The battle for the 5’end: dissecting a novel virus-specific translation mechanism driven by eIF3
After studying Biochemistry as an undergraduate, I dived into the exciting world of RNA-protein interactions, first through an MSc in Molecular Biophysics at University Paris VI (Fr), then during my PhD with Eric Guittet at the Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles and University Paris XI (Fr) graduating in 2003. During this time, I applied NMR spectroscopy and biochemical techniques to characterise RNA-proteins interactions important for HIV replication. This got me interested into the role of RNA structure in viral life cycle. I pursued this interest at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge (UK), with Peter Lukavsky, teasing out how structures within the HCV RNA coordinates the recruitment of the translation machinery by isolating ribosomal complexes. At University Paris Descartes (Fr), with Bruno Sargueil, I then established a new mechanism used by HIV to recruit several ribosomes and synthesise viral proteins.
In 2009, I established my own lab at University of Surrey, first as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and now Professor of Virology and Lead for the Virology Section. Our team specialises in the control of gene expression by viruses, characterising how viruses hijack the translational machinery to make their own proteins, but also how they manipulate gene expression in the infected host. Building on this, we now also study mechanisms of translational control important in health and diseases.