Research Unit

Chromosome Biogenesis

Alain Verreault and his team study the mechanisms of chromosome assembly during DNA replication. A defect of those mechanisms can lead to developing cancer, but also opens the door to developing novel chemotherapeutic agents.

Research theme

What causes a cell to mutate and become cancerous? Better understanding the cascades of molecular events underlying the cell regulation or dysregulation is at the heart of the research carried out at the IRIC. To do so, Alain Verreault and his team specifically focus on a key aspect of the cell: chromosome biogenesis.

Moreover, the Investigators in Alain Verreault’s laboratory closely study the molecular mechanisms that enable cells to repair their DNA. Defects of those mechanisms result in chromosome rearrangement and confer to cells an acute sensitivity to many genotoxic agents used to treat cancer. The enzymes involved in chromosome assembly therefore represent attractive therapeutic targets for cancer chemotherapy.

Research objectives

The research work carried out in Alain Verreault’s laboratory led to the discovery of important new facets of the chromosome structure. Studies of the nucleosome assembly pathway result in envisaging the identification of vulnerable links involved with the DNA replication of cancer cells. These vulnerable links are therefore susceptible to being targeted by molecules that can short-circuit carcinogenesis.

Unfortunately, treatments whose purpose is to destroy cancer cells have toxic effects on many healthy cells. Because a large number of compounds used in cancer chemotherapy interfere with replication, the work of the Verreault team’s Investigators paves the way for clinical applications that can vastly improve cancer treatments.

Research topics

Research team