• Published by: Denis CHRETIEN
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Tubulin and Interacting Proteins (TIPs)

Research

Microtubules play fundamental roles in cell life, in particular since they allow segregation of our genetic material during cell division. These "microtubes" are about 25 nm in diameter and can only be observed using sophisticated imagery tools such as transmission electron microscopy.

Although microtubules are extremely rigid structures (equivalent to that of Plexiglas), they can rapidly assemble and disassemble in a few seconds. This behavior is fundamental to their functions in cells, but its origin remains enigmatic.

Our team tries to decipher this behavior using elaborated tools such as video-light microscopy and cryo-electron microscopy. This last technique allows freezing of the microtubules in a few milliseconds at extremely low temperature (-180°C), with the aim of capturing structural steps related to their dynamic behavior. Then, they are observed at very high magnification (about 30 000 times) in the electron microscope.

We focus our work on three main topics:

Molecular basis of microtubule dynamic instability

Factors involved in the regulation of microtubule dynamic instability

From molecules to cells

We are also involved in the development of methods in relation with cryo-electron microscopy:

Methodological developments