posticon Introduction

Cell biology and biological chemistry have recently increasingly turned their attention to the space between cells and revealed an elaborate network of macromolecules essential for structural support, cell migration, adhesion and signaling. Upon interactions in the extracellular space, these macromolecules affect the extracellular matrix (ECM) dynamics and via cell receptors communicate with the cellular compartment. Mutations and structural alterations of matrix macromolecules affect the functionality of the matrix network and it has been demonstrated in vitro and in vivo that such changes are closely related with the development of common diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer including metastasis, and diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system as well as more rare conditions.

Issues related with matrix organization and assembly, cell adhesion, matrix-mediated signaling, as well as the matrix macromolecular effectors, namely integrins, proteoglycans and glycans, novel collagen types, growth factors and metalloproteinases and other matrix degrading enzymes that affect the cell behavior, will be the target of this 5th ALC. These topics are of great importance to understand the maintenance of normal tissue homeostasis and disease initiation and development, signaling elicited by interactions of cell surface receptors with matrix components and growth factors and rapid and sensitive structure analysis and cell imaging methods.

The proposed FEBS Advance Lecture Course entitled “Matrix Pathobiology, Signaling and Molecular Targets 2015”, further to topics covered in the previous FEBS-MPST courses will cover topics related to ongoing development in the fields of:

1. Cell surface, interactions and signaling dealing with integrins, cell membrane and secreted proteoglycans as well as shed syndecans and glypicans, modulation of receptor activation and signaling by matrix effectors,

2. MMPs and other proteases dealing with enzymes implicated in disease development and progression,

3. Matrix organization and assembly dealing with novel collagen types, and other emerging concept including proteoglycans & GAGs, non-collagenous proteins, matrix components and inflammation as well as tissue organization and properties.

4. Novel insights in matrix pathobiology regulatory meachanisms dealing with microRNA regulation of matrix effectors, cell-matrix interactions with focus on pharmacological targeting of cancer.

The above fields will focus also on matrix-mediated epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), glycomics and domain mapping of interactions with matrix effectors and their importance for disease treatment and diagnosis. Key areas of cancer stem cell biology and biomarkers, and pharmacological targeting in malignancies are also included.

This FEBS ALC course will provide important new knowledge to participants in the form of:

1. Understanding the importance of the main matrix macromolecules, their structure-function relationship as well as their therapeutical importance, mainly from the general lectures (tutorials) to be held.

2. The tissue organization and the matrix assembly mediated by matrix macromolecules in health and disease.

3. New insights on how matrix macromolecules contribute to cell signaling and cell behavior as well as how these molecules affect disease development and progress.

4. Participants will further become familiar with methodological challenges used for expression and determination of various macromolecules with biopharmaceutical importance as well as novel aspects of cell imaging.

An important goal of these courses is to bring together scientists from biochemistry, life sciences and molecular cell biology on an important and fast growing scientific field. The benefits of the course will provide participants with the advances of the field, a new understanding of the matrix-mediated cell signaling, new technology for unraveling molecular structure and function as well as how this can be used to study alterations in tissue in disease. The participants will gain information that can be applied in their academic environment and research institutes. For such a purpose apart from invited lectures, tutorial, selected talks from young fellows, poster sessions, panel discussions and speaker corners (meet the experts) will be organized.