Deciphering RNA-based regulations in bacteria


Although small regulatory RNAs are numerous (~100 sRNAs in E. coli) and play significant functions in the physiology of living organisms, their mechanisms of action remain largely unknown. sRNAs are usually shorter than 300 nucleotides, non-coding, and found in both eukaryotic and prokaryotic organisms. Because they can directly regulate virulence factors and antibiotic resistance in bacterial pathogens, sRNAs are extremely potent modulators of gene expression. Our recent work with E. coli has revealed unique features of sRNAs; (1) a single sRNA can rapidly silence mRNAs by recruiting the RNA chaperone Hfq to block translation; (2) sRNAs can recruit ribonucleases such as RNase E to induce sRNA-mediated mRNA decay; (3) sponge RNAs can regulate sRNA functions and dramatically change response to stress.

We design our experiments to generate new data to decipher mechanisms of regulatory RNAs (sRNAs, sponges), which is all the more important as we expect the number of regulatory RNAs to expand in the next few years.

RNA targetomes


Combining a pull-down assay and RNA sequencing in an approach called MAPS (MS2 Affinity Purification coupled with RNA Sequencing), we are able to uncover unsuspected RNA interactions.

Global screening such as MAPS exposes novel types of cellular RNA transactions, which are being further investigated to evaluate their impact on the cell. Since the MAPS approach is quite flexible, we are also investigating the sRNA targetomes of other bacterial species.

Our main goal is to decipher the most critical RNA-based regulations in bacteria. To achieve this, we focus our investigations on full in vivo targetomes of various selected sRNAs.

The microbiome as a biomarker for colorectal cancer


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cause of cancer mortality in the world. Early detection and removal of polyps at the precancerous stage is critical for patient survival. Recent studies demonstrated that the microbiome, bacteria living in the human gut, is an important risk factor for colon cancer and can directly foster tumorigenesis by interacting with the immune system.

We aim to establish the microbiome as a biomarker for colorectal cancer. Combining bioinformatic tools and using currently available screenings for CRC, we hope to improve the prognosis for CRC patients through early disease detection

Contact Us

Pr Eric Massé
Faculté de Médecine et des Sciences de la santé - Université de Sherbrooke
Département de Biochimie et de Génomique Fonctionnelle
Pavillon de Recherche Appliquée sur le Cancer (PRAC)
3201, Jean Mignault
Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada
J1E 4K8


Eric Massé - Office
Room Z8-1073
Phone: (819) 821-8000 ext. 75475
Fax: (819) 820-6831


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