Dr. Martin Pelchat


Dr. Martin Pelchat
Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology

B.Sc. (Laval)
M.Sc. (Laval)
Ph.D. (Laval)

Roger Guindon Hall, Room 4111A (office), 4111 (lab)

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 8846
Lab: 613-562-5800 ext. 8630
Fax: 613-562-5452

Work E-mail: mpelchat@uottawa.ca

Dr. Martin Pelchat


Research Interests

Subviral RNA pathogens, like plant viroids and the human hepatitis delta virus are the smallest known virion. These unusual pathogens are composed of a remarkably compact stranded circular RNA molecule consisting of 300 - 1700 nucleotides. Since they do not encode their own replication machinery, they must entirely rely on host cellular components. How the normal host proteins are usurped to replicate these pathogens is an important issue and exposes a previously unknown ability of the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase to use RNA as template. The objectives of our group is to characterize the host-components involved in subviral RNA pathogens replication and study their interactions at the molecular level. Overall, the results that will be generated will be a fundamental building block for the further study of viroid and viroid-like viruses, and for the design of inhibitors preventing their replication.

Les pathogènes d’ARN sous-viraux, comme les viroïdes de plantes et le virus de l’hépatite delta humaine sont les plus petits virions connus. Ces surprenants pathogènes sont composés d’une molécule d’ARN simple-brin circulaire de 300 - 1700 nucléotides. Puisqu’ils n’encodent pas leur propre machinerie de réplication, celle-ci doit être entièrement supportée par les composants cellulaires de leur hôte. Comment ces protéines cellulaires sont usurpées pour la réplication de ces pathogènes est une question importante et démontre une habileté encore inconnue des ARN polymérases ADN-dépendantes d’utiliser l’ARN comme substrat. L’objectif de notre groupe est d’identifier les constituants de leurs hôtes impliqués dans cette réplication et caractériser leurs interactions au niveau moléculaire à long terme, les résultats générés seront essentiels pour l’étude de ces pathogènes et pour l’élaboration d’inhibiteurs afin de prévenir leur réplication

Select Publications


  • Forbes N, Selman M, Pelchat M, Jia JJ, Stintzi A, Brown EG. Identification of adaptive mutations in the influenza A virus non-structural 1 gene that increase cytoplasmic localization and differentially regulate host gene expression. PLoS One. 2013 Dec 31;8(12):e84673. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084673. eCollection 2013.
  • Uzicanin, Samra, Hu, Yu-Wen, Alsousi, Husam, Pelchat, Martin, Rocheleau, Linda., Nair, RamaC., Brown, Earl.G. Hepatitis C Virus: The Role of Molecular Mimicry in Response to Interferon Treatment J. Med. Virol. (2012) Oct;84(10):1571-85. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23361.
  • Bojić, T., Beeharry,Y., Zhang. D.J., Pelchat M. Tomato RNA polymerase II interacts with the rod-like conformation of the left terminal domain of the potato spindle tuber viroid positive RNA genome J Gen Virol. (2012) Jul;93(Pt 7):1591-600. doi: 10.1099/vir.0.041574-0. Epub 2012 Mar 14 [Epub ahead of print]
  • Taylor J., Pelchat M. Origin of hepatitis delta virus Future Microbiol. 5:393-402 (2010)
  • Greco-Stewart V.S., Pelchat M. Interaction of Host Cellular Proteins with Components of the Hepatitis Delta Virus Viruses. 2(1):189-212 (2010)
  • Sikora D, Greco-Stewart VS, Miron P, Pelchat M. The hepatitis delta virus RNA genome interacts with eEF1A1, p54(nrb), hnRNP-L, GAPDH and ASF/SF2 Virology. 390:71-78 (2009)
  • Greco-Stewart V.S., Schissel E., Pelchat M. The hepatitis delta virus RNA genome interacts with the human RNA polymerases I and III Virology, 386:12-15 (2009)
  • Abrahem A., Pelchat M. Formation of an RNA polymerase II preinitiation complex on an RNA promoter derived from the hepatitis delta virus RNA genome. Nucleic Acids Res., 36:5201-5211 (2008)
  • Greco-Stewart V.S., Miron P., Abrahem A., Pelchat M. The human RNA polymerase II interacts with the terminal stem-loop regions of the hepatitis delta virus RNA genome. Virology, 357:68-78 (2007)
  • Greco-Stewart V.S.,St-Laurent Thibault C., Pelchat M. Binding of the polypyrimidine tract-binding protein-associated splicing factor (PSF) to the hepatitis delta virus RNA Virology, 356:35-44 (2006)
  • Rocheleau L, Pelchat M. The Subviral RNA Database: a toolbox for viroids, the hepatitis delta virus and satellite RNAs research. BMC Microbiol. 6:24 (2006)
  • Hu Y-W, Rocheleau L, Larke B, Chui L, Lee B, Ma, M, Liu S, Omlin T, Pelchat M, Brown EG. Immunoglobulin mimicry by Hepatitis C Virus envelope protein E2. Virology 332: 538–549 (2005)
  • Brown EG, Pelchat, M. The A/Viet Nam/1196/04 H5N1 isolate from a fatal case of human influenza is most closely related to Highly Pathogenic Avian Strain of influenza A viruses originating in China. Web article for the “NewScientist” news “Genetic analysis probes bird flu's
  • Pelchat M, Rocheleau L, Perreault J, Perreault JP. SubViral RNA: a database of the smallest known auto-replicable RNA species. Nucleic Acids Res. 31:444-445 (2003)
  • Pelchat M, Perreault JP. Binding site of Escherichia coli RNA polymerase to an RNA promoter. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 319:636-642 (2004)
  • Elleuch A, Fakhfakh H, Pelchat M, Landry P, Marrakchi M, Perreault JP. Sequencing of Australian Grapevine Viroid and Yellow Speckle Viroid isolated from a Tunisian grapevine without passage in an indicator plant. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 108: 815-820 (110 KB) (2002)
  • Pelchat M, Grenier C, Perreault JP. Characterization of a viroid-derived RNA promoter for the DNA-dependent RNA polymerase from Escherichia coli. Biochemistry. 41:6561-6571 (193 KB) (2002)
  • Pelchat M, Cote F, Perreault JP. Study of the polymerization step of the rolling circle replication of peach latent mosaic viroid. Arch Virol. 146:1753-1763 (240 KB) (2001)
  • Pelchat M, Levesque D, Ouellet J, Laurendeau S, Levesque S, Lehoux J, Thompson DA, Eastwell KC, Skrz Sequencing of peach latent mosaic viroid variants from nine North American peach cultivars shows that this RNA folds into a complex secondary structure. Virology. 271:37-45 (362 KB) (2000)
  • Pelchat M, Deschenes P, Perreault JP. The database of the smallest known auto-replicable RNA species: viroids and viroid-like RNAs. Nucleic Acids Res. 28:179-801 (20 KB) (2000)
  • Pelchat M, Lapointe J. Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase genes of Bacillus subtilis: organization and regulation. Biochem Cell Biol. 77:343-347 (72 KB) (1999)
  • Pelchat M, Gagnon Y, Laberge S, Lapointe J. Co-transcription of Rhizobium meliloti lysyl-tRNA synthetase and glutamyl-tRNA synthetase genes. FEBS Lett. 449:23-27 (313 KB) (1999)
  • Pelchat M, Lapointe J. In vivo and in vitro processing of the Bacillus subtilis transcript coding for glutamyl-tRNA synthetase, serine acetyltransferase, and cysteinyl-tRNA synthetase. RNA. 5:281-289 (709 KB) (1999)
  • Pelchat M, Lacoste L, Yang F, Lapointe J. Overproduction of the Bacillus subtilis glutamyl-tRNA synthetase in its host and its toxicity to Escherichia coli. Can J Microbiol. 44:378-831 (450 KB) (1998)
  • Gagnon Y, Breton R, Putzer H, Pelchat M, Grunberg-Manago M, Lapointe J. Clustering and co-transcription of the Bacillus subtilis genes encoding the aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases specific for glutamate and for cysteine and the first enzyme for cysteine biosynthesis. J Biol Chem. 269:7473-8274 (3.84 MB) (1994)

Fields of Interest

  • RNA:protein interactions
  • Hepatitis delta virus
  • RNA structure/function
  • Viroids
  • Biochemistry
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