Epigenetic Regulation of Genome Organization





Our team is interested in programmed genome rearrangements and their epigenetic regulation by non-coding RNAs using a novel model organism, the unicellular ciliated eukaryote Paramecium tetraurelia. We hope to gain a better understanding of the fundamental principles that govern chromosome structure and genetic stability in eukaryotes.


Group Leader : Sandra Duharcourt

CNRS Research Director

+33 (0)157278009









Research Topics


Biologie quantitative et modélisation , Développement et évolution , Dynamique cellulaire et signalisation , Dynamique du génome et des chromosomes, Pathologies moléculaires et cellulaires


Selected publications


  1. Déléris A, Berger F, Duharcourt S*. (2021). Role of Polycomb in the control of transposable elements. Trends In Genetics.
  2. Sellis S *, Guérin F*, Arnaiz O, Pett1 W, Lerat E, Boggetto N, Krenek S, Berendonk T, Couloux A, Aury J-M, Labadie K, Malinsky S, Bhullar S, Meyer E, Sperling L, Laurent Duret L*, Duharcourt S*. (2021). Massive colonization of protein-coding exons by selfish genetic elements in Paramecium germline genomes. PLOS Biol. bioRxiv 2020.12.23.424184; doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.12.23.424184
  3. Hardy A, Matelot M, Touzeau A, Klopp C, Lopez-Roques C, Duharcourt S*, Defrance M*. (2021). DNAModAnnot: a R toolbox for DNA modification filtering and annotation. Bioinformatics. 2021 Jan 20:btab032. doi: 10.1093/bioinformatics/btab032. PMID: 33471071
  4. Vanssay A*, Touzeau A*, Arnaiz O, Frapporti A, Phipps J, Duharcourt S. (2020).The Paramecium histone chaperone Spt16-1 is required for Pgm endonuclease function in programmed genome rearrangements. PLoS Genet. 2020 Jul 23;16(7):e1008949. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008949. eCollection 2020 Jul. PMID: 32702045
  5. Frapporti A*, Miró Pina C*, Arnaiz O, Holoch D, Kawaguchi T, Humbert A, Eleftheriou E, Lombard B, Loew D, Sperling L, Guitot K, Margueron R, Duharcourt S. The Polycomb protein Ezl1 mediates H3K9 and H3K27 methylation to repress transposable elements in Paramecium. Nat Commun. 2019 Jun 20;10(1):2710. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-10648-5. PMID: 31221974
  6. Duharcourt S and Sperling L. (2018). The Challenges of Genome-Wide Studies in a Unicellular Eukaryote With Two Nuclear Genomes. Methods in Enzymology. 2018;612:101-126. doi: 10.1016/bs.mie.2018.08.012. Epub 2018 Aug 31. PMID: 30502938 https://doi.org/10.1016/bs.mie.2018.08.012
  7. Guérin F, Arnaiz O, Boggetto N, Denby Wilkes C, Meyer E, Sperling L and Duharcourt S. (2017). Flow cytometry sorting of nuclei enables the first global characterization of Paramecium germline DNA and transposable elements. BMC Genomics. 2017 Apr 26;18(1):327. https://rdcu.be/MCGt
  8. Lhuillier-Akakpo M, Guérin F, Frapporti A and Duharcourt S. (2016). DNA deletion as a mechanism for developmentally programmed centromere loss. Nucleic Acids Research. 2016 Feb 29;44(4):1553-65. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkv1110. Epub 2015 Oct 25.
  9. Lhuillier-Akakpo M*, Frapporti A*, Denby Wilkes C, Matelot M, Vervoort M, Sperling L, Duharcourt (2014). Local effect of Enhancer of Zeste-like reveals cooperation of epigenetic and cis-acting determinants for zygotic genome rearrangements. PLoS Genet. 2014 Sep 25;10(9):e1004665.eCollection 2014 Sep.
  10. Singh DP, Saudemont B, Guglielmi G, Arnaiz O, Goût JF, Prajer M, Potekhin A, Przybòs E, Aubusson-Fleury A, Bhullar S, Bouhouche K, Lhuillier-Akakpo M, Tanty V, Blugeon C, Alberti A, Labadie K, Aury JM, Sperling L, Duharcourt S, Meyer E.  (2014). Genome-defence small RNAs exapted for epigenetic mating-type inheritance. Nature. 2014 May 22;509(7501):447-52. Epub 2014 May 7.