Marc Sitbon
  • E-mail :[email]
  • Phone : +33 6 18 038 142
  • Location : Montpellier, France
Last update 2017-09-15 13:48:25.53

Marc Sitbon PhD Virology; Retrovirology; Metabolic biomarkers

Course and current status

 Present appointment

Directeur de recherche (DR1) INSERM

 Research Group Leader :

Retroviruses, Envelopes and Metabolic Markers

Institut de Génétique Moléculaire Montpellier, France; CNRS-IGMM

Université Montpellier 2 (UM2)

Université Montpellier 1 (UM1)



1983 Ph.D. in Virology. Paris-Diderot/Paris 7 : "Epidemiology and characterization of viral agents involved in infantile gastroenteritis in Gabon"

1980 DERBH (equivalent to Masters degree in Immunogenetics ), Paris-Diderot/Paris 7 : "Characteristics of the human lymphocytotoxic anti-influenza response"

1979 DERBH in Tumor Virology, Paris-Diderot/Paris 7 : “Development of nucleotide probes to detect xenotropic murine leukemia viruses

1979 Advanced Studies in Immunology (Diplome Immunologie Approfondie, Pasteur Institute, Paris)



2008-09 Expert Scientist NIH-NCI Bethesda

Experimental Immunology Branch; Dir. Al Singer

2006 CNRS- INSERM Directeur de recherche (DR1) IGMM, Montpellier, France 

1995-05 CNRS-IGMM Research Group Leader

1993-95 Visiting Scientist (The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA)

1994 INSERM Directeur de recherche (DR2) (Institut Cochin, Paris, France)

1987 INSERM Chargé de recherche (CR1) (Institut Cochin, Paris, France)

1983-86 Fogarty Visiting Fellow and Visiting Associate (Fogarty Intl. Center, Laboratory of Persistent Viral Diseases, NIAID/NIH, Hamilton, MT, USA); Dir. Bruce Chesebro

1981-82 Research Fellow, Centre Intl. Recherches Médicales de Franceville (CIRMF, Gabonese Republic)


Recent National Appointments

2011- Appointed expert for the IMMI (French National Institute of Microbial and Infectious Diseases at INSERM)

2009- Scientific Board French National Agency against AIDS (ANRS, Paris)

2008-12 Scientific Board, FRM (Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale, Paris)

2004-08 Appointed member, CNRS Comité National (Study Section No. 23 on Cell Biology and Pathogens)

2002-04 CNRS Representative (Regional Comittee on Animal Experimentation Ethics)

2001-04 Scientific Board, GEFLUC (Consortium of French Corporate sponsors against Cancer)


Main Honors and Awards

2009 Award from Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Professorship (Canada)

2005 National Award for clinical translational research (INSERM Interface in NeuroPediatrics with Tours Hospital Center) and

2002 The Jacques Piraud FRM Prize on Infectious Diseases (Fondation Recherche Médicale, Paris)

1995 CNRS "ATIPE-Virology" (National Award for selected new virology lab)

1995 The FRM "Nouvelle équipe" Award (Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale)

1993 Philippe Foundation Award (Paris/New-York), for France-US collaborative studies on cancer

1992 NATO Award for collaborative studies (with Linda Wolff, NCI/NIH, Bethesda)

1989 NCI Award for collaborative studies on murine leukemia viruses (Linda Wolff, NCI/NIH, Bethesda)



2011 Co-founder Metafora Biosystems, Cap Alpha 34830 Clapiers

Scientific summary

Retroviruses provide information on virus-cell interactions and pathogenesis, as well as on eukaryotic gene expression. Moreover, the distinctive ability of retrovirus envelope glycoproteins to bind specific receptors can be used to design new cell differentiation markers and tools for cell- specific gene transfer strategies. Using a wide array of techniques, we study cell type-dependent retroviral replication, infection, pathogenesis and gene transfer in several human and animal models, including mouse, simian and human retroviruses.

We are interested in all aspects of infection by retroviruses and their co-evolution with their mammalian hosts. We study the molecular bases of virus-host interactions, their impact on cellular metabolism, retrovirus pathophysiology and epidemiology, and explore the use of retroviruses in gene transfer. Our main models make use of human and simian retroviruses (the HTLV and STLV T cell leukemia viruses and the HIV and SIV immunodeficiency viruses), and mouse pathogenesis models with murine leukemia viruses (MLV).

One of the earliest events that conditions a successful infection is the interaction of the virus-encoded envelope glycoprotein (Env) with cell surface components that act as receptors for viral entry. We have shown that the env genes of the otherwise distant MLV and HTLV present close phylogenetic and functional relatedness. This and other observations led us to postulate that mammalian retroviruses evolved by independent “env captures”, selected on a role played by ancestral Env in virion formation and egress, in addition to viral entry. We derived new Env-derived tools that allowed us to identify the HTLV Env receptor as Glut1, the main vertebrate glucose transporter. We distinguished Glut1 extracellular loops responsible for binding and post-binding events and showed that Glut1 transporter activity is inhibited upon interaction with the HTLV Env receptor-binding domain. We isolated and tagged HTLV and other retrovirus Env-derived receptor-binding domains to monitor the physiological surface expression of Glut1 and other nutrient transporters in natural contexts. More recently, we showed that Xpr1, initially identified as the xenotropic and polytropic MLV Env receptor, is the first phosphate exporter described in metazoans (

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