The FRM Scientific Prizes
The FRM Scientific Prizes were created at the initiative of donors who wished to support specific research in a field important for them. They bear the name of the donor or that of a loved one to whom he wishes to pay tribute. The winners of the Scientific Prizes are selected each year by specialized juries whose members belong to the FRM Scientific Council.
Florence Margottin is awarded the Lucien Tartois Prize in 2023 for her work: “Shedding light on attack and defense mechanisms in HIV infection”
His work aims to understand the defense mechanisms of the hosts cells during infection by viruses, in particular HIV-1 and HIV-2 which are responsible for AIDS. In return, she is also studying the way in which the viral machinery circumvents these defenses. She is particularly interested in a protein complex present in cells, called HUSH. Her team discovered that it inhibited the expression of viral genes. By maintaining the virus in a silent state within the infected cell, HUSH could thus contribute to the persistence of the virus in the body within “reservoir” cells, despite antiviral treatments. Florence Margottin-Goguet's team further showed that specific viral proteins inactivate the HUSH complex by destroying it, illustrating the molecular battle that takes place between the virus and the cells it infects.
One of Florence Margottin-Goguet's objectives is to explain these attack and defense mechanisms in order to develop an innovative therapeutic strategy against the AIDS virus. The HUSH complex is also involved in other pathologies such as cancer, which broadens the application possibilities of this work.