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Sonia Garel

Brain Development and Plasticity


Our general goal is to understand how functional forebrain circuits, which enable sensory perception, motor responses and cognition, wired up during development. Forebrain circuits begin to be established in the embryo by intrinsic developmental programs that coordinate the assembly of millions of neurons via a complex choreography of neuronal migration and axonal navigation. In addition, intrinsic programs can be perturbed by maternal environment, as illustrated by the fact that prenatal inflammation constitutes a major risk factor for neurodevelopmental diseases, including schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders. Understanding how embryonic programs and maternal signals control forebrain wiring is thus essential not only to progress in our comprehension of cerebral morphogenesis but also to provide a framework for assessing the etiology of neuropsychiatric disorders.
To this aim, we are examining how migration shapes the assembly of forebrain circuits, how such circuits establish long-range axonal connections and how microglia, the brain resident macrophages that are activated by prenatal inflammation, contributes to both processes. We are addressing these issues using a combination of experimental approaches in mice, which allow the easy manipulation of structures, genes and environmental factors.

Reallocation of Olfactory Cajal-Retzius Cells Shapes Neocortex Architecture.
de Frutos CA, Bouvier G, Arai Y, Thion MS, Lokmane L, Keita M, Garcia-Dominguez M, Charnay P, Hirata T, Riethmacher D, Grove EA, Tissir F, Casado M, Pierani A, Garel S.
Neuron. 2016 Oct 19 ;92(2):435-448.

Microglia modulate wiring of the embryonic forebrain.
Squarzoni P, Oller G, Hoeffel G, Pont-Lezica L, Rostaing P, Low D, Bessis A, Ginhoux F, Garel S.
Cell Rep. 2014 Sep 11 ;8(5):1271-9.

Sensory map transfer to the neocortex relies on pretarget ordering of thalamic axons.
Lokmane L, Proville R, Narboux-Nême N, Györy I, Keita M, Mailhes C, Léna C, Gaspar P, Grosschedl R, Garel S.
Curr Biol. 2013 May 6 ;23(9):810-6.

Pathfinding of corticothalamic axons relies on a rendezvous with thalamic projections.
Deck M, Lokmane L, Chauvet S, Mailhes C, Keita M, Niquille M, Yoshida M, Yoshida Y, Lebrand C, Mann F, Grove EA, Garel S.
Neuron. 2013 Feb 6 ;77(3):472-84.

Slit2 activity in the migration of guidepost neurons shapes thalamic projections during development and evolution.
Bielle F, Marcos-Mondejar P, Keita M, Mailhes C, Verney C, Nguyen Ba-Charvet K, Tessier-Lavigne M, Lopez-Bendito G, Garel S.
Neuron. 2011 Mar 24 ;69(6):1085-98

Emergent growth cone responses to combinations of Slit1 and Netrin 1 in thalamocortical axon topography.
Bielle F, Marcos-Mondéjar P, Leyva-Díaz E, Lokmane L, Mire E, Mailhes C, Keita M, García N, Tessier-Lavigne M, Garel S, López-Bendito G.
Curr Biol. 2011 Oct 25 ;21(20):1748-55.

axonal tracing showing thalamocortical (green) and corticothalamic (red) (...)
axonal tracing showing thalamocortical (green) and corticothalamic (red) recirpocal connections
migration of corridor neurons (green) open the path for thalamic axons (...)
migration of corridor neurons (green) open the path for thalamic axons (red)