Research focus and expertise

Key Results

Genome sequences and annotation: BF2I members have been involved in several genome sequencing efforts: they participated to the sequencing and annotation of the pea aphid genome (IAGC2010, Wilson2010, Gerardo et al., 2010), of the genome of Sitophilus endosymbiont Sodalis pierantonius (Oakeson et al., 2014, GBE), and more recently, they are leading the sequencing of the genome of Sitophilus oryzae, in collaboration with the group of A. Latorre (Instituto Cavanilles de Biodiversidad y Biología Evolutiva Universitat de València, Espagne).

Discovery of a new antimicrobial peptide (ColA) that is involved in symbiont control in weevils. ColA specifically targets endosymbionts within the bacteriocyte cells, inhibits their cell division and growth, and prevents their externalization from the bacteriome organ (Login et al., 2011, Science).

Identification of key metabolic genes and pathways in aphid/Buchnera symbiosis: Combining metabolism and transcriptomic analyses, we have identified a key metabolic pathway, shared between the pea aphid and B. aphidicola, and regulated in the insect parthenogenetic development: the tyrosine pathway (Rabatel 13). In this pathway, we pointed out the central function of phenylalanine hydroxylase, which silencing severely affects aphid fecundity and embryo development (Simonet 2014, 7th Insect Molecular Science). 

Discovery of a new mode of action of the PA1b bioinsecticide: we showed that PA1b peptide targets and blocks the vacuolar proton pump (V type H+-ATPase). As V-ATPase activity is essential for energizing nutrient absorption in insect intestine this new PA1b property is a promising means to fight against insect pests (Chouabe et al, 2011).

Discovery of a new PA1b homologue with a high insecticidal activity: Phylogenetic analysis of PA1b in Medicago truncatula has unraveled a new homologue of PA1b, namely AG41 that showed an unexpectedly high insecticidal activity.

Funded Projets

  • 2013-2017 ANR Blanc : « Immune and Metabolic Control in Intracellular Symbiosis of Insects » (IMetSym)
  • 2013-2017 IAEA coordinated research project : « Enhancing tsetse fly refractoriness to trypanosome infection » 
  • 2011-2014 ANR Blanc : « Evolutionary genetics and mechanisms of plant adaptation in aphids »  (SPECIAPHID)
  • 2010-2014 ANR Blanc : « Immunity and Symbiosis in Arthropods » (ImmunSymbArt)
  • 2009-2011 ANR : « Hortibiope » 
  • 2008-2011 ANR/BBSRC: « System level analysis of animal metabolism by multicompartment graph- and constraint based modelling » (METNET4SyBio)
  • 2008-2011 ANR Génoplante– «Symbiosis, digestion and reproduction as aphid physiological processes to identify new targets for insecticides » (APHICIBLE)
  • 2007-2009 ANR: « Cereal Protect » (Emergence) 
  • 2006-2010 ANR: « Endosymbiosis in Arthropods » (EndoSymbArt)
  • 2007-2012 Joint FAO/IAEA Division of nuclear techniques in food and agriculture : « Improving SIT for Tsetse Flies through Research on their Symbionts and Pathogens »
  • 2006 Génoscope d’Evry : « Functional Genomic and Immune Signaling in Invertebrate Endosymbiosis »
  • 2005-2010 Ministère des Sciences et de la Technologie Espagnol : « Reductive genome evolution in bacterial endosymbionts of insects »