RNA-binding proteins in gene expression
and cell differentiation
Fission yeast RNA-binding proteins regulate germ cell differentiation
Our team studies the role of RNA-binding proteins in gene expression and developmental regulation using the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model organism. We focus our research on the post-transcriptional mechanisms that control germ cell differentiation during the mitotic and meiotic cell cycles. By combining yeast genetics, molecular and biochemical techniques, proteomics and genomewide approaches, we aim at understanding the precise function and regulation of RNA-binding proteins in this key developmental process.
RNA-binding proteins (RBPs) are widespread in eukaryotic genomes and play critical roles in all aspects of RNA biology by controlling the fate of RNA species from synthesis to degradation. Many RBPs recognize specific classes of transcripts (mRNAs and ncRNAs) through conserved RNA-binding domains (e.g. RRM, zinc finger, pumilio, YTH, …) to ensure the correct flow and expression of the genetic information. Highlighting their biological relevance, mutations in RBPs are responsible for various developmental defects and disorders in humans, which calls for a better understanding of their function in order to get insights into the molecular basis of these pathologies.
In the lab, we use the powerful genetically tractable fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model organism to study the mechanisms by which RBPs impact gene expression in the context of germ cell differentiation. The transition from the mitotic to the meiotic cell cycle results in profound alterations in gene expression profiles and RBPs have an important role in shaping transcriptomes to establish and maintain cell type-specific programs. However, the repertoire of RBPs involved in the regulation of this key developmental process, their respective RNA targets and mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. We are investigating these fundamental aspects to get clues about the regulatory networks at play and the precise contribution of RBPs to cell fate decisions.
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ANR JCJC (10/2016 – 09/2021)