To carry out their activities, Research Teams of the Frédéric Joliot Institute for Life Sciences have developed high-profile technological platforms in many areas : biomedical imaging, structural biology, metabolomics, High-Throughput screening, level 3 microbiological safety laboratory...
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Laboratory | Chemistry
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The group specializes in the application of high magnetic-field and high frequency electron paramagnetic resonance (HFEPR) techniques for solving physical, chemical and biological problems. This involves a wide range of activities that include design and construction of instruments, computational and synthetic chemistry, as well as biochemistry and molecular biology. We have been involved in projects ranging from environmental chemistry to large proteins to molecular magnets with collaborators worldwide.
One major biochemical focus has been on the
characterization of radicals and Mn(II) centers in proteins. Both of these areas are strongly tied to research in oxidative stress and photosynthesis. The list of Mn(II) proteins that we are studying has been steadily growing and include those involved in the regulation and transport of manganese in cells as well as many other important biological functions ranging from regulation of oxidative stress and bacterial virulence to breakdown of organic molecules. We have extended our methodology to characterizing these paramagnetic centers inside intact viable cells.
We have extensive experience in the synthesis of Mn(II) complexes that help us understand the EPR spectroscopy of Mn(II) containing proteins. Some of these complexes are also functional mimics and provide valuable frameworks for examining the mechanisms of Mn(II) proteins and the design principles required for metal based drugs that mimic these enzymes. To complement HFEPR measurements, we use quantum chemical methods to calculate structures and magnetic spin parameters from first principles and molecular biology to not only test the spectroscopic measurements and quantum calculations, but also to probe aspects of enzyme function.
Recently, we have been interested in using HFEPR PELDOR (Pulse Electron Double Resonance) to determine the structure and structural changes of bio-macromolecules. By measuring the magnetic dipole coupling between unpaired electrons, precise nanometer scale distances can be obtained. Paramagnetic centers can be endogenous to the biological system or introduced as spin labels, and we have begun developing new spin labels and spectroscopic protocols for various applications.
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.