The brain is composed of billions of neurons that must connect their axons with an appropriate set of targets to form the neuronal circuits that underlie its function. Developing axons are guided to their targets by attractive and repulsive guidance molecules. Inappropriate wiring or damage of these neuronal connections leads to severe abnormalities of the nervous system.
Three years ago, while he was a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Dr. Charron discovered that Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) is an axonal attractant for brain and spinal cord neurons. However, the mechanism by which Shh elicited this effect remained unknown. The recent work of Dr. Charron, performed in close collaboration with Dr. Ami Okada and the teams of Drs. Sue McConnell and Marc Tessier-Lavigne, at Stanford University and Genentech, respectively, showed that Shh exerts its attractive effect through a novel receptor named Boc. Remarkably, this novel Shh receptor is absolutely required for the axon guidance role of Shh and the role of Shh in brain neural circuit formation.
"The findings of Dr. Charron and his team are of great relevance in developmental neurobiology and our understanding of normal brain development. This research could eventually have an impact on our understanding of neurodevelopmental disorders," says Dr. Rémi Quirion based in Montréal and Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction. "No matter how specialized research findings may be, the knowledge we gain from them, holds the key to improved health and quality of life for Canadians and people throughout the world afflicted by neurodevelopmental disorders," adds Dr. Quirion.
In addition to helping us understand the immense complexity underlying the wiring of the nervous system, the Dr. Charron's research will also help to identify novel strategies to promote the proper guidance and wiring into neural circuits of axons damaged by neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, or by brain and spinal cord injuries.
This work will be published only a year after Dr. Charron established his laboratory at the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM).
"Dr. Charron is one of the country's leading newly arrived neuroscientists. This research has important long-term implications for the repair of spinal cord injury: if we knew all of the molecules required to guide axons correctly during spinal cord healing, we'd know how to heal spinal cord injuries " says Dr. Rod McInnes, Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Genetics. "This is beautiful research that adds another major brick to our building a complete understanding of how the spinal cord is made, and how injury of it can be treated."
Lucette Thériault | EurekAlert!
Could this protein protect people against coronary artery disease?
17.11.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care
Microbial resident enables beetles to feed on a leafy diet
17.11.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie
The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.
Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...
Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.
That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...
Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.
During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....
The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.
Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...
Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...
15.11.2017 | Event News
15.11.2017 | Event News
30.10.2017 | Event News
17.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
17.11.2017 | Health and Medicine
17.11.2017 | Studies and Analyses