Catalysis and Enzyme Molecular Engineering Team (CIMEs)

Welcome to the Catalysis and Enzyme Molecular Engineering Team (CIMEs)


CIMEs research is focused on in-depth mechanistic and structure-activity relationship studies of a broad range of enzymes. It also covers strategic developments in enzyme discovery, directed evolution, (semi-)rational engineering and computational protein design.

By developing fundamental knowledge of enzyme function, and sharing staff expertise and experimental facilities giving priority to integrative and multidisciplinary approaches, the aim is to deliver naturally-potent or optimized tailor-made catalysts for industrial biotechnology and synthetic biology.


Enzyme discovery, data mining, functional genomics and functional metagenomics are exploited to provide access to novel and original enzymes, as well as multigenic systems.


Enzyme structure-function study, design and engineering, the combination of experimental and theoretical approaches provide the basis of a predictive strategy whose ultimate aim is the development of generic knowledge and methods that will facilitate enzyme design. By addressing the identification and/or prediction of molecular determinants involved in substrate specificity, catalytic efficiency and stability, these methodologies have provided outstanding results in the field of enzyme engineering. Likewise, the team has developed a set of unique and very original computer-aided design approaches.


Comprehension of cooperation and interplay between enzymes that must act together to degrade or synthesize complex molecules is also a topic of prime interest for CIMEs. Our work includes the study of multi-enzymatic systems and non-catalytic modules, decrypting their influence on catalytic functions. 


Target Enzymes include glycoside-hydrolases, transglycosylases, Leloir glycosyltransferases, lipases, desaturases, hydroxylases, kinases, dehydrogenases, reductases, nitrilases, laccases, proteases, enzymes of the fatty acyl synthase complex, dehydrogenases, as well as associated modules such as carbohydrate binding modules (CBM).


Fields of applications

  • Bring the benefits of enzyme-catalyzed processes to the development of products for the food, feed, health, chemicals, energy or environmental sectors.
  • Valorization of agro-feedstocks into added-value products.
  • Integration of newly discovered or engineered enzymes into :
    • in vitro (chemo-)enzymatic systems
    • in vivo biosynthetic pathways