The current revolution in lipid analysis, however, promises change. For the first time the methodological possibilities are available to map the entire spectrum of lipids in cells, tissues and whole organisms.
Europe has so far played a pioneering and leading role in the biochemistry and analysis of lipids and most of the leading mass spectrometry providers are European companies. These mass spectrometry based nano-scale and high throughput technologies combined with molecular imaging and modern information technology will certainly revolutionize our understanding of the complex interaction networks in a functioning cell and how lipids together with genes and proteins determine cellular functions in health and disease.
Lipids are central to the regulation and control of cellular processes by acting as basic building units for biomembranes, the platforms for the vast majority of cellular functions. Recent developments in lipid mass spectrometry have set the scene for a completely new way to understand the composition of membranes, cells and tissues in space and time by allowing the precise identification and quantification of alterations of the total lipid profile after specific perturbations. In combination with advanced proteome and transcriptome analysis tools and novel imaging techniques using RNA interference, it is now possible to unravel the complex network between lipids, genes and proteins in an integrated lipidomics approach.
LipidomicNet addresses lipid droplets (LD) as dynamic organelles with regard to composition, metabolism and regulation. Lipid storage in multiple cells and tissues leads to transdifferentiation of multiple organs creating, fatty liver, obesity, white muscle and macrophage foam cells which are the hallmark of all energy overload diseases. LD also play a crucial role in HCV infection, a leading cause of liver disease that will continue to be a major health burden for the foreseeable future. This is why this organelle is in the focus of our project.
The project exploits recent advances in lipidomics technology to establish high-throughput methods to define drugable targets and novel biomarkers related to LD lipid and protein species, their interaction and regulation during assembly, disassembly and storage. The research groups study lipid protein interactions and investigate the dynamics of fat deposition and release in relevant cells as a hallmark of energy overload diseases with major health care impact in Europe.
Translational research from mouse to man applied to LD pathology is a cornerstone of this project at the interface between research and development. To maximize the value of the assembled data generated throughout the project, “LipidomicNet” (www.lipidomicnet.org) as a detailed special purpose Wiki format data base will be developed and integrated into the existing Lipidomics Expertise Platform (LEP) established through the SSA ELife project (www.lipidomics-expertise.de). ELife collaborates with the NIH initiative LIPID MAPS (www.lipidmaps.org) and the Japanese pendant Lipidbank (www.lipidbank.jp) and is connected to the Danubian Biobank consortium (SSA DanuBiobank, www.danubianbiobank.de) for clinical lipidomics.
LipidomicNet builds on a private public partnership (PPP) in order to support the translation of LipidomicNet inventions into new technologies and products that will benefit the health care systems. The 5 SMEs BIOBASE (www.biobase.de), ISB (www.systemsbiology.ru), ZORA Biosciences (www.zora.fi), Integromics (www.integromics.com) and Protagen (www.protagen.de) have been selected as PPP-partners between academia and industry because of their core competence necessary for LipidomicNet.
The EU-funded consortium of 21 European research groups and the 5 SMEs have recognized the utmost importance of promoting Lipidomic research, to attract the best young investigators to this newly forming research area to safeguard Europe’s vital interests in this important area and to ensure successful competition with the USA and Asia. Funding LipidomicNet in the field of Lipidomics will unequivocally be of benefit for areas such as health, nutrition and disease management.
Juergen Jonas | alfa
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Penn study identifies new malaria parasites in wild bonobos
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The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.
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The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
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Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
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The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
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