EPFL BioE Talks SERIES "Regulation of Gene Expression During the Awakening of the Zygotic Genome"


Event details

Date 06.12.2021
Hour 16:0017:00
Speaker Prof. Mounia Lagha, Institute of Molecular Genetics, University of Montpellier, CNRS, Montpellier (FR)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

A fundamental question in biology is how cellular processes are so reproducible despite the inherent variations in the chemical reactions governing them. During development of a multicellular organism, precise control of gene expression allows the reproducible establishment of patterns. Our goal is to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for precision in gene expression and to link them to accuracy in cell fate decisions. My team tackles this question using the early development of Drosophila as a model system, during the maternal to zygotic transition. During this critical developmental window, patterns of gene expression are rapidly established with remarkable reproducibility and accuracy. We use quantitative imaging, genetic manipulations, biophysics and mathematical modeling to integrate the dynamic aspects of transcription and translation. In this talk, I will summarize our recent results regarding the control of transcriptional memory and transcriptional bursting by cis-regulatory elements and pioneer factors [1, 2]. I will also present our recent deployment of the Suntag method to monitor translation in living Drosophila embryos, that lead to the discovery of intragenic translational heterogeneities [3].

[1] Bellec M, Dufourt J, Hunt G,  Lenden-Hasse H, Trullo A, Zine El Aabidine A,  Lamarque M, Gaskill M,  Faure-Gautron H, Mannervik M, Harrison M, -Christophe Andrau JC,  Favard C,  Radulescu O and Lagha# M (2021) The control of transcriptional memory by stable mitotic bookmarking. bioRxiv 2021.08.30.458146; doi: 10.1101/2021.08.30.458146 (submitted)

[2] Pimmett V*, Dejean M*, Fernandez C, Trullo A, Bertrand A, Radulescu O and Lagha M# (2021) Quantitative imaging of transcription in living Drosophila embryos reveals the impact of core promoter motifs on promoter state dynamics. Nature Communications, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-24461-6.

[3] Dufourt J#*, Bellec M*, Trullo A,  Dejean M, De Rossi S, Favard C and Lagha M#  
Imaging translation dynamics in live embryos reveals spatial heterogeneities, Science (2021)
Apr 29;eabc3483. DOI: 10.1126/science.abc3483

I am researcher in Developmental Biology and my main interest is how gene expression is precisely established during embryogenesis.
My initial training was on mouse myogenesis (PhD obtained in 2008 at the Pasteur Institute in Paris under the supervision of Pr M.Buckingham and F.Relaix). For my post-doc, in order to obtain more mechanistic insights, I changed model organism and studied transcriptional regulation during Drosophila development at UC Berkeley in the lab of Pr M.Levine (2010-2014). My postdoctoral work revealed the importance of paused polymerase for the coordination of cell fate decisions during gastrulation.
Since 2015, I am directing a group at IGMM in Montpellier (www.laghalab.com) where we study mechanisms of transcriptional regulation in living Drosophila embryos. Our current research focuses on the role of promoters and enhancers on the dynamic aspects of transcription (transcriptional synchrony, bursting and memory). Recently we started also investigating translational control during early development. We use a variety of approaches ranging from classical genetics, molecular biology to quantitative live imaging and biophysical techniques. We constantly collaborate with physicists and mathematicians to develop theoretical frameworks for a better understanding of our quantitative biological data.

As a consequence of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, in-person attendance of this seminar is subjected to some constraints:
  • Maximum number of participants is limited to 80 (2/3 of room SV1717's nominal capacity): first come, first served!
  • Valid COVID certificate and ID, required to enter the meeting room, will be checked at the entrance
  • Face masks are mandatory for everyone in the seminar room (excepted the speaker while presenting).
Thank you warmly for your understanding!

Alternatively, the seminar can also be followed via Zoom web-streaming:
Zoom link (with one-time registration for the whole series) for attending remotely: https://go.epfl.ch/EPFLBioETalks

Instructions for 1st-year Ph.D. students who are under EDBB’s mandatory seminar attendance rule:
IF you are not attending in-person in the room, please make sure to
  1. send D. Reinhard a note before noon on seminar day, informing that you plan to attend the talk online, and
  2. be signed in on Zoom with a recognizable user name (not a pseudonym making it difficult or impossible to be identified).
Students attending the seminar in-person should collect a confirmation signature after the talk - please print your own signature sheet beforehand (71 kB pdf available for download here).

Practical information

  • Informed public
  • Registration required