Why Cells Go Bad
Messenger RNA (mRNA) stability influences gene expression in virtually all organisms, from bacteria to mammals. In mammalian cells without any change in transcription rate, the abundance of a particular mRNA can fluctuate dramatically due to alterations in mRNA half-life and/or their cellular location. Therefore, the processes that regulate mRNA half-life and transport can affect how a cell grows, differentiates and responds to its environment. Development of many tumors is correlated with alteration of half-life and cellular localization of some mRNA encoding key proteins that regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. To maintain cell integrity, all of these processes need to be coordinated and tightly regulated.
In his research program, Dr. Imed Gallouzi will define the factors that link mRNA turnover and mRNA cellular trafficking, to clarify how and why many cancers start. His plan combines approaches associated with biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology.
Dr. Gallouzi's research focuses on two RNA-binding proteins, HuR and G3BP. In his earlier work, he studied the two proteins separately and defined the mechanisms by which they affect mRNA turnover, but the link between mRNA half-life and mRNA nuclear export and how they affect cell growth and differentiation remain unclear. Dr. Gallouzi hopes to establish how mRNA stabilization, degradation and cellular trafficking work together to ensure proper cell growth and differentiation by defining the link between HuR and G3BP.
Dr. Gallouzi's program at McGill University creates a new centre of excellence in cell biology at the institution, and his training activities will generate a strong team of cross-disciplinary researchers who can bring expertise in biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology technologies to bear on the challenging problems related to cancer cell development and growth.