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Institut François Magendie
Centre de Recherche INSERM U 862
146, rue Léo Saignat

33077 - Bordeaux

Job opportunities

Dr Mireille Montcouquiol
Developmental Neurosciences
The Neuroscience Institute at Bordeaux

Research Area

Most epithelial cells have an obvious apico-basal polarity. Some also have another polarity, perpendicular to the apico-basal axis. This second polarity, called planar polarity reflects the orientation of a cell or a group of cells within the plan of the epithelium. Planar polarity is in fact present in many aspects of our life, for example in the orientation of the scales of fishes, the feathers of birds, but also in the stereociliary bundles of the hair cells in the inner ear, or in the directional beating of the cilia in the oviduct.

The highly organized structure of the cochlear epithelium makes it a fantastic system to study planar polarity in mammals. Also, the conservation of function of some of the core genes during evolution suggests that others might also be conserved, and that there might be some common pathways between Drosophila and mammalian planar polarity. Obviously one very important aspect is to determine to what extent the model(s) in Drosophila are conserved in human.
This group aims to study and analyze intracellular communication, molecular mechanisms, and cytoskeletal changes that occur during planar polarity establishment in mammals, using confocal analysis, molecular biology, biochemistry and cellular cultures.


Montcouquiol M, Woods C, and Kelley M.(2004):Math1 regulates development of the sensory epithelium in the mammalian cochlea..Nature Neuroscience, 2004; 7:1310-1318

Montcouquiol M, Rachel RA, Lanford PJ, Copeland NG, Jenkins NA and Kelley MW(2003):Identification of Vangl2 and Scrb1 as planar polarity genes in mammals..Nature 2003; 423:173-177

Montcouquiol M and Kelley MW(2003):Planar and Vertical Signals Control Cellular Differentiation and Patterning in the Mammalian Cochlea..J. Neurosci. 2003; 23:9469-9478

Dabdoub A, Donohue MJ, Brennan A, Wolf V, Montcouquiol M, Sassoon DA, Hseih JC, Rubin JS, Salinas PC, Kelley MW(2003):Wnt signaling mediates reorientation of outer hair cell stereociliary bundles in the mammalian cochlea..Development 2003; 130:2375-2384

Technical Expertise