Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Facility
in Life Sciences at the Chemistry-Biology interface



Electron Paramagnetic Resonance (EPR), or Electron Spin Resonance (ESR), is a central technique for characterizing paramagnetic species, i.e. molecules bearing unpaired electrons. In the field of Life Sciences in particular in structural biology, EPR has gained increasing interests in the last two decades thanks to both technological and methodological developments. EPR is particularly well suited for molecular analysis of biological systems, such as proteins. In metalloenzymes, in which the metal is central for the catalysis, EPR is the technique of choice to investigate the function and decipher the catalytic mechanisms of these biomolecules. In the absence of endogenous paramagnetic species, another way of using EPR spectroscopy consists in grafting exogenous paramagnetic centers (spin labels) at selected sites on biomolecules. This approach opens up the possibility to explore protein dynamics and to measure inter-label distances in the nanometer range, providing crucial information on structural transitions and intermolecular interactions in solution as well as directly inside cells.

Our EPR facility is

  1. labelled Plateforme Technologique d’Aix-Marseille,
  2. one of the four French EPR centres to have joined the CNRS research federation called Infranalytics (FR CNRS 2054). It is the most important centre in terms of EPR equipments and human resources,
  3. the unique EPR centre in the european MOSBRI consortium.

Our EPR facility is mostly dedicated to applications and developments in Life Sciences at the Chemistry-Biology interface. It benefits from the scientific support of 9 researchers and 2 engineers.