PERICO

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PERICO

PERICO - Peroxisome Interactions and Communication

PERICO logo.png
PERICO.png


PERICO: H2020-MSCA-ITN-2018 - Contents and Aims

Contents

PERICO fosters education of ESRs in a project to uncover how a central metabolic organelle, the peroxisome, participates in controlling cellular metabolism. It trains 15 ESRs at world-leading academic institutions, including university hospitals, and companies, thus forming strong interdisciplinary links between industry, life and medical sciences, and end-users. PERICO aims to train a new generation of highly qualified ESRs with entrepreneurial competencies in modern Life Sciences through state-of-the-art research projects focusing on the communication between peroxisomes and the rest of the cell – required to enable optimal metabolic decisions - and to use this knowledge to develop novel leads for drug discovery and therapies for a growing list of serious human diseases in which peroxisomes have been implicated.
The new field on organelle communication requires highly skilled scientists who have expert knowledge on more than one discipline (e.g. cell biology, biochemistry, systems biology and medical sciences), more than one type of cell organelle or more than one model organism to optimally translate their research data to other disciplines and sectors, including medicine.
PERICO overcomes current barriers by establishing a strong, multidisciplinary and inter-sectoral training network, developing technologies tailored to solve key questions in organelle biology. The PERICO programme will exploit recent developments in high throughput and genome wide screening technologies, combine these with modern molecular cell biology and systems biology and ultimately translate the data into new leads for drug discovery and therapy. This specific cross-disciplinary training program will educate young scientists to a next level, which is needed to advance this research field for the upcoming decennium and to efficiently translate findings into applications. The training programme will be complemented with a complete set of transferable skills.


Objectives

WP1
  • Work Package 1 will cover the understanding the role of physical peroxisomal contacts in controlling cellular metabolism by using two approaches: Proteomic identification of contact site residents and Genome wide screens for uncovering modulators, regulators and tethers of contact sites
WP2
  • The main objective of this Work Package is the significance of peroxisomal transporters in cellular metabolism and signalling (meets RO2) with the following approaches to identify novel transporters: Bioinformatics approach, Membrane proteomics approach, Genetic screens
WP3
  • The overall aim of this Work Package is an understanding of the significance of peroxisome communication in health and disease (meets RO3)



Specific objectives
  • PERICO targets four ambitious objectives both in relation to science and training:
Objective A. To train a group of 15 highly-skilled ESRs, forming the next generation of scientists in the field of organellar cell biology with strong networking skills – all gaining a doctorate degree – with in-depth knowledge and interdisciplinary understanding of the posed research questions and how they can be solved, the underlying technologies, and their medical/clinical applications. This cadre of young professionals, networked throughout Europe, can continue their cooperation throughout their careers. This objective is met by including participants with state-of-the-art knowledge in cell biology, biochemistry, systems biology, medical sciences and artificial intelligence. The ESRs will be exposed to academic, medical and industrial sectors through exchange programmes among Beneficiaries and Partner Organisations.
Objective B. To identify, investigate and develop new technologies for research in molecular life sciences: It is expected that new scientific breakthroughs and methods will arise upon combining novel technologies from the partners into research on peroxisome biology and translation into possible medical and commercial applications. For example, we will generate and employ several novel and unique yeast libraries for high-throughput screening of organelle contact residents. We will develop novel bioinformatic tools to analyse and combine large datasets, a quantitative proteomic profiling approach to search for contact site proteins and high-throughput (HT) fluorescence microscopy (FM) systems, which combine robotics that guarantees capturing of high quality images with novel image analysis tools using machine learning, enabling quantitative analysis of subtle changes in organelle morphology. This microscopy system will furthermore be advanced into a unique, fully automated HT Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscope (FLIM) for imaging of Förster Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) between two fluorophores for in vivo measurements of specific molecules. This FLIM set-up will not only be of great value in cell biology, but opens up possibilities for new screens in any research topic in molecular life sciences/medicine, where FRET-based sensors are used.
Objective C. To promote innovation and entrepreneurial behaviour and transfer technology successfully from academia to industry: PERICO emphasises innovation and technology transfer. The ESRs take part in seminars and technical meetings, but also in business-oriented activities, i.e., a Training School in entrepreneurship and personal coaching involving the non-academic PIs and external advisors. Through these courses and workshops, the ESRs acquire complementary skills in commercialising technologies including elements such as market need, IPR, fundraising, communication/pitching technique and formation of spin-outs. The secondment of ESRs to industrial partners is considered an important instrument in achieving such technology transfer and commercialisation skills in the most efficient manner. This is assisted by the Business Generator at RUG, industrial (co-) supervision and coaching from the Industry Advisory Board so that the ESRs will take advantage of experience based mentoring.
Objective D. To demonstrate novel applications for society and industry: PERICO will produce several unique results of high value for society such as novel targets for drug design. We will uncover the significance of human peroxisomal contacts and link this to disease. This will significantly contribute to novel possibilities for diagnosis and new leads for therapy (e.g. in age-related diseases and in severe malnutrition). Indeed recently, RUB succeeded in the identification of small molecules that inhibit import of proteins into glycosomes, resulting in metabolic collapse and death of the parasite. These studies identified the glycosome as an “Achilles’ heel” of the Trypanosoma suitable for the development of novel therapies against trypanosomiases35. Along this line, PERICO will screen for inhibitors affecting interactions of glycosomes with the rest of the cell in order to uncover novel drug targets to develop new medicines to combat these devastating diseases.


Oroboros project involvement

  • Orobors Instruments is a Partner Organisation for the PERICO Action and will contribute to the project as follows:
Accept three early stage researchers for a small project for each 3 months



Project Duration

Start:
End:
Ongoing project

Coordinator


PERICO Marie Skłodowska-Curie Beneficiaries

PERICO Marie Skłodowska-Curie Participants


Selected publications

Research innovation products: Oroboros Oroboros O2k (O2k) for high-resolution respirometry, O2k-Fluorometer.
  1. Burtscher J, Zangrandi L, Schwarzer C, Gnaiger E (2015) Differences in mitochondrial function in homogenated samples from healthy and epileptic specific brain tissues revealed by high-resolution respirometry. Mitochondrion 25:104-12.
  2. Blatzer M, Jukic E, Posch W, Schöpf B, Binder U, Steger M, Blum G, Hackl H, Gnaiger E, Lass-Flörl C, Wilflingseder D (2015) Amphotericin B resistance in Aspergillus terreus is overpowered by co-application of pro-oxidants. Antioxid Redox Signal 23:1424-38.
  3. Steininger C, Allerberger F, Gnaiger E (2002) Clinical significance of inhibition kinetics in Streptococcus pyogenes in response to penicillin. J Antimicrob Chemother 50:517-23.


Official announcement of the Marie-Curie Skłodowska Action: