Teaching activities: selected courses


- Biochemistry of membrane lipids

- Physico-chemical properties

- Lipid phases Ld Lo 

- Lipid-lipid interactions

- Concept of lipid molecular shape

- Lipid rafts in infectious diseases

- Membrane receptors

- Annular and non-annular binding sites

- Lipid binding domains in membrane proteins

- Algorithms CRAC, CARC, tilted, mirror, SBD

- Membrane lipids and receptor 3D structure/function

- Docking vs. Molecular dynamics simulations


Ref.Lipid rafts: structure, function and role in HIV, Alzheimer's and prion diseases.

Fantini J, Garmy N, Mahfoud R, Yahi N.

Expert Rev Mol Med. 2002 Dec 20;4(27):1-22. pdf


Sphingolipid/cholesterol regulation of neurotransmitter receptor conformation and function.

Fantini J, Barrantes FJ.

Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Nov;1788(11):2345-61

Schematic lipid organization of the plasma membrane: model based on the theoretical shape of membrane lipids.  The upper leaflet corresponds to the exofacial leaflet of the plasma membrane. Lipid raft domains (liquid ordered Lo phase) are enriched in cholesterol (chol) in both leaflets (exofacial and cytoplasmic). Sphingolipids (sphingomyelin SM and glycosphingolipids such as ganglioside GT1b) are located in the exofacial leaflet, whereas phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) is preferentially expressed in the cytoplasmic leaflet. 

Molecular neurosciences

- Biochemistry of neurotransmitters

- Receptors, channels, transporters

- Molecular organization of the synapse

- Role of gangliosides in synaptic transmission

- Gangliosides and Rett syndrome

- Neurodegenerative diseases Alzheimer Parkinson CJD

- IDPs, amyloid proteins

- Oligomerization vs. aggregation

- Amyloid pores

- Search for innovative therapeutic strategies

- Quantum mechanisms and brain functions

- Brain metabolism

- Brain imaging techniques


Ref. Molecular insights into amyloid regulation by membrane cholesterol and sphingolipids: common mechanisms in neurodegenerative diseases.

Fantini J, Yahi N.

Expert Rev Mol Med. 2010 Sep 1;12:e27. 

From a soluble IDP to an oligomeric calcium permeable pore inserted in the plasma membrane of an astrocyte:

the dual ganglioside/cholesterol chaperone model.

Origin of life and molecular evolution

- What is life?

- Prebiotic chemistry

- Meteorites

- Interfacial mechanisms

- Nonanoic acid vesicles

- Clay crystal, montmorillonite

- LUCA, an hyperthermophile?

- From hopanoids to cholesterol

- Energetic metabolism

- Molecular evolution of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels

- Synthetic biology


Ref.From hopanoids to cholesterol: Molecular clocks of pentameric ligand-gated ion channels.

Barrantes FJ, Fantini J.

Prog Lipid Res. 2016 Jul;63:1-13.

Lipid rafts on the blackboard


During this session, students are asked to position cholesterol  in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane. Starting with the chemical structures of membrane lipids, they take into account the molecular shape of each of these lipids to figure out how lipid rafts are formed. The fusion temperature of phosphatidylcholine, sphingolipids and cholesterol is also considered and discussed in the light of London dispersion forces. On the basis of these elements, it is generally concluded in the amphitheater that "lipid rafts cannot ...not exist".  

(Prof. J. Fantini, 2015)


Brain metabolism decrypted


A discussion on the energetics of the glutamatergic synapse. This complex metabolic cooperation between neurons and astrocytes is really a pleasure to teach. On this occasion, students brush up their basic knowledge on metabolism and have the opportunity to assess the significance of the physicochemical parameters of enzymes and transporters. This is also a perfect illustration of the metabolic control analysis.  It is good to hear the students saying at the end of this lecture that "metabolism is not just an endless and boring catalog of chemical reactions"... (Prof. J. Fantini, 2016)