Dr Cindy VALLIERES completed her PhD under the supervision of Brigitte Meunier (I2BC, Gif-sur-Yvette) in 2012. Her PhD project focused on the complex III of the mitochondrial chain. She then joined, as a research fellow, Pr Simon Avery’s lab (University of Nottingham, UK) where she elaborated novel antifungal strategies and started to develop a strong interest in Fe-S proteins as therapeutic targets. In 2020, she was recruited as a senior research scientist by the startup Phenotypeca based at the Biodiscovery Institute and BioCity in Nottingham. After obtaining a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship, she joined the ICSN to pursue her work on Fe-S proteins. She is studying the functions of the mitochondrial ferredoxin and the molecular mechanisms underlying its biogenesis in order to provide a better understanding of this essential protein and to establish its potential as a new antifungal target.
Biogenesis and molecular functions of the mitochondrial ferredoxin
Being involved in the synthesis of the Fe-S clusters, heme and coenzyme Q, the Fe-S mitochondrial protein ferredoxin is essential for diverse fundamental functions of the cell including, but not restricted to, respiration, regulation of gene expression, and DNA replication and repair. Despite its essentiality, its biogenesis and functions remain poorly understood. Using the budding yeast S. cerevisiae as a model organism, I am currently establishing the interactome of the ferredoxin. The identification of new protein partners will help to better understand its functions and the molecular mechanisms underlying its biogenesis. Being essential, the ferredoxin and its partners could also represent new therapeutic targets. Recent estimates suggest that invasive human fungal infections kill more than 1.5 million people annually and that 600 million people could be fed each year by halting the spread of fungal diseases in agriculture. A range of fungicides is currently used to control fungal pathogens, but resistance to those is growing underscoring the urgent need for new molecular targets and treatments. The potential of the ferredoxin and its partners as antifungal targets will be investigated and drug-screening assays developed to identify new fungicides.
Iron-sulphur cluster biogenesis: deciphering new molecular mechanisms and exploiting novel antifungal and fungicide targets | FungiFeS Project | Fact Sheet | H2020 | CORDIS | European Commission (europa.eu)