A Report on the 22nd GFPP and 5th BPGM

CONFERENCE REPORT
22nd GFPP and 5th BPGM
Peptides and Proteins without frontiers
Port-Leucate, France 29th May – 3rd June 2022.

The 22nd meeting of the French Peptides and Proteins Group (GFPP) and 5th Belgian Peptide Group Meeting (BPGM) joint meeting was held in Port Leucate. This little town in South of France has certainly not known such an arrival of renewed scientists for many decades. The Rives des Corbières conference center was an ideal location to share new discovery and research in the field of peptides and proteins. From all the participants point of view the congress was successful, not only because of the high quality of the different talks (especially  worldwide renown invited speakers) but also thanks to the many exchanges opportunities taking place during breaks, meals, poster sessions,… after this so long period of virtual events, a result of the COVID pandemic.

Group photo of the congress attendees

This conference followed earlier meetings that have taken place all around France every two years since 1978: the GFPP symposium series is among the longest-running peptide events in Europe. This so special meeting, themed “Peptides and Proteins without Frontiers”, bought together for the first time the Belgian and French communities in the field, insuring without any doubt this great success.

Opening of 22nd GFPP – 5th BPGM, French-Belgian Joint Meeting by Co-chairs S. Cantel and S. Ballet

We performed a rich program of plenary speakers, spanning cutting-edge topics in the peptide and protein science fields. Moreover, this event gave additional opportunities to academic and industrial scientists to exchange through a special Biotechnology session, followed by a round table discussion.

Inaugural conference by S. Muller, France

This symposium had a high attendance: it brought together 206 attendees, including 30% foreign visitors among which 50% were from Belgium. English was the official language of this special edition. Almost 40% of the registered participants were PhD students and post-doctoral researchers. Keeping with tradition, the GFPP executive board awarded fellowships to many young researchers (30) in order to give them the opportunity to present and discuss their research work with their peers in the peptide and protein research community. Industrial partners were also present and they represent almost twenty percent of the audience. The total cost of this is as expected around 120 000 euros.

Session Biotech Synthelis, Medincell, Enzytag, Enterome, Genepep

The Scientific Committee was composed of the elected members of the GFPP and the BPGM executive board, while the local organizing committee was co-chaired by Dr. Sonia Cantel from the IBMM, Montpellier, Dr. Nicolas Inguimbert from the CRIOBE, UAR 3274 Perpignan, Dr.  Steven Ballet from OCRG, Vrije Universiteit, Brussel, and Dr. Annemieke Madder from Universiteit Gent, Gent.

Poster session

The Symposium started with an outstanding inaugural conference given by Sylviane Müller (University of Strasbourg, France) on peptides used against inflammatory diseases. Her talk was illustrated through the example of Lupuzor, a phosphopeptide currently in clinical trial against lupus. Invited lectures covered a wide range of hot topics in contemporary peptide and protein science, including presentations by Marcus Muttenthaler (Brisbane University, Australia) on peptides expressed in the gastrointestinal tract as an inspiration source for the development of new therapeutic peptides resistant the to the gut environment and able to treat gastrointestinal disorders, Lidia Feliu (University of Girona, Spain) on the use of bifunctional peptide to fight against plant pest, Ashraf Brik (Schulich Faculty of chemistry, Israel) on transition metals in peptide and protein synthesis, Marc Vendrell (University of Edinburgh, Scotland) on fluorescent activatable peptides for medical imaging, Laurent Devel (Université Paris Saclay, France) on activity-based probes targeting metallopeptidases, Jean-Louis Banères (IBMM, Université de Montpellier, France) on allosteric modulation of GPCR signaling, Jan Tytgat (University of Leuven, Belgium) on miniaturized peptide toxins in drug discovery, Beat Fierz (EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland) on proteins post-translational modifications of tubulin, Paula Gomes (University of Porto, Portugal) on peptide hybrids conjugated to ionic liquid for the treatment of severe soft tissue and skin infections, Colin Bonduelle (Université de Bordeaux, France) on new polymers based on peptides, Ludovic Maillard (IBMM, Université de Montpellier, France) on new heterocyclic γ-peptide foldamers, Gilles Guichard (Université de Bordeaux, France) on foldamers as protein mimics, José Martins (University of Ghent, Belgium) on NMR use to determine the structure and linked it to biological activity and Christine Cavazza (Université de Grenoble, France) on artificial metalloenzymes for oxidation reactions. Full details on the program can be found at the website: https://www.gfpp.fr/22e-gfpp-fr/.

P. Gomes, Portugal

A break from the scientific program was offered to participants on Wednesday afternoon. Participants could choose between an excursion to the beautiful town of Collioure combined with a trip on a tourist train to discover the vineyards and the Mediterranean coast from the top of the hill surrounding the town, a wine tasting in the famous castle of Salses, a boat trip along the cliffs of Leucate with oyster tasting for the most resistant, and finally for the sportiest an initiation to wakeboarding on the lagoon of Leucate.

J. Tytgat , Belgium

The comprehensive and high-level scientific program, combined with the informal and friendly atmosphere associated to the sunny weather without tramontane, good food and tremendous location, made this meeting a great success, as testified by the very positive feedback received from participants.

J.L. Banères, France

Special thanks go to all sponsoring companies, especially the 11 ones that exhibited during the symposium and their representatives, who interacted dynamically and constructively with the participants during breaks. We also very warmly thank academic sponsors of the symposium, as well as the Universities of Montpellier, Perpignan, Muse, the CNRS, the Région Occitanie. Finally, we warmly thank European Peptide Society for your unfailing support. Without all these generous financial support, all this would not have been possible!

Contributed by the GFPP/BPGM scientific board

Number of attendees : 206
International  : 31%
Researchers (academic and industrials) : 52%
Students : 39%
Posters : 110
Sponsors : 20 (and 11 booths on site)