Structural Biology of Bacterial Secretion

Rémi Fronzes Lab


During the first half of the 20th century, F. Griffith discovered natural (Griffith, 1928) while J. Lederberg and E. Tatum discovered bacterial conjugation (Lederberg & Tatum, 1946). These seminal findings opened the molecular biology erea by contributing to the identification of the molecule transferred during these processes and carrying the genetic information: DNA (Avery et al, 1944).

Nowadays, we know that natural transformation and conjugation are two highly efficient processes that promote bacterial genome plasticity and adaptive response. They are essential for bacterial survival and greatly limit the efficiency of antibiotic treatments or vaccines against some pathogenic bacteria. 

Molecular devices mediating DNA translocation through the cellular envelope during conjugation and transformation have been identified. However, more than 50 years after the discovery of bacterial conjugation and transformation, the molecular details of DNA translocation during these two processes remain elusive.


The group “Biologie structurale de la sécrétion bactérienne” or “Structural biology of bacterial secretion” was created in October 2009 at institut Pasteur. We use structural biology (X-ray crystallography and high-resolution electron microscopy) and biochemistry techniques to study the structure of the membrane protein complexes involved in these events. 

If you have questions about our research, or are interested in joining the lab please contact us.




t4ss.jpgMarch 2014

The architecture of an assembled type IV sercretion system revealed.


amy.jpgAugust 2013

Amy Diallo joins the lab as a PhD Student.


cover-book.pngJuly 2013

Book "Bacterial membranes: Structural and Molecular Biology" edited by Han Remaut and Rémi Fronzes to be published by Horizon Press.

pilus.jpgJune 2013

Discovery of a type IV pilus involved in natural transformation of Streptococcus pneumoniae, a major human pathogen.


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Dr Rémi Fronzes
Unité G5 Biologie structurale de la sécrétion bactérienne,
Institut Pasteur, 25-28 rue du Docteur Roux
75724 Paris Cedex 15, France
Tel: +33(0)145688864

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