In a few words

I carried out my thesis at CEA Grenoble (UMR 5249, UGA / CNRS / CEA), under the supervision of Professor Marc Fontecave and Dr. Hamid Atta, on [FeS] cluster metalloproteins (RimO, MiaB, MtaB) called Radical SAM which catalyze thiomethylation reactions on transfer RNAs or on the ribosomal protein S12. This work showed that these enzymes are not "suicide" enzymes (as presented in the literature) but that, in the presence of sulfide, they are capable of inserting sulfur without degrading their [FeS] clusters. I then did a first post-doctorate at Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (2011-2014) on another radical SAM enzyme called NifB under the supervision of Professor Luis Rubio. This work demonstrated that the enzyme NifB has three [4Fe-4S] clusters essential for synthesizing the cofactor NifB-co which is the essential precursor for the biosynthesis of FeFe-co, FeV-co and FeMo-co respectively in iron,  vanadium and molybdenum nitrogenases. In October 2014, I was appointed “Maître de Conférence Associé” at the Collège de France (Chair of Chemistry of Biological Processes, UMR 8229) directed by professor Marc Fontecave. During two years, I worked on metalloproteins with [FeS] clusters, one having a [4Fe-4S] cluster (TtuA) involved in the thiolation of transfer RNA and the other a diacylglycerol acyltransferases (atDGTAT3) having a [2Fe-2S] cluster. I then worked as Research Project Scientist (2017-2018) at the University of Davis, California in Professor Stephen Cramer's laboratory on [Fe-Fe] hydrogenases and on nitrogenases. Alongside, I worked at Stanford University in the laboratory of Professor James Swartz on the biosynthesis of the H cluster in [Fe-Fe] hydrogenases.

Since November 2018, I have undertaken research work in the biotechnology department of IFPEN, to work on enzymes, cellulases, produced by the fungus T. reesei, which are used to degrade lignocellulosic biomass. Optimal degradation of lingo-cellulosic biomass is one of the ways to develop a bioeconomy based on an abundant and renewable resource (biomass).

14 articles published in peer-reviewed journals

H = 9, 286 citations (source: Web of science, April 10, 2020)

3 conferences in international congresses (11th European Nitrogen Fixation Conference, Tenerife, 2014; IMBG, Villard de Lans, 2015) including 1 guest conference (Gordon conference at Andover, USA, Carbohydrate-Active Enzymes for Glycan Conversions, 2019), 2 guest seminars in France, 1 conference in a national congress in France (Fréjus 2009).

 Activity as reviewer for Biotechnology for biofuels


Research subjects
Lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysis
Fungal enzyme expression and characterization
Enzymatic engineering

Biocatalyst development and optimization of the enzyme cocktail produced by T. reesei.


Ornella, BimaiSimon, ArragainBéatrice, Golinelli-Pimpaneau (2020) Structure-based mechanistic insights into catalysis by tRNA thiolation enzymes. In : Current Opinion in Structural Biology, vol. 65, P. 69-78. DOI: 10.1016/

Aymé, Laure; Arragain, Simon; Canonge, Michel; Baud, Sébastien; Touati, Nadia; Bimai, Ornella et al. (2018) Arabidopsis thaliana DGAT3 is a 2Fe-2S protein involved in TAG biosynthesis. In : Scientific reports, vol. 8, n° 1, p. 17254. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-35545-7.

Zhan, Yu; Marchand, Christophe H.; Maes, Alexandre; Mauries, Adeline; Sun, Yi; Dhaliwal, James S. et al. (2018) Pyrenoid functions revealed by proteomics in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. In : PloS one, vol. 13, n° 2, e0185039. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0185039.

Arragain, Simon; Jiménez-Vicente, Emilio; Scandurra, Alessandro A.; Burén, Stefan; Rubio, Luis M.; Echavarri-Erasun, Carlos (2017) Diversity and Functional Analysis of the FeMo-Cofactor Maturase NifB. In : Frontiers in plant science, vol. 8, p. 1947. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01947.

Arragain, Simon; Bimai, Ornella; Legrand, Pierre; Caillat, Sylvain; Ravanat, Jean-Luc; Touati, Nadia; Laurent, Binet; Mohamed Atta; Marc, Fontecave; Béatrice, Golinelli-Pimpaneau  (2017) Nonredox thiolation in tRNA occurring via sulfur activation by a 4Fe-4S cluster. In : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, vol. 114, n° 28, p. 7355–7360. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1700902114.

Mulliez, Etienne; Duarte, Victor; Arragain, Simon; Fontecave, Marc; Atta, Mohamed (2017) On the Role of Additional 4Fe-4S Clusters with a Free Coordination Site in Radical-SAM Enzymes. In : Frontiers in chemistry, vol. 5, p. 17. DOI: 10.3389/fchem.2017.00017.

Wilcoxen, Jarett; Arragain, Simon; Scandurra, Alessandro A.; Jimenez-Vicente, Emilio; Echavarri-Erasun, Carlos; Pollmann, Stephan et al. (2016) Electron Paramagnetic Resonance Characterization of Three Iron-Sulfur Clusters Present in the Nitrogenase Cofactor Maturase NifB from Methanocaldococcus infernus. In : Journal of the American Chemical Society, vol. 138, n° 24, p. 7468–7471. DOI: 10.1021/jacs.6b03329.

Echavarri-Erasun, Carlos; Arragain, Simon; Scandurra, Alessandro A.; Rubio, Luis M. (2014) Expression and purification of NifB proteins from aerobic and anaerobic sources. In : Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), vol. 1122, p. 19–31. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-794-5_3.

Echavarri-Erasun, Carlos; Arragain, Simon; Rubio, Luis M. (2014) Purification of O2-sensitive metalloproteins. In : Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), vol. 1122, p. 5–18. DOI: 10.1007/978-1-62703-794-5_2.

Forouhar, Farhad; Arragain, Simon; Atta, Mohamed; Gambarelli, Serge; Mouesca, Jean-Marie; Hussain, Munif et al. (2013) Two Fe-S clusters catalyze sulfur insertion by radical-SAM methylthiotransferases. In : Nature chemical biology, vol. 9, n° 5, p. 333–338. DOI: 10.1038/nchembio.1229.

Atta, Mohamed; Arragain, Simon; Fontecave, Marc; Mulliez, Etienne; Hunt, John F.; Luff, Jon D.; Forouhar, Farhad (2012) The methylthiolation reaction mediated by the Radical-SAM enzymes. In : Biochimica et biophysica acta, vol. 1824, n° 11, p. 1223–1230. DOI: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2011.11.007.

Atta, Mohamed; Mulliez, Etienne; Arragain, Simon; Forouhar, Farhad; Hunt, John F.; Fontecave, Marc (2010) S-Adenosylmethionine-dependent radical-based modification of biological macromolecules. In : Current opinion in structural biology, vol. 20, n° 6, p. 684–692. DOI: 10.1016/

Arragain, Simon; Handelman, Samuel K.; Forouhar, Farhad; Wei, Fan-Yan; Tomizawa, Kazuhito; Hunt, John F. et al. (2010) Identification of eukaryotic and prokaryotic methylthiotransferase for biosynthesis of 2-methylthio-N6-threonylcarbamoyladenosine in tRNA. In : The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 285, n° 37, p. 28425–28433. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M110.106831.

Arragain, Simon; Garcia-Serres, Ricardo; Blondin, Geneviève; Douki, Thierry; Clemancey, Martin; Latour, Jean-Marc et al. (2010) Post-translational modification of ribosomal proteins. Structural and functional characterization of RimO from Thermotoga maritima, a radical S-adenosylmethionine methylthiotransferase. In : The Journal of biological chemistry, vol. 285, n° 8, p. 5792–5801. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.065516.