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Ontogenesis and molecular interaction


Proteins are the universal elements of life. They form tightly interconnected networks called “interactomes” which dictate the final morphology and function of all cell types in the organism. Deciphering interactomes is a key issue in biology for understanding fundamental aspects of life, but also for cracking the molecular codes deregulated in human diseases, including cancers.

Our team is tackling the issue of interactomes established by major regulatory proteins such as the Hox proteins. To this end, we developed tools that allow visualizing and capturing protein-protein interactions in Drosophila and human cells at various resolution scales. Our approaches cover genetics, microscopy, proteomics and modelling to unravel new paradigms underlying the formation and function of major regulatory protein interaction networks in live cell contexts.


Key words

Protein-protein interaction, development, cancer/physiopathology, osteogenesis, gene regulation, Hox, BiFC, live imaging



Research projects are based on Bimolecular Fluorescence Complementation (BiFC), which has been further implemented for allowing large-scale screening in Drosophila and various human cell lines. BiFC has recently been coupled with different tools for allowing single molecule resolution of protein-protein interactions or for proteome-wide capture of endogenous cell interactomes established by specific dimeric protein complexes.


research projects

Our research projects use different types of regulatory proteins in different biological contexts as a model system. Projects are listed below. 

1- Role of LaminC and Hox proteins for autophagy repression during Drosophila development. This project relates to a novel partnership between Hox proteins and the Lamin-C nuclear component for repressing autophagy in the Drosophila larval fat body.

2- Hox dosage and the evolution of flight appendages in insects. This project aims at understanding how different doses of Hox proteins could impact on the transcriptional program underlying the development of flight appendages in insects.

3- Hox regulatory activity at the mRNA level. This project aims at further characterizing a novel role of Hox proteins at the level of mRNA processing and stability.  

4- Technological development and services.

We propose new tools for deciphering interactomes of single protein or protein complexes. We welcome external projects either as a collaboration or via the LiPiCS company.

4.1 Visualizing protein-protein interactions at the super resolution scale in Drosophila.

We present photoactivated (PA)-BiFC for single molecule resolution of protein-protein interactions by doing photoactivated light microscopy (PALM) in Drosophila.

4.2 Deciphering proteome-wide interactomes in human cells. 

We present novel cutting-edge approaches developed in collaborative projects for highly sensitive capture of interactions of various types of bait proteins in different compartments of human cells.

4.3 The LiPiCS start-up.

LiPiCS emerged from the lab and proposes several services for individual or large-scale screening of protein-protein interactions in human cells.



We welcome students for internships, don’t hesitate to contact Samir Merabet ( if you are interested!