The living world is divided into three cellular lineages: Bacteria, Archaea and Eukarya. We are interested in the events and mechanisms that led to the establishment of these three lineages and in the role that viruses have played in that history. The main research axis of our unit focuses on viruses of microbes, in particular, viruses of archaea and bacteria (bacteriophages).
Viruses of hyperthermophilic archaea display remarkable genomic and morphological diversity, opening new questions on the origin of viruses and their relationships with cellular organisms. We are studying the molecular mechanisms of archaeal virus-host interactions, focusing on the entry and egress of these viruses as well as on the assembly and structure of the virions. We are also exploring the potential of these highly stable viruses for applications in nanotechnology.
Another research project is dedicated to the study of molecular interactions between bacteriophages and bacteria in animals. On one hand, we decipher the conditions to use these bacterial viruses to treat infections caused by antibiotics resistant bacterial (phage therapy). On the other hand, we investigate the role of virulent bacteriophages in the equilibrium of the intestinal microbiota of mammals.