MRC Prion Unit and Institute of Prion diseases


Emmanuelle Viré

Emmanuelle Vire


Tel: 020 7679 5094
Courtauld Building, Room G01



Research Synopsis

We explore if epigenetics is a hallmark of protein-based inheritance in neurodegeneration. Our research specifically investigates epigenetic mechanisms in human prion diseases. We employ a large array of technologies (transcriptomics, epigenomics, cell-based assays, animal models, patients samples) to determine if, where, when and how epigenetics contribute to disease susceptibility, onset, and progression. Using next-generation technologies we profile DNA, RNA, and histone modifications and identify disease-specific gene (coding and non-coding) signatures and pathways. Some of our current projects also involve machine learning, nanopore sequencing, small molecule inhibitor and genome editing.

Ultimately, our research aims to uncover protein-based inheritance signatures that could be manipulated through drugs and/or lifestyle changes.


EV fig

Manhattan plot for an epigenome-wide association of DNA methylation in sporadic CJD.

Selected Publications

Altered DNA methylation profiles in blood from patients with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Dabin L*, Guntoro F*, CampbellT, BélicardT, SmithAR, SmithRG, RaybouldR, SchottJM LunnonK, SarkiesP, CollingeJ, MeadM and ViréE (2020).
* denotes equal contribution; Acta Neuropathol. 2020 Sep 12. doi: 10.1007/s00401-020-02224-9.

A blood miRNA signature associates with sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease diagnosis.
Norsworthy P, Thompson A, Mok T, Paterson R, Schott J, Collinge J, Mead S, Viré E. (2020)
Nat Commun 11, 3960. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-17655-x

Genome-wide association study identifies risk variants for sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in STX6 and GAL3ST1.
Viré E*, Jones E*, Hummerich H*, UphillJ, DimitriadisA, SpeedyH, CampbellT, NorsworthyP, QuinnL, WhitfieldJ, LinehanJ, et al. (2020).
* denotes equal contribution; listed as Jones et al in Pubmed; Lancet Neurology, 2020 Oct;19(10):840-848. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30273-8.​

Genomic positional conservation identifies topological anchor point RNAs linked to developmental loci
Amaral PP, Leonardi T, Han N, Viré E, Gascoigne DK, Arias-Carrasco R, Büscher M, Pandolfini L, Zhang A, Pluchino S, Maracaja-Coutinho V, Nakaya HI, Hemberg M, Shiekhattar R, Enright AJ, Kouzarides T. Genome Biol. 2018 Mar 15;19(1):32. doi: 10.1186/s13059-018-1405-5.

The Breast Cancer Oncogene EMSY Represses Transcription of Antimetastic microRNA miR-31
Viré E, Curtis C, Davalos V, Git A, Robson S, Villanueva A, Vidal A, Barbieri I, Aparicio S, Esteller M, Caldas C, Kouzarides T.
Mol Cell
. 2014 Apr 10;54(1):203. doi: 10.1016/j.molcel.2014.03.041.

The Pollycomb group protein EZH2 directly controls DNA methylation
Viré E, Brenner C, Deplus R, Blanchon L, Fraga M, Didelot C, Morey L, Van Eynde A, Bernard D, Vanderwinden JM, Bollen M, Esteller M, Di Croce L, de Launoit Y, Fuks F.
Nature. 2006 Feb 16;439(7078):871-4.