PhD student in Molecular Biology
Université de Montréal
Award-winning publication: The Stat3/GR interaction code: predictive value of direct/indirect DNA recruitment for transcription outcome
Published in: Molecular Cell, July 2012
"By exploring the relationship between interleukin 6 (IL6) and the glucocorticoids (two hormones), we previously demonstrated that, in addition to their recognized antagonistic role, the two signaling pathways synergistically activate a group of genes involved in the inflammatory response. This study stems from the use of cutting-edge genomic techniques to update the transcriptional code that triggers the various effects. The joint recruitment of the Stat3 transcription factor and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) to DNA and the tethering of Stat3 to the GR lead to the synergistic activation of target genes, while the tethering of the GR to Stat3 produces a transcriptional antagonism."
David Langlais' work serves to advance research into the inflammatory diseases that plague high-pressure societies. The human body naturally seeks to control the inflammatory response and ensure that it is neither too strong nor too weak by managing the expression of specific genes in response to pro- and anti-inflammatory hormone signals, such as interleukin 6 and the glucocorticoids. When the body is not able to control the response (i.e. due to stress), medicine relies on synthetic glucocorticoids that, unfortunately, bring about significant side effects. Elucidating the new Stat3/GR gene regulation code paves the way for the optimal and targeted management of inflammatory conditions, more specifically with regards to diseases such as arthritis, intestinal inflammatory syndrome and cancer.