Jean-Louis COUDERC Epithelial differentiation and morphogenesis

Course and current status

Work address                    

UMRGReD / INSERM UMR931  CNRS UMR6247 Clermont UniversitÈ
    28 Place Henri DUNANT
    63001 CLERMONT-Fd
    Phone : 04 73 27 81 80  FAX 04 73 27 61 32
    Email :
Licence Genetics, MaÓtrise Microbiology    1975/6    Clermont-Ferrand
DEA Cellular and Molecular Genetics    1978    Orsay
Doctorat de IIIeme cycle in genetics    1981    Orsay
Doctorat d'Ètat es-Sciences    1987    Clermont-Ferrand
Post-doctoral fellow in the laboratory Dr F. LASKI at the UC Los ANGELES August 1988 to August 1990.
PHD student in the laboratory of  Biochimistry (Pr. B. Dastugue)     1979
Recruited at INSERM  CR2    1981
CR1 INSERM    1985
DR2 INSERM    1996
English fluent ; Spanish advanced.
Professional Experience:
- Teaching  8-12h/year Master2 “ Génétique et physiologie moléculaires ” Clermont University since 1994.
- In charge of  the module OpF4 « Developmental genetics and morphogenesis» from Master2 research “ Génétique et physiologie moléculaires ” Clermont University since 2005.
- Member of the scientific council of university of Auvergne 2001-2007
- Head of laboratory UMR384 INSERM Septembre 2005 to Décembre 2007
- Assistant director IFR 79 Santé Auvergne ( 2008-2011.
- Member of the specialist committee University Blaise Pascal Clermont section 64-65 since 2002.
- Member of the committee for MCU-PH et PU-PH recruitment, university of Auvergne  and CHRU.

Scientific summary

Epithelia form a vital part of all our tissues and organs. Epithelia form sheets of polarized and adhesive cells of various shapes. The adhesive properties of these cellular sheets and the ability of these cells to change shape or to move are essential to generate the large number of tissues and organs that are found in multicellular organisms. Abnormal differentiation or behaviour of epithelial cells are at the basis of many cancers and other pathologies in humans. Increasing our understanding of the fundamental biological processes of cellular differentiation, adhesion and migration in epithelial cells is necessary for developing future therapies.
    We use Drosophila oogenesis to study epithelial processes that are likely to be conserved in all metazoan organisms, such as differentiation, change of shape, displacement and migration. Drosophila oogenesis provides an elegant context to study these processes since they all occur in the course of the development of a single follicle.
Changes in cell shape and motility require dynamic alterations of the cytoskeleton in response to signalling pathways. We are deciphering the mechanisms at the cellular and molecular levels that link epithelial cell differentiation and the underlying morphogenetic processes. By studying mutants of genes of the Notch pathway we demonstrated for the first time that this pathway controls cellular adhesion by regulating the dynamics of adherens junction remodelling and not cell differentiation. We continue this study by characterizing roles of candidate genes and by isolating novel genes that function during or after follicular cell differentiation to modify the adhesion of the cells and their ability to move.
Another key aspect of epithelial morphogenesis is the establishment of the apical-basal polarity. We have recently shown that the tumor suppressor gene LKB1 and its downstream effector AMPK are required for epithelial polarization but only under conditions of energetic stress. Recent studies have confirmed the existence of an epithelial polarization mechanism specific to energetic stress conditions and conserved through evolution. We have already identified several other genes required for this process and, as in the case of AMPK and LKB1, many of them are known regulators of cell growth. This project relies on the study of unexpected links between metabolism, growth and morphogenesis that may be relevant for normal and tumoral development.

Drosophila genetics, large scale genetics screens, enhancer trap mutagenesis
Cell biology, epithelial morphogenesis, apico-basal polarity, cell imaging, Drosophila culture cells, laser confocal imaging, XFP detection, RNA in situ hybridization, Drosophila oogenesis, ovary follicular epithelial cell differentiation

Image d’exemple