Hier finden Sie alle wissenschaftlichen Publikationen und Arbeiten bzw. Veröffentlichungen von Dr. Gerald Böhm aus der Zeit von 1988 bis 2007. Die PDF-Dateien stehen zum Download gemäß den jeweiligen Urheberrechten bereit.

The definite diagnosis of prion diseases such as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) in humans or bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in cattle currently relies on the post mortem detection of the pathological form of the prion protein (PrPSc) in brain tissue. Infectivity studies indicate that PrPSc may also be present in body fluids, even at presymptomatic stages of the disease, albeit at concentrations well below the detection limits of currently available analytical methods. We developed a highly sensitive method for detecting prion protein aggregates that takes advantage of kinetic differences between seeded and unseeded polymerization of prion protein monomers. Detection of the aggregates was carried out by flow cytometry. In the presence of prion seeds, the association of labelled recombinant PrP monomers in plasma and serum proceeds much more efficiently than in the absence of seeds. In a diagnostic model system, synthetic PrP aggregates were detected down to a concentration of approximately 10-8 nM [0.24 fg/ml]. A specific signal was detected in six out of six available serum samples from BSE-positive cattle. We have developed a method based on seed-dependent PrP fibril formation that shows promising results in differentiating a small number of BSE-positive serum samples from healthy controls. This method may provide the basis for an ante mortem diagnostic test for prion diseases.


Oligomerization of amyloid beta (Abeta) peptides is the decisive event in the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common neurogenerative disorder in developed countries. Recent evidence links this conformation-driven process to primary- and secondary-structure modifications of Abeta. The N and C terminus of deposited Abeta has been shown to possess conspicuous heterogeneity. While the C-terminally longer form of Abeta, i.e., Abeta (42), is considered more amyloidogenic, the role of the N-terminal modifications, e.g., truncation and glutamate cyclization accounting for the majority of the deposited peptides, is less understood. In the present study, we characterized the oligomerization and seeding capacity of pGlu-amyloid peptides using two unrelated techniques based on flow cytometry or flourescence dye binding. Under different conditions and irrespective of the C terminus of Abeta, i.e., Abeta40 or 42, pGlu-modified peptides displayed an up to 250-fold accelerated initial formation of aggregates compared to unmodified Abeta. The accelerated seed formation is accompanied by a change in the oligomerization kinetics because of N-terminal pGlu formation. Furthermore, the formation of mixed aggregates consisting of either pGlu-Abeta (3-42) or ADan or ABri and Abeta (1-42) was investigated by Abeta fluorescence labeling in flow cytometry. The results suggest that pGlu-modified peptides are potential seeding species of aggregate formation in vivo. The data presented here and the abundance of pGlu peptides in amyloidoses, such as FBD and AD, suggest pGlu-amyloid peptides as a species with biophysical characteristics that might be in particular crucial for the initiation of the disease.

The neuropathology of Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been linked recently to non-fibrillar forms of neurotoxic amyloid-beta (Abeta) oligomers of which high levels are observed in the brain of AD patients. This suggests that Abeta oligomers play a key role in the early events of AD, underlining their potential for the early diagnosis of the disease. We have developed an extremely sensitive assay for the detection of oligomeric and fibrillar structures of Abeta that is based on multiparametric analysis of data obtained by flow cytometry and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (Fret). The assay readily detects Abeta oligomers in human cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as verified by dot blot of the isolated particles. By measuring 174 CSF samples of non-demented control patients with various neurological disorders a high reliability and reproducibility of the method could be demonstrated.

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