Morphogenesis of Macro-Algae Team

BÉNÉDICTE CHARRIER, CNRS RESEARCH DIRECTOR                                                                   

Current position


Research Director at the CNRS, Principal Investigator of the team Morphogenesis of Macroalgae ( Roscoff Marine Station, France.

Research Interest

I aim to identify the molecular and cellular factors which control macroalgal morphogenesis using mainly genetic and modelling approach. I focus on the early developmental stages, i.e. from the zygote/spore germination to the development of the whole thallus. Cell polarity/differentiation and tissue patterning are studied, using either morphologic cellular features (time-lapse during the development, morphometry, electron microscopy, labelling of sub-cellular compartments) or cell-type specific gene expression (Laser capture microdissection and RNA-seq). Genetic approach using morphogenetic mutants allows to identify master genes controlling these processes. Ultimately, the identified factors will be compared to those involved in land plant or metazoan development, in light of the different environments and growth conditions (salinity, light spectrum,mechanical forces).

Past research positions

  • 2005-2011: Permanent scientist (CR) CNRS  : Station Biologique de Roscoff (France) : “Morphogenesis of brown algae”, France.
  • 2000-2004: Permanent scientist (CR CNRS): Institut de Biotechnologie des Plantes, Orsay University (France). “Shaggy-kinases involved in Arabidopsis and Physcomitrella development and stress responses” (M. Kreis' group), France.
  • 1996-1999: Post-doctoral fellow (BBSRC): School of Biology, University of Leeds. Gene silencing in tobacco and Arabidopsis (P. Meyer's group), United-Kingdom.
  • 1992-1995: PhD: (Univ Orsay) Institut des Sciences Végétales, C.N.R.S., Gif/Yvette.“Rhizobium-alfalfa symbiosis (A. Kondorosi & P. Ratet group), France.


2000: National award of the French Society of Plant Physiology for early researchers.


  • French Society of Phycology (SPF)
  • French Society of Plant Biology (SFBV)
  • French Society of Developmental Biology (SFBD)
  • Federation of European Phycological Societies (FEPS)

Position in the international community


Charrier B, Rolland E, Gupta V and Reddy RC. Production of genetically and developmentally modified seaweeds: Exploiting the potential of artificial selection techniques. Front. Plant Sci. 6:127. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00127, 2015

Wichard T, Charrier B, Mineur F, Bothwell JH, De Clerck O and Coates JC. The green seaweed Ulva: A model system to study morphogenesis. Front. Plant Sci. 6:72. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00072, 2015

Billoud B, Jouanno É, Nehr Z, Carton B, Rolland É, Chenivesse S and Charrier B. Localisation of causal locus in the genome of the brown macroalga Ectocarpus: NGS-based mapping and positional cloning approaches. Front. Plant Sci. 6:68. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00068, 2015

Saint-Marcoux D, Billoud B, Langdale JA and Charrier B. Laser capture microdissection in Ectocarpus siliculosus: the pathway to cell-specific transcriptomics in brown algae. Front. Plant Sci. 6:54. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2015.00054, 2015

Coates J , Umm- E-Aiman, Charrier B. Understanding “green” multicellularity: do seaweeds hold the key? Front. Plant Sci. 5:737. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2014.00737, 2015

Tesson B, Charrier B. Brown algal morphogenesis: Atomic Force Microscopy as a tool to study the role of mechanical forces. Front. Plant Sci. 5:471. doi:10.3389/fpls.2014.00471, 2014

Billoud B, Nehr Z, Le Bail A, Charrier B. Computational prediction and experimental validation of microRNAs in the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. Nucleic Acids Research, 42(1):417-29, 2013. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkt856

Collen et al., Genome structure and metabolic features in the red seaweed Chondrus crispus shed light on evolution of the Archaeplastida. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 110(13):5247-52, 2013

Le Bail A, Charrier B. Culture methods and mutant generation in the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. Plant Organogenesis. Methods in Molecular Biology (I. De Smet Ed), Humana Press, Springer Protocole, 959:323-32, 2013 doi:10.1007/978-1-62703-221-6_22

Charrier B, Le Bail A, de Reviers B : « Plant Proteus: Brown algae morphological plasticity and underlying developmental mechanisms”, Trends in Plant Science, 17(8): 468-477, 2012 

Nehr Z, Billoud B, Le Bail A, Charrier B. Space-time decoupling in the branching process in the mutant etoile of the filamentous brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus, Plant Signaling & Behavior, 6 (12): 1889 - 1892, 2011.

Le Bail A, Billoud B, Le Panse S, Chenivesse S, Charrier B. ETOILE Regulates Developmental Patterning in the Filamentous Brown Alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. The Plant Cell, 23(4): 1666-1678, 2011 doi:10.1105/tpc.110.081919

Cock JM, Sterck L, Rouzé P, Scornet D, Allen AE, Amoutzias G, Anthouard V, Artiguenave F, J-M Aury, JH. Badger, B Beszteri, K Billiau, E Bonnet, JHF Bothwell, C Bowler, C Boyen, C Brownlee, CJ Carrano, B Charrier, GY Cho, SM Coelho, J Collén, E Corre, C Da Silva, L Delage, N Delaroque, SM Dittami, S Doulbeau, M Elias, G Farnham, CMM Gachon, B Gschloessl, S Heesch, K Jabbari, C Jubin, HKawai, K Kimura, B Kloareg, FC Küpper, D Lang, A Le Bail, C Leblanc, P Lerouge, M Lohr, PJ Lopez, C Martens, F Maumus, G Michel, D Miranda-Saavedra, J Morales, H Moreau, T Motomura, C Nagasato, CA Napoli, DR Nelson, P Nyvall- Collén, AF Peters, C Pommier, P Potin, J Poulain, H Quesneville, B Read, SA Rensing, A Ritter, S Rousvoal, M Samanta, G Samson, DC Schroeder, B Ségurens, M Strittmatter, T Tonon, J Tregear, K Valentin, P von Dassow, T Yamagishi, Y Van de Peer & P Wincker: The Ectocarpus genome and the independent evolution of multicellularity in the brown algae, Nature, 465(7298):617-21, 2010

Le Bail A, Billoud B, Kowalczyk N, Kowalczyk M, Gicquel M, Le Panse S, Stewart S, Scornet D, Cock JM, Ljung K and Charrier B. Auxin metabolism and function in the multicellular brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. Plant Physiology, 153:128-144, 2010

Billoud B, Le Bail A and Charrier B. A stochastic 1D nearest-neighbour automaton models the early development of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. Functional Plant Biology, 35: 1014-1024, 2008

Le Bail A, Dittami S, De Franco P-O, Rousvoal S, Cock JM, Tonon T, Charrier B. Normalisation genes for expression analyses in the brown alga model Ectocarpus siliculosus. BMC Molecular Biology 9(1):75, 2008

Le Bail A, Billoud B, Maisonneuve C, Peters A, Cock JM, Charrier B. Initial pattern of development of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus (Ectocarpales, Phaeophyceae) sporophyte. Journal of Phycology 44: 1269-81, 2008

A. F. Peters, D. Scornet, M. Ratin, B. Charrier, A. Monnier, Y. Merrien, E. Corre, S.M. Coelho, J. M. Cock. Life-cycle-generation-specific developmental processes are modified in the immediate upright mutant of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus. Development 135(8):1503-12, 2008

B. Charrier, S. Coelho, A. Le Bail, T. Tonon, G. Michel, P. Potin, B. Kloareg, C. Boyen, A.F. Peters, J. M. Cock. “Development and physiology of the brown alga Ectocarpus siliculosus: two centuries of research”. New Phytologist 177(2): 319-332, 2008

Le Bail A, Billoud B, Maisonneuve C, Charrier B. Un Picasso parmi les algues brunes : la difficile conquête de la symétrie chez Ectocarpus. Journal de la Société de Biologie 201(3):267-280, 2007.

S. Coelho, A.F. Peters, B. Charrier, D. Roze, C. Destombe, M. Valero, J.M. Cock : Complex life cycles of multicellular eukaryotes: new approaches based on the use of model organisms. Gene 406(1-2):152-170, 2007

G. Claisse, B. Charrier, M. Kreis : The R96 residue of the GSK3/shaggy kinase AtSK32 regulates cell elongation in floral organs of Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Molecular Biology, 64(1-2):113-24, 2007

O. Richard, N. Paquet, E. Haudecoeur, B. Charrier: Organization and expression of the GSK3/Shaggy kinase gene family in the moss Physcomitrella patens suggest a unique ancestral gene in land plants involved in osmotic stress response. Journal of Molecular Evolution 61:99-113, 2005

C. Gachon, A. Mingam, B. Charrier: Real-time PCR: What relevance to plant studies? Journal of Experimental Botany 55 (402): 1445-54, 2004

B. Charrier, A Champion., Y. Henry, M. Kreis : Expression profiling of the whole Arabidopsis SHAGGY-like kinase multigene family by real-time RT-PCR. Plant Physiology 130 : 577-590, 2002

B. Charrier, C. Scollan, S. Ross, E. Zubko, P. Meyer: Co-silencing of homologous transgenes in tobacco. Molecular Breeding 6: 407-419, 2000

R Ingram*, B Charrier*, C Scollan et P Meyer: Expression of the Drosophila Polycomb chromodomain causes developmental alterations in transgenic tobacco: An indication for a role of chromodomain proteins in chromatin-mediated gene regulation in plants. The Plant Cell, 11(6) 1047-1060, 1999 (* co-first author)

B. Charrier, F. Foucher, E. Kondorosi, Y. d’Aubenton-Carafa, C. Thermes, A. Kondorosi et P. Ratet: Bigfoot: A new class of transposons in alfalfa. The Plant Journal, 18(4) 431-441, 1999

B. Charrier, H. Trinh, S. Poirier, A. Kondorosi et P. Ratet: F3H expression studies and flavonoid localisation in legume nodules reveal distinct tissues specificity and a new pattern of nodule specific gene expression. Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions 11(9): 924-932, 1998

B. Charrier, C. Leroux, A. Kondorosi, P. Ratet: The expression pattern of alfalfa f3h promoter-gus fusion in Nicotiana benthamiana D. correlates with the presence of flavonoids detected in situ. Plant Molecular Biology 30: 1153-1168, 1996

B. Charrier, C. Coronado, A. Kondorosi, P. Ratet: Molecular characterization and expression of alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) flavanone 3-hydroxylase and dihydroflavonol 4-reductase encoding genes. Plant Molecular Biology 29: 773-786, 1995

L. Szabados, B. Charrier, A. Kondorosi, F.J. de Bruijn, P. Ratet: New plant promoter and enhancer testing vectors. Molecular Breeding 1: 419-423, 1995

Book Chapters

Nehr Z & Charrier B. “Algal Morpho-inducers”, in “Outstanding Marine Molecules”, J-M Kornprobst & S. Labarre Eds. In press.

Cock JM, Sterck L, Ahmed S, Allen AE, Amoutzias G, Anthouard V, Artiguenave F, Arun A, Aury J-M, Badger JH, Beszteri B, Billiau K, Bonnet E, Bothwell JH, Bowler C, Boyen C, Brownlee C, Carrano CJ, Charrier B, Cho GY, Coelho SM, Collén J, Le Corguillé G, Corre E, Dartevelle L, Da Silva C, Delage L, Delaroque N, Dittami SM, Doulbeau S, et al., The Ectocarpus genome and brown algal genomics. In: Advances in Botanical Research. Elsevier, 64:141–184, 2012

J.M. Cock, D. Scornet, S. Coelho, B. Charrier, C. Boyen and A. F. Peters. “ Scientific and Technological Challenges in the Exploration of Marine Biodiversity: The Magnitude of Marine Biodiversity”: Ed BBVA Foundation 117-141, 2006

A. Mingam, C. Gachon, B. Charrier: Quantifying nucleic acids with fluorescent probes: Contribution of real-time PCR to applied and fundamental plant research. Advances in Plant Physiology 7: 423-458, 2004

Last edited 20/03/2015