mireille montcouquiol PhD in Neurosciences, Univ. Montpellier II, France

Course and current status

1997       PhD in Neurosciences, Univ. Montpellier II, France

1997-00  Research associate, University Virginia, USA.

2001-05  Senior research fellow, NIDCD/NIH, Maryland, USA.

2005       Avenir group leader INSERM U862 "Developmental Neurosciences"

2007       Tenured - CR1

2011       Co-leader of the “Planar Polarity and Plasticity” group INSERM U862


Scientific summary

In mice and human, mutations in core Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) genes strongly affect neurulation, leading to a complete failure of neural tube closure and craniorachischisis, the most severe form of neural tube defects. This neurodevelopmental pathology is associated with massive structural disruption of the entire central nervous system and deficits in sensory systems, and is incompatible with life, preventing the study of potential roles of core PCP genes later in life.

In our group, we want to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms controlled by Planar Cell Polarity (PCP) signaling in the central nervous system and the inner ear of mammals. We aim to identify and compare the PCP-dependent molecular networks used by both systems for their function, with the idea that some of the central and sensory dysfunctions observed when PCP genes are mutated in patients are due to common molecular roots.

To this end, we evaluate the structural and functional consequences of the early (during embryonic development) or late (in adult) deletion of PCP genes and associated genes, in correlation with specific subregions of the brain (cortex, hippocampus) and in the inner ear. We use classical molecular and cellular biology approaches (cell lines, cochlear and neuronal cells), and a wide range of imaging techniques (confocal, light sheet microscopy, STORM, STED, live imaging), but also a number of conditional mouse models (Cre-Lox), stereotaxic injections of viruses combined with complex behavioral protocols (sociability & memory), electrophysiology, anatomical and immunocyto- and immunohistological approaches.

Image d’exemple