Techniques in Free Radical Biology: a FEBS practical course (Aug 27-Sep 2, Debrecen, Hungary)


Are you interested in the biological role of free radicals and other reactive species? Would you like to know more about  the methods of their detection and how to assess their impact in biological system? Would you like to gather all these information from top experts of the field?

If you find the program attractive and are eligible for FEBS youth travel funds (YTF), please register.

Hope to see you in Debrecen.

The organizers

László Virág Péter Bai

Background and importance

In the last decades research on free radicals, reactive oxygen- and nitrogen species (ROSand RNS respectively) has been experiencing a continuous rise in the number scientist pursuing ROS/RNS-related projects as well as in the number of publications. Scientists working in various fields of biochemistry/cell biology (metabolism, transcriptional regulation, signal transduction, cell dysfuntion and cell death, etc.) as well as clinical scientists (e.g. pharmacologists) recognized the importance of these short-lived metabolites for their research work. Thus demand for a better understanding of the chemical biology of free radicals and reactive intermediates is also on the rise.
Once regarded as simply toxic metabolites, free radicals are now recognized as important signalling molecules mediating a wide range of biological phenomena such as vasodilatation, neurotransmission, neuronal plasticity, cardiac preconditioning, only to name a few. Their role in various disease conditions such as inflammations, ischemia-reperfusion injury, stroke, neurodegeneration, atherosclerosis is also well established. The list of signaling molecules known to be regulated by ROS and/or RNS has expanded far beyond the original examples — soluble guanylyl cyclase for RNS and NF-κB and activation protein-1 for ROS — to include ion channels and transporters, G protein–coupled receptors, small GTPases, phosphatases, kinases, proteases, metabolic enzymes, cytoskeletal elements, translation regulators, cell-cycle control factors, transcription factors, histone (de)acetylases, and DNA methylases.
ROS/RNS can trigger a high variety of modification in biologically important molecules. They react with transition metal centres, induce protein oxidation, nitrosation, nitration and glutathionylation, DNA base oxidation and nitration, DNA breakage, lipid peroxidation and nitration. These modifications have been implicated in oxidative stress-induced redox signalling (physiological roles), protein repair and degradation, DNA repair and degradation. Various ROS/RNS species have been shown to be selectively produced in various pathophysiological conditions and they have a more or less unique and well defined footprint in cells and tissues.

Need and aims

At the course we offer the opportunity to participants to obtain hands-on experience in various techniques used for the detection of the different ROS/RNS species as well as to study their molecular imprints in biomolecules and in cells.
Most free radical researchers focus on and perform only a limited set of free radical techniques (e.g. detection of radicals or poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation) in their labs. These course aims at broadening the methodological repertoire of pre- and postdoctoral students working in this field. Moreover, another important goal of the course is to introduce "outsiders" into the magical world of free radical biology. This could be especially useful for young scientists studying pathomechanism of various diseases at the molecular, cellular or organism level and would like to study their oxidative stress component without having prior formal training in free radical chemistry, biochemistry and biology.
Even though it is not widely recognized by outsiders of the field, the chemical biology of ROS/RNS is extremely complex. This high level of complexity requires in-depth knowledge not only on the multilevel interactions between different ROS/RNS species, antioxidants and biomolecules but also on the proper use, specificity and limitations of the various detection techniques. At the course, lecturers will pay special attention to explain these controversies.

Free radical research now covers a wide range of activities covering inorganic chemistry, enzymology, structural biology, proteomics, and pharmacology. At the course we will focus on the biochemical aspects of free radicals with special regard to mammalian systems. Main themes of the course include detection of ROS/RNS production in mammalian cells, ROS/RNS-induced protein/DNA modifications and DNA breakage-induced poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation. Therefore techniques to be performed by the applicants as well as accompanying lectures will be grouped around these central themes.




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