Maintien et regulation de la polarité dans la rétine externe par l'adapteur endocytique Numb

 

Maude Vinette

Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal [IRCM]

 

Domaine : neurosciences, santé mentale et toxicomanies

Programme Formation de maîtrise

Concours 2018-2019

Partenaire :

Fondation Antoine-Turmel

My research project consists of establishing how the structure and function of neurons is maintained, in order to understand the role of these mechanisms in neurodegenerative disorders. Specifically, I study degeneration of neurons in the retina, which is a well-organized part of the central nervous system that is easily accessible. Some retinal dystrophies such as retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration are characterized by the death of photoreceptors, neurons essential for vision, which eventually causes blindness. To understand why these photoreceptors degenerate, my goal is to study the mechanisms by which these neurons are maintained in the retina, as well as the molecular components necessary for their stabilization.

I focus specifically on one protein, Crb1, which has previously been associated with retinal degenerative diseases. This protein was previously found to be essential to maintain neuronal integrity, but how it becomes destabilized and leads to vision loss is unknown. We have now identified a new protein regulating Crb1 localization in photoreceptors. When we inactivate this protein, photoreceptor organization is lost, leading to their degeneration. In this project, I will analyze how this protein complex leads to neurodegeneration, which we envision will help design novel therapeutic strategies against neurodegenerative disorders linked with the loss of cellular integrity.