This R13 application requests funds to increase participation by US scientists in an EMBO workshop series entitled Systems Dynamics of Intracellular Communication ('Spatial 2011'). Information transfer is a central aspect of biology, and signaling within and between cells is a fundamental aspect of the functioning of multicellular organisms. Signaling over long distances between cells requires specific and regulated mechanisms to transport signaling molecules and generate functional gradients to control processes such as chemotaxis, axon guidance, developmental differentiation and others. In recent years it has become increasingly clear that equally sophisticated and diverse mechanisms are required for information transfer and signaling within cells. Diffusion alone is not sufficient to account for effective transfer of different signals from cell surface to the nucleus against unfavorable enzymatic activities. Long distance communication within cells requires protected or facilitated mechanisms of signal propagation over any intracellular distance of more than a few micrometers. Different communities of researchers are interested in spatial aspects of propagation of intracellular signals and information within cells, including theoreticians, cell biologists, and neurobiologists. Information transfer within large and morphologically complex cells (such as neurons and other polarized eukaryotic cells) requires specialized mechanisms to facilitate propagation and translocation of signals. Spatial 2011 will provide a unique platform for communication and interaction between the experimentalists and theoreticians involved in these diverse research communities. The 2007 and 2009 Spatial meetings (held in Israel) saw participation from relatively few US scientists. We have relocated the venue to central Europe to specifically facilitate US participation and are seeking NIH support to support US representation by young faculty, fellows, and students in this growing interdisciplinary field.
This application seeks funds to support US scientists'participation in a unique interdisciplinary conference focusing on spatial communication in health and disease. Signaling over long distances between cells requires specific and regulated mechanisms to transport signaling molecules and generate functional gradients to control processes such as chemotaxis, axon guidance, developmental differentiation and others. Malfunction of intracellular propagation of survival and other signals in large cells is tightly linked with disease etiology in the nervous and immune systems.