Forschungs- & Entwicklungsinformationsdienst der Gemeinschaft - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - IMMUNANOMAP (Unraveling the nanolandscape of receptors controlling molecular processes of the immune system)

The major objective of the IMMUNANOMAP project was to train the next generation of multidisciplinary researchers to operate at the intersections of nano-technology, nano-physics, nano-chemistry, molecular cell biology and molecular immunology. These interdisciplinary researchers developed tools and insights into our molecular understanding of the cell as a central entity in living organisms and to unravel the molecular mechanisms underlying the defence against body-foreign intruders.

Recent developments in microscopic techniques now provide the tools to cell biologists and immunologists to study molecular processes at the nanometre and single molecule scale. Particularly in the immune system, which defends our body against pathogens, the recognition and elimination of nanometre-sized pathogens is regulated through complex cell signalling and cell communication to ensure a swift and effective protective response. How all these cell surface processes are orchestrated at the molecular level on the surface of single living cells is poorly understood.

Now for the first time, the technology is within reach to unravel the nano-landscape of cells of the immune system and to get dynamic information of the cell surface organisation of cellular receptors and subsequent signalling pathways at the nanometre level. The IMMUNANOMAP goals were:
1) thorough multidisciplinary training both at the theoretical and practical level to a truly interdisciplinary field of young and experienced researchers consisting of physicists, surface chemists, cell-biologists and immunologists: and
2) exploiting state-of-the-art imaging techniques to understand the molecular organisation of cell surface and signalling processes pertinent to the functioning of the immune system.

Thus we anticipate eliminating a major limitation in multidisciplinary work that restricts scientific and economic progress due to fundamental differences in the background of the scientists in these diverse disciplines. To achieve the goals set out at the start of the project 8 ESR and 9 ER were recruited. The background of the fellows varied from physicists, cell biologists or immunologists. To achieve an effective collaboration several GAP course were organised to bridge the differences between the fellows and to teach them to communicate with different research division. This worked very well resulting in an excellent working group, communicating at different levels.

The scientific achievements resulted in 39 publications in peer reviewed journals, 5 book chapters and 1 article in a non-peer reviewed journal. Five articles are still under submission and 18 articles are in preparation. In the final year of the project a symposium was organised entitled: "Lipid and Protein Nanoislands: Organisation, Dynamics and Signaling". More than 100 people participated in the symposium.

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