Cyanobacteria are major constituents of fresh-water and marine ecosystems. Study of these organisms relates to environmental concern on the one hand, and to usefulness as elegant model organisms for exploring the structure and function of bioenergetic protein complexes, regulation of gene expression and stress responses on the other hand. Cyanobacteria are major producers not only of fixed carbon, but also of biologically available nitrogen in the ocean. In addition, some species produce toxins that affect water quality. Thus, understanding the complex series of events involved in light perception, light energy utilisation, gene regulation in response to environmental stimuli as well as identification of the factors which determine the production, blooming and stress sensitivity of cyanobacteria is a very important scientific, ecological and economical issue.
The objective of our conference project is to provide a European platform for dissemination of the newest results, to exchange ideas and develop multidisciplinary collaborative research projects, and training young scientists in molecular bioenergetics of cyanobacteria. Based on the outstanding progress in the field, the first meeting will concentrate on new developments in light perception, signal transduction and light energy utilisation in cyanobacteria. The main focus of the second meeting will be the functional genomic, metabolomic, proteomic and structural aspects of bioenergetic proteins.
Due to the importance of cyanobacteria as model systems as well as their role in natural ecosystems their study is in the crossroad of interest of research groups with very different scientific and methodological background. Therefore, the proposed meetings will serve as melting pots for developing new ideas and identifying new avenues for cutting edge future research. Considering the rapid development of the research field, the organisation of two meetings is necessary. The revolutionary techniques of DNA microarray and protein mass spectrometry, which are in the phase of rapid technical improvement and continuous testing, will mature in the next few years and expected to lead to the harvest of highly important results by 2005.