Tumor Biology

The group of Dr. Sonja Eberth focuses on transcriptional deregulation in cancer and its functional impact on the biology of cancer cells, especially in variants of blood cancer, namely leukemia and lymphoma. The deregulation of coding and non-coding genes due to genomic and epigenomic alterations or aberrant signal transduction is a common feature of tumor cells. In contrast to protein-coding genes the molecular mechanisms and factors underlying deregulation of small non-coding RNAs and their biological relevance for tumorigenesis are still underinvestigated. 

With a specific focus on B cell malignancies, we are investigating normal and pathologic transcriptional regulation of transcription factors and small non-coding RNAs like microRNAs and aim to characterize their tumor suppressive or -promoting capacities. The goals of our research projects are:

  • Identification of cancer-associated small non-coding RNAs and their subcellular localization
  • Mechanisms of deregulation of microRNAs and transcription factors
  • Identification of microRNA targets 
  • Functional consequences of aberrant gene expression 
  • Applicability of FBS alternatives for sustainable and reproducible serum-free cell culture (a collection-related project in respect to the principles of the 3Rs).

Our experimental research benefits from the unrivalled collection of leukemia and lymphoma cell lines stocked at the DSMZ. We are using state-of-the-art molecular and cell biology techniques like RNA immunoprecipitation (Figure 1) and next-generation sequencing as well as diverse cell based assays including life-cell imaging (Figure 2/Movie).

Figure 2: Induction of apoptosis in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma cell line U-2932 by etoposide treatment. Cells are labeled green by GFP expression. Apoptotic cells appear in red.

If you are interested in our research, please contact us. Motivated PostDocs and talented students are welcome to apply!

Selected References

  1. Quentmeier H, Pommerenke C, Dirks WG, Eberth S, Koeppel M, MacLeod RAF, Nagel S, Steube K, Uphoff CC and Drexler HG: The LL-100 panel: 100 cell lines for blood cancer studies Sci Rep. 2019; 9 (1) :8218.
  2. Arribas Arranz, J, Winter, DN, Drexler, HG and Eberth, S: Suitability of Yin Yang 1 transcript and protein levels for biomarker studies in B cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Biomark Research. 2018; 6:11
  3. Vlad-Fiegen A, Freytag NV, Dorn S, Müller O and Eberth S: The Wnt pathway target gene CCND1 changes mitochondrial localization and decreases mitochondrial activity in colorectal cancer cell line SW480. JBM. 2016; 4(12): 132-143. 
  4. Drexler HG, Eberth S, Nagel S and MacLeod RA: Malignant hematopoietic cell lines: in vitro models for double-hit B-cell lymphomas. Leukemia Lymphoma. 2016; 57(5):1015-20.
  5. Eberth S, Schneider B, Rosenwald A, Hartmann EM, Romani J, Zaborski M, Siebert R, Drexler HG and Quentmeier H: Epigenetic regulation of CD44 in Hodgkin and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. BMC Cancer. 2010; 10:517.