Jérôme Boisbouvier, winner of a third prestigious ERC grant

The European Research Council (ERC) has just awarded an Advanced Grant to Jérôme Boisbouvier, a researcher at the Grenoble Institute de Biologie Structurale (IBS/Biomolecular NMR Spectroscopy Group), to develop new routes to study extra-large biomolecular assemblies using solution-state NMR.

Jérôme Boisbouvier is in charge of the NMR of large biomolecular assemblies team. His project, entitled "XXL-NMR", has received ERC funding of €3.5 million over 5 years. Scientific excellence at European level is one of the main selection criteria for these grants, which are designed to enable established research leader to propose exceptional project in terms of originality and significance.

Jérôme Boisbouvier studied Chemistry at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and Molecular Biophysics at Sorbonne University. He obtained his PhD in Physics in 2000 from Grenoble Alpes University. In 2001, he received a fellowship from the Human Frontier Science Program Organization to work at the NIH in Bethesda (USA) under the supervision of Dr Adriaan Bax. In 2004, he was recruited by the CNRS to join the IBS, where he obtained a habilitation to lead research in Biology in 2008. That same year, he was awarded the CNRS Paoletti prize for his work in the life sciences, as well as the CNRS Bronze Medal awarded by both the Chemistry and Biology departments of the CNRS. Jérôme Boisbouvier was promoted to CNRS Research Director in 2010.

His research team focuses on the development of isotope labeling and spectroscopic methods to push back the frontiers of NMR applications in biology. Over the past fifteen years, the team has established itself as a leading player in the field of isotope labeling for biomolecular NMR. In 2010, this work enabled him to win the first ERC grant for IBS (’Consolidator’ category), to study the mechanism of biological machinery in action using NMR. In 2014, he received ERC ’Proof of Concept’ funding to disseminate the isotope labelling innovations developed by his team. He has now been awarded a third ERC ’Advanced’ Grant 2022, for the XXL-NMR project.

What does the "XXL-NMR" project involve ?
The cell is a set of dynamic molecular machines. NMR spectroscopy is the method of choice for observing complex conformational changes, transient interactions and protein dynamics at atomic resolution. Increasing NMR signal linewidths and large signal superpositions prevent the analysis of NMR spectra of most large hetero-oligomeric assemblies. The XXL-NMR project aims to develop an approach for greatly simplifying the NMR spectra of very large protein complexes and their analysis at atomic resolution. New NMR frequency editing schemes will be invented to acquire NMR spectra with exceptional sensitivity and resolution for very slowly rotating complexes. A specific isotope labelling method to produce proteins that are visible by NMR only at the required sites will be developed, as will a combinatorial strategy to reduce the time required for the specific assignment of each NMR signal (from several months to a few hours). The performance of these revolutionary NMR methods will be demonstrated using several complexes currently beyond the reach of solution NMR. This project will propel the biological applications of NMR far beyond their current limits, transforming solution NMR spectroscopy into a highly competitive method for the study of large medically relevant biomolecular assemblies and molecular machines hitherto considered inaccessible.

NMR spectroscopy, large biomolecular assemblies, isotope marking, Cell-free

3.5 M€ over 5 years