Professor Virginie Lecaudey Institute of Cellular Biology and Neuroscience – The European Neuroscience Institute in Freiburg

  • Alumni

Developmental Biology (Zebrafish)

About Professor Virginie Lecaudey

During development, the formation of organs often involves the migration of cells in groups. Our lab uses the Zebrafish Danio rerio as a model organism to uncover the mechanisms coordinating collective cell migration, morphogenesis and differentiation during organ formation. To this aim, we use the lateral line as a model system. The lateral line is a sensory system present in aquatic Vertebrates; it is comprised of mechanosensory organs called neuromasts. These organs consist of mechano-sensory hair cells surrounded by support cells and are similar to our auditory sensory organs. The lateral line allows fishes to sense water vibrations and therefore to pick up certain behaviour such as school swimming, predator avoidance and prey detection. The mechanosensory organs assemble and start to differentiate within a migrating group of about 100 cells, the lateral line primordium (llp). During the second day of development, the primordium migrates laterally on both sides of the embryo from behind the ear to the tip of the tail. As they migrate, cells at the back of the primordium assemble into rosette-like structures that are then deposited and differentiate into neuromasts.

We want to understand the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the formation of these organs. More specifically, we want to determine how different signalling pathways active in the primordium interact to control and coordinate cell fate acquisition and cell shape changes. To this aim, we combine molecular and cellular biology, pharmacological analysis and genetics to modern live imaging techniques. Since zebrafish embryos are transparent and the primordium migrates superficially under the skin, this model is ideally suited for in vivo live cell imaging. In addition, we want to use mathematical modelling to describe different aspects of this morphogenetic process. These models will allow us to predict the behaviour of certain mutants and test new hypotheses.

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5 Selected Publications

Ernst S., Liu K., Agarwala S., Moratscheck N., Avci ME., Nogare DD., Chitnis AB., Ronneberger O., and Lecaudey V. (2012). Shroom3 is required downstream of FGF signalling to mediate proneuromast assembly in zebrafish. Development, 139 (24): 4571-81.

Stedman A*., Lecaudey V.*, Havis, E.*, Anselme I., Wassef M., Gilardi-Hebenstreit P., and Schneider-Maunoury, S. (2009). A functional interaction between Irx and Meis patterns the anterior hindbrain and activates krox20 expression in rhombomere 3. Dev Biol., 327, 566–577.

Carvalho L., Stühmer J., Bois JS., Kalaidzidis Y., Lecaudey V., and Heisenberg CP. (2009). Control of convergent yolk syncytial layer nuclear movement in zebrafish. Development, 136, 1305–1315.

Lecaudey V.*, Cakan-Akdogan G.*, Norton WHJ., and Gilmour D. (2008).  Dynamic Fgf signaling couples morphogenesis and migration in the zebrafish lateral line primordium. Development, 135, 2695–2705.

Pouthas F., Girard P., Lecaudey V., Ly TBN., Gilmour D., Boulin C., Pepperkok R., and Reynaud, EG. (2008). In migrating cells, the Golgi complex and the position of the centrosome depend on geometrical constraints of the substratum. J Cell Sci., 121, 2406–2414.

Fellowships, Awards and Honours

2011            Marie Curie Reintegration Grant, Freiburg, Germany (until 2014)
2010            Project within the CRC 850, Freiburg, Germany (until 2013)
2009            Junior Professorship EXC 294 BIOSS, Freiburg, Germany (until 2015)
2007            Marie Curie Intra European Fellowship, Heidelberg, Germany (until 2009)
2006            EMBO long-term fellowship, Heidelberg, Germany (until 2007)
2005            Fondation pour la Recherche Medicale (FRM) fellowship (until 2006)
2004            Association pour la Recherche contre le Cancer (ARC) fellowship
2001            Fellowship from the French Research Ministry (until 2004)
1997            Fellowship from the Ecole Normale Superieure, France (until 2001)

Technical Expertise

  • Live cell imaging in whole zebrafish embryos
  • Laser dissection