The Laboratoire International Associé between the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign was launched at the end of 2012. Its primary objective is to develop methods for high-performance molecular simulation with the aim of understanding the function of complex biological assemblies, transcending the frontiers of traditional disciplines by uniting mathematicians, physicists, theoretical chemists and biologists on both sides of the Atlantic. In France, the major contributors are located at the Université de Lorraine, the École des Ponts ParisTech, the Institut de Biologie Structurale and the Laboratoire de Biologie Physico-Chimique. In the United States, the contributors belong to the NIH Resource for Macromolecular Modeling and Bioinformatics. In Nancy, the partner is a theoretical chemistry and biophysics group incepted in 2003. Its expertise lies in describing the structure and the dynamic properties of the biological membrane and elucidating the mechanisms of the cell machinery. To attain this goal, its members leverage numerical simulations over size and timescales commensurate with the biological process at hand. Over the years, the team has gleaned milestone results in such diverse research areas as membrane transport, interaction with the biological membrane, membrane protein structure and function, as well as self-organized molecular systems. They also develop original approaches in the field of free-energy calculations to tackle rare events in biology.


Effects of hydration on the protonation state of a lysine analog crossing a phospholipid bilayer – Insights from molecular dynamics and free-energy calculations The low bioavailability of most therapeutic compounds is often counterbalanced by association with molecular vectors capable of crossing cell membranes. Previous studies demonstrated that for vectors bearing titratable chemical groups, the translocation process might be accompanied by a change in the protonation state. For simple compounds e.g. a lysine analog, free energy calculations, using a single collective variable, namely the insertion depth, suggest that such a transition could only take place if the amino acid diffuses deep enough into the hydrophobic core of the membrane, a situation thermodynamically unfavorable. Here, we determined the 2D potential of mean force associated with the translocation of lysine across a model membrane using as reaction coordinates not only its location in the bilayer but also its hydration. Our results cogently demonstrate that the change in protonation can result from a small fluctuation in the latter, even at low insertion depth. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2018.

Recent publications

Water-Controlled Switching in Rotaxanes
Shuangli Du; Haohao Fu; Xueguang Shao; Christophe Chipot; Wensheng Cai;
The Journal of Physical Chemistry C (2018) 122 (16): 9229-9234

Accurate Estimation of the Standard Binding Free Energy of Netropsin with DNA
Hong Zhang; Hugo Gattuso; Elise Dumont; Wensheng Cai; Antonio Monari; Christophe Chipot; Francois Dehez;
Molecules (2018) 23 (2): 129-
BFEE: A User-Friendly Graphical Interface Facilitating Absolute Binding Free-Energy Calculations
Haohao Fu; James C. Gumbart; Haochuan Chen; Xueguang Shao; Wensheng Cai; Christophe Chipot;
Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling (2018) 58 (3): 556-560


- Renewal of the Laboratoire International Associé CNRS-University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on November 2016
- An update of ParseFEP is available in the latest version of VMD.
- 新的分子动力学讲义 (Dissemination).


Laboratoire International Associé
Unité mixte de recherche n°7565
Université de Lorraine, B.P. 70239
54506 Vandoeuvre-lès-Nancy Cedex, France
Phone: +33.(0)
Fax: +33.(0)
How to reach us