Protein engineering laboratory

Université du Québec - Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), Laval, Québec
What the facility does

Engineering and molecular characterization of proteins and enzyme biocatalysts

Areas of expertise

The main goal of our research is to successfully modify enzyme biocatalysts aimed at environmental and pharmaceutical applications, with a broader interest focused on understanding the role between structure, function and flexibility in various enzymatic systems. Our research strategy combines directed evolution and semi-random mutagenesis experiments coupled with biochemical and biophysical characterization such as nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), molecular biology, enzyme kinetics, and molecular modeling. Using this combined approach, we specifically focus on achieving the following aims:

1) To understand how the amino acid sequence and local structural environment of conserved residues determine the motional and functional properties of enzymes

2) To investigate how functionally and structurally related enzymes retain their motional properties within similar folds;

3) To modify, reproduce and apply this 'structure-function' and 'flexibility-function' information to the design of new and improved molecular biocatalysts.

We have taken part in numerous university/private-sector partnerships, and develop new technologies aimed at using enzymes for green chemistry and industrial biocatalysis purposes. Our infrastructure allows us to modify, improve, produce and characterize enzymes with high industrial potential.

Research services
  • Molecular biology
  • Enzyme expression
  • Purification
  • Characterization
Sectors of application
  • Agriculture, animal science and food
  • Chemical industries
  • Environmental technologies and related services
  • Forestry and forest-based industries
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment
  • Manufacturing and processing



Isothermal titration calorimeter (ITC)

Calculation of protein-protein and protein-ligand interactions

Circular diochrism (CD) spectropolarimeter

Estimation of protein structure and denaturing parameters

UV-visible spectrophotometer

Enzyme kinetics


Enzyme kinetics

NanoDrop spectrophotometer

Microvolume assaying and kinetics


Transformation of bacterial DNA

Refrigerated shaking incubator

Bacterial culture

Shaking incubator

Bacterial culture


Bacterial cell lysis

Tabletop refrigerated centrifuge


Refrigerated microcentrifuge


Avanti centrifuge


Stirred-cell concentrators

Volume concentration


DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification

-80°C refrigerator

Conservation of bacterial cultures

pH meters

pH measuring


Fast protein liquid chromatography, high-performance liquid chromatography, compound separation, protein purification

Microplate reader

High-speed spectrophotometry and fluorometry

Analytical balances




Isolation and characterization of EstC, a new cold-active esterase from Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2)

Conservation of flexible residue clusters among structural and functional enzyme homologues

Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy Laboratory…;

Nicolas Doucet