Head of the team “Mycobacterial Pathogenesis and Novel Therapeutic Targets”
Director of Research (DR2) at INSERM
Centre d'étude des Pathogènes et Biotechnologies pour la Santé (CPBS), 1919 route de Mende, 34 293 Montpellier, France
Other positions held
Fields of Scientific Interest
Lipid and glycolipid biochemistry, Metabolism, Structural biology, Medicinal Chemistry, Membrane protein biochemistry, Molecular microbiology
Current Fundings and Awards
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the etiologic agent of tuberculosis, represents a major cause of death worldwide due to a unique infectious agent. Since the mid-80s, there has been a prominent progression of the disease, substantiated by the spread of the HIV pandemic and the emergence of multidrug-resistant M. tuberculosis strains. In addition, atypical mycobacteria, including Mycobacterium abscessus, represent an emerging health problem in industrialized countries and are notorious for being highly resistant to most antibiotic treatments. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new therapies to combat these infections. One key aspect characterizing pathogenic mycobacteria resides in their capacity to persist within the phagocytic cells for several years/decades, which is strongly associated with the presence of a very unusual cell envelope. These cell wall components play a key role in driving host-pathogen interactions necessary for the establishment and persistence of the infection and represent valid targets for several antitubercular drugs.
In this context, we explore the mycobacterial cell envelope to decipher its role in the physiopathological events characterizing the infection and to identify new pharmacological targets. Our work focuses on major cell wall (glycol)lipidic components with respect to their biosynthesis, regulation, and contribution/role in virulence in pathogenic mycobacteria.
Special attention is also given on host-pathogen interactions using the zebrafish infection model that already allowed us to identify new virulence factors in pathogenic mycobacteria.