Some recent GRAL scientific highlights

  • Controlling mosquito populations

Researchers have elucidated the activation cascade of Cyt1Aa (one of the 4 Bacillus thuringiensis toxins that specifically target mosquito larvae to prevent them from becoming vectors of devastating diseases) from its crystallization within the bacterium to toxic activity in the insect.
Tetreau G et al. Serial femtosecond crystallography on in vivo-grown crystals drives elucidation of mosquitocidal Cyt1Aa bioactivation cascade. Nature Communications, 2020

  • Control of chloroplast biogenesis

The study sheds new light on the control of chloroplast biogenesis and opens up new perspectives in the understanding of the mechanisms that regulate its functioning. More generally, this work raises the question of whether the plant cell uses this process to control the composition of other cell compartments, or even, whether this mechanism is present in other eukaryotic kingdoms to orchestrate protein targeting to other cell compartments since calmodulins are proteins conserved in all eukaryotes.
Moyet L et al. Calmodulin is involved in the dual subcellular location of two chloroplast proteins. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2019

  • Plasticity of gene regulatory networks in Pseudomonas

This work illustrates a mechanism of adaptation of bacteria to different environments. After acquisition of new genes, the evolutionary pressure would focus on their regulatory sequences with the consequence of forcing the selection of specific regulatory binding sites and thus adapted expression through pre-existing signalling pathways.
Trouillon J et al. Species-specific recruitment of transcription factors dictates toxin expression. Nucleic Acids Research, 2020

See more highlights of research conducted at the Intersciplinary Research Institute of Grenoble here.