Étudiant-chercheur étoile November 2012

Sidi Mehdi Belgnaoui

Postdoctoral student in Immunology
McGill University

Award-winning publication: Linear ubiquitination of NEMO negatively regulates the interferon antiviral response through disruption of the MAVS-TRAF3 complex

Published in: Cell Host & Microbe 12, 211-222, August 16, 2012


"Our article presents a key immune system regulation mechanism. We demonstrated that linear ubiquitination—a new type of cell signaling regulation—could change the role of the NEMO cell protein in the innate immune response. More specifically, the NEMO protein will inhibit RIG-I signaling once it is linearly ubiquitinated. It is interesting to note that this inhibitory role is only observed a significant amount of time (48 hours) after the viral infection, revealing that the mechanism helps stop the immune response once it is not longer required."

Sidi Mehdi Belgnaoui's research on the innate immune response is of great interest to the public health sector, which aims to advance new strategies to fight viruses such as hepatitis C and influenza—illnesses that, every year, affect millions of people worldwide and, as a result, national economies. The innate immune response was long considered a temporary protective barrier against viral infections that was deployed in anticipation of the adaptive immune response, the only one capable of actually blocking a virus. However, recent studies have shown that the innate response plays a crucial role against infection and germ dissemination. The article also outlines a regulation mechanism that could make it possible to control and even induce the innate response through new, targeted antivirals.