Lipid membranes exhibit non-trivial properties, particularly at spatial scales much larger than molecular sizes. A purely molecular description of the membranes is insufficient to arrive at a quantitative understanding of their function, and concepts at mesoscopic scales from soft matter and statistical physics are needed. Moreover, cell membranes involve a large number of proteins which can have some activity and which are inserted or interact with the membranes, which completely changes the physical description.
Our general objective is to contribute to a better understanding of biological membranes and their role in cells .
Bio-membranes models and cell membranes
Our goal is to understand the role of lipid membranes and associated proteins in essential cellular functions such as:
- Intracellular trafficking,
- Endo / exocytosis,
- Infection of cells,
- The transmembrane transport of ions (« active membranes »),
- And the diffusion of proteins.
For this, our group develops multidisciplinary approaches , largely based on synthetic biology, biomimetic systems and quantitative physical measurements .
We also study the mechanisms leading to the formation of filopods and the generation of force by these cellular structures, both on living cells and on in vitro systems.
We develop different model membrane systems, especially on the basis of giant unilamellar vesicles (GUV) and purified proteins (cytosolic or transmembrane). Our experiments generally combine quantitative confocal microscopy, optical clamps, micromanipulation, micropipette aspiration, as well as single particle tracking for diffusion measurements. As a large part of our projects concern deformations (curvature) and membrane mechanics, the group has developed experiments with membrane nanotubes drawn from GUVs or cells.
Our approaches and questions are motivated by our close collaboration with cell biologists at the Institut Curie and externally, with microbiologists and theorists .