Understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating neuronal fusion. (2016–2019)
The neuron doctrine, the fundamental principle of neuroscience, states that the nervous system, unlike other tissues, is made exclusively of discrete individual cells, connected by chemical and electrical synapses but not by cytoplasmic continuity. However, how this is achieved and how neurons maintain their individuality during development, remodelling, and aging is unknown. The aim of this project is to discover, using a genetic approach and C. elegans as an experimental system, the key molecules that allow neurons to remain individual entities and avoid fusing in a syncytium. The results obtained will provide crucial insights into how the nervous system develops and functions.