Uncovering the molecular code underlying allocation of interneuron subtypes to specific layers of the cerebral cortex during development

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The student will perform functional experiments in mice (by way of in utero electroporation) to test the involvement of specific candidate ligand/receptor molecules in the assembly of cortical networks during perinatal life in mice


We study cerebral cortex development in health and disease. The cortex is an extraordinarily complex brain region with a variety of excitatory and inhibitory neuron types organized in a stereotypic laminar fashion. Excitatory and inhibitory neurons migrate to and settle down in specific layers depending on their subtype identity. Interestingly, while the choice of the final laminar position is intrinsically programmed for excitatory neurons, recent data indicate that this choice requires cell-cell communications with excitatory partners for inhibitory neurons. To uncover the mechanisms at play, we have performed single cell RNAseq from the somatosensory cortex at different ages, when both neuron types settle down in their final positions. We then performed state-of-the-art computational analyses to uncover ligand-receptor pairs co-expressed in excitatory/inhibitory neuron pairs and thereby infer cell-cell communications. These analyses provided us with candidate ligand-receptor pairs potentially important for the allocation of inhibitory neurons in selected layers.
The student will join the team to participate in functionally testing our most promising candidate ligand-receptor pairs for correct cell-cell interaction and inhibitory neuron laminar allocation. To reach this aim, she/he will use in utero electroporation of gain and/or loss of function plasmids in excitatory or inhibitory neurons.

Desired profile

We seek a highly motivated student with a keen interest in developmental neuroscience in general and cerebral cortex structure and function in particular. Prior experience in mouse handling, histology and confocal imaging will be a plus.

Host institution

The INMED is one of the most renowned neuroscience centers in France and has the infrastructure and resources to perform all the experiments mentioned.

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