Franck Court

French National Centre for Scientific Research, Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France

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Publications (21)129.36 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Malignant gliomas are the most common primary brain tumors. Grade III and IV gliomas harboring wild-type IDH1/2 are the most aggressive. In addition to surgery and radiotherapy, concomitant and adjuvant chemotherapy with temozolomide (TMZ) significantly improves overall survival (OS). The methylation status of the O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter is predictive of TMZ response and a prognostic marker of cancer outcome. However, the promoter regions the methylation of which correlates best with survival in aggressive glioma and whether the promoter methylation status predictive value could be refined or improved by other MGMT-associated molecular markers are not precisely known. In a cohort of 87 malignant gliomas treated with radiotherapy and TMZ-based chemotherapy, we retrospectively determined the MGMT promoter methylation status, genotyped single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the promoter region and quantified MGMT mRNA expression level. Each of these variables was correlated with each other and with the patients’ OS. We found that methylation of the CpG sites within MGMT exon 1 best correlated with OS and MGMT expression levels, and confirmed MGMT methylation as a stronger independent prognostic factor compared to MGMT transcription levels. Our main finding is that the presence of only the A allele at the rs34180180 SNP in the tumor was significantly associated with shorter OS, independently of the MGMT methylation status. In conclusion, in the clinic, rs34180180 SNP genotyping could improve the prognostic value of the MGMT promoter methylation assay in patients with aggressive glioma treated with TMZ.
    No preview · Article · Dec 2015 · Carcinogenesis
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    ABSTRACT: Parental allele-specific expression of imprinted genes is mediated by imprinting control regions (ICRs) that are constitutively marked by DNA methylation imprints on the maternal or paternal allele. Mono-allelic DNA methylation is strictly required for the process of imprinting and has to be faithfully maintained during the entire life-span. While the regulation of DNA methylation itself is well understood, the mechanisms whereby the opposite allele remains unmethylated are unclear. Here, we show that in the mouse, at maternally methylated ICRs, the paternal allele, which is constitutively associated with H3K4me2/3, is marked by default by H3K27me3 when these ICRs are transcriptionally inactive, leading to the formation of a bivalent chromatin signature. Our data suggest that at ICRs, chromatin bivalency has a protective role by ensuring that DNA on the paternal allele remains unmethylated and protected against spurious and unscheduled gene expression. Moreover, they provide the proof of concept that, beside pluripotent cells, chromatin bivalency is the default state of transcriptionally inactive CpG island promoters, regardless of the developmental stage, thereby contributing to protect cell identity.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2015 · Nucleic Acids Research
  • Vuthy Ea · Franck Court · Thierry Forné
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    ABSTRACT: The chromosome conformation capture (3C) technique is fundamental to many population-based methods investigating chromatin dynamics and organization in eukaryotes. Here, we provide a modified quantitative 3C (3C-qPCR) protocol for improved quantitative analyses of intra-chromosomal contacts. We also describe an algorithm for data normalization which allows more accurate comparisons between contact profiles.
    No preview · Article · May 2015 · Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.)
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    ABSTRACT: Epigenetic changes in the placenta have been postulated to act as mediators between environmental influences and poor fetal growth. We assessed if genes with a plausible influence on growth could be aberrantly methylated in placental samples from pregnancies complicated by intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). A candidate gene approach was undertaken using a custom Illumina Goldengate(®) array on a collection of placental samples from growth restricted pregnancies and normally grown controls with confirmation using bisulphite pyrosequencing. The custom array analysis revealed that the promoter of RASSF1A was the only region with significant methylation differences between IUGR placentas and those from pregnancies with appropriate growth for gestational age (AGA). The RASSF1A promoter had increased levels of DNA methylation in IUGR samples compared to controls. Interestingly, the methylation difference was also observed in preeclamptic samples. Higher methylation was associated with a concomitant decrease in expression of the RASSF1 transcript A, but not other isoforms that originate from an alternative, nearby promoter interval. Our results do not support the hypothesis that altered DNA-methylation in the placenta is a mechanism generally involved in fetal growth restriction. A specific region corresponding to the promoter of RASSF1A does display methylation changes in placenta that could be used to identify at-risk pregnancies. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2015 · Placenta
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting is the epigenetic marking of genes that results in parent-of-origin monoallelic expression. Most imprinted domains are associated with differentially DNA methylated regions (DMRs) that originate in the gametes, and are maintained in somatic tissues after fertilization. This allelic methylation profile is associated with a plethora of histone tail modifications that orchestrates higher order chromatin interactions. The mouse chromosome 15 imprinted cluster contains multiple brain-specific maternally expressed transcripts including Ago2, Chrac1, Trappc9 and Kcnk9 and a paternally expressed gene, Peg13. The promoter of Peg13 is methylated on the maternal allele and is the sole DMR within the locus. To determine the extent of imprinting within the human orthologous region on chromosome 8q24, a region associated with autosomal recessive intellectual disability, Birk-Barel mental retardation and dysmorphism syndrome, we have undertaken a systematic analysis of allelic expression and DNA methylation of genes mapping within an approximately 2 Mb region around TRAPPC9. Utilizing allele-specific RT-PCR, bisulphite sequencing, chromatin immunoprecipitation and chromosome conformation capture (3C) we show the reciprocal expression of the novel, paternally expressed, PEG13 non-coding RNA and maternally expressed KCNK9 genes in brain, and the biallelic expression of flanking transcripts in a range of tissues. We identify a tandem-repeat region overlapping the PEG13 transcript that is methylated on the maternal allele, which binds CTCF-cohesin in chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments and possesses enhancer-blocker activity. Using 3C, we identify mutually exclusive approximately 58 and 500 kb chromatin loops in adult frontal cortex between a novel brain-specific enhancer, marked by H3K4me1 and H3K27ac, with the KCNK9 and PEG13 promoters which we propose regulates brain-specific expression. We have characterised the molecular mechanism responsible for reciprocal allelic expression of the PEG13 and KCNK9 transcripts. Therefore, our observations may have important implications for identifying the cause of intellectual disabilities associated with the 8q24 locus.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Epigenetics & Chromatin
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    ABSTRACT: Cancer is as much an epigenetic disease as a genetic one; however, the interplay between these two processes is unclear. Recently, it has been shown that a large proportion of DNA methylation variability can be explained by allele-specific methylation (ASM), either at classical imprinted loci or those regulated by underlying genetic variants. During a recent screen for imprinted differentially methylated regions, we identified the genomic interval overlapping the non-coding nc886 RNA (previously known as vtRNA2-1) as an atypical ASM that shows variable levels of methylation, predominantly on the maternal allele in many tissues. Here we show that the nc886 interval is the first example of a polymorphic imprinted DMR in humans. Further analysis of the region suggests that the interval subjected to ASM is approximately 2 kb in size and somatically acquired. An in depth analysis of this region in primary cancer samples with matching normal adjacent tissue from the Cancer Genome Atlas revealed that aberrant methylation in bladder, breast, colon and lung tumors occurred in approximately 27% of cases. Hypermethylation occurred more frequently than hypomethylation. Using additional normal-tumor paired samples we show that on rare occasions the aberrant methylation profile is due to loss-of-heterozygosity. This work therefore suggests that the nc886 locus is subject to variable allelic methylation that undergoes cancer-associated epigenetic changes in solid tumors.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · Epigenetics: official journal of the DNA Methylation Society
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    ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic chromosomes are partitioned into topologically associating domains (TADs) that are demarcated by distinct insulator-binding proteins (IBPs) in Drosophila. Whether IBPs regulate specific long-range contacts and how this may impact gene expression remains unclear. Here we identify "indirect peaks" of multiple IBPs that represent their distant sites of interactions through long-range contacts. Indirect peaks depend on protein-protein interactions among multiple IBPs and their common cofactors, including CP190, as confirmed by high-resolution analyses of long-range contacts. Mutant IBPs unable to interact with CP190 impair long-range contacts as well as the expression of hundreds of distant genes that are specifically flanked by indirect peaks. Regulation of distant genes strongly correlates with RNAPII pausing, highlighting how this key transcriptional stage may trap insulator-based long-range interactions. Our data illustrate how indirect peaks may decipher gene regulatory networks through specific long-range interactions.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Molecular cell
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    ABSTRACT: Wilms tumor 1 (WT1) is over-expressed in numerous cancers with respect to normal cells, and has either a tumor suppressor or oncogenic role depending on cellular context. This gene is associated with numerous alternatively spliced transcripts, which initiate from two different unique first exons within the WT1 and the alternative (A)WT1 promoter intervals. Within the hematological system, WT1 expression is restricted to CD34+/CD38- cells and is undetectable after differentiation. Detectable expression of this gene is an excellent marker for minimal residual disease in acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but the underlying epigenetic alterations are unknown. To determine the changes in the underlying epigenetic landscape responsible for this expression, we characterized expression, DNA methylation and histone modification profiles in 28 hematological cancer cell lines and confirmed the methylation signature in 356 cytogenetically well-characterized primary hematological malignancies. Despite high expression of WT1 and AWT1 transcripts in AML-derived cell lines, we observe robust hypermethylation of the AWT1 promoter and an epigenetic switch from a permissive to repressive chromatin structure between normal cells and AML cell lines. Subsequent methylation analysis in our primary leukemia and lymphoma cohort revealed that the epigenetic signature identified in cell lines is specific to myeloid-lineage malignancies, irrespective of underlying mutational status or translocation. In addition to being a highly specific marker for AML diagnosis (positive predictive value 100%; sensitivity 86.1%; negative predictive value 89.4%), we show that AWT1 hypermethylation also discriminates patients that relapse from those achieving complete remission after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, with similar efficiency to WT1 expression profiling. We describe a methylation signature of the AWT1 promoter CpG island that is a promising marker for classifying myeloid-derived leukemias. In addition AWT1 hypermethylation is ideally suited to monitor the recurrence of disease during remission in patients undergoing allogeneic stem cell transfer.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Journal of Hematology & Oncology
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    ABSTRACT: Differential methylation between the two alleles of a gene has been observed at imprinted regions, where the methylation of one allele occurs on a parent-of-origin basis, the inactive X-chromosome in females, and at those loci whose methylation is driven by genetic variants. We have extensively characterized imprinted methylation in a substantial range of normal human tissues, reciprocal genome-wide uniparental disomies and hydatidiform moles, using a combination of whole genome bisulphite sequencing and high-density methylation microarrays. This approach allowed us to define methylation profiles at known imprinted domains at base-pair resolution, as well as identifying 21 novel loci harbouring parent-of-origin methylation, 15 of which are restricted to the placenta. We observe that the extent of imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs) is extremely similar between tissues, with the exception of the placenta. This extra-embryonic tissue often adopts a different methylation profile compared to somatic tissues. Further we profiled all imprinted DMRs in sperm and embryonic stem cells derived from parthenogenetically-activated oocytes, individual blastomeres and blastocysts to identifying primary DMRs and reveal the extent of reprograming during pre-implantation development. Intriguingly, we find that in contrast to ubiquitous imprints, the majority of placenta-specific imprinted DMRs are unmethylated in sperm and all human embryonic stem cells. Therefore, placental-specific imprinting provides evidence for an inheritable epigenetic state that is independent of DNA methylation and the existence of a novel imprinting mechanism at these loci.
    No preview · Article · Jan 2014 · Genome Research
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    ABSTRACT: The junb gene behaves as an immediate early gene in bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated dendritic cells (DCs), where its transient transcriptional activation is necessary for the induction of inflammatory cytokines. junb is a short gene and its transcriptional activation by LPS depends on the binding of NF-κB to an enhancer located just downstream of its 3′ UTR. Here, we have addressed the mechanisms underlying the transcriptional hyper-reactivity of junb. Using transfection and pharmacological assays to complement chromatin immunoprecipitation analyses addressing the localization of histones, polymerase II, negative elongation factor (NELF)-, DRB sensitivity-inducing factor (DSIF)- and Positive Transcription Factor b complexes, we demonstrate that junb is a RNA Pol II-paused gene where Pol II is loaded in the transcription start site domain but poorly active. Moreover, High salt-Recovered Sequence, chromosome conformation capture (3C)- and gene transfer experiments show that (i) junb is organized in a nuclear chromatin loop bringing into close spatial proximity the upstream promoter region and the downstream enhancer and (ii) this configuration permits immediate Pol II release on the junb body on binding of LPS-activated NF-κB to the enhancer. Thus, our work unveils a novel topological framework underlying fast junb transcriptional response in DCs. Moreover, it also points to a novel layer of complexity in the modes of action of NF-κB.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: For the past three decades, assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have revolutionised infertility treatments. The use of ART is thought to be safe. However, early investigations suggested that children born as a result of ART had higher risk of diseases with epigenetic aetiologies including imprinting disorders caused by a lack of maternal methylation at imprinting control elements. In addition, large epidemiology studies have highlighted an increased risk of obstetric complications, including severe intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR) in babies conceived using ART. It is plausible that the increased frequency of IUGR may be due to abnormal imprinting, since these transcripts are key for normal fetal growth and development. To address this, we have collected a large cohort of placenta and cord blood samples from ART conceptions and compared the imprinting status with appropriate non-ART population. Using a custom DNA methylation array that simultaneously quantifies 25 imprinted differentially methylated regions we observed similar epigenetic profiles between groups. A multiplex Sequenom iPLEX allelic expression assay revealed monoallelic expression for 11 imprinted transcripts in our placenta cohort. We also observe appropriate gestational age-dependent methylation dynamics at retrotransposable elements and promoters associated with growth genes in ART placental biopsies. This study confirms that children conceived by ART do not show variability in imprinted regulation and that loss-of-imprinting is not commonly associated with non-syndromic IUGR or prematurity.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2013 · Biology of Reproduction
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    ABSTRACT: The myogenic regulatory factor Myod and insulin-like growth factor 2 (Igf2) have been shown to interact in vitro during myogenic differentiation. In order to understand how they interact in vivo, we produced double-mutant mice lacking both the Myod and Igf2 genes. Surprisingly, these mice display neonatal lethality due to severe diaphragm atrophy. Alteration of diaphragm muscle development occurs as early as 15.5 days post-coitum in the double-mutant embryos and leads to a defect in the terminal differentiation of muscle progenitor cells. A negative-feedback loop was detected between Myod and Igf2 in embryonic muscles. Igf2 belongs to the imprinted H19-Igf2 locus. Molecular analyses show binding of Myod on a mesodermal enhancer (CS9) of the H19 gene. Chromatin conformation capture experiments reveal direct interaction of CS9 with the H19 promoter, leading to increased H19 expression in the presence of Myod. In turn, the non-coding H19 RNA represses Igf2 expression in trans. In addition, Igf2 also negatively regulates Myod expression, possibly by reducing the expression of the Srf transcription factor, a known Myod activator. In conclusion, Igf2 and Myod are tightly co-regulated in skeletal muscles and act in parallel pathways in the diaphragm, where they affect the progression of myogenic differentiation. Igf2 is therefore an essential player in the formation of a functional diaphragm in the absence of Myod.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Development
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting is the parent-of-origin specific allelic transcriptional silencing observed in mammals, which is governed by DNA methylation established in the gametes and maintained throughout development. The frequency and extent of epimutations associated with the nine reported imprinting syndromes varies, since it is evident that aberrant pre-implantation maintenance of imprinted differentially methylated regions (DMRs) may affect multiple loci. Using a custom Illumina Goldengate array targeting 27 imprinted-DMRs we profiled allelic methylation in 65 imprinting defect patients. We identify multi-locus hypomethyaltion in numerous BWS, TNDM and PHP-1B patients, and an individual with SRS. Our data reveals a broad range of epimutations exist in certain imprinting syndromes, with the exception of PWS and AS patients that are associated with solitary SNRPN-DMR defects. A mutation analysis identified a 1 bp deletion in the ZFP57 gene in a TNDM patient with methylation defects at multiple maternal DMRs. In addition we observe missense variants in ZFP57, NLRP2, and NLRP7 that are not consistent with maternal effect and aberrant establishment or methylation maintenance, and are likely benign. This work illustrates that further extensive molecular characterization of these rare patients is required to fully understand the mechanism underlying the aetiology of imprint establishment and maintenance.
    Full-text · Article · Feb 2013 · Human Mutation
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    ABSTRACT: Paternal duplications of chromosome 6q24, a region that contains the imprinted PLAGL1 and HYMAI transcripts, are associated with transient neonatal diabetes mellitus. A common feature of imprinted genes is that they tend to cluster together, presumably as a result of sharing common cis-acting regulatory elements. To determine the extent of this imprinted cluster in human and mouse, we have undertaken a systematic analysis of allelic expression and DNA methylation of the genes mapping within an ∼1.4-Mb region flanking PLAGL1/Plagl1. We confirm that all nine neighbouring genes are biallelically expressed in both species. In human we identify two novel paternally expressed PLAGL1 coding transcripts that originate from unique promoter regions. Chromatin immunoprecipitation for CTCF and the cohesin subunits RAD21 and SMC3 reveals evolutionarily conserved binding sites within unmethylated regions ∼5 kb downstream of the PLAGL1 differentially methylated region and within the PLAGL1 3' untranslated region (UTR). Higher-order chromatin looping occurs between these regions in both expressing and non-expressing tissues, forming a non-allelic chromatin loop around the PLAGL1/Plagl1 gene. In placenta and brain tissues, we identify an additional interaction between the PLAGL1 P3/P4 promoters and the unmethylated element downstream of the PLAGL1 differentially methylated region that we propose facilitates imprinted expression of these alternative isoforms.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
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    ABSTRACT: Genomic imprinting is a complex epigenetic mechanism of transcriptional control that utilizes DNA methylation and histone modifications to bring about parent-of-origin specific monoallelic expression in mammals. Genes subject to imprinting are often organised in clusters associated with large non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs), some of which have cis-regulatory functions. Here we have undertaken a detailed allelic expression analysis of an imprinted domain on mouse proximal chromosome 10 comprising the paternally expressed Plagl1 gene. We identified three novel Plagl1 transcripts, only one of which contains protein-coding exons. In addition, we characterised two unspliced ncRNAs, Hymai, the mouse orthologue of HYMAI, and Plagl1it (Plagl1 intronic transcript), a transcript located in intron 5 of Plagl1. Imprinted expression of these novel ncRNAs requires DNMT3L-mediated maternal DNA methylation, which is also indispensable for establishing the correct chromatin profile at the Plagl1 DMR. Significantly, the two ncRNAs are retained in the nucleus, consistent with a potential regulatory function at the imprinted domain. Analysis with catRAPID, a protein-ncRNA association prediction algorithm, suggests that Hymai and Plagl1it RNAs both have potentially high affinity for Trithorax chromatin regulators. The two ncRNAs could therefore help to protect the paternal allele from DNA methylation by attracting Trithorax proteins that mediate H3 lysine-4 methylation. Submitted GenBank nucleotides sequences: Plagl1it: JN595789 Hymai: JN595790
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: It was recently shown that a long non-coding RNA (lncRNA), that we named the 91H RNA (i.e. antisense H19 transcript), is overexpressed in human breast tumours and contributes in trans to the expression of the Insulin-like Growth Factor 2 (IGF2) gene on the paternal chromosome. Our preliminary experiments suggested that an H19 antisense transcript having a similar function may also be conserved in the mouse. In the present work, we further characterise the mouse 91H RNA and, using a genetic complementation approach in H19 KO myoblast cells, we show that ectopic expression of the mouse 91H RNA can up-regulate Igf2 expression in trans despite almost complete unmethylation of the Imprinting-Control Region (ICR). We then demonstrate that this activation occurs at the transcriptional level by activation of a previously unknown Igf2 promoter which displays, in mouse tissues, a preferential mesodermic expression (Pm promoter). Finally, our experiments indicate that a large excess of the H19 transcript can counteract 91H-mediated Igf2 activation. Our work contributes, in conjunction with other recent findings, to open new horizons to our understanding of Igf2 gene regulation and functions of the 91H/H19 RNAs in normal and pathological conditions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: The cornea is a transparent, avascular tissue that acts as the major refractive surface of the eye. Corneal transparency, assured by the inner stroma, is vital for this role. Disruption in stromal transparency can occur in some inherited or acquired diseases. As a consequence, light entering the eye is blocked or distorted, leading to decreased visual acuity. Possible treatment for restoring transparency could be via viral-based gene therapy. The stroma is particularly amenable to this strategy due to its immunoprivileged nature and low turnover rate. We assayed the potential of AAV vectors to transduce keratocytes following intra-stromal injection in vivo in the mouse cornea and ex vivo in human explants. In murine and human corneas, we transduced the entire stroma using a single injection, preferentially targeted keratocytes and achieved long-term gene transfer (up to 17 months in vivo in mice). Of the serotypes tested, AAV2/8 was the most promising for gene transfer in both mouse and man. Furthermore, transgene expression could be transiently increased following aggression to the cornea.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Fitting the circular polymer model to mouse gene-rich loci. The circular polymer model (Equations 1 and 2b) was fitted to 3C-qPCR data obtained at gene-rich loci. The best fit curve is shown in red and best fit parameters are as follows: R2 = 0.50 with K = 725,785 ± 66,540; S = 2.515 ± 0.092 kb; c = 110.515 ± 2.028 kb. The black curve depicts the best fit obtained with the linear polymer model (Equations 1 and 2a; R2 = 0.18).
    Preview · Dataset · May 2011
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    ABSTRACT: 3C-qPCR primers.
    Preview · Dataset · May 2011
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    ABSTRACT: 3C-qPCR dataset for the gene-desert region.
    Preview · Dataset · May 2011

Publication Stats

242 Citations
129.36 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2011-2015
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      • • Laboratoire de Biologie Moléculaire Eucaryote (LBME)
      • • The Institute of Molecular Genetics of Montpellier (IGMM)
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2012-2014
    • IDIBELL Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute
      • Programa de Epigenética y Biología del Cáncer - PEBC
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 2013
    • Université de Montpellier 1
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • 2011-2013
    • Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
  • 2008
    • Université Montpellier 2 Sciences et Techniques
      Montpelhièr, Languedoc-Roussillon, France