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!
Immune Defense Without Collateral Damage
23.01.2017 | Universität Basel
The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika
23.01.2017 | D'Or Institute for Research and Education
For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.
According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...
An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...
Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...
Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...
Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales
Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...
19.01.2017 | Event News
10.01.2017 | Event News
09.01.2017 | Event News
23.01.2017 | Health and Medicine
23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.01.2017 | Process Engineering