Protein families of unknown function in glycan-breakdown operons

Aix-Marseille University (Luminy site)
Architecture et Fonction des Macromolécules Biologiques
France Marseille


Glycan breakdown is central to human and animal nutrition, fungal/algal/plant-cell wall remodelling, biomass re-utilization, host-pathogen interactions, etc.

The Glycogenomics team at AFMB is maintaining for 30 years the reference classification of Carbohydrate-Active enzyme (CAZy) protein families involved in glycan breakdown. Family creation in CAZy has long been a simple reaction to the publication of the biochemical characterization of a protein previously “of unknown function” by independent wet-lab research groups across the globe. Significantly, the number of families has grown steadily while the modern sequencing technologies and multiplicity of (meta-)genomic projects produced an exponential amount of data in the last decades. The Glycogenomics team participated to the analysis of this deluge of data, and the accumulated genomes and CAZy annotation can now be exploited to actively guide future family discoveries.

To do so, we recently obtained an national funding to perform comparative genomics analyses. We aim to build protein families of unknown function, predict their potential for enzymatic activity and likely substrate, to be validated experimentally by collaborators. As a consequence, the Glycogenomics team is looking for a talented Master student with a solid curriculum and ambition to pursue this work in the future in our team, as an engineer or a PhD candidate.


Expected skills in :
- Protein sequence analysis (Blast/MAFFT/HMMER/HHsuite)
- Comparative Genomics (Analysis of GFF, SQL)

Start date

January 01, 2021

How to Apply

Applications must be sent by email and include a detailed curriculum with title and grades of teaching units.


Nicolas Terrapon