Like cellular reprogramming to stem cell fates, tumorigenesis is characterized by dysregulated cellular plasticity which facilitates the emergence of cancer cells, their survival and metastatic escape from the tumoral environment. While the contribution of DNA methylation and histone modifications during cell fate change has been extensively studied, the contribution of post-translational modifications of proteins by other proteins in these processes remains largely unknown.
The major objective of this project is to decipher the role of sumoylation in cellular plasticity and explore its implication in cancer, focusing on the intestine, with the ultimate goal of manipulating this pathway for translational purposes. Our aim is to study the impact of sumoylation in adult intestinal stem cells and colon cancer initiation. In addition, we will pursue our project aimed at deciphering the molecular pathogenesis of primary liver cancer in adolescents and young adults. We expect our study to open new avenues for the development of strategies seeking to modulate sumoylation in cancer treatment. In addition, identification of novel genetic and/or epigenetic mechanisms underlying the development of liver cancer in young patients should hopefully inform possible future diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches in this disease.