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Signal Transduction, Retrovirus and Biotherapies, Oncogenes and Cell Cycle Control (...)
The various themes addressed include the molecular mechanisms underlying gene regulation via major signalling pathways, both in isolated cells and in more complex systems, e.g. 3D tissue culture, organotypic culture and in vivo. “Regulation” includes pre- and post-transcription of RNA, pre-andpost-transcription of RNA, pre- and post-translation, protein degradation via the ubiquitin and sumoylation pathways, and RNA metabolism. The main research themes are :
Signals transduction controlling proliferation and apoptosis (programmed cell death)
The cell cycle and its regulation by oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes
Mechanisms underlying epigenetic imprinting during development
RNA modifications, intracellular transport and associated functions
RNA (HTLV, MLV) and DNA (Adenovirus) virus receptors, trafficking and in vivo tropism, and vectorology
The differentiation of haematopoietic cells and angiogenesis
DNA replication and gene instability
Delivery of therapeutic drugs (proteins or nucleic acid using viral vectors)
Even though fundamental research is our major aim, there are extensive interactions with the local university hospital as well as other establishments carrying out gene and cellular therapies. Some of our activities are aimed at clinical applications; this includes biotherapies and new pharmacological approaches. Along these lines, specific genetic anomalies are currently being targeted through the use of small molecules that interfere with basic biological processes such as for example RNA splicing. The latter aspect is quite illustrative on many points. First of all, a project aimed at characterizing chemical compounds able to interact with splicing regulators and validating their use to treat monofactorial genetic diseases, cancers and retroviral infections, has gained support by OSEO-ANVAR (the National Agency for Innovation). Second, our long-standing collaborations with several european laboratories, including that of R. Luhrmann, director of the Max Planck Institute in Göttingen, have led us to create a nucleus for a future European Associated Laboratory.
Finally, fundamental cancer research remains the major strength of IGMM (5 groups are currently being funded on long-term programs by the National Ligue Against Cancer, LNCC).Worth of notice is our strong implication in the Montpellier Cancer initiative, a program aimed at developing the synergy within the Montpellier community working on cancer related themes.
Our present and future goals still require with a high priority the design of novel animal models. The development of a state-of-the-art transgenic mouse facility has been a fruitful goal of the past years. IGMM is now currently leading the development of a network of complementary animal facilities (“Réseau des Animaleries de Montpellier”, RAM : (www.ram.cnrs.fr), which will provide our scientific community with specialised platforms aimed at the study of all problems encountered by research on animal models (exploration of the main physiological functions, behaviour studies or small animal imaging).