Nathalie Rivard

Nathalie Rivard

Université de Sherbrooke, Canada

Title: Dual functions of SHP-2 tyrosine phosphatase in colorectal cancer


Nathalie Rivard received her PhD from Université de Sherbrooke in 1994 and completed a 3.5-year Postdoctorate at the Centre de Biochimie-CNRS, Université de Nice, in France with Dr. J.Pouysségur in 1997. Then, she accepted a Faculty position in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the Université de Sherbrooke. Her research focuses on the analysis of signalling pathways that control proliferation, differentiation, tumorigenesis and infl ammatory response of intestinal epithelial cells. She has published more than 80 papers in reputed journals. She is the recipient of 2013 Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Research Excellence Award andholds a Canada Research Chair.


Colorectal cancer (CRC) is the third most common cancer in the world. A major risk factor to develop CRC is the presence of chronic infl ammation in the colon. But how chronic infl ammation contributes to the development of CRC is not so clear. In seeking to answer this question, we have focused on the signalling molecule SHP-2, a tyrosine phosphatase modulating cellular signals induced by both growth factors and pro-infl ammatory cytokines. Polymorphisms in the PTPN11 locus encoding SHP-2 have been reported to be markers of colitis susceptibility. Conversely, gain-of-function mutations in PTPN11 have recently been associated with sporadic CRC. To investigate the role of SHP-2 in intestinal homeostasis, we have generated mice with an intestinal epithelial cell (IEC)-specifi c deletion of its expression. We demonstrated that IEC disruption of SHP-2 causes severe chronic infl ammation in the colon. Th is infl ammatory phenotype is associated with a dramatic increase in proliferation and activation of Wnt/-catenin, NFkB and STAT3 signallings in colonic epithelium. With age, these mice develop malignant lesions in the colon suggesting that SHP-2 can act as a tumor suppressor in this tissue. Furthermore, SHP-2 epithelial defi ciency severely increased colon tumor load in apcmin/+mice. Aside from these observations, we found increased expression and activating mutations of SHP-2 in sporadic human colorectal tumors and SHP-2 silencing markedly attenuated KRAS-induced transformation of IECs in culture. Hence, this suggests that SHP-2 can act as an oncogene in the colonic epithelium. Opposing roles for SHP-2in promoting and suppressing tumorigenesis in the large intestine are therefore proposed.