Cell adhesion molecules in synapse assembly


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Our team aims at characterizing the molecular mechanisms of synapse formation, with a focus on the function of cell adhesion molecules including neurexins and neuroligins. We are studying the membrane dynamics and nanoscale organization of these adhesion molecules at synapses, and their contribution to the recruitment of scaffolding proteins and glutamate receptors, by combining single molecule detection and computer simulations. We are also characterizing a neuroligin-1 phosphotyrosine signaling mechanism regulating the differential assembly of excitatory versus inhibitory synapses, by using a combination of electrophysiology and optogenetic approaches. Finally, we are investigating the trafficking and function of neurexins and neuroligins harboring genetic mutations identified in autism spectrum disorders.

Innovative techniques: Single molecule dynamics, computer simulations, micropatterned substrates, single molecule pull-down, protein labeling with monomeric ligands, optogenetic induction of phosphotyrosine signaling, single cell electroporation, dual patch-clamp.

Selected publications

Team leader
Olivier Thoumine

Team member(s)

Chercheurs, Praticiens hospitaliers...

Alexandre Favereaux (University Teacher- Researcher)
Mathieu Letellier (Researcher)
Méghane Sittewelle (Researcher Ingineer)

Ingénieur(e)s, technicien(ne)s


Charles Ducrot
Margaux Saint-Martin


Adèle Drouet
Elena Baz Badillo
Vesuka Venugopal

Neuropsychologist(s) and speech therapist(s)

Ingénieur(s) hospitalier(s) et ARC