Organelle (dys)function

Deciphering the molecular mechanism underlying organelle functions and dysfunctions in different physio-pathological conditions, such as stem cell differentiation, metabolism or bacterial infection

Principal Investigator

Prof. Thierry Arnould

UNamur, Department of biology, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology (URBC)

Research portal UNamur  |  ORCID  |  ResearchGate  |  LinkedIn

Expertise and research interests

The research group led by Prof. Patsy Renard and Prof. Thierry Arnould has a long experience in the study of organelles, particularly mitochondria and aims at understanding the biology of this organelle, in various physiological or pathological conditions.

A currently growing research axis is devoted to investigate the physiological link between mitochondria and cell differentiation. They analyse the mitochondrial changes occurring during the during the early steps of implantation – called the naïve-to-primed transition - as well as during the hepatogenic differentiation of human stem cells. The group also studies the physical and functional interactions between organelles (lysosomes, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria), called “organelle cross-talk”. They reveal that a non-lethal endoplasmic reticulum stress or a lysosomal dysfunction triggers mitochondria fragmentation.

In pathological contexts, researchers also focus on obesity and associated disorders, referred to as the “metabolic syndrome”, and aim at unravelling the underlying dysregulations/dysfunctions associated with the biology of mitochondria in white adipocytes.

To understand how pathological conditions relate to organelle dysfunction, they use different in vitro cell models presenting mitochondrial dysfunctions and study the impact of dysfunctional mitochondria on three types of cell responses: the retrograde signalling pathways, the apoptotic response and the metabolism in (pre)adipocytes. Finally, they are interested in the crosstalk that exists between bacteria (i.e Brucella abortus) and the mitochondria of infected cells. 

Group members

Co-Principal Investigator: Prof. Patsy Renard

PhD students: Manon Gilson, Giacomo Lopopolo, Myriam Neumann, Louise Pierre, Jérémy Verbeke

Research projects

  • ONGOING Study of the translational regulation occurring during human induced pluripotent stem cell differentiation. Ongoing PhD thesis by Manon Gilson. Under co-supervision by Prof. Thierry Arnould, UNamur, NARILIS (promoter) and Prof. Patsy Renard, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter).
  • ONGOING Study of the mechanisms leading to mitochondrial fragmentation in Brucella-infected cells and analysis of its functional consequences. Ongoing PhD thesis by Jérémy Verbeke. Under co-supervision by Prof. Thierry Arnould, UNamur, NARILIS (promoter) and Prof. Xavier De Bolle, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter).
  • ONGOING Characterization of the AMPK / SIRT3 axis in the disruption of autophagic flow and mitochondria associated with the accumulation of lipids in proximal tubular cells induced by obesity. Ongoing PhD thesis by Louise Pierre. Joint PhD programme at UNamur (Prof. Thierry Arnould) and UMons (Prof. Anne-Emilie Declèves).
  • ONGOING Design and Synthesis of Hybrid Microcapsules for Mammal Cell Encapsulation devoted to Cell Therapy. Ongoing PhD thesis by Myriam Neumann. Under co-supervision by Prof. Bao Lian Su, UNamur, NISM (promoter) and Prof. Thierry Arnould, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter)
  • ONGOING Study of mitochondrial damage in a model of nephropathy toxic to aristolochic acids. Ongoing PhD thesis by Pauline Mosseray. Under co-supervision by Prof. Nathalie Caron, UNamur, NARILIS (promoter), Prof. Thierry Arnould, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter) and Dr. Anne-Emilie Declèves, UMons (co-promoter).
  • ONGOING Potentiation of proton therapy via inhibition of mitophagy and induction of oxidative stress by gold nanoparticles. Ongoing PhD thesis by Giacomo Lopopolo. Under co-supervision by Prof. Anne-Catherine Heuskin, UNamur, NARILIS (promoter) and Prof. Thierry Arnould, UNamur, NARILIS (co-promoter).

Selected publications

Gavage M, Van Vlierberghe K, Van Poucke C, De Loose M, Gevaert K, Dieu M, Renard P, Arnould T, Gillard N. High-resolution mass spectrometry-based selection of peanut peptide biomarkers considering food processing and market type variation. Food Chem. 2020 Jan 30;304:125428.

Planque M, Arnould T, Delahaut P, Renard P, Dieu M, Gillard N. Development of a strategy for the quantification of food allergens in several food products by mass spectrometry in a routine laboratory. Food Chem. 2019 Feb 15;274:35-45.

Storder J, Renard P, Arnould T. Update on the role of Sirtuin 3 in cell differentiation: a major metabolic target that can be pharmacologically controlled. Biochem Pharmacol. 2019 Nov;169:113621.

Lobet E, Willemart K, Ninane N, Demazy C, Sedzicki J, Lelubre C, De Bolle X, Renard P, Raes M, Dehio C, Letesson JJ, Arnould T. Mitochondrial fragmentation affects neither the sensitivity to TNFα-induced apoptosis of Brucella-infected cells nor the intracellular replication of the bacteria. Sci Rep. 2018 Mar 26;8(1):5173.

Demine S, Tejerina S, Bihin B, Thiry M, Reddy N, Renard P, Raes M, Jadot M, Arnould T. Mild mitochondrial uncoupling induces HSL/ATGL-independent lipolysis relying on a form of autophagy in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Cell Physiol. 2018 Feb;233(2):1247-1265.