Understanding common diseases
The findings will contribute to a better understanding of the pathogenesis of widespread diseases such as Alzheimer's, depression, diabetes, chronic lung diseases or cancer. Over the next five years, the eight EUCOMMTOOLS partners, coordinated by Professor Wolfgang Wurst of Helmholtz Zentrum M-nchen, will receive research funding amounting to approximately 12 million euros from the European Commission.
EUCOMMTOOLS and its predecessor project EUCOMM are both striving for a common overall goal and are both coordinated by Professor Wolfgang Wurst, director of the Institute of Developmental Genetics at Helmholtz Zentrum M-nchen. Professor Wurst states: "Our aim in the next five years, together with our American and Canadian partners in the International Knockout Mouse Consortium (IKMC), is to complete the mutagenesis of the mouse genome in order to systematically elucidate the function of all genes during development and in the adult mouse."
In detail, one of the major aims of EUCOMMTOOLS is to inactivate the last 3,500 of the roughly 20,000 genes in the mouse genome. This inactivation will be enabled in any desired murine cell, tissue or organ and at any desired point in time, a strategy permitting the analysis of gene function in its biological context.
Technologically, this sophisticated approach requires a combination of conditional gene targeting and site-specific, inducible Cre recombinase driver mouse lines. In the framework of EUCOMMTOOLS, 250 of these Cre recombinase driver lines will be generated and characterized. These lines are necessary to fully capitalize on the EUCOMM/EUCOMMTOOLS resource of mutant mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells.
In addition, the EUCOMMTOOLS scientists will develop new genetic tools to accelerate the process of conditional gene function annotation.
The achievements of EUCOMMTOOLS, EUCOMM and the IKMC are made available to the international scientific community via the IKMC web portal www.knockoutmouse.org and the involved projects' repositories.
In the European Mouse Mutant Cell Repository (EuMMCR; www.eummcr.org), scientists at Helmholtz Zentrum M-nchen archive and distribute upon request all EUCOMM and EUCOMMTOOLS mutant ES cells as well as all genetic tools for functional gene analysis used in these two projects.
"Right now we are preparing the legal basis for offering our materials and technologies to commercial partners as well," says Dr. Cornelia Kaloff, project manager of EUCOMMTOOLS and EUCO.