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Team “Probing dynamic sensory-motor integration in spinal circuits”


Claire Wyart’s team is interested in understanding how specific circuits are recruited in the spinal cord to produce complex motor outputs. Locomotion depends on the activity of spinal circuits termed Central Pattern Generators (CPGs) which have been characterized by Sten Grillner and others. Physiological, pharmacological and anatomical data have been used to construct schemes of connectivity for groups of excitatory and inhibitory interneurons and to predict how they generate oscillations in vitro. However, such an approach does not reveal whether firing in a given neuronal subgroup is necessary and sufficient to generate a movement. The team identifies the function of specific spinal cells by remotely manipulating and recording neuronal activity while monitoring behavior in a small transparent animal, the zebrafish larva. Claire Wyart developed sophisticated methods to optically control neuronal activity in vivo, termed optogenetics.


Major publications

  • Sternberg JR*, Severi KE*, Fidelin K, Gomez J, Ihara H, Alcheikh Y, Hubbard JM, Kawakami K, Suster M, Wyart C. Optimization of a Neurotoxin to Investigate the Contribution of Excitatory Interneurons to Speed Modulation In Vivo. Curr Biol. 2016 Aug 10. pii: S0960-9822(16)30676-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2016.06.037. [Epub ahead of print].
  • Böhm UL*, Prendergast A*, Djenoune L, Nunes Figueiredo S, Gomez J, Stokes C, Kaiser S, Suster M, Kawakami K, Charpentier M, Concordet JP, Rio JP, Del Bene F, Wyart C. CSF-contacting neurons regulate locomotion by relaying mechanical stimuli to spinal circuits. Nat Commun. 2016 Mar 7;7:10866. doi: 10.1038/ncomms10866.
  • Fidelin K, Djenoune L, Stokes C, Prendergast A, Gomez J, Baradel A, Del Bene F, Wyart C. State-Dependent Modulation of Locomotion by GABAergic Spinal Sensory Neurons. Curr Biol. 2015 Dec 7;25(23):3035-47. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.09.070. Epub 2015 Nov 19.
  • Djenoune L, Khabou H, Joubert F, Quan FB, Nunes Figueiredo S, Bodineau L, Del Bene F, Burcklé C, Tostivint H, Wyart C. Investigation of spinal cerebrospinal fluid-contacting neurons expressing PKD2L1. Front Neuroanat. 2014 May 6;8:26. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2014.00026. eCollection 2014.
  • Mirat O, Sternberg JR, Severi KE, Wyart C. ZebraZoom: an automated program for high-throughput behavioral analysis and categorization. Front Neural Circuits. 2013 Jun 12;7:107. doi: 10.3389/fncir.2013.00107. eCollection 2013.
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