Equipe Montcouquiol-Sans - Polarité Planaire Cellulaire

Planar polarity and plasticity

Principal investigator: Mireille Montcouquiol, and Nathalie Sans.


The general objective of our group is to understand the pathophysiology of flat cell polarity (PCP) in mammals, and more specifically to identify and define the molecular and cellular mechanisms of PCP, and the consequences of the early and late suppression of PCP signalling.

PCP is mainly understood and studied in the epithelium, and in particular the inner ear, which is accepted as one of the best models for analyzing PCP in mammals. It is more difficult to understand how the mechanisms of PCP affect non-epithelial cells such as neurons or glial cells, due to the absence of a reference epithelial plane and the inherent 3D structure of the brain. However, we do know that mutations in PCP genes significantly affect the nervous system, and some have been associated with neurodevelopmental disorders (autistic syndrome disorders), sensory impairments and neurological disorders (epilepsy or ataxia). In 2011, we created the "Planar Polarity and Plasticity" team, which combines complementary expertise and uses an epithelial model (the cochlea) to decipher and study the role(s) of PCP signalling in mammalian brains, during their development and in adulthood. This original combination of scientific expertise (epithelial and neuronal), combined with a multidisciplinary approach to PCP integrating cellular, developmental and functional approaches and a series of specific conditional mutants, has enabled our group to contribute significantly to the understanding of how PCP signalling regulates critical processes such as cytoskeletal dynamics, dendritic neuronal arborization, synaptogenesis, synaptic plasticity. We have also shown that the modification of the PCP protein can be involved in learning and social deficit, opening up new perspectives on the pathophysiological process of cognitive disorders.

These objectives were achieved thanks to the solid expertise of our group in biology and cell development, the solid local and international network of collaborators and the state-of-the-art facilities at Magendie or the Neurocampus in Bordeaux.

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Team members



Mireille MONTCOUQUIOL
Team leader

Nathalie SANS
Team leader

Jerome EZAN
Researcher

Nathalie AUBAILLY
ITA (40%)

Audrey BARRANGER
ITA

Camille BLANCHARD
ITA

Steve DOS SANTOS CARVALHO
ITA

Maïté MOREAU
ITA

Isabelle SEYNAT
ITA

Mehdi BHOURI
Post Doc

Jennifer STANIC
Post Doc

Noemie DEPRET
PhD

Ana DORREGO-RIVAS
PhD

Stéphanie MAURIAC
PhD

Shrividhya SESHADRI
PhD

Julie DE NEVE
Intern

Sybille MARCHESE
Intern

Miora RANDRIAMIARANA
Intern