Tenured Research Scientist Inserm
Recherche - Paris
Spécialités / domaines

1- Chromatin and transcriptional memory

I study the role of chromatin modifications in the propagation of transcriptional states. We have demonstrated the role of Polycomb proteins in coordinating molecular switches capable of recording a brief transcriptional stimulus (Holoch, Wassef et al., 2021). This study has led us to propose a new regulatory model that differs from the previously proposed model that emphasizes read-and-write of histone modifications as the primary mechanism for the propagation of chromatin states. I am currently working to identify other molecular actors of transcriptional memory.


2- Chromatin and tumor development

Numerous mutations of chromatin regulators are found throughout cancers and the impact of these mutations on chromatin and gene expression is often unclear. I have previously addressed this issue focusing on mutations in genes of the Polycomb family. This work (Wassef et al., 2015; Wassef, Luscan et al., 2019) has led to a better understanding of 1- the causal relationships between aberrant expression of chromatin regulators and tumor development and 2- the striking specificity of mutations in Polycomb gene in different types of cancers. I now seek to extend this type of inquiry to other chromatin regulators and to investigate the functional relationships between the different families of regulators in order to develop new therapeutic approaches to target cancers.

A prospective multicentre REFCOR study of 470 cases of head and neck Adenoid cystic carcinoma: epidemiology and prognostic factors
European Journal of Cancer
Sarah Atallah, Odile Casiraghi, Nicolas Fakhry, Michel Wassef, Emmanuelle Uro-Coste, Florent Espitalier, Anne Sudaka, Marie Christine Kaminsky, Stéphanie Dakpe, Laurence Digue, Olivier Bouchain, Sylvain Morinière, Muriel Hourseau, Chloé Bertolus, Franck Jegoux, Juliette Thariat, Valentin Calugaru, Philippe Schultz, Pierre Philouze, Olivier Mauvais, Christian A. Righini, Cécile Badoual, Nicolas Saroul, Jean Michel Goujon, Jean Paul Marie, Rabah Taouachi, Esteban Brenet, Anne Aupérin, Bertrand Baujat
A variant erythroferrone disrupts iron homeostasis in SF3B1 -mutated myelodysplastic syndrome
Science Translational Medicine
Sabrina Bondu, Anne-Sophie Alary, Carine Lefèvre, Alexandre Houy, Grace Jung, Thibaud Lefebvre, David Rombaut, Ismael Boussaid, Abderrahmane Bousta, François Guillonneau, Prunelle Perrier, Samar Alsafadi, Michel Wassef, Raphaël Margueron, Alice Rousseau, Nathalie Droin, Nicolas Cagnard, Sophie Kaltenbach, Susann Winter, Anne-Sophie Kubasch, Didier Bouscary, Valeria Santini, Andrea Toma, Mathilde Hunault, Aspasia Stamatoullas, Emmanuel Gyan, Thomas Cluzeau, Uwe Platzbecker, Lionel Adès, Hervé Puy, Marc-Henri Stern, Zoubida Karim, Patrick Mayeux, Elizabeta Nemeth, Sophie Park, Tomas Ganz, Léon Kautz, Olivier Kosmider, Michaëla Fontenay
EZH1/2 function mostly within canonical PRC2 and exhibit proliferation-dependent redundancy that shapes mutational signatures in cancer
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Michel Wassef, Armelle Luscan, Setareh Aflaki, Dina Zielinski, Pascal W. T. C. Jansen, H. Irem Baymaz, Aude Battistella, Carole Kersouani, Nicolas Servant, Margaret R. Wallace, Pierre Romero, Olivier Kosmider, Pierre-Alexandre Just, Mikaël Hivelin, Sébastien Jacques, Anne Vincent-Salomon, Michiel Vermeulen, Michel Vidaud, Eric Pasmant, Raphaël Margueron