K. A. Becker

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Major depression is a highly prevalent severe mood disorder that is treated with antidepressants. The molecular targets of antidepressants require definition. We investigated the role of the acid sphingomyelinase (Asm)-ceramide system as a target for antidepressants. Therapeutic concentrations of the antidepressants amitriptyline and fluoxetine reduced Asm(More)
Membrane lipids seem to be organized and not randomly distributed in the cell membrane. In particular, sphingolipids seem to interact with cholesterol in the outer leaflet of the cell membrane resulting in the formation of distinct membrane domains, i.e. rafts. The generation of ceramide within rafts alters their biophysical properties and results in the(More)
Major depression is a systems disorder which impairs not only central nervous system aspects of mood and behavior but also peripheral organ systems. Current views on the pathogenesis and treatment of depression are predominantly based on proteins and transmitters and thus are difficult to reconcile central with peripheral pathomechanisms. Recent research(More)
Although chemotherapy is able to cure many patients with malignancies, it still also often fails. Therefore, novel approaches and targets for chemotherapeutic treatment of malignancies are urgently required. Recent studies demonstrated the expression of several potassium channels in the inner mitochondrial membrane. Among them the voltage gated potassium(More)
Employing genetic mouse models we have recently shown that ceramide accumulation is critically involved in the pathogenesis of cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. Genetic or systemic inhibition of the acid sphingomyelinase (Asm) is not feasible for treatment of patients or might cause adverse effects. Thus, a manipulation of ceramide specifically in lungs of(More)
Metastatic dissemination of cancer cells is the ultimate hallmark of malignancy and accounts for approximately 90% of human cancer deaths. We investigated the role of acid sphingomyelinase (Asm) in the hematogenous metastasis of melanoma cells. Intravenous injection of B16F10 melanoma cells into wild-type mice resulted in multiple lung metastases, while(More)
Major depressive disorder is a severe and chronic illness with high lifetime prevalence and a high incidence of suicide as the cause of death for patients with this diagnosis. Major depressive disorder is often treated with anti-depressants. Although these drugs have been used for many years, their exact mode of action is still unknown. It has been(More)
BACKGROUND/AIMS Resistance to genotoxic therapy is a characteristic feature of glioma cells. Acid sphingomyelinase (ASM) hydrolyzes sphingomyelin to ceramide and glucosylceramide synthase (GCS) catalyzes ceramide metabolism. Increased ceramide levels have been suggested to enhance chemotherapy-induced death of cancer cells. METHODS Microarray and clinical(More)
Papillomaviruses enter cells via endocytosis (H. C. Selinka et al., Virology 299:279-287, 2002). After egress from endosomes, the minor capsid protein L2 accompanies the viral DNA to the nucleus and subsequently to the subnuclear promyelocytic leukemia protein bodies (P. M. Day et al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 101:14252-14257, 2004), suggesting that this(More)
Ceramide is released from sphingomyelin primarily by the activity of acid, neutral, or alkaline sphingomyelinases or is synthesized de novo. Several bacteria, viruses, and even parasites infect mammalian cells by exploiting the acid sphingomyelinase or the neutral sphingomyelinase-ceramide system, or both. Sphingomyelinases and ceramide have been shown to(More)