Research groups

Cell biology and Biotechnology

Damien Paul Devos
Microbiology's platypus
Damien Paul Devos
Principal Investigator

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We study a poorly characterized bacterial gender of the Planctomycetes phylum, Gemmata obscuriglobus. Planctomycetes are major players in the global nitrogen and carbon cycles and are uniquely capable of anaerobic ammonium oxidation (a globally important nitrogen transformation). Within that phylum, the bacteria of the genus Gemmata are particularly interesting due to their complex intracellular membranous organization that is sustained by proteins showing similarity to the eukaryotic equivalent ones and their capability to internalize fully folded proteins in a process reminiscent of eukaryotic endocytosis.
One particularity of these fascinating bacteria is their mode of division. See our latest review on the evolutionary cell biology of division in PVCs (Rivas et al., 2016b).
We have recently developped the genetic tools for various bacteria of this superphylum (Rivas et al., Frontiers Microbiology 2016a).

We use a combination of computational, molecular biology, and electron-microscopy to first, decipher the peculiar biology of the Planctomycetes and second, to understand their contribution to eukaryotic origin. We are particularly interested in the process of eukaryogenesis. See our latest review on this subject (Dacks et al.,JCS 2016).

Computationally, we use structure to push the limits of sequence homology detection.
We have just reported the structure of the exocyst, solve by Integrative Structural Biology (Picco et al., Cell 2017).