École des Bio-Industries


Coup de cœur RESEARCH

Exploring molecular interactions for tissue engineering

On Thursday June 29, 2023, our colleague Jad EID spoke at theJournées Ouvertes en Biologie, Informatique et Mathématiques (JOBIM), the annual event of the Société Française de Bioinformatique dedicated to scientific and technical advances at the frontiers of biology, computer science, mathematics and physics.

Her subject, with colleague Amina BEN ABLA: the interactions between an innovative biomimetic element and extracellular matrix compounds involved in the control of cellular behavior. These interactions are essential for developing relevant strategies for tissue engineering and regenerative medicine.

EBInnov® has developed a biomimetic motif inspired by human fibronectin, a glycoprotein ubiquitous in the extracellular matrix, which plays key roles in cell adhesion. Using advanced bioinformatics approaches, notably the Alphafold algorithm, the three-dimensional structure of this motif was determined. This structural resolution was then exploited using docking* methods, facilitating detailed exploration of interactions between the motif and extracellular matrix proteins. These investigations have generated decisive data for understanding their respective affinities and for observing the multiple conformations of these proteins within the bio-inspired matrix. Similarly, using docking methods, the respective interactions of the biomimetic motif and natural fibronectin with extracellular matrix elements were compared.

In parallel, the EBInnov® team produced this bio-inspired protein and succeeded in purifying it to a high degree of purity. It has also confirmed experimentally the strong interactions and affinity with extracellular matrix elements, significantly superior in comparison to that observed for native fibronectin. These results validated the predictions made using bioinformatics.

These discoveries highlight the considerable potential of biomimetic patterning in the fields of tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. They also highlight the complementary contribution of bioinformatics and experimental techniques in understanding complex molecular interactions.

Future work will involve studying the stability of these interactions over time using molecular dynamics (MD) simulations, in order to appreciate atomic fluctuations and conformational changes. Once this stability has been confirmed, this biomimetic motif will be exploited to improve the quality of biomaterials used in regenerative therapy.

Contacts : Drs. Jad EID and Dr. Amina BEN ABLA

*Docking or “molecular docking” is a numerical approach to molecular modeling that seeks to identify the best orientation between 2 molecules to obtain the most stable complex.