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Switzerland-Japan joint conference on Cell cycle and Genome stability

English title Molecular Mechanisms Regulating Chromosome Dynamics and Stability During Cell Cycle
Applicant Shimada Kenji
Number 124527
Funding scheme International Exploratory Workshops
Research institution Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research
Institution of higher education Institute Friedrich Miescher - FMI
Main discipline Molecular Biology
Start/End 01.05.2009 - 30.06.2009
Approved amount 8'700.00
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All Disciplines (8)

Molecular Biology
Cellular Biology, Cytology
Experimental Microbiology
Congenital Disorders
Experimental Cancer Research

Keywords (11)

chromatin; cell-cycle; DNA replication; cell division; cancer; DNA repair; growth control; telomere; centromere; aging; genome

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
On 14 -16 May 2009, a total of 69 participants (15 speakers from Japan, 21 from Switzerland and 2 from Germany) met in Villars to discuss the molecular mechanisms and interrelation of chromosome dynamics and genomic stability. This theme is highly relevant to biomedical research and to the disease areas of cancer and aging. Both Japan and Switzerland have been highly active and internationally competitive in these research fields. It included many young active scientists, with the goal of promoting longer term cooperative research between our two countries. DNA must be duplicated accurately once per cell cycle and in S phase. Assembly of the DNA replication fork and its maintenance during elongation is critical for the accurate duplication of the genome. The latest studies addressing molecular mechanisms of fork assembly and the initiation of replication, as well as maintenance of the replication fork under condition that challenge its progress were presented and discussed.After DNA replication, duplicated chromosomes are held together in the form of sister chromatids. During mitosis, chromatin becomes highly compacted and sister chromatid cohesion is resolved. Specialized chromatin structures at telomeres and centromeres are also essential for the stability and accurate transmission of chromosomes. We discussed the factors that are involved in chromosome structure and dynamics, the regulation of telomere and centromere replication and their structural maintenance.DNA recombination occurs as an integral part of meiosis, being a source of genetic diversity and it also plays an important role for the repair of double strand breaks. DNA can also be damaged naturally by UV or reactive oxygen species, and DNA information can be altered by inaccurate incorporation of deoxynucleotides. All these errors need to be fixed to avoid genomic instability. We discussed latest research dealing with the molecular and biochemical characterization of DNA recombination and other repair processes, such as mismatch, nucleotide excision, and base excision repair. Chromosome duplication in S phase and their segregation in M phase are both tightly controlled by a family of cyclin-dependent kinases. We discussed the latest ideas on centrosome and microtubule dynamics, which have an important role in chromosome segregation. Cell growth is also highly regulated in response to nutrients and cell size. The evolutionally conserved kinase TOR (Target of rapamycin) is a key controller of cell growth. We discussed the TOR kinase cascade and the crosstalk between TOR and DNA damage checkpoint, as a mechanism linking cell cycle and cell growth.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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All living organisms derive from cell division. To sustain stable growth, an organism must maintain its genomic information over generations, which depends in turn on the accurate duplication and transmission of chromosomes, coupled with an integrated control over cell cycle progression. Understanding the molecular mechanisms and interrelation of these cellular events is currently a major topic relevant to biomedical research, and in particular to the disease areas of cancer and aging. Both Japan and Switzerland have been highly active and internationally competitive in these research fields. One major goal of this meeting is to further develop our scientific research activities by promoting discussion and the exchange of new ideas between Japanese and Swiss scientists. Secondly, we will include many young active scientists, with the goal of promoting longer term cooperative research between our two countries.We plan to organize sessions around the following themes, while allowing for the maximal inter-weaving of experimental systems and approaches. All topics listed here are of fundamental importance to understanding the molecular cell biology of cancer, aging, and other genome-associated disorders.1)Control of DNA replication and maintenance of replication fork2)Chromatin and chromosome structure and function3)DNA recombination and repair4)Control of cell cycle and cell growthWith the human genome sequence in hand, many people expected that cures for cancer and other genetic diseases would be rapidly forthcoming. However, in this post-genomic era, it is clear that knowing the sequence and identifying genes and mutations is not enough. We must understand the molecular mechanisms more thoroughly, for example how (proto-) oncogenes function and intersect with the normal controls over cell division and growth. We must understand the integration of regulatory genes with the molecular machinery that controls cell growth and cell division, and we need to learn how mutations occur and/or are repaired, if we wish to prevent diseases or cancer. In this meeting, we therefore aim to cover a wide range of research topics that elucidate the fundamental mechanisms at work in cancer, aging, and other genetic disorders. Swiss and Japanese research in these fields has been highly active and productive. However, a focused meeting between researchers of these two countries is very rare. We expect that this will be a unique opportunity for mutual exchange and stimulation. The Swiss-Japanese meeting planned here has the advantage of being both broad (bringing in several related topics) and small (restricted number of participants) which should enhance discussion and exchange. We have invited the very best of Swiss and Japanese scientists and we are confident that they will all attend. Given the distance between Japan and Switzerland, younger group leaders are often unable to meet scientists from the other country. This meeting in the Alps will allow the upcoming generation of scientists to establish contacts that will lead to future collaborations and synergies between our countries. We expect that this meeting will also strengthen scientific collaborations based on technology exchange, since several Japanese laboratories have pioneered high throughput “systems-biology” approaches, which many Swiss researchers would like to use. This meeting will foster future collaborations with Japan, where it will also have a major impact in this field of research. Both Switzerland and Japan science has a strong link to pharmaceutical industry and medical application. We expect that enhanced bilateral scientific co-operation between the two countries will stimulate the development of new drug and therapeutic technologies.