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ERC

APOLs Report Summary

Project ID: 669007
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - APOLs (Role of Apolipoproteins L in immunity and disease)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

This project intends to characterize the function of a family of proteins termed Apolipoproteins L, or in short "APOLs". A human member of this family, APOL1, is responsible for protecting humans against infection by some African parasites named Trypanosoma brucei. Two Trypanosoma brucei clones, termed rhodesiense and gambiense, can resist APOL1 and therefore, infect humans causing the sleeping sickness disease.

We discovered in 2010 that many human individuals in Africa possess mutations in their APOL1 gene, which enable them to resist infection by rhodesiense. However, this benefit goes with a cost, as these individuals exhibit a strong probability to develop chronic kidney disease.

We proposed to understand why and how APOL1 mutants trigger kidney disease, and more generally, to understand the function of APOLs.

This is important for society, because the molecular mechanisms of chronic kidney disease are not known, and this disease is frequent and important.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

We discovered unexpected characteristics of APOLs, which shed totally new light on the function of these proteins in cells. Our ongoing work already allows us to propose precise hypotheses concerning the mechanism by which APOLs trigger kidney disease. In addition, we discovered the involvement of some APOL family members in obesity.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

If fully verified (our work is not finished yet), our discoveries will have a clear impact on strategies to fight against chronic kidney disease.
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