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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH-2007-2.1.2-5 | Award Amount: 3.83M | Year: 2009

Background. Parkinson Disease is the second most common progressive neurodegenerative disorder. The selective degeneration of subsets of midbrain dopaminergic neurons is believed to be the primary cause for disruption of the ability to control movements. Objective. We propose to apply a highly interdisciplinary approach to construct complex networks consisting of protein coding genes, non-protein-coding genes and cis-regulatory elements within dopaminergic neurons in the brain across three chordate organisms (Mouse, Zebrafish and Ciona) to identify and compare gene regulatory networks in these neurons. This will be achieved by: Expression profiling of genes on single dopaminergic neurons via laser microdissection and transgenic lines in Mouse, Ciona and Zebrafish HT-Sequencing of microCAGE assays on dopaminergic neurons, providing TSS usage and transcript discovery Microscopy HTS of cis-regulatory elements siRNA and morpholino network perturbation experiments Innovative systems biology approaches to decipher and define molecular networks Data generated by microCAGE and microarray will define a set of key genes in dopaminergic neurons, in which cis-regulatory elements will be predicted and screened utilizing HTS in zebrafish. The data will aid network reconstruction, which will be validated by perturbation experiments. This project relies also on the availability of data produced through the many existing collaborations among consortium partners such as FP6 funded TRANSCODE project as well as the international Fantom3 consortium. Potential impact: The prevalence of PD in Europe today is ~2 million people. Within the next 50 years, the number is expected to rise to 5 million. Thus, the burden placed by dementia on the working-age population will rise dramatically. No treatments are known to slow the progression of the disease. Deciphering the basic networks of dopaminergic neurons will generate novel diagnostic and therapeutic candidates.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: HEALTH.2013.2.4.2-1 | Award Amount: 7.88M | Year: 2013

Atherosclerosis and its most disabling sequelae, coronary artery disease (CAD) and stroke, are leading causes of death in Europe. Until now, preventive and therapeutic interventions for these diseases aim at ameliorating the effects of established cardiovascular risk factors. More recently, results of genome-wide association (GWA) studies added to our perception of mechanisms leading to atherosclerosis. At present, over 40 CAD and several genomic risk loci have been identified, the majority through efforts led by the applicants. Some genes at these loci work through known risk factors such as lipids and, in fact, are already established or evolving treatment targets. However, this is not true for the majority of risk variants, which implies that key pathways leading to atherosclerosis are yet to be exploited for therapeutic intervention. This EU network (CVgenes@target), which brings together an equal number of SME- and academic partners, will utilize genomic variants affecting atherosclerosis risk for identification of both underlying genes and affected pathways in order to identify, characterize, and validate novel therapeutically relevant targets for prevention and treatment of CAD and stroke. In programme 1 we will investigate molecular mechanisms at the genomic loci in order to further unravel causal genes, in programme 2 we will explore in vitro and in vivo whether the pathways disturbed by causal genes are suitable for therapeutic intervention, and in programme 3 we will establish assays and initiate high throughput screens to tackle therapeutically attractive targets. Our resources including large OMICs and state-of-the-art bioinformatics platforms as well as multiple, already established in vitro and in vivo models support the feasibility of the approach. In fact, two genomic risk loci (ADAMTS7 (CAD); HDAC9 (stroke and CAD)), both identified in GWA studies under direction of the applicants, already revealed attractive targets for therapeutic intervention.

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