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Biocatalysis team

Published on 24 January 2019

Team leader

  Dr. Sandrine Ollagnier-de Choudens
Director of research at the CNRS
Laboratoire Chimie et Biologie des Métaux
17 avenue des Martyrs
38 054 Grenoble Cedex 09
Phone: (33) 4 38 78 91 22


Nathalie Atta
Laboratoire Chimie et Biologie des Métaux
17 avenue des Martyrs
38 054 Grenoble Cedex 09
Phone: (33) 4 38 78 91 02
Fax: (33) 4 38 78 91 24


Our research group is a combination of chemists, biochemists and biologists interested in metal-catalyzed biotransformations. The research projects are located at the interface between chemistry and biology, as far as concepts but also methods are concerned.

Our work aims at understanding and mimicking the molecular chemistry of complex biological reactions at both the structural and reactivity levels.
As an example, iron-sulfur cluster based redox catalytic systems are a class of enzymes studied in order to understand their catalytic mechanisms. We are also interested in investigating the mechanism of the biosynthesis of such polymetallic structures within proteins and enzymes.
Based on this knowledge, new synthetic molecules can be derived with potential applications in the field of energy or health: mimicking hydrogenase enzymes leads to the design of new catalysts to be used in electrolyzers or fuel-cells alternatively to platinum whereas some metalloenzymes are potential targets regarding the design of new antibiotics.

Research projects

Metals and biotransformation of macromolecules (M. Atta, E. Mulliez, M. Fontecave)
Carbon and Sulfur radical insertion in proteins and nucleic acids.
DNA repair.

Metals and Assembly of Metallic Sites (S. Ollagnier, C. Gerez, C. Cavazza, M. Fontecave)
Biosynthesis of Iron-Sulfur clusters.
Maturation of hydrogenases.
Biosynthesic pathway of nickel-containing multimetallic cofactors.

Metalloproteins and cellular detoxification processes (V. Nivière)
Superoxide reductase SOR.
MsrPQ, a new discovered system repairing oxidized methionine residues.

Metals and biosynthesis of organic cofactors (S. Ollagnier)
Biosynthesis of Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide.

Metals and hydrogen (J. Willison, M. Atta, V. Artero)
Optimisation of strain performances by metabolic engineering and of bioprocesses for H
2 production.
Artificial enzymes.
Structural and functional hydrogenase mimics.

Inaugural lesson of the Collège de France

Marc Fontecave, chair of Chemistry of biological processes, 26 march 26th, 2009:
watch the video
• download the medium of the inaugural lesson

All the courses will be filmed and available remotely on the Web pages of professor Marc Fontecave