Université de Strasbourg

Françoise Dantzer


Research Institute of the Strasbourg Biotechnology School (IREBS), University of Strasbourg

Françoise Dantzer, USIAS Fellow 2017

Françoise Dantzer obtained her PhD from the University of Strasbourg in 1998 on the role of Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 in genome stability and DNA replication supported by grants from the French National League against Cancer and the Association for Research on Cancer. She then held a post-doctoral position at the National Hospital in Oslo, Norway working on base excision repair. She was supported by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Research Council of Norway.

In 2002, she joined the IREBS team “Cellular response to DNA damage: animal and cellular models”, headed by Josiane Ménissier-de Murcia, as a CNRS junior scientist. She focused her research on the functional characterization of Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 2 in physiological processes and took over charge of the team in 2007 when J. Ménissier-de Murcia tragically passed away after a serious illness. From 2009 to 2017, Françoise Dantzer co-directed the team “Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and genome integrity” together with Dr. Valérie Schreiber. The aim of the team’s research was to decipher the contribution of poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation in genome stability and chromatin-based pathways. The team was certified “Équipe labellisée” by the French National League against Cancer (2010-2015) and is a founding member of the Laboratory of Excellence (LabEx) Drug Research Centre Médalis (2010-2020).

Françoise Dantzer was promoted to CNRS Research Director in 2010. From 2018, she will direct the team “Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and genome integrity” at IREBS. The major current activities of the team focus on the biochemical and functional characterization of Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 3 in DNA repair, tumorigenesis and stem cell differentiation.

Project - PARP3 in continuous and stress-induced neurogenesis

October 2017 - September 2019

Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation is a post-translational modification of proteins mediated by Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARP). PARP is a family of proteins, with 17 members that all have different structures and functions in cellular processes. Among them, PARP3 is characterized by its key function in the repair of double-strand breaks by non-homologous end-joining in response to genotoxic drugs and programmed DNA damage during class switch recombination. PARP3 was also shown to modulate transcription in the early stages of zebrafish development and to participate in TGFb and Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)-driven epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stemness in cancer cells. However, the physiological and pathophysiological events in which PARP3 is involved remain unknown.  Preliminary observations in the laboratory indicate that  PARP3 plays an unexpected role in neural stem cell differentiation.

The scientific objective of the USIAS project that we are developing in close collaboration with Professor Magnar Bjørås (Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim) is to determine the role of PARP3 in stress-induced (ischemic) and normal neurogenesis in brain. We hope to define how the PARP3 responds to ROS and modulates cell signalling events and cytoskeleton rearrangement during the differentiation and migration of neural and progenitor stem cells. With this project we are entering a new field of research, which seeks to reveal a paradigm-shifting hypothesis that DNA repair proteins control cell motion and differentiation.

Post-doc biography - José Manuel Rodríguez Vargas

Research Institute of the Strasbourg Biotechnology School (IREBS), University of Strasbourg

José Manuel Rodríguez VargasJosé Manuel Rodríguez Vargas studied at the University of Jaén in Andalucía from 1999 to 2004, where he obtained a degree in Biology. In 2004, he completed his academic training with a degree in Biochemistry at the University of Granada, Andalucía. He was awarded a research grant under the I3P predoctoral program of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) to complete scientific training in cancer biology at the Institute of Parasitology and Biomedicine “López-Neyra” (IPBLN-CSIC) in the Laboratory “Poly (ADP-ribsoyl)ation and Cancer” of Professor Javier Oliver Pozo (Cell Biology and Immunology Department). In 2013 José Manuel received a PhD in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology with the distinction Cum Laude. He has published several scientific manuscripts in international journals such as Autophagy, Cell Death and Differentiation and Cell Research, focusing his work on the role of PARP1 in the regulation of the initial steps in autophagy in response to different cell stresses (starvation and antitumor drugs).

In 2014 José Manuel was awarded an EMBO Short-Term Fellowship to perform postdoctoral research for three months at the University of Strasbourg in the laboratory of Francoise Dantzer, which was extended and complemented by a Spanish grant from the Ramón Areces Foundation (2015-2017) to analyse the impact of PARP3 TGFb and ROS-driven-epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in basal B breast cancer cell lines and stemness in neural stem cells. He is now collaborating on this USIAS project, where the aim is to define how PARP3 responds to ROS production during astrocytes and neurons differentiation and decipher the mechanism whereby PARP3 controls the migration and proliferation of neural stem cells (NSPCs) and the initial steps of neurogenesis and gliogenesis.


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