The role and molecular mechanism of Sonic hedgehog in neural circuit formation

Funding Details
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Grant type: Operating Grant
  • Years: 2010/11 to 2015/16
  • Total Funding: $795,154
Keywords
Principle Investigator(s)
Collaborator(s)

No researchers found.

Partners

No partner organizations found.

Project Summary

The brain is composed of billions of interconnected neurons. To correctly form neuronal circuits, the developing axons (a long extension of a neuron) require attractive and repulsive molecules to lead them to their appropriate targets. One such molecule is called Sonic Hedgehog (Shh). Dr. Charron discovered that Shh acts as an axonal attractant for brain and spinal cord neurons. However, how Shh elicits this effect remains unknown. Thus, the objective of this proposal is to understand, at the molecular level, how Shh regulates the guidance of axons. This will be done using a novel technique invented by the lab of Dr. Charron which allows researchers to control and observe the behavior of axons in response to guidance molecules. Connecting axons with their correct set of targets is a very complex task. Inappropriate wiring or damage to these neuronal connections leads to severe abnormalities of the nervous system. This work is expected to speed up the discovery of drugs that control axon pathfinding and will thus pave the way to new therapies to treat spinal cord injuries, neurodevelopmental disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases.