints are conserved between mice and humans. Subsequently, we illustrate the usability of PROGENy and DoRothEA by recovering pathway/TF-disease associations from newly generated disease sets. Additionally, we provide pathway and TF activity scores for a large collection of human and mouse perturbation and disease experiments (2374). We believe that this resource, available for interactive exploration and download (https://saezlab.shinyapps.io/footprint_scores/), can have broad applications including the study of diseases and therapeutics.

Authors: Christian Holland, Bence Szalai, Julio Saez-Rodriguez

Date Published: 1st Sep 2019

Journal: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Gene Regulatory Mechanisms

Abstract

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Authors: Anne Dropmann, Steven Dooley, Bedair Dewidar, Seddik Hammad, Tatjana Dediulia, Julia Werle, Vanessa Hartwig, Shahrouz Ghafoory, Stefan Woelfl, Hanna Korhonen, Michel Janicot, Katja Wosikowski, Timo Itzel, Andreas Teufel, Detlef Schuppan, Ana Stojanovic, Adelheid Cerwenka, Stefanie Nittka, Albrecht Piiper, Timo Gaiser, Naiara Beraza, Malgorzata Milkiewicz, Piotr Milkiewicz, John G Brain, David E J Jones, Thomas S Weiss, Ulrich M Zanger, Matthias Ebert, Nadja M Meindl-Beinker

Date Published: 28th Jan 2020

Journal: Gut

Abstract (Expand)

The Hedgehog (Hh) and Wnt/β-Catenin (Wnt) cascades are morphogen pathways whose pronounced influence on adult liver metabolism has been identified in recent years. How both pathways communicate and control liver metabolic functions are largely unknown. Detecting core components of Wnt and Hh signaling and mathematical modeling showed that both pathways in healthy liver act largely complementary to each other in the pericentral (Wnt) and the periportal zone (Hh) and communicate mainly by mutual repression. The Wnt/Hh module inversely controls the spatiotemporal operation of various liver metabolic pathways, as revealed by transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome analyses. Shifting the balance to Wnt (activation) or Hh (inhibition) causes pericentralization and periportalization of liver functions, respectively. Thus, homeostasis of the Wnt/Hh module is essential for maintaining proper liver metabolism and to avoid the development of certain metabolic diseases. With caution due to minor species-specific differences, these conclusions may hold for human liver as well.

Authors: Erik Kolbe, Susanne Aleithe, Christiane Rennert, Luise Spormann, Fritzi Ott, David Meierhofer, Robert Gajowski, Claus Stöpel, Stefan Hoehme, Michael Kücken, Lutz Brusch, Michael Seifert, Witigo Von Schönfels, Clemens Schafmayer, Mario Brosch, Ute Hofmann, Georg Damm, Daniel Seehofer, Jochen Hampe, Rolf Gebhardt, Madlen Matz-Soja

Date Published: 1st Dec 2019

Journal: Cell Reports

Abstract (Expand)

PURPOSE: Evaluation of [(68)Ga]NODAGA-duramycin as a positron emission tomography (PET) tracer of cell death for whole-body detection of chemotherapy-induced organ toxicity. PROCEDURES: Tracer specificity of Ga-68 labeled NODAGA-duramycin was determined in vitro using competitive binding experiments. Organ uptake was analyzed in untreated and doxorubicin, busulfan, and cisplatin-treated mice 2 h after intravenous injection of [(68)Ga]NODAGA-duramycin. In vivo data were validated by immunohistology and blood parameters. RESULTS: In vitro experiments confirmed specific binding of [(68)Ga]NODAGA-duramycin. Organ toxicities were detected successfully using [(68)Ga]NODAGA-duramycin PET/X-ray computed tomography (CT) and confirmed by immunohistochemistry and blood parameter analysis. Organ toxicities in livers and kidneys showed similar trends in PET/CT and immunohistology. Busulfan and cisplatin-related organ toxicities in heart, liver, and lungs were detected earlier by PET/CT than by blood parameters and immunohistology. CONCLUSION: [(68)Ga]NODAGA-duramycin PET/CT was successfully applied to non-invasively detect chemotherapy-induced organ toxicity with high sensitivity in mice. It, therefore, represents a promising alternative to standard toxicological analyses with a high translational potential.

Authors: A. Rix, N. I. Drude, Anna Mrugalla, F. Baskaya, K. Y. Pak, B. Gray, H. J. Kaiser, R. H. Tolba, E. Fiegle, Wiltrud Lederle, F. M. Mottaghy, F. Kiessling

Date Published: 8th Aug 2019

Journal: Mol Imaging Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Liver inflammation and macrophage infiltration are critical steps in the progression of nonalcoholic fatty liver to the development of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Bone morphogenetic protein9 is a cytokine involved in the regulation of chemokines and lipogenesis. However, the function of bone morphogenetic protein9 in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is still unknown. The present study hypothesized that bone morphogenetic protein9 may contribute to steatohepatitis in mice fed a methionine choline deficiency diet (MCD). C57BL/6 mice overexpressing bone morphogenetic protein9 and control mice were fed the MCD diet for 4 weeks. Liver tissue and serum samples were obtained for subsequent measurements. Bone morphogenetic protein9 overexpression exacerbated steatohepatitis in mice on the MCD diet, as indicated by liver histopathology, increased serum alanine aminotransferase activity, aspartate transaminase activity, hepatic inflammatory gene expression and M1 macrophage recruitment. Although bone morphogenetic protein9 overexpression did not affect the expression of profibrogenic genes, including Collagen I (alpha)1 or matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) 9, it did upregulate the expression of transforming growth factorbeta and plasminogen activator inhibitor 1, and downregulated the expression of MMP2. The above results indicate that bone morphogenetic protein9 exerts a proinflammatory role in MCD dietinduced nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.

Authors: Q. Li, B. Liu, K. Breitkopf-Heinlein, H. Weng, Yixin Jiang, P. Dong, Steven Dooley, K. Xu, H. Ding

Date Published: 20th Jul 2019

Journal: Mol Med Rep

Abstract (Expand)

Liver fibrosis is an advanced liver disease condition, which could progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, there is no direct approved antifibrotic therapy, and current treatment is mainly the removal of the causative factor. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a master profibrogenic cytokine and a promising target to treat fibrosis. However, TGF-beta has broad biological functions and its inhibition induces non-desirable side effects, which override therapeutic benefits. Therefore, understanding the pleiotropic effects of TGF-beta and its upstream and downstream regulatory mechanisms will help to design better TGF-beta based therapeutics. Here, we summarize recent discoveries and milestones on the TGF-beta signaling pathway related to liver fibrosis and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, emphasizing research of the last five years. This comprises impact of TGF-beta on liver fibrogenesis related biological processes, such as senescence, metabolism, reactive oxygen species generation, epigenetics, circadian rhythm, epithelial mesenchymal transition, and endothelial-mesenchymal transition. We also describe the influence of the microenvironment on the response of HSC to TGF-beta. Finally, we discuss new approaches to target the TGF-beta pathway, name current clinical trials, and explain promises and drawbacks that deserve to be adequately addressed.

Authors: B. Dewidar, C. Meyer, Steven Dooley, A. N. Meindl-Beinker

Date Published: 11th Nov 2019

Journal: Cells

Abstract

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Authors: Peter Jansen, Kai Breuhahn, Andreas Teufel, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 22nd Nov 2019

Journal: Front. Physiol.

Abstract

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Authors: Seddik Hammad, W Fan, T Liu, W Chen, K Gould, T Longerich, I Haußer-Siller, J Hou, J Jia, B Sun, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

Abstract

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Authors: Rolf Reiter, Heiko Tzschätzsch, Florian Schwahofer, Matthias Haas, Christian Bayerl, Marion Muche, Dieter Klatt, Shreyan Majumdar, Meltem Uyanik, Bernd Hamm, Jürgen Braun, Ingolf Sack, Patrick Asbach

Date Published: 11th Nov 2019

Journal: Eur Radiol

Abstract

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Authors: Sarah Keller, Julius Chapiro, Julia Brangsch, Carolin Reimann, Federico Collettini, Ingolf Sack, Lynn Jeanette Savic, Bernd Hamm, Shraga Nahum Goldberg, Marcus Makowski

Date Published: 12th Nov 2019

Journal: J Magn Reson Imaging

Abstract

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Authors: Nikolaus Berndt, Andreas Patzak, Hermann‐Georg Holzhütter

Date Published: 9th Aug 2019

Journal: Acta Physiol

Abstract

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Authors: Nikolaus Berndt, Antje Egners, Guido Mastrobuoni, Olga Vvedenskaya, Athanassios Fragoulis, Aurélien Dugourd, Sascha Bulik, Matthias Pietzke, Chris Bielow, Rob van Gassel, Steven W. Olde Damink, Merve Erdem, Julio Saez-Rodriguez, Hermann-Georg Holzhütter, Stefan Kempa, Thorsten Cramer

Date Published: 10th Dec 2019

Journal: Br J Cancer

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