Triterpenoids of the hopane series are widespread amongst bacteria. They modulate the physical properties of the plasma membrane and of the cell wall. Their chemical stability and their resistance towards biological degradation make them excellent molecular fossils that are useful for reconstituting palaeoenvironments and characterizing the maturation grade of sedimentary rocks.
Following aspects represent specific research directions of our team:
– correlation between biohopanoids found in present bacteria and geohopanoids found in sediments,
– biosynthesis of bacterial hopanoids, which is a mine of new enzyme reactions.