Bertrand Joseph group

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Life and death decisions at the cellular level

We are interested in the molecular signaling which regulates the decision between life and death at the cellular level and how its deregulation is implicated in human diseases. Our investigations are performed in various models of human diseases ranging from cancers to neurodegenerative disorders. Our group has a well-established national and international network of colleagues and collaborators which give use access to additional technical know-how and scientific expertise.

Our activities can be divided into three main, overlapping branches:

  • Role for killer caspases in the control of microglia pro-inflammatory and tumour-supporting phenotype (see e.g., Nature, 2011, Cell Reports, 2015, Lancet Neuro, 2015, Nature immunology, 2016).
  • Influence of histone posttranslational modifications on cell life and death decisions (see e.g., Nature, 2013, Nature Reviews Mol Cell Biol, 2014, Current Biol, 2015.
  • Transcriptional and epigenetic regulation of microglia tumor promoting phenotype, especially in glioma.

Knowledge of the molecular mechanisms underlying the integration of the signaling pathways controlling cell survival and death decision may provide new principles for drug development and/or gene therapy-based treatment of human diseases.

Group Leader


Bertrand Joseph

Organizational unit: Toxicology

Group Members

Selected Publications

Glioma-induced inhibition of caspase-3 in microglia promotes a tumor-supportive phenotype.
Shen X, Burguillos M, Osman A, Frijhoff J, Carrillo-Jiménez A, Kanatani S, et al
Nat. Immunol. 2016 Nov;17(11):1282-1290

Neuroinflammation in Alzheimer's disease.
Heneka M, Carson M, El Khoury J, Landreth G, Brosseron F, Feinstein D, et al
Lancet Neurol 2015 Apr;14(4):388-405

Microglia-Secreted Galectin-3 Acts as a Toll-like Receptor 4 Ligand and Contributes to Microglial Activation.
Burguillos M, Svensson M, Schulte T, Boza-Serrano A, Garcia-Quintanilla A, Kavanagh E, et al
Cell Rep 2015 Mar;10(9):1626-1638

The return of the nucleus: transcriptional and epigenetic control of autophagy.
Füllgrabe J, Klionsky D, Joseph B
Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol. 2014 01;15(1):65-74

The histone H4 lysine 16 acetyltransferase hMOF regulates the outcome of autophagy.
Füllgrabe J, Lynch-Day M, Heldring N, Li W, Struijk R, Ma Q, et al
Nature 2013 Aug;500(7463):468-71

Caspase signalling controls microglia activation and neurotoxicity.
Burguillos M, Deierborg T, Kavanagh E, Persson A, Hajji N, Garcia-Quintanilla A, et al
Nature 2011 Apr;472(7343):319-24