A Report on the 23rd GFPP Meeting

23rd GFPP meeting
Fournols d’Auvergne, France, 17 – 21 September 2023

The 23rd meeting of the French Peptides and Proteins Group (GFPP) was held in Fournols in the heart of the natural park of Livradois-Forez in Auvergne Rhône Alpes. This conference followed earlier meetings that have taken place all around France every two years since 1978 and this was the first edition to take place in the Massif Central.

The 23rd GFPP meeting has brought together around 160 attendees from 9 countries (France, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, Mexico) the participants being chemists and biologists from academic and private sectors. All conditions were optimized to promote interdisciplinarity and to stimulate scientific exchanges between participants. The official language was English, to make this GFPP event accessible to international participants. In line with tradition, the GFPP board has awarded 16 fellowships to young researchers (Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers) to give them the opportunity to present and discuss their research work with their peers.

Participants of the 23rd GFPP

The scientific committee was composed of the elected members of the GFPP executive board and the elected French delegate to the scientific council of the European Peptide Society. This edition was co-chaired by Dr. Sophie Faure (ICCF, University Clermont Auvergne) and Dr. Gregory Chaume (CY BioCIS, CY Cergy Paris University) with the assistance of a local organizing committee and a WEB team.

The Symposium started on Sunday evening (Sept. 17th) with a welcome reception followed by the inaugural conference given by Dr. Muriel Amblard (IBMM, Montpellier, France) about foldamers and PROTAC strategy for tackling complex biological challenges.

From Monday the 18th to Thursday the 21st of September, the scientific program has span cutting-edge themes in the peptide and protein science field, with eleven invited lectures from leading national and international speakers and 30 oral communications selected by the scientific committee from the submitted abstracts. In addition, two poster sessions were organized with a total of 61 posters. The scientific program included ten thematic sessions:

– Session “Peptides and Health” with the presentations by Prof. Thierry BRIGAUD (CY BioCIS, CY Cergy Paris University, France) on the incorporation of fluorinated amino acids into peptides for biological applications and Dr. Céline GALÉS (I2MC, INSERM, University of Toulouse, France) on G protein activation BRET sensors.

– Session “Peptides and metals” with the conference by Dr. Pascale DELANGLE (CEA, University Grenoble Alpes, France) on peptide design approaches for mimicking metal binding sites in biology.

– Session “Peptides and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance” with the conference by Prof. Markus WEINGARTH (Utrecht University, Netherlands) on the mechanisms of lipid-targeting antibiotics.

– Session “Peptidomimetics and bioinspiration” with the presentation by Prof. Claude TAILLEFUMIER (ICCF, University Clermont Auvergne, France) on peptoid foldamers. – Session “Penetrating peptides and drugs” with the conference by Dr. Christian WIDMANN (UNIL Lausanne, Switzerland) on uptake mechanisms of cell-penetrating peptides.

– Session “Peptides and pain” with the conference by Dr. Eric LINGUEGLIA (IPMC, Univ. Côte d’Azur, France) on peptide inhibitors of Acid-Sensing Ion Channels.

– Session “Protein synthesis and chemical ligation” with the conference by Dr. Birgit WILTSCHI (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, & ACIB GmbH, Austria) on non-canonical amino acids as building blocks for recombinant peptides and proteins.

– Session “Peptides and supramolecular assembly” with the presentation by Dr. Veronica DODERO (Bielefeld University, Germany) on supramolecular medicine.

– Session “Peptidomimetics and materials” with the presentation by Dr. Vincent HUMBLOT (FEMTO-ST, Univ. Bourgogne Franche-Comté, France) on peptides on surfaces.

– Session “Peptides/proteins assessment” with the conference by Dr. Jean-Philippe COMBIER (Micropep Technologies, Toulouse, France) on short peptides to replace agrochemicals.

Speakers of the 23rd GFPP

Full details on the program and invited speakers can be found at the GFPP website: www.gfpp.fr

There was broad consensus among participants that the invited lectures, oral presentations and posters were of an impressive standard, with a special mention for the presentations of PhD students. The selection committee was impressed by the high quality of the oral and poster presentations and has selected four awardees sponsored by Genepep:

– Best oral communication awardees: Benjamin Grain (CIIL, Lille, France) and Sonia Khemaissa (LBM, Sorbonne University, France).

– Best poster awardees: Lucille Weiss (LIT, University of Strasbourg, France) and Francisco Tomas Ribeiro (DBS, University of Lausanne, Switzerland)

Awardees of both oral and poster competitions

Besides the dense scientific program, activities/excursions were proposed on Tuesday 19th afternoon to allow participants to discover the Livradois-Forez regional park: a visit to the historic mill Moulin Richard de Bas and the house of the cheese in Ambert, a visit to the abbey La Chaise-Dieu, Cycle rail, VTT or hike with a guide. To complete the social program, a gala dinner was held on Wednesday evening.

The successful organization of such a scientific event can only be achieved with the support of institutional and industrial partners. Without them, the 23rd GFPP meeting in Fournols would not have been possible. We wish to say a big “Thank You” to all our private sector partners and also to the European Peptide Society, the Region Auvergne Rhône Alpes, the University Clermont Auvergne and the CY Advanced Studies of Cergy Paris University.

Contributed by Sophie Faure and Gregory Chaume