Toxicologie, Pharmacologie et Signalisation céllulaire - UMR-S 1124
Université Paris Descartes
45 rue des Saints Pères
75270 Paris Cedex 06

Fax : +33 (0) 1 42 86 38 68


Paris Descartes Technician
Pharmacology and structural biology

roland.lupoli@-Code a retirer pour éviter le
+33 1 42 86 40 35, room R280


Roland Lupoli is in charge of projects for the purification of proteins in Team 4 (Pharmacotoxicology and structural biology). After purifying and crystallizing modified P450 cytochromes from the CYP8 family, and bacterial analogs of Guanylate Cyclase (sGC) which allowed the resolution of their structures, he now is working on the atomic structure of the AhR receptor of Caenorhabditis elegans associated with ARNT. At the same time, he purifies, measures the activity and identifies small natural molecules of insects obtained from a bank of extracts that he has created and through collaborations.


With an early inordinate fondness for insects, Roland Lupoli pursued a dual degree in Biochemistry and Entomology (M.Sc.) at the University Pierre and Marie Curie (UPMC) in Paris. He obtained his PhD at the University of Montpellier (USTL) while conducting research at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA) on the mechanisms of transmission of plant viruses by insects and their dispersal. He also spent a year in the United States at the University of Illinois in Champaign and developed intraspecific molecular markers of insect vectors by ribotyping and PCR. He later joined the company Entomed in Alsace, founded by Jules Hoffmann (Nobel Prize of medicine 2011), and specialized in the development of innovative drugs from insects. He was responsible for the entomology platform and then the chemistry platform, starting with the collection of insects all over the world and continuing to the identification of active molecules. He created the largest bank of insect extracts in the world, including 1,400 species. HPLC purification and high throughput anticancer and antimicrobial screening (10,000 fractions) led to the identification of 50 active molecules including two optimized leads, which were continued to the preclinical stage. When Entomed closed, he continued his research at the National History Museum (Muséum d’histoire naturelle) of Paris, by means of a contract with the natural substances chemistry lab.

He then obtained a position in the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in the UMR – S 1124 (Toxicology, Pharmacology and Cell Signaling). His objective is to purify and crystallize proteins in order to determine their atomic structures by x-ray crystallography employing a synchrotron radiation source. His current project is to determine the structure of the Aryl hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR), a protein which is involved in the intracellular detoxification of environmental pollutants. The AhR of Caenorrhabditis elegans was chosen because we were unable to crystallize vertebrate AhR and because it does not bind to vertebrate xenobiotic ligands which lead to the expression of detoxification enzymes like cytochromes. The identification of the AhR structure should help also to understand the mechanisms of action of the AhR in vertebrates through hybrid constructions.

Roland Lupoli is also continuing, in collaboration with several teams of the University Paris Descartes, his work on the natural molecules of insects from a small bank of 120 extracts. He has assembled part of the Entomed results about insects in a 290-page book: L’insecte médicinal published in 2010. The book received the Dollfus prize in 2012 and was supported also by INSERM to ensure its visibility in the media: TV (Magazine de la Santé on France 5, Télé matin on France 2, LCI Santé) and radio (La tête au carré on France Inter, RFI). Roland Lupoli also has published another 429-page book about systematics and biology of a group of insects: Les Punaises Pentatomoidea de France (2015) which received the Passet Prize in 2016.

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