Astrocyte-expressed genes

Identification of astrocyte-expressed genes involved in neuronal plasticity


PhD student: Karen Carney, United States of America
Home Institute: Bordeaux Neurocampus; Principle Investigator: Stéphane Oliet
Host Institute: Amsterdam Neuroscience; Principle Investigator; Mark Verheijen

Executive Summary
Glia cells were long viewed to support neuronal functions in development, metabolism and insulation, but are in the last decade identified as active partners in the modulation of synaptic transmission and synaptic plasticity. Outstanding models for the role of neuron-glia interactions during synapse formation and/or plasticity are the hypothalamic Supra Optic Nuclei (SON) and the hippocampus. The group of Oliet is world leading in this field of research. They showed recently that the SON structural changes could be observed in vitro in acute hypothalamic slices. Although some data are available regarding the inductive and permissive factors for this structural plasticity, much of the molecular mechanisms, including the transcriptional program, behind the neuron-astrocyte interactions involved remain unknown. The group of Smit & Verheijen has recently developed a method to identify astrocyte-genes that show expression changes resulting from the presence of neurons. In addition, they have ample experience in micro-array based transcriptional profiling of neuronal tissue, including glia cells, in vivo.

For this collaborative project, we combine the expertise of the Oliet group in SON and hippocampus physiology with the molecular expertise of the Smit & Verheijen group in neuron-glia interactions, to reach the following aims:

  • Gene expression profiling of the rat SON and hippocampus during changes in structural and/or functional plasticity.
  • Functional identification of astrocyte-expressed genes that are involved in synapse formation and plasticity, using i) cocultures of neurons and astrocytes isolated of the SON and hippocampus, and microarray analysis, ii) acute hypothalamic and hippocampal slices.
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  • PhD projects ENC-Network cycle 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5

  • Erasmus Mundus

    For more information about the Erasmus Mundus programme of the European Commission > Erasmus Mundus

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