The Pacific oyster, or the emergence of a new model in cancer research


Charlotte Corporeau (LEMAR)

Project type



Fondation ARC

Project duration

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The Warburg effect is one of the hallmarks of cancer cells that promotes survival and blocks pro-apoptotic mechanisms (Warburg, 1956). In 2014, we discovered that a marine mollusc, the oyster Crassostrea gigas, could reprogram its basal metabolism to the Warburg effect (Corporeau et al., 2014). Interestingly, this metabolic reprogramming towards the Warburg effect can be blocked by a temperature stress. We thus hypothesize that the oyster C. gigas has novel mechanisms that control the Warburg effect by temperature. Moreover, the OsHV-1 marine virus turns the Warburg effect to its advantage to replicate in the oyster and then induces the death of the animal. Thus, OsHV-1 virus can induce apoptosis despite the Warburg effect in the oyster, unlike the human cancer cell, where the Warburg effect protects from apoptosis. We thus hypothesize that this marine virus may have new weapons against the Warburg effect. We are seeking an emerging ARC project to identify the mechanisms that control the Warburg effect in oysters (proteins, enzymes) and to identify anti-Warburg mechanisms of the marine virus (proteins, enzymes, viral proteins). These mechanisms will be reproduced in a cancer cells.

The team


  • Dr. Mazure Nathalie, directrice de recherche DR2 CNRS, HDR, Centre Méditerranéen de Médecine Moléculaire C3M, Inserm U 1065, université de Sofia-Antipolis
  • Dr Catherine Brenner, directrice de recherche CNRS, HDR, Laboratoire Inserm U-1180, Labex LERMIT, Université Paris-Sud
  • Dr. Morga Benjamin, cadre de recherche Ifremer