February 18, 2014 – Benoit Coulombe


Director, gene transcription and proteomics laboratoyy at IRCM and professor investigator at the biochemistry depy. U de M

Interrogating regulatory mechanisms of protein complex assembly using functional proteomics

Our laboratory seeks to understand the mechanisms by which abnormal protein folding and protein complex assembly by molecular chaperones participate in the onset and the development of disease. We have discovered many proteins that regulate the function of molecular chaperones, including regulatory factors of nuclear RNA polymerase biogenesis and novel lysine methyltransferases that preferentially target and regulate molecular chaperones. Our work on chaperone methylation led us to propose the existence of a chaperone posttranslational modification code, termed the ‘‘chaperone code’’, which is at play to orchestrate the proper folding and assembly of protein complexes that make up the human proteome.

Benoit Coulombe is the director of the Gene Transcription and Proteomics Laboratory at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) and a Professor of Biochemistry at the Université de Montréal.  He was an undergraduate in Biochemistry and obtained his Ph. D. in Molecular Biology at the Université de Montréal.  He undertook postdoctoral work at the University of Toronto under Jack Greenblatt and the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB) under Albert Goldbeter (School of Ilya Prigogine, Nobel laureate in Chemistry).  He moved at the Université de Sherbrooke as an Assistant Professor in 1993 where he attained the tenured rank of Full Professor, and to the IRCM in Montréal in 2001.  Over the past 20 years he has explored the mechanisms by which regulated protein-protein, protein-DNA and protein-RNA interactions control the activity of RNA polymerase II during the transcription reaction.  His “Promoter Wrapping Model” for transcriptional initiation by multi-subunit RNA polymerases has been included in molecular biology textbooks.  Recently, Dr. Coulombe developed a proteomic procedure that his laboratory exploits to map and systematically monitor in patients protein interaction networks underlying neuromuscular and cardiometabolic diseases, thereby contributing to accelerate biomarker discovery and personalized drug treatment.  He is the director of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI)-funded, Canada-wide National Technology Platform for Mapping Protein Interaction Networks in Health and Disease.  Dr. Coulombe was recently awarded the Bell-Bombardier Research Chair by the IRCM for his pioneering work in proteomics.

MMSDG (180214)