The research themes carried out in the unit UPR 9002 focus on the biology of the RNA world. RNAs are indeed at the heart of many biological functions such as regulation of gene expression, translation or viral infection. RNAs fulfill their functions by adopting dedicated 3D structures enabling them to interact in a coordinated fashion with their partner(s). These structures lead to the control of the biological functions because of the very specific underlying interaction mechanisms. These are far from being elucidated, and studying them open multiple avenues both at the basic and applied level.
We are studying more specifically the mechanisms of gene expression at the post-transcription level, and also various aspects of the translation machinery. Our studies deal with viruses, bacteria (E.coli, staphylococcus, thermophiles) and eukaryotes (yeast, Anopheles, mammals). One of our major preoccupation is to better understand the molecular mechanisms whose disorders lead to various pathologies (retroviruses and AIDS, cancer, iron and selenium metabolism, genetic diseases, pathologies linked to mitochondria defects…).
Even though the thematic field that structures the unit is centered on RNA in all its states and shapes, the approaches that are taken are both multi- and transdisciplinary, carried out by a panel of scientists with background in biology, biochemistry, chemistry and physics. Owing to the benefits of the synergistic effects between genetics, molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, bioinformatics and genomics, studies focusing on RNA will enable an evolutionary understanding of biological issues, from the molecule to the phenotype.