Research Team

Genetic instability and control by the host genome

dna-Axe 1
HomeTeamsGenetic instability and control by the host genome
Transposable elements (TEs), DNA sequences able to moving from one chromosomal site to another, are major components of every organism. For example, they represent nearly 20% of the genome of Drosophila melanogaster and in humans, the family of retrotransposons, which move via an RNA intermediary in a process called retrotransposition, represents more than 40% of the genome. Because of their ability to transpose, ETs represent a constant threat to the stability of eukaryotic genomes, and protective mechanisms limiting their mobilization have been initiate in cells. Nevertheless, TEs have effectively colonized genomes, which leads us to believe that on the one hand, they have the ability to bypass host defense mechanisms and mobilize in cells that will ensure their propagation to the next generation; on the other hand, their mobilization brings an evolutionary advantage to organisms via the gene expression variability they can induce and the genetic dynamics they bring about.


Our research focuses on the mechanisms allowing a balance between TE repression and mobilization. To this goal, we work on Drosophila melanogaster and combine genetic approaches, molecular and cellular biology as well as transgenesis and genome wide analyses.

We are investigating three specific features of this control:

  1. Silencing mechanisms controlling TE: We are investigating the molecular mechanisms and actors involved in the multiple pathways of the genomic defense acting against TE invasions. Their spatio-temporal specificities and plasticity are examined as well as strategies allowing these silencing to exert their effect on the progeny.
  2. Role of heterochromatic regions: We are investigating the role of heterochromatic regions and focus our study on their control of transposable elements. Heterochromatic loci producing small RNAs and called piRNA clusters such as the flamenco locus (or COM locus) are more particularly examined through the analysis of their molecular structure and dynamics, their transcriptional control, their nuclear localization, and their evolutive history.
  3. Impact of transposable elements on the structural and functional organization of the genome: Due to their regulatory sequences and to specific chromatin structures associated to their insertions, transposable elements and their regulatory loci can be considered as creative forces directly contributing to genome regulation. Our goal is to unravel the relationship established between these sequences and their host genomes.
  4. Host- endogenous retroviruses reactivation relationship:

Overall, our study aims at gaining a deeper understanding of the silencing pathways used to control TE and their potential impact on the epigenetic regulation of eukaryotic genomes. Additionally, it aims at elucidating why a high amount of TE sequences is present in each genome while a strict control acts to restrict their invasion.




33 publications

The catalytic-dead Pcif1 regulates gene expression and fertility in Drosophila.

Published on 01 May 2023 in RNA (New York, N.Y.) , vol. 29 - pp 609-619

Franco G, Taillebourg E, Delfino E, Homolka D, Gueguen N , Brasset E , Pandey RR, Pillai RS, Fauvarque MO

The histone demethylase Kdm3 prevents auto-immune piRNAs production in Drosophila.

Published on 07 Apr 2023 in Science advances , vol. 9 - pp eade3872

Casier K, Autaa J, Gueguen N , Delmarre V, Marie PP, Ronsseray S, Carré C, Brasset E , Teysset L, Boivin A


The Class I HDAC Inhibitor, MS-275, Prevents Oxaliplatin-Induced Chronic Neuropathy and Potentiates Its Antiproliferative Activity in Mice.

Published on 22 Dec 2021 in International journal of molecular sciences , vol. 23

Lamoine S, Cumenal M, Barriere DA, Pereira V, Fereyrolles M, Prival L, Barbier J, Boudieu L, Brasset E , Bertin B , Renaud Y , Miot-Noirault E, Civiale MA, Balayssac D, Aissouni Y, Eschalier A, Busserolles J

Rhino breaks the deadlock in Drosophila testis.

Published on 02 Sep 2021 in PLoS genetics , vol. 17 - pp e1009702

Molla Herman A, Brasset E


Environmentally-induced epigenetic conversion of a piRNA cluster.

Published on 15 Mar 2019 in eLife , vol. 8

Casier K, Delmarre V, Gueguen N , Hermant C, Viodé E, Vaury C , Ronsseray S, Brasset E , Teysset L, Boivin A


Transcriptional and chromatin changes accompanying de novo formation of transgenic piRNA clusters.

Published on 30 Apr 2018 in RNA (New York, N.Y.) , vol. 24 - pp 574-584

Akulenko N, Ryazansky S, Morgunova V, Komarov PA, Olovnikov I, Vaury C , Jensen S , Kalmykova A


Increased production of piRNAs from euchromatic clusters and genes in Anopheles gambiae compared with Drosophila melanogaster.

Published on 27 Nov 2015 in Epigenetics & chromatin , vol. 8 - pp 50

George P, Jensen S , Pogorelcnik R , Lee J, Xing Y, Brasset E , Vaury C , Sharakhov IV

PIWI Slicing and RNA Elements in Precursors Instruct Directional Primary piRNA Biogenesis.

Published on 21 Jul 2015 in Cell reports , vol. 12 - pp 418-28

Homolka D, Pandey RR, Goriaux C , Brasset E , Vaury C , Sachidanandam R, Fauvarque MO, Pillai RS


Microsporidian genomes harbor a diverse array of transposable elements that demonstrate an ancestry of horizontal exchange with metazoans.

Published on 28 Aug 2014 in Genome biology and evolution , vol. 6 - pp 2289-300

Parisot N, Pelin A, Gasc C, Polonais V, Belkorchia A, Panek J, El Alaoui H, Biron DG, Brasset E , Vaury C , Peyret P, Corradi N, Peyretaillade É, Lerat E

Spatio-temporal requirements for transposable element piRNA-mediated silencing during Drosophila oogenesis.

Published on 02 Mar 2014 in Nucleic acids research , vol. 42 - pp 2512-24

Dufourt J , Dennis C , Boivin A, Gueguen N , Théron E, Goriaux C , Pouchin P , Ronsseray S, Brasset E , Vaury C


Distribution, evolution, and diversity of retrotransposons at the flamenco locus reflect the regulatory properties of piRNA clusters.

Published on 03 Dec 2013 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America , vol. 110 - pp 19842-7

Zanni V, Eymery A, Coiffet M, Zytnicki M, Luyten I, Quesneville H, Vaury C , Jensen S

“Dot COM”, a nuclear transit center for the primary piRNA pathway in Drosophila.

Published on 09 Sep 2013 in PloS one , vol. 8 - pp e72752

Dennis C , Zanni V, Brasset E , Eymery A, Zhang L, Mteirek R , Jensen S , Rong YS, Vaury C

De novo piRNA cluster formation in the Drosophila germ line triggered by transgenes containing a transcribed transposon fragment.

Published on 30 Jun 2013 in Nucleic acids research , vol. 41 - pp 5757-68

Olovnikov I, Ryazansky S, Shpiz S, Lavrov S, Abramov Y, Vaury C , Jensen S , Kalmykova A

Epigenetics and transgenerational inheritance.

Published on 24 May 2013 in Genome biology , vol. 14 - pp 306

Brasset E , Chambeyron S

NucBase, an easy to use read mapper for small RNAs.

Published on 01 Jan 2013 in Mobile DNA , vol. 4 - pp 1

Dufourt J , Pouchin P , Peyret P, Brasset E , Vaury C


Polycomb group-dependent, heterochromatin protein 1-independent, chromatin structures silence retrotransposons in somatic tissues outside ovaries.

Published on 30 Dec 2011 in DNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes , vol. 18 - pp 451-61

Dufourt J , Brasset E , Desset S , Pouchin P , Vaury C


The Idefix enhancer-blocking insulator also harbors barrier activity.

Published on 15 Jan 2010 in Gene , vol. 450 - pp 25-31

Brasset E , Hermant C, Jensen S , Vaury C


Genomic environment influences the dynamics of the tirant LTR retrotransposon in Drosophila.

Published on 30 May 2009 in FASEB journal : official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology , vol. 23 - pp 1482-9

Fablet M, Lerat E, Rebollo R, Horard B, Burlet N, Martinez S, Brasset E , Gilson E, Vaury C , Vieira C


Functional characteristics of a highly specific integrase encoded by an LTR-retrotransposon.

Published on 11 Sep 2008 in PloS one , vol. 3 - pp e3185

Faye B, Arnaud F, Peyretaillade E, Brasset E , Dastugue B, Vaury C

Domain organization of human chromosomes revealed by mapping of nuclear lamina interactions.

Published on 12 Jun 2008 in Nature , vol. 453 - pp 948-51

Guelen L, Pagie L, Brasset E , Meuleman W, Faza MB, Talhout W, Eussen BH, de Klein A, Wessels L, de Laat W, van Steensel B

Maintenance of long-range DNA interactions after inhibition of ongoing RNA polymerase II transcription.

Published on 20 Feb 2008 in PloS one , vol. 3 - pp e1661

Palstra RJ, Simonis M, Klous P, Brasset E , Eijkelkamp B, de Laat W


2 theses
Thèse de Marianne Yoth
Realized by :
Marianne Yoth
Defense date:
Etude de la biologie des clusters de piARNs chez Drosophila melanogaster en utilisant comme modèle le locus flamenco
Realized by :
Nolwenn Mouniee
Defense date:
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