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Accueil du site Neuro-PSI > Departments > Systems Neuroscience > Martial Ruat Team

Signal Transduction & Developmental Neuropharmacology

Team leader Martial Ruat

Our group aims at deciphering the molecular and pharmacological mechanisms implicated in adult neural stem cells (NSCs) maintenance. We develop animal models to study NSCs and their progeny and chemical screening to identify novel innovative therapeutic strategies for brain repair and for treating brain tumors.

Research context and strategy

- In the adult brain, neural stem cells (NSCs) represent a reservoir of cells that could be potentially recruited to stimulate glio- and neurogenesis, and may therefore have a broad range of therapeutic applications for brain repair. Aberrant activation of signaling pathways in NSCs or in neural progenitors have been associated to brain tumors.

- We are using and developing conditional mouse models for studying adult NSCs and their progeny in the main neurogenic niches of the brain. We are focusing our work towards understanding the functional roles of the Hedgehog signaling pathway proposed to modulate the maintenance of adult neurogenic niches and to regulate the proliferation and differentiation of neuronal and glial precursors. We are currently analyzing modifications of this pathway such as those linked to human mutations responsible for the development of brain tumors such as medulloblastoma. The pharmacological treatment of these disturbances is investigated using synthetic molecules that we develop with organic and medicinal chemists.

- Thus, we have characterized and patented reference agonists and antagonists of the Smoothened receptor which mediates most of the effects of the Hedgehog signals. These molecules have potential interests in the treatment of demyelinating diseases and brain cancers. They should contribute to elucidate mechanisms regulating the maintenance of precursor cells that represent a major challenge for the discovery of effective treatments for neurodegenerative diseases and cancers.

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ICN Neuro-Cog Neuro-Dev Neuro-Syst