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Molecular and Environmental Microbiology


Damien F​​​AIVRE (​​​ 

Published on 26 April 2019


The objective of our laboratory is to describe at the molecular level the mechanisms involved in the bacterial responses linked to the metabolism of essential metals, using multidisciplinary approaches combining in vivo, in vitro and in silico studies carried out from living cells (mainly photosynthetic, magnetotactic and radiotolerant bacterial species) to purified proteins. Our research in this field addresses original mechanisms of (i) metal uptake and insertion into metalloproteins, (ii) metal sequestration and biomineralization in a prokaryotic organite and (iii) bacterial responses to radiation and oxidative stress. These fundamental studies feed the development of potential applications for health and environmental biotechnologies. ​​

​Genomics,  genetics, molecular biology, microbiology, heterologous purification of recombinant proteins, biochemistry, structural biology, biophysics, enzymology.

​Human Ressources​

In 2019​, 8 researchers, 4 engineers, 3 technicians, 5 PhD students, 2 postdoc.​

​Financial Ressources​
​Our works are/were supported in the last 5 years by

  • ​9 ANR grants: 
    • COMBITOX (2012-2016) "In line multiplex detection of toxic compounds"
    • MEFISTO (2013-2017) "Targeted biological nano-magnets for theranostic »; 
    • ANIBAL (2014-2017) "A novel nicotianamine-based metallophore in pathogenic »;  
    • MC2 (2011-2015) "Molybdenum Cofactor Chemistry"; 
    • GROMA (2015-2018) ANR Franco-Allemande "Greigite or magnetite: The determinants controlling biomineralization in magnetotactic bacteria"; 
    • DEINOCOCCUS (-2011) "Structure of the nucleoid and radioresistance of D. radiodurans and D. deserti": 
    • MOLYERE (2016-2020) "Understanding and controlling the Molybdenum cofactor reactivity in enzymes and maquette proteins​"
    • METOXIC (2016-2020)."Enzymatic repair of oxidized proteins" 
    • HEMEDETOX (2018-2022) "Understanding heme stress sensing system by pathogens, to design new antibiotics"
  • One project (BAMACO) funded by the CEA (TOXNUC program)
  • Two projects supported by the CNRS (INEE: APEGE and INSU: INTERRVIE)
  • One topic is part of the MicrobioE project from AMIDEX 
  • One European project coordinated in the lab and funded by the Life+ program. 
  • Several international collaborations are/were also encouraged by specific international financial supports (France-Israel: French-Israeli Research Council, France-South Africa: PROTEA and South-African Water Research Council, France-New-Zealand: Dumont D'Urville).​


Last results published in Science :  The Fatty-Acid Photodecarboxylase, catalyses the production of alcanes in microalga.  Our team is involved in the structural characterization of this new family of enzyme discovered by the BIAM/EBM (Group of Fredéric Beisson).
Sorigué D, Légeret B, Cuiné S, Blangy S, Moulin S, Billon E, Richaud P, Brugière S, Couté Y, Nurizzo D, Müller P, Brettel K, Pignol D, Arnoux P, Li-Beisson Y, Peltier G, Beisson F.

Science. 2017 Sep 1;357(6354):903-907. doi: 10.1126/science.aan6349.

Results published in Science :​Targeting Metals to Fight Staphylococcus aureus

Our team (in collaboration with the groups of E. Borozée-Durant (INRA Jouy-en-Josas), R. Voulhoux (CNRS Marseille) and​ R. Lobinski (CNRS Pau) has discovered a novel system of  metal acquisition in a pathogenic bacterium, staphylococcus aureus. It is a new potential target for the design of an antibiotic. ​

Ghssein, G.*, Brutesco, C.*, Ouerdane, L.*, Fojcik C., Izaute, A., Wang, S., Hajjar, C., Lobinski, R., Lemaire, D., Richaud, P., Voulhoux, R., Espaillat, A., Cava, F., Pignol, D., Borezée-Durant, E. & Arnoux, P. (2016) Biosynthesis of a broad-spectrum nicotianamine-like metallophore in Staphylococcus aureus. Science  (New York, N.Y.), 2016 May 27;352(6289):1105-9. ​ ​​ doi :10.1126/science.aaf1018