Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - NLRS IN IMMUNITY (NLR-proteins in Immunity and Inflammation)

A growing number of acute and chronic inflammatory disorders including Crohn's and Inflammatory Bowels's disease are linked to mutations in the NLR gene family. NLRs recognise pathogens inside the cell and initiate, signalling processes that stimulate and orchestrate the innate and adaptive immune responses. In order to identify their physiology and respective roles in human infections and inflammatory diseases, this project investigated how NLRs function by biochemical and structural means.

The team created a platform for the development and application of functional studies in order to understand NLR signalling proteins and their complexes involved in disease. This information is the key for the development of novel therapies. Using an integrative and parallelized approach, the team successfully established a library of all human NLR proteins suitable for structural and functional studies. This resource is shared with the international scientific community to ensure effective networking and rapid progress in the field. Genome wide interaction screens of NLRs revealed novel interaction partners in inflammatory, apoptotic and developmental signalling pathways.

Structural studies of NLRP7, NLRP12, NLRP4, NLRC5, NLRP14 and NLRP10 and interaction studies with signalling partners like ASC, ASC2 and RICK shed new light on the transient nature of NLR effector domain interactions. Moreover, the team unraveled the NLR effector domain signalling mechanism and published this work entitled "The Fas/FADD death domain complex structure unravels signalling by receptor clustering" in Nature. Structural studies on NLRP10 reveal a first glimpse of the NLRP10 inflammasome which follows the heptameric structure of the apoptosome. Functional studies reveal that NLRP7 is involved in the wnt-signalling pathway explaining its role in developmental disorders.

Results have already been published in 16 scientific articles with another 10 to follow in the near future. Last but not least the main goal of this MCEXT grant, namely to bring an excellent research team back from the USA and to ensure its establishment in Europe has been an outstanding success.

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