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Neuronal Circuits and Motor Control

Group leader : Julien Bouvier

Our research addresses the cooperative roles of the brainstem and the spinal cord in elaborating integrated and adaptative motor behaviors in mouse. We focus on locomotion and breathing, exquisite model systems with privileged experimental accessibility and strong translational outcomes.
The recent import of tools from developmental biology led to the identification of functional subtypes of interneurons within the executive circuits of walking or breathing, often referred to as central pattern generators or CPGs. In contrast, the neuronal circuits that stand upstream the CPGs and condition or modulate their activity remains largely elusive. We are exploring this through two parallel projects :

- Neuronal connectivity interfacing respiratory and locomotor networks.
We are exploring the neuronal connections that originate in the locomotor network – the CPG in the spinal cord and/or its upstream controllers in the brainstem – and that impinge onto the respiratory CPG. This functional interplay is relevant for respiratory adaptations during exercise.

- Functional diversity of reticulospinal neurons in locomotor control.
The locomotor CPG is under obligatory control from descending signals conveyed by brainstem reticulospinal neurons. We are currently addressing the identities of reticulospinal neurons and that of their post-synaptic partners in the spinal CPG with a particular focus on those controlling hindlimb movements.

These projects mobilize highly multidisciplinary approaches and concepts interfacing developmental neurobiology, circuit function and behavior including ex-vivo electrophysiology, optogenetics, viral-based circuit tracings and immunohistochemistry.



News

- New paper is out in Nature on the characterization of the Mesencephalic Locomotor Region !

Vittorio Caggiano, Roberto Leiras, Haizea Goñi-Erro, Debora Masini, Carmelo Bellardita, Julien Bouvier, Vanessa Caldeira, Gilberto Fisone & Ole Kiehn. Midbrain circuits that set locomotor speed and gait selection.
Nature volume 553, pages 455–460 (25 January 2018) doi:10.1038/nature25448. Pumbed link

 

 

 

- The group just opened !

Recruited in 2017 through an international call, the team has been officially created as a Junior group in January 2018. Currently located in the CNRS campus of Gif-sur-Yvette, we will soon move to a new building with new offices and facilities ! 

Read more about this project here !

 

 

 

- ANR Starting package received !

The projects run in the laboratory were awarded the young researcher’s starting package from the ANR (program Jeunes Chercheurs/Jeunes Chercheuses). 

 

 

 

- Read our recent publication in Cell website

Julien Bouvier, Vittorio Caggiano, Roberto Leiras, Vanessa Caldeira, Carmelo Bellardita, Kira Balueva, Andrea Fuchs, Ole Kiehn (2015). Descending Command Neurons in the Brainstem that Halt Locomotion.
Cell. 2015 Nov 19 ;163(5):1191-203

 

 

 

Last update : Feb 8 2018


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