References of "Skupin, Alexander 50003110"
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See detailLoss of DJ-1 impairs antioxidant response by altered glutamine and serine metabolism
Meiser, Johannes UL; Delcambre, Sylvie UL; Wegner, André UL et al

in Neurobiology of disease (2016), 89

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an ... [more ▼]

The oncogene DJ-1 has been originally identified as a suppressor of PTEN. Further on, loss-of-function mutations have been described as a causative factor in Parkinson's disease (PD). DJ-1 has an important function in cellular antioxidant responses, but its role in central metabolism of neurons is still elusive. We applied stable isotope assisted metabolic profiling to investigate the effect of a functional loss of DJ-1 and show that DJ-1 deficient neuronal cells exhibit decreased glutamine influx and reduced serine biosynthesis. By providing precursors for GSH synthesis, these two metabolic pathways are important contributors to cellular antioxidant response. Down-regulation of these pathways, as a result of loss of DJ-1 leads to an impaired antioxidant response. Furthermore, DJ-1 deficient mouse microglia showed a weak but constitutive pro-inflammatory activation. The combined effects of altered central metabolism and constitutive activation of glia cells raise the susceptibility of dopaminergic neurons towards degeneration in patients harboring mutated DJ-1. Our work reveals metabolic alterations leading to increased cellular instability and identifies potential new intervention points that can further be studied in the light of novel translational medicine approaches. [less ▲]

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See detailImproved Parkinson’s disease classification from diffusion MRI data by Fisher vector descriptors
Salamanca Mino, Luis UL; Vlassis, Nikos UL; Diederich, Nico UL et al

in Improved Parkinson’s disease classification from diffusion MRI data by Fisher vector descriptors (2015, October)

Due to the complex clinical picture of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the reliable diagnosis of patients is still challenging. A promising approach is the structural characterization of brain areas affected in ... [more ▼]

Due to the complex clinical picture of Parkinson’s disease (PD), the reliable diagnosis of patients is still challenging. A promising approach is the structural characterization of brain areas affected in PD by diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI). Standard classification methods depend on an accurate non-linear alignment of all images to a common reference template, and are challenged by the resulting huge dimensionality of the extracted feature space. Here, we propose a novel diagnosis pipeline based on the Fisher vector algorithm. This technique allows for a precise encoding into a high-level descriptor of standard diffusion measures like the fractional anisotropy and the mean diffusivity, extracted from the regions of interest (ROIs) typically involved in PD. The obtained low dimensional, fixed-length descriptors are independent of the image alignment and boost the linear separability of the problem in the description space, leading to more efficient and accurate diagnosis. In a test cohort of 50 PD patients and 50 controls, the implemented methodology outperforms previous methods when using a logistic linear regressor for classification of each ROI independently, which are subsequently combined into a single classification decision. [less ▲]

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See detailCritical transitions in chronic disease: transferring concepts from ecology to systems medicine
Trefois, Christophe UL; Antony, Paul UL; Goncalves, Jorge UL et al

in Current Opinion in Biotechnology (2015), 34

Ecosystems and biological systems are known to be inherently complex and to exhibit nonlinear dynamics. Diseases such as microbiome dysregulation or depression can be seen as complex systems as well and ... [more ▼]

Ecosystems and biological systems are known to be inherently complex and to exhibit nonlinear dynamics. Diseases such as microbiome dysregulation or depression can be seen as complex systems as well and were shown to exhibit patterns of nonlinearity in their response to perturbations. These nonlinearities can be revealed by a sudden shift in system states, for instance from health to disease. The identification and characterization of early warning signals which could predict upcoming critical transitions is of primordial interest as prevention of disease onset is a major aim in health care. In this review, we focus on recent evidence for critical transitions in diseases and discuss the potential of such studies for therapeutic applications. [less ▲]

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See detailStemness of the hybrid Epithelial/Mesenchymal State in Breast Cancer and Its Association with Poor Survival.
Grosse-Wilde, Anne; Fouquier d'Hérouël, Aymeric UL; McIntosh, Ellie et al

in PLoS ONE (2015), 10(5), 0126522

Breast cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to drive recurrence and metastasis. Their identity has been linked to the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) but remains highly controversial since ... [more ▼]

Breast cancer stem cells (CSCs) are thought to drive recurrence and metastasis. Their identity has been linked to the epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) but remains highly controversial since-depending on the cell-line studied-either epithelial (E) or mesenchymal (M) markers, alone or together have been associated with stemness. Using distinct transcript expression signatures characterizing the three different E, M and hybrid E/M cell-types, our data support a novel model that links a mixed EM signature with stemness in 1) individual cells, 2) luminal and basal cell lines, 3) in vivo xenograft mouse models, and 4) in all breast cancer subtypes. In particular, we found that co-expression of E and M signatures was associated with poorest outcome in luminal and basal breast cancer patients as well as with enrichment for stem-like cells in both E and M breast cell-lines. This link between a mixed EM expression signature and stemness was explained by two findings: first, mixed cultures of E and M cells showed increased cooperation in mammosphere formation (indicative of stemness) compared to the more differentiated E and M cell-types. Second, single-cell qPCR analysis revealed that E and M genes could be co-expressed in the same cell. These hybrid E/M cells were generated by both E or M cells and had a combination of several stem-like traits since they displayed increased plasticity, self-renewal, mammosphere formation, and produced ALDH1+ progenies, while more differentiated M cells showed less plasticity and E cells showed less self-renewal. Thus, the hybrid E/M state reflecting stemness and its promotion by E-M cooperation offers a dual biological rationale for the robust association of the mixed EM signature with poor prognosis, independent of cellular origin. Together, our model explains previous paradoxical findings that breast CSCs appear to be M in luminal cell-lines but E in basal breast cancer cell-lines. Our results suggest that targeting E/M heterogeneity by eliminating hybrid E/M cells and cooperation between E and M cell-types could improve breast cancer patient survival independent of breast cancer-subtype. [less ▲]

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See detailProtocols and programs for high-throughput growth and aging phenotyping in yeast.
Jung, Paul UL; Christian, Nils UL; Kay, Daniel UL et al

in PloS one (2015), 10(3), 0119807

In microorganisms, and more particularly in yeasts, a standard phenotyping approach consists in the analysis of fitness by growth rate determination in different conditions. One growth assay that combines ... [more ▼]

In microorganisms, and more particularly in yeasts, a standard phenotyping approach consists in the analysis of fitness by growth rate determination in different conditions. One growth assay that combines high throughput with high resolution involves the generation of growth curves from 96-well plate microcultivations in thermostated and shaking plate readers. To push the throughput of this method to the next level, we have adapted it in this study to the use of 384-well plates. The values of the extracted growth parameters (lag time, doubling time and yield of biomass) correlated well between experiments carried out in 384-well plates as compared to 96-well plates or batch cultures, validating the higher-throughput approach for phenotypic screens. The method is not restricted to the use of the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, as shown by consistent results for other species selected from the Hemiascomycete class. Furthermore, we used the 384-well plate microcultivations to develop and validate a higher-throughput assay for yeast Chronological Life Span (CLS), a parameter that is still commonly determined by a cumbersome method based on counting "Colony Forming Units". To accelerate analysis of the large datasets generated by the described growth and aging assays, we developed the freely available software tools GATHODE and CATHODE. These tools allow for semi-automatic determination of growth parameters and CLS behavior from typical plate reader output files. The described protocols and programs will increase the time- and cost-efficiency of a number of yeast-based systems genetics experiments as well as various types of screens. [less ▲]

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See detailROS homeostasis in a dynamic model: How to save PD neuron?
Kolodkin, Alexey UL; Ignatenko, Andrew UL; Sangar, Vineet et al

Poster (2014, December)

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See detailAutomated nuclei clump splitting by combining local concavity orientation and graph partitioning
Samsi, Siddharth UL; Trefois, Christophe UL; Antony, Paul UL et al

in International Conference on Biomedical and Health Informatics (2014)

Automated clump decomposition is essential for single cell based analysis of fluorescent microscopy images. This paper presents a new method for automatically splitting clumps of cell nuclei in ... [more ▼]

Automated clump decomposition is essential for single cell based analysis of fluorescent microscopy images. This paper presents a new method for automatically splitting clumps of cell nuclei in fluorescence microscopy images. Nuclei are first segmented using histogram concavity analysis. Clumps of nuclei are detected by fitting an ellipse to the segmented objects and examining objects where the fitted ellipse does not overlap accurately with the segmented object. These clumps are then further processed to find concave points on the object boundaries. The orientation of the detected concavities is subsequently calculated based on the local shape of the object border. Finally, a graph segmentation based approach is used to pair concavities that represent best candidates for splitting touching nuclei based on properties derived from the local concavity properties. This approach was validated by manual inspection and has shown promising results in the high throughput analysis of HeLa cell images. [less ▲]

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See detailMesoscopic behavior from microscopic Markov dynamics and its application to calcium release channels.
Christian, Nils UL; Skupin, Alexander UL; Morante, Silvia et al

in Journal of Theoretical Biology (2014), 343

A major challenge in biology is to understand how molecular processes determine phenotypic features. We address this fundamental problem in a class of model systems by developing a general mathematical ... [more ▼]

A major challenge in biology is to understand how molecular processes determine phenotypic features. We address this fundamental problem in a class of model systems by developing a general mathematical framework that allows the calculation of mesoscopic properties from the knowledge of microscopic Markovian transition probabilities. We show how exact analytic formulae for the first and second moments of resident time distributions in mesostates can be derived from microscopic resident times and transition probabilities even for systems with a large number of microstates. We apply our formalism to models of the inositol trisphosphate receptor, which plays a key role in generating calcium signals triggering a wide variety of cellular responses. We demonstrate how experimentally accessible quantities such as opening and closing times and the coefficient of variation of inter-spike intervals, and other, more elaborated, quantities can be analytically calculated from the underlying microscopic Markovian dynamics. A virtue of our approach is that we do not need to follow the detailed time evolution of the whole system, as we derive the relevant properties of its steady state without having to take into account the often extremely complicated transient features. We emphasize that our formulae fully agree with results obtained by stochastic simulations and approaches based on a full determination of the microscopic system's time evolution. We also illustrate how experiments can be devised to discriminate between alternative molecular models of the inositol trisphosphate receptor. The developed approach is applicable to any system described by a Markov process and, owing to the analytic nature of the resulting formulae, provides an easy way to characterize also rare events that are of particular importance to understand the intermittency properties of complex dynamic systems. [less ▲]

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See detailDescribing the complexity of systems: multivariable "set complexity" and the information basis of systems biology.
Galas, David J.; Sakhanenko, Nikita A.; Skupin, Alexander UL et al

in Journal of computational biology: a journal of computational molecular cell biology (2014), 21(2), 118-40

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems ... [more ▼]

Context dependence is central to the description of complexity. Keying on the pairwise definition of "set complexity," we use an information theory approach to formulate general measures of systems complexity. We examine the properties of multivariable dependency starting with the concept of interaction information. We then present a new measure for unbiased detection of multivariable dependency, "differential interaction information." This quantity for two variables reduces to the pairwise "set complexity" previously proposed as a context-dependent measure of information in biological systems. We generalize it here to an arbitrary number of variables. Critical limiting properties of the "differential interaction information" are key to the generalization. This measure extends previous ideas about biological information and provides a more sophisticated basis for the study of complexity. The properties of "differential interaction information" also suggest new approaches to data analysis. Given a data set of system measurements, differential interaction information can provide a measure of collective dependence, which can be represented in hypergraphs describing complex system interaction patterns. We investigate this kind of analysis using simulated data sets. The conjoining of a generalized set complexity measure, multivariable dependency analysis, and hypergraphs is our central result. While our focus is on complex biological systems, our results are applicable to any complex system. [less ▲]

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See detailReliable encoding of stimulus intensities within random sequences of intracellular Ca2+ spikes.
Thurley, Kevin; Tovey, Stephen C.; Moenke, Gregor et al

in Science Signaling (2014), 7(331), 59

Ca(2+) is a ubiquitous intracellular messenger that regulates diverse cellular activities. Extracellular stimuli often evoke sequences of intracellular Ca(2+) spikes, and spike frequency may encode ... [more ▼]

Ca(2+) is a ubiquitous intracellular messenger that regulates diverse cellular activities. Extracellular stimuli often evoke sequences of intracellular Ca(2+) spikes, and spike frequency may encode stimulus intensity. However, the timing of spikes within a cell is random because each interspike interval has a large stochastic component. In human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells and rat primary hepatocytes, we found that the average interspike interval also varied between individual cells. To evaluate how individual cells reliably encoded stimuli when Ca(2+) spikes exhibited such unpredictability, we combined Ca(2+) imaging of single cells with mathematical analyses of the Ca(2+) spikes evoked by receptors that stimulate formation of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (IP3). This analysis revealed that signal-to-noise ratios were improved by slow recovery from feedback inhibition of Ca(2+) spiking operating at the whole-cell level and that they were robust against perturbations of the signaling pathway. Despite variability in the frequency of Ca(2+) spikes between cells, steps in stimulus intensity caused the stochastic period of the interspike interval to change by the same factor in all cells. These fold changes reliably encoded changes in stimulus intensity, and they resulted in an exponential dependence of average interspike interval on stimulation strength. We conclude that Ca(2+) spikes enable reliable signaling in a cell population despite randomness and cell-to-cell variability, because global feedback reduces noise, and changes in stimulus intensity are represented by fold changes in the stochastic period of the interspike interval. [less ▲]

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See detailUnidirectional P-body transport during the yeast cell cycle.
Garmendia-Torres, Cecilia; Skupin, Alexander UL; Michael, Sean A. et al

in PloS one (2014), 9(6), 99428

P-bodies belong to a large family of RNA granules that are associated with post-transcriptional gene regulation, conserved from yeast to mammals, and influence biological processes ranging from germ cell ... [more ▼]

P-bodies belong to a large family of RNA granules that are associated with post-transcriptional gene regulation, conserved from yeast to mammals, and influence biological processes ranging from germ cell development to neuronal plasticity. RNA granules can also transport RNAs to specific locations. Germ granules transport maternal RNAs to the embryo, and neuronal granules transport RNAs long distances to the synaptic dendrites. Here we combine microfluidic-based fluorescent microscopy of single cells and automated image analysis to follow p-body dynamics during cell division in yeast. Our results demonstrate that these highly dynamic granules undergo a unidirectional transport from the mother to the daughter cell during mitosis as well as a constrained "hovering" near the bud site half an hour before the bud is observable. Both behaviors are dependent on the Myo4p/She2p RNA transport machinery. Furthermore, single cell analysis of cell size suggests that PBs play an important role in daughter cell growth under nutrient limiting conditions. [less ▲]

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See detailDiscovering pair-wise genetic interactions: an information theory-based approach.
Ignac, Tomasz UL; Skupin, Alexander UL; Sakhanenko, Nikita A. et al

in PloS one (2014), 9(3), 92310

Phenotypic variation, including that which underlies health and disease in humans, results in part from multiple interactions among both genetic variation and environmental factors. While diseases or ... [more ▼]

Phenotypic variation, including that which underlies health and disease in humans, results in part from multiple interactions among both genetic variation and environmental factors. While diseases or phenotypes caused by single gene variants can be identified by established association methods and family-based approaches, complex phenotypic traits resulting from multi-gene interactions remain very difficult to characterize. Here we describe a new method based on information theory, and demonstrate how it improves on previous approaches to identifying genetic interactions, including both synthetic and modifier kinds of interactions. We apply our measure, called interaction distance, to previously analyzed data sets of yeast sporulation efficiency, lipid related mouse data and several human disease models to characterize the method. We show how the interaction distance can reveal novel gene interaction candidates in experimental and simulated data sets, and outperforms other measures in several circumstances. The method also allows us to optimize case/control sample composition for clinical studies. [less ▲]

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See detailAneuploidy underlies a multicellular phenotypic switch.
Tan, Zhihao; Hays, Michelle; Cromie, Gareth A. et al

in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (2013), 110(30), 12367-72

Although microorganisms are traditionally used to investigate unicellular processes, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has the ability to form colonies with highly complex, multicellular structures ... [more ▼]

Although microorganisms are traditionally used to investigate unicellular processes, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae has the ability to form colonies with highly complex, multicellular structures. Colonies with the "fluffy" morphology have properties reminiscent of bacterial biofilms and are easily distinguished from the "smooth" colonies typically formed by laboratory strains. We have identified strains that are able to reversibly toggle between the fluffy and smooth colony-forming states. Using a combination of flow cytometry and high-throughput restriction-site associated DNA tag sequencing, we show that this switch is correlated with a change in chromosomal copy number. Furthermore, the gain of a single chromosome is sufficient to switch a strain from the fluffy to the smooth state, and its subsequent loss to revert the strain back to the fluffy state. Because copy number imbalance of six of the 16 S. cerevisiae chromosomes and even a single gene can modulate the switch, our results support the hypothesis that the state switch is produced by dosage-sensitive genes, rather than a general response to altered DNA content. These findings add a complex, multicellular phenotype to the list of molecular and cellular traits known to be altered by aneuploidy and suggest that chromosome missegregation can provide a quick, heritable, and reversible mechanism by which organisms can toggle between phenotypes. [less ▲]

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See detailNew methods for finding associations in large data sets: Generalizing the maximal information coefficient (MIC)
Ignac, Tomasz UL; Sakhanenko, N. A.; Skupin, Alexander UL et al

in Proceedings of the Ninth International Workshop on Computational Systems Biology (2012)

We propose here a natural, but substantive, extension of the MIC. Defined for two variables, MIC has a distinct advance for detecting potentially complex dependencies. Our extension provides a similar ... [more ▼]

We propose here a natural, but substantive, extension of the MIC. Defined for two variables, MIC has a distinct advance for detecting potentially complex dependencies. Our extension provides a similar means for dependencies among three variables. This itself is an important step for practical applications. We show that by merging two concepts, the interaction information, which is a generalization of the mutual information to three variables, and the normalized information distance, which measures informational sharing between two variables, we can extend the fundamental idea of MIC. Our results also exhibit some attractive properties that should be useful for practical applications in data analysis. Finally, the conceptual and mathematical framework presented here can be used to generalize the idea of MIC to the multi-variable case. [less ▲]

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See detailFundamentalproperties of Ca2+ signals
Thurley, K. UL; Skupin, Alexander UL; Thul, R. et al

in Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - General Subjects (2012), 1820(8), 1185-94

Background Ca2 + is a ubiquitous and versatile second messenger that transmits information through changes of the cytosolic Ca2 + concentration. Recent investigations changed basic ideas on the dynamic ... [more ▼]

Background Ca2 + is a ubiquitous and versatile second messenger that transmits information through changes of the cytosolic Ca2 + concentration. Recent investigations changed basic ideas on the dynamic character of Ca2 +signals and challenge traditional ideas on information transmission. Scope of review We present recent findings on key characteristics of the cytosolic Ca2 + dynamics and theoretical concepts that explain the wide range of experimentally observed Ca2 +signals. Further, we relate properties of the dynamical regulation of the cytosolic Ca2 + concentration to ideas about information transmission by stochastic signals. Major conclusions We demonstrate the importance of the hierarchal arrangement of Ca2 + release sites on the emergence of cellular Ca2 + spikes. Stochastic Ca2 +signals are functionally robust and adaptive to changing environmental conditions. Fluctuations of interspike intervals (ISIs) and the moment relation derived from ISI distributions contain information on the channel cluster open probability and on pathway properties. General significance Robust and reliable signal transduction pathways that entail Ca2 + dynamics are essential for eukaryotic organisms. Moreover, we expect that the design of a stochastic mechanism which provides robustness and adaptivity will be found also in other biological systems. Ca2 + dynamics demonstrate that the fluctuations of cellular signals contain information on molecular behavior. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biochemical, biophysical and genetic approaches to intracellular calcium signaling. [less ▲]

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See detailCalcium signaling: from single channels to pathways
Skupin, Alexander UL; Thurley, K.

in Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology (2012), 740

Ca(2+) is not only one of the most versatile and ubiquitous second messengers but also a well-established representative example of cell signaling. The identification of most key elements involved in Ca(2 ... [more ▼]

Ca(2+) is not only one of the most versatile and ubiquitous second messengers but also a well-established representative example of cell signaling. The identification of most key elements involved in Ca(2+) signaling enables a mechanistic and quantitative understanding of this particular pathway. Cellular behavior relies in general on the orchestration of molecular behavior leading to reliable cellular responses that allow for regulation and adaptation. Ca(2+) signaling uses a hierarchical organization to transform single molecule behavior into cell wide signals. We have recently shown experimentally that this organization carries single channel signatures onto the whole cell level and renders Ca(2+) oscillations stochastic. Here, we briefly review the co-evolution of experimental and theoretical studies in Ca(2+) -signaling and show how dynamic bottom-up modeling can be used to address -biological questions and illuminate biological principles of cell signaling. [less ▲]

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See detailCarbohydrate-active enzymes exemplify entropic principles in metabolism
Kartal, O. UL; Mahlow, S.; Skupin, Alexander UL et al

in Molecular Systems Biology (2011), 7(542),

Glycans comprise ubiquitous and essential biopolymers, which usually occur as highly diverse mixtures. The myriad different structures are generated by a limited number of carbohydrate-active enzymes ... [more ▼]

Glycans comprise ubiquitous and essential biopolymers, which usually occur as highly diverse mixtures. The myriad different structures are generated by a limited number of carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), which are unusual in that they catalyze multiple reactions by being relatively unspecific with respect to substrate size. Existing experimental and theoretical descriptions of CAZyme-mediated reaction systems neither comprehensively explain observed action patterns nor suggest biological functions of polydisperse pools in metabolism. Here, we overcome these limitations with a novel theoretical description of this important class of biological systems in which the mixing entropy of polydisperse pools emerges as an important system variable. In vitro assays of three CAZymes essential for central carbon metabolism confirm the power of our approach to predict equilibrium distributions and non-equilibrium dynamics. A computational study of the turnover of the soluble heteroglycan pool exemplifies how entropy-driven reactions establish a metabolic buffer in vivo that attenuates fluctuations in carbohydrate availability. We argue that this interplay between energy- and entropy-driven processes represents an important regulatory design principle of metabolic systems. [less ▲]

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See detailThermodynamic Characterisation of Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes
Ebenhoeh, Oliver; Skupin, Alexander UL; Kartal, Oender et al

in Experimental Standard Conditions of Enzyme Characterisation, Ruedesheim 12-16 2011 (2011)

Detailed reference viewed: 36 (0 UL)