The interest of the Lemaire laboratory has focused on the isolation and structural identification of analgesic peptides from the adrenal medulla. One of these peptides, named histogranin (HN), is a pentadecapeptide derived from the C-terminal fragment of histone H4. The peptide was first coined for its in vivo modulation of N-methyl-D-aspartate-induced convulsions in mice. Recently, HN and its coding mRNA were found to be particularly abundant in neuronal and lymphoid tissues (1) and the expression of HN mRNA was decreased in cancerous human colons (3). Besides its non-opioid analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, the peptide also displayed antimicrobial activities (2, 4). The elucidation of the nature of the receptor involved in the various biological effects of HN is an important research issue in this laboratory.
1. Poirier R, Lemaire I, Lemaire S. Characterization, localization and possible anti-inflammatory function of rat histone H4 mRNA variants. FEBS J. 2006 Sep;273(18):4360-73
2. Lemaire S. et al., Antimicrobial effects of H4-(86-100), histogranin and related compounds: possible involvement of DNA gyrase. FEBS J. 2008 Nov;275(21):5286-97.
3. Bruyninx, G. and Lemaire, S. Sub-expression of Histogranin mRNA in human cancer tissues. UROP, March 2014.
4. Histone peptides and derivatives as modulators of infection and inflammation. Review article in preparation.
Recently, Dr. Lemaire has been involved in the teaching of large classes of undergraduate students and small classes of graduate and medical students. He became interested in the hybrid mode of teaching where students are taught both in classes and online. He realized that the online teaching system enables learning that cannot be done in class. For instance, students can be asked to make dissertations on specific subjects that relate to the subject matter presented in class. During these essays, students must complete research, collect the appropriate data, make their own opinion on a subject and compose a text that is comprehensive and captures the essential nature of the topic. Moreover, students are asked to evaluate each other, developing their critical senses and values of honesty and integrity. Dr. Lemaire first applied the hybrid system with small groups of graduate students and the results exceeded expectations. He will now apply this system to large groups beginning in the winter of 2015.