MicroRNA-21 Deficiency Alters the Survival of Ly-6C Monocytes in ApoE Mice and Reduces Early-Stage

Objective- To determine the role of microRNA-21 (miR-21) on the homeostasis of monocyte subsets and on atherosclerosis development in ApoE (apolipoprotein E) mice. Approach and Results- In ApoE mice, miR-21 expression was increased in circulating Ly-6C nonclassical monocytes in comparison to Ly-6C monocytes. The absence of miR-21 significantly altered the survival and number of circulating Ly-6C nonclassical monocytes in ApoE mice. In the early stages of atherosclerosis, the absence of miR-21 limited lesion development both in the aortic sinus (by almost 30%) and in the aorta (by almost 50%). This was associated with less monocyte availability in circulation and increased apoptosis of local macrophages in plaques. At later stages of atherosclerosis, lesion size in the aortic root was similar in ApoE and ApoE miR-21 mice, but plaques showed a less stable phenotype (larger necrotic cores) in the latter. The loss of protection in advanced stages was most likely because of excessive inflammatory apoptosis related to an impairment of local efficient efferocytosis. Conclusions- Gene deletion of miR-21 in ApoE mice alters Ly-6C nonclassical monocytes homeostasis and contribute to limit early-stage atherosclerosis.

Deletion of the myeloid endothelin-B receptor confers long-term protection from angiotensin

The endothelin system may be an important player in hypertensive end-organ injury as endothelin-1 increases blood pressure and is pro-inflammatory. The immune system is emerging as an important regulator of blood pressure and we have shown that the early hypertensive response to angiotensin-II infusion was amplified in mice deficient of myeloid endothelin-B (ET) receptors (LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox). Hypothesizing that these mice would display enhanced organ injury, we gave angiotensin-II to LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox and littermate controls (Ednrblox/lox) for six weeks. Unexpectedly, LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice were significantly protected from organ injury, with less proteinuria, glomerulosclerosis and inflammation of the kidney compared to controls. In the eye, LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice had fewer retinal hemorrhages, less microglial activation and less vessel rarefaction. Cardiac remodeling and dysfunction were similar in both groups at week six but LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice had better endothelial function. Although blood pressure was initially higher in LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice, this was not sustained. A natriuretic switch at about two weeks, due to enhanced ET signaling in the kidney, induced a hypertensive reversal. By week six, blood pressure was lower in LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice than in controls. At six weeks, macrophages from LysM-CreEdnrblox/lox mice were more anti-inflammatory and had greater phagocytic ability compared to the macrophages of Ednrblox/lox mice. Thus, myeloid cell ET receptor signaling drives this injury both through amplifying hypertension and by inflammatory polarization of macrophages.

Autoregulation of Pulsatile Bioprosthetic Total Artificial Heart is Involved in Endothelial

Pulsatile Carmat bioprosthetic total artificial heart (C-TAH) is designed to be implanted in patients with biventricular end-stage heart failure. Since flow variation might contribute to endothelial dysfunction, we explored circulating endothelial biomarkers after C-TAH implantation in seven patients and compared the manual and autoregulated mode. Markers of endothelial dysfunction and regeneration were compared before and during a 6- to 9-month follow-up after implantation. The follow-up was divided into three periods (< 3, 3-6, and > 6 months) and used to estimate the temporal trends during the study period. A linear mixed model was used to analyze repeated measures and association between tested parameters according to the mode of C-TAH and the time. Relevance of soluble endoglin (sEndoglin) level increase has been tested on differentiation and migration potential of human vasculogenic progenitor cells (endothelial colony forming cells [ECFCs]). Normal sEndoglin and soluble endothelial protein C receptor (sEPCR) levels were found in patients after implantation with autoregulated C-TAH, whereas they significantly increased in the manual mode, as compared with pretransplant values ( = 0.005 and 0.001, respectively). In the autoregulated mode, a significant increase in the mobilization of cytokine stromal cell-derived factor 1 was found ( = 0.03). After adjustment on the mode of C-TAH, creatinine or C-reactive protein level, sEndoglin, and sEPCR, were found significantly associated with plasma total protein levels. Moreover, a significant decrease in pseudotubes formation and migration ability was observed in vitro in ECFCs receiving sEndoglin activation. Our combined analysis of endothelial biomarkers confirms the favorable impact of blood flow variation achieved with autoregulation in patients implanted with the bioprosthetic total artificial heart.

Severity of endothelial dysfunction is associated with the occurrence of hemorrhagic complications

Valproic Acid Decreases Endothelial Colony Forming Cells Differentiation and Induces

Valproic acid (VPA), a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor is a widely used anticonvulsant drug. VPA is also under clinical evaluation to be employed in anticancer therapy, as an antithrombotic agent or a molecule to be used in the stem cells expansion protocols. Since endothelial colony forming cells (ECFC) has been identified as the human postnatal vasculogenic cells involved in thrombotic disorders and serve as a promising source of immature cell for vascular repair, objectives of the present study were to determine how VPA contributes to ECFC commitment and their angiogenic properties. We examined the effect of VPA on ECFC obtained from cord blood by evaluating colony number, proliferation, migration and their sprouting ability in vitro, as well as their in vivo vasculogenic properties. VPA inhibited endothelial differentiation potential from of cord blood derived stem cells associated with decreased proliferation and sprouting activity of cultured ECFC. VPA treatment significantly decreased the vessel-forming ability of ECFC transplanted together with mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) in Matrigel implants in nude mice model. Surprisingly, a microscopic evaluation revealed that VPA induces marked morphological changes from a cobblestone-like EC morphology to enlarged spindle shaped morphology of ECFC. RT-qPCR and a CD31/CD90 flow cytometry analysis confirmed a phenotypic switch of VPA-treated ECFC to mesenchymal-like phenotype. In conclusion, the pan-HDAC inhibitor VPA described for expansion of hematopoietic stem cells and very small embryonic like stem cells cannot be successfully employed for differentiation of endothelial lineage committed ECFC into functional endothelial cells. Our data also suggest that VPA based therapeutics may induce endothelial dysfunction associated with fibrosis that might induce thrombosis recurrence or venous insufficiency.

Angiopoietin-2 as a marker of endothelial activation is a good predictor factor for intensive care

Coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19), a respiratory disease has been associated with ischemic complications, coagulation disorders, and an endotheliitis.

Hemocompatibility and safety of the Carmat Total Artifical Heart hybrid membrane.

The Carmat bioprosthetic total artificial heart (C-TAH) is a biventricular pump developed to minimize drawbacks of current mechanical assist devices and improve quality of life during support. This study aims to evaluate the safety of the hybrid membrane, which plays a pivotal role in this artificial heart. We investigated in particular its blood-contacting surface layer of bovine pericardial tissue, in terms of mechanical aging, risks of calcification, and impact of the hemodynamics shear stress inside the ventricles on blood components. Hybrid membranes were aged in a custom-designed endurance bench. Mechanical, physical and chemical properties were not significantly modified from 9 months up to 4 years of aging using a simulating process. Exploration of erosion areas did not show no risk of oil diffusion through the membrane. Blood contacting materials in the ventricular cavities were subcutaneously implanted in Wistar rats for 30 days as a model for calcification and demonstrated that the in-house anti-calcification pretreatment with Formaldehyde-Ethanol-Tween 80 was able to significantly reduce the calcium concentration from 132 μg/mg to 4.42 μg/mg (p < 0.001). Hemodynamic simulations with a computational model were used to reproduce shear stress in left and right ventricles and no significant stress was able to trigger hemolysis, platelet activation nor degradation of the von Willebrand factor multimers. Moreover, explanted hybrid membranes from patients included in the feasibility clinical study were analyzed confirming preclinical results with the absence of significant membrane calcification. At last, blood plasma bank analysis from the four patients implanted with C-TAH during the feasibility study showed no residual glutaraldehyde increase in plasma and confirmed hemodynamic simulation-based results with the absence of hemolysis and platelet activation associated with normal levels of plasma free hemoglobin and platelet microparticles after C-TAH implantation. These results on mechanical aging, calcification model and hemodynamic simulations predicted the safety of the hybrid membrane used in the C-TAH, and were confirmed in the feasibility study.

Maxime Audin

Mechanochemical Crosstalk Produces Cell-Intrinsic Patterning of the Cortex to Orient the Mitotic

Proliferating animal cells are able to orient their mitotic spindles along their interphase cell axis, setting up the axis of cell division, despite rounding up as they enter mitosis. This has previously been attributed to molecular memory and, more specifically, to the maintenance of adhesions and retraction fibers in mitosis [1-6], which are thought to act as local cues that pattern cortical Gαi, LGN, and nuclear mitotic apparatus protein (NuMA) [3, 7-18]. This cortical machinery then recruits and activates Dynein motors, which pull on astral microtubules to position the mitotic spindle. Here, we reveal a dynamic two-way crosstalk between the spindle and cortical motor complexes that depends on a Ran-guanosine triphosphate (GTP) signal [12], which is sufficient to drive continuous monopolar spindle motion independently of adhesive cues in flattened human cells in culture. Building on previous work [1, 12, 19-23], we implemented a physical model of the system that recapitulates the observed spindle-cortex interactions. Strikingly, when this model was used to study spindle dynamics in cells entering mitosis, the chromatin-based signal was found to preferentially clear force generators from the short cell axis, so that cortical motors pulling on astral microtubules align bipolar spindles with the interphase long cell axis, without requiring a fixed cue or a physical memory of interphase shape. Thus, our analysis shows that the ability of chromatin to pattern the cortex during the process of mitotic rounding is sufficient to translate interphase shape into a cortical pattern that can be read by the spindle, which then guides the axis of cell division.

Offres d’Emploi


L’équipe Mécanique et Génétique du Développement Embryonnaire et Tumoral recherche deux chercheurs post-doctoraux pour travailler sur les processus de mécanotranduction in vivo impliqués dans :

1- Le développement embryonnaire

2- La progression tumorale

L’équipe recherche des scientifiques motivés ayant une expérience de travail en laboratoire en biologie ou biophysique .

Les candidatures et les demandes de renseignements doivent être adressées à Emmanuel Farge à l’adresse suivante : efarge@curie.fr.

Job offers


The Mechanics and Genetics of Embryonic and Tumour Development team is seeking two post-doctoral researchers to work on in vivo mechanotransductive processes involved in:

1- Embryonic development

2- Tumour progression

The team is looking for motivated scientists with biological or biophysical lab work experience.

Applications and enquiries to Emmanuel Farge at efarge@curie.fr.

Alberto Elias Villalobos


Bases of antisense lncRNA-associated regulation of gene expression in fission yeast.

Antisense (as)lncRNAs can regulate gene expression but the underlying mechanisms and the different cofactors involved remain unclear. Using Native Elongating Transcript sequencing, here we show that stabilization of antisense Exo2-sensitivite lncRNAs (XUTs) results in the attenuation, at the nascent transcription level, of a subset of highly expressed genes displaying prominent promoter-proximal nucleosome depletion and histone acetylation. Mechanistic investigations on the catalase gene ctt1 revealed that its induction following oxidative stress is impaired in Exo2-deficient cells, correlating with the accumulation of an asXUT. Interestingly, expression of this asXUT was also activated in wild-type cells upon oxidative stress, concomitant to ctt1 induction, indicating a potential attenuation feedback. This attenuation correlates with asXUT abundance, it is transcriptional, characterized by low RNAPII-ser5 phosphorylation, and it requires an histone deacetylase activity and the conserved Set2 histone methyltransferase. Finally, we identified Dicer as another RNA processing factor acting on ctt1 induction, but independently of Exo2. We propose that asXUTs could modulate the expression of their paired-sense genes when it exceeds a critical threshold, using a conserved mechanism independent of RNAi.

Noncoding RNAs in gene regulation.

RNAs have been traditionally viewed as intermediates between DNA and proteins. However, there is a growing body of literature indicating that noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs) are key players for gene regulation, genome stability, and chromatin modification. In addition to the well-known small interfering RNAs and microRNAs acting in transcriptional and posttranscriptional gene silencing, recent advances in the field of transcriptome exploration have revealed novel sets of new small and large ncRNAs. Many of them appear to be conserved across mammals, and abnormal expression of several ncRNAs has been linked to a wide variety of human diseases, such as cancer. Here, we review the different classes of ncRNAs identified to date, in yeast and mammals, and we discuss the mechanisms by which they affect gene regulation.

Job Openings

Master students

We have regularly open projects for master (M2) students in our group. For more details, see here

Offres d’emploi

Master students

We have regularly open projects for master (M2) students in our group. For more details, see here

Offres d’emploi

Master students

We have regularly open projects for master (M2) students in our group. For more details, see here


In vivo compression and imaging in mouse brain to measure the effects of solid stress.

We recently developed an in vivo compression device that simulates the solid mechanical forces exerted by a growing tumor on the surrounding brain tissue and delineates the physical versus biological effects of a tumor. This device, to our knowledge the first of its kind, can recapitulate the compressive forces on the cerebellar cortex from primary (e.g., glioblastoma) and metastatic (e.g., breast cancer) tumors, as well as on the cerebellum from tumors such as medulloblastoma and ependymoma. We adapted standard transparent cranial windows normally used for intravital imaging studies in mice to include a turnable screw for controlled compression (acute or chronic) and decompression of the cerebral cortex. The device enables longitudinal imaging of the compressed brain tissue over several weeks or months as the screw is progressively extended against the brain tissue to recapitulate tumor growth-induced solid stress. The cranial window can be simply installed on the mouse skull according to previously established methods, and the screw mechanism can be readily manufactured in-house. The total time for construction and implantation of the in vivo compressive cranial window is <1 h (per mouse). This technique can also be used to study a variety of other diseases or disorders that present with abnormal solid masses in the brain, including cysts and benign growths.

LKB1 specifies neural crest cell fates through pyruvate-alanine cycling.

Metabolic processes underlying the development of the neural crest, an embryonic population of multipotent migratory cells, are poorly understood. Here, we report that conditional ablation of the tumor suppressor kinase in mouse neural crest stem cells led to intestinal pseudo-obstruction and hind limb paralysis. This phenotype originated from a postnatal degeneration of the enteric nervous ganglia and from a defective differentiation of Schwann cells. Metabolomic profiling revealed that pyruvate-alanine conversion is enhanced in the absence of . Mechanistically, inhibition of alanine transaminases restored glial differentiation in an mTOR-dependent manner, while increased alanine level directly inhibited the glial commitment of neural crest cells. Treatment with the metabolic modulator AICAR suppressed mTOR signaling and prevented Schwann cell and enteric defects of mutant mice. These data uncover a link between pyruvate-alanine cycling and the specification of glial cell fate with potential implications in the understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of neural crest diseases.

C57BL/6 congenic mouse NRAS melanoma cell lines are highly sensitive to the combination of Mek and

RAS is frequently mutated in various tumors and known to be difficult to target. NRAS are the second most frequent mutations found in human skin melanoma after BRAF . Aside from surgery, various approaches, including targeted therapies, immunotherapies, and combination therapies, are used to treat patients carrying NRAS mutations, but they are inefficient. Here, we established mouse NRAS melanoma cell lines and genetically derived isografts (GDIs) from Tyr::NRAS mouse melanoma that can be used in vitro and in vivo in an immune-competent environment (C57BL/6) to test and discover novel therapies. We characterized these cell lines at the cellular, molecular, and oncogenic levels and show that NRAS melanoma is highly sensitive to the combination of Mek and Akt inhibitors. This preclinical model shows much potential for the screening of novel therapeutic strategies for patients harboring NRAS mutations that have limited therapeutic options and resulted in poor prognoses.