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WG 2: Functional and molecular analysis of MRC; common protocols and signatures

Main objective: define common protocols for the functional analysis of MRCs; identify common and cell-type specific molecular signatures of MRCs. 

Methods and means:

  • Survey of the literature and critical evaluation of the current protocols used for functional MRC analysis. Definition of strengths and weaknesses of current state-of-the-art analytical tools and methods.
  • Broad inter-laboratory testing of available functional assays in order to expand the portfolio of available assays and data derived thereof.
  • Development of a defined but comprehensive set of functional assays for MRC analysis.
  • Harmonisation and standardisation of the technical performance of these assays. Identification and outlining of important variables influencing the outcome of the selected assays. Development of a SOP.
  • Implementation of large scale genomic (DNAse 1 foot printing, epigenetic analysis) and gene expression profiling approaches (miRNA, lncRNA arrays and NGS RNA-seq). Epigenetic studies on myeloid cells have already been initiated and will be conducted in collaboration with the EU-funded BLUEprint project aiming to decipher the epigenome of blood cells. These data will lead to the discovery of novel MRC-related genes and their regulation and function. Together with the gene expression and epigenetic signatures they will be implemented into the activities of WG 1 and WG 2.
  • An important aspect of this WG is the “Learning from each other’s approach”. This means that specialised research groups compare and exchange isolation protocols and functional assays. As a result a major assay in the MDSC field may be adopted by neutrophil researchers or a molecule regulating dendritic cell function will be tested in macrophages or MDSCs and so forth.
  • Writing of position and technical consensus papers in order to distribute and suggest the results of this WG to the international scientific community.
  • Write scientific opinion papers on the functional relationship of MRC subtypes.