The Pasteur Museum is housed in the apartment where Louis Pasteur spent his final seven years and offers a rare behind-the-scenes look at the living and working environment of the world-renowned scientist. Visitors can gain a unique insight into his everyday life alongside his wife and can admire his rich and diverse scientific work.
The Institut Pasteur’s scientific strategy focuses on developing original and innovative topics and promoting interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary cooperation and approaches. The Institut Pasteur teams have access to the technological resources needed to speed up and further improve the quality of their outstanding research.
Ever since the introduction of the world’s first "Technical Microbiology" course in 1889, teaching has been a priority for the Institut Pasteur. The Institut Pasteur has an international reputation for quality teaching that attracts students from all over the world who come to further their training or top up their degree programs.
The mission of the Industrial Partnership team is to detect, promote, assist and protect the inventive activities from research (inventions, know-how and biological materials) conducted at the Institut Pasteur (and in some Institutes of its international network), and transfer there to industrial and/or institutional partners, in order to serve the patient needs and for the benefit of the society, as well as to contribute to sustainability of the Institut Pasteur’s resources.
With international courses, PhD and postdoctoral traineeship, each institute of the Institut Pasteur International Network (RIIP) contributes to the transmission of knowledge with the training of young researchers all around the world. In this context, doctoral and postdoctoral programmes, study and traineeship fellowships are available to scientists. Alongside training, dynamism and attractiveness of RIIP will result in the creation of 4-year group for the young researchers.
Rift Valley Fever: New Therapeutic Targets and a Candidate Vaccine in Trials
Research teams from INSERM and the Institut Pasteur have just discovered the virulence mechanism of the Rift Valley Fever virus. This virus, often fatal in humans, regularly decimates herds of livestock in Africa.
Understanding the interactions between the host and this virus should make it possible to identify new therapeutic targets against Rift Valley Fever.
This research, published in the journal Cell on 20 February 2004, also emphasizes the importance of the candidate vaccine currently in development by Institut Pasteur researchers.
Paris, febuary 20, 2004
An Emerging Disease
The Rift Valley Fever virus is largely transmitted by mosquitoes. In Africa, it is responsible for vast epidemics in animals (epizootics) and in humans. In Kenya and Somalia in 1997-8, it claimed about 500 human victims and killed tens of thousands of heads of livestock.
The disease is considered to be emerging since it spread beyond Africa in 2000, affecting 863 individuals in Saudi Arabia (120 deaths), and more than a thousand individuals in Yemen (121 deaths).
The Rift Valley Fever virus is a potential agent of bioterrorism: it is listed under the American NIH and CDC’s category ’A’ alongside plague and anthrax. In humans, the infection can lead to severe encephalitis and to liver illnesses with serious and often fatal hemorrhagic fevers.
This virus can linger in nature for several years in infected insect eggs and might reappear during rainstorms, when the eggs hatch.
The teams of Jean-Marc Egly (INSERM Unit 596 ’Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering’ - IGBMC, Strasbourg) and Michèle Bouloy (Molecular Genetics of Bunyaviridae Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris) have deciphered the virus’s mechanism of action. They demonstrate how a viral protein named ’NSs’ blocks the host’s cellular machinery. The NSs protein is found in a filamentous shape in the nucleus of the infected cell.
It is also within the nucleus that the ’TFIIH transcription factor’, a multi-subunit element essential to the cell’s life because it is involved in protein production, is produced. The filamentous protein literally captures one of the subunit of TFIIH, thus putting this vital factor ’out of service’.
The researchers have thus precisely identified the target of the virus. This should make it possible in future to develop specific therapies against infection by the Rift Valley Fever virus.
Research Marking a Double Advance
This collaboration demonstrates that the research falls within a continuum. In fact, the study of the mechanisms of gene regulation has made it possible to apply molecular biology to virology.
The researchers also point out the importance of pursuing research on the TFIIH transcription factor, beside its specific involvement in Rift Valley Fever, because it will supply basic information about the intervention of this factor in several mechanisms involved in gene expression.
Finally, these results encourage the Institut Pasteur researchers that they are on the trail of a good candidate vaccine. In the past few years, they have put together a genetically attenuated vaccine, in which the gene coding for the NSs protein of the virus-which, as we have seen, is directly responsible for the virulence-was suppressed.
Tested successfully in mice, this candidate vaccine has also shown its harmlessness to sheep in experiments conducted in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Senegalese Institute of Animal Husbandry. Continuing studies are aimed at initially developing a veterinary vaccine. But this candidate vaccine could also be useful for immunizing people who have contact with livestock.
"TFIIH Transcription factor, a target for the Rift Valley Hemorrhagic Fever Virus" Cell, vol. 116, pp. 1-20, 20 February 2004
Nicolas Le May (1), Sandy Dubaele (2), Luca Proietti De Santis (2), Agnès Billecocq (1), Michèle Bouloy (1), Jean-Marc Egly (2)
(1) Molecular Genetics of Bunyaviridae Unit, Institut Pasteur, Paris
(2) Genetics and Molecular Biology Institute - INSERM Unit 596 ’Molecular Biology and Genetic Engineering’, Strasbourg