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Biophysics in Montpellier de l'équipe : Biophysique de la molecule unique

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Labs and main activities

Biophysics labs in Montpellier

Centre de Biochimie Structurale The single-molecule biophysics group at the CBS develops and uses single-molecule and ensemble biophysical methods to investigate the following biological problems, both in vitro and in vivo : i) Transcriptional regulation in single bacterial cells, ii) Structural dynamics of transcription termination, iii) Mechanism of DNA segregation and remodeling, iv) Structure and dynamics of membrane assemblies and, v) Pressure effects on protein structure and stability. Our main approaches include single molecule FRET, single particle tracking, optical and magnetic tweezers, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy, as well as time-resolved and high-pressure fluorimetry. An important component of our research involves methodological developments in order to maintain the state-of-the-art for the various single molecule approaches and the development of novel methods to address new and exciting questions in the aforementioned research topics.
Laboratoire de Verres et Nanomaterieux A new activity focusing on the physics of biomimetic and biological systems has been developed recently in the soft matter team.
A primary goal is the design of biomimetic objects. For instance, to get insight in the interactions of proteins linking the membrane to the cytoskeleton, we quantify the incorporation of PIP2-lipids in vesicles and the subsequent interaction with ezrin proteins. We also use vesicles containing i) modified lipids to decipher the role of specific adhesion and the membrane flow around the adhesive patch, ii) charged lipids to understand the mechanisms of destabilization by oppositely charged polyelectrolytes and visualize the morphological transitions due to pore opening and growth. We are also interested in pear shaped vesicles under sedimentation and the extraction of lipid nanotubes.

A second field of interest is cell mechanics. We reveal that red blood cells (RBCs) present a swing-like oscillation of their inclination, modeled considering the interplay between the fluid membrane and the 2D elastic cytoskeleton. We also investigate single cell mechanics with « 2-point microrheology » and model the relaxation of the elastic network through protein unfolding. Concomitantly, the analysis of the fluctuations of mechanical response is sensitive to cell-probe adhesion dynamics. Finally, we study malaria parasites release from RBCs and their motility on a glass surface.


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