Neurodegenerative Diseases Networks (NeuroNet)

Coordinator:    Prof. Dr. Erich Wanker
Institution: Max-Delbrück-Centrum für Molekulare Medizin (MDC) Berlin-Buch
Neurodegenerative diseases (NDs) such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Huntington's disease have devastating effects on millions of people worldwide. A common feature of many NDs is the formation of plaques of misfolded proteins in the brain. However, their causal molecular mechanisms are largely unknown.
To gain new relevant insights into these diseases a joint project on neurodegeneration was established in the framework of NGFNplus. An alliance of nine research groups, formed the integrated network "NeuroNet", with the aim to systematically analyze hitherto unknown relationships between NDs.
The main focus of our research was to generate comprehensive protein-protein interaction (PPI) networks for NDs. Furthermore, changes in protein networks of ND processes were to be predicted efficiently and with great accuracy by combining functional genomics and proteomics with bioinformatics approaches.
The subprojects of "NeuroNet" were organized as tightly integrated modules. Module 1 was responsible for the systematic generation of PPI and phenotypic networks. In Module 2, the generated networks and predicted pathways of disease development were systematically disrupted by RNAis and small molecules in order to gain insights into the interplay of their structure and function. Module 3 worked on the storage, integration and processing of the data and results of the other modules and was responsible for the exchange of information.
The comprehensive studies of IG “NeuroNet” yielded highly relevant new relationships between NDs that are of great importance for the scientific community and the public.
The activities of technology development, especially in subproject “Interactome”, provide important impulses for the further application and optimization of the PPI screening and validation technologies. The technologies have been made available also to other NGFN networks and external research partners (e.g. Berlin Institute for Medical Systems Biology).

Latest results can be found in detail in the descriptions of the subprojects
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