Clément Charenton, receives the Claude Paoletti prize for his research on the spliceosome

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Clément Charenton, a researcher in biochemistry and structural biology, received the Claude Paoletti Prize from the INSB on Wednesday, November 9 at the CNRS headquarters in Paris. This prize rewards his work on the structure of a protein complex involved in RNA degradation and on the structure of the spliceosome, the molecular machine responsible for splicing messenger RNAs.

The spliceosome, the enzyme at the origin of the diversity of proteins produced by human DNA

How can human DNA code for 10 times as many different proteins as it has protein-coding genes? This is the big question that Clément Charenton, a scientist at the IGBMC, is trying to answer. To do this, he is studying the splicing phenomenon carried out by the spliceosome, a process during which the enzyme excises RNA sequences that are not used in the production of proteins. However, with the same gene and according to the needs of the cell, the spliceosome does not always eliminate the same sequences, which allows the production of different proteins.

Clément Charenton's research aims to better understand how the spliceosome performs the splicing step in an extremely precise manner, while showing great flexibility in its specificity. The objective is to isolate the human spliceosome at the moment it recognizes the sequences to be eliminated in order to study its chemical composition and its structure.

According to some estimates, about one third of human genetic diseases are linked to perturbations in the splicing of messenger RNA by the spliceosome. A better understanding of this complex step of gene expression would allow the development of new therapeutic strategies, as was recently the case for spinal muscular atrophy.


Clément Charenton, a multidisciplinary researcher specialized in biochemistry and structural biology

Clément Charenton is a biochemist and structural biologist studying the metabolism of eukaryotic RNA. During his PhD at École Polytechnique under the supervision of Marc Graille, he explored the molecular mechanisms of degradation of the protective cap of messenger RNA. He then joined Kiyoshi Nagai's team at MRC-LMB (Cambridge UK), for a postdoctoral fellowship on the mechanisms of RNA splicing by the spliceosome. In 2021, Clément join the CNRS as a research fellow at the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC).

Representation of the structure of the human spliceosome, composed of protein and RNA assemblies, during the splicing of a pre-messenger RNA. Credit: Clément Charenton, IGBMC


The Claude Paoletti Prize: a prize to support young scientists

Created in 1996 in memory of Claude Paoletti, former director of the CNRS Life Sciences Department, the eponymous prize rewards the initiatives of particularly promising young scientists in the field of life sciences. Perpetuated by the Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB) of the CNRS, this prize of €5,000 is awarded each year to a researcher who is less than 35 years old and who has published at a high level.

In 2022, the winners are Laura Cantini, from the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS), who is developing methods of data analysis in genomics, and Clément Charenton, from the Institute of Genetics and Molecular and Cellular Biology (IGBMC), who is interested in the functioning and the structure of a complex cellular machinery: the spliceosome