Universite Grenoble Alpes

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Université Grenoble Alpes, CERMAV, Structural and Molecular Glycobiology


The research of our group has a main focus on the biochemical and structural studies of lectins from opportunistic pathogens of bacterial or fungal origin responsible of severe bronchopulmonary infections. They mediate recognition and adhesion to host glycoconjugates so they can be targeted for the development of glyco based molecules as new anti-infectives. Our goals are (i) to identify soluble lectins involved in the adhesion of the pathogen to host glycoconjugates (ii) to dissect the interactions of lectin-glycoconjugates at the atomic level (iii) to design glycocompounds and (iv) to evaluate the potential of glycocompounds by in vitro studies.

Our expertise includes
– molecular biology
– biochemistry
– biophysical characterisation of lectin-carbohydrate interactions
– protein X-ray crystallography
– molecular modelling of protein and/or carbohydrates

Dr Annabelle Varrot completed her PhD degree at the York Structural Biology Laboratory, Chemistry Department, University of York, UK, in October 2000. She stayed another three years in the group of Prof Gideon J Davies as a post-doctorate to continue her study on glycoside hydrolases mechanisms at the atomic level by X-ray crystallography. In 2004, she joined the group of Dr Stephen Cusack, EMBL, Grenoble, France as a post-doc researcher. She integrated the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) in October 2005 where she became a permanent researcher at CERMAV (Centre de Recherches sur les Macromolecules Végétales), Grenoble, a multidisciplinary glycosciences institute associated with Université Grenoble Alpes. She is head of the group “Structural and Molecular Glycobiology” since January 2016. Her research interests involve the determination of the 3D crystal structures of lectins in complex with ligand (glycoconjugates, inhibitors) to have a better understanding of the molecular determinants necessary for carbohydrate recognition in order to interfere with or exploit lectin-carbohydrate interactions.

Dr Anne Imberty graduated in biology from Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. In 1988, she received her PhD degree from the University of Grenoble, France focused on starch structure. She started modeling studies of protein-carbohydrate interactions during her post-doc in Toronto. In 1991, she integrated CNRS in Nantes before moving to Grenoble and CERMAV in 1996. She became CNRS research director in 1999 and since January 2016, she is head of CERMAV. She received the Whistler Award of the International Carbohydrate Organization in 2004, and the Charles Dhéré Award in Chemistry from the French Academy of Sciences in 2011. Her research at the interface between biology and chemistry is focused on the characterization of the molecular basis of the interaction between lectins and biologically active oligosaccharides by biophysical methods such as microcalorimetry, surface plasmon resonance, 3D structures and molecular modelling.