Benoit Coulombe

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Benoit Coulombe is a Canadian scientist whose research focuses on the mechanisms by which regulated protein–protein, protein–DNA and protein–RNA interactions control the activity of RNA polymerase II, the molecular machine that synthesizes all messenger RNA (mRNA) and some small-nuclear RNA (snRNA) in eukaryotes.

Born in Granby, Québec, Canada in 1958, Coulombe obtained his bachelor degree in Biochemistry (1981) and his PhD in Molecular Biology (1988) at the University of Montreal before undertaking postdoctoral work at the University of Toronto and the Free University of Brussels (ULB). He then moved at the University of Sherbrooke as an Assistant Professor in 1993 where he attained the tenured rank of Full Professor, and to the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal in 2001.[1]

Coulombe is best known for his "promoter wrapping model" for transcriptional initiation by multi-subunit RNA polymerases ([2][3][4][5]), which has been described in molecular biology textbooks ([6]). More recently, his laboratory has used protein affinity purification coupled with mass spectrometry to generate high-resolution maps of the interactome of human RNA polymerases (,[7][8][9]). In 2012, the Coulombe laboratory discovered that methylation of molecular chaperones is a central element of a posttranslational modification code, they termed the "chaperone code", that orchestrates the functional organization of the proteome ([10]).


  1. ^ "IRCM". Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  2. ^ Robert F, Douziech M, Forget D, Egly JM, Greenblatt J, Burton ZF, Coulombe B. (1998) Wrapping of promoter DNA around the RNA polymerase II initiation complex induced by TFIIF. Mol Cell 2, 341-351.
  3. ^ Coulombe B, Burton ZF. (1999) DNA bending and wrapping around RNA polymerase: A "revolutionary" model describing transcriptional mechanisms. Microbiol Mol Biol Rev 63, 457-478.
  4. ^ Douziech M, Coin F, Chipoulet JM, Arai Y, Ohkuma Y, Egly JM, Coulombe B. (2000) Mechanism of promoter melting by the Xeroderma Pigmentosum complementation group B helicase of transcription factor IIH revealed by protein-DNA photo-cross-linking. Mol Cell Biol 20, 8168-8177.
  5. ^ Forget D, Langelier MF, Thérien C, Trinh V, Coulombe B. (2004) Photo-cross-linking of a purified preinitiation complex reveals central roles for the RNA polymerase II mobile clamp and TFIIE in initiation mechanisms. Mol Cell Biol 24, 1122-1131.
  6. ^ Karp G. (2005) Cell and Molecular Biology, Concepts and Experiments. Fourth Edition. Ed. John Wiley and Sons.
  7. ^ Jeronimo C, Forget D, Bouchard A, Li Q, Chua G, Poitras C, Thérien C, Bergeron D, Bourassa S, Greenblatt J, Chabot B, Poirier G, Hughes TR, Blanchette M, Price DH, Coulombe B. (2007) Systematic analysis of the protein interaction network for the human transcription machinery reveals the identity of the 7SK capping enzyme. Mol Cell 27, 262-274.
  8. ^ Cloutier P, Al-Khoury R, Lavallée-Adam M, Faubert D, Jiang H, Poitras C, Bouchard A, Forget D, Blanchette M, Coulombe B. (2009) High-resolution mapping of the protein interaction network for the human transcription machinery and affinity purification of RNA polymerase II-associated complexes. Methods 48, 381-386.
  9. ^ Forget D, Lacombe AA, Cloutier P, Al-Khoury R, Bouchard A, Lavallée-Adam M, Jeronimo C, Blanchette M, Coulombe B. (2010) The protein interaction network of the human transcription machinery reveals a role for the conserved GTPase RPAP4/GPN1 and microtubule assembly in nuclear import and biogenesis of RNA polymerase II. Mol Cell Proteomics 9, 2827-2839.
  10. ^