Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity

ResearchCentre for Innate Immunity and Infectious Diseases > Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity

dnaNucleic Acids and Innate Immunity

Research Group Head: Dr Michael Gantier

 

Non-coding RNAs, including microRNAs (miRNAs), are involved in most regulatory processes necessary for cellular function. miRNAs are essential for life, as mice lacking them are not viable, and miRNA levels are altered in most cancers. The past decade as seen an array of landmark discoveries demonstrating that small RNA drugs hold strong therapeutic potential.

The Nucleic Acids and Innate Immunity group investigates the roles of self and non-self nucleic acids in the modulation of innate immune responses, leading to inflammation. Critically, our understanding of basic immune mechanisms involving RNAs such as miRNAs has direct implications for the use of small RNA therapeutics, as it helps define potential side-effects of these technologies on the immune system.

Our research relies on cellular biology, microbiology, virology, animal models and custom bio-informatic pipelines to develop novel strategies to control aberrant inflammatory responses.

Research Projects:

  • Toll-like receptor 7 and 8 (TLR7/8) sensing of self- and non-self RNAs. This research theme aims at identifying the components present in endogenous and foreign RNAs that control the activation of the innate immune response by TLR7/8 recruitment.
  • miRNA regulation of inflammatory responses. Relying on our recent finding that miR-19 is a critical regulator of inflammation (Gantier et al., NAR 2012), we have developed novel tools to help control inflammatory responses through the modulation of miR-19 (and other pro-inflammatory miRNAs) levels.
  • Modulatory mechanisms of miRNA function. Dr Gantier recently discovered (Gantier et al., NAR 2011) that although extremely stable, certain miRNAs appear to be turned over more rapidly than others. Our laboratory is exploring how mechanisms modulating miRNA levels, impact their regulatory function.

 

Research Group:

Dr Michael Gantier (Research Group Head)
Dr Jonathan Ferrand (Senior Research Fellow)
Dr Geneviève Pépin (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Miss Charlotte Nejad (PhD candidate)