Institut de recherche en immunologie et cancérologie (IRIC)
Domaine : cancer
Programme chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2
Cancer is a family of diseases caused by excessive proliferation of cells in the human body. Research in my laboratory aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that control cell division. Mutations in genes and proteins that participate in these mechanisms induce cancer.
In order to divide, a cell must coordinate important transformations at the level of chromosomes and other intracellular structures. These processes are triggered by enzymes that chemically modify other proteins to change their activities. We have contributed to the discovery of a new module of enzymes that is essential for this coordination. In a first axis of research, my scientific program aims to understand how changes in localization of these proteins enable them to control different intracellular structures and compartments. Another goal is to identify the proteins that are modified by these enzymes and to understand in details the resulting effects on the molecular mechanisms at play during cell division. In this axis, we use the fly Drosophila as a model. This organism allows the use of powerful experimental approaches combining genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology and microscopy to accelerate discovery. Since the molecular mechanisms that control cell division are strongly conserved between species, our findings generally apply to humans and can lead to the identification of new therapeutic avenues.
In a second axis, we are already exploiting some of our recent discoveries on another enzyme that is essential for the control of cell division to identify molecules that inhibit it and that could lead to the development of new cancer drugs. This protein is already recognized as a therapeutic target for several cancers. Our efforts aim to inhibit its interactions with other proteins and its changes in localization rather than its enzymatic activity. This alternative strategy could allow a better specificity and, for this reason, a lower toxicity.