Publications by authors named "Georg Werner"

9 Publications

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Loss of TMEM106B potentiates lysosomal and FTLD-like pathology in progranulin-deficient mice.

EMBO Rep 2020 10 14;21(10):e50241. Epub 2020 Sep 14.

Metabolic Biochemistry, Biomedical Center (BMC), Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany.

Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in TMEM106B encoding the lysosomal type II transmembrane protein 106B increase the risk for frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) of GRN (progranulin gene) mutation carriers. Currently, it is unclear if progranulin (PGRN) and TMEM106B are synergistically linked and if a gain or a loss of function of TMEM106B is responsible for the increased disease risk of patients with GRN haploinsufficiency. We therefore compare behavioral abnormalities, gene expression patterns, lysosomal activity, and TDP-43 pathology in single and double knockout animals. Grn /Tmem106b mice show a strongly reduced life span and massive motor deficits. Gene expression analysis reveals an upregulation of molecular signature characteristic for disease-associated microglia and autophagy. Dysregulation of maturation of lysosomal proteins as well as an accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins and widespread p62 deposition suggest that proteostasis is impaired. Moreover, while single Grn knockouts only occasionally show TDP-43 pathology, the double knockout mice exhibit deposition of phosphorylated TDP-43. Thus, a loss of function of TMEM106B may enhance the risk for GRN-associated FTLD by reduced protein turnover in the lysosomal/autophagic system.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embr.202050241DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7534633PMC
October 2020

The FTLD Risk Factor TMEM106B Regulates the Transport of Lysosomes at the Axon Initial Segment of Motoneurons.

Cell Rep 2020 03;30(10):3506-3519.e6

Institute of Biochemistry, Kiel University, 24098 Kiel, Germany. Electronic address:

Genetic variations in TMEM106B, coding for a lysosomal membrane protein, affect frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) in GRN- (coding for progranulin) and C9orf72-expansion carriers and might play a role in aging. To determine the physiological function of TMEM106B, we generated TMEM106B-deficient mice. These mice develop proximal axonal swellings caused by drastically enlarged LAMP1-positive vacuoles, increased retrograde axonal transport of lysosomes, and accumulation of lipofuscin and autophagosomes. Giant vacuoles specifically accumulate at the distal end and within the axon initial segment, but not in peripheral nerves or at axon terminals, resulting in an impaired facial-nerve-dependent motor performance. These data implicate TMEM106B in mediating the axonal transport of LAMP1-positive organelles in motoneurons and axonal sorting at the initial segment. Our data provide mechanistic insight into how TMEM106B affects lysosomal proteolysis and degradative capacity in neurons.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.celrep.2020.02.060DOI Listing
March 2020

Enhancing protective microglial activities with a dual function TREM2 antibody to the stalk region.

EMBO Mol Med 2020 04 10;12(4):e11227. Epub 2020 Mar 10.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich, Munich, Germany.

Triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) is essential for the transition of homeostatic microglia to a disease-associated microglial state. To enhance TREM2 activity, we sought to selectively increase the full-length protein on the cell surface via reducing its proteolytic shedding by A Disintegrin And Metalloproteinase (i.e., α-secretase) 10/17. We screened a panel of monoclonal antibodies against TREM2, with the aim to selectively compete for α-secretase-mediated shedding. Monoclonal antibody 4D9, which has a stalk region epitope close to the cleavage site, demonstrated dual mechanisms of action by stabilizing TREM2 on the cell surface and reducing its shedding, and concomitantly activating phospho-SYK signaling. 4D9 stimulated survival of macrophages and increased microglial uptake of myelin debris and amyloid β-peptide in vitro. In vivo target engagement was demonstrated in cerebrospinal fluid, where nearly all soluble TREM2 was 4D9-bound. Moreover, in a mouse model for Alzheimer's disease-related pathology, 4D9 reduced amyloidogenesis, enhanced microglial TREM2 expression, and reduced a homeostatic marker, suggesting a protective function by driving microglia toward a disease-associated state.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201911227DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7136959PMC
April 2020

Poly-glycine-alanine exacerbates C9orf72 repeat expansion-mediated DNA damage via sequestration of phosphorylated ATM and loss of nuclear hnRNPA3.

Acta Neuropathol 2020 01 23;139(1):99-118. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich, 81377, Munich, Germany.

Repeat expansion in C9orf72 causes amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Expanded sense and antisense repeat RNA transcripts in C9orf72 are translated into five dipeptide-repeat proteins (DPRs) in an AUG-independent manner. We previously identified the heterogeneous ribonucleoprotein (hnRNP) A3 as an interactor of the sense repeat RNA that reduces its translation into DPRs. Furthermore, we found that hnRNPA3 is depleted from the nucleus and partially mislocalized to cytoplasmic poly-GA inclusions in C9orf72 patients, suggesting that poly-GA sequesters hnRNPA3 within the cytoplasm. We now demonstrate that hnRNPA3 also binds to the antisense repeat RNA. Both DPR production and deposition from sense and antisense RNA repeats are increased upon hnRNPA3 reduction. All DPRs induced DNA double strand breaks (DSB), which was further enhanced upon reduction of hnRNPA3. Poly-glycine-arginine and poly-proline-arginine increased foci formed by phosphorylated Ataxia Telangiectasia Mutated (pATM), a major sensor of DSBs, whereas poly-glycine-alanine (poly-GA) evoked a reduction of pATM foci. In dentate gyri of C9orf72 patients, lower nuclear hnRNPA3 levels were associated with increased DNA damage. Moreover, enhanced poly-GA deposition correlated with reduced pATM foci. Since cytoplasmic pATM deposits partially colocalized with poly-GA deposits, these results suggest that poly-GA, the most frequent DPR observed in C9orf72 patients, differentially causes DNA damage and that poly-GA selectively sequesters pATM in the cytoplasm inhibiting its recruitment to sites of DNA damage. Thus, mislocalization of nuclear hnRNPA3 caused by poly-GA leads to increased poly-GA production, which partially depletes pATM, and consequently enhances DSB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00401-019-02082-0DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6942035PMC
January 2020

Opposite microglial activation stages upon loss of PGRN or TREM2 result in reduced cerebral glucose metabolism.

EMBO Mol Med 2019 06;11(6)

Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry, Biomedical Center (BMC), Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Munich, Germany

Microglia adopt numerous fates with homeostatic microglia (HM) and a microglial neurodegenerative phenotype (MGnD) representing two opposite ends. A number of variants in genes selectively expressed in microglia are associated with an increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease (AD) and frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). Among these genes are progranulin () and the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (). Both cause neurodegeneration by mechanisms involving loss of function. We have now isolated microglia from mice and compared their transcriptomes to those of Surprisingly, while loss of enhances the expression of genes associated with a homeostatic state, microglia derived from mice showed a reciprocal activation of the MGnD molecular signature and suppression of gene characteristic for HM The opposite mRNA expression profiles are associated with divergent functional phenotypes. Although loss of TREM2 and progranulin resulted in opposite activation states and functional phenotypes of microglia, FDG (fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose)-μPET of brain revealed reduced glucose metabolism in both conditions, suggesting that opposite microglial phenotypes result in similar wide spread brain dysfunction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201809711DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6554672PMC
June 2019

Early lysosomal maturation deficits in microglia triggers enhanced lysosomal activity in other brain cells of progranulin knockout mice.

Mol Neurodegener 2018 09 4;13(1):48. Epub 2018 Sep 4.

Chair of Metabolic Biochemistry, Biomedical Center (BMC), Faculty of Medicine, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, 81377, Munich, Germany.

Background: Heterozygous loss-of-function mutations in the progranulin gene (GRN) lead to frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) while the complete loss of progranulin (PGRN) function results in neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis (NCL), a lysosomal storage disease. Thus the growth factor-like protein PGRN may play an important role in lysosomal degradation. In line with a potential lysosomal function, PGRN is partially localized and processed in lysosomes. In the central nervous system (CNS), PGRN is like other lysosomal proteins highly expressed in microglia, further supporting an important role in protein degradation. We have previously reported that cathepsin (Cat) D is elevated in GRN-associated FTLD patients and Grn knockout mice. However, the primary mechanism that causes impaired protein degradation and elevated CatD levels upon PGRN deficiency in NCL and FTLD remains unclear.

Methods: mRNA expression analysis of selected lysosomal hydrolases, lysosomal membrane proteins and autophagy-related genes was performed by NanoString nCounter panel. Protein expression, maturation and in vitro activity of Cat D, B and L in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) and brains of Grn knockout mice were investigated. To selectively characterize microglial and non-microglial brain cells, an acutely isolated microglia fraction using MACS microbeads (Miltenyi Biotec) conjugated with CD11b antibody and a microglia-depleted fraction were analyzed for protein expression and maturation of selected cathepsins.

Results: We demonstrate that loss of PGRN results in enhanced expression, maturation and in vitro activity of Cat D, B and L in mouse embryonic fibroblasts and brain extracts of aged Grn knockout mice. Consistent with an overall enhanced expression and activity of lysosomal proteases in brain of Grn knockout mice, we observed an age-dependent transcriptional upregulation of certain lysosomal proteases. Thus, lysosomal dysfunction is not reflected by transcriptional downregulation of lysosomal proteases but rather by the upregulation of certain lysosomal proteases in an age-dependent manner. Surprisingly, cell specific analyses identified early lysosomal deficits in microglia before enhanced cathepsin levels could be detected in other brain cells, suggesting different functional consequences on lysosomal homeostasis in microglia and other brain cells upon lack of PGRN.

Conclusions: The present study uncovers early and selective lysosomal dysfunctions in Grn knockout microglia/macrophages. Dysregulated lysosomal homeostasis in microglia might trigger compensatory lysosomal changes in other brain cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13024-018-0281-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123925PMC
September 2018

TREM2 deficiency impairs chemotaxis and microglial responses to neuronal injury.

EMBO Rep 2017 07 8;18(7):1186-1198. Epub 2017 May 8.

German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich, Munich, Germany

Sequence variations in the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2) have been linked to an increased risk for neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. In the brain, TREM2 is predominantly expressed in microglia. Several disease-associated TREM2 variants result in a loss of function by reducing microglial phagocytosis, impairing lipid sensing, preventing binding of lipoproteins and affecting shielding of amyloid plaques. We here investigate the consequences of TREM2 loss of function on the microglia transcriptome. Among the differentially expressed messenger RNAs in wild-type and Trem2 microglia, gene clusters are identified which represent gene functions in chemotaxis, migration and mobility. Functional analyses confirm that loss of TREM2 impairs appropriate microglial responses to injury and signals that normally evoke chemotaxis on multiple levels. In an organotypic brain slice assay, absence of TREM2 reduces the distance migrated by microglia. Moreover, migration towards defined chemo-attractants is reduced upon ablation of TREM2 and can be rescued by TREM2 re-expression. , microglia lacking TREM2 migrate less towards injected apoptotic neurons, and outgrowth of microglial processes towards sites of laser-induced focal CNS damage in the somatosensory cortex is slowed. The apparent lack of chemotactic stimulation upon depletion of TREM2 is consistent with a stable expression profile of genes characterizing the homoeostatic signature of microglia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/embr.201743922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5494532PMC
July 2017

TREM2 deficiency reduces the efficacy of immunotherapeutic amyloid clearance.

EMBO Mol Med 2016 09 1;8(9):992-1004. Epub 2016 Sep 1.

Biomedical Center (BMC), Biochemistry, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich, Munich, Germany Munich Cluster for Systems Neurology (SyNergy), Munich, Germany German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) Munich, Munich, Germany

Immunotherapeutic approaches are currently the most advanced treatments for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Antibodies against amyloid β-peptide (Aβ) bind to amyloid plaques and induce their clearance by microglia via Fc receptor-mediated phagocytosis. Dysfunctions of microglia may play a pivotal role in AD pathogenesis and could result in reduced efficacy of antibody-mediated Aβ clearance. Recently, heterozygous mutations in the triggering receptor expressed on myeloid cells 2 (TREM2), a microglial gene involved in phagocytosis, were genetically linked to late onset AD Loss of TREM2 reduces the ability of microglia to engulf Aβ. We have now investigated whether loss of TREM2 affects the efficacy of immunotherapeutic approaches. We show that anti-Aβ antibodies stimulate Aβ uptake and amyloid plaque clearance in a dose-dependent manner in the presence or absence of TREM2. However, TREM2-deficient N9 microglial cell lines, macrophages as well as primary microglia showed significantly reduced uptake of antibody-bound Aβ and as a consequence reduced clearance of amyloid plaques. Titration experiments revealed that reduced efficacy of amyloid plaque clearance by Trem2 knockout cells can be compensated by elevating the concentration of therapeutic antibodies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.15252/emmm.201606370DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5009806PMC
September 2016

Calcium Carbide: A Unique Reagent for Organic Synthesis and Nanotechnology.

Chem Asian J 2016 Apr 22;11(7):965-76. Epub 2016 Feb 22.

Institute of Chemistry, Saint Petersburg State University, Universitetsky pr. 26, Stary Petergof, 198504, Russia.

Acetylene, HC≡CH, is one of the primary building blocks in synthetic organic and industrial chemistry. Several highly valuable processes have been developed based on this simplest alkyne and the development of acetylene chemistry has had a paramount impact on chemical science over the last few decades. However, in spite of numerous useful possible reactions, the application of gaseous acetylene in everyday research practice is rather limited. Moreover, the practical implementation of high-pressure acetylene chemistry can be very challenging, owing to the risk of explosion and the requirement for complex equipment; special safety precautions need to be taken to store and handle acetylene under high pressure, which limit its routine use in a standard laboratory setup. Amazingly, recent studies have revealed that calcium carbide, CaC2 , can be used as an easy-to-handle and efficient source of acetylene for in situ chemical transformations. Thus, calcium carbide is a stable and inexpensive acetylene precursor that is available on the ton scale and it can be handled with standard laboratory equipment. The application of calcium carbide in organic synthesis will bring a new dimension to the powerful acetylene chemistry.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/asia.201501323DOI Listing
April 2016