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"Membrane-active peptides across disciplines and continents: An integrated approach to find new strategies to fight bacteria, dengue virus and neurodegeneration." (MEMPEPACROSS)
Start date: Feb 1, 2010, End date: Jan 31, 2014 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Peptide-lipid interactions are critical in several biomedical matters that seem uncorrelated at a first glance. MEMPEPACROSS deals with some of these: 1) Lipid membrane-interactions are the key for the understanding of dengue virus assembly and can constitute a target for its inhibition. Viral hemorrhagic fever caused by dengue virus is a serious threat to Europe, as its vector is already present in several European Countries and the virus can easily be introduced. 2) Gene-encoded antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are innate defenses to prevent colonization and infection by microbial pathogens. Most these peptides strongly interact with lipid membranes. Their antimicrobial efficacy and the difficulty of the target organism to develop resistance make AMPs promising candidates for new generations of drugs to fight highly threatening antibiotic-resistant strains of pathogens. 3) Peptide-membrane interactions are also relevant for neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease. The identification of the conditions necessary for the triggering of the disease-inducing protein aggregation and the search for strategies to inhibit these processes are the key-aspects to be addressed. The societal impacts of the scientific matters to be addressed are golden opportunities to improve public awareness of Science. The project includes a strong component of Science communication and management. The expertises of two European institutions – Institute of Molecular Medicine (Lisbon, Portugal) and Pompeu Fabra University (Barcelona, Spain) – and of three Brazilian institutions – the Federal Universities of Rio de Janeiro and Ceará, and the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation – will come together with common goals and a concern for the: 1) improvement of the scientific state-of-the-art, 2) effective societal impact of the achievements of the project, and 3) dissemination of the project outputs among both technical and non-technical audiences."
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