Address: Institute for Research on Cancer and Ageing of Nice (IRCAN), CNRS UMR 7284, INSERM U1081, Université Côte d'Azur, Faculty of Medicine - 28, Av. Valombrose, 06107 Nice Cedex 2, France

Team composition:

Gael CRISTOFARI (DR2, Inserm)
Sabrina SACCONI (PU-PH, Nice)

Aurélien DOUCET (CR, CNRS)

Julian CONTET (AI, University)

Summary: Retrotransposons are a class of highly repetitive sequences, which are very abundant in the human genome. They disperse by an RNA-based copy-and-paste mechanism, called retrotransposition. This process can drive profound genome rearrangements. Although generally silent, they are expressed and mobile in germ cells, in the early embryo, and in embryonic stem cells, which occasionally results in genetic diseases. Retrotransposons are also massively re-expressed in the large majority of cancers, but the importance and consequences of retrotransposition in human tumors have been poorly studied. Somatic retrotransposition is difficult to track in human tissue due to the highly repetitive and dispersed nature of these elements. Thus the questions we wish to address in the laboratory are the following: (i) What cellular pathways control retrotransposon copy number? (ii) What are the molecular mechanisms of retrotransposons replication? (iii) How retrotransposons participate in the normal and pathological remodeling of the human genome, in particular in human tumors and aging? Understanding how the activity of retrotransposons is controlled will impact our knowledge of the mechanisms that lead to new genetic diseases or to cancer progression.

Team leader


PhD in Life Sciences