Curing cancer with Daffodils?

Pellegrino et al., have shown that haemanthamine inhibits both ribosome biogenesis and function, providing for the first time the molecular basis of the anticancer properties of this natural compound used for centuries in folk medicine. The ribosome biogenesis inhibition triggers an antitumoral surveillance response leading to p53 stabilization (nucleolar stress).

Published in Structure (Cell Press), March 2018. In collaboration with Marat Yusupov (IGBMC, U. Strasbourg)

“A helping hand is providing the natural anticancer compound haemanthamine, extracted from the Amaryllidaceae Narcissus, to a heart-shaped ribosome to suppress cancer cell growth”. Illustration by Cat Minh Vo (c), Brussels, 2018.

Cover of Structure magazine, March 2018

"Helping hands" by Cat Minh Vo 2018



Involvement of U3 and U8 box C/D snoRNAs in tumorigenesis


Small nucleolar RNAs (snoRNAs) are emerging as a novel class of proto-oncogenes and tumor suppressors; their involvement in tumorigenesis remains unclear. The box C/D snoRNAs U3 and U8 are upregulated in breast cancers. Here we characterize the function of human U3 and U8 in ribosome biogenesis, nucleolar structure, and tumorigenesis. …

Continue reading

“Ki-67 organizes heterochromatin and is required for nucleolar genesis”


  In Collaboration with Daniel Fisher (Montpellier Institute of Molecular Genetics – CNRS, Université de Montpellier), we showed that Ki-67 plays an important role during nucleologenesis. Specifically, we showed that Ki-67 is important for PR (Perichromosomal Region) formation: During mitosis, the nucleolus undergoes a dramatic cycle of disassembly and reassembly. …

Continue reading

“Kill The Sammson, Kill The Melanoma”


In a work led by Jean-Christophe Marine (VIB, KU Leuven) we contributed to the characterization of the lineage-specific long non-coding RNA Sammson. Sammson is only expressed in melanoma cells. When Sammson’ expression is shut, melanoma cells die, principally of loss of mitochondrial function. Focal amplifications of chromosome 3p13–3p14 occur in …

Continue reading

10th Ribosome Synthesis Meeting in Brussels, Belgium, 19-23 August 2015


Organizing committee: Sander GRANNEMAN (University of Edinburgh) Katrin KARBSTEIN (The SCRIPPS Research Institute, Florida) Denis LAFONTAINE (University of Brussels) Tom MEIER (Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York) Joost ZOMERDIJK (University of Dundee) Keynote lectures: Prof David TOLLERVEY, Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Biology, U. Edinburgh Prof Nenad BAN, ETH, …

Continue reading