GRIB. Research Unit on Biomedical Informatics

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Decryption of a molecular code that regulates the behavior of the cells

The research group of GPCR Drug Discovery, in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, has deciphered how nature adjusts the response of the human cell to abundant extracellular stimuli (e.g., smell, taste, light, hormones, etc.).

When a cell receives an extracellular stimulus, it initiates a signaling process that can result in major physiological changes. This process is mediated by cell membrane proteins such as G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs). Depending on the stimulus, those receptors regulate cell activity through different molecular mechanisms.

The researchers have been able to interpret one of the main molecular mechanisms of cell regulation. "Using biophysical and biochemical assays combined with state-of-the-art computer simulations, we have been able to decipher a phosphorylation code that fine-tunes the cell behaviour" explains Dr. Jana Selent, head of the GPCR Drug Discovery group and one of the co-coordinators of this study.

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The Computational Science group of GRIB participates in the AIDD Project, an innovative training network of the European Commission

The Advanced Machine Learning for Innovative Drug Discovery (AIDD) project will bring together fifteen institutions from ten European countries and the University of British Columbia (Canada) to train sixteen PhD students in close collaboration with associated partners from the USA, Australia, China, Israel and other countries. The project is funded by the European Union within the framework of the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie actions with 3.93 million Euro. and is coordinated by the Helmholtz Zentrum München.

Artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming an increasingly important working basis for the chemical industry. However, the application of AI in this field is not easy and requires extensive knowledge of chemistry. The aim of the new AIDD network is to prepare a future generation of scientists with outstanding skills in both machine learning and chemistry to innovate drug research.

"The project combines theoretical expertise with access to valuable proprietary data and the expertise of the industrial partners in medicinal and synthetic chemistry and will thus contribute innovative AI methods. Another main focus of AIDD is to train the next generation of researchers in interdisciplinary drug discovery and thus make a valuable contribution to future research in Europe", said AIDD project coordinator Igor Tetko.

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PROMPT: Toward PrecisiOn Medicine for the Prediction of Treatment response in major depressive disorder through stratification of combined clinical and -omics signatures. ERANET funded by FAECC and ISCIII for the period 2021 - 2023.

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