Enzymology and glycobiochemistry

Team : Organic Synthesis - GlycoBio&Chemistry

Group : Enzymology and Glycobiochemistry

Group of Pr. Richard DANIELLOU and Dr. Pierre LAFITE


Sugars, or carbohydrates, are molecular components that are not only essential to our diet but also a crucial part of life itself. Alone or associated to proteins or lipids, they also play a central role in cell interactions with many other biological entities (other cells, viruses, bacteria, …) These glycoconjugates  are thus involved in many pathologies, such as cancer, diabetes, or tuberculosis. However, the understanding of these phenomenons is hard to reach due to the great diversity, in both nature and linkage of these compounds.

Cellular interactions mediated by sugars

Research in Enzymology and Glycobiochemistry group is focused on the understanding the mechanisms and structures of enzymes involved in synthesis (Glycosyltransferases), or breaking (Glycosidases) of carbohydrates. Moreover, these enzymes can serve as biocatalysts to synthesize original carbohydrate-containing compounds: thioglycosides (or S-glycosides). These compounds are more stable towards degradation than their natural O-glycosides analogues which make them potentially usable in therapeutics or cosmetics.

To understand more deeply the catalytic mechanism of these enzymes, as well as their molecular recognition of sugars or derivatives, structural studies are conducted using either macromolecular crystallography of molecular modeling.