Lesterlin carré

Christian Lesterlin

Host Institution

Group leader (INSERM-CNRS)

Current position

Molecular Microbiology and Structural Biochemistry; CNRS-UMR5086-Lyon 1


All the same but not equal.

Microscopy of E. coli clonal population upon tetracycline treatment shows anti-correlation between the intracellular levels of Tetracycline (in green) versus the efflux pump protein TetA (in red), and reveals cell-to-cell heterogeneity.

DNA transmission in bacteria: from vertical to horizontal gene transfer


The lab investigates both vertical and horizontal DNA transfer in bacteria. We use a combination of molecular genetics and microscopy imaging to observe the real-time dynamics of proteins and DNA in live bacterial cells.


During vertical DNA transfer, genetic material is faithfully transmitted from mother to daughter cells. We study the main DNA repair mechanisms, homologous recombination, which safeguards the integrity of the transmitted genetic information in all living organisms. What we learn from bacteria serves as a paradigm to better understand genetic instability responsible of genetic diseases and cancers.


We also focus on horizontal DNA transfer, which is responsible for the dissemination of multi-drug resistance between bacterial species. We investigate the dynamics of transfer from one cell to the other by direct contact, as well as the subsequent establishment of effective drug resistance.

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• Since 2015: Group leader INSERM-CNRS at MMSB-UMR5086, Cell-to-cell DNA transfer. Funding: ATIP-Avenir CNRS-INSERM, FINOVI, FRM

• 2009-2015: Bacterial chromosome biology (Research associate), Prof. DJ Sherratt (Bioch Dept. University of Oxford). Funding: EMBO Long Term Fellowship and The Welcome Trust

• 2006-2009: Segregation and stability of the bacterial chromosome (Research associate), Boccard F. PhD (CNRS-CGM Paris, France). Funding: National Agency for Research (A.N.R.)

• 2005: Academic Visitor in Santanu Dasgupta Lab (BMC-Uppsala University Sweden), Cell cycle impairment due to chromosome disruption in Escherichia coli. Funding: EMBO Short-Term Fellowship; F.E.M.S, A.T.U.P.S Paul Sabatier

• 2001-2005: Ph.D in Molecular genetics and microbiology, Organisation and segregation of the Escherichia coli chromosome, Cornet F. PhD. and Prof. Louarn JM. University of Toulouse (LMGM-CNRS Toulouse France). Funding: French Minister of Research and Education


• Médaille des grandes avancées Françaises en biologie (Académie des sciences - AXA), 2015

• Biochemistry dept. Excellence Award - Oxford University, 2015