Brain and Spine Institute (Institut du Cerveau et de la Moelle epinere, ICM)
INSERM U975, CNRS UMR 7225
Universite Pierre et Marie Curie
UMP-S975 Hôpital Salpetriere - Batiment ICM - 47, bld de l'hôpital
BIOGRAPHY AND RESEARCH INTERESTS
Neurobiologists have been dissecting vertebrates for centuries, describing the anatomy of different types of cells in the spinal cord. They have proposed that these cells constitute a central pattern generator underlying the rhythmic bursting activity needed for locomotion. How specific cell types are recruited to generate specific locomotor pattern (with different speed, direction and gating), is still unknown. By developing light gated channels to remotely control (activate or inhibit) neurons in genetically identified neurons in an awake behaving animals (also called “optogenetics”), we have a way to test for the first time the direct relevance of specific neuronal type in underlying specific locomotor behaviors.Our team has developed in vivo and has applied this approach to tackle a long-standing question: the function of cerebrospinal fluid contacting neurons (CSFns) in the spinal cord of Vertebrates. We have been able to demonstrate that KA cells are able to trigger specifically slow locomotion at early stage of development. The fact that there is an apparent homologue of the KA neuron in mammals suggests that there could be a general modulatory principle for vertebrate locomotion. Now our team aims at reconstructing the circuit of slow swimming involved in the CSFns mediated response, and more generally dissect the underlying circuits dynamically forming the multiple central pattern generators which are dynamically recruited to form complex patterns of locomotion.