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List_MAPS Report Summary

Project ID: 641984
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.1.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - List_MAPS (Training and research in Listeria monocytogenes Adaptation through Proteomic and Transcriptome deep Sequencing Analysis)

Reporting period: 2015-03-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

List_MAPS is a network dedicated to the training of innovative young researchers in the field of Microbiology and Systems Biology. It focuses on Listeria monocytogenes, an ubiquitous pathogen that is in the EU the leading cause of mortality and food recalls due to foodborne pathogens, costing the EU millions of euro per annum in medical care and associated costs in the food sector. ESRs develop scientific expertise through PhD training, mobility of researchers, summer schools, workshops and transfer-of-knowledge. Working in this dynamic state-of-the-art field provide for training of ESRs to the highest level, with co-operation and movement between academia and industry that enhances ESR training. The overall objective of the research programme is to tackle food safety through the combination of high throughput Deep sequencing of transcripts, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, Mathematics and Microbiology to decipher the transcriptional regulatory circuitry that drives adaptation and virulence of L. monocytogenes from farm to fork. In addition to excellent scientific competences, competitive research requires a range of transferable skills to secure funding, optimise management of working teams and exploit research results. List_MAPS has developed an innovative approach to the training of ESRs in these transferable skills. Overall, the actions carried out in List_MAPS give the opportunity to secure world-class training for creative, entrepreneurial and innovative researchers.

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

During the first year of operation, all protocols and tools required for the fulfilment of the research and training objectives have been optimised and implemented. Since October 2015, ESRs have been developing scientific expertise through their own individual scientific research project and by attending two network-wide training events. One summer school was dedicated to transcriptomics; it was the opportunity to gain new knowledge in this dynamic field including current and emerging technologies currently available. The follow-up workshop gave the ESRs the skills and expertise required to the analysis of these transcriptomic data. In addition to the scientific work, the ESR's developed their complementary skills in communication, dissemination and outreach as well as entrepreneurship and management. ESR's attended one international event where some of them presented their first results. The network participated to the 2016 edition of the European Researchers Night. To optimise their career prospects, List_MAPS has designed blended learning courses that the ESRs started to follow in 2017 to develop their competencies in entrepreneurship. The data collected regarding the physiology of L. monocytogenes in specific habitats from outdoor environments to in vivo infection have routed the individual projects on clear tracks for the second part of the PhDs.

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)

"The work performed during the first period has highlighted the link between the environmental conditions and the fate of the populations of L. monocytogenes. It has clearly shown that depending on the type of resource available and/or the temperature, the ability to form biofilms differ. Cold stress can favour sessile growth, an information directly relevant to the food sector. These results are strain-dependent and reflect the strong biodiversity of the species Listeria monocytogenes. Moreover, a direct link between the type of carbon source available and the transcription of the genes relevant to virulence has been demonstrated. The effect of blue light has been investigated as an alternative disinfection tool. The central role of SigmaB in the regulatory circuitry in response to environmental cues was highlighted in several experimental setups. The work highlighted ncRNAs as an important level in the regulation of gene expression. One striking feature was that habitat disturbance has a major impact on the fate of Listeria monocytogenes population. In soil, it influenced the fate of the populations of L. monocytogenes and its ability to invade this outdoor habitat. In the mouse model, different food components can influence how Listeria responds to stress in the gut during infection. This connection between diet and risk of infection by foodborne pathogens could be taken into account in a strategy of Personalized Nutrition. Overall, the data produced will give information on the conditions that either limit or facilitate invasion/survival of Listeria monocytogenes in the food system in an approach from ""farm to fork"". It could be integrated by stakeholders for decision making regarding actions undertaken to strengthen food safety in Europe and elsewhere."

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