Yegor Vassetzky's Lab

About the lab

Nuclear Organization and Pathologies Lab

Featured research (22)

Most cancer-related chromosomal translocations appear to be cell type specific. It is currently unknown why different chromosomal translocations occur in different cells. This can be due to either the occurrence of particular translocations in specific cell types or adaptive survival advantage conferred by translocations only in specific cells. We experimentally addressed this question by double-strand break (DSB) induction at MYC, IGH, AML and ETO loci in the same cell to generate chromosomal translocations in different cell lineages. Our results show that any translocation can potentially arise in any cell type. We have analyzed different factors that could affect the frequency of the translocations, and only the spatial proximity between gene loci after the DSB induction correlated with the resulting translocation frequency, supporting the ‘breakage-first’ model. Furthermore, upon long-term culture of cells with the generated chromosomal translocations, only oncogenic MYC–IGH and AML–ETO translocations persisted over a 60-day period. Overall, the results suggest that chromosomal translocation can be generated after DSB induction in any type of cell, but whether the cell with the translocation would persist in a cell population depends on the cell type-specific selective survival advantage that the chromosomal translocation confers to the cell.
Endocytosis is one of the major ways cells communicate with their environment. This process is frequently hijacked by pathogens. Endocytosis also participates in the oncogenic transformation. Here, we review the approaches to inhibit endocytosis, discuss chemical inhibitors of this process, and discuss potential clinical applications of the endocytosis inhibitors.
Burkitt lymphoma (BL) is a B cell malignancy associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Most BL cases are characterized by a t(8;14) chromosomal translocation involving the MYC oncogene and the immunoglobulin heavy chain gene (IGH). The role of EBV in promoting this translocation remains largely unknown. Here we provide the experimental evidence that EBV reactivation from latency leads to an increase in the proximity between the MYC and IGH loci, otherwise located far away in the nuclear space both in B-lymphoblastoid cell lines and in patients' B-cells. Specific DNA damage within the MYC locus, followed by the MRE11-dependent DNA repair plays a role in this process. Using a CRISPR/Cas9-based B cell model to induce specific DNA double strand breaks in MYC and IGH loci, we have shown that the MYC-IGH proximity induced by EBV reactivation leads to an increased t(8;14) translocation frequency. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
Human genome is folded into a multi-level 3D structure that controls many nuclear functions including gene expression. Recently, alterations in 3D genome organization were associated with several genetic diseases and cancer. As a consequence, experimental approaches are now being developed to modify the global 3D genome organization and that of specific loci. Here we discuss emerging experimental approaches of 3D genome editing that may prove useful in biomedicine.
Pulmonary fibrosis is a common and threatening post-COVID-19 complication with poorly resolved molecular mechanisms and no established treatment. The plasminogen activator system, including urokinase (uPA) and urokinase receptor (uPAR), is involved in the pathogenesis of COVID-19 and contributes to the development of lung injury and post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis, although their cellular and molecular underpinnings still remain obscure. The aim of the current study was to assess the role of uPA and uPAR in the pathogenesis of pulmonary fibrosis. We analyzed uPA and uPAR expression in human lung tissues from COVID-19 patients with pulmonary fibrosis using single-cell RNA-seq and immunohistochemistry. We modeled lung fibrosis in Plau-/- and Plaur-/-mice upon bleomycin instillation and explored the effect of uPAR downregulation in A549 and BEAS-2B lung epithelial cells. We found that uPAR expression drastically decreased in the epithelial airway basal cells and monocyte/macrophage cells, whereas uPA accumulation significantly increased in tissue samples of COVID-19 patients. Lung injury and fibrosis in Plaur-/- vs. WT mice upon bleomycin instillation revealed that uPAR deficiency resulted in pro-fibrogenic uPA accumulation, IL-6 and ACE2 upregulation in lung tissues and was associated with severe fibrosis, weight loss and poor survival. uPAR downregulation in A549 and BEAS-2B was linked to an increased N-cadherin expression, indicating the onset of epithelial–mesenchymal transition and potentially contributing to pulmonary fibrosis. Here for the first time, we demonstrate that plasminogen treatment reversed lung fibrosis in Plaur-/- mice: the intravenous injection of 1 mg of plasminogen on the 21st day of bleomycin-induced fibrosis resulted in a more than a two-fold decrease in the area of lung fibrosis as compared to non-treated mice as evaluated by the 42nd day. The expression and function of the plasminogen activator system are dysregulated upon COVID-19 infection, leading to excessive pulmonary fibrosis and worsening the prognosis. The potential of plasminogen as a life-saving treatment for non-resolving post-COVID-19 pulmonary fibrosis warrants further investigation.

Lab head

Yegor Vassetzky
  • METSY (UMR 9018)
About Yegor Vassetzky
  • My laboratory works on the role of nuclear organization in cancer and genetic diseases

Members (9)

Marc Lipinski
  • French National Centre for Scientific Research
Svetlana Dokudovskaya
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Anna A. Shmakova
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Diego Germini
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Anna Schwager
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Fatimata Sall
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
Burkitkan Akbay
  • Nazarbayev University
Reynand Jay Carrillo Canoy
  • Université Paris-Saclay

Alumni (3)

Andrei Pichugin
Andrei Pichugin
Diana Markozashvili
  • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy