Understanding body and organ function in health and diseases requires a thorough knowledge of the molecular events that take place at the level of individual cells. These cellular processes are carried out by thousands of different molecules, from single proteins to sophisticated megadalton-sized protein complexes. How do these molecules work (individually or as part signaling pathways) to control cellular activities, and how are these molecular machineries dysregulated in various pathological states are the fundamental questions tackled by the teams in the Thematic Unit “Molecular Biology of Diseases (MBD)”. With the ultimate goal of translating molecular advances into novel therapeutic approaches the MBD brings together multifaceted and multidisciplinary group of researchers. Synergistic interactions and strong technological support provide an environment conducive to understanding the physiological and pathological functions of complex molecular machineries.
A team of researchers led by Pierre Close has uncovered a novel therapeutic opportunity in the treatment of melanoma that acquired resistance to targeted therapies. In collaboration with researchers from VIB, they have revealed that malignant melanomas reprogram their protein synthesis machinery and become addicted to a new family of enzymes that modify transfer RNAs during acquired resistance. Strikingly, the inhibition of these molecules synergies with targeted therapies to produce a strong anti-tumoral effect.