Sébastien Carréno and his team focus on the framework of cells, and more specifically on their cytoskeleton. The latter’s remodeling participates not only in cell division and motility, but is also involved in tumor development and growth.
As its name suggests, the cytoskeleton acts as a skeleton for the cell. It provides its shape and enables it to migrate if necessary. The cytoskeleton also takes part in various cell processes as it remodels itself. In fact, that’s what occurs during cell division. This phenomenon, called mitosis, is accompanied by a deep reorganization of the cytoskeleton. Several genes closely control the process. When one of them goes off-track as a result of a mutation, there is a risk of cancer developing.
By trying to understand how the cytoskeleton of the cells takes part in controlling cell division and motility, Sébastien Carréno and his team could open up new therapeutic avenues for cancer.
Sébastien Carréno’s team is particularly focused on the nature of the interactions between two networks of filaments: actin filaments and tubulin filaments, also called microtubules. They strive to understand how those two networks take part in reorganizing the cell cortex at various stages of the mitosis, as well as during cell migration. To do so, the group uses functional genomics, cell biology and high resolution microscopy techniques in order to observe, in real time, the molecular interactions that shape the cytoskeleton during those processes. It uses the Drosophila cell as a model, taking advantage of the low complexity of its genome. Investigators can therefore easily identify the genes involved in the mitosis and the cell motility to then study how their disturbance affects cell behaviour.
Because the mechanisms managing these two processes are intimately linked from an evolutionary point of view, Investigators estimate that discoveries related to the mitosis may also apply to cell motility, and vice-versa.