UMR UL-INRA 1128, University of Lorraine

Professor of molecular microbiology, University of Lorraine
Director of the UMR UL-INRA 1128 DynAMic

UMR UL-INRA 1128 DynAMic
Faculty of Sciences and Technologies, University of Lorraine
Campus Aiguillettes, BP 239
54506 Vandœuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex

(33) 03 72 74 51 41 / (33) 06 63 15 24 44



Background and expertise of the representative

One of the research activities of Bertrand Aigle focuses on the identification and characterization of novel bioactive compounds from Streptomyces (one of the most prolific bacterial genera for the production of microbial natural products -NP-) by genome mining approaches. His group is the first to have developed in Streptomyces a strategy combining genome mining and manipulation of regulatory pathway to respectively identify new biosynthetic gene clusters (BGCs) and to awake their expression. This strategy allowed, in collaboration with the group of Prof Challis (University of Warwick), the discovery of stambomycins, a novel complex of macrolides with promising antibacterial and antitumoral activities. Bertrand Aigle has also expertise in the study of regulatory pathways controlling the biosynthesis of NPs, a key step to allow the activation of the BGCs, which are often silent in laboratory growth conditions.

Bertrand Aigle has been and is involved as PI in different collaborative projects at the international (e.g FP6 Actinogen) or national (e.g ANR MiGenIs) projects on discovery of new antibotics. His laboratory is currently involved in a research project on biomolecules of high functionality and values launched by the I-SITE program “Lorraine University of Excellence”. This project involved 16 academic partners from the University of Lorraine as well as industrial partners. His lab contributes to this project by developing two axes, one on the discovery of new bioactive active through biotic interactions to stimulate their biosynthesis, one on the exploitation of the inherently modular genetic architecture of the reduced polyketide biosynthetic pathways to create analogues exhibiting improved or wholly novel bioactivities via synthetic biology. He is coordinator of this last action.

Bertrand Aigle has a track record of 35 publications and a patent on the stambomycins and he has an h-index (scientific research impact) of 19.

Organisation profile

The laboratory DynAMic (“Dynamique des génomes et adaptation microbienne”) headed by Bertrand Aigle is a joint research unit (UMR 1128) of the University of Lorraine (UL) and INRA.

UL was founded in 2012 from the merger of the four Universities located in Lorraine (3 in Nancy, 1 in Metz) Lorraine. It is a multidisciplinary University (sciences, health, technology, engineering sciences, human and social sciences, law, economy, management, arts, literature and language) with a headcount of 6,200 employees including 3,300 teacher-researchers and researchers and welcoming around 55,000 students. In 2016, UL has obtained the I-SITE label in association with several partners (CNRS, INRA, INRIA, INSERM, CHRU Nancy, AgroParisTech, and Georgia Tech Lorraine) from the French call on excellence initiatives (French investments for the future program - PIA). Through this program called “Lorraine University of Excellence” (LUE), the University has made the research of novel biomolecules, including new antibiotics, one of its main priority. It has selected and funded the “Biomolecules” project as one of the four IMPACT projects, which are considered of high added value and represent key research topics of the LUE program. The project involves 16 UL’s laboratories (including DynAMIc) with strong and complementary expertise in the field (allowing research on NP identification, on the bioprocess and chemical engineering for the rationale exploitation of natural substances and on functional assessment of the new chemical entities). It also includes partnerships with industrial from different sectors (pharmaceutical, agrosciences…).

INRA, the French National Institute for Agriculture Research, is Europe’s top agricultural research institute and the world’s number two centre for the agricultural sciences. It is a community of 12,000 people including about 8,100 permanent staff with 1,800 full-time researchers. DynAMic is affiliated to the MICA division of INRA (Microbiology and the Food Chain; 22 research units for 635 people including 335 full-tenure INRA staff). MICA division carries out fundamental and applied microbiological research that aims to understand the functioning of microorganisms and microbial ecosystems so that they can be better exploited, mastered or controlled. MICA division has made fighting against antimicrobial resistance one of its top priorities in its strategic plan (it is also a top priority for INRA as a whole). INRA is one of the partners, through its centre INRA Grand Est – Nancy, of the LUE initiative carried by the University of Lorraine. In particular, it is deeply involved in the “Biomolecules” project with several joint research units UL-INRA participating to this project. INRA Grand Est – Nancy has also defined in its strategic plan of the centre the research on biomolecules (from microorganisms and plants) as one of its three thematic identifiers thus highlighting the importance of the discovery and valorisation of new biomolecules for INRA.

Contribution to the network

Bertrand Aigle will bring his expertise to the consortium on Streptomyces, on genome mining to identify novel antibiotics and on the mechanisms of the regulation controlling BGC expression, critical steps in the early stages of new antibiotics discovery. The experience of his lab in biotic interactions to awake silent clusters will also benefit to the network. He will also contribute to the project by his scientific experience in synthetic biology/genetic engineering that allows generating novel analogues with potential improved or new antimicrobial activities.

His lab has an original collection of Streptomyces strains (expected to produce original bioactive compounds) whose several genomes have been sequenced. This will also contribute to the cooperative research platform, a key element of the network.