Cellular clearance is a fundamental process required by all cells in all species. Important physiological processes, such as aging, and pathological mechanisms, such as neurodegeneration, are strictly dependent on cellular clearance. In eukaryotes, most of the cellular clearing processes occur in a specialized organelle, the lysosome. This project is based on a recent discovery, made in our laboratory, of a gene network, which we have named CLEAR, that controls lysosomal biogenesis and function and regulates cellular clearance. The specific goals of the project are: 1) the comprehensive characterization of the mechanisms underlying the CLEAR network, 2) the thorough understanding of CLEAR physiological function at the cellular and organism levels, 3) the development of strategies and tools to modulate cellular clearance, and 4) the implementation of proof-of-principle therapeutic studies based on the activation of the CLEAR network in murine models of human lysosomal storage disorders and of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimers s and Huntington s diseases. A combination of genomics, bioinformatics, systems biology, chemical genomics, cell biology, and mouse genetics approaches will be used to achieve these goals. Our goal is to develop tools to modulate cellular clearance and to use such tools to develop therapies to cure human disease. The potential medical relevance of this project is very high, particularly in the field of neurodegenerative disease. Therapies that prevent, ameliorate or delay neurodegeneration in these diseases would have a huge impact on human health.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeERC-AG - ERC Advanced Grant
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