"Archaea, forming the third domain of life, are extremely interesting to study because of their position between Bacteria and Eukaryotes. Indeed, they possess characteristics from these two other domains; they are morphologically very close to bacteria (cell size; absence of a nuclear envelope) but show cellular mechanisms closer to eukaryotic ones (DNA replication, histones). Following a bioinformatics study of replication genes environments in archaea, Pr. Forterre’s lab showed that 2 clusters were highly conserved among archaea; surprisingly, the clusters grouped genes coding for replisome AND ribosomal proteins. The conservation of the clusters throughout evolution strongly suggests a functional interaction of the proteins involved. This project aims at studying the clusters to uncover a coupling between replication and translation in archaea. This would bring tremendous results for two reasons: first, such a control has never been shown in archaea or eukaryotes before, and was discovered only recently in bacteria, through the stringent response. No mechanism is known in archaea and eukaryotes to link proteins synthesis to DNA synthesis. Second, most of the genes located in the clusters have homologues in eukaryotes, and some of them are overexpressed in some human cancers. Thus, finding a new function and interacting partners for these proteins would help in understanding their role in cancer development and defining new therapeutic targets."
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