Honors & Awards

  • Duesberg Foundation Award, University of Liege (12/2012)

Professional Education

  • PhD, Univerity of Liege, Veterinary Sciences (2012)
  • Licence, Universite De L'Etat A Liege (2008)
  • Bachelier, Unlisted University (2005)
  • Candidatus, Unlisted University (2002)

Stanford Advisors


Journal Articles

  • Illumination of murine gammaherpesvirus-68 cycle reveals a sexual transmission route from females to males in laboratory mice. PLoS pathogens François, S., Vidick, S., Sarlet, M., Desmecht, D., Drion, P., Stevenson, P. G., Vanderplasschen, A., Gillet, L. 2013; 9 (4)


    Transmission is a matter of life or death for pathogen lineages and can therefore be considered as the main motor of their evolution. Gammaherpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses which have evolved to be transmitted in presence of specific immune response. Identifying their mode of transmission and their mechanisms of immune evasion is therefore essential to develop prophylactic and therapeutic strategies against these infections. As the known human gammaherpesviruses, Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's Sarcoma-associated Herpesvirus are host-specific and lack a convenient in vivo infection model; related animal gammaherpesviruses, such as murine gammaherpesvirus-68 (MHV-68), are commonly used as general models of gammaherpesvirus infections in vivo. To date, it has however never been possible to monitor viral excretion or virus transmission of MHV-68 in laboratory mice population. In this study, we have used MHV-68 associated with global luciferase imaging to investigate potential excretion sites of this virus in laboratory mice. This allowed us to identify a genital excretion site of MHV-68 following intranasal infection and latency establishment in female mice. This excretion occurred at the external border of the vagina and was dependent on the presence of estrogens. However, MHV-68 vaginal excretion was not associated with vertical transmission to the litter or with horizontal transmission to female mice. In contrast, we observed efficient virus transmission to naïve males after sexual contact. In vivo imaging allowed us to show that MHV-68 firstly replicated in penis epithelium and corpus cavernosum before spreading to draining lymph nodes and spleen. All together, those results revealed the first experimental transmission model for MHV-68 in laboratory mice. In the future, this model could help us to better understand the biology of gammaherpesviruses and could also allow the development of strategies that could prevent the spread of these viruses in natural populations.

    View details for DOI 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003292

    View details for PubMedID 23593002

  • Comparative study of murid gammaherpesvirus 4 infection in mice and in a natural host, bank voles JOURNAL OF GENERAL VIROLOGY Francois, S., Vidick, S., Sarlet, M., Michaux, J., Koteja, P., Desmecht, D., Stevenson, P. G., Vanderplasschen, A., Gillet, L. 2010; 91: 2553-2563


    Gammaherpesviruses are archetypal pathogenic persistent viruses. The known human gammaherpesviruses (Epstein-Barr virus and Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus) are host-specific and therefore lack a convenient in vivo infection model. This makes related animal gammaherpesviruses an important source of information. Infection by murid herpesvirus 4 (MuHV-4), a virus originally isolated from bank voles (Myodes glareolus), was studied here. MuHV-4 infection of inbred laboratory mouse strains (Mus musculus) is commonly used as a general model of gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis. However, MuHV-4 has not been isolated from house mice, and no systematic comparison has been made between experimental MuHV-4 infections of mice and bank voles. This study therefore characterized MuHV-4 (strain MHV-68) infection of bank voles through global luciferase imaging and classical virological methods. As in mice, intranasal virus inoculation led to productive replication in bank vole lungs, accompanied by massive cellular infiltrates. However, the extent of lytic virus replication was approximately 1000-fold lower in bank voles than in mice. Peak latency titres in lymphoid tissue were also lower, although latency was still established. Finally, virus transmission was tested between animals maintained in captivity. However, as observed in mice, MuHV-4 was not transmitted between voles under these conditions. In conclusion, this study revealed that, despite quantitative differences, replication and the latency sites of MuHV-4 are comparable in bank voles and mice. Therefore, it appears that, so far, Mus musculus represents a suitable host for studying gammaherpesvirus pathogenesis with MuHV-4. Establishing transmission conditions in captivity will be a vital step for further research in this field.

    View details for DOI 10.1099/vir.0.023481-0

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283004800017

    View details for PubMedID 20538905

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