3 year postdoc position available at the Institut Pasteur in Paris.
We seek a highly motivated postdoc with experience in neuronal culture, possibly electrophysiology and/or confocal microscopy, and with an excellent publication record, to undertake a project in the Unit of Membrane Trafficking and Pathogenesis directed by Chiara Zurzolo.
Further information about the project :
Cell-to-cell communication plays a role in many physiological processes including cell proliferation and migration. A novel route of communication is via Tunneling Nanotubes (TNTs), tubular projections that connect cells over long distances. We have shown that TNTs allow the passage of infectious prions between neuronal cells and between primary neurons in cell culture, thus providing an efficient mechanism for spreading of infection. Interestingly, recent exciting data indicate that non-prion aggregates [tau, α-syn (α-synuclein), Aβ (amyloid-β) and Htt (huntingtin) aggregates] present in more common neurodegenerative diseases (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease) can also move between cells and « seed » the misfolding of their normal conformers.
These findings have enormous implications. On the one hand they question the therapeutical use of transplants, and on the other they indicate that it may be possible to bring these diseases to an early arrest by preventing cell-to- cell transmission.
We aim to study the role of TNTs in the spreading of neurodegenerative diseases using high resolution imaging in different cell systems (neuronal cell lines, primary neurons and brain slices). In addition, identification of the gene products that are responsible for TNT formation or for specific signal transmission pathways will identify specific targets responsible for TNT-mediated aggregate transmission.