Julien Bischerour

Université Paris-Sud 11, Orsay, Île-de-France, France

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Publications (21)101.02 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: During somatic differentiation, physiological DNA double-strand breaks (DSB) can drive programmed genome rearrangements (PGR), during which DSB repair pathways are mobilized to safeguard genome integrity. Because of their unique nuclear dimorphism, ciliates are powerful unicellular eukaryotic models to study the mechanisms involved in PGR. At each sexual cycle, the germline nucleus is transmitted to the progeny, but the somatic nucleus, essential for gene expression, is destroyed and a new somatic nucleus differentiates from a copy of the germline nucleus. In Paramecium tetraurelia, the development of the somatic nucleus involves massive PGR, including the precise elimination of at least 45,000 germline sequences (Internal Eliminated Sequences, IES). IES excision proceeds through a cut-and-close mechanism: a domesticated transposase, PiggyMac, is essential for DNA cleavage, and DSB repair at excision sites involves the Ligase IV, a specific component of the non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway. At the genome-wide level, a huge number of programmed DSBs must be repaired during this process to allow the assembly of functional somatic chromosomes. To understand how DNA cleavage and DSB repair are coordinated during PGR, we have focused on Ku, the earliest actor of NHEJ-mediated repair. Two Ku70 and three Ku80 paralogs are encoded in the genome of P. tetraurelia: Ku70a and Ku80c are produced during sexual processes and localize specifically in the developing new somatic nucleus. Using RNA interference, we show that the development-specific Ku70/Ku80c heterodimer is essential for the recovery of a functional somatic nucleus. Strikingly, at the molecular level, PiggyMac-dependent DNA cleavage is abolished at IES boundaries in cells depleted for Ku80c, resulting in IES retention in the somatic genome. PiggyMac and Ku70a/Ku80c co-purify as a complex when overproduced in a heterologous system. We conclude that Ku has been integrated in the Paramecium DNA cleavage factory, enabling tight coupling between DSB introduction and repair during PGR.
    PLoS Genetics 08/2014; 10(8):e1004552. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004552 · 7.53 Impact Factor
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    Julien Bischerour · Claudia Spangenberg · François-Xavier Barre ·
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    ABSTRACT: Toxigenic conversion of Vibrio cholerae bacteria results from the integration of a filamentous phage, CTXϕ. Integration is driven by the bacterial Xer recombinases, which catalyse the exchange of a single pair of strands between the phage single-stranded DNA and the host double-stranded DNA genomes; replication is thought to convert the resulting pseudo-Holliday junction (HJ) intermediate into the final recombination product. The natural tendency of the Xer recombinases to recycle HJ intermediates back into substrate should thwart this integration strategy, which prompted a search for additional co-factors aiding directionality of the process. Here, we show that Endo III, a ubiquitous base excision repair enzyme, facilitates CTXϕ-integration in vivo. In vitro, we show that it prevents futile Xer recombination cycles by impeding new rounds of strand exchanges once the pseudo-HJ is formed. We further demonstrate that this activity relies on the unexpected ability of Endo III to bind to HJs even in the absence of the recombinases. These results explain how tandem copies of the phage genome can be created, which is crucial for subsequent virion production.
    The EMBO Journal 08/2012; 31(18):3757-67. DOI:10.1038/emboj.2012.219 · 10.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Sequences related to transposons constitute a large fraction of extant genomes, but insertions within coding sequences have generally not been tolerated during evolution. Thanks to their unique nuclear dimorphism and to their original mechanism of programmed DNA elimination from their somatic nucleus (macronucleus), ciliates are emerging model organisms for the study of the impact of transposable elements on genomes. The germline genome of the ciliate Paramecium, located in its micronucleus, contains thousands of short intervening sequences, the IESs, which interrupt 47% of genes. Recent data provided support to the hypothesis that an evolutionary link exists between Paramecium IESs and Tc1/mariner transposons. During development of the macronucleus, IESs are excised precisely thanks to the coordinated action of PiggyMac, a domesticated piggyBac transposase, and of the NHEJ double-strand break repair pathway. A PiggyMac homolog is also required for developmentally programmed DNA elimination in another ciliate, Tetrahymena. Here, we present an overview of the life cycle of these unicellular eukaryotes and of the developmentally programmed genome rearrangements that take place at each sexual cycle. We discuss how ancient domestication of a piggyBac transposase might have allowed Tc1/mariner elements to spread throughout the germline genome of Paramecium, without strong counterselection against insertion within genes.
    07/2012; 2012(6):436196. DOI:10.1155/2012/436196
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    Bhabatosh Das · Julien Bischerour · Francois-Xavier Barre ·
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    ABSTRACT: One of the major pathogenic determinants of Vibrio cholerae, the cholera toxin, is encoded in the genome of a filamentous phage, CTXφ. CTXφ makes use of the chromosome dimer resolution system of V. cholerae to integrate its single stranded genome into one, the other, or both V. cholerae chromosomes. Here, we review current knowledge about this smart integration process.
    The Indian Journal of Medical Research 02/2011; 133(2):195-200. · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    Bhabatosh Das · Julien Bischerour · François-Xavier Barre ·
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    ABSTRACT: Most strains of Vibrio cholerae are not pathogenic or cause only local outbreaks of gastroenteritis. Acquisition of the capacity to produce the cholera toxin results from a lysogenic conversion event due to a filamentous bacteriophage, CTX. Two V. cholerae tyrosine recombinases that normally serve to resolve chromosome dimers, XerC and XerD, promote CTX integration by directly recombining the ssDNA genome of the phage with the dimer resolution site of either or both V. cholerae chromosomes. This smart mechanism renders the process irreversible. Many other filamentous vibriophages seem to attach to chromosome dimer resolution sites and participate in the rapid and continuous evolution of toxigenic V. cholerae strains. We analyzed the molecular mechanism of integration of VGJ, a representative of the largest family of these phages. We found that XerC and XerD promote the integration of VGJ into a specific chromosome dimer resolution site, and that the dsDNA replicative form of the phage is recombined. We show that XerC and XerD can promote excision of the integrated prophage, and that this participates in the production of new extrachromosomal copies of the phage genome. We further show how hybrid molecules harboring the concatenated genomes of CTX and VGJ can be produced efficiently. Finally, we discuss how the integration and excision mechanisms of VGJ can explain the origin of recent epidemic V. cholerae strains.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 02/2011; 108(6):2516-21. DOI:10.1073/pnas.1017061108 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: ChemInform is a weekly Abstracting Service, delivering concise information at a glance that was extracted from about 100 leading journals. To access a ChemInform Abstract of an article which was published elsewhere, please select a “Full Text” option. The original article is trackable via the “References” option.
    ChemInform 11/2010; 32(47). DOI:10.1002/chin.200147205
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    Bhabatosh Das · Julien Bischerour · Marie-Eve Val · François-Xavier Barre ·
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    ABSTRACT: Cholera toxin is encoded in the genome of CTXvarphi, a lysogenic filamentous phage of Vibrio cholerae. CTXvarphi variants contribute to the genetic diversity of cholera epidemic strains. It has been shown that the El Tor variant of CTXvarphi hijacks XerC and XerD, two host-encoded tyrosine recombinases that normally function to resolve chromosome dimers, to integrate at dif1, the dimer resolution site of the larger of the two V. cholerae chromosomes. However, the exact mechanism of integration of CTXvarphi and the rules governing its integration remained puzzling, with phage variants integrated at either or both dimer resolution sites of the two V. cholerae chromosomes. We designed a genetic system to determine experimentally the tropism of integration of CTXvarphi and thus define rules of compatibility between phage variants and dimer resolution sites. We then showed in vitro how these rules are explained by the direct integration of the single-stranded phage genome into the double-stranded bacterial genome. Finally, we showed how the evolution of phage attachment and chromosome dimer resolution sites contributes to the generation of genetic diversity among cholera epidemic strains.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2010; 107(9):4377-82. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0910212107 · 9.67 Impact Factor
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    Julien Bischerour · Catherine Lu · David B Roth · Ronald Chalmers ·
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    ABSTRACT: Tn5 transposase cleaves the transposon end using a hairpin intermediate on the transposon end. This involves a flipped base that is stacked against a tryptophan residue in the protein. However, many other members of the cut-and-paste transposase family, including the RAG1 protein, produce a hairpin on the flanking DNA. We have investigated the reversed polarity of the reaction for RAG recombination. Although the RAG proteins appear to employ a base-flipping mechanism using aromatic residues, the putatively flipped base is not at the expected location and does not appear to stack against any of the said aromatic residues. We propose an alternative model in which a flipped base is accommodated in a nonspecific pocket or cleft within the recombinase. This is consistent with the location of the flipped base at position -1 in the coding flank, which can be occupied by purine or pyrimidine bases that would be difficult to stabilize using a single, highly specific, interaction. Finally, during this work we noticed that the putative base-flipping events on either side of the 12/23 recombination signal sequence paired complex are coupled to the nicking steps and serve to coordinate the double-strand breaks on either side of the complex.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 09/2009; 29(21):5889-99. DOI:10.1128/MCB.00187-09 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We described chemical inhibitors of Mos1 transposition. Some were already known to affect a related prokaryotic transposase (Tn5) or HIV-1 integrase, whereas the other were new compounds in this field. The new compounds were all organized around a bis-(heteroaryl)maleimides scaffold. Their mechanism of action depended on the chemical substitutions on the scaffold. The cross-activity, between HIV-1 integrase and Mos1 transposase, of the new group of inhibitors showed that Mos1 transposase could constitute an excellent surrogate HIV-1 inhibitor screen.
    Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 05/2009; 9(4):431-9. DOI:10.2174/138955709787847912 · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    Julien Bischerour · Ronald Chalmers ·
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    ABSTRACT: The bacterial Tn5 and Tn10 transposases have a single active site that cuts both strands of DNA at their respective transposon ends. This is achieved using a hairpin intermediate that requires the DNA to change conformation during the reaction. In Tn5 these changes are controlled in part by a flipped nucleoside that is stacked on a tryptophan residue in a hydrophobic pocket of the transposase. Here we have investigated the base flipping mechanism in Tn10 transposition. As in Tn5 transposition, we find that base flipping takes place after the first nick and is required for efficient hairpin formation and resolution. Experiments with an abasic substrate show that the role of base flipping in hairpin formation is to remove the base from the DNA helix. Specific interactions between the flipped base and the stacking tryptophan residue are required for hairpin resolution later in the reaction. We show that base flipping in Tn10 transposition is not a passive reaction in which a spontaneously flipped base is captured and retained by the protein. Rather, it is driven in part by a methionine probe residue that helps to force the flipped base from the base stack. Overall, it appears that base flipping in Tn10 transposition is similar to that in Tn5 transposition.
    PLoS ONE 02/2009; 4(7):e6201. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0006201 · 3.23 Impact Factor

  • Mini Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 01/2009; 2328:171-196.. · 2.90 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Although mariner transposons are widespread in animal genomes, the vast majority harbor multiple inactivating mutations and only two naturally occurring elements are known to be active. Previously, we discovered a mariner-family transposon, Mboumar, in the satellite DNA of the ant Messor bouvieri. Several copies of the transposon contain a full-length open reading frame, including Mboumar-9, which has 64% nucleotide identity to Mos1 of Drosophila mauritiana. To determine whether Mboumar is currently active, we expressed and purified the Mboumar-9 transposase and demonstrate that it is able to catalyze the movement of a transposon from one plasmid to another in a genetic in vitro hop assay. The efficiency is comparable to that of the well-characterized mariner transposon Mos1. Transposon insertions were precise and were flanked by TA duplications, a hallmark of mariner transposition. Mboumar has been proposed to have a role in the evolution and maintenance of satellite DNA in M. bouvieri and its activity provides a means to examine the involvement of the transposon in the genome dynamics of this organism.
    Journal of Molecular Biology 11/2008; 382(3):567-72. DOI:10.1016/j.jmb.2008.07.044 · 4.33 Impact Factor
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    Danxu Liu · Julien Bischerour · Azeem Siddique · Nicolas Buisine · Yves Bigot · Ronald Chalmers ·
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    ABSTRACT: Transposons have contributed protein coding sequences to a unexpectedly large number of human genes. Except for the V(D)J recombinase and telomerase, all remain of unknown function. Here we investigate the activity of the human SETMAR protein, a highly expressed fusion between a histone H3 methylase and a mariner family transposase. Although SETMAR has demonstrated methylase activity and a DNA repair phenotype, its mode of action and the role of the transposase domain remain obscure. As a starting point to address this problem, we have dissected the activity of the transposase domain in the context of the full-length protein and the isolated transposase domain. Complete transposition of an engineered Hsmar1 transposon by the transposase domain was detected, although the extent of the reaction was limited by a severe defect for cleavage at the 3′ ends of the element. Despite this problem, SETMAR retains robust activity for the other stages of the Hsmar1 transposition reaction, namely, site-specific DNA binding to the transposon ends, assembly of a paired-ends complex, cleavage of the 5′ end of the element in Mn2+, and integration at a TA dinucleotide target site. SETMAR is unlikely to catalyze transposition in the human genome, although the nicking activity may have a role in the DNA repair phenotype. The key activity for the mariner domain is therefore the robust DNA-binding and looping activity which has a high potential for targeting the histone methylase domain to the many thousands of specific binding sites in the human genome provided by copies of the Hsmar1 transposon.
    Molecular and Cellular Biology 03/2007; 27(3):1125-32. DOI:10.1128/MCB.01899-06 · 4.78 Impact Factor
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    Julien Bischerour · Ronald Chalmers ·
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    ABSTRACT: Many enzymes that repair or modify bases in double-stranded DNA gain access to their substrates by base flipping. Although crystal structures provide stunning snap shots, biochemical approaches addressing the dynamics have proven difficult, particularly in complicated multi-step reactions. Here, we use protein-DNA crosslinking and potassium permanganate reactivity to explore the base-flipping step in Tn5 transposition. We present a model to suggest that base flipping is driven by a combination of factors including DNA bending and the intrusion of a probe residue. The forces are postulated to act early in the reaction to create a state of tension, relieved by base flipping after cleavage of the first strand of DNA at the transposon end. Elimination of the probe residue retards the kinetics of nicking and reduces base flipping by 50%. Unexpectedly, the probe residue is even more important during the hairpin resolution step. Overall, base flipping is pivotal to the hairpin processing reaction because it performs two opposite but closely related functions. On one hand it disrupts the double helix, providing the necessary strand separation and steric freedom. While on the other, transposase appears to position the second DNA strand in the active site for cleavage using the flipped base as a handle.
    Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(8):2584-95. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkm186 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Viral integrase (IN) and Vpr are both components of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) pre-integration complex. To investigate whether these proteins interact within this complex, we investigated the effects of Vpr and its subdomains on IN activity in vitro. When a 21mer oligonucleotide was used as a donor and acceptor, both Vpr and its C-terminal DNA-binding domain [(52-96)Vpr] inhibited the integration reaction, whereas the (1-51)Vpr domain did not affect IN activity. Steady-state fluorescence anisotropy showed that both full-length and (52-96)Vpr bind to the short oligonucleotide, thereby extending previous observations with long DNA. The concentrations of the two proteins required to inhibit IN activity were consistent with their affinities for the oligonucleotide. The use of a 492 bp mini-viral substrate confirmed that Vpr can inhibit the IN-mediated reaction. However, the activity of (52-96)Vpr differed notably since it stimulated specifically integration events involving two homologous mini-viral DNAs. Order of addition experiments indicated that the stimulation was maximal when IN, (50-96)Vpr and the mini-viral DNA were allowed to form a complex. Furthermore, in the presence of (50-96)Vpr, the binding of IN to the mini-viral DNA was dramatically enhanced. Taken together, these data suggest that (52-96)Vpr stimulates the formation of a specific complex between IN and the mini-viral DNA.
    Nucleic Acids Research 06/2003; 31(10):2694-702. · 9.11 Impact Factor
  • J. Bischerour ·

    Nucleic Acids Research 05/2003; 31(10):2694-2702. DOI:10.1093/nar/gkg364 · 9.11 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 integrase (IN) forms an oligomer that integrates both ends of the viral DNA. The nature of the active oligomer is unclear. Recombinant IN obtained under reducing conditions is always in the form of noncovalent oligomers. However, disulfide-linked oligomers of IN were recently observed within viral particles. We show that IN produced from a baculovirus expression system can form disulfide-linked oligomers. We investigated which residues are responsible for the disulfide bridges and the relationship between the ability to form covalent dimers and IN activity. Only the mutation of residue C280 was sufficient to prevent the formation of intermolecular disulfide bridges in oligomers of recombinant IN. IN activity was studied under and versus nonreducing conditions: the formation of disulfide bridges was not required for the in vitro activities of the enzyme. Moreover, the covalent dimer does not dissociate into individual protomers on disulfide bridge reduction. Instead, IN undergoes a spontaneous multimerization process that yields a homogenous noncovalent tetramer. The C280S mutation also completely abolished the formation of disulfide bonds in the context of the viral particle. Finally, the replication of the mutant virus was investigated in replicating and arrested cells. The infectivity of the virus was not affected by the C280S IN mutation in either dividing or nondividing cells. The disulfide-linked form of the IN oligomers observed in the viral particles is thus not required for viral replication.
    Journal of Virology 02/2003; 77(1):135-41. DOI:10.1128/JVI.77.1.135-141.2003 · 4.44 Impact Factor
  • P Brodin · M Pinskaya · U Parsch · J Bischerour · H Leh · E Romanova · J W Engels · M Gottikh · J F Mouscadet ·
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    ABSTRACT: Integration of the proviral DNA into the genome of infected cells is a key step of HIV-1 replication. Integration is catalyzed by the viral enzyme integrase (IN). 6-oxocytidine-containing oligonucleotides were found to be efficient inhibitors of integrase in vitro. The inhibitory effect is sequence-specific and strictly requires the presence of the 6-oxocytidine base. It is due to the impairment of the integrase binding to its substrate and does not involve an auto-structure of the oligonucleotide.
    Nucleosides Nucleotides &amp Nucleic Acids 03/2001; 20(4-7):481-6. DOI:10.1081/NCN-100002322 · 1.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The relationship between Mg(2+)-dependent activity and the self-assembly state of HIV-1 integrase was investigated using different protein preparations. The first preparations, IN(CHAPS) and IN(dial), were purified in the presence of detergent, but in the case of IN(dial), the detergent was removed during a final dialysis. The third preparation, IN(zn), was purified without any detergent. The three preparations displayed comparable Mn(2+)-dependent activities. In contrast, the Mg(2+)-dependent activity that reflects a more realistic view of the physiological activity strongly depended on the preparation. IN(CHAPS) was not capable of using Mg(2+) as a cofactor, whereas IN(zn) was highly active under the same conditions. In the accompanying paper [Deprez, E., et al. (2000) Biochemistry 39, 9275-9284], we used time-resolved fluorescence anisotropy to demonstrate that IN(CHAPS) was monomeric at the concentration of enzymatic assays. Here, we show that IN(zn) was homogeneously tetrameric under similar conditions. Moreover, IN(dial) that exhibited an intermediary Mg(2+)-dependent activity existed in a monomer-multimer equilibrium. The level of Mg(2+)- but not Mn(2+)-dependent activity of IN(dial) was altered by addition of detergent which plays a detrimental role in the maintenance of the oligomeric organization. Our results indicate that the ability of integrase to use Mg(2+) as a cofactor is related to its self-assembly state in solution, whereas Mn(2+)-dependent activity is not. Finally, the oligomeric IN(zn) was capable of binding efficiently to DNA regardless of the cationic cofactor, whereas the monomeric IN(CHAPS) strictly required Mn(2+). Thus, we propose that a specific conformation of integrase is a prerequisite for its binding to DNA in the presence of Mg(2+).
    Biochemistry 09/2000; 39(31):9285-94. DOI:10.1021/bi000398b · 3.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The basic viral protein R (Vpr) performs several functions during the human immunodeficiency virus HIV-1 retroviral cycle, including G2 mitosis arrest and nuclear import of the preintegration complex allowing lentivirus to replicate in nondividing cells. Accordingly, this protein was found in the nucleus of infected cells. In the virus, Vpr is incorporated through interaction with both nucleocapsid protein 7 (NCp7) and p6, two small proteins encoded by the C-terminal part of the Gag precursor. NCp7 is also involved in genomic RNA encapsidation during the budding process suggesting a possible interaction of Vpr with nucleic acids, either directly or via the NCp7 intermediate. Gel shift experiments were carried out with RNA and DNA using synthetic Vpr and peptide derivatives. The results show that Vpr binds to nucleic-acid inducing aggregates. This process, which requires the C-terminal basic domain of the protein (in particular the helical 70-80 domain), is regulated by the N-terminal region of Vpr. Moreover, NCp7 was shown to enhance RNA recognition by Vpr, a feature that could be required for Vpr encapsidation and during nuclear import of the preintegration complex.
    European Journal of Biochemistry 07/2000; 267(12):3654-60. · 3.58 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

400 Citations
101.02 Total Impact Points


  • 2011-2014
    • Université Paris-Sud 11
      Orsay, Île-de-France, France
  • 2000-2012
    • French National Centre for Scientific Research
      • Centre of Molecular Genetics
      Lutetia Parisorum, Île-de-France, France
  • 2000-2010
    • Institut de Cancérologie Gustave Roussy
      • Department of Radiotherapy
      Île-de-France, France
  • 2009
    • CUNY Graduate Center
      New York, New York, United States
  • 2008
    • University of Nottingham
      • School of Biomedical Sciences
      Nottigham, England, United Kingdom
  • 2007
    • University of Oxford
      • Department of Biochemistry
      Oxford, England, United Kingdom
  • 2003
    • Ecole normale supérieure de Cachan
      • Laboratoire de biologie et de pharmacologie appliquee
      Cachon, Île-de-France, France