Structural networks that connect the extracellular matrix and cell surfaces through the cytoskeleton with the nucleoskeleton govern cell, tissue and organ integrity. Besides their structural roles, these networks participate in a multitude of fundamental functions, e.g. regulating signal- and mechano-transduction, cytoplasmic transport, sequestering biomolecules, maintaining genome organization and promoting meiosis. Mutations in the building blocks of these networks frequently lead to devastating diseases. The pathogenesis of these diseases is far from being understood and requires a wide interdisciplinary approach that is distinct from the individual research schemes. Based on capacity building measures, coordinated networking and educative activities and interactions with business partners and European research infrastructures, the EuroCellNet Action aims to develop an orchestrated multinational activity grid, organized in four Working Groups:
- Biophysics of cell and tissue structure
- Structural analysis of biomolecules involved in mechanobiology
- New methodologies to study mechanobiology of cells and tissues
- Mechanobiological principles of rare and common diseases
The Action targets researchers from molecular and cell biology, genetics, biophysics, structural biology, mechanobiology, neurobiology, developmental biology, pathology, and translational medicine. The Action will also develop new bridging and educative activities, and provide the scientists with a unifying dedicated website with on-line tools facilitating the interactions and exchange of information.
Areas of Expertise Relevant for the Action
- Biological siences: Molecular biology and interactions
- Biological sciences: Structural biology (crystallography, NMR, EM)
- Biological sciences: Epigenetics and gene regulation
- Biological sciences: Morphology and functional imaging of cells
- Basic medicine: Molecular and cellular neuroscience
- Structural proteins
- Cell biology
To achieve the main objective, the following specific objectives shall be accomplished:
- To study the mechano properties of the nucleoskeleton, cytoskeleton, focal adhesion and extracellular matrix in various cells, tissues and organelles derived from different organisms and to use this information to determine the roles of individual molecular components in responding to mechanical strain and in activating mechano response pathways.
- To analyze fundamental components and the structural mutations that alter the activity and assembly of cell adhesion, cytoskeleton and lamina associated assemblies through the interdisciplinary Action. To provide realistic view of the cellular machineries in situ, including the analysis of diseased cells. To combine the in vitro and in situ analysis in health and disease states in order to provide a realistic view of the mechano-sensitive systems.
- To explore an effective use of advanced modern techniques of biological research, to introduce them in the target laboratories, and facilitate their implementation and teaching via orchestrated activities within the Action. Initiate, facilitate and promote interactions with advanced instrumentation manufacturers, resulting in faster implementation of new technologies in the EuroCellNet consortium, and also providing a beneficial feedback to the manufacturers.
- To identify the consequences of various disease processes on mechanobiological properties of cells and tissues by studying mechanisms responsible for specific diseases, with the goal of designing experimental treatment approaches targeting these pathophysiological processes for the therapeutic benefit of patients.
COST VADEMECUM (May 2017)
List of Members of the Management Committee
Memorandum of Understanding full text