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Silvia Arber"Assembling neuronal circuits for movement"

Abstract :

Motor behavior represents the ultimate output of most nervous system activity.
The organization and function of the mature nervous system relies on the precision with which defined neuronal circuits assemble into functional units during development. In the developing motor system, a carefully orchestrated process of sequential circuit assembly leads to the gradual emergence of mature circuit function. This process entails the establishment of precise peripheral trajectories by motor neuron pools in the spinal cord to innervate target muscles and the assembly of central connections to motor neurons to regulate their temporal pattern of activity during movement. Connections to motor neurons are formed by many distinct spinal interneuron classes, by neurons with descending projections from higher brain centers, and by proprioceptive sensory neurons, providing feedback from the periphery to coordinate motor output. This presentation will focus on recent progress in understanding the genetic pathways and cellular mechanisms involved in the establishment of synaptic specificity in the mammalian spinal cord, with an emphasis on proprioceptive feedback circuitry.

Selected publications

Stepien AE, Tripodi M, Arber S (2010) Monosynaptic rabies virus reveals premotor network organization and synaptic specificity of cholinergic partition cells.
Neuron 68, 456-472
Friese A, Kaltschmidt JA, Ladle DR, Sigrist M, Jessell TM, Arber S (2009) Gamma and alpha motor neurons distinguished by expression of transcription factor Err3.
Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 106:13588-13593

Pecho-Vrieseling E, Sigrist M, Yoshida Y, Jessell TM, Arber S (2009) Specificity of sensory-motor connections encoded by Sema3e-Plxnd1 recognition.
Nature, 6 May 2009, doi:10.1038/nature08000

Scientific focus :

2008- Full Professor for Neurobiology/Cell Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel
2004-2008 Associate Professor for Neurobiology/Cell Biology, Biozentrum, University of Basel, Basel
2004- Senior Group Leader, Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, Basel, Switzerland

Sandrine Bertrand de l'INCIA