(Vienna, 23rd January 2012) This specialist research department at the MedUni Vienna focuses on the role of transmembrane transporter proteins in health and illness.
The SFB35 is a firm part of the MedUni Vienna and has been extended for a further three years in light of the tremendous success of the initial sponsored period. “This means that we will be able to continue along the successful path with the interactively-linked groups,” said SFB35 spokesman Harald Sitte from the Centre for Physiology and Pharmacology at the MedUni Vienna.
Within SFB35, the MedUni Vienna, Max F. Perutz Laboratories, the University of Vienna, the Johannes Kepler University of Linz and the Technical University of Vienna are all interactively linked. “We have successfully built a unique bridge between fundamental research and clinical practice,” says Sitte. At the MedUni, alongside pharmacology and behavioural pharmacology laboratories, laboratories focusing mainly on cell biology, genetic mice models, neurodegenerative diseases and clinical partners from the Department of Clinical Pharmacology and Gastroenterology / Hepatology are also involved.
SFB35’s area of research
Transporters allow molecules to translocate across biological membranes. They regulate all key biological processes such as metabolism and the delivery of energy, the intracellular concentration of physiologically relevant ions, the transfer of signals between cells, etc. They also form a barrier against potentially toxic substances. Scientific interest in the biology of transporters has grown constantly, and it is currently one of the fastest-growing fields of science. Says Sitte: “There are various reasons for the popularity of transporters, including the fact that they are clinically relevant and because the growing mechanistic understanding can be translated into therapeutic benefits.” (Note: antidepressants with improved selectivity, new approaches to treating therapy-resistant epilepsy).
For the first sponsored period, the focus was on two medically relevant transport systems, namely neurotransmitter transporters and ABC transporters:
(I) The structural / functional relationship of these transporters and their bacterial homologues.
(II) The control of transporter expression through physiological stimuli, pharmacochaperones and controlled export from the endoplasmic reticulum.
(III) The translation of results from fundamental research into clinical paradigms in which PET ligands are developed that facilitate the investigation of transporters on the blood/brain barrier or in the liver by correlating the expression of transporters with clinical observations in order to understand their importance for the pathophysiology of psychological illnesses.
The SFB35’s field of research, which is being “extended” from 1st February 2012, ranges from bacteria to humans, from structural biology and pharmacoinformatics to the analysis of complex diseases, from the representation of individual molecules to the functional imaging of transporters in the most complex tissue there is – the living brain. SFB35 therefore spans the link between fundamental biological research and clinical medicine: and this translational aspect has been given a decisive boost by the inclusion of four new consortium members.
On 24th / 25th September 2012, the SFB35 Symposium will again be held at the MedUni Vienna, attended by more than 100 delegates from all over the world. More information: www.sfb35.at.