Eleven million Euros are provided under this program to the project "Endotrack" (Tracking the endocytic routes of polypeptide growth factor receptor complexes and their modulatory role on signalling). "Endotrack" brings together an international team of 12 academic groups and SMEs (small and medium enterprises) from 7 different countries under the leadership of Prof. Marino Zerial from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics.
The team of "Endotrack" aims at disclosing the thus far largely unexplored connection between endocytosis and the signalling of growth factors into the cells and understanding the complex regulation of these mechanisms. The knowledge gained as a result will help in the development of a new generation of tools to cure diseases like cancer and will contribute to explaining human congenital diseases which are associated with deregulation of growth factor signalling.
Processes such as absorption of macromolecules and fluids, the ingestion by cells in order to keep up their metabolism or the elimination of pathogens occurs via a cellular mechanism, called endocytosis (a process in which substances gain entry into cells without passing through the cell membrane). During endocytosis the cell takes in molecules (cargo) binding to components of the outer membrane of the cell: the cell membrane invaginates, enclosing the cargo and forming an intracellular vesicle. Thousands of vesicles transport their cargo through the cell every minute via a complex network of cellular pathways. Depending on its fate, the internalised cargo is either recycled and transported back to the cell surface via the recycling pathway, or is digested by being delivered to the degradative pathway.
In the past few years, it has become apparent that endocytosis not only plays a role in the uptake of nutrients but is also an important tool for transmitting signals from the outside to the inside of the cell. Molecules such as g
Contact: Jutta Tatzel