Pascale Cossart, after studying chemistry in Lille (France) obtained a master degree at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. Back in France, she obtained her PhD in Paris in the Institut Pasteur where she is still now, heading the « Bacteria-Cell Interactions »unit which is also an Inserm and an INRA unit. After studying DNA-protein interactions, in E. coli, she started in 1986, to study the molecular and cellular basis of infections by intracellular bacteria taking as a model the bacterial pathogen Listeria monocytogenes. Her research has led to a number of new concepts in infection biology but also in fundamental microbiology, in cell biology and more recently in epigenetics.
Pascale Cossart is considered as a pioneer in Cellular Microbiology. Her contributions have been recognized by a number of awards, including the Robert Koch Prize (2007), the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine (2008), the Balzan Prize (2013). She is a member of the French Academy of Science (2002), a foreign member of the American National Academy of Science (2009), of the German Leopoldina (2001), of the Royal Society (2010) and Foreign Associate Member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies (2014).
Riboswitches: lessons from Listeria
Listeria monocytogenes is a pathogen which has emerged as a model system in several areas of biology including Infection biology, cell biology, fundamental microbiology and also RNA biology. Listeria is an environmental bacterium which can contaminate food products resulting in foodborne infections which can be dramatic for pregnant women leading to abortions or immunocompromised individuals leading to meningitis and/or deaths in 30% of the cases. This microorganism is able to adapt its transcriptional and translational programmes to a variety of life conditions in both the environment and the infected host. Many of these adaptations are RNA-mediated, and involve novel riboswitches which will be discussed during the talk.
Mellin, J.R., T. Tiensuud, C. Bécavin, E. Gouin, J. Johansson and P. Cossart (2013). A riboswitch-regulated antisense RNA in Listeria monocytogenes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 110:13132-7
Sesto, S., O. Wurtzel, C. Archambaud, R. Sorek and P. Cossart (2013). The excludon: a new concept in bacterial antisense RNA-mediated gene regulation. Nat Rev Microbiol, 11:75-82
Mellin, J.R., M. Koutero, D. Dar, M.-A. Nahori, R. Sorek and P. Cossart (2014). Sequestration of a two-component response regulator by a riboswitch-regulated non-coding RNA. Science, 345:940-3
Sesto, N., M. Touchon, JM Andrade, J. Kondo, EP Rocha, CM Arraiano, C. Archambaud, E. Westhof, P. Romby and P. Cossart (2014). A PNPase dependent CRISPR System in Listeria. PLoS Genet., 10:e1004065
Mellin, J.R., and P. Cossart (2015). Unexpected versatility in bacterial riboswitches. Trends Genet., 31:150-156