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PRIMES: Protein interaction machines in oncogenic EGF receptor signalling (PRIMES)
Start date: Dec 1, 2011, End date: Nov 30, 2016 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"PRIMES focuses on the role of protein interactions to assemble dynamic molecular machines that receive and process information to coordinate cellular responses. PRIMES investigates the following: (i) How do protein interactions contribute to the generation of biological specificity in signalling? (ii) How do pathogenetic perturbations affect protein interaction networks? (iii) How can we exploit protein interactions as therapeutic targets? We focus on the EGFR/ERBB signalling network and its role in colorectal cancer (CRC), the third most frequent cancer. The ERBB network is frequently altered in CRC either through overexpression or mutation of the receptors or downstream components. Network components have become important drug targets. Poor response rates and resistance demonstrate we lack sufficient insight to design efficacious therapies. Using proteomics, structural biology, advanced imaging and mathematical modelling we (i) map static and dynamic protein interactions in the ERBB network (ii) unravel the design principles and emergent network properties conferred by protein interactions; and (iii) validate these findings in genetic mouse models of CRC and human tissues. PRIMES aims to (i) enhance the functional pathogenetic understanding of CRC (ii) identify mechanisms of drug resistance and drug efficacy; and (iii) identify drugs that affect protein interactions to rationally manipulate network functions related to individual genetic mutations. Outcomes include (i) a dynamic, mechanistic flowchart of how protein interactions compute biochemical and biological specificity in signalling networks (ii) a functional protein interaction network of healthy and oncogenic ERBB signalling validated in mouse models of CRC and human tissues (iii) network level insights towards personalised CRC treatment based on genotype-phenotype relationships; and (iv) chemical compounds targeting protein interactions to restore normal ERBB network function or break oncogenic circuits."
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