Laboratoire P.A.S.T.E.U.R

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Resonant out-of-phase fluorescence microscopy and remote imaging overcome spectral limitations

Nature Communications 8, 969 (2017)


We present speed out-of-phase imaging after optical modulation (OPIOM), which exploits reversible photoswitchable fluorophores as fluorescent labels and combines optimized periodic illumination with phase-sensitive detection to specifically retrieve the label signal. Speed OPIOM can extract the fluorescence emission from a targeted label in the presence of spectrally interfering fluorophores and autofluorescence. Up to four fluorescent proteins exhibiting a similar green fluorescence have been distinguished in cells either sequentially or in parallel. Speed OPIOM is compatible with imaging biological processes in real time in live cells. Finally speed OPIOM is not limited to microscopy but is relevant for remote imaging as well, in particular, under ambient light. Thus, speed OPIOM has proved to enable fast and quantitative live microscopic and remote-multiplexed fluorescence imaging of biological samples while filtering out noise, interfering fluorophores, as well as ambient light.


Programmed Self-Assembly of a Biochemical and Magnetic Scaffold to Trigger and Manipulate Microtubule Structures

Scientific REPOrtS | 7: 11344 | 2017


Artificial bio-based scaffolds offer broad applications in bioinspired chemistry, nanomedicine, and material science. One current challenge is to understand how the programmed self-assembly of biomolecules at the nanometre level can dictate the emergence of new functional properties at the mesoscopic scale. Here we report a general approach to design genetically encoded protein-based scaffolds with modular biochemical and magnetic functions. By combining chemically induced dimerization strategies and biomineralisation, we engineered ferritin nanocages to nucleate and manipulate microtubule structures upon magnetic actuation. Triggering the self-assembly of engineered ferritins into micrometric scaffolds mimics the function of centrosomes, the microtubule organizing centres of cells, and provides unique magnetic and self-organizing properties. We anticipate that our approach could be transposed to control various biological processes and extend to broader applications in biotechnology or material chemistry.

On the Mass of Atoms in Molecules: Beyond the Born-Oppenheimer Approximation

PHYSICAL REVIEW X 25 août 2017

Describing the dynamics of nuclei in molecules requires a potential energy surface, which is traditionally provided by the Born-Oppenheimer or adiabatic approximation. However, we also need to assign masses to the nuclei. There, the Born-Oppenheimer picture does not account for the inertia of the electrons, and only bare nuclear masses are considered. Nowadays, experimental accuracy challenges the theoretical predictions of rotational and vibrational spectra and requires the participation of electrons in the internal motion of the molecule. More than 80 years after the original work of Born and Oppenheimer, this issue has still not been solved, in general. Here, we present a theoretical and numerical framework to address this problem in a general and rigorous way. Starting from the exact factorization of the electron-nuclear wave function, we include electronic effects beyond the Born-Oppenheimer regime in a perturbative way via positiondependent corrections to the bare nuclear masses. 

Loss of fourth electron-transferring tryptophan in animal (6–4) photolyase impairs DNA repair activity in bacterial cells.

(6–4) photolyases ((6–4)PLs) are flavoproteins that use blue light to repair the UV-induced pyrimidine(6–4)pyrimidone photoproduct in DNA. Their FAD cofactor can be reduced to its repair-active FADH form by a photoinduced electron transfer reaction. In animal (6–4)PLs, a chain of four Trp residues was suggested to be involved in a step-wise transfer of an oxidation hole from the flavin to the surface of the protein. Here, we investigated the effect of mutation of the fourth Trp on the DNA photorepair activity of Xenopus laevis (6–4)PL (Xl64) in bacterial cells. The photoreduction and photorepair properties of this mutant protein were independently characterized in vitro. Our results demonstrate that the mutation of the fourth Trp in Xl64 drastically impairs the DNA repair activity in cells, and that this effect is due to the inhibition of the photoreduction process. We thereby show that the photoreductive formation of FADH through the Trp tetrad is essential for the biological function of the animal (6–4)PL. The role of the Trp cascade, and of the fourth Trp in particular, are discussed.


Ultrafast flavin photoreduction in an oxidized animal (6-4) photolyase through an unconventional tryptophan tetrad.

Photolyases are flavoenzymes repairing UV-induced lesions in DNA, which may be activated by a photoreduction of their FAD cofactor. In most photolyases, this photoreduction proceeds by electron transfer along a chain of three tryptophan (Trp) residues, connecting the flavin to the protein surface. Much less studied, animal (6-4) photolyases (repairing pyrimidine-pyrimidone (6–4) photoproducts) are particularly interesting as they were recently shown to have a longer electron transfer chain, counting four Trp residues. Using femtosecond polarized transient absorption spectroscopy, we performed a detailed analysis of the photoactivation reaction in the (6-4) photolyase of Xenopus laevis with oxidized FAD. We showed that the excited flavin is very quickly reduced (~0.5 ps) by a nearby tryptophan residue, yielding FAD●– and WH●+ radicals. Subsequent kinetic steps in the picosecond regime were assigned to the migration of the positive charge along the Trp tetrad, in competition with charge recombination. We propose that the positive charge is actually delocalized over various Trp residues during most of the dynamics and that charge recombination essentially occurs through the proximal tryptophanyl radical. Oxidation of the fourth tryptophan is thought to be reached about as fast as that of the third one (~40 ps), based on a comparison with a mutant protein lacking the distal Trp, implying ultrafast electron transfer between these two residues. This unusual mechanism sheds light on the rich diversity of electron transfer pathways found in various photolyases, and evolution-related cryptochromes alike.