Résumé : M42 aminopeptidases are dinuclear enzymes widely found in prokaryotes but completely absent from eukaryotes. They have been proposed to hydrolyze peptides downstream the proteasome or other related proteolytic complexes. Their description relies mainly on the pioneering work on four M42 aminopeptidases from Pyrococcus horikoshii. Their quaternary structure consists of twelve subunits adopting a tetrahedral-shaped structure. Such a spatial organization allows the compartmentalization of the active sites which are only accessible to unfolded peptides. The dodecamer assembly results from the self-association of dimers under the control of the metal ion cofactors. Both oligomers have been shown to co-exist in vivo and heterododecamers with broadened substrate specificity may even occur. Yet, the molecular determinants behind the dodecamer assembly remain unknown due the lack of a high-resolution structure of a stable dimer. In addition, the bacterial M42 aminopeptidases are still ill-described due to the paucity of structural studies. This work focuses mainly on the characterization of TmPep1050, an M42 aminopeptidase from Thermotoga maritima. As expected, TmPep1050 adopts the genuine tetrahedral-shaped structure with twelve subunits. It also displays a leucyl-aminopeptidase activity requiring Co2+ as a cofactor. In addition to its catalytic function, Co2+ has a role in the enzyme thermostability and oligomerization. The absence of Co2+ provokes the disassembly of active TmPep1050 dodecamers into inactive dimers. The process, however, is reversible since Co2+ triggers the self-association of dimers into dodecamers, as shown by native MS. The main achievement of this work is the determination of the first high-resolution structure of a dimer, allowing to better understand the dimer-dodecamer transition. Several structural motifs involved in oligomerization are displaced or highly flexible in the TmPep1050 dimer structure. Furthermore, a loop bringing two catalytic relevant residues is displaced outside the catalytic site. These residues are the catalytic base and a ligand involved in the Co2+ binding at the M1 site. The metal ion binding sites have been further investigated to define how they influence the oligomerization of TmPep1050. A mutational study shows that the M1 site strictly controls the dodecamer formation while the M2 site contributes only partly to it. A strictly conserved aspartate residue of the M2 site second shell also plays an important structural role in maintaining the active site integrity. Indeed, its substitution prevents the formation of dodecamer probably due to the lack of stabilization of the active site loop. The characterization of TmPep1050 supports that bacterial M42 aminopeptidases probably share the quaternary structures and dodecamer assembly with their archaeal counterparts. The dimer structure highlights several structural modifications occurring in the dimer-dodecamer transition. Yet, based on current knowledge, no general rules can be drawn for the role of the M1 and M2 sites in oligomerization. Besides, the physiological function of the M42 aminopeptidases is under-examined albeit the proposed link to the proteasome. In this work, this has been investigated using the Escherichia coli M42 aminopeptidases as a model. Yet, no phenotype has been associated to the deletion of their coding genes. Preliminary results have shown that the three enzymes (i) display a redundant substrate specificity, (ii) could be localized partly to the membrane, and (iii) form heterocomplexes. Further experiments are still required to crack the function of these M42 aminopeptidases.