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Integrated project to decipher the biological function of peroxisomes in health and disease

Final Report Summary - PEROXISOMES (Integrated project to decipher the biological function of peroxisomes in health and disease)

Peroxisomes are single membrane-bound organelles, present in virtually all eukaryotic cells. In mammals, the size (0.2 - 1 µm), the number and protein content of peroxisomes vary strongly depending on the cell and tissue type as well as on the developmental and physiological stage. Accordingly, peroxisomes are considered to be multi-purpose-organelles. Peroxisomes do not contain DNA; rather all the proteins located within the peroxisomal matrix and membrane are encoded by nuclear genes.

The peroxisome fulfils essential metabolic functions in lipid metabolism, both catabolic (oxidation of pipecolic, phytanic and very-long chain fatty acids) and anabolic (synthesis of plasmalogens and bile acids). Moreover, the peroxisome plays a key role in free radical detoxification, differentiation, development and morphogenesis from human to yeast. Fatal disorders are related to defective peroxisomal function or biogenesis.

This project has strongly increased our knowledge on peroxiosmes in health and decease which becomes immediately visible by the fact that during this four years of peroxisomal research 140 publications have been launched in high quality and very high quality international journals.

This project has generated tools for research focused on peroxoisomes. To this end we have generated monoclonal antibodies for peroxisomal matrix and membrane proteions. A human and mouse peroxoisomal cDNA chip has been generated which can be used by the community. Moreover a knowledge based peroixosmal database has been created putting together all the knowledge on peroxisomal functions. Funding has already been gained to ensure the maintaining of this database.

Strong interactions between different partners have been formed during the four years of cooperation. This becomes immediately visible by the increasing amount of joint publications among partners. The regular meetings did strengthen this cooperation. It has been agreed that these meetings will continue in an annually 'open peroxisomal meeting' held alternatively by different partners of this consortium.