Thursday, 13 December 2018, 10h00, MSG-025 MSSI Building Extension

PRESENTATION BY Dr Barbara Schoepp-Cothenet
Bioenergetics and Protein Engineering Laboratory, CNRS, France

Using Phylogenetics in Studying Bioenergetic Metalloenzymes

One of the most exciting questions addressed by fundamental research is to elucidate the evolutionary history of Bioenergetics. Phylogenetics is one of the most powerful approaches to answer this issue. This approach heavily relies on the reliability of reconstructed phylogenetic trees which are often limited by uncertainties in multiple sequence alignments. The sequence and structural data collected during the past three decades, reveals that Bioenergetics is a “construction kit”, with a very limited number of basic building blocks1, among them, proteins carrying a Molybdenum-bisPGD2. It will be illustrated, with our studies of Molybdenum-bisPGD enzymes involved in the Arsenic metabolism, how this sparsity of structural modules used by Bioenergetics provides the solution for tree reconstruction and its interpretation3-5. Another challenge for fundamental research is to elucidate the rules underlying the bioenergetic chemical reactions: one of them being the rules of catalytic redox mechanisms. Again, the contribution of phylogenetics to this question, presenting some of our results on Molybdenum-bisPGD enzymes6, will be illustrated.

1. Schoepp-Cothenet B, van Lis R, Atteia A, Baymann F, Capowiez L, Ducluzeau AL, Duval S, ten Brink F, Russell MJ, Nitschke W (2013) Biochim Biophys Acta. 1827(2):79-93.
2. Grimaldi S, Schoepp-Cothenet B, Ceccaldi P, Guigliarelli B, Magalon A (2013) Biochim Biophys Acta 1827(8-9):1048-1085.
3. Schoepp-Cothenet B, van Lis R, Philippot P, Magalon A, Russell MJ, and Nitschke W (2012) Scientific Reports 2:263.
4. van Lis R, Nitschke W, Duval S, Schoepp-Cothenet B (2013) Biochim Biophys Acta 1827(2):176-188.
5. Sforna MC, Pascal Philippot P, Somogyi A, van Zuilen MA, Medjoubi K, Schoepp-Cothenet B, Nitschke W, Visscher PT (2014) Nature Geosciences 7:811-815. doi: 10.1038/NGEO2276.
6. Duval S, Santini JM, Lemaire D, Chaspoul F, Russell MJ, Grimaldi S, Nitschke W, Schoepp-Cothenet B (2016) Biochim Biophys Acta 1857(9):1353-1362.

Barbara Schoepp-Cothenet studied Biochemistry in Paris. In 1994 she received her PhD from AgroParisTech in Paris, having performed the research with Dr A. Verméglio (CEA, Cadarache). After postdoctoral years with Dr W. Nitschke (Biol. Institut II, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität, Freiburg, Germany) and Dr D. Pompon (IPM/CNRS, Gif sur Yvette; France) and a year as teaching and research assistant (CNAM, Paris, France), she was recruited as permanent researcher by the CNRS. She rose through the ranks at the Bioenergetics and Protein Engineering Laboratory in Marseille up to managing the team “Evolution of Bioenergetics”. Her research, using microbiology, biochemistry, optical and EPR spectroscopies, and electrochemistry, focuses on Molybdenum-bisPGD enzymes, in particular those involved in the arsenic bioenergetic metabolism. Together with members of her team, she proposed the notion of “redox construction kit” in Bioenergetics1.

Tea/coffee will be available at 09h45

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