FICP / Noirot

Functional Integration of Cellular Processes
Director : Philippe NOIROT

The FICP Team is composed of three groups headed by three independent principal investigators who lead and manage their own research. These three groups have in common:

i) The general research theme of understanding how different cellular processes functionally integrate in the Gram-positive model bacterium Bacillus subtilis;

ii) An interdisciplinary approach of their research (systems biology) through strong collaborations with mathematical modeling, biostatistics and bioinformatics teams;

iii) The development of new methodologies, the acquisition of new expertise, and the sharing of some resources.

These groups also have distinct scientific identities:

Group1: Systems Biology and Synthetic Biology of Bacillus subtilis(Dr. Philippe Noirot)

The global understanding of a cell’s internal workings requires a combination of both large-scale experimental approaches and of theoretical approaches able to formalize and reduce the complexity in order to extract the general principles. We have developed and constructed interdisciplinary collaborations with bioinformaticians, mathematicians and engineers to better understand how the bacterial cell functions at a global level. Our efforts are focused on transcription regulation, the mechanisms of bacterial chromosome maintenance (recombination and repair, segregation) and adaptive responses to stress (nutritional, temperature, DNA damaging). We are also developing synthetic biology approaches.

Group 2: Functional analysis of Multi-Protein Complexes Involved in Bacterial Chromosome Dynamics (Dr. Marie-Françoise Noirot-Gros)

In the cell, proteins frequently function as complexes with other proteins to carry out biological processes. Protein complexes are at the heart of molecular machines and protein interactions regulate a wide range of metabolic pathways and responses. The Identification of interactions between proteins allows establishing interaction maps that highlight the molecular machines and the regulatory pathways connecting them. Our objectives are: (i) to elucidate the biological role of protein interactions involved in the control of initiation and elongation of chromosome replication in B. subtilis, and (ii) to gain understanding of the role of post-translational modifications of proteins in the regulation of these processes during the cellular cycle. Our strategy allows to map the various interaction surfaces on proteins and to disrupt specifically a single interaction, thus providing functional insight into the mechanisms controlling the assembly of multiprotein complexes in the cell.

Group 3: Cytoskeleton and Cell Wall Biogenesis (Dr. Rut Carballido-López)

Our objectives are the identification of the role(s) of the bacterial actin cytoskeleton (MreB) in several fundamental cellular processes such as morphogenesis, cell division, virulence and secretion polarity; as well as indentifying the molecular mechanisms involved in these processes. We seek to better understand how the bacterial cell wall (the main target for antibiotics) is controlled, both spatially as well as temporally, thus giving the bacterium it’s shape and rigidity, despite a dynamic process following cellular growth and division. We draw upon genetic, genomic, cytological, biochemical, physicochemical, transcriptomics, bioinformatics and mathematical modeling approaches to further our research. We heavily rely on the application of sophisticated optic microscopy and spectroscopy techniques for bacteria.

Writing: Philippe Noirot
Creation date: 14 April 2011
Update: 02 January 2014