Seven research groups, most of them based at the European Institute of Chemistry and Biology, are composing the ARNA Lab in Bordeaux. This interdisciplinary joint Inserm/Université Bordeaux Ségalen research unit (U869) is dedicated to the study of nucleic acids and RNAs using different approaches, including chemistry or biophysics (P. Barthelemy, J.L. Mergny and J.J. Toulmé groups), structural biology (S. Fribourg), as well as molecular and cell biology (D. Dupuy, M. Teichmann and F. Darfeuille groups).
Dr. Jean-Louis Mergny, who was appointed director of the ARNA Lab on the 1st of January 2011, provides further details about the scope of the lab: “we are interested in RNA targeting by natural or artificial ligands, RNA transcription and maturation, and we also use RNAs as biotechnological tools to design aptamers. One group in the lab is also interested in the vectorization of drugs.”
Since its creation in 2007, the lab has developed and acquired a wide range of technologies. Jean-Jacques Toulmé’s group has developed a comprehensive platform for the selection of aptamers. The Barthemely’s group benefits from advanced expertise in the field of chemistry for vectorization and imaging while J.L. Mergny is involved in the development of screening assays to identify drugs binding to nucleic acids. The lab also has a strong expertise in the analysis of molecular interactions, in particular through SPR and isothermal calorimetry (ITC). At a more fundamental level, M. Teichmann aims at deciphering new functions for RNA polymerase III; F. Darfeuille is interested in small prokaryotic RNAs and D. Dupuy studies tissue-specific alternative splicing events in C. elegans. Structural biology is also an important component to understand RNA maturation (S. Fribourg) or unusual nucleic acid structures. Another aspect is related to nanotechnologies: P. Barthelemy and J.L. Mergny are interested in nucleoside- and oligonucleotide-self assembly, respectively. Since 2010, the lab has published seminal works in major journals such as Nature, Nature Methods, Nature Mol. Struct. Biol. and PNAS.
“Our expertise and equipment could be applied to other fields of interests. For our part, in the context of the Interbio network, we would be interested in collaborating with scientists in the fields of nanotechnology, bioinformatics (micro-array, next generation sequencing) and those interested in the applications of the tools we develop” concludes Jean-Louis Mergny.
ARNA Lab members in the Interbio directory:
Sonia DA ROCHA GOMES (Novaptech)