Société Française de Biochimie et Biologie Moléculaire

Dina Surdin 2023 Prize - Pauline Herviou

Post-doc, Beatson Institute, Glasgow

Pauline Herviou, 29 years old, obtained her master’s degree in biotechnologies in 2018 at AgroParisTech (Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences). She then pursued a PhD under the supervision of Dr Anne Cammas and Dr Stefania Millevoi at the Cancer Research Center of Toulouse (CRCT).

Her thesis project focused on the function of RNA G-quadruplexes (RG4) in mRNA translation and the consequences of these regulations on cancer progression and resistance to therapy. Her work first identified the RNA binding proteins (RBP) hnRNP H/F as important components of the machinery that regulate RG4 structuration. Further investigations revealed that these factors collaborate with the RNA helicase DHX36 to control the translation of RG4-containing mRNAs encoding proteins involved in the cellular response to DNA damage-induced stress. This study not only established a link between RG4-dependent translation and genomic instability but also provided evidence for a role of these mechanisms in the resistance to genotoxic drugs in glioblastoma, one of the deadliest forms of brain cancer. Furthermore, her work identified RG4s as regulators of autophagy, a crucial mechanism for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis under stress, involved in tumor development and therapy resistance. Overall, her thesis results demonstrate that RG4-RBP interactions play a central role in the translational control underlying the stress response, thus contributing to tumor development and treatment resistance.

After her PhD, she joined the Lab of Prof Martin Bushell at the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute in Glasgow (UK) as a post-doctoral researcher. She is currently investigating the role of eIF4A2 in the control of localization and translation of mRNAs translated at the endoplasmic reticulum.