Roméo Ricci has been awarded a Chair of Excellence for his ENDOFLAMMASOME project

Prix et distinctions |

The team of Roméo Ricci has been awarded a Chair of Excellence in Biology/Health by the France 2030 program. This grant provides funding for a research team over a five-year period and aims to stabilize the best researchers in their discipline and strengthen the excellence of French research.

NLRP3 activation in endosomes: From basic mechanisms to disease

Cells in our body are constantly exposed to environmental stressors. Cells have therefore developed an intricate system of proteins that can detect these insults. Once these proteins get activated by them, they eventually induce an inflammatory response. From an evolutionary perspective, inflammation has a beneficial role as it eliminates these stressors and facilitates the repair of tissue damage caused by them. However, if inflammation persists, it can also have detrimental effects.

Our project, supported by the 'Chaires d’excellence,' centers on investigating a specific protein known as NLRP3, capable of detecting a diverse array of seemingly unrelated environmental stressors. We recently made a discovery that these stressors share a common trait: they all disrupt the composition of a specific cellular compartment known as the endosome. In fact, NLRP3 is recruited to these “stressed” endosomes thereby initiating inflammation. The understanding of this mechanism could potentially explain low-grade inflammation observed in different human diseases including obesity-associated diabetes.

Our discovery created a new research axis in the laboratory that opened fundamentally novel scientific questions. Answering them in a more comprehensive manner constitutes a very ambitious endeavor that requires state-of-the-art experimental tools and collaborations at the international level. A project of this dimension clearly requires substantial funding on a long-term basis. The “Chaire d’excellence” will provide the necessary support that will increase our international visibility at the interface of cell biology and immunology.