Structural Biophysics

Lionel Mourey
Lionel Mourey

Group Leader

The activity of our group goes from fundamental to applied research in the fields of structural biology, biophysics and screening. Our expertise covers all the steps from engineering to biochemical, biophysical and structural characterization of challenging macromolecular assemblies and macromolecule-ligand complexes with great interest in pharmaceutical and biotechnological research.

Our group conducts fundamental and applied research in structural biology, biophysics, and ligand screening, specializing in all stages of macromolecular assembly and characterization, with a focus on pharmaceutical and biotechnological research.

Our group develops four research topics (described below). Our research benefits from strong collaborations with laboratories in the Toulouse area, including teams at IPBS, as well as national and international networking. This reflects our commitment to providing the scientific and medical communities with tools that we believe play a major role in answering relevant biological questions, helping to combat diseases and furnishing bio-based tools to tackle technological challenges. In line with this, our biophysical and crystallographic equipment is part of the Integrated Screening Platform of Toulouse (PICT), a national IBiSA platform run under the quality management system standards ISO 9001-2015 and NF X50-900. With two Professors and four Associate-Professors, our group is also strongly involved in teaching and training through research.

Fight against bacterial infections

A large part of our research is dedicated to the fight against mycobacterial infections by characterizing enzymes essential to mycobacterial physiology, which represent potential targets for the development of new drugs, particularly antituberculosis drugs. Other players, e.g. a new family of toxins not related to mycobacteria, are also investigated.

Therapeutic targets in oncology

In relation with cancer research, we are working on several projects related to the characterization of new protein families (glutathione S-transferases: GST) and new targets regulated by small GTPases in the context of resistance to therapies.

Enzymes of biotechnological interest

We characterize enzymes involved in the valorization of lignocellulosic biomass, a renewable and inexhaustible carbon source considered as a raw material to drive sustainable economy. We aim especially at improving newly identified glycoside hydrolases as well as studying synergistic actions of these enzymes on complex substrates for an improved and controlled deconstruction of the plant cell wall polysaccharides.

Single DNA biosensing

We develop single molecule approaches to characterize the dynamics of macromolecular assemblies of nucleic acids with basic science and application- driven objectives. The first objective comprises the physical
and biochemical principles of the organization of the bacterial nucleoid, in relation with genome repair functions in particular, and the role of repeated sequences in molecular mechanisms altered by cancer. The second objective evaluates the combination of our high-throughput Tethered Particle Motion technique with recognition elements as a sensor for water micropollutants or biomarkers.

Team members

Research Scientists

Fabienne Bardou (University)
Cécile Bon (University)
Eric Clottes (University)
Suzana Dos Reis (University)
Laurent Maveyraud (University)
Lionel Mourey (CNRS)
Jean-Denis Pedelacq (CNRS)
Annaïk Quémard (CNRS)
Laurence Salomé (CNRS)
Catherine Tardin (University)
Samuel Tranier (University)

Research Engineers

Thomas Enjalbert
Valérie Guillet (CNRS)
Serge Mazères (CNRS)
Virginie Nahoum (CNRS)
Georges Ndikoum-Matip
Julie Rima (University)
Clément Salvagnac

PhD Students

Martin Campoy
Sebastian Castillo
Mélina Chebaiki
Ellen Donker
Yasmine Hamchaoui
Ahmed Khamassi
Carl Khawly
Pauline Lizondo-Balderas
Aline Parpinel
Rasoul Tamhaev

Our research projects

Fight against mycobacterial diseases

Therapeutic targets in oncology

Enzymes of biotechnological interest

Single DNA biophysics and biosensing

Bon et al. (2022) Solution structure of the type I polyketide synthase Pks13 from Mycobacterium tuberculosis. BMC Biol

Soukarié et al. (2022) Single-molecule sandwich aptasensing on nanoarrays by tethered particle motion analysis. Anal Chem

Carivenc et al. (2021) Phosphopantetheinyl transferase binding and inhibition by amidino-urea and hydroxypyrimidinethione compounds. Sci Rep

Bery et al. (2019) A targeted protein degradation cell-based screening for nanobodies selective toward the cellular RHOB GTP-bound conformation. Cell Chem Biol

Guillet et al. (2019) Structural insights into chaperone addiction of toxin-antitoxin systems. Nat Commun

Guilbaud et al. (2019) Dependence of DNA persistence length on ionic strength and ion type. Phys Rev Lett