Molecular limits of Life and exobiology

Our group has a long standing interest on identifying the mechanisms allowing macromolecular stability and biocatalysis under extreme conditions We are comparing enzymatic, biophysical and structural properties of enzymes and large molecular assemblies LINK arising from different types of extremophilic species. In this context we developed a high pressure platform allowing to perform enzymatic assays and to determine X-ray structures under high pressure, temperature and solvent conditions. These studies allow to understand how enzyme structure modifications contribute to the environmental adaptations of microorganisms. This research is also motivated by the question of the origins of life and its existence on other planets. The obtained knowledge also allows us to develop efficient enzymes for industry as well as novel tools for structural biology.