Two postdoctoral positions on Coevolution of mobile elements (viruses/plasmids) and cells in the domain Archaea.

Two years post-doctoral positions now are available at the Institut Pasteur of Paris, with possibility of extension.

These post-docs will be funded by an ERC five-year project EVOMOBIL (PI, Patrick Forterre) that started in February 2014 (see summary of the project)


The aim is to study coevolution of mobile elements (viruses/plasmids) and cells in the domain Archaea.  The two positions are for the in silico part of the project. The hired post-doc will work together with a strong team including David Prangishvili, Mart Krupovic, Simonetta Gribaldo and Jacques Oberto.


We are looking for post-docs broadly interested in virus evolution with expertises in comparative genomics, phylogenomics and/or database creation and management, etc.


The two postdoctoral students will be hired by the Institut Pasteur (IP) to work at the IP in Paris and/or at the Institut of Integrated Cellular Biology (I2BC) in Orsay.


Interactions between cells, viruses and derived elements, such as plasmids, have played a major role in life evolution. However, up to now, evolutionary studies have mainly focused on cellular genomes (building species trees). My project is to reconstruct the history of interaction between cells, viruses and plasmid (VP) on grand scale to tackle questions such as: to which extent VP co-evolved with their hosts? To which extent cellular history was influenced by the introduction of PV genomes? What is the main directionality of genes flux between PV and cells? The project will focus on Archaea, one of the three domains of life, because it is the only domain for which a robust phylogeny is available (a prerequisite for the project). We will perform an exhaustive description of viral and plasmid families in all available archaeal genomes (Including new genomes sequenced for the project) using a combination of in silico methods. Phylogenetic and network analyses will be used to reconstruct the history of viral and plasmid replicons with the objective to quantify horizontal versus vertical evolution and to sort out the web and tree-like components of archaeal history. Preliminary analyses have revealed the importance of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) in archaeal evolution. However, the processes behind these HGT remain mysterious, especially for hyperthermophilic species. In parallel to our in silico analyses we will explore experimentally the possible role of membrane vesicles (MV) in HGT. We have shown that archaeal MVs can transfer DNA and that some of them harbour plasmid or viral genomes. We want now tackle questions such as: can these MVs transfer DNA between different species, different orders or even different domains? We will also study the mechanism of MV formation and fusion in comparison to those involved in viral infection to better understand the evolutionary and physiological connections between MV and PV. Production of MV is a universal process and their role in life evolution could have been largely underestimated up to now.


For application, send your CV, letter of intention and names of potential referees to Patrick Forterre :

Mis à jour le 03/09/2014

Zoom sur...

Ebola TaskForce - Institut Pasteur