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Associated laboratories : University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis


• Retrotransposons and Genome Plasticity
Research topics : Identification of genes involved in the control of mobile genetic elements. Mechanisms of retrotransposition. Retrogenome evolution. Genome variability and plasticity resulting from retrotransposons. Impact of retrotransposons on human health with a special emphasis on cancer. Experimental system and Methods : mammalian cultured cells, clinical samples, genomics, molecular biology, bioinformatics, next-generation sequencing, ribonucleoprotein biochemistry, genetic screens, retroviral vectors. The team is supported by an ERC Starting Grant and an INSERM Avenir award.
Contact : Gael Cristofari

• Gene-environment interactions in development and evolution
Institut de Biologie Valrose (iBV) Nice
Understanding how environmental variation and genotype-environment interactions contribute to phenotypic variation is a central challenge in current biology. While the significance of phenotypic plasticity and genotype-by-environment interactions is widely recognized, we are still lacking an integrated mechanistic and evolutionary understanding of how gene-environment interactions shape development and how they impact evolutionary processes.
We address this problem using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and related species, focusing on molecularly well-characterized systems, such as germline and vulval cell fate patterning, to study how environmental variation modulates developmental processes and their phenotypic outcomes, including fitness consequences.
One principal goal is thus to establish causal connections between reaction norms at molecular-cellular-developmental levels and reaction norms in life history traits.
Contact : Christian Braendle

• Gene regulatory networks and morphogenesis
Institute of Biology Valrose
. Research themes : Our team is interested in elucidating the mechanisms controlling establishment and interpretation of the Nodal and BMP2/4 morphogens. We dissect the gene regulatory network (GRN) activated by the Nodal and BMP morphogens during dorsal-ventral axis formation by performing systematic screens for Nodal and BMP target genes and establishing their hierarchy by using a combination of functional analyses and bioinformatic approaches. More recently we have started to model this GRN (collaboration D. Thieffry ENS Paris).
We also try to understand how the Nodal and BMP2/4 pathways interact each other and with other pathways. We analyse the mechanisms regulating the activity and the signalling range of these factors.
Finally, we analyse the mechanisms regulating establishment of left right asymmetry and those controlling fundamental morphogenetic processes such as epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), gastrulation and mouth formation.
. Methodologies : Functional analyses, transcriptomic screens, bioinformatics, modelling, cis regulatory analyses, GRN approaches.
. Model : Our model is the sea urchin, a basal deuterostome without genetic redundancy that produces abundant and transparent embryos.
Contact : Thierry Lepage