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Author: Ulrike M Litzenburger (9)


Jan
2017

Cell-to-cell heterogeneity is a major driver of cancer evolution, progression, and emergence of drug resistance. Epigenomic variation at the single-cell level can rapidly create cancer heterogeneity but is difficult to detect and assess functionally.
We develop a strategy to bridge the gap between measurement and function in single-cell epigenomics.

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Jul
2015

Cell-to-cell variation is a universal feature of life that affects a wide range of biological phenomena, from developmental plasticity to tumour heterogeneity. Although recent advances have improved our ability to document cellular phenotypic variation, the fundamental mechanisms that generate variability from identical DNA sequences remain elusive. Here we reveal the landscape and principles of mammalian DNA regulatory variation by developing a robust method for mapping the accessible genome of individual cells by assay for transposase-accessible chromatin using sequencing (ATAC-seq) integrated into a programmable microfluidics platform.

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Jan
2015

Tryptophan catabolism is increasingly recognized as a key and druggable molecular mechanism active in cancer, immune, and glioneural cells and involved in the modulation of antitumor immunity, autoimmunity and glioneural function. In addition to the pivotal rate limiting enzyme indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase, expression of tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO) has recently been described as an alternative pathway responsible for constitutive tryptophan degradation in malignant gliomas and other types of cancer. In addition, TDO has been implicated as a key regulator of neurotoxicity involved in neurodegenerative diseases and ageing.

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Feb
2014

Indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) inhibitors have entered clinical trials based on their ability to restore anti-tumor immunity in preclinical studies. However, the mechanisms leading to constitutive expression of IDO in human tumors are largely unknown. Here we analyzed the pathways mediating constitutive IDO expression in human cancer.

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Sep
2013

Disruption of the blood-brain barrier (BBB) is a hallmark of acute inflammatory lesions in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. This disruption may precede and facilitate the infiltration of encephalitogenic T cells. The signaling events that lead to this BBB disruption are incompletely understood but appear to involve dysregulation of tight-junction proteins such as claudins.

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Dec
1969

Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) is the catalytic subunit of the Polycomb-repressive complex 2 (PRC2) that epigenetically silences gene transcription through histone H3 lysine trimethylation (H3K27me3). EZH2 has been implicated in stem cell maintenance and is overexpressed in hematological and solid malignancie`s including malignant glioma. EZH2 is thought to promote tumor progression by silencing tumor suppressor genes.

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Oct
2011

Activation of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) by environmental xenobiotic toxic chemicals, for instance 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (dioxin), has been implicated in a variety of cellular processes such as embryogenesis, transformation, tumorigenesis and inflammation. But the identity of an endogenous ligand activating the AHR under physiological conditions in the absence of environmental toxic chemicals is still unknown. Here we identify the tryptophan (Trp) catabolite kynurenine (Kyn) as an endogenous ligand of the human AHR that is constitutively generated by human tumour cells via tryptophan-2,3-dioxygenase (TDO), a liver- and neuron-derived Trp-degrading enzyme not yet implicated in cancer biology.

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Dec
1969

1-methyl-D-tryptophan (1-D-MT) is currently being used in clinical trials in patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors with the aim of inhibiting indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO)-mediated tumor immune escape. IDO is expressed in tumors and tumor-draining lymph nodes and degrades tryptophan (trp) to create an immunsuppressive micromilieu both by depleting trp and by accumulating immunosuppressive metabolites of the kynurenine (kyn) pathway. Here we show that proliferation of alloreactive T-cells cocultured with IDO1-positive human cancer cells paradoxically was inhibited by 1-D-MT.

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Apr
2009

Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) display unique suppressive properties on T-cell immunity, thus representing an attractive vehicle for the treatment of conditions associated with harmful T-cell responses such as organ-specific autoimmunity and graft-versus-host disease. Toll-like receptors (TLR) are primarily expressed on antigen-presenting cells and recognize conserved pathogen-derived components. Ligation of TLR activates multiple innate and adaptive immune response pathways to eliminate and protect against invading pathogens.

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