Axon regeneration in C. elegans: genes, themes and dynamics

4 NOVEMBRE 2016 - 13h

Amphi Charpak - LPNHE (RDC Tour 22)

Axon regeneration in C. elegans: genes, themes and dynamics - Séminaire externe IBPS

Andrew Chisholm, Professor at the University of California, San Diego, United States.


The ability of axons to regenerate after injury is a fundamental property of animal neurons. Work in a variety of systems has suggested that the molecular mechanisms of axon regeneration may be highly conserved. Genetic studies in C. elegans have highlighted the roles of Calcium dynamics, DLK MAPK signaling cascades, and posts-transcriptional controls at the level of RNA splicing. Several of the molecules identified in C. elegans genetics have mammalian orthologs whose roles in regeneration are being addressed. 

Research overview

My lab’s interests are in the early development of epidermal and neuronal tissues, and in the responses of epidermal and neuronal cells to damage. We are studying these processes in the nematode worm Caenorhabditis elegans. C. elegans is an excellent organism for analyzing fundamental aspects of development. Worm genetics is simple and cheap; gene function can also be probed using genome wide RNA interference screens. Embryogenesis takes 12 hours and its dynamics can be studied using timelapse microscopy and fluorescent markers.

We are interested in epidermal (skin) development as a model for epithelial morphogenesis. The worm epidermis is a simple epithelium that encases the animal. In embryogenesis the epidermis spreads out over substrate cells to enclose the embryo (enclosure) and subsequently undergoes elongation (Chisholm and Hardin 2005). Pathways involved in these processes are evolutionarily conserved, and several are implicated in cancer or other genetic diseases.

Andrew Chisholm received his PhD in 1989 from Cambridge University, England, working at the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology. He conducted postdoctoral research with H Robert Horvitz at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. From 1996 to 2006 he was on the faculty of the University of California, Santa Cruz.