Immunity and viruses

Understanding the molecular mechanisms of viral oncogenesis in humans and animals

Principal Investigator

Prof. Nicolas Gillet

UNamur, Department of veterinary medicine, Integrated Veterinary Research Unit (URVI)

Member of the Namur Research Pole in Infectiology (NaRePI)

Research portal UNamur  |  ORCID  |  LinkedIn

Expertise and research interests

Prof. Nicolas Gillet is expert in the field of molecular virology and is notably interested in the link between viral infection and carcinogenesis. APOBEC3 enzymes are antiviral innate effectors that restrict viruses by introducing mutations in their genomes. APOBEC3 proteins can also introduce mutations in the cell genome and therefore promote transformation. By combining bio-informatics analyses and experimental verifications, Gillet’s lab members aim at understanding the roles of APOBEC3 activity in antiviral immunity and cancer.

Group members

PhD students: Zoé Blockx, Noémie Lejeune, Sarah Mathieu and Florian Poulain

Research projects

  • ONGOING Role of the APOBEC3B antiviral innate effector on the replication of wild-type adenoviruses and adenoviral vectors. Ongoing PhD thesis by Sarah Mathieu. Under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Gillet, UNamur, NARILIS.
  • ONGOING APOBEC3 dysregulation by adenoviruses, a key step for lung cancer carcinogenesis? Ongoing PhD thesis by Zoé Blockx. Under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Gillet, UNamur, NARILIS.
  • ONGOING Can viral infection of the lower respiratory tract promote lung cancer via the dysregulation of the innate immune effector APOBEC3? Ongoing PhD thesis by Noémie Lejeune. Under the supervision of Prof. Nicolas Gillet, UNamur, NARILIS.
  • ONGOING Deciphering the critical interplay between ultraviolet irradiation and beta papillomavirus infection in non-melanoma skin carcinogenesis. Ongoing PhD thesis by Florian Poulain. Under co-supervision by Dr. Michaël Herfs, ULiège (promoter) and Prof. Nicolas Gillet, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter)
  • ONGOING Unraveling the mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2-induced autoimmunity. Collaborative research project between Prof. Charles Nicaise, UNamur, NARILIS and Prof. Nicolas Gillet, UNamur, NARILIS
  • ONGOING Study of the APOBEC3 activity on SARS-CoV-2 replication and evolution.

Selected publications

Lejeune N, Poulain F, Willemart K, Blockx Z, Mathieu S, Gillet NA. Infection of bronchial epithelial cells by the human adenoviruses A12, B3 and C2 differently regulates the innate antiviral effector APOBEC3B. J Virol. 2021 Apr 14:JVI.02413-20.

Poulain F, Lejeune N, Willemart K, Gillet NA. Footprint of the host restriction factors APOBEC3 on the genome of human viruses. PLoS Pathog. 2020 Aug 14;16(8):e1008718.

Coupeau D, Burton N, Lejeune N, Loret S, Petit A, Pejakovic S, Poulain F, Bonil L, Trozzi G, Wiggers L, Willemart K, André E, Laenen L, Cuypers L, Van Ranst M, Bogaerts P, Muylkens B, Gillet NA. SARS-CoV-2 Detection for Diagnosis Purposes in the Setting of a Molecular Biology Research Lab. Methods Protoc. 2020 Aug 18;3(3):E59.