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Background

In 2013, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to dr. Rothman in recognition of his ground-breaking discoveries of “machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cell”. Indeed we now have detailed knowledge of the protein machinery that is involved in the budding, transport and fusion reaction of vesicular transport. But despite the fact that lipids play a pivotal role in the budding and fusion reaction, very little is known about their involvement at the molecular level. We are only at the beginning of understanding the function of the individual lipid species. Lipids were long believed to have two general functions: a structural role in bio-membranes and an energy storage role utilizing cellular lipid droplets and plasma lipoproteins. These two general functions, however, do not require such a large diversity of lipid species as being revealed by novel technologies such as lipidomics. Current estimates suggest the presence of over 180.000 different lipid species and a multitude of different functions are expected.

Given the vast amount of literature on the role of proteins in the regulation of intracellular membrane dynamics, it is timely to organize an advanced course on the role of individual lipid species in these processes. In this advanced course we have brought together an absolutely unique combination of frontiers in science in intracellular membrane trafficking, including dr. Rothman, and acknowledged lipid researchers who will meet with young researchers already active in the lipid research field or considering entering the field and who will discuss their mutual results. In addition, the lipid field is technically complex and in this advanced course a special focus will be on the high-throughput approaches in lipid research and in lipid-protein interactions allowing integration of lipid-relevant data in inter-disciplinary fields on complex interactions within biological systems (systems biology).

In this advanced course we will discuss novel high throughput lipid techniques in an integrative manner, i.e. coupled to a particular topic. The course will be organized in an informal setting to facilitate contacts and information exchange. Poster sessions, oral presentations, round table discussions and informal meet-the-expert sessions are scheduled to stimulate interactions between the participants and the lecturers/tutors.

 

Topics

  • Lipids and Golgi Function: How are specific lipids such as diacylglycerol, phosphatidic acid, and phosphoinositides involved in membrane traffic through the Golgi complex and how do lipids contribute to the identity of the highly dynamic Golgi structure during cell division?
  • Lipids and Membrane Traffic: How do lipids affect the budding, transport, tethering and fusion of different transport carriers such as clathrin-coated vesicles and COPI-coated vesicles? A special focus will be on the SNARE-mediated fusion of lipid bilayers.
  • Lipids and Organelle Function: How do lipids contribute to the biogenesis of different organelles such as the ER, autophagosomes and lipid droplets and how are lipids involved in the dynamics of organelle homeostasis?
  • Lipid-Protein Interactions and Organelle Function: towards Systems Biology: Each topic described above will be combined with a special evening lecture focusing on integration of lipid and protein data to provide an integrated view of the molecular mechanisms governing lipid-protein interactions during membrane trafficking. The outlook of these studies is a systems biology approach to explain organelle identity and function.

The daily programme can be viewed here